Dessler shows that clouds aren't causing climate change, refuting Spencer and Braswell

Andrew Dessler's new paper (preprint here) makes it clear just how bad Spencer and Braswell (2011) is. Spencer and Braswell assumed that changes in clouds were a stronger influence on temperature changes than changes in ocean heat content. Dessler used observations to show that the ocean heat content is vastly more important. He summarizes his paper in the video below.

See also: Gavin Schmidt and Skeptical Science.

More like this


McIntyre has quite a representative cross-section of the head-honcho Denialati egging him along on that thread. We should not be surprised - the denialist zombie is one that never knows when it is dead, and it requires repeated mutilation before it will lay down and accept the truth... if it ever does.

Oo, and I think that you're more than a little off-base with your impression of the GRL editor, but that's alright - after all, you are obviously scientifically illiterate. There's a cure though: it called education (ed-yew-ka-shun), although at your age it probably won't stick...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 06 Sep 2011 #permalink

MarcH...endrixx ?


By Mulga Mumblebrain (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

re: #1

Mounting a rhetorically overwhelming case is made difficult by the fact that year-to-year the differences between one side and the other is going to be small. A year's worth of global warming is tiny. Ten years still requires calipers. So, if you're of a mind to do it -- and there are obviously those who are -- you can poach data from anywhere you like. For instance, a single satellite. As e.e.cummings said in different circumstances, apparently it is going to take a

bit of
the old sixth

el;in the top of his head:to tell


By Jeffrey Davis (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

There are now many excellent blog summaries of Spencer's folly.

I just wish that one of the authors had subtitled theirs:

"Some Mothers Do Keep 'aving 'em".

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

Burnard J,
Your comments are just ad-hom rants.

Mack, IMO you are an idiot who has nothing to add. Go away.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

Oo, someone called Mack has dropped by.

Look on his works, ye Mighty, and despair.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink

Jeff - although you have absolutely nothing to add, you proven that beyond any doubt recently. But still I think you should stay. But maybe, just maybe, think a little before you post, please?

*But maybe, just maybe, think a little before you post, please?*

Pot. Kettle. Black.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink

Bear in mind everybody that Jonas N is the troll on [another thread](…) who would have us believe that Deep Climate and John Mashey's forensic investigation and discrediting of the Wegman Report was all about Wegman's punctuation shortcomings. Yes, really.

I believe that folk rarely do laugh out loud at internet posts, but .... lol.

Jeff ...

I do think before I post, and I don't need to call people 'idiot' and worse, just because they see things differently. Mack is quite correct about Bernars J:s many postings.

> Your comments are just ad-hom rants.

If I only had a dollar for every time a troll abused the term "ad hom" I could retire...

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink


The only reason Mack is correct in your jaded view is because he shares the same anti-scientific idealogical biases as you do. Mack is just a hit-and-run troll. If you wanna debate me on the effects of climate change on natural and managed ecosystems, go right ahead. I'll demolish you, of course (same with Shubbie who uses the tried and trusted contrarian trick of saying that there are no proven effects of climate warming on food webs and ecosystems - until someone shoves an article right in front of his face. Of course the ecological literature is replete with such studies, but of course Shubbie doesn't do any WoS searches so until he reads any, the problem does not exist). You seem to be doing that too - saying its OUR job to put actual studies in front of you with respect to evidence for the human fingerprint on the current warming, and until we on Deltoid do that, then as far as you are concerned such studies don't exist. Why don't you pick out some of the studies from AR4 that you don't like and tell us exactly what is wrong with them. Or tell us exactly what the scientists you claim to have written to have said in response to your queries. The onus is on you, Jonas, to prove that the IPCC has it wrong and not the other way around. The scientific community by-and-large has accepted the view that humans are forcing climate. Its therefore up to you and your acolytes to prove us wrong, and not *vice-versa*.

I suppose you want someone to read you the peer-reviewed papers as a bedtime story, because you seem singularly incapable of going to the primary literature yourself and telling us exactly what is missing/incorrect in it. Its like someone complaining that he/she thinks there is no proven relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, and when asked to provide evidence showing this is so, failing to critique the primary literature but just making the point repeatedly on the basis if his/her own views and on their own perceptions of the conclusions of the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment (2006). So my advice to you is to go to the primary literature and come back here when you have read an eeensy beeensy bit of it.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink

Jeff - Just cut it out. Your have been blathering in the comments here for days without having any point at all. In the one issue of relevance you addressed (the certatinty and attribution) you proved beyond doubt that you had no idea, no clue. But still you pretended (even believed?) that your point somehow had any merit!?

You talk about anti-science, but have never seen the science you so much believe in, have no clue what the 'primary literature' is supposed to be, or where to be found? Demand that I rebutt non-existing science!? What an utter farce ..

And the same is of course true for many other commnenters. No connection to the science which is discussed, no understanding of physics or any other hard sciences, no experience of the empircal world, of experimtal investigations, of modelling af physical systems, even unaware of the scientific method.

Just shouting support when one of the 'home team' claims he's right and/or the other guy is wrong, and cussing about them not blindly following the script.

Even more stupid is that alternative universe you seem to be inventing in every other post, when you declare how things 'really' are, things which you have even less grasp or knowledge of.

As I said, no one who considers himself a scientist in real world I live in, makes such illogical and nonsens claims ans statements as you (and many others here). And still you present yourself as a grown up, even call yourself a 'senior scientist'!? No way! Senior BS-guesser maybe.


Anonymous keyboard warrior, who has waffled on at length about absolutely nothing, critises an extensively published scientist for knowing nothing about science.

And he has a bridge for sale.

Lying troll Jonas engages in projection... news at 11.

"Your have been blathering in the comments here for days without having any point at all."

Really Tim, it is time to give Jonas his own padded thread, just to keep him from covering the entire place with his feces.

Actually, just confine Jonas to the Rick Perry/NAS room - there's no need to reward him with a titular thread.

It's utterly hilarious to see what illogical brainfart (s)he comes up with in every new post. He's rapidly approaching Girma levels of ineptitude.

Now, back on topic, is there any chance that the three reviewers of SB11 will out themselves?

By Former Skeptic (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink


You do realize that every time I or another commenter hammers you, your oily wriggling and slithering do not work.

The AR4 of IPCC drew conclusions based on the empirical or theoretical literature at the time (2007). Since then, even more data has accrued showing beyond a reasonable doubt that Homo sapiens, through the unreprent burning of fossil fuels, is clatering climate across the biosphere. This is the broad consensus position. Against that, you claim that this science is 'non-science'. And, more ridiculously, you lash out at any one who disagrees with you. Well, for starters, except for a few contrarians, some of who are on the corporate payroll, >90% of the scientific community stands behind AR4 and the IPCC. So its up to you to prove its wrong in its conclusions, not up to me or anyone else to prove to you that its correct. If you weren't IMO such an idiot you'd realize this. The scientific community are in broad agreement. Now you have to prove us wrong. But so far you haven't done that in any way, shape or form. All you do is attack me and others here who agree with the mainstream scientific view on the matter, with a few mis-spelled and grammatically incorrect phrases thrown in.

The only illusory and deluded universe occupied here is the one you have created all by yourself. I think you've made this on the basis of spending too much of your time in denialist web sites and the like, which has given you the impression that you are some kind of expert who has an intellectual edge on those who disagree with you. The fact is that you are a buffoon. If you want to discuss the ecological effects of anthropogenic warming, I'd be glad to educate you (heaven knows you need it).

And you still haven't answered the questions I laid out for you. A few years ago Stuart Pimm and I wrote a commentary in the journal Oikos in which we laid out our vision of what one should 'follow' in order to find the truth in environmental discussions and debates. The third point on our list was *Follow the credentials*, meaning those who challenge a position agreed upon by the broad scientific community are often people with no relevant expertise whatsoever. I am happy to report that you, Jonas, fit into this classifaction like a glove. Well done!

Your evasion of the facts also shows how deep the hole is that you are digging for yourself. You certainly don't fool the vast readership of Deltoid, who are either fed up to the teeth with you or find your increasingly hysterical rants to be a bit amusing. I find them a bit of both. But I definitely agree with elspi's last comment. I think Tim that it's time to send this mega-troll packing to his own thread, where he can join spotty and Brent and their ilk in numbskull land.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink

elspi (#21), that would be a shame. Jonas N is clearly making a really strong attempt to win the "Sunspot" trophy for climate loopiness. It would be a great pity to cut him off in his prime.

Of course he gains additional points for displaying the most impressive case of misplaced self-importance since Tim Curtin was relegated to his own thread.

By GWB's nemesis (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink

> is time to give Jonas his own padded thread...

No, there are better options.

Like a thread for a cage match between sunspot, Curtin and Jonas. It's 90% likely that the majority ;-) would vociferously agree with each other despite massively mutually exclusive positions, but you never know - there's a slim chance that some of them would actually engage ;-)

Deltoid history suggests that there are other combinations of worthy competitors that might prove interesting as well.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink

Ah but Lotharsson, you're forgetting that the first rule of denialism is to never, ever argue against a fellow-travelling denier even when their case and yours are mutually exclusive.

Wow, we have a new contender for the Dunning-Kruger World Championship!

Has anyone seen such a display of combined ignorance, arrogance, and sheer delusion as displayed by Jonas@19?

He doesn't even seem to realise that his continued presence here is as an exhibit.

By TrueSceptic (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink

Hey guys,

Are you really going to let this guy totally derail another thread into his discussion of choice? Because it sure seems to be heading this way, he's getting everyone dancing to his tune in the first few posts.

It's just easier to ignore him.

26 MFS,

You are correct. I had no idea how much garbage he's spewed, and how much time he's wasted, e.g., in the Mashey Thread.

A very effective deniatroll, I'd say. It absolutely must be ignored.

By TrueSceptic (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink

MFS & TS - agreed. If people have the time and willpower and want to debunk the JonasTroll by all means do so, but please take it to the open thread and leave at least some threads uninfested.

Thank you.

> Ah but Lotharsson, you're forgetting that the first rule of denialism is to never, ever argue against a fellow-travelling denier even when their case and yours are mutually exclusive.

Not at all - I was hoping to have them *illustrate* it ;-) in a nice private and **on-topic** arena.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink

Apart from the seriousness of the subject of the thread, Jonas' antics have given me a good chuckle this morning! Thankfully I had just swallowed my coffee prior to starting on post #19, or I would have been wanting to know to whom I should address my claim for a new keyboard!!

Cheers - John

By John Mason (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink

Jeff Harvey

I saw how you 'demolished' my arguments, by shoving references etc. What is it called? The Banshee scream and the Headless chicken technique?

I've long seen your Oikos article with Pimm. It shows the utter contempt you try to hold those who chose to debate your precious ecologic constructs. The defensive attitude is such a pity because, put off by the eco-exaggeration tendencies, the arrogance and the misanthropy, you've anyway successfully managed to chase away almost everyone else except these people who engage in the first place.

Putting your 'ecology unraveling due to climate' argument is easy - it can be done in a few sentences: By your own admission, "both" climate and human influence are causing dramatic ecologic effects. It is difficult to separate out the results of these two influences on ecosystems and therefore, you cannot infer anthropogenic climatic change by solely studying ecosystems. You need to study the climate system separately and this is done by the hockey stick and the models. The hockey stick is toast. Your point is finished.


My point is finished? Says who? YOU? With your kindergarten level understanding of ecological complexity? Grow up and face the facts: the planet is warming and warming rapidly, and humans are the primary forcing agent. And stop mangling science like you and other lay-denialists do: its certainly possible in many trophic chains to tease out the effects of warming because of concomitant changes in the phenology of the life-cycles of species in that chain. And this has been well-studied the past 10-15 years, with plenty of examples. Once trophic interactions break down, the effects trickle up to affect communities and ecosystems. Ecology is the study of scales, are interconnected.

Trouble is, you preach anti-science in your screeds. More importantly, as I have explained, your strategy, if one is to call it that, is to argue that without 100% proof of a process, the problem does not exist. This warped strategy has been used by those on the political right (e.g. 'Wise Use', climate change denialists and other wings of the anti-environmental lobby) to downplay or ignore a wide range of anthropogenic assaults across the biosphere. That you use it, Shubbie, is hardly surprising. I am well aware of denial tactics as I have been dealing with you clowns now for the past 15 years (e.g. since I was a post-doc at the University of Wisconsin-Madison).

If truth be told, YOUR point never really got off the ground, now or in years past.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 09 Sep 2011 #permalink

Re steveC@30 Thanks, where is the open thread? Can we add this? - There might be more to JonasN than meets the eye. One possibility is it's actually a petty dorm team with sly, obfuscating intentions to ignorantly provoke - unwittingly junior to adult integrity and the feeling of scientific adventure. Otherwise JonasN could be another Betula about whom I've remarked there's '... a metaphysical eggdom to Betula whereby the possibility of hatching out of constraining mental shells like political fear (corrected) into a more fundamental realm like world standard humanness is an inconceivable nonsense - in the way a monkey doesn't know the gamut of intelligence. So I suggest see the monkey but don't feed it, just love the science of our 6 billion (corrected), trillion tonne planet.' And maybe 'Shub' could be included as a monkey.

By Andrew Strang (not verified) on 09 Sep 2011 #permalink

"The hockey stick is toast".

Only in that twilight world inhabited by political bloggers, their moronic followers and pulp-fiction dog-astrolger novellists, Shub.

you cannot infer anthropogenic climatic change by solely studying ecosystems.

You are right, because only you could infer that. Always a good idea to learn the difference between infer and imply.

By lord_sidcup (not verified) on 09 Sep 2011 #permalink

Jeff H #23

You are getting more and more delusional. What on earth do you think you are 'hammering'!? Are you possibly confusing the ignorant cheering and name calling from the no-nothing loudmouths here, with having a valid point? A hammering point!?

I see that you'd now rather talk about what has been claimed after the 2007 AR4. And rather talk about what 90% of the scientists think. But firstly, their opinion is something different, and secondly are you not their elected representative. And that 90% agree is once more pure guessing from you (as so much obviously is) and thus quite boring.

And once again your making the same logical fallacy: It is the IPCC AR4 who made that claim, and that it is based on science. Well, if it were, anybody with a computer and acess to a range of academic databases should be capable of identifying that science. To prove a negative is not possible. However, it is the easiest thing to falsify, if it were wrong.

The rest is just the same irrelevant repetition of what's going on inside your head. And you idea of establishing truths by examining (rather amaking up) credentials of others(!) is hilarious.

Maybe it wasn't meant as utterly hare-brained as it came out. But I never though I'd hear a professional claim that:

The truth in my proposition is confirmed by others, who don't have the credentials, disagreeing!

And you presented yourself as a scientist? Even a senior one!? Wow, just wow! And 'no wonder ...' I might add!


The reason that the fossil fuel industry is pushing AGW denialism is because of the bubble in fossil fuel pricing. Fossil fuel companies are valued on the basis of their reserves of fossil fuels, which are valued assuming that they will be burned as fuel at current prices adjusted for inflation, discount rate and extraction difficulty. Those prices are not adjusted for AGW effects.

There is much more carbon in those reserves than can be released without unacceptable climate change. The pricing of fossil fuel reserves is a classic unsustainable economic bubble. All of that fossil fuel can't have the price that it is valued at because all of it can't be burned because the effects would be unacceptable.

It is maintaining the illusion of the fossil fuel bubble that is driving AGW denialism. If the value of the fossil fuel companies dropped to the value of their reserves that could actually be burned, there would lose something like 80% of their value.

They will lose that much value at some point in the future, when investors realize that lots of the carbon they have in the ground cannot be burned as fuel. The bursting of that bubble will be a gigantic shock to the world economy.

The problem is not the realistic future valuation, the problem is the unrealistic present valuation. The sooner the real value of those fossil fuels in the ground is appreciated, the sooner the real costs can be addressed, not the fake smoke-and-mirrors âcostâ of revaluing the reserves of fossil fuels that are still in the ground that cannot be burned.

Investors got scammed into thinking that fossil fuels in the ground can be burned until they are all gone. They can't. It isn't running out of fossil fuels that will stop their use, it is the realization that they are causing unacceptable climate change.

Unfortunately, Jonas, after a hard day's work your latest post failed to make me guffaw, coffee or no coffee. This time I just kinda glazed over and had to pinch myself back awake. Amazing the difference lots of hours makes, eh??

Mind you, I was nodding off whilst looking at Shub's offering above. You guys are a strong intellectual anaesthetic - credit where credit's due :)

Cheers - John

By John Mason (not verified) on 09 Sep 2011 #permalink

There is a post over at [Roy Spencers]( blog claiming that he and Dessler are in contact to resolve 'remaining differences' in their calculations. Dessler makes it clear that the conclusions of his paper are unlikely to change.

Both gentlemen are to be applauded. This is how it is supposed to work!


Interesting way of looking at it and you make some good points.

If AGW is allowed to continue to spread its slow, cancerous influence around the world, the oil companies that attempt to stay on a BAU track will be worthless in any case - the market for these fuels will in time collapse for several reasons.... I suspect they know this in reality.

Cheers - John

By John Mason (not verified) on 09 Sep 2011 #permalink

GSW - Jaw-Jaw is ALWAYS better than War-War, whatever the depth of the dispute :)

Cheers - John

By John Mason (not verified) on 09 Sep 2011 #permalink

no-nothing loudmouths

This is a Poe, surely? 'No-nothing' is one of the most elegantly self-defeating phrases I've encountered online!...

Anyway, other than that I'd also submit that the buffoon is best ignored.


Small fonts and old eyes don't mix too well and when I first read your comment I thought you said "self-defecating". Fairly apt for a man who covers himself in shit.

By Rattus Norvegicus (not verified) on 09 Sep 2011 #permalink


he and Dessler are in contact to resolve 'remaining differences' in their calculations. Dessler makes it clear that the conclusions of his paper are unlikely to change.

How, pray tell, do you resolve differences but the conclusions don't change?

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 09 Sep 2011 #permalink
no-nothing loudmouths

This is a Poe, surely?

Or just staggering hypocrisy.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 09 Sep 2011 #permalink

>This is how it is supposed to work!

Actually, it's not.

Spencer's errors should have been filtered out during review, if not earlier in discussions with scientific colleagues. His mistakes should certainly not be addressed after he has already gone public with fresh claims that "AGW is a scay-um, a scay-um, I tellz ya!"

If Spencer was a truly objective scientist all of this talk would have happened in staff rooms and by emails, and possibly over dinners or down at the local, long before a manuscript was sent to a journal. But then, he would never have been able to sneak a paper out that essentially purports to refute more than 150 years of physics, and that achieved scads of denialist propaganda for his cause...

Spencer is having his arse wiped by competent scientists, when he should be able to wipe away his own shit by now. If you think that this constitutes "how it is supposed to work", you are advocating what Freud would classify as an [anal expulsive]( approach to scientific discourse.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 09 Sep 2011 #permalink


You are getting more and more delusional.

Well it's true that someone is, at least.

I just don't see why it's so hard to understand that if you add greenhouse gases (as can be measured and observed), the earth will warm up (as can be measured and observed). Nor is it particularly hard to understand that this will have consequences to humankind's nice cosy adaptation to living at current temperatures.

It's just really not conceptually difficult at all. Why the stubborn resistance? It's like a chronic smoker coughing and wheezing on their supplemental oxygen from a hospital bed saying "I'll believe it's bad for me when someone actually shows me the evidence!" Just bizarre. :0


You're describing the hypothesis, that for some odd ~23 years (between 1975-1998) seemed to agree reasonably well with observed temperatures. The problem with it is just that it is not, neither before nor after. And that the more it has been studied, the poorer it agreed, and the more 'explanations' for why it doesn't needed to be padded on. Now, (grown up) people even are hoping that the existence of oil companies explians what's missing ...


It isn't obvious that you have any understanding of how science should, or should not, be conducted. In fact your previous posts would indicate the contrary, but yet you still feel the need to pontifacate about it, Bizarre.

All of the National Academies/Societys have called for more openness and transparency in scientific research. This, on the face of it, would appear to be the very thing.

I am not optimistic that Spencer and Dessler will agree on the conclusions to be drawn from the work, but this self correcting exchange of information cannot be viewed as anything other than constructive.

OK, well if it only agrees with the data from 1975-1998, then why do the [following four surface temperature datasets](…) - the GISS, Hadley Centre, NOAA, and Japanese Met Agency - all completely agree with each other, and all show a consistent temperature warming trend over a period of more than a century?

Are my eyes deceiving me? Does the ever-upward trending line not actually trend upwards? Or are they all part of the global conspiracy and so well organised that they can get their data analyses to completely agree?

I mean, my vision is 20/20 and it's pretty hard for me to deny that these multiple dataset plots all show a century of pretty clear warming trend........and still keep a straight face.

>It isn't obvious that you have any understanding of how science should, or should not, be conducted.

If it's not obvious to you, GSW, that may be a reflection of the fact that you don't work as a scientist. I've worked as a scientist for three decades - what's your day job?

And more specifically, what's your problem with my decription of how science is "conducted"?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 09 Sep 2011 #permalink


My background is High Energy and Device Physics. What's yours?

GSW, I'd say Bernard is exactly correct. Any scientist acting in good faith puts considerable effort in ensuring that when it comes to publishing stuff, they've done their damnest to ensure it's as correct and free of flaws as possible. So they do exactly what Bernard suggests (not to mention presenting the work pre-submission at group, departmental, and conference talks/poster sessions etc where it can be critiqued). A fundamental element of peer review done in good faith is "self peer review".

The idea that one sneaks rubbish into the lower elements of the scientific literature in order to pursue non-science agendas, and then makes a "butter-wouldn't-melt-in-my-mouth" pretence of sorting out the mess afterwards is pretty sickening and pathetic. That's hardly the sort of "openness and transparency" the scientific societies are promoting! I don't think one needs to be a publishing scientist to recognise that.

Happily of the hundreds of scientists that publish in climate science-related fields there are only 3 or 4 individuals that play this dreary game...


I don't know if you have been following the story Chris, but in this case it is the Dessler paper that is alleged to have been "fast tracked" thru peer review.

The acceptance for publication at GRL was mere six weeks after the Spencer paper and two weeks after submission.

It is unlikely that the paper underwent the "pre-submission at group, departmental, and conference talks/poster sessions etc where it can be critiqued" prior to publication as you suggest it requires.

You said "sorting out the mess afterwards is pretty sickening and pathetic", I do have some sympathy with this view and would prefer a more considered approach in review. But we are where we are.

Isn't Dessler's Dad a former editor at GRL?

Another part of the anti-science rubbish GSW is conspiracy theorizing. Please let's not go there.

GRL is a rapid review letter journal. Rapid review of very short letters addressing significant elements of scince is the point of the journal. Dessler's rapid review is not atypical.

The rapid preparation and review of Dessler's paper is certainly a result of the fact that the fundamental flaws of Spencer's paper are clear and obvious, and thus easy to highlight (and no experiments were required) and also likely of the fact that Spencer/Lindzen have been playing their game of publishing substandard work on this subject accompanied by massive blogosphere over-hype for some time, and Dessler and the scientific community in general, are now pretty "primed" to address this stuff.

Bear in mind everybody that Jonas N is the troll on another thread who would have us believe that Deep Climate and John Mashey's forensic investigation and discrediting of the Wegman Report was all about Wegman's punctuation shortcomings. Yes, really

That was funny. Thanks for pointing it out.

Climate deniers are not skeptics, they are suckers.

NASA didn't lie to you about the moon landings.
NASA is not lying to you now about climate change.
Embrace reality, you kooks.
There is no global conspiracy of scientists out to getcha!


Appreciate the feedback Chris. The fact that GRL is a "rapid review letter journal" certainly supports the view that some of Desslers analysis may be in need of further "fine tuning".

As I said before, a dialogue between the two authors is to be welcomed, although I admit that it is unlikely they will come to full agreement on this.

Of course they won't come to agreement immediately, GSW. Spencer traditionally takes many years to admit he was wrong.

Reading down the thread I noticed something interesting - a denier ignoring the science and shrieking "conspiracy" in support of a paper he will forget about in a week when the next (and 43rd) "final nail in the coffin" comes to light.

This is the least surprising thing ever.

Skeptical Science deal with the tin foilers here:

>It turns out Dessler ties Peter Martin Grindrod and Stephen Fawcett at 18 days for their breathlessly awaited paper, "Possible climate-related signals in high-resolution topography of lobate debris aprons in Tempe Terra, Mars"

Maybe you guys will win the next one.

Mikem, Chris O'Neill

Either you talk about the temperature record, or you talk about fitted trendlines. The latter you can fit from 17:th century, to six millenia, or any other interval if you please. That's not the topic.

chris #58 (the other one)

I must agree with GSW here. Bernard vehemently defends the idea that (in some cases) scientists hide their main results so well that nobody can find them again. And no, Bernard does not behave like someone who is familiar with scientific conduct, who "in good faith puts considerable effort in ensuring that .. they've done their damnest to ensure it's as correct and free of flaws as possible".

Read his many posts here (esp adressing them with who have a different point of view), and you'll see that he is merely an angry activist shouting, who can't handle dissent. He rarely ever addresses any of the core issues or the content of a point. Here, for instance, he claims to already know who is right and whos is wrong, on a detailed level, discussed by Spencer and Dessler. In a field in its infancy, of which he has no knowledge or understanding. ITs quite typical ..

And can you please explain what you meant by the last sentence in #58? Are you also one of those who already know the ansers (and the motives)?

Either you talk about the temperature record, or you talk about fitted trendlines.

I don't understand what you mean here. What is wrong about talking of trendlines fitted to the temperature record?

I agree with Bernard and Chris. I would find it very odd that a scientist has not discussed his/her findings and thoughts with colleagues well before publication. The more usual problem is getting a scientist to shut up about their work.

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 10 Sep 2011 #permalink


My -ologies are: a decade and a half in onc, immun, and pharmac, and the same period in eco. By that pattern, perhaps it's time to pick up another couple of degrees and turn to climatology...

And however you spin it, Spencer's is still not the way to do science. As Chris explained, there are far more appropriate ways than the guerilla printing of fundamentally flawed material, and then wildly and loudly overhyping it in the lay media.

And as [John points out](…), [there is no publishing conspiracy](…) with Dessler.

[Jonas N](…).

As usual, you're completely off-topic. I've taking my response [here](…). And if you can't actually present some actual substance for once in your trolling, I'm done with you, even on the open thread..

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 10 Sep 2011 #permalink

That's not the topic.

Jonah's mistakes are never the topic.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 10 Sep 2011 #permalink

Climate science is not in its 'infancy'. The only thing in its infancy is Jonas N's kindergarten-level understanding of how science works.

Luminous beauty explained quite lucidly earlier that chapter AR4 of the latest IPCC report came to its conclusions on the basis of data contained in hundreds of peer-reviewed articles. Sadly, our resident idiot cannot fathom this. In effect, the IPCC document is only an overview of the empirical data, and combines the work of may researchers.

GSW says, "My background is High Energy and Device Physics". We are getting somewhere. Now, Jonas N, pleased tell us what your background is. But of course you won't. I have asked a dozen times but your resounding silence says a lot.

A final point, foul troll: I've spoken at conferences and workshops exploring global change including climate change: in fact I was one of two keynote speakers at a workshop on climate change at Copenhagen University in 2002. I have met a heckuva lot more scientists from all fields than you have. Besides, just about every poll shows that >95% of the scientific community are in agreement over climate change and its causes.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 10 Sep 2011 #permalink

Richard S

There is nothing wrong with fitting straight lines to noisy and/or varying data, but those should not be confused with the actual data. And fitted lines carry no predictive or explainatory value. The discussion above was about where the hypothesis and real data agreed well, and where not. (trendlines are irrelevant for that purpose)

And I totally agree with you: Usually scientists can't stop talking about and being proud about their accomplishments. But quite a lot here (even some self proclaimed 'scientists') tell me the exact opposite wrt the IPCC AR4 most promiment claim.

Jeff H

Scientists do not 'reason', display as poor logic or make up stuff about what they are criticizing like you (and Bernard) constantly need to do.

And yes, climate science is in its infacy. Both wrt to the GCM, the feedbacks, the sensitivity, and the attribution.

And now you too want to attribute that AR4 claim not to some specific readable science, but a 'general conclusion' reached by the 'experts' when weighing all opinons together, summarizing the report!?

Well, that at least is quite some closer to my understanding. Too bad you don't read/try to understand what I actually say. You might have learnt something about the real world too ..

Bernard J - You're done? Not very much substance though, a link to Appendix 9.

Jonas grandly opines: "And yes, climate science is in its infacy. Both wrt to the GCM, the feedbacks, the sensitivity, and the attribution."

That's like saying Plate Tectonics (a much younger science by a long chalk) is in its infancy (then adding: Both wrt its modelling, its feedbacks in the late Neoproterozoic, its rate of progress in the average 18 month period in the Devonian and whether it is driven my mantle plumes or the whims of God).... in other words you are, once again, waffling for the sake of waffling.

There will always be uncertainties in all branches of scientific investigation - that's why the latter exists. Uncertainty into minutiae does not obliviate the basic principles, however.

I'll leave it at that for this one - John

By John Mason (not verified) on 10 Sep 2011 #permalink

John Mason ..

Mincing words? Wordplay? Those GCM:s are not getting many a prediction right yet. And contrary what so many here hope, there are quite som relevant objections coming from Spencer. I'd rather say that Dessler is waffling, and wanting to remain at his understanding of clouds (which I don't would pin my hope on)

Jonas said:"Those GCM:s (sic) are not getting many a prediction right yet".

And as usual, you have nothing to substantiate that statement. And FYI even [Hansen's scenario B is still holding up remarkably well](

Has it ever occurred to you that perhaps you just ain't as smart as you like to kid yourself, Jonas?

Re: Jonas N @ 71

There is nothing wrong with fitting straight lines to noisy and/or varying data, but those should not be confused with the actual data. And fitted lines carry no predictive or explainatory value. The discussion above was about where the hypothesis and real data agreed well, and where not. (trendlines are irrelevant for that purpose)

Damn ! thatâs my life as a PhD Chemist wasted. Spent nigh on 40 years doing experiments and collecting data to see what makes chemical reactions tick, especially to isolate the factors that, say, improve chemical yield or product quality.

So, I shouldnât have bothered learning advanced Statistics, to fit graphs / trend lines to noisy and/or varying data in order to âpredictâ process improvements â and to earn my keep.

By Clippo UK (not verified) on 10 Sep 2011 #permalink

"And contrary what so many here hope, there are quite som relevant objections coming from Spencer. I'd rather say that Dessler is waffling, and wanting to remain at his understanding of clouds (which I don't would pin my hope on)"

Looks like you're starting to hit the bottle a little too hard.

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 10 Sep 2011 #permalink


Advanced statistics to fit lines? As I said, there is nothing wrong with fitting sich lines. But don't confuse them for the actual data (especially when you have them, and it is not random noise that makes them uncertain)

And no, the fit doesn't carry any information with it. You need a mechanism to explain things in the physical world. I expect that suche were the ones you were looking for.

Jonas (@66), I find it difficult to comprehend that you (and GSW) can quibble with Bernard's description of the way that the vast majority of science is done. He's simply correct; like Bernard I've been doing science (and publishing and reviewing papers) for some time. It's a no-brainer that the vast majority of scientists are trying to find stuff out about the world (as opposed to pursuing dreary agendas) and make efforts to ensure their work is solid and correct as far as they are able. Good faith research goes through extensive "self peer review" pre-submission â the vast majority of scientists want to get it right!

You seem to be attempting to defend the indefensible here. Perhaps you lack experience of doing science? Otherwise I don't see what point you're trying to make. On your advice I've looked at a couple of Bernard's posts including the one you linked to and he seems to me to be faithfully addressing the points he's responding to (somewhat waspishly, but dealing with trollish misrepresentation can get pretty tedious!).

As for Spencer/Dessler, we do know who's right (a clue: it's Dessler). Spencer's work fails on method and logic; his conclusions and especially the blog and media interpretations he's promoted are simply unsupported by the wider evidence; if he'd (Spencer) submitted in good faith he would have assessed his hypothesis via the sorts of "self peer review" that Bernard and I discuss.

You question the last sentence of my post #58. There are two ways of addressing this. I've looked at many hundreds of papers in climate science. There is a tiny cohort of individuals that publish work that is clearly and objectively wrong to the extent that one can conclude bad faith (i.e. the authors have decided that scientific "self-peer-review" doesn't suit their non-science agendas); it is often straightforward to recognize wilfully deficient analyses and one can follow these objectively from the rebuttals that occasionally appear in the literature - the paper of RW Spencer we're discussing here is an example as is J Christy's attempt to insinuate incompatibility beween modeled and empirical tropical tropospheric temperatures using embarrassingly flawed statistics; we can give Spencer and Christy's long history of incompetence in analyzing MSU temperature data the benefit of the doubt with respect to "good faith", but it's worth highlighting the particularly nasty lack of humility in their subsequent attacks on the science. We could include Soon and Baliunas travesty in Climate Research, but perhaps remove Dr. Baliunas from our list since she doesn't seem to engage in this nonsense anymore (at least with respect to using subterfuge to get deficient analyses into the scientific literature). It's difficult to accept that Lindzen's rather astonishing cherrypicking of time periods (RSL and Choi GRL 2009) to insinuate low climate sensitivity from ERBE data wasn't a wilfull attempt to contrive a pre-conceived "answer". I wouldn't include Dr. Schwartz's effort at inferring low climate sensitivity from his simple heat capacity model since he subsequently corrected this himself; likewise I'd give Petr Chylek the benefit of the doubt on his oddly similar (to Lindzen's) cherrypicking of data points to infer low climate sensitivity from aerosol radiative forcing from ice core data (PC and Lohmann GRL 2008). I'd certainly include some of the truly rubbish efforts of Dr. C. Loehle in my list of "bad faith" publications. I'd also give Dr. N. Scafetta's work on solar contributions the benefit of the doubt with respect to "good faith", since if one reads his papers at face value one can recognise that they are really "what if" type "phenomenological" efforts that explore the consequences arising from false premises (e.g. what might we infer about solar contributions if we adopt the false premise that all pre 20th century temperature variation had a solar origin - that sort of thing). Dr. E. Wegman, though not a climate scientist is clearly comfortable publishing bad-faith efforts in pursuit of a non-science agenda involving false attacks on scientists. Having his work retracted following identification of fraud leaves little doubt about that.

The other way of addressing this is simply to notice the astonishing behaviour of some of these scientists in non-science arenas (e.g. on blogs, in lectures posted on the web, in press releases, or in media and other "alternative" publications or books or presentations to government committees) where a very small number seem to be quite comfortable pursuing objectively flawed analyses and promoting false interpretations and misrepresentations of the science. One could go through examples as I did above, but it would be tedious in the extreme to do so, and there are very good arguments for basing one's interpretations on the published science. However the "alternative-forum" behaviour of some of these scientists certainly helps us to recognise "bad faith" activity (and perhaps understand motives)!

(apols for the dense 4th paragraph)

S, Jonas, here's the crunch. You claim that the conclusions in AR4/IPCC and based on 'bad science'. As I have said, the conclusions of said chapter were drawn by a large number of scientists contributing top the final draft based on the results/conclusions in 200-300 studies cited in the chapter. You are the one saying the scientists who drafted the summary got it wrong. So I want you to tell me why the studies from which the conclusions were derived are wrong. So all you have to do is:

(1) tell us all her which of the peer-reviewed/published studies you think are flawed;
(2) tell us here exactly why you think they are flawed, focusing on specific parts of the results and discussion;
(3) tell us what empirical and theoretical gaps exist in specific studies.

Given that you have now proven to everyone here that you are a world renowned expert in various aspects of climate science, and that you possess the necessary qualifications to dismiss the work of many climate scientists, this should be an easy task for you. I think that your rants at the IPCC summary are past their sell-by date; therefore I would like to see you point out explicit flows in the scientific papers themselves. I do not want to see you try and bluff your way out of it. You've made tons of noise about scientific flaws and knowledge gaps and the like; I want specifics relating to the actual studies.

Ultimately I am egging you on to write your much-vaunted rebuttal to the IPCC and to see it published in a major journal. You claim to have so much knowledge of the scientific process and of good scientific practice, and you also apparently know, due to your immense knowledge of science and eminent standing in the field, that climate science is 'in its infancy'. Prove it. Critique the published papers, instead of unsubstantiated profoundly ambiguous rants. I dare you.

You see, Jonas, nobody in the scientific world has ever heard of you. You are a nothing, a nobody, at least until you write up and publish that 'seminal' paper, the rebuttal to end all rebuttals. You may think you make a big splash in the blogosphere, but until you crack the peer-reviewed scientific literature, you will remain a laughingstock. An aberration. Do you want that? Are you happy with that? No? Then let's see what you are made of! Ranting here without the specifics I outlined above will get you nowhere. In two years, five, ten, JonasN will still be an invisible schmuck. You know what you have to do!

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 10 Sep 2011 #permalink

Jeff - Endless repetition of the same old memes. But no:

Here is the crunch:

IPCC AR4 made the claim that at least 50% of the tmeperature increase during the last ~50 years is due to manmade emissions of GHGs, and that this attribution is 90% certain!

That is one very specific and (if true) sensational claim, as I've already pointed out weeks ago (here)!

It was phrased to be received even stronger "Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations"

And, if this is based on anything resembling science, those calcuations are to be found, as they would in any well referenced review of proper carried out science. And no, it does not suffice that they were many who thought those were nifty numbers. Either they based on proper science, which can be found, read and checked, which present calculations, and have author's names/affiliations who stand behind those statements. Or they have not!

Now, several here have already made som feeble attempts to identify that particular science, pointing at various figures, error bars in those, at appendices, at links with references, at supplementary information (even one real reference) .. and in all those instances, the original claim was not even addressed. Instead, simulation runs were described there, and how well the fitted to the data they were supposed to fit. (Actually, it was a bit worse, but I already pointed that out repeatedly)

So no, so far there has been no reference that even came close to making that claim. So it's not necessary to refute what is in them. (Refuting peoples opinions is also futile, because you'd need to prove that they lied about them)

So in resonse to your three points:

Show me the science making that specific claim, and I'll read it. Thereafter, and only then, can I judge if it is 'bad science'. So far that science is a 'no show'

The rest of you post is just the usual diversion tactics of trying to evade the fact that none of you has even seen that science you hold so holy and dearly. And you fill it up with your delusional clairvoyance again. And top it of with proclamations of the future ...


Yeah yeah, I know, that's what counts as science where you come from. But not as real science ..

79: "that's what counts as science where you come from. But not as real science .."

(end quotes)

And /this/ message has been brought to you by the troll - sorry, 'towering genius' - who claims that "57 + 57 = 104"...

Put a chimp in a lab coat, and it's still a chimp. Demonstrating this is probably Jonas N's greatest service to "real science", however inadvertently given...

Now it's time to give the chimp its own thread to soil, I think.

By Zibethicus (not verified) on 10 Sep 2011 #permalink

Jonas, I know you won't do this, but there goes anyway...

You can start here:

Which neatly summarizes the science. Then you can read the contained references (they are listed throughout the chapter) and let us know why they are all wrong. I won't hold my breath...

By Rattus Norvegicus (not verified) on 10 Sep 2011 #permalink

I forgot that markdown eats links. Here is the link to the IPCC chapter dealing with DA of the recent temperature trends.

By Rattus Norvegicus (not verified) on 10 Sep 2011 #permalink

I see that Jonas continues to avoid having anything to say about Dessler de-bunking Spencer, just as he avoided having anything to say about the exposure of Wegmans's plagiarism.

Though he does say enough to display his ongoing fundamental misundestanding of statistics - ie "90% certainty". Idjit.

Meanwhile, in the real world, scientists continue to improve our understading of anthropogenic effects on climate.


[You say that your background is "high energy and device physics"](…) (what's with the upper case, by the way?), so I spoke to the partner of one of my sisters. He's looking to do a PhD in radio astronomy, and coincidentally he designs and maintains the database for his institution's publication statistics. This means that he is intimately familiar with how the publication process works, from start to finish, and not just between author and journal, but including academic institution and government involvements as well.

He doesn't think that your model of manuscript preparation for publication is one that has legs. And that's the polite way of saying it. We are both wondering whether, by "background", you mean that you work in the gatehouse in front of the physics building?

I've not read the post on Spencer's site where [he apparently said](…) that:

>he and Dessler are in contact to resolve 'remaining differences' in their calculations.

so I don't know how close to the truth of the nature of the exchanges your relaying is. However if, as you say, "Dessler makes it clear that the conclusions of his paper are unlikely to change" then it is more likely that Dessler is not engaging in more usual professional collaboration, but is actually trying to rectify the mess that Spencer made by circumventing the process in the first place.

This isn't "how it's supposed to work"; it's Dessler trying to fix an egregious spreading of a false meme. If Spencer had done it correctly in the first place his paper and Braswell's wouldn't have seen the light of day.

To paraphrase you, Dessler is to be applauded. Spencer - not so much.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 10 Sep 2011 #permalink

Apologies Jonas,

I understand the point you are making, as I'm sure others do, but I'll have a go at stating it in a slightly different way if I may.

There is a difference between 'subjective' and 'objective' (empirical) analysis. 'Science' is based solely on 'objective' analysis.

It is common practice to test a particular hypothesis (whether something is true) against the null hypothesis (not true). This empirical analysis (there's a bit of math behind it) yields a 'confidence level' usually presented as a percentage likelihood.

We can be 90% certain that...etc

The words unlikely (<10%), likely (>66%), very likely (>90%) etc can be attributed and used to express the likelihood based on these 'objective' assessments.

I've tried to come up with a suitable example of 'subjective' analyis. It's not perfect, but we could take Saddams WMD's, just bare with me a minute. We'll set aside Rumsfelds, things we know we know etc for now.

Donald reads an intelligence report with a lot of largely anecdotal information; obstruction of weapons inspectors, invoices for yellow uranium ore, unaccounted for precursors for chemical weapons, metal cylinders that could be used for centrifuges, and concludes that it is "highly likely' that the WMD's exist.

This is a subjective assessment. No empirical test was performed and, if asked, a completely different group of people could easily conclude, there was actually 'No Evidence' at all, or that it was only 'possible' the WMD's exist.

Converting these 'subjective' likelihood statements into the 'objective' 90% or more 'confidence levels' as the IPCC does in the AR4 is almost certainly just bogus science.

Empirical analysis -> Confidence Level -> likelihood statement -> (Science)

Subjective analysis (based on body of evidence) -> Confidence Level -> (Not science)

This I think is what Jonas is getting at. Asking him to debunk the referenced papers or even just one paper is missing the point.

AR4, particularly when it comes to the attribution claims, plucks 'confidence levels' out of thin air.

For example,

"It is extremely unlikely (<5%) that the global pattern of
warming during the past half century can be explained without external forcing"

Really?, can I just check the math you used to come up with this number? or is this just your 'subjective' (non scientific) opinion based on the body of evidence.

Now I'm not saying the statement is untrue, but without the empirical analysis to back it up, it's of little value. [If the claim relates to the findings of a specific paper it should be clearly referenced at this point so we can go and check.]

Jump in Jonas if I have misrepresented you. Apologies to all, a bit longer than I had originally intended.

Re: Jonas N @ 77

Advanced statistics to fit lines? As I said, there is nothing wrong with fitting sich lines. But don't confuse them for the actual data (especially when you have them, and it is not random noise that makes them uncertain)

YES ! â Why do you think scientists measure things and/or collect data ? Surely not just to say what a lovely bunch of numbers I have.

The whole point of analysing data is to âextractâ patterns from it â so that one can create an equation to âpredictâ a result of a situation where no numbers exist.

Of course, this is commonly called a âmodelâ â and it is interesting that AGW deniers consistently attack things like IPCC models generated by thousands of scientists by advanced statistics â (ever heard of Analysis of variance, fitting equations to data etc etc. - ) - yet when some yahboos like Spencer et al. come up with the equivalent of a âback-of-a-fag-packetâ calculation of course itâs a fantastic model.

Iâm afraid, as others have implied, you donât live in the real scientific world Jonas N.

By clippo UK (not verified) on 10 Sep 2011 #permalink


I didn't propose a model a manuscript preparation, I was responding to one of the Chris's I think. He was suggesting that papers should not be submitted until 'reviewed' and discussed by almost everybody. I merely pointed out Dessler's six weeks start to acceptance by GRL was somewhat out of step with what he said was required.

"We are both wondering whether, by "background", you mean that you work in the gatehouse in front of the physics building?"

No, I have the requisite qualifications to do a little more than that. ;)

"Dessler makes it clear that the conclusions of his paper are unlikely to change"

Sorry, you are right. On re-reading the post it is probably more correct to say that Dessler intends to make only minor changes to the document, which is not the same thing I admit.

"but is actually trying to rectify the mess that Spencer made"

The statement you make is pejorative. Spencer did some analysis, submitted a paper and it was accepted. The mess you speak of is the fact that this interrupts the AGW narrative, which unfortunatley is tough.

In Spencer's defence, which I don't think is needed by the way, he is happy to 'show his working'/ expose himself to the full critique of the climate science community - Openness and Transparency.

I'm sure you are aware of the criticism from the other side, such requests are met with;

"Why should I share my data with you, when your only reason for asking for it, is to find something wrong with it"

So good for Spencer. Dessler appears to take on board, or address criticism where valid, and make changes accordingly. It's early days yet and it may not pan out that way.


The 'extracted pattern' is not the explanation (and it should not be used for 'predictions'). Rather it may be the consequence of an underlying (hypothesized) mechanism.

And a curve fit, or a fitted equation, is hardly a model (and it isn't advanced statistics either).

Then you go on about deniers, yabhoos, back-of-fag-packets, thousands of scientists, Spencer and fantasies about where I live etc. And there is not much information or substance in all that ..

(Or do you want me to fit a 'trend' to that 'data' and tell you whereto it points, and 'predict' where you're going? ;-)

GSW writes:

>AR4, particularly when it comes to the attribution claims, plucks 'confidence levels' out of thin air.

That not an accurate claim. At worst the confidence assessments are are communication of the summation judgement of the collective experts on key questions; informing policy makers how complete and how strong the preponderance of evidence is.


In one way, that is a good analogy, but there is somewhat more to it than just the subjective assessment of 'how certain do I/we feel about a particular something?' (*)

Here is another analogy:
It is true that much of the debate, even among the 'experts', more resembles commenters, and supporters at the pub, heatedly discussing the 'probabilities' of who is going to win an upcoming fooball game. How this sounds when amongst themselves, reaffirming how good their team really is, and the almost certain victory to come. It is quite easy to imagine how the fans would like to characterize the supporters (and players) for the other team. And the 'consensus' and absolute agreement they'd conjure up (esp after a number of beers) about such 'truths' ..

One could also imagine the commotion if there actually turned up someone supporting the other side, even if he only just pointed out som factual errors ..


(But lets not take the analogy too far .. as such, it is only illustration, not explaination)

But yes, subjective likelihoods are what expert football commentors discuss (and present) before the game. Many of the IPPC's how-likely-numbers are of the variaty (self appointed) 'expert' opinion. And that was the point you were trying to make, right? And the linked table does not really claim the opposite. (There are other problems with that table, but more of the 'subjective' kind, as its contents).

No, the problem is rather that this IPCC AR4 centerpiece claim ('mosts of the warming .. >90% certainty') is not only believed (by the supporters, even professional ones) to be based on proper science, but it also pretends to present some 'science' arriving at that number.

It does so through a number of layers: footnotes, text passages, figures, figure captions, appendices, FAQs, supplementary information, and real references too. Each layer pointing to the next, each of which treating something slightly different, not quite what was purported in the previous (referring) layer. And these referrals fan out, and intertwine (superficially giving the impression that there is lots of support, but all and always avoiding the core issue). And at some of the endpoints, there actually is a number of 90% wrt something, but much more restricted/limited and often wrt something else, than the original AR4 claim.

You could say that the AR4-report is quite cleverly crafted in that respect, to give the impression of 'well referenced' and 'supported by solid (amounts of) science'. But, as you know I´m sure, the AR4-SPM (where that prominent centerpiece claim first appeared) was written and released months before the actual reports were made public. And the latter had to be rewritten(!) to concur with the already released SPM.

I don't know what exactly had to be changed in the more 'sciencey' Assessment Reports to agree with the already released, and more political SPM short version. But that claim is one strong candidate. And would explain both its (sensational) existence, its awkward phrasing, the tangled re-referrals through the AR4 and what can be found at the bottom of it (if you actually find the bottom). (As I said, every one I followed was a dead end, a no-show)

But there is one more thing you bring up wrt affirming a hypothesis, which is relevant and interesting. It is on a somewhat more detailed level, and I address it in another post.

(*) I am sure that grown-up people, familiar with hard sciences understand what I'm saying. Amazingly (well, maybe not), others seem to be more keen on exrapolating 'truths' about completely unrelated things (they know nothing about) from introspection into their own prejudices. Maybe, that's the 'subjective' kind of 'certainty' you refer to? ;-)


"No, the problem is rather that this IPCC AR4 centerpiece claim ('mosts of the warming .. >90% certainty') is not only believed (by the supporters, even professional ones) to be based on proper science, but it also pretends to present some 'science' arriving at that number."


"Many of the IPCC's how-likely-numbers are of the variaty (self appointed) 'expert' opinion"

Also, when you consider, for example, that one of the experts was the late Steve Schneider, who at various points of his life was running around claiming we were on the precipice of an Ice Age and later that the Earth was approaching a "tipping point" Global Warming meltdown. As far as I am aware, he only ever considered a future of extremes, one or the other.

He was always quite open about the uncertainties in the science, the only thing he was ever 100% certain about was whetever happened, it would be really bad.


He [Chris] was suggesting that papers should not be submitted until "reviewed" and discussed by almost everybody. I merely pointed out Dessler's six weeks start to acceptance by GRL was somewhat out of step with what he said was required.

No, I said that pukka scientists that submit papers make every effort to ensure that their work is correct and this involves elements of "self peer review" of the sort that I and Bernard discussed. Spencer had plenty of opportunity to do this with a paper that was quite a while in concept and preparation. He chose not to do the sort of "self peer review" that is second nature to pukka scientists (Spencer has a history of this) and sneaked a paper that is fundamentally flawed and incorrect in its interpretations. The paper is so bad that the editor of the journal that was duped resigned.

Dessler's paper is a very short response much of which is involved in highlighting very obvious and non-controversial methodological and interpretational flaws. This is something that can be done rather quickly as is obvious from inspection of his paper. One can see from the acknowledgements that Dessler has discussed his work with a number of experts in the field before submitting his paper ("self peer review"). Dessler has a 20 year history of important and influential work on the measurement and associated physics of atmospheric composition especially concerning water vapour, and this in itself is an indication that (like the vast majority of scientists) he takes "self peer review" seriously.

We could discuss this further; the bottom line is that the onus is on Spencer to engage in "self peer review" in order to produce a paper with appropriate methodologies, and interpretations that are consistent with the broad evidence base. He's the one making some extraordinary claims.

"The mess you speak of is the fact that this interrupts the AGW narrative, which unfortunatley is tough."

Not really GSW. The paper is a flawed effort sneaked into a low grade journal to provide a little support for misinterpretations of important science. Itâs unfortunate that misrepresentations of science can have negative consequences (witness the misinformation campaigns against the dangers of smoking or the problems with aspirin taking in children with respect to Reyes syndrome and etc. ad nauseum). You consider misrepresentation to be acceptable (to you it's just "tough"), but one day you might be one of the unfortunate individuals that suffer from the misrepresentation of science that you support.

Of course this particular effort is a storm in a teacup. Spencer tried (one again) to provide some pseudoscientific support for efforts to misrepresent the science. It has essentially zero effect on the science (since scientists are able generally to recognise what are valuable contributions and what is rubbish). Professors Wagner and Dessler have taken on some of the tedious job of highlighting misrepresentation that is perhaps of more valuable to the wider public and that's admirable, wouldn't you agree?


Sorry Chris, that's just noise.


"Also, when you consider, for example, that one of the experts was the late Steve Schneider, who at various points of his life was running around claiming we were on the precipice of an Ice Age and later that the Earth was approaching a "tipping point" Global Warming meltdown" - GSW

Their refusal to honestly recount the arguments they want to re-but is almost a clincally diagnostic feature of the denialist. Eveeything is exaggerated and distorted to fit more neatly with their politically-motivated imperatives.

Pathological liars and obscurers would be another way to describe them, Michael.

@Michael, chek

From memory, I suggest you check out a 1970's BBC documentary called "the weather machine". Steve's in it, complete with perm, and guess what? we're all doomed!


And guess what - Steve said nothing of the sort.

How surprising that GSW lies to make his case.

His take was at the time - we can't be sure, but it might be cooling. And this was based on a continuation of increasing aerosols.

But, crucially, this is where Schneider is different to the lame-brained denailists - he continued to look at the evidence and when the weight of evidence bore out a warming scenario, he then accepted that this was the net affect of anthropogenic emissions.

You should try that sometime - having your opinion follow the evidence, rather than the other way around.


How dumb are you! The "we're all doomed" is a paraphrase! To my knowledge at no time did Steve ever think everything was ok. From day one, Steve's expressed opinion was "we are destroying the planet" another paraphrase (100% consistent). The only things that changed were his reasons for thinking so (between extremes), don't you get it?


GSW your sub-Cliff note style fables might work on the gullible over at Montford's fiction site, but not elsewhere.

In fact, Schneider was right in both cases.

At no time has 'everything' been 'ok' environmentally on planet Earth from the mid 20th century onwards. Unchecked aerosol pollution may well have had a cooling effect, although Schneider himself corrected his findings within 3 years when he discovered he'd miscalculated. He explicitly criticised [the years later 'imminent ice age' scare](…) that you're not-so-innocently conflating.

And let's not conveniently forget either that the same industrial scale human output that gave rise to Schneider's aerosol concerns were responsible for the ecological and property devastation caused by acid rain, and that government regulation to control that fallout was also opposed by the same familiar factions you're currently cheerleading for.

In that respect, you're right - nothing changes.

No worries GSW (@95). It's worth reiterating standard practice relating to "self peer review"; most people might think this self-evident (that one doesn't attempt to publish knowing misrepresentations of science by subterfuge as Spencer has done), 'though it's not obvious that you (and Jonas) agree.

Still, perhaps we can at least all agree that Drs Wagner and Dessler have done a good job in highlighting a misrepresentation of science and helped in limiting the spread of a "false meme" (as Bernard describes it quite well). You (and Jonas) seem to want to talk about other (non-Spencer!) stuff now, so perhaps we really have come to a consensus over this! :-}


Thanks Chris. I do agree you shouldn't publish things you know to be wrong. Spencer probably does genuinely have faith in it though. The Wagner incident I think is bizarre (not really fussed about that though).

I'm very supportive of the process; Spencer puts up an Idea, Dessler does his damndest to tear it down, works for me!

Good old pugilistic physics!


Jonas @92

"No, the problem is rather that this IPCC AR4 centerpiece claim ('mosts of the warming .. >90% certainty') is not only believed (by the supporters, even professional ones) to be based on proper science, but it also pretends to present some 'science' arriving at that number.

It's not about "belief" Jonas, but about evidence. The IPCC doesn't "pretend" to present "science" (why the quotation marks?). Why not swallow your pride and admit that what you mean to say is that "The IPCC presents science..."; otherwise GSW might accuse you of being "pejorative" :-)

There is a massive body of evidence that bears on our level of certainity over attribution of mid 20th century to contemporary warming. We can include:

1. high certainty over our understanding of the basic physics of the greenhouse effect

2. high likelihood that the equilibrium response to warming is no smaller that 2 oC per doubling of [CO2]

3. absolute certainty that the accumulated [CO2] has an anthropogenic origin.

4. absolute certainty about the proportion of emitted greenhouse gases retained in atmosphere.

5. virtual certainty that any solar contributions to warming have been near zero in the mid-late 20th century period (in fact trending slightly in the cooling direction since the mid-1980s (this includes assessment of the international sunspot number, the open solar flux, the total solar irradiance and the solar contribution to cosmic ray flux).

6. high certainty that (recovery from) negative volcanic forcing has made a negligible contribution to total warming over this period.

7. high certainty that ENSO has made negligible net contribution to secular temperature trends over the 20th century.

8. absolute certainty that the surface warming has been accompanied by a large increase in total ocean heat.

9. absolute certainty that the patterns of stratospheric temperature trends, atmospheric water vapour concentrations, diurnal temperature variations, changes in earth precipitition distribution, polar amplification of temperature with a lagged Antarctic response etc. are as expected from enhanced greenhouse warming.

10. high certainty that any Milankovitch contributions to secular temeperature trends are negligible (tending ever so slightly in the cooling direction in fact) over this period.

...and so on and on...(each of these items could be expanded by many dozens of scientific papers that inform us on these issues.

Clearly we have a very high certainty that mid to late 20th century warming is dominated by enhanced greenhouse effect from anthropogenic emissions. Now you may not like encapsulating this massive evidence base with a number. But that's not a problem Jonas. Why don't we just re-equate ">90% certainty" with "very likely" and then we should all be happy again; yes?

In fact, in my opinion, the evidence supports the conclusion that this underestimates the likelihood that mid-late 20th century warming has been dominated by anthropogenic augmentation of the greenhouse effect. After all that accumulated heat (energy) in the climate system can't just "magic" into existence. I'd say that "extremely likely" or "virtual certainty" would be acceptable statements of likelihood. Of course we have to recognise that these are qualitative assessments and that we need to familiarise ourselves with the evidence base in order to appreciate their provenance.

But Jonas, if you take issue with the evidence, then what else do you suggest might have caused the earth to accumulate so much energy with properties that match expectation from enhanced greenhouse warming? Don't think Dr. Spencer can help you out there even 'though he would very likely (90% certainty?) be happy to conjure up some misrepresentations of the science to help you retain a state of delusion over the subject ;-)

In fact (GSW will accuse me of being "noisy" again but this is a Dr. W. Roy Spencer thread) I can't help noticing the contrast between the astonishing comprehensiveness of evidence that the IPCC uses to support summary statements, and the complete disregard of evidence in Spencer's efforts to support scientifically-puerile misrepresentations....interesting yes?

CC: Jonas

"In fact, in my opinion, the evidence supports the conclusion that this underestimates the likelihood that mid-late 20th century warming has been dominated by anthropogenic augmentation of the greenhouse effect."

Opinion, by it's very nature, is subjective. This is the point Jonas was making. Science is about 'Objective', quantitative analysis. Who cares what you think? what can you actually empirically prove? Others may make different subjective judegements based on the evidence. It's meaning less scientifically.


Re: - Jonas N @ 89

The 'extracted pattern' is not the explanation (and it should not be used for 'predictions'). Rather it may be the consequence of an underlying (hypothesized) mechanism.
And a curve fit, or a fitted equation, is hardly a model (and it isn't advanced statistics either).

Brilliantly demonstrates you know NOTHING about data analysis, even using basic statistics, let alone advanced Statistics.

Tell me clearly why you think so many scientists in Global Warming related disciplines collect all this data. Why?
(or in fact in any science discipline or even Economics â the list goes on).

Otherwise, I will conclude, like everybody else here it would seem, you are just an argumentative troll

..... and fantasies about where I live etc......

Where did I mention where you live ? â canât read properly either.

(Or do you want me to fit a 'trend' to that 'data' and tell you whereto it points, and 'predict' where you're going? ;-)

The only one who is clear where they are going is you â down into the ever deepening hole you keep digging with your absurd and unreal logic.

By clippo UK (not verified) on 11 Sep 2011 #permalink


I know plenty about data analysis, and statistics. And fitting curves to experimental data. Collecting data is paramount for trying to understand, or just learn to know about what you are observing.

What I was saying, and am repeating now is: Fitting a curve, an equation to a data set is not an explanation. And that curve/equation should not be used for predictions. You might use it to guide a guess. But thats something completely different.

Take the stockmarket for instance, and you observe that one commodity has been trending uppwards for some time ... of course you can fit a line to it, call it a trend, base a decision on it. But you cannot predict the future with that fit.

In the realm of physics (of which the atmosphere and the climate are parts of), there are laws of nature which rule what happens. If you understand your object of study very well, you might try to explain its behaviour using simplified descriptions which broadly capture the most dominant mechanisms governing its physical states and variations, ie a model.

Usually such models are not built (entirely) on 1st principles and quite a lot of assumptions go into them too, assumptions you a priori dont know to be correct, or the magnitude of.

What you then do is to propose a hypothesis, and use observational data to 1) tune your hypothesis, and thereafter 2) try to explain more observations with that model/hypothesis you just fitted to some data, preferably outside that data. If you are a good scientist, you even attempt to fault your hypothesis, by testing it where that hypothesis predicts unexpected/extreme results. (Mostly that is not done by the one presenting the hypothesis)

Re: Where I live?

Maybe you want to revisit the last sentence in you #87 once more, before you start accusing people of all kind of things, eg not being able to read. Anyway, you even provide some more 'data points' regarding your 'function' ... soon my 'predictions' are going to be quite 'robust' ...



Jonas vs Clippo. I'd call that at least part way to a drubbing Jonas.


That's a little silly GSW (@ 105). Yes I'm stating my opinion which of course is subjective. But my opinion is based on consideration of a large amount of evidence, all of which is "objective" and can be "quantitat"ed to various extents. Clearly in the light of an evidence base an apparently subjective opinion may take on increasing characteristics of objectivity.

So how do we deal with this? I've sketched (my @ 104) a very tiny amount of the broad areas of evidence that supports the IPCC's (and my) statements of likelihoods concerning mid 20th century to contemporary warming. I could go further and dump a truly massive amount of additional evidence in the form of 100's of scientific papers and so on...

..but is that really how you think these subjects should be addressed? You ask a question concerning evidence and I'm supposed to write a book-length response? We've already seen that Jonas simply rejects out of hand the massive body of science (he calls it "science" oddly!) that supports the IPCC assessments and he even goes so far as to suggest that the IPCC only "pretends" to present this! ;-). Aren't you and poor old Jonas expected to do some work? Wouldn't it be better for Jonas to investigate the IPCC evidence base that several posters have kindly pointed him towards and then reconsider whether the evidence in support of likelihoods might not be rather well sourced?

It's very interesting to me, and as I indicated in my post above there is a fascinating contrast between the approach of Spencer and the approach of science as summarized in the comprehensive IPCC assessments. You and Jonas seem to be quite happy for Spencer to gloriously misrepresent the science ad libitum while (in Jonas's case) becoming all pursed-lipped over the IPCC science. But it really is all about the evidence, whether or not one is addressing curmudgeonly old Spencer with his cute frauds or the IPCC with its voluminous assessments.

GSW, we either address the evidence or not...

GSW @108, I think you're being a little unfair on Jonas. Admittedly his account of curve-fitting and addressing hypotheses has a sub-undergraduate style clunkiness, but he's able to manage some somewhat prosaic verities.

..but I wouldn't go as far as to say that he's been "drubbed". I thought, in fact, that you disliked "perjoratives" and I'm surprised to see you use them against Jonas who clearly has some heartfelt opinions on these subjects.

@Chris #110

Thanks Chris, understand where you are coming from, vgood.


GSW (& chris, but I'll respond seperatyly to you)

I wanted to make one more comment on your #86 post, where you said:

"It is common practice to test a particular hypothesis (whether something is true) against the null hypothesis (not true). This empirical analysis (there's a bit of math behind it) yields a 'confidence level' usually presented as a percentage likelihood. ... "

Because that is the proper practice when designing experiments: You vary one particular variable, and see what the tests give you, compared to a set where you keep it constant. And you compare those test results to the corresponding null-hypotheses, ie that the studied variable has no effect at all on the outcome.

But even in a controlled experiment (where you know all other variables) you have to be careful when chosing the proper null-hypothesis, so you don't fool yourself.

If we for a moment disregard Kevin Trenberth's recent hysterical one-over-null version of that hypothesis, and only consider the AR4 arguments for why the attribution of the last half century should be so certain to manmade GHGs.

Because they too want to put forward a hypothesis, ie that CO2 controls the climate in a substantial (and quantifiable) way, and they want to make a case for that hypothesis.

We all have heard the meme: 'We have racked our brains to find any natural explanaition, and found none, therefore it must be due to CO2 .. ' (*)

That is, in a colloquial and awkward way, a reference to
'some' null hypothesis: Only with CO2 forcing have they found that the models can reasonably 'explain' what has been observed. And the explainations and attempts (I found) at establishing some kind of 90% confidence (in something) have all been of this variety.

They have compared with the 'null-hypothsis' about the models. Ie they tested if the models (as they were designed) could possibly also give the observed temp-record, even without CO2-forcing. And concluded: 'No, they can't ... not even half .. with 90% certainty'

And that is something very very different.

Now, if one wants to be generous (and 'climate science' needs the slack it can get), one could say that the models actually included other factors, like volcanos, TSI (solar output) and aerosols. (And some more factors adding noise to the simulations, such as oceans, clouds and weather were at least rudimentarily included, although not as driving factors)

Some of these were very ad hoc, some probably very reasonable (TSI is measured, volcanos usually are noticed) but still, the underlying assumtption using models for the purpose of 'attribution' is that nothing of relevance is missing, that they got the climate right, and all effects that may cause it to vary at levels one order of magnitude smaller than what they are aimed at explaining/detecting.

And that is quite one hefty dish to serve, and to expect people to swallow. If taken litterately, the proposition is that the null hypothesis (used for 'attribution' comparison and establishing confidence levels) is:

1) The models contain the truth (within some uncertainties in input, BCs, parameters)

2) Those models containg everything that might have any measurable impact on temperatures, and got the magnitudes correct for every single one of them.

3) Nothing not included may have any (measurable) influence, at least

3b) Not under the short time span observed and modelled

4) All fluctuations of observations which are not, cannot be picked up in the models, must by short term noise, with zero mean value.

5) Everything that still may have an impact but not properly modelled or included therein, has kept perfectly still during the time period for 'attribution'

Under these circumstances, it is indeed possible to ascribe high confidence levels to what the simulations show. But only if each and every one of them is fullfilled. For the entire time span, meaning ~a century or so.

Now, the AR4 doesn't state it like this (because that would be ludicrous), but the if there is an implied null-hypothesis in what is argued, it certainly assumes that the models got it spot on, that eg water vapor behaves like instructed, that the CO2 forcing is exactly known, and that nothing has happened during one century that possibly can disturb anything.

As I said, thats a very tall order for necessary preconditions to an analysis.

And it is one of the reasons I don't take those prophecies that seriously, and don't believe in the stated certainties.

(*) such arguing should make every real scientist cringe with discomfort and even embarrassment.

GSW @100

A nice demonstration of the denialist aversion to truth - when caught out telling lies, tell more lies.

GSW @ 98 - "we're all doomed!"

GSW @ 100 - "How dumb are you! The "we're all doomed" is a paraphrase!"

Followed up by the phrase that has wonderful utility to crude sophists - "to my knowledge at no time did Steve..."

And having made no effort to find out what Schneider did actually think, GSW can then attribute to Schneider whatever self-serving positions GSW finds himself in need of Schneider having.

Jonas @ 112.

Probabilty/ confidence levels = "certainty".

Anyone with a clue would be embarrassed.

Jonas is immune.

Jonas N, you confuse me.

A little earlier, you seemed to imply that there is no steady upwards march of temperature for more than a short time. I referred you to analyses from four separate agencies which shows a very clear century-long upwards trend. Even without the statistical analysis (which conforms the upwards trend), it seems pretty clear that there is one, and it continues to this day.

In fact the only way I can see anything other than an increasing temperature trend for around 100 years, is to turn the charts all upside down, however I'm not certain whether that is a valid way of looking at them. So: do you, or do you not believe that there is, as the multiple analyses show, clear warming trends over the last century? If not, how do you believe these analyses were doctored or screwed up?

Secondly, you also seem to argue that the whole hypothesis that this is due to CO2 is in error. Could you show exactly why it cannot possibly be CO2, or why it is so unlikely? I'm particularly interested whether you have an alternate hypothesis which better explains the data, as I know many alternate hypotheses have been looked at and discarded because they simply can't explain it as well as greenhouse gases do.

Could you show, or link, or just give the written references to any of your work disproving or overturning the consensus opinion? I'm not saying such a feat is impossible. On the contrary it is truly Nobel Prize territory to do so (eg Marshall/Warren, etc etc). However most of the sceptics I have studied so far seem an awful long way from being Nobel Laureates.


Before I respond to your long post #104, I would like to make one thing very clear. Where I think you were way out of line (if you want to be taken seriously. I don't take everybody seriously, but this being an online forum, I feel I should give commenters the benifit of the doubt, until they prove that they are not capable or interested in serious debate)

What i object to is your last paragraph in #58, what you claim there, and which you imply and repeat many times thereafter:

'That some scientists knowlingly propose, submit and proffer falsehoods to the scientific literature and community, and that they do so with for with premeditated and malicious motives'

I find that accusation appalling, frankly just outrageous. And if you cannot offer very, and I mean very substantial support for such conduct, I'd tell you to go an shove it .. and then f*ck yourself!

You have now written several posts, where you prentend to be in a position above both Dessler and Spencer, capable of determining who is right on which accounts, and even the reasons for why one of them was wrong. As I said, that is a very tall order. And absolutely nothing you've written here indicates that you are even remotely close to being capable of making such calls. Nothing! Mostly, you aren't even addressing the topics, and instead offer various appeals to some authority.

I would assume that both Dessler and (definitely) Spencer do the best they can to present their side of the argument. From what I have seen, Spencer presents empirical data of outgpoing radiation after warming events. That is what he actually does. And he notes that the models, well all of them, predict much less.

If you are going to argue with that, you have to do much better than just proclaiming 'falsehoods'.

Dessler, on the other hand, wants to stick with his understanding af the forcings, and that clouds are internal variabls, only responding to specific xternal drivers.

I cannot (at present) view the various aspects sufficiently clear to have an opinion about who is right and who isn't. But it seems to me that Spencer is proposing a perspective on how clouds vary and influence the earths energy balance which is not contained in the customary models used by the so called 'consensus' on climate. And he thinks he has empirical data to prove it.

Publishing this is the obvious way to proceed, just as GSW says.

He might be right, or wrong, or in need of improvments. But at this stage claiming it is not only nonsense, but malicious fraud, for the purpose of later skewing the debate .. that's preopsterous. That's at the face of it an affront! And nothing less!

Take that back, or I'll consider you from now on as best as an incompetent stupid activist, or someone who know he can't argue his case in an honest way! And please, don't claim that you have access, and can see into other peoples minds from far distances. (Such people are in 100% deluded loonies, who have nothing to contribute in debates about the real world)

chris (a comment to you was held up in moderation)


You seem to say that it is warmer today. Warmer than it was in the 70s, warmer than it was around 1900, and warmer than it was in the 17th century. I do not disagree!

And as i explaind to clippo, I do not take an observed, fitted, trend as an explanation.

There has been warming since the 17the century. Some of the warmin observed since the mid 20th century might be due to human CO2 emissions. I find that a reasonable assumption.

But it does not contain a climate armageddon. I would most certanly argue that only what we can observer from ~1940s can (at best) be attributed to human CO2 emissions.

I never said it cannot be CO2, but I would like to point out that if it is CO2, as the IPCC AR4 assumes, it requires additionally that the very same mechanisms that made us recover from the little ice age from the mid 1600, stopped precisely at around ~1945, flat levelled from then on, and was replaced by CO2. And not only that, but also that the burning of fossil fuels cooled the earth through sulphur areosols thereafter.

And I find this to be a tall order, for a 'science' in its infancy, which cannot even explain the MWP or the LIA properly ..

Well OK, if you concede that even "some" of the warming trend might be due to CO2 emissions (though once again, we find ourselves having exhausted most other hypotheses explaining "the rest" of the warming trend), do you not find it a little troubling that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are continuing to rise pretty much unchecked and show no signs of abating in the forseeable future? Just how long do you reckon the climate system will "cope" with this?

I mean, if I wanted to be the ultimate selfish prat, I could say "I don't really give a stuff about CO2 because although we may well see significant trends, it probably won't have any traumatic consequences that we can't engineer our way out of for the remaining several decades of my life". But if it continues to rise in such a fashion, and some, most, or worst case, perhaps the great majority of the warming, is attributable to CO2, then the possible consequences next century may be an entirely different matter.

And again, if you are as well versed in science as you seem to imply, and you have a clear, robust, demonstrable argument as to why most climate scientists, many physicists, and a whole lot of otherwise intelligent people who have studied this matter are terribly mistaken, you could always do the groundwork and research and submit it.

You can actually overturn a consensus scientific view, as history has shown numerous times. I mean, the scientific consensus is pretty clear and consistent: It's warming. It's mostly due to CO2. It's mostly CO2 we're responsible for. There will be significant consequences in the future.

The sceptical side is a hotch-potch of conspiracy theories, clinging to discredited arguments (it's just the sunspots, stupid), and not even being able to decide among themselves whether or not it's actually warming (some sceptics say it is, some say it isn't), whether or not it's CO2 (some say yes, some say no), whether or not the observed CO2 increases are natural (some say they are, some concede they're not), and so on. This doesn't throw doubt on the science. This just means that contrary to the vast majority of scientists who are acknowledged experts in the relevant fields of study, most sceptics can't seem to make up their minds among themselves what the science actually says, and the remainder think it's a greenie plot to impose a communist world government.

Do you see why they have an apparent credibility problem?

[Scholars & Rogues](…) put where the WSJ is coming from rather well, I thought.

"Another example. Say your planet is getting hotter and experiencing greater degrees of climate disruption, and further, that human society has pumped ever-increasing levels of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, nearly all of the worldâs credible scientists are in agreement that human activity is the major cause of the problem. Occamâs Razor would suggest to the average person in the street that perhaps these greenhouse gases, which are known to behave in particular ways, have something to do with the changes in your climate.

Fuckemâs Razor, on the other hand, takes into account zillions of other, less evidenced possibilities, and concludes that the real problem is space rays.

This thread is weird. Neither Jonas nor GSW believe deep down that Spencer is right. He's been wrong and forced to revise so many times before that it would be the height of stupidity to back that particular losing horse.

What could be driving this particular meltdown?

Could it be a reluctance to admit that one of the denialist poster boys was so tragically, pathetically wrong? GSW admits it's okay for bad reports to be published as long as the author believes they are right, and the resignation? Well, that's just trivial, isn't it? Proves nothing!

Look over there, conspiracy!

Keep digging that hole, boys


Chris@104 wrote:

There is a massive body of evidence that bears on our level of certainity over attribution of mid 20th century to contemporary warming. We can include:

1. high certainty over our understanding of the basic physics of the greenhouse effect
2. high likelihood that the equilibrium response to warming is no smaller that 2 oC per doubling of [CO2]
[8 more items]

Jonas is right that the specific IPCC claim of ">90% certainty" is silly; your comment actually goes a good way to illustrating why.

Let us postulate that all ten of the items you listed are critical to getting the attribution story right - that if the science was wrong on any of those items it would significantly undercut the overall conclusion. Let us further stipulate that our wisest scientific minds have convincingly determined that our understanding of *every one of those ten factors* is almost certainly correct. How do we define "almost certainly correct"? Let's say we have a (subjectively determined) 98% certainty level for each of those ten factors.

Problem: there are TEN of them.

That means that even though all ten are "almost certainly correct", the chance of ALL of them simultaneously being actually correct is: 98% ^ 10 = 81.7%. Which isn't 90%.

Now consider that (a) there are quite a lot *more* than ten factors to consider in explaining climate - those were just the first ten you happened to think of - and (b) many of these factors aren't *quite* 98% certain.

So now let us consider the possibility that there are 50 factors that could conceivably explain warming and we're only 95% certain that our understanding of each one is substantially correct. That's still pretty darned certain, and good enough to publish! In that case, the chance of them ALL being simultaneously correct is only 7.7%, meaning there is more than a 90% chance that one of the factors we're pretty sure is right is in fact blatantly wrong.

Climate is complicated. The more complicated it is, the less certainty we can assign to the notion that we've accurately accounted for everything correctly. That's just how the math works.

It's still possible for "humans did it" to be our best working hypothesis. But it's not sensible to say that hypothesis is 90% certain because look at all these factors we've considered - the fact that you had to consider so many factors is what makes the absolute certainty level low.

It is clear that Glen is just a sock puppet of chek.

chek directs us to Fuckemâs Razor and then he pull up the sock puppet to give us a textbook application of Fuckem's.

"We can include: 1. high certainty over our understanding of the basic physics of the greenhouse effect ...

Let's say we have a (subjectively determined) 98% certainty level for each of those ten factors."


You should be declared legally brained dead and your organs harvested and fed to the raccoons. What you meant to say was there is a 99.99999999999999% chance that CO2 is really a greenhouse gas. Which when you raise it to the 10th power gives you 1 (no really the calculator rounds it up, which of course makes the dumb sock puppet Glen think that his calculator is in on âthe global warming swindleâ) No, there is not a 98% of obvious things being true. There is effectively a 100% chance.

On the other hand both chek and Glen maybe sock puppets of a certain medium lobster or maybe Richard Posner,

Glen Raphael insists on illustrating the 'house-of-cards fallacy'.

Like, amusingly, Jonas before him: thinking that the example I gave him was the only one I could think of, when it was just the one I liked most :-)

When I told him not to bother refuting it in detail -- because, like, I had read the paper, knew what was in it, and had no patience left for the ramblings of a nincompoop -- he was suddenly very quick with his opinion... ah, the joys of tobacco science, having conclusions ready before even starting on your homework...

BTW the 90% likelihood only refers to the currently observed warming -- just a foretaste of things to come -- being mainly due to the anthropogenic causes outlined in the textbooks. It will push 100% in the fullness of time.

By Martin Vermeer (not verified) on 11 Sep 2011 #permalink


Sorry you've misunderstood chek's #129 post, it lack's some context unfortunately, but he is definitley on what I would consider to be your side of the argument.

Martin V,

That paper does not save your (or the IPCC's) day, and ten more similar ones won't do it either. "[H]aving [your] conclusions ready before even starting on your homework..." is very popular on this and similar sites. As is the idea that 'tobacco' somehow strengthens the case.

And you are making a mistake, asigning levels of confidence is, well maybe not litterately a house of cards, but definitely vulnerable to its weekest link.


No, I don't find it troubling that CO2 is rising. It is what I would expect from burning coal and oil. There are quite a few things, about the environment and others, I do worry more about. Real problems, caused by man and that can be addressed in the real world (stopping energy usage abruptly simply will not happen)

You ask me why I don't take on the entire catholic church and topple it over!? (Meaning the silliness and the stupid politics of the climate scare)

Well, I think that particular silliness will eventually stop, and be replaced by something else, hopfully of less damaging. Both tho the environment and to the economy.

And in the end you talk about 'credibilty' and I see your point, but I think it is moot. You should rather ask those questions to decisionmakers. Politicians, in my view, have no credibility at all when it comes to accomplishing real world results: The idea of controlling the climate is even far more futile than that real jobs can be ordered by law to appear ..

"@elspi writes: "You should be declared legally brained dead and your organs harvested and fed to the raccoons. "

Wow, you really are an unpleasant person. Do you think statements like that make your arguments seem more convincing?

Do you think that it's possible to be *really really sure* something is true yet still have a small-but-measurable chance of being wrong? (If not, we probably can't sensibly discuss probability.)

Many of the items in the full list of ten I was responding to do seem to be of the right type that the math works the way I suggested. Consider in particular 5,6,7, and 10 (solar, volcanic, ENSO, Milankovich). All those items boil down to "We think the contribution of X to the trend is small". Given all the stuff we're not measuring or not measuring well or don't have much history on, all the different ways we could be measuring it (eg, different wavelengths for solar), all the ways our measuring tools could be misbehaving and all the ways we could be analyzing the data differently, there has to be *some* chance that we've underestimated the contribution of one of those factors. I'm not saying it's even a *large* chance. Maybe it's 2%. Maybe it's 1%. But it's not 16-nines close to 0%. Is it?

> "house-of-cards fallacy"

Nope. If it does turns out we're a little wrong on various factors, that doesn't disprove all of climate science. And I'm not saying it does. All it does do is weaken one specific conclusion: that more than half the warming over range T is anthropogenic. Maybe it turns into less than half instead. Everything on the page you linked would still be true. Heck, human-based CO2 would still be considered "the main driver of climate" even if it were only responsible for, say, 40% of recent warming - so long as there was no other single factor that accounted for more.

Noticing that a bunch of small probabilities when combined together add up to a somewhat larger probability shouldn't be so controversial. What gives?

chris ..

(unfortuantely, one earlier comment was held up in moderation, but re: #104)

So do you know what took us out of the little ice age? How do you know, and how do you know it stopped around the ~1940s?

Glen R

There are quite a few 'characters' in here that you can completely ignore, who don't have the slightest clue, who cannot formulate an coherent argument, much less recognize one or just answer a simple question. And as you just did, they are quickly identified ..

Take them at face value ...


Given all the stuff we're not measuring or not measuring well or don't have much history on, all the different ways we could be measuring it (eg, different wavelengths for solar), all the ways our measuring tools could be misbehaving and all the ways we could be analyzing the data differently, there has to be some chance that we've underestimated the contribution of one of those factors.

You're playing the "we don't know anything, really" card masterly in a rhetorical sense, but it doesn't apply here. The 90% is a probabilistic result. It already includes consideration of all the uncertainties you have thought of, and then some you haven't -- by folks whose judgement on this I would take over yours any day.

You're not allowed to pile these same uncertainties on a second time. You may provide your own estimate of them, but again, please don't feel hurt if I show little interest.

By Martin Vermeer (not verified) on 11 Sep 2011 #permalink


We have covered this. "The 90% is a probabilistic result." No it is not it, is a 'confidence level' they are not the same thing.

Likewise, the rest of what you write is gibberish also.

Glen Raphael:

How do we define "almost certainly correct"? Let's say we have a (subjectively determined) 98% certainty level for EACH of those ten factors.

There's a problem alright. The problem is Glen Raphael doesn't understand what the words "absolute certainty" mean. It's Glen Raphael that's the problem.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 11 Sep 2011 #permalink


Like Jonas, you do not appear to understand the problems of linking science with public policy. Science is not and never will be based on consensus, but public policy *must be based on it* (kudos to the late Stephen Schneider for that critically astute observation). What the denialists appear to be saying is that we need 100% unequivocal evidence that warming is due to human actions before we decide to act on it. By then the horse will have bolted from the barn and it will be far too late. In fact, there is rarely if ever 100% evidence of any cause-and-effect relationship in the Earth and biological sciences. As a working scientist (Jonas and his lay acolytes take note) we have to go on with what we know and the potential risks of inaction. What hgas struck me writing in here is the remarkable arrogance exhibited by Jonas, who writes as if he was a sage of wisdom in the field of climate science. He refuses to tell us what his actual line of work is, which, given his anonymity should ring alarm bells amongst those trying to defend his wilful ignorance of science and policy. The only thing he has to lose by telling us what he does - if anything - is the tiny shards of credibility he thinbs that he has accrued here. Once he tells us that he is chronically unemployed or works in a cardboard box factory, then his illusory expertise will all but disappear. He's waded into this blog as if he, and he alone, has wisdom that has eluded thousands of scientists who have spent their careers in the field and who contributed the the latest IPCC report. And when he is called on this he bitterly denounces his critics as arm-waving 'characters who are clueless'.

Of course the 90% certainty argument is ambiguous. But let me digress into my own field of research. Most experts in population and systems ecology believe that the extinction rate is between 100 and 1000 times the natural 'background' rate. We base thios on models of exponential decay originally formulated by McCarthur and Wilson (and later refined by Soule, Terborgh and others) using species-area relationships and island biogeography. The models have proven to be fairly robust in linking the loss of species number 'x' to the loso fo habitat area 'y', but of course there are all kinds of mitigating biotic and abiotic factors which make it impossible to know hos specific the models are to a given perturbance. Factors such as local climatic conditions, competition, habitat and plant structure and identity and the number of pathways connecting trophic levels will all influence the local extinction rate, as will the presence and structure of connecting corridors to adjacent habitats. Many other factors are involved. However, in spite of uncertainty generated by this complexity, most scientists agree that (1) humans are simplifying communities, ecosystems and biomes across wide swathes of the biopshere, and (2) that this simplification is driving the largest extinction rate in 65 million years.

Against this background we have our own set of denialists, mostly on the political right (meaning they are bolstering an agenda that has little to do with 'sound science') who want explicit details on the status of every species, sub-species and genetically distinct population before they think action should be taken to protect biodiversity. A good analogy is that a library is on fire, and before we attempt to put out the fire we must know every book, volume, monograph etc. in the library. Until we know that, we let the flames do their thing. Similarly, its like someone saying that every grain of sand on a beach must be accounted for before we agree that the incoming and outcoming tides take them away. We will never havbe that kind of detailed information; however, the denial lobby more-or-less argues that without this information, we should not do anything about the loss of biodiversity that is agreed upon by the scientific community.

Jonas, for his part, shows time and time again that he simply does not understand the threshold between knowledge and action. For him and a sea of other politically-driven anti-environmentalists who try and hide their true colors, the only level of certainty regarding the link between human activity and climate change is 100%, and this must be based on a million studies or more. Until then, we sit back and do nothing, whilst the human experiment - for that is what we are doing to systems across the biosphere - continues. Bear in mind that ecology is as complex as climate science. That is because of a profoundly non-linear relationship between cause-and-effect in ecology (see work by Polis, Strong etc.) and because an infinite number of scales that link different levels of organization. As Simon Levin says in his groundbreaking book, "Fragile Dominion" (which I reviewed for Nature in 2000 and Robert May reviewed for Science the same year), biomes constitute 'complex adaptive systems' that are characterized by flows of energy, matter, nutrients water etc. They function on the basis of a stupendous array of biotic interactions involving trillions of organisms, billion of populations, and milliosn of species. If any science is in its infancy, its ecology, and that is certainly acknolwedged by me and my peers in the field. However, we also agree that humans are driving very high rates of extinction in spite of the many uncertainties. In this context, there is a consensus that policy measures should be taken to protect biodiversity.

Note also that Jonas does not submit his ideas to scientific journals where they would be seriously scrutinized. He also doesn't attend any conferences where he discuss this with the scientists doing the research. In my opinion, this where he should be arguing his case, instead of his constant baiting and switching tactics demonstrated here and on other blogs. If he has so much time to rant and rave and belittle others here who, like I, think he's mangling science and policy, why doesn't he get off his ass and invest a bit of that effort in writing a rebuttal and going to the relevant conferences? The fact that he ignores these valid points constantly should tell everyone here that he is a hollow vessel that makes a lot of noise but when push comes to shove he's an immense coward. Why? Because when he comes up against the big boys he knows his arguments will be torn up and spat out and consigned to the rubbish bin.

I am fed up to the teeth with his antics and self-righteous preaching on Deltoid, hence why I have stayed away the last few days. Now he's trying to take over the whole shebang. I am arguing in principle that we don't need 98% or 90% or even 80% certainty to act on a process that has the potential of invoking considerable damage on complex adaptive systems upon which our civilization (and thus human welfare) depends. The numbers that Jonas obsesses over are put out for public awareness, as far as I am concerned and anre ostensibly meaningless; the link between the human combusiton of fossil fuels and climate warming has been recognized for more than half a century and its beyond time that we did something about it.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 11 Sep 2011 #permalink

Martin V

Maybe you shouldn't rely on John Cook for your talkback soundbites. The troubles with the AGW-hypothesis and use of statistics are more profound than that they can be dismissed by a simple 'Ah the clouds, but we have them in the models .. ' (or any other factor the models claim to represent properly)

And I might add, these problems are neither dependent on the exact wording of a blog comment, as so many seem to hope.

> Likewise, the rest of what you write is gibberish also

To you.

By Martin Vermeer (not verified) on 11 Sep 2011 #permalink

Jeff H

As so many times before, you are making things up and attacking your strawmen instead. And if you really(?) are completely unaware of this almost compulsive need, I feel genuinly sorry for you. Because it makes you incapable of conducting an intelligible discussion with almost anybody. I'd even say it seriously impairs interaction with people in general.

But (possibly unvoluntarily) you confirm several of the points I am actually making. And just to address you final indignant puff of smoke:

If you seriously mean that "its beyond time that we did something about it", you need to come up with a versatile source of energy that can replace coal and oil, and be as cheap. Because without that, everything else will at best be extremely marginal, without any measurable effects, and most likely just empty posturing!

More windmills and recycling your household garbage won't do a dent, not even if you're driving a Prius ...

Jonas contines to, at great length, ignore Spencers' crash-and-burn that was so, prematurely, celebrated in the denial-o-sphere.


For heaven's take can't you take a hint, you big moron?

Let me spell it out for you: GO AWAY! Everyone here is sick to death of your ignorance! You didn't read my last post; in fact, its clear that you don't read much here except to repeat the same gibberish over and over agin. I discussed the precautionary principle and the link between the knowns and unknowns in science with respect to levels of certainy/uncertainty required to invoke policy decisions. Clearly, this went straight over your little head. I also discussed uncertainty in other fields of science (my own) that do not prevent a general consensus in this field and have lead to policy-related recommendations. Instead of scoring own goals time and again I was trying to draw you out on policy-related aspects and the precautionary principle, instead of you spewing *ad nauseum* the same stuff about AR4 in IPCC 2007.

Get this through your head, will you: If we intenralized the environmental costs of fossil fuel use, we'd already be on more eco-friendly alternatives. But the environmental costs are externalized, meaning that they are passed off onto society whether we want them or not. As long as our economic programs subsidize these mounting environmental costs, then there will never be the impetus to switch to alternative sources of sustainabale energy. They already exist but the prices are kept high because of these perverse subsidies.

Of course this is way, way over your head. You probably know less about economic policy than science, and that's saying a lot. My advice to everyone here is to avoid any thread that JonasN has taken over in his 'mission', whatever that may be. He is the classic example of a skunk who is stinking up this thread and others with the same argument, whilst refusing (or being unable) to say what relevance this has on public policy decisions, especially as this relates to other fields of similar complexity.

And note how every time I ask why he isn't writing up a peer-reviewed article or going to the relevant conferences and workshops (as I do in my field of research) his reponse is silence. TOTAL SILENCE. Same with my repeated enquiries about his professional qualifications. TOTAL SILENCE.

Prat. And he claims that I am 'making things up'. Where in my last post did I make anything up, Jonas? Elaborate please. Where are the strawmen? Elaborate please. If anyone here is pitied, its Jonas, who cannot address the many points I raised. I would seriously say that Jonas has well exceeded even old sunspot for insidious stupidity and implre Tim to banish him to his own thread or at least to the open thread.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 11 Sep 2011 #permalink

Glen @121, your post is interesting since it illustrates the manner in which semantics can be used to create illogical interpretations from the application of apparent "logic"! Incidentally, I don't have a problem with your (and Jonas's) quibbling over the assignment of numerical likelihoods, but don't really see the problem since as I said in post 104, we can just re-equate these with their qualitative descriptors ("likely", "very likely" etc). We don't really need to get all hot-n-bothered about that!

But let's look at your fallacy re multiplication of probabilities:

We know (zero uncertainty) that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that its contribution to earth temperature must be a warming one should [CO2] increase. So all else being equal, we expect the earth to warm, especially since the 1960's with the very marked increase in rate of CO2 emissions post-war.

Note that this isn't a null hypothesis since it's a certainty, and a null hypothesis must encompass the uncertainty relevant to the subject of interest. It's not obvious anyway that consideration of a null hypothesis is really appropriate outside of a traditional experimental environment, but if we were to propose a relevant null hypothesis it might be "the warming of mid-late 20th century is dominated by the [CO2] contribution".

So we expect the earth to warm but we might have uncertainty that other contributions might dominate...yes? A true (as opposed to a pseudo-skeptic) might say:

- "but we know the sun must have a major effect on earth temperature - perhaps it's changes in solar output". A large bunch of scientists say: "we've studied the sun in great detail especially since the 1950's and know that the solar outputs (TSI, sunspots, open solar flux, cosmic ray component etc.) have extremely small secular trend and in fact if anything for the last 25 years have trended in a cooling direction."

I'm sure the vast majority of individuals would agree that that particular set of evidence increases our confidence that the warming contribution of enhanced CO2 has been a dominant contributor to observed warming.

The skeptic might then say:

- "O.K. good. However in a world warmed by enhanced greenhouse forcing we expect the troposphere to cool and the height of the tropopause to rise. If warming is occurring as expected then we should see specific changes in diurnal temperature range, polar amplification with delayed Antarctic response and a progression of precipitation trends with expanding central latitude drought and increased higher latitude precipitation..."

Another even larger bunch of scientists say: "we've measured all of those things and the changes are as expected from in a world warming under the influence of enhanced greenhouse forcing".

Again, it's a no brainer that this additional set of knowledge increases our confidence that warming is dominated by enhanced CO2-forced greenhouse.

And so on. It's astonishing that you are trying to sell the notion that our confidence about a subject decreases as our knowledge of it increases! There's clearly a logical flaw in your approach. We could actually formulate this mathematically, but a qualitative clue to the problem with your analysis is in its implicit assumption that the uncertainty around each of the bodies of observation/measurement always works in the direction that opposes (what we are loosely calling) our "null hypothesis".

This blog is becoming an adventure in tourettes, more and more it is dominated by seemingly uncontrollable spasms.

It was evident from Jonas' first couple of comments that he had nothing of any value to add to the topic at hand but true to form when a troll comes on board topic discipline goes out the window and it becomes open season. The predictability of the response is mind numbingly boring.

Oh yes there is the old argument that if you don't correct the content of the troll then the poor unsuspecting lurker may take away the wrong impression, so we have a situation in which a speculative benefit is allowed to trump a concrete disadvantage.

We've moved from Spencer to probability via a tortuous route of trying to get Jonas to read a scientific paper. And the result is? A denialist has again set the agenda and the more gifted and informed commenters here have allowed themselvs to be led by the nose in the service of that agenda.

I wish Tim would moderate more aggressively as this constant derailment of topic and pandering to trolls is suffocating a genuinely decent blog.

hmmm; introducing a paragraph with a "-" introduces a negative indent and a cute little orange arrow that doesn't appear in "preview". :-)

Jeff Harvey,

It won't go away if you keep feeding it.

As an ecologist you should understrand that.

@Andy S

At last, a sense of humour! made me laugh anyway.


Marco - I agree that Tourettes syndrom might afflict more than only a few here, same things with the compulsive spasms. But don't blame that on me.

And please don't try the stupid Jeff Harvey meme: 'Jonas has never read a scientific paper' (I simply cannot believe that grown-ups need to actively delude themselves)

Further Marco (and Andy S)

You had initially some relevant but superficial remarks to me about the statistics. Which I explained, and you didn't reply to. From what I've seen you have not seriously challanged specifics, or participated in whats been discussed thereafter.

Instead you are now whining about 'trolls' and that other things than you'd prefer are not being discussed.

And I would most definitely say that if inappropriate comments here should med 'moderated' then there is an abundance of those from anumber of signatures which are far worse than my poorest.

Jonas N would do wise to consider the possibility more than one person uses the screen name "marco/Marco".

More lengthy waffle, avoiding considering the intersting question of why the denial-o-sphere, consisting of so many purported 'skeptics', cheers Spencer et al with such alacrity, failing to notice it's many problem.


Oh, look over there, IPCC!

Jeff@134: that comment is really well written and I agree with most of it. I hear you saying that the claim of "90% certainty" is rhetorical, not mathematical; it translates into "we're sure enough to know that we need to act now." Which is fine, but accurate numbers do matter for making accurate decisions.

(Side note: Some of those who disagree with the claim that we should "act now" in the ways we can currently think of acting do so out of the knowledge/intuition that the economy is also a "fragile dominion" containing 'complex adaptive systems' in which we can get a loose sense of the direction of damage but can't really know the exact harm done by expensive policies.)

By Glen Raphael (not verified) on 12 Sep 2011 #permalink


Glen, GSW and Jonas all know there is a problem with Spencer, but why face facts when you can heap sarcasm, ridicule and non-scientific waffle all over the comment section and pretend you know what you are talking about?

Jonas gives every indication that he knows the warming is anthropogenic, however, like GSW (who never could prove ice ages actually existed, poor dear) the basis for his denial is political and not scientific.


Andy S,

Many thanks for the advice. You are correct; Jonas thrives on attention. His posts are an abomination. Most Deltoid posters gave up on him quite some time ago, or consigned his comments (quite rightfully) to [killfile]

Glen, thanks for your post. I would agree with you that the material economy is a 'fragile dominion' only insofar as it depends utterly on the health and vitality of the natural economy (see Costanza et al., 1997; Daily et al, 1997 and Baskin, 1999). More and more economists - Herman Daly, Brian Czech, Geoff Heal, John Gowdy, Stephen Viedermann and others - have come around to the realization that humans exist and persist because natural systems permit it (coining another phrase from Simon Levin) through a huge range of supporting ecological services. Ecological economics is certainly challenging dinosaurian tenets of neoclassical economics which considers the environment a small subset of the material economy. In truth it is the reverse - and anthropogenic threats such as climate change will certainly have consequences on natural systems that will rebound on the material economy. In fact, it already is. The prognosis is not good.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 12 Sep 2011 #permalink


"Sorry you've misunderstood chek's #129 post, it lack's some context unfortunately, but he is definitley on what I would consider to be your side of the argument."


How did you pass grade school with that level of reading comprehension?

Is your mother typing for you?

Tim needs a picture of someone with Down's syndrome with the caption "You must be at least this smart to ride this ride".

(Apologies to all Down's syndrome sufferers, who have done nothing to deserve being compared to GSW)

Jeff H #139 - What is your problem?

Don't you even know when you are making wild guesses in the dark?

Let's examine #134 where the following sentences are untrue statements stemming from your (or somebody's) fantasy:

- Like Jonas, you do not appear to understand the problems of linking science with public policy (*)

- .. the remarkable arrogance exhibited by Jonas, who writes as if he was a sage of wisdom in the field of climate science

- his wilful ignorance of science and policy

- he alone, has wisdom that has eluded thousands of scientists who have spent their careers in the field

- Jonas, for his part, shows time and time again that he simply does not understand the threshold between knowledge and action.

- For him and a sea of other politically-driven anti-environmentalists who try and hide their true colors, the only level of certainty regarding the link between human activity and climate change is 100%, and this must be based on a million studies or more.

- Until then, we sit back and do nothing, whilst the human experiment - for that is what we are doing to systems across the biosphere - continues.

and in #139 it gets even worse:

- You didn't read my last post; in fact, its clear that you don't read much here.

- Clearly, this went straight over your little head

- Of course this is way, way over your head.

- You probably know less about economic policy than science (*)

- He is the classic example of a skunk who is stinking up this thread

- refusing (or being unable) to say what relevance this has on public policy decisions

OK Jeff, the above statments are sprung out of your fantasies. Things you just want to be true. And are only from your two last posts. Previous post have been equally riddled with similar stuff.

You are correct in that I have discussed other details than you are interested in. But I actually commented shortly on your 'policy' theme. However, I fear that you will have a hard time conducting a measured conversation about anything where people (me for instance) do not agree with every comma ... That is at least the impression you have given so far. And the 'trend' has not been improving.

The funniest thing though, is that you now seem to agree on my main and very specific, not very far reaching, point (since the other thread), something you there vehemently disputed. And wrote at least a dozen posts about (of similar angry non-quality).

Another funny thing is that you say you have a problem with non-climate scientists discussing issues on a blog which discusses issues pertaining to climate and policy. Since that is what you've been doing all the time, and everybody else here.

(*) Strictly speacking these actually contain a caveat, ie represents your understanding. The implication made, however, is wrong and still only your fantasy


When it comes to being 'special' elspi, I think you are way out in a class of your own.

Elspi, my post at what is now comment [#120](…) was an apt follow-on to Scribe's post at what is now comment [#119](…). Particularly if the links in each are read.

FYI, apart from responses to a post by Tim several months ago specifically about sock puppets, and using several relevant if ludicrous anagrams, I do not employ sock puppets on this forum.

The rest is in your fevered imagination.

Jonas, sweetheart? Why are you still wasting your brilliance on us poor, misguided plebes? As you helpfully collaborated in another thread, there are millions of Exxon dollars to be had if only you publish your laser-like arguments, your thorough and scientific trouncing of all the nincompoops at the IPCC.

Why, Jonas? I'm only looking out for you. I want what's best for the you, and the world. Your insights should be immortalized, stat! The world cannot wait any longer!

Run, Jonas, run!

Had a quick look through Jonas' contributions on the CHE thread.

Should have known - he exhibits classic signs of Libertarianism (nasty affliction that one).

He's probably a devotee of Anyn Rand as well.

Just feel sorry for him.

Oops, sorry Tim.


When you read a modest proposal, where you SHOCKED that he was advocating eating babies,
or did you somehow believe that he was really advocating something else.

I think you need to go back and read my post one more time.

PS click the link.

This is my first visit to this blog. Having looked through the quite staggeringly chaotic, ill-mannered, half-witted squabbling in the comments section here I don't think I will be visiting again. Seriously, don't any of you have anything better to do?

By Just Visiting (not verified) on 15 Sep 2011 #permalink

Just visiting, either the irony is cleaver or your comment is not.

I suspect we haven't seen the last incursion from Montford's fanboys quite yet.

When Spencer and Braswell published their hokum there was much said by the Denialati in defence of BS11, on the basis that nothing was published in the peer-reviewed literature to counter it. When Dessler published his rebuttal very soon after there was a lot of caterwauling about the "rapidity" of the publication, and the fact that it was published in GRL and not in Remote Sensing.

Well, the denialists can quit their harping. [Remote Sensing has published Trenberth's, Fasullo's, and Abraham's response](, and it says the same thing that Dessler's did.

It seems that BS11 was presciently abbreviated...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 16 Sep 2011 #permalink

...if one is of an anagrammatical bent!

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 16 Sep 2011 #permalink

(Frankly, if Spencer had any self-respect he would have pushed Braswell to be first author, and then claimed that Braswell 'made' him co-publish. Sadly for Ol' Roy, he left no plausible-deniability back door, so as the real first author of that tosh he now has to wear yet another drubbing in the professional literature.

I guess that it'll be hissy-fits at 50 paces, in a displacement effort to conceal his embarrassment...)

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 16 Sep 2011 #permalink

Bernard, the fundamental problem with Spencer's recent efforts is that he chooses not to conform to the basic standards of scientific good faith. He publishes knowingly and logically flawed interpretations, and supports the gross misinterpretation of their significance via dishonest press releases and appallingly non-scientific blog noise. We can make objective statments about his lack of scientific good faith, but not sure we can presume too much about his "self respect"!

Braswell's role is interesting. His publication record indicates that he's the "junior" "partner" in the UAH research - he's published a smattering of papers with Christy and Spencer during the period when highly flawed analyses were being made by the group and was a coauthor on a flawed attempt at a rebuttal to Hurrell and Trenberth's description of spurious trends in MSU data analysis [*]. In all of these papers Spencer (or Christy) was the senior, corresponding/reprint author.

So whatever Braswell's role, his role as a competent and honest scientist should have been to ask the sorts of questions that any scientist with a truly skeptical interest in addressing the truth would ask; e.g.:

"If the aim of our paper is to suggest fundamantal flaws in climate models, shouldn't we do some sort of analysis of robustness?"


"If the aim of our paper is to suggest fundamental flaws in climate models, shouldn't we be considering and presenting the models that do quite well in matching our particular set of empirical data?"


"The press release is horribly dishonest, since we know that the analysis of very short term feedbacks to surface temperature variation has no necessary relationship to the climate sensitivity of interest to the climate response to enhanced greenhouse forcing. We've just published a paper that states that, for goodness sakes. Surely we can't promote such a gross misrepresentation of our work in the wider media?....can we Roy??"


[*] Christy, Spencer and WD Braswell (1997) âHow accurate are satellite âthermometersâ? Nature 389, 342.

answer: not accurate at all, until Spencer and Christy's reluctance to address cumulative errors was addressed by competent scientists.