Is it Red Team/Blue Team or Red State/Blue State?

Now that the head of the EPA has announced an (please forgive the word) Audit of climate science, it is time for you skeptics (and we lukewarmers) to think clearly.

red blue

The consensus brigade would love nothing more than to ‘investigate’ the basics of climate science that almost all of us readily accept–the existence and effect of greenhouse gases, our level of emissions of several of them, the noticeable (not unprecedented) rise in temperatures over the past century and the accompanying rise in sea levels.

If the consensus gets to pick what the red team looks at, we can write the results for them and write them now.

I hate to break the news to you, but some of what some skeptics say isn’t very scientific (I’m sure some would say the same about the pronouncements of some of us lukewarmers…) and pushing our weakest arguments to the forefront of any audit would be playing into the hands of our common opponents.

Worse, some of the skeptical agenda is heavily influenced by partisan US politics. This long predates the election of Donald Trump, although it is stronger now than even five years ago. Some of the partisan frenzy comes from my side of the aisle–I’m a librul progressive Democrat, voted for Hillary and  would do so again in a heartbeat. But my fellow Dems have set it up so that even when a Republican tries to make a nuanced speech about the climate or the overall environment, the media is given their talking points and the ‘denier’ mud gets thrown.  To be fair, some Republicans have also been making statements that are a bit less than nuanced. There’s plenty of plague for both their houses.

But a partisan framework to an investigation of climate science only guarantees something from a Kabuki theater where everybody bows, recites the same lines they have been rehearsing for a decade, simpering behind our kimono sleeves and waving our fans in dismay at the utter wrongness of what the other side is saying.

There is another approach. If we were to bring our A game to this exercise and use our best arguments in a reasoned tone of voice, with qualified representatives marking out actual deficiencies in the consensus view of climate change, we might make a difference.

This would involve leaving some of our most effective political arguments at the door. We should not say a word about some of the very real abuses of process by people ranging from Rajendra Pachauri and Phil Jones to Michael Mann. We need to get over it. There are too many honest and hard working climate scientists to tar the profession with the sins of a handful of bad actors. The same is true for criticism of the IPCC, no matter how well deserved. The IPCC is a handful of staffers supervising a largely unpaid collection of scientists reviewing papers every few years. They get a few things wrong and a lot of things right. It could be managed better. That’s not an argument for a red team to pursue.

The Consensus is largely right on the physics. They are vulnerable because physics is all they have. They have been unable to square the circle of the interactions of the carbon sinks, the effects of clouds and aerosols and other messy details of the Earth systems in play.

Hence, they have been unable to narrow the range of potential sensitivity of the atmosphere to a doubling of the concentrations of CO2 in our atmosphere. If they truly believe that physics trumps biology, geology and other Earth sciences, they have struggled to prove it. That’s where we can legitimately question their confidence in their opinions.

We shouldn’t look for absolute victory–that’s rare in science. We should aim for an acknowledgement of more uncertainty than previously admitted, a widening of error bands and an agreement to look more closely at the lower end of climate predictions instead of a rigid focus on the highest estimates.

This isn’t Trump vs. Hillary. It isn’t Darrow vs. Bryant in the Scopes Trial. We need scientists to soberly assess the points of real weakness in the Consensus arguments and engage with consensus scientists to try and paint an accurate picture of what we are doing to our planet with regards to climate change.

We don’t have a shortage of candidates. I of course would nominate Judith Curry, Nic Lewis, Richard Lindzen and Roger Pielke Sr. Steve Koonin would also be a good candidate. I’m sure there are others. I’d love for Freeman Dyson to have a good look at the proceedings–it wouldn’t hurt to have one of the smartest humans on the planet be at our side. And maybe there’s a Canadian mining engineer who might sign up for the show…

Those of us watching from the sidelines would need to exercise restraint–something not often noticed in the blogosphere, including myself. But it would be worth it to get a result that we could hold up and scrutinize for years to come.

Who would you nominate? (Bloggers often end their post with a question in order to stimulate comments. I honestly want to know–and I don’t think comments will be in short supply.) What does Ben Santer’s letter in the Washington Post mean for all of this? What does Michael Tobis’ post on And Then There’s Physics contribute?

This is a big moment. It comes to us via an administration I don’t like and don’t trust. But here it is. What will we make of it?


  1. I hate to break the news to you, but some of what some skeptics say isn’t very scientific

    Some of what some skeptics say 🙂

    The Consensus is largely right on the physics. They are vulnerable because physics is all they have. They have been unable to square the circle of the interactions of the carbon sinks, the effects of clouds and aerosols and other messy details of the Earth systems in play.

    That is also physics, just very difficult physics. The Consensus is laughably wrong to say all you need is basic physics.

    Good article though, thanks Tom.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “We should not say a word about some of the very real abuses of process by people ranging from Rajendra Pachauri and Phil Jones to Michael Mann. We need to get over it. There are too many honest and hard working climate scientists to tar the profession with the sins of a handful of bad actors. The same is true for criticism of the IPCC, no matter how well deserved. The IPCC is a handful of staffers supervising a largely unpaid collection of scientists reviewing papers every few years. They get a few things wrong and a lot of things right.”

    Red Pill or Blue Pill?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Tom, very interesting post.

    There are related blog posts from Judith Curry, very detailed and going into some of the pitfalls of this approach; and Fabius Maximus, who I think misunderstands the exercise by saying that the aim is to ‘resolve the climate debates’ (as I understand it, the aim is not this, just to ensure alternative views are heard).

    “What does Michael Tobis’ post on And Then There’s Physics contribute?” – very little, except for a laugh that the issue is being discussed at a place where most dissenters are banned!

    As for Santer, his piece is so full of paranoid nonsense and misleading claims that I’ll do a separate post on it.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I would emphasize having contributors from outside the geophysics community. This is about government policy, and has to be supported by sound economic evaluations which in turn require professional estimates by other professions. As you know, there’s a serious weakness in the EPA effort done under Obama: they invented an emissions pathway and concentrations even more absurd than the infamous RCP8.5. This is a serious problem which needs to be addressed (we simply lack the fossil fuels to burn as assumed by both the RCP8.5 team and the EPA). I’m afraid Trump is advised by charlatans who push an ultra cornucopian view, and therefore this issue will be swept under the rug.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fernando L brushes against an important consideration – the impact of politics. I cannot see the red team not becoming a mouthpeace of Republican views nor the blue team becoming a repository of Demoncratic opinions. Deliberations will not stop at “the science”, nor should they.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have to admit, I haven’t been following the red team/blue team dialogue, but – correct me if I’m wrong – it appears to be perceived as coming to some rational compromise between climate doom-mongers and climate naysayers. As Paul points out though, it may just be about getting opinions on both sides more equally heard. At the moment, it’s business as usual in the alarmist camp, but sceptics are getting their counter message out there, and it’s making alarmists look ever so slightly foolish, tbh.

    For instance, Stephen Hawking comes out with some ridiculous nonsense about ‘tipping points’, Trump pulling out of Paris and planet earth ending up like Venus and the BBC faithfully reports his dire warnings ex-caveats, the head of UNEP retweets part of what he said, Greenpeace enthusiastically endorses what he said because he is Stephen Hawking. Then we get the Guardian and others picking up on a new paper which is a variation on the ‘tipping points’ theme in that climate sensitivity may increase in years to come and condemn us all to an ‘it’s worse than we thought’ scenario.

    What is absolutely hilarious is that, apparently, there was this “wave of optimism” among climate scientists when Lewis, Curry and others started coming up with observation-based estimates of climate sensitivity which were lower than those which the models generated! I just can’t recall this Hallelujah chorus of ecstatic climate scientists waving their hands in the air, declaring ‘We’re saved! Thermageddon is not nigh!’ Did I miss something?

    Meanwhile, back on planet earth, a new pier reviewed study from Joe D’Aleo and others shows that most of modern global warming is in the adjustments made by scientists to the data and that consequently, the CO2 endangerment finding by the EPA is baseless.

    So if anything, we need a Red Team to totally annihilate the 90% of rubbish coming from the Blue Team, then we might get somewhere.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. “Meanwhile, back on planet earth, a new pier reviewed study from Joe D’Aleo and others shows that most of modern global warming is in the adjustments made by scientists to the data and that consequently, the CO2 endangerment finding by the EPA is baseless”.

    No doubt that is exactly what will happen to this paper – it will be chucked off the end of the pier to be washed away and added to the sum total of denialist jetsom.


  8. I’m not sure about the distinction between a sceptic and a lukewarmer. I think I’m a sceptic largely because I know CO2 absorbs and emits photons in the 4micron and 15 micron bands, but I’m not sure that we have a handle on what the effect really is when it’s happening in the real world. Taking two variables out of a complex multi-variable system and comparing them will not, in my opinion, provide sensible projection of future behaviour, which Malthus – who had the science on his side – discovered.

    It’s certainly pointless to challenge the IPCC, the science is OK, it’s the SPMs where the propaganda creeps in. Your right too on the issue of what victory would look like. Indeed it can’t be outright, merely because we’re challenging the forecasts doesn’t mean they’re wrong. So the split between the climate community is mitigation v. adaptation. The problem for the climate science community is that the slightest concession is likely to bring down the whole house of card, and you can detect that in their behaviour now. That would be unfair to them because they’ve done a lot of good science (and some political science too unfortunately) and should be respected for that. In my view that’s the reason they’ve refused to debate the issue publicly with lukewarmers/sceptics they know that even if they’re right there is enough counter evidence to make it look as though they’re not. Like the warming starting around 400 years ago, the glaciers starting to retreat mid-19th century etc.

    “What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multidecadal natural
    fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably…

    Tommy Wills, Swansea University (Climatgate emails)”

    Something we’d never hear publicly from a climate scientist, proving the that there are uncertainties but they’re either not understood, or ignored.

    So a victory for me would be a rowing back on the certainties, which I believe won’t happen, because the climate science community have dug themselves into a hole where the loss of face in rowing back on certainty will bring swift political retribution.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jaime, i dont think a dialogue is useful. A more sensible approach is to have the president ask the Secretaries of Energy, Interior, State, and Treasury to oversee a multi agency effort to establish what the USA should do about climate change. They in turn can ask NOAA and other agencies to help pull the weight. This isn’t really an EPA province, nor is it really geophysics given the political baggage.

    They should be tasked with a direction and policy, and answer questions such as whether to have a carbon tax is useful (I think it is if they remove the renewables subsidies and the special grid entry terms they have). And they should overview geoengineering as a subject that merits research funding.

    I’m repeating myself to hammer away and make it clear this should not be a simple dialogue. The whole building has to be torn down and rebuilt properly, and climate scientists do need to move to the back of the bus.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Tom didn’t address the adjustments in temperature records which will likely be the focus of the exchange. This debate would have had to address the 20 year warming hiatus that existed in the RSS satellite temperature data for example, but now with the RSS having found missing heat that eluded them for 20 years, the hiatus is no more. Every temperature data set has eliminated the original hiatus that was discussed prior to the super El Nino but now they have all found more heat and gotten riss of the hiatus except for Christy and Spencer temperature data. They will be a target and savaged for not finding missing 21st century warming in their data.

    While this seems like great progress to some i think red/blue is a nothing burger. The political fix is in boys and girls. The money to be made by in promoting climate change is just too big and the power that politicians would enjoy is just to tempting to pass up. Christy and Spencer will be attacked and dismissed as right wing nut jobs who are biased and their data will be deemed unacceptable because all other data sets now show warming. That’s my prediction.


  11. Tom, the obvious link between climate alarmism and extremist politics is blatant. I would suggest that not hilighting this does no one any food. Asserting that skeptics are driven by politics only makes it worse.
    The climate consensus is largely led by those you just want to sort of skip over.
    That said, as usual you have written a thoughtful reasoned essay. Let us see if the climate extremists miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. My bet is they won’t.


  12. See? Extremist kooks like Allen already deny that their emperor may have a wardrobe malfunction.


  13. ….damn autofill….
    Kooks like Alan……
    Good thing tinfoil is cheap. Between the Russian b.s. and the climate kooks like Alan, a great deal if tinfoil is being consumed.


  14. I’d like to nominate a self professed luke warmer who, like Tom, has also written a book on the subject, Pat Michaels.


  15. Hunter if “climate kooks like Alan” (1.57pm) refers to me and my 10.33am post here, then I protest most vehemently. Don’t you recognize sarcastic irony when you read it? Or is this double double sarc. and I’ve fallen for it HL&S.


  16. Hiya Hunter, how’s it going? Hey, you write, “Tom, the obvious link between climate alarmism and extremist politics is blatant. I would suggest that not hilighting this does no one any food. Asserting that skeptics are driven by politics only makes it worse.”

    Even if that’s 100% true, how can a red team fix it, or even address it? If the blue team are the equivalents of Mann, Hansen, Santer and Trenberth and the red team says ‘Democrats suck,’ what is the blue team supposed to do with that?


  17. So we had a red-team exercise in BEST. That didn’t work out so well for those who initially supported it. What is different this time around?


  18. Len, you might recall that skeptic disapproval of BEST results was preceded by consensus alarm at the BEST efforts. Do you remember the names Muller was called by alarmists for daring to even question the temperature sets? Because the rest of us do.


  19. Tom,
    To answer your last question first: ATTP as usual will contribute nothing that could survive in water deeper than the kiddie pool. Santer’s rant only proves he is an intellectual coward…but is that new?


  20. Alan, my post was a definitive demonstration of why not to post pre-coffee… Sorry about that… 😰


  21. Tom, of course don’t point out that the tinfoil climatocrats are all lefties. Their own spew does them in.
    Spencer, Lindzen, Curry, first come to mind. With time I’ll post more. But today is busy and work is calling. Congrats on a great essay.


  22. “The Consensus is largely right on the physics.”

    Which – given that we are dealing with a non-linear open-ended feedback driven chaotic system – where we don’t even know the signs of some of the feedbacks, never mind the totality of them – beset with inter alia sensitivity to initial conditions and bifurcation points is entirely irrelevant. The physics of the Travelling Salesman or Three Body problems is well known too, but both are computationally intractable problems even at infinitesimally smaller scales than the Earth’s climate.

    Anyone who claims that it is possible to make any meaningful predictions/projections/whatever of such a system using computer games climate models is either a computer salesman or a charlatan – probably both. You can apply as much computing power as can be obtained to such calculations, all that happens

    Ironically, the first person to point this out was the pioneer climate scientist and father of chaos theory Edward Lorenz.

    Hell, even the IPCC have admitted it.

    “In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible. In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

    IPCC Working Group I: The Scientific Basis, Third Assessment Report (TAR), Chapter 14 (final para.,, p774.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. It’s a good post Tom. I agree that mt’s post is good if you ignore the stereotyping of the skeptical side. It’s also marred by strategizing about how to ensure mt’s desired outcome. But it’s a better exposition than ATTPs usual shallow and often emotional responses. Maybe mt should head up the blue team


  24. Do you envisage this team actually doing some work, or what? The failure of the GWPF initiative to check temperature indices suggests there is no appetite for actual work. Maybe Muller would do it, he’s shown himself capable.


  25. Actually, Rohde and Hausfather did a lot of the heavy lifting. I don’t remember who worked on the GWPF initiative, but I don’t think any of my nominees were on it.


  26. Tom:

    Len, you might recall that skeptic disapproval of BEST results was preceded by consensus alarm at the BEST efforts. Do you remember the names Muller was called by alarmists for daring to even question the temperature sets? Because the rest of us do.

    All I remember is the outrage earlier about Muller’s criticism of Mann and his less-than-scientific paleoclimate bodges. I was never really into BEST one way or the other. The falling or rising of the temperature records by fractions of degrees has never interested me much. What does that make me? 🙂

    I listened to Lindzen and later McIntyre and decided the interesting questions lay elsewhere. I did hear someone use the phrase “the roundabout to Damascus” in the pub about Muller’s claimed conversion from skeptic to something else as he announced some BEST results. Oh yes, that was me. Ben Pile seemed to like the phrase but it was after a few pints. 🙂

    It does wearily remind one of the spin and dishonesty that will be applied to the blue and red to keep the green in the pink. The rainbow-coloured gravy train. Even Putin has been praising Paris in Hamburg I gather. Enough of the nonsense. But well done to Trump that the red team idea has at least been mentioned.


  27. But what do you envisage this team doing? Surely they have to go back to raw data – that is all that is free from interpretation. Is that the idea?


  28. The first act of a red team shouldn’t be to present different information or argue points but to expose the poor practices that are inherent in climate science. So the problem with the global temperature series is that the process for generating it is fluid. All the series have been tinkered with over the last 20 years alone, let alone the 30 or so since Hansen started bleating about AGW. When do you stop fiddling with it? The models are trying to extract subtle signals from data that are often different two months running. The peer review work that is subsequently published based on those data sets, don’t readjust to factor in the changing data and don’t even include a copy of the old. How could anyone audit that work? The general idea is that the global temperature series are near enough because they show similarities with each other. We don’t accept ‘near enough’ for sports, why would we think it was good enough for THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT?

    Quality control from industry could be a good guide to follow (ISO 9000/9001) to demonstrate how science (and especially climate science) is light years away from being fit for the purpose of policy.

    If I was the red team I would:-

    Want to see their SOPs – so when someone takes a sample, adjusts a reading, creates a proxy series, adds or removes a temperature station, calculates the global temperature, etc, there should be a series of rules that are documented and followed. The reason for this is so that everyone who does a particular task, does it in an agreed way. Someone new could pick up the procedure and do the same. SOPs spawn questions like ‘is this the best way to do that task’. Without them, how do you know that the results are comparable? eg Proxies must be calibrated to a thermometer, what happens if that data is adjusted? The proxy data might not show enough variation compared to the new thermometer series or the whole base line may need to be altered to fit the latest version. The biggest issue with the global series is not so much that it’s wrong (although who could tell) but that it is shifting sands that are supposed to be the foundations of the rest of the science.

    Test their quality control – which appears to be non existent. Anthony Watts kindly audited the US stations for them, but what about the others? Do they know anything about the pedigree of their data?

    Documentation and archiving – having decided how to do the tasks, there should be records from following them. So not only should there be a record of temperature station adjustments but there should be a record of why they were adjusted. If the adjustments are computerised (and they probably are), there should be a fully documented explanation/justification for the software routines. There should be evidence of testing that the software doesn’t generate spurious results.

    And so on. The first step should not be about arguing individual facts but to demonstrate that the whole system does not seem geared towards arriving at them.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. The red teams shouldn’t just be looking at the science. Almost all the failures with solutions to AGW have been predicted by sceptics in advance.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Nic Lewis is on the Red Team. The Blue Team should be thanking him today for reinvigorating the “wave of hope” [sic] which pulsed through the climate science community when low estimates of climate sensitivity at odds with the models first appeared. His response to Cristian Proistosescu and Peter Huybers, 2017, which I referred to above (17th July, 10.15am), is here:

    It’s very technical and I would not presume to say that he is correct. However, this is exactly the kind of activity which we need from a Red Team where the Blue Team come up with a scientific paper and then their mouthpieces in the press hawk it all over the shop proclaiming that it dashes all hopes that climate sensitivity is on the low side and that therefore it’s full steam ahead for ‘Thermageddon Business As Usual Scenario’ (unless we drastically reduce emissions, travel via sewing machines on wheels, live in caves, etc.)


  31. Yep, well spotted Jaime, I just noticed the parallel post on Judy Curry’s, having returned from lunch with an elderly relative. Nic is already a formidable, and very fair, red team on his own delving into the central concern of climate sensitivity. Like you, I need to study this paper before saying more.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. This is the killer for me Richard. Lewis identifies three main sources of error in the paper. Proistosescu has so far disagreed with one.

    “When correctly calculated, median ICS estimate for CMIP5 GCMs, based on the evolution of forcing over the historical period, is 3.0°C, not 2.5°C as claimed in PH17. Although 3.0°C is below the median ECS estimate for the GCMs of 3.4°C, it is well above a median estimate in the 1.6–2.0°C range for good quality observationally-based climate sensitivity estimates. PH17’s headline claim that it reconciles historical and model-based estimates of climate sensitivity is wrong.”

    So even if the paper was faultless – which it most likely is not – it still estimates a median value of 2.5C for ECS, which is well below the GCM median value, but still well above the 1.6C-2.0C observationally-based estimates. So the claim that it ‘reconciles’ the two is in fact not true; it just brings them closer together. But hey, the alarmists got their message out there and most people who take an interest in these things now think that climate sensitivity will increase in future and we will all fry as a result, unless something drastic is done.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. The red team should look at the handling of confirmation bias within climate science, which will be a target rich environment, particularly when it comes to paleoclimate studies and GCM model runs. For instance, the choice of which proxies are studied, which are archived, which are ultimately used in paleoclimate studies and why, which statistical methods are used, etc.

    Compare and contrast with modern standards around (say) pharmaceutical testing, where increasingly the pharma companies are asked to state their proposed statistical methods up-front, so as to discourage data-mining for statistically relevant P-values.


  34. Tom is asking for a replay of the last Red Team exercise his side lost.
    Not long ago , having listened with great respect, but some puzzlement to MIT Professor Richard Lindzen express his views on global warming, two public-spirited and authentically skeptical Kansan graduates of that institution opted to fund a Red Team exercise of their own.

    They called in a Berkeley professor, skeptical as themselves, and as astute and scientifically accomplished as Lindzen himself, and asked he to dissect the climate issue anew. So he assembled a team that delved into the temperature record, and alternative explanations, like solar variability and badly sited thermometer stations causing apparent rise, and did a goodly amount of research, and gigabytes of analysis, statistical and dimensional.

    Whereupon Professor Richard Muller announced that his Red Team had changed his mind, He concluded the meteorological common wisdom was indeed true- CO2 driven radiative forcing best fits the data.

    There was no decline for erstwhile ‘Climate Skeptics’ to hide behind. Global temperatures urban and rural, wet and dry, were going up, not down or sideways as die hards still contend.

    As that was good enough for the sponsors of the exercise, the fossil fuel rich, worldly-wise and MIT educated brothers Koch, why should us taxpayers pay for an instant replay ?


  35. Hi Russell,

    If you can paste in your comments from William Connelly’s blog, I hope you can see why I paste in my reply from the same venue:

    There are several elements missing from your account of the BEST story. I’ll glide over the alarmists hurling names at him in advance of his published results for having the temerity to question the established temperature series.

    Perhaps more of interest, Professor Muller, despite his pointed criticism of Michael Mann (which was well-deserved), was not really a skeptic at heart. His daughter is a committed environmentalist and strong supporter of the consensus view of global warming and it was after long conversations with her that Professor Muller undertook the project. I’ve met them both and they’re both very intelligent and very… culturally aware.

    The other thing your narrative neglects is that many skeptics (and lukewarmers such as myself and Mosher, who worked on BEST), were telling the world before work even started that the results would confirm findings of other efforts to chart temperature trends. The surprise exhibited when Muller came forth with his version was in large part just relief that he didn’t go off on a tangent, coupled with disappointment from many on the skeptic side.


  36. And Russell, since we have a case study of a red team exercise actually doing what it was supposed to do, I confess that I wonder why you seem against the proposition.

    To an overwhelming extent, taxpayers paid for the science–most quite good, but containing a distressing number of howlers. Why would you object to taxpayers shelling out the pennies a red team audit would cost?


  37. The proposition that skeptics can prevail by building model of their own, as Pruitt would like is more metaphysical rather than physical, not because of either side’s beleif system, but quite simply becase models are not things.

    Constructing a GCM , and getting the code to run is not the same as achieving physical understanding of the parameters , natural and anthropogenic, needed to run it – I fear all that reitierating the process of parametrizarion will accomplish at present is satisfying what amounts to a matter of political and economic taste– taste left relatively uninformed on the skeptic side by a failure of effort to keep up with the formal literature.

    You get more realism by advancing the state of the art in geophysical data collection and digesting what others have honestly collected than you do by reitierating what you can do with models that rapidly obselesce- sometimes faster than the relevant disciplies can get the parameter value spreads to converge, because until you do have a realistic consensus as to the values of such things you are fooling yourself about knowing the future-

    It’s a Bayesian game, and I personally prefer to work on mitigation – and get actuall feedback in peer review, rather than playing climateball with teams with political, ideological or corporate sponsors-
    Because science is , in the main, a game can only be won by the disinterested.


  38. russellseitz, what you describe is trying to get a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. I doubt anyone really expects a radically different answer from different teams, simply because a) it has warmed and b) they are all using similar data sets. So who cares if some have peaks and troughs greater in one organisation’s version than another? Who cares if the ocean measurements were primitive and in short supply? Who cares if many of the stations are at airports (particularly in areas that are rapidly developing? Who cares if many of the stations are of dubious quality? Who cares if the results have slightly different slopes? Who cares if the 2017 version doesn’t match the 2000 one? Only someone who wants to understand what was really happening to global temperature and draw some conclusions about the future. No biggie.

    Bottom line the global data sets are crap. There is only so much that can be done about that. But what has been done in the last 20 years to imprrove the network? Has the entire network been audited? Have new stations been set up in areas with bad ones? Or does it all rely on software to turn those sows’ ears into silk purses?

    The other thing that concerns me is – adjustments in the stations used create significanlty different results as demonstrated by the historical changes to GISS and HadCRUT. If that is the case how reliable is any proxy reconstruction using a handful of proxies from around the planet?


  39. As an experiment I took several UK stations and subtracted the Stornaway results from them on the assumption that Stornaway was probably the least affected by UHI. All of the stations (including the CET) showed warming compared to Stornaway but Oxford was the fastest. Sheffield’s warming was rapid to start with but then slowed down. It very much seemed to me that UHI reflected industry and urbanisation. Even Stornaway has developed and I’m sure that the airport the station sits within has expanded since records began.

    Do I think that those records would be adjusted to reflect the different rates of urbanisation? No. Do I think that the effect might be mich greater in the poorer countries of the World? Absolutely.


  40. Tom says:

    “To an overwhelming extent, taxpayers paid for the science–most quite good, but containing a distressing number of howlers.”

    I have to disagree. Climate science, for 30 years, has become a self-reinforcing edifice, built upon layer after layer of confirmation bias powered by an inferior form of ‘science’ which lacks rigour and repeatability.

    “Consider climate change. “The vaunted scientific consensus around climate change,” notes Sarewitz, “applies only to a narrow claim about the discernible human impact on global warming. The minute you get into questions about the rate and severity of future impacts, or the costs of and best pathways for addressing them, no semblance of consensus among experts remains.” Nevertheless, climate “models spew out endless streams of trans-scientific facts that allow for claims and counterclaims, all apparently sanctioned by science, about how urgent the problem is and what needs to be done.”

    Vast numbers of papers have been published attempting to address these trans-scientific questions, Sarewitz observes. They provide anyone engaged in these debates with overabundant supplies of “peer-reviewed and thus culturally validated truths that can be selected and assembled in whatever ways are necessary to support the position and policy solution of your choice.” It’s confirmation bias all the way down.”

    The IPCC has provided fake form, substance and authority to this endless stream of ‘trans-scientific facts’, but even it is now being short-circuited by fast-tracked Blue Team ‘scientific studies’ which are rapidly promoted in the popular press, the ‘take-home message’ from which has traveled twice round the globe before any Red Team member has had any opportunity to look closely at the claims therein. Trans-scientific facts, like trans-fatty acids before, are all the rage and they alone now are driving forward the bloated, rotten corpse of the ‘science’ of ‘dangerous’ man-made climate change.

    Liked by 2 people

  41. Jaime Jessop, thanks for pointing out that Reason link. I particularly liked these three paragraghs:

    Some alarmed researchers refer to this situation as the “reproducibility crisis,” but Sarewitz convincingly argues that they are not getting to the real source of the rot. The problem starts with the notion, propounded in the MIT technologist Vannevar Bush’s famous 1945 report Science: The Endless Frontier, that scientific progress “results from the free play of free intellects, working on subjects of their own choice, in the manner dictated by their curiosity for exploration of the unknown.” Sarewitz calls this a “beautiful lie.”

    Why it is a lie? Because it makes “it easy to believe that scientific imagination gives birth to technological progress, when in reality technology sets the agenda for science, guiding it in its most productive directions and providing continual tests of its validity, progress, and value.” He adds, “Technology keeps science honest.” Basically, research detached from trying to solve well-defined problems spins off self-validating, career-enhancing publications like those breast cancer studies that actually were using skin cancer cells. Yet no patients were cured of breast cancer. The “truth test” of technology is the most certain way to tell if the knowledge allegedly being generated by research is valid. “The scientific phenomena must be real or the technologies would not work,” Sarewitz explains.

    Sarewitz points out that the military-industrial complex—the very force from which Vannevar Bush was eager to escape—generated the targeted scientific results that led to many of the technologies that have made the modern world possible, including digital computers, jet aircraft, cell phones, the internet, lasers, satellites, GPS, digital imagery, and nuclear and solar power. He’s not suggesting that the Department of Defense should be in charge of scientific research. He’s arguing that research should be aimed more directly at solving specific problems, as opposed to a system where researchers torture some cells and lab mice and then publish a dubious paper. An example of the kind of targeted scientific work he favors is the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s Artemis project, whose goal is to develop an effective breast cancer vaccine by 2020.

    This suggests sort of a “chicken and egg” aspect to science and technology. I’ve always thought it infantile the way some alarmists try to conflate any skepticism of climate science with being against science and technological progress.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. “The IPCC…is now being short-circuited by fast-tracked Blue Team ‘scientific studies’ which are rapidly promoted in the popular press”

    The consensus of 97% of Climate Depot, Dilbert and Breitbart readers notwithstanding, intelligent laymen can still recognize cant when they hear it and cartoons when they see them.


  43. Oh Russell, the dripping sense of your own superiority as you write “intelligent laymen”. Of course you are. Of course you are.

    Thanks to Canman, and thus to Jaime and Sarewitz, for that extended quote. That’s really interesting. I’ve not seen anyone criticise Vannevar Bush like that for a long while, probably never.

    Liked by 2 people

  44. Canman brings up this notion that research should be guided by the desire to solve specific problems, but of course such must be preceded by other scientific research which identifies specific problems – like lung cancer, or climate change. Lung cancer is a killer and its causes and epidemiology have been fairly well defined, unlike climate change (TM), which has not been positively ID’d as a killer, whose supposed cause is extremely well defined but exceptionally difficult to attribute using empirical data, and whose incidence is indistinguishable ‘in the wild’ from its lesser known cousin, natural climatic variability.
    Our intelligent layman Russell says he prefers to “work on mitigation” rather than indulge in red team/blue team shenanigans, thus conforming to the above notion that scientific advances should be driven by technological need. But there again, it does seem not very intelligent to involve oneself with the mitigation of a ‘problem’ which is so ill-defined that it may not even be a problem, and, if it is, to not mention nuclear energy, which is tried and tested, and is the only sane way to reduce ‘problematic’ emissions of GHGs.

    Liked by 2 people

  45. Hmm.
    Some corrections.
    The BEST project was close to 2.5 million over 3 years. This does not count the volunteer work many of us did.
    Muller was most certainly a skeptic by any reasonable standard. His prior work on orbital mechanics, cosmic dust, and paleo; his criticism of Mann; his total rejection of gcms; the shock he expressed when we showed him the co2 regressions; the amount of time he devoted to trying to find something wrong with that; his continued rejection of carbon taxes; his continued skepticism about the connection between co2 and extreme weather and his initial acceptance of everything Anthony watts told him should be evidence enough.

    But he holds three beliefs that somehow strangely have caused his excommunication from the church of skeptics.
    1. Co2 is a ghg.
    2. At present co2 and volcanic forcing explains the warming.
    3. The record is largely correct for temperature.

    The other thing is BEST had almost a dozen people contributing. All with various backgrounds and skills. Zeke and I joined later after we had done some work that showed promise in finding a UHI effect. I was asked to join after making some critical comments about their draft papers. My first task was to show Rohde my new methodology for Identifying urban stations. The specific goal was to show the same uhi bias that zeke and I had found in smaller datasets.

    People also forget that judith was a Co author on the methods paper. Later she would change her mind and now questions the Kriging she had signed off on. Hmm.

    It is a core religious belif of climate skeptics that the record must be either a fraud or junk. Forget that it’s a record that shows the LIA was real. If you question this you lose your status retrospectively. You never actually were one.

    Finally, long ago when I questioned adjustments and was convinced uhi was large and detectable I stumbled on a network. It was CRN. Here was 100+ stations with triple redundant sensors. And we’ll sited. It was 2007.

    I had a simple thought. 10 years down the road we just compare the perfect stations with the imperfect ones and the folks on my blue team who worship the record will convert.
    They will see the bias.
    Conversely if I couldn’t find a bias between the perfect and the rest of the stations I would have to denounce my faith that uhi was large and that unjustments were unsound in some cases.

    10 years has passed. Guess what?

    One of the guys on the gpwf effort to red team adjustments explained why they quit. It’s a pity they can’t be transparent about it.

    I appreciate a lot of what Tom says about red teams. Years ago I raised the same idea on climate audit.
    It will be hard to find qualified members.
    They will be attacked by all sides.
    Some will regret it. Some will pretend they never
    Played a role.
    The history of it will be distorted.
    They will be lucky to finish.


  46. tom

    Pielke Sr. was on the ill fated GWPF Red team.

    RomanM of climate audit fame was also on it.

    I’m rather rather Saddened that Roman was not able to complete the job.

    Why? because our head statistician was a friend of his and we basically read everything
    RomanM wrote. He and other skeptics had insights that we followed and approaches
    that we implemented.

    Lets take an example.

    All over climate audit ( and even steve himself) suggested applying Kriging. Kriging allows
    us to work in absolute temperature and avoid all the skeptical issues over “base period”
    and the dreaded anomaly.

    The argument at climate audit was that Kriging was NOT home brewed stats like Jones
    and hansen. Does anyone remember Steve’s arguments about the way hansen combined stations?
    Remember how he argued for putting it on a sound statistical footing?
    Anyone remember Romans improvements to that?

    Any way. Does anyone remember climate audit arguing that methods should be tested first
    in a methods paper? That one problem with Jones and hansen is they never proved their method
    in a separate paper but rather combined method and results papers?

    Ever wonder why we did a separate methods paper? duh

    In the end any one can find or invent a reason not to accept any reasonable position.
    Heck, even something as simple as “Other minds exist” can be questioned for centuries.

    In theory Red team is a good idea if you are battling group think. But in the end, blue
    decides what to accept from Red Team efforts.

    That was even true at BEST where the rest of the blue team fought the publication to
    the bitter end. And then waged a war against our continued funding.
    Now Red team attacks us, and Blue uses us an great example

    you cant make this stuff up


  47. The claim that Muller was a climate sceptic has come up several times now on this thread.

    Here he is in an interview in 2008:
    “There is a consensus that global warming is real. There has not been much so far, but it’s going to get much, much worse.”

    Yes I know he’s on record as criticising “hide the decline”. That shows he has more scientific integrity than many, but it doesn’t make him a sceptic.


  48. Steven,

    “But he holds three beliefs that somehow strangely have caused his excommunication from the church of skeptics.
    1. Co2 is a ghg.
    2. At present co2 and volcanic forcing explains the warming.
    3. The record is largely correct for temperature.

    . . . . . It is a core religious belief of climate skeptics that the record must be either a fraud or junk. Forget that it’s a record that shows the LIA was real.”

    I think you will find most members of the church of sceptics accept 1. and (with reservations), sign off on 3. As regards 2., you’re not really a sceptic if you think that CO2 explains all of the warming since 1850 (or 1950). I haven’t come across a sceptic yet who questions the cooling influence of volcanic aerosols. I’m pleased to see that you accept the LIA was real and global, the presence in the record of which has very little to with whether or not sceptics accept the authenticity of that record, given that most adjustments have been post 1850, technically after the LIA ended.

    It’s not necessary for a sceptic to believe that the global temp record is fraud or junk. Some do, which is perhaps not too surprising given that most adjustments tend to increase the warming trend and many have tended to erase a ‘pause’ which was hitherto accepted (with reluctance) by the AGW convinced community. My own personal view is that it is indeed a wonder to behold that the sum total of all those adjustments, in the final analysis, is so tiny in the global temp record, as to be hardly significant – which does make me wonder why all those scientists have devoted so much time and effort to ‘getting the figures right by correcting for bias’ over all these years. I also can’t get my head round why UHI effects, which are so obviously significant on the regional scale, in urban areas where so many stations are now sited, turn out to be so insignificant on the global scale. I’m willing to accept that may be an intellectual failing on my part, as is the fact that I also can’t appreciate how, when adjustments have so radically altered regional trends (usually in favour of warming), their sum appears to have so little effect upon global trends. But this is all by the by. The crucial issue is what caused the warming. The crucial issue is whether this warming will continue indefinitely, by how much and at what rate. These are questions which I believe have not been satisfactorily addressed by the AGW convinced scientific community. This is why I (and others) count ourselves among the members of the church of sceptics.


  49. So Muller’s skepticism of temperature indices didn’t make him a skeptic. What is the minimum set of skeptic views needed?


  50. Richard Drake gave quite a nice definition in his post that follows this one:

    I’d argue that Climate Scepticism is above all the conviction that climate really isn’t that important.

    Muller clearly does not fit that, in view of the previous quote I gave, and this one from 2003:

    “My own reading of the literature and study of paleoclimate suggests strongly that carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuels will prove to be the greatest pollutant of human history. It is likely to have severe and detrimental effects on global climate.”

    These two quotes also show that he doesn’t fit with Jaime’s definition.


  51. Here are Muller’s reasons for his supposed rapid ‘conversion’ from sceptic to believer in dangerous AGW. Readers can judge for themselves what they think. Personally, I think, for a physicist, he was rather easily swayed by a set of circumstantial evidence whilst failing to give due regard to conflicting evidence re. attribution of warming.


  52. People will of course redefine skeptic to fit their purpose. Was jesus really a buddist? Ect ect ect. It’s how other people called me a denier because I criticized mann.

    You’all really lack the chops to make even an ineffective argument here. You don’t even get the basics.

    You can’t afford to have a skeptic change their mind. Think about that.


  53. “So Muller’s skepticism of temperature indices didn’t make him a skeptic. What is the minimum set of skeptic views needed?”

    The interesting thing is you are required to disbelieve in record.
    It’s the oddest religion.
    Even a sky dragon who argues that CO2 can’t cause warming also has to disbelieve in the record.

    The best example of this is curry. She doubts the attribution argument now…
    But denying the attribution argument is not enough. She has now evolved to deny the very work she signed her name to on the temperature methods paper. She had to evolve to have this disbelief. Otherwise she would be unacceptable to skeptics.

    That’s why for example Anthony walked away from his meetings with muller convinced he was a skeptic. It’s why he gave him his station data. Data he refused to give to me..Mr climategate. You can’t be a skeptic and believe in the record.
    So when you find someone who questions the record..well the have to be a skeptic. .

    Now this is very odd. You are required to disbelieve in record. You can call it a can also say it has a bias. . But it has to be a big enough bias. .! The record has to be imperfect enough to suit your other purposes. .1/10 here or there is enough


  54. So weird.
    One skeptic on the thread arguing they all believe co2 causes warming.
    Another disqualifies muller on the basis of believing that.

    It like time travel to 2007 and how Luke warmer was defined.

    In the end if you believe in the temperature record you can’t be a skeptic. Isn’t that odd. What is it about the fact of warming that is so important to deny? And note any amount of disbelief
    Will do the trick.


  55. Steven is confused:

    “People will of course redefine skeptic to fit their purpose”.

    “The interesting thing is you are required to disbelieve in record.
    It’s the oddest religion.
    Even a sky dragon who argues that CO2 can’t cause warming also has to disbelieve in the record.”

    “So weird.
    One skeptic on the thread arguing they all believe co2 causes warming.
    Another disqualifies muller on the basis of believing that.”

    “Now this is very odd. You are required to disbelieve in record. You can call it a can also say it has a bias. . But it has to be a big enough bias. .! The record has to be imperfect enough to suit your other purposes. .1/10 here or there is enough”

    “In the end if you believe in the temperature record you can’t be a skeptic.”

    He starts off with the accusation that people will redefine sceptic to suit their purpose, then proceeds to redefine sceptic presumably to suit his own purpose.

    Steven, once again, it is entirely possible (indeed, it is actually quite common) for sceptics to acknowledge that the global temperature record is largely correct, yet still question the ‘science’ which indicates most or all of the rise in temperature, post 1950 or post 1850, is due to the accumulation in the atmosphere of anthropogenically sourced CO2.

    But then you’re saying that even if somebody questions a tiny part of any global surface temperature dataset, they are, by definition, a sceptic, as this is a ‘requirement’ in order to be part of the club. It’s not, it never was, it’s just that being sceptical of the CAUSE of the warming, many people are naturally sceptical of the MAGNITUDE of the warming, given the established fact that adjustments have tended to warm the present warming episode (even to the point of erasing the pause) whilst diminishing previous warming episodes, given also the fact that there is a clear motive for doing so – that being to bring the models into better agreement with the data. I’m not saying this is the case, but it should certainly give cause for concern from any sceptical viewpoint.


  56. Steven, I’m afraid it is you who is unable to make an argument. I’ve provided three direct quotes from Muller providing evidence that he was not a sceptic. You are the one requiring ‘disbelief in record’. You have provided no evidence to support your claim whatsoever. All you’ve provided is three more incoherent rants of your own opinion.

    Maybe you don’t ‘get the basics’ of what evidence is, or what scepticism is. It’s quite simple. If you make a claim, you need to provide convincing evidence to back it up.


  57. Jaime, your discussion of temperature records above leaves it unclear to me whether you do or don’t accept them.

    “The crucial issue is what caused the warming. The crucial issue is whether this warming will continue indefinitely, by how much and at what rate.”

    Those may be important for climate science, but I don’t believe they are important for skepticism. If your red team determined that CO2 is to blame and that sensitivity is 2.5, most skeptics I’ve ever talked to would just adjust their arguments to another reason to mistrust the findings or reject the data.


  58. “Steven, I’m afraid it is you who is unable to make an argument. I’ve provided three direct quotes from Muller providing evidence that he was not a sceptic. ”

    I’m unconvinced by your argument. He was regarded as a skeptic by skeptics.
    He held and still holds many skeptical views.
    he regarded himself as a skeptic.
    Now, of course it is possible to find contrary evidence.
    That’s always the case.
    Not convincing.

    The important point is that you are not allowed to believe in the temperature record.
    The other point is you will never allow anyone to convert. You will symbolically crucify them.
    You will twist and turn and hunt for any contrary evidence to disallow any conversion story.
    You have to.
    You have no choice.

    [PM: I’m not making an argument, I’m providing evidence in the form of quotes from Muller, pre-Best, that he wasn’t a sceptic. You are still just ranting and still haven’t provided a shred of evidence for any of your claims.]


  59. I’m not nearly as interested in Muller’s ‘beliefs’ as I am in my friend and co-author’s. As I’ve stepped further and further away from the climate conversation, my own position has just… simplified. GW is real. AGW is almost certainly true. CAGW is a bridge too far.

    When Mosh says we don’t prepare for the weather of the past, I’m on board 100%–maybe more. Adaptation to current climate extremes builds resiliency where it’s needed most.

    When Mosh starts critcizing Judith for snippets pulled from hundreds of posts, I think he’s making a political point not a scientific one. You could say it better with K-Pop, Steve…

    On the other hand, when I see Steve criticizing Judith, it reminds me of something… oh, yeah–how I lambasted Tobis for years.


  60. The other odd thing you will find Skeptics doing is Accepting the temperature record
    WHEN it fits their purpose.
    Solar cycle studies
    Natural Cycle Studies ( curry co authoring on our AMO paper is a good example)

    Other odd things.

    1. Arguing that CRN is how measurements should be made.
    2. Being unable to address or even ADMIT that CRN statiosn since starting in 2002 MATCH
    the BAD stations. I’ve even seen some skeptics start to attack CRN.
    3. Arguing for raw data, and then Running away when you point out that GLOBAL RAW shows
    More warming than global adjusted.
    4. Arguing that Population causes UHI, and then…
    Running away when you point out that
    UNPOPULATED locations show the same warming. Or changing the subject to adjustments
    or coverage, or micro site, or we should use OHC, or look at Spencer and Christy.

    Put another way. There is no way to falsify the skeptics belief that the record is wrong or a fraud.
    and further, while it is logically possible to believe in the record and DENY that c02 is a major cause,
    it is practically “impossible” since rejection of the temperature record is skeptical dogma. Ok maybe a few people believe it is “passable” or “about right”, but they hold that belief in a closeted way.
    Like when I asked Curry to please tell congress that her work on temperature methods was NOT a fraud.. she could not. Even though she knows its not. Even saying its not a fraud and correcting skeptics who say it is is Not allowed. Its like the sin of Takfir for skeptics.

    Now Blue team is no better. I used to have to sign all my posts with ‘Agw is true and Mann was wrong”

    Nobody got that point then, just as nobody gets the point about skeptical dogma about temperaature records.

    But think. 10 years down the road, when you have 25 years of CRN showing that “yes the rest of the network shows the same answer as the perfect stations” what becomes of that dogma?


  61. Ah well I dont bitch about her moderating me.
    She has to moderate me.
    I might ask her to actually defend the work she signed her name to as not a fraud.
    And if she did that she would lose audience.

    You see, you are allowed to go on her site and claim her co authors are frauds
    you are not allowed to call her a fraud by refusing to tell those people “hey! I worked on that,
    its not a fraud”

    Weird world.

    In short I believe celebrity’s in all feilds show be subject to the treatment you get on Weekly Idol

    Dont throw black cats at my house.


  62. Global warming is real. Perhaps our results will help cool this portion of the climate debate. How much of the warming is due to humans and what will be the likely effects? We made no independent assessment of that.” – Professor Richard A. Muller

    Professor Richard Muller is a Professor of Physics at the University of California at Berkeley and up until very recently was considered a skeptic in the realm of global warming. Specifically, Professor Muller had concerns about whether the data generated in land and water temperature records was valid



  63. You can’t be a warmist and doubt the record.

    And that’s just the surface-temperature record. What about the rest? The number of named hurricanes has been on the rise for years, but that’s in part a result of better detection technologies (satellites and buoys) that find storms in remote regions. The number of hurricanes hitting the U.S., even more intense Category 4 and 5 storms, has been gradually decreasing since 1850. The number of detected tornadoes has been increasing, possibly because radar technology has improved, but the number that touch down and cause damage has been decreasing. Meanwhile, the short-term variability in U.S. surface temperatures has been decreasing since 1800, suggesting a more stable climate.

    Without good answers to all these complaints, global-warming skepticism seems sensible. But now let me explain why you should not be a skeptic, at least not any longer.


  64. “Richard Muller: Yeah, yeah. And that’s their job. They collected raw data which is virtually unusable, then they analyzed it, and much of their data is then used also by the NASA group, and there’s some independent work done in the UK. What — but in the process of doing this analysis on the data, all three groups were doing a lot of adjustments to the data. And the data have to be adjusted. We see records in which it’s clear the temperature jumps from zero degrees all the way up to 32 in one hour. Well, no, someone just started to switch from Celsius to Fahrenheit. So you have to go look at the data and make those adjustments.

    But there were problems with this. There were undocumented station location changes. There were — only a small fraction of the data were being used. Of the stations that were available — of the nearly 40,000 stations that are available, the group, the NOAA group was using only 8,000 of them. The group in the UK was only using 2,000. There were issues of how they were selecting these. If they were selecting them because they had long records, which was the method that they said they were using, then there’s a danger that records with long records were once rural. If they are 200 years old, they almost certainly were once rural. But now they may be deeply buried inside of the city and there’s the urban heat island effect. So there are all of these questions, and when I read the papers, I could not find adequate answers to these questions that bothered me. I wanted to know whether global warming was real and whether it’s caused by humans. And I could not convince myself when I carefully scrutinized the data.”


  65. Here is the other thing.

    Watch very carefully. You will see Muller express doubt about the record.

    For one side that doubt is enough to brand him a skeptic.
    For another side that doubt is NOT enough, you have to deny the record.

    Skepticism used to mean doubt. I mean how can you believe in global warming when you doubt the
    warming record?

    Now its not enough to doubt mans role, you have to deny it to be a skeptic.
    Its not enough to doubt the record, you have to deny it.

    That’s if you want to earn your eagle badges.

    For Luke warmers I laid out a pretty clear case of what it meant to be one. People liked the term so much they stole it and changed the meaning.

    What’s a skeptic and who decided


  66. Well, the funniest thing about BEST is how it was vilified by the alarmist community pre-publication and by the skeptic community the moment you guys released the results.

    If somebody ever asks me 20 years from now to encapsulate the debate, that will serve.


  67. Len, I’m suspicious of the temperature records, mainly on account of the fact that the people who produce them keep adjusting them (usually with the net result that the modern warming trend is increased). Now we also have one satellite record which has also been adjusted to show an absolutely huge increase in warming since 1998. How can you have faith in such data? Quite apart from the fact that, of itself, the global surface temperature record is a poor metric for demonstrating a theoretical energy imbalance due to the accumulation of GHGs anyway, and pretty useless as regards the measurement of climate change on a regional scale, which is what really matters.


  68. Len, I’m suspicious of the temperature records, mainly on account of the fact that the people who produce them keep adjusting them (usually with the net result that the modern warming trend is increased).

    Except that’s false.

    Now think about this. This is your religion. The thing you cannot doubt. But it’s false.

    1. The Net Result Of All Adjustments To GLOBAL Temperature Used In ECS Calculations Is A Net COOLing.
    2. The net adjustments in Karl et al. Was to cool the long term
    Trend reducing ECS estimates that tell us how dangerous future warming will be.
    3. The net result of Hansen s last update in 2010 was to cool the record.

    Wanna talk satellite data? Of course change the subject when your religion is a stake.

    Here is a clue. The record is correct AND man may not play the dominant role.


  69. Now we also have one satellite record which has also been adjusted to show an absolutely huge increase in warming since 1998.

    Go figure. From 1979 to 1998 the satellite models of temperature matched the surface measurements. In 1998 they changed sensor type. Figuring out how to fix the models of temperature that satellites produce is tough. They finally fix them.


  70. If somebody ever asks me 20 years from now to encapsulate the debate, that will serve.



  71. Steven,

    “Except that’s false”.

    Except it isn’t.

    “The net adjustments in Karl et al. Was to cool the long term
    Trend reducing ECS estimates that tell us how dangerous future warming will be.”

    I said that they tended to increase the modern warming trend, not the long term trend. perhaps I should have been more specific and said the ‘recent’ trend.

    Look at this GISS maturity diagram of adjustments made since 2008 and tell me that it doesn’t show a cooling of the 1910-1940s warming, a cooling of the 1960s/70s cooling and an almost continuous enhancement of the warming from 1980-2010. Yes, if you go further back, the adjustments tend to warm the past, decreasing the overall trend, but there again GHG warming would have been vanishingly small pre 1900, so I can’t see how it would figure much in any estimate of ECS. Warming the present will have a much greater effect on estimates of climate sensitivity than will cooling the distant past, simply because the effect of GHG forcing should be so much more significant now.

    BTW I have no religion, save religiously trying to stick to facts.


  72. Jaime, so you really don’t accept the record of warming, yet you say that the crucial issue is what caused the warming and whether the warming will continue etc.

    As for changes to RSS v4, did you object so much when UAH v6 adjusted significantly downwards or that they didn’t bother to publish their methods for months and months after the change?


  73. Len, you really must learn to distinguish between the phrases ‘do not accept’ and ‘am suspicious’. What I do not accept is the proposition that the various global warming datasets are unequivocally correct. Why would I, for heaven’s sake? They are adjusted every few months, so it would appear that even the people who produce them only accept that they are correct for limited periods!

    Did the UAH v6 adjustment decrease the trend from 98 onwards by 140% or anywhere near that figure?

    Liked by 1 person

  74. “I said that they tended to increase the modern warming trend, not the long term trend. perhaps I should have been more specific and said the ‘recent’ trend.”

    The only thing that matters with regard to FUTURE DAMAGES is the ECS.

    ECS is not measured by recent trends

    ECS is estimated by looking at Delta T. Over long periods.

    Every Alarmist knows this simple math.

    So your argument amounts to they Changed the parts of the graph that DONT MATTER to ECS,
    and changed the parts that DO MATTER in such a way that the scientific case for alarmism is worse.


    It is your religion.

    Here is how I know.

    When I tell you that adjustments to global COOL the record. you cannot bear to look at it.
    When I talk about Karl et al, You and its cooling, you ignore that.
    When I mention Hansen 2010 and the changes he made to cool the record, you ignore that.

    Instead you post a chart that has data you never looked at and really dont understand.

    You say you are suspicious of adjustments but the MATERIAL adjustments, the adjustments that make the case for alarmism WEAKER.. you just ignore. Because why? because you saw a chart somewhere and you didnt understand. And you filled that gap in your knowledge with suspicion
    YET you were never skeptical of your own first reaction, because it fit the story your fellow zealots


  75. “so I can’t see how it would figure much in any estimate of ECS. ”

    ECS is defined as Delta T / Delta F over long periods.
    So if you decrease the long term trend you have a smaller delta T.
    Smaller delta T is smaller ECS.

    Now, Do you know that the GISS changes are actually NOT changes made by GISS?

    No you dont know that. your religion forbids you to try to understand how and why those changes
    are made and who actually makes them.

    You cannot allow your self to actually go look at the code and data that folks like mcintyre and i fought to get released. you see, a true skeptic, one who DOUBTS, wants to examine stuff and get to the bottom of the issue. We dont cut and paste graphs and draw the first conclusion that comes to our minds. We go get the data and code and read the papers and construct pro and con arguments.

    In some cases we may re do the work entirely from scratch. Our doubt is PROVISIONAL and METHODOLOGICAL we use the doubt as a tool, but we aim at truth and understanding.
    if we think that record might be wrong we DONT STOP THERE.. we see if we can do better.
    because if we dont test our own ideas, then we are just being dogmatic.

    Look at the chart!!

    Clear sign of a dogmatic believer


  76. A lot of obfuscating overlay there Steven, with various accusations of personal failings and tangential excursions into the methodology and philosophy of the data torturers – whoever they may be.

    You say I don’t understand the chart I presented to you. So you disagree with my statements that it shows the 1910-1940s warming has been net cooled by adjustments; the 1960s have been cooled by adjustments; the warming 1980-2010 has been relentlessly warmed by adjustments; and finally the pre-1900 period has been net warmed by adjustments? This is wrong is it?

    ECS is the eventual change in temperature after a climate forcing (in this case CO2) has been doubled and equilibrium has been reached, so we’ve still got quite a way to go before that happens, even taking 1850 as our start point. As emissions of GHGs had virtually no effect on atmospheric CO2 from 1860-1900, I can’t see how warming that period AND warming the modern period would have any significant effect upon an estimate of ECS. It’s the difference you see. Unless you are telling me that the warming adjustments to temp at the start of the record are significantly greater than those made at the end of the record? Then deltaT 1860-2017 would be reduced significantly and this would peg down the estimate of climate sensitivity.

    From my point of view, I can see how cooling the 1910s-40s would tend to diminish the relative importance of natural variability in the record and emphasise the long term trend, I can see how cooling the 1960s and warming the 1980s-2010s would affect estimates of TRANSIENT climate response, which is arguably far more policy relevant than ECS. This is because, during that period, GHG forcing was significant, with emissions rising sharply, and thus any adjustments which tended to increase the warming trend over that period would naturally feed into higher estimates of TCR.

    I’ll leave you with these quotes by the person who complied the maturity chart above:

    “The overall net effect of the transition from GHCN-M version 2 to version 3 is to increase global temperatures before 1900, to decrease them between 1900 and 1950, and to increase temperatures after 1950.”

    “The net effects of the adjustments made [to GISS] since May 2008 are to generate a more smoothly increasing global temperature since 1880.”

    According to your good self, these adjustments mean that the case for alarmism is diminished.


  77. Jaime, the “trend from 98 onwards”? What on earth are you on about? Why would you care about the trend from the top of an el Niño?


  78. As far as I can tell, more or less, RSS v4 is now close to what UAH 5.6 used to be, and UAH v6.0 is likewise very similar to the old RSS v3.3! Which is crazy. You may argue that RSS v4 must be the correct one now because it’s closer to the (much adjusted) surface datasets, but as far as I’m concerned this is evidence that ALL of the datasets are temporally very unstable, therefore unreliable and certainly not up to scratch when it comes to deciding whether to spend trillions more on decarbonisation. Like I said above, GMST or TLT is not an ideal metric to measure a supposed global energy imbalance anyway, less so if it has to be adjusted every few months.

    We should be looking at more easily analysed regional climate change (not just trends in temperature) and climate scientists should be developing much better regional models (which include ocean circulation changes), with and without GHG forcings, so we can judgee whether (or not) CO2 increases are predominantly driving regional climate change. Even with Argo, I think an accurate measure of global OHC, accurate enough to calculate global energy imbalance, is still not feasible. TOA global radiative fluxes are also very difficult to measure globally. So I imagine that the obsession with measuring (and continually adjusting) global temperature will continue, as will the misguided obsession of gauging ‘dangerous’ climate change using an arbitrary 1.5C or 2.0C above pre-industrial GMST.


  79. So you disagree with Curry that the satellite record is the best we have. Good to know. As for developing something better, well yes, great original thinking… Do you think a red team is going to help with that?


  80. If global temperature was a company record of some sort, how would the public and the authorities feel about continuous adjustments (to published results years old) and that each time there were changes the company claimed the THIS time they were correct?

    Eventually it doesn’t matter if the records are increasingly accurate, nobody trusts them any more.


  81. Tiny, … and if it was a book, what would readers think if the story changed continually; if it was a song, what would people think if the tune kept changing…

    But instead it is a set of data and various processing methods. The methods can change but the data just accumulates. You can make your own method and if you want, you can go on computing the index the same way even though you know the method can be improved – until a “red team” comes along and tells you that you are doing it wrongly.

    Jaime, no answer?


  82. Len, “The methods can change but the data just accumulates”. No it doesn’t. The data get changed/improved/moderated/homogenized (or whatever) and then thrown away/hidden/kept away from people like Steve M (or whatever). Did climategate teach you nothing?


  83. Alan, are you saying the raw satellite data used by both UAH and RSS has been “changed/improved/moderated/homogenized” or that some of it has been “thrown away/hidden/kept away from people like Steve M”. I think it unlikely.

    Or are you saying that the temperature data used by several teams including HADCRUT, GISS, BEST and even Nick Stokes has been changed or lost in such a way that the original is now gone, beyond the grips of you or Trump’s “red team” who might want to do what the GWPF red team failed to do?

    Do explain, please.


  84. “Do explain, please.”

    Martinez you boring little man, the Scots have a saying, “fools and bairns should never see a job half done”.

    It would appear to apply perfectly to you.


  85. Len, there have been numerous adjustments to all of the data sets used for monitoring temperatures. Skeptics were absolutely right to question these adjustments (the Consensus should have beaten them to it).

    It is my personal opinion (I am not a scientist) that those questions have been answered and that we have a clear and fairly accurate picture of temperatures since 1880.

    It is not a matter of the stubbornness of skeptics that they still keep questioning this. (Well, only partly.) It is overwhelmingly a matter of the horrible job the Consensus has done in communicating.

    This is something simple. The consensus is correct. And you still can’t get the message across.


  86. Tom, in discussing data and processing methods, Alan said I was wrong that the “data just accumulates” because, he says, it is changed (etc). I reckon that if I went to the NASA (or whatever) site for MSU/AMSU satellite data, the data would be the same (and just as meaningless to you and me) as it was when it streamed down from the satellite. This has no bearing on what processing methods RSS and UAH perform once they have downloaded the raw data from NASA. This seems fairly obvious. I can see why the distinction between the data and the methods should be beyond the ken of idiots like Catweazle and MiaB, but I’d hope that you would appreciate this and, given his academic history, Alan too (unless he has really gone emeritus).


  87. Despite several requests that Len inform me about his background and qualifications, these have been ignored. Meantime he continues to offer digs against my former academic status. Now he has the audacity to malign all emeritus academics. Well Len, I have associate status but never was offered an emeritus position. Why would UEA offer such an honour to a mouton noir.


  88. Alan, I’d normally give you the benefit of the doubt on the question of whether or not you understood the difference between data and processing, but you do your best to make me think that is not deserved. Maybe you play the dumbster with the “the data has been changed” meme to gain points with your peers here, but it really is just dumb. Tell me how it works that NASA changed the satellite data in such a way that RSS 4.x rises and UAH 6.x falls. Or do they maintain two fraudulent datasets?


  89. Len. My understanding is that the original surface temperature data was processed by CRU (ie altered) and the original data was not properly archived. My recollection is that Jones formally acknowledged this loss. The modified data was made available but not the unaltered versions (some of which were falsely claimed to be confidential) I really cannot be bothered to confirm this by looking up the original sources of this information. Since I retired I disposed of most of my source materials (which I now regret) and I will not waste my time pandering to your prevarications.


  90. Alan, my qualifications are irrelevant. I’m not arguing from authority. On data loss, do you mean that the Chinese don’t have their own data?


  91. Len. You’re “not arguing from authority”. You owe me half a cup of tea that I spilled when reading this. Good to hear, at last, that you have no authority whatsoever. You can safely be ignored.


  92. You “reckon” that you could get the raw satellite data from the NASA site. But have you tried? Good luck with that! You understand nothing – not even the basics of the scientific method.


  93. “You understand nothing – not even the basics of the scientific method” – That may or may not be true. But I don’t see how it follows from whether or not MSU data is available on the NASA website.

    Alan, you seemingly condemn all temperature indices on the basis that Jones once lost some data from some Chinese sites. Quite how Jones’ failure affects RSS or UAH, which it clearly cannot, or even BEST or GISS you don’t make clear. I don’t need any authority to notice that you are thus talking rot and that this may indeed be a sign of your “going emeritus”.


  94. When are you lot going to stop feeding that bloody troll?

    Do you enjoy being waltzed round and round in circles in its sad little clown dance?

    I presume you appreciate it has not come here to be informed or to enter into serious debate that might be of interest to anyone just dropping by to seek enlightenment, it is just winding you up – and you are all falling for it.

    It’s a mystery…


  95. Cat (if I may be so familiar) I do get some degree of pleasure from pulling Len’s tail. I find it interesting that such a person can make value judgments, attempt to impose them upon others, insult by calling into question an opponent’s qualifications without revealing his own. It is somewhat amusing to see his attempts to twist whatever you have written. The current exercise has demonstrated that he is full of hot air and can safely be ignored.


  96. Catweazle, because thinking up answers to Len is sometimes more creative than agreeing with each other.

    So in that direction…

    This idea that you can continue to fiddle with data to get a better answer is a measure of how rubbish the data is and how rubbish the scientists are/were. Was Hansen poor at his job? Phil Jones? NOAA? Every IPCC report the scientists have said that they knew what was happening. The very idea of consensus is a line drawn indicating that you’ve got the right answer. And then they change it. Ok, some of the changes aren’t very big but then again some of them aren’t. I really don’t give a flip what the global temperature is or which of the keepers of series is closest. The differences prove that some if not all of them are wrong. The global temperature is not a multiple choice. The idea that the bedrock data of the entire field is subject to regular ‘improvements’ is unbelievable. But as Thomas Fuller writes, we now know the temperatures since 1850… do we?

    I was going to add ‘Are we sure that they won’t change again?’ but only today WUWT reports a new version of NOAA’s SST.

    I’m always impressed how the modern bit changes because of better equipment, the middle bit stays the same but the oldest sections change most of all. There are some significant swings added. They must have found some great records in a sea chest or something. Now the two versions look very similar over the whole record but do I detect the merest shaving off temperatures at the most distant end? Barely there but if that was done every time there was an update, the changes would add up. But maybe that’s accurate? Maybe historical temperatures had much bigger swings than previously estimated? After all the rise between 1930-1940 was almost as big as 1970-2010. Maybe we’re underestimating the whole Holocene?

    The point is nobody knows. The consensus is a fraud and the science is still in its infancy.


  97. Tiny I agree with you
    (Catweazle, because thinking up answers to Len is sometimes more creative than agreeing with each other)
    “and doing so is so boring!


  98. Tiny: ” I really don’t give a flip what the global temperature is …” – Oh but you do, and so do your co-skeptics, judging by the effort you all put into dismissing each and every attempt better to estimate temperatures. “… the science is still in its infancy” – and yet you behave as if it should not be and rail against attempts to take it beyond “infancy” by refining temperature indices. You are full of contradictions.

    Alan, I don’t question your qualifications, as you are no more qualified to discuss temperature indices than I am. I do question your judgement in dismissing all temperature indices seemingly on the basis that an Englishman once lost some Chinese records.

    Cat, it is not as if, left to yourselves, you would be discussing anything important. You don’t even agree with each other as “skeptics” about anything much scientific. The only interest here is when someone like Russell Seitz or Steven Mosher who doesn’t share your climate obsession pokes you all in the ribs.


  99. Len, perhaps in your attempts to engage here you might profit from the examples you cite. Perhaps not, as my friend Mosher is now being reviled by both sides of the aisle.

    In any case, what you’re doing here is… not working. It seems to me (and please correct me if I’m wrong–that would be a big improvement on most consensus defenders, who delight in correcting me when I’m right) that you argue political points when we’re talking science and science when we’re talking politics. Some of that is unavoidable, I’m aware.

    Cat, (Hi Cat!) and others–tweaking Len is okay. Don’t go overboard. This forum needs engagement with our opponents. I’m deadly serious. We have all seen how sterile consensus forums have become due to just preaching to the choir. Don’t let that happen here.


  100. Tom, on reviling Midget, I don’t.

    On my talking politics when you talk science, you (collectively) don’t talk science, so that makes no sense.


  101. I have repeatedly shown appreciation for contributors like Len on this site, Russell Seitz, Entropic Man and Phil Clarke over at Bishop Hill. They are commonly unsung and exhibit some form of heroism for enduring insults and coming back for more.


  102. “That was supposed to say Mosher, not Midget.”

    Those Freudian slips will get you every time.


  103. My audit would be brief.

    Q1: Mr Climate Science, I was wondering if you could tell us what you consider the 10 most important things you’ve taught us about the climate that we didn’t know, say, 25 years ago?

    Q2: Really? You can’t even name three? May I ask then, with all due respect, on what basis you insist on being called a science?


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