Former NASA Boss Declares Himself a Sceptic and Slams Climate Models

IT used to be common for global warming activists to claim that anyone who disagrees with them must be in the pay of “big oil” – remember Al Gore said this in his documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’.   More recently the accusation has been that anyone who disagrees with them doesn’t understand the science and therefore does not have an informed opinion.

Marc Morano, the communications director for the Republicans on the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, has made collecting and collating the names of dissenting scientists something of an obsession.  Last December he launched an updated report in Washington claiming, “Over 650 dissenting scientists from around the globe challenged man-made global warming claims made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore.”

Yesterday Mr Morano added a particularly high profile scientist to this growing list, Dr John S. Theon. [1] 

Dr Theon is the former Chief of the Climate Processing Research Program at NASA Headquaters, and a former Chief of the Atmospheric Dynamics and Radiation Branch, and a former boss of Al Gore’s chief scientific advisor James Hansen.

Dr Theon has been very public and upfront in “his coming” out declaring that “climate models are useless” and more: 

“My own belief concerning anthropogenic climate change is that the models do not realistically simulate the climate system because there are many very important sub-grid scale processes that the models either replicate poorly or completely omit … Furthermore, some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it. They have resisted making their work transparent so that it can be replicated independently by other scientists. This is clearly contrary to how science should be done. Thus there is no rational justification for using climate model forecasts to determine public policy.”

I would prefer that people made up their mind about global warming on the basis of the science – the evidence – but I increasingly understand many find it difficult to even read a simple graph and draw their own conclusions from this information. 

It seems that many people are inevitably influenced by the qualifications of the person making particular claims irrespective of the available evidence.  Furthermore, to quote David Evans, formerly of the Australian Greenhouse Office, it is difficult for the truth to emerge when only one side is properly funded.  So, I understand that it is increasingly important that Mr Morano encourage authorities like Dr Theon to speak out. [2]

Thank your Dr Theon for providing a clear opinion on this most controversial and emotionally charged issue. 

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Notes

1. Marc Morano, James Hansen’s Former NASA Supervisor Declares Himself a Skeptic, January 27, 2009. http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=1a5e6e32-802a-23ad-40ed-ecd53cd3d320

2.  David Evans, Trading Carbon as a Belief. December 22, 2008.
“Lack of diversity in science funding has been a major problem since government took over funding science in WWII. Science is like a courtroom – protagonists put forward their best cases, and out of the argument some truth emerges. But if only one side is funded and heard, then truth tends not to emerge. This happened in climate science, which is almost completely government funded and has been dominated by AGW for two decades.”
http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2008/12/trading-carbon-as-a-belief/

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101 Responses to Former NASA Boss Declares Himself a Sceptic and Slams Climate Models

  1. SJT January 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm #

    “Furthermore, to quote David Evans, formerly of the Australian Greenhouse Office, it is difficult for the truth to emerge when only one side is properly funded. So, I understand that it is increasingly important that Mr Morano encourage authorities like Dr Theon to speak out. [2]”

    What does he want funded? Models are clearly useless to him. The measurements are all being made, the underlying physical basis is established and accepted by all but the kooks.

    I would suggest he reads the AR4. There is much more to climate change than just models. I would also note he is a meteorologist, and probably has not specialised in climate.

  2. Ian Mott January 28, 2009 at 4:39 pm #

    It was quite clear, SJT, that what all sceptics want funded is open and transparent data bases, processes, full and certified reporting and proper and timely release of all working papers so that all the faults in the climate muddles can be identified and all the fudgers, spivs and fraudsters can be brought to book and prosecuted as the common criminals they are.

  3. Will Nitschke January 28, 2009 at 4:40 pm #

    Go back over every single thread… SJT, NT, Luke follow the identical pattern… Denigrate, insult and name call anyone they disagree with. Seldom if ever are any reasons offered… other than the fact that the person being insulted disagrees with SJT, NT, and Luke’s opinion… SJT, NT, Luke, etc., have no formal qualifications or expertise in this subject… why do your insults matter to anyone in the slightest except to yourselves?

    Now anyone who reads this sort of thing simply assumes that SJT/NT/Luke et al… are… idiots… Surely you write so much, meaning you must be very passionate in your beliefs… Why then screech and yell tantrums instead of proving reasons for your criticism? Of course, criticise anyone you like, and do so as fiercely as you wish, but provide *reasons* for your criticism. Calling someone a ‘kook’ is not a reason. Naming calling just shows the casual reader that you are working at the level of school yard…

    Of course the physical basis has been established, and it’s believed to be around 1C per century which is not in itself particularly catastrophic… the feedback mechanisms that we are all worried about, that potentially lead to 2-6C per century, are not physically well established, but are a great deal more theoretical in nature. This is what the debate seems to be about. This is not even remotely controversial, and even SJT is perfectly aware of this… so if you have to distort everything you write to make a case, this does not bode well for your credibility…

    Someone who has to distort basic facts in order to defend the ‘truth’ is closer to being a ‘kook’ in any reasonable person’s opinion.

  4. Ra January 28, 2009 at 5:08 pm #

    Wow:

    Hansen’s former boss thinks he’s an asshat. I wonder if hansen is going to call for his jailing seeing he wants to see non believers jailed.

    Lol.

    SJT you’re very dull.

  5. Geoff Brown January 28, 2009 at 5:08 pm #

    Right, Will, and especially Fluke. He often puts up links that have nothing to do with the point that he is trying to establish.
    Anyone that doesn’t agree as you say is denigrated, insulted and called names by these pseudo-scientists.

    All they have to do is what the IPCC has not yet succeeded in doing – Proving a causal link between AGW and CO2.

    Although the Alarmists are becoming more shrill, in a few more years, with temperatures falling, they will just disappear.
    You won’t hear one of them apologise!

  6. wes george January 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm #

    What? The Great Consensus has fractured?

    Hansen, Mann and Jones, Gore, Flannery, Striesand and Winfrey, et al, actually represent a Point of View rather than a Fact of Nature?????

    I’m gobsmacked….perhaps, God forbid, this means the science is less than settled?

    “What does he want funded?” asks the perennially clueless. Debate, Man!

    A great global public debate should be called… broad and pod cast to every city and mud hut village of this increasingly hot (or is it cooling?) planet.

    No expense should be spared in funding the debate. The time for action is now! Damn the complacent! The truth is out there!

    Our parliament should spend at least 3% of the budget funding the debate over the next year. The ABC should interrupt the regular scheduled propaganda to nightly air in neat hourly segments pro and con arguments, unedited (and transcribed in full on their website, archived forever) weekly for the next year.

    Parliament should suspend debate on socio-economic policy designed to bring the climate to an optimum stasis, until such time that science can agree whether such a stasis is indeed possible, or an oxymoron, or even desirable.

    We want our climate science consensus back! Naturally, I hope we can reach bipartisan agreement on the need for a transparent, public global debate, what do you say? …. Luke, Stj, and all the other natural climate change denialists out there?

  7. bazza January 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm #

    Dr Theon himself clarified that he was ‘in effect’ James Hansens supervisor. I wonder what that means and did he do a good job, and anyway it appeared Theon left in 1994.

  8. Will Nitschke January 28, 2009 at 5:25 pm #

    Geoff,

    “Right, Will, and especially Fluke. He often puts up links that have nothing to do with the point that he is trying to establish.”

    I’ve noticed that too… or very weak or irrelevant links… which tends to reveal more about the weakness of his argument. But in the grand scheme of things, whether Luke or right or wrong has no material bearing on whether AGW is right or wrong in whole or in part.

    “All they have to do is what the IPCC has not yet succeeded in doing – Proving a causal link between AGW and CO2.”

    You don’t need to provide a casual link–this is demanding too much. A relatively sold circumstantial case would be sufficient. I can’t see how one can demand a ‘causal link’ for the big bang theory of cosmology, or even evolutionary theory. It’s important not to demand more than other well established sciences demand. It’s sufficient that climatology meets the generally accepted weaker standard.

  9. SJT January 28, 2009 at 5:38 pm #

    “Go back over every single thread… SJT, NT, Luke follow the identical pattern… Denigrate, insult and name call anyone they disagree with. Seldom if ever are any reasons offered… other than the fact that the person being insulted disagrees with SJT, NT, and Luke’s opinion… SJT, NT, Luke, etc., have no formal qualifications or expertise in this subject… why do your insults matter to anyone in the slightest except to yourselves?”

    This whole list of scientists from Morano is a waste of time, I can find you scientists who believe in creationism. If you go through his list, it contains numerous people who are not qualified to pass any judgement on the matter that is worth more than my opinion.

    In this case, what papers has then published on the matter? As a scientist, he knows that the correct way to ‘come out’ is not to offer an opinion to a political advisor, but to publish a paper that demonstrates that what you are saying is right and what they are saying is wrong.

    Miskolczi used to work for NASA too, and his paper is a waste of time, it is junk science. Working for NASA does not, in itself, mean that much.

  10. wes george January 28, 2009 at 5:44 pm #

    “Of course the physical basis has been established, and it’s believed to be around 1C per century which is not in itself particularly catastrophic…”

    Uh, Will, I believe that “the physical basis of global warming” is exactly what the debate is about, it is far, far from “established.”

    AGW is a hypothesis. A hypothesis is only as good as its implications and predictions. Nothing is established about the AGW hypothesis, it awaits verification among its acolytes, but for many researchers it has already failed to usefully explain little details, such as the MWP or the LIA or the fact that sea levels are today merely back to where they were 2,000 years ago.

    So, why do we need a special hypothesis to account only for the warming of the last 4 decades? You tell me.

    The “1c per century” Will cites implies warming will increase in pace with CO2 rises. Not so. Warming hasn’t paced CO2 increases over the 120 years and there is no evidence to suggest that it will begin to in the future.

    Moreover, CO2’s “greenhouse effect” has been “established” to have rapidly diminishing returns in its warming potential as its presence increases in the atmosphere. Thus, the next 100ppm will have a vastly decreased effect on climate than the last and so on, until the effect isn’t measurable.

    Many researchers believe we are at that point today. Hard to imagine how 400 to 500 CO2 molecules for every million will warm the climate by 2 to 6c in the next century. That’s what the debate is about.

  11. SJT January 28, 2009 at 5:48 pm #

    Oh, and it’s cold in the USA at the moment.

  12. Will Nitschke January 28, 2009 at 5:57 pm #

    SJT wrote:

    “This whole list of scientists from Morano is a waste of time, I can find you scientists who believe in creationism. If you go through his list, it contains numerous people who are not qualified to pass any judgement on the matter that is worth more than my opinion.”

    That’s true but that criticism applies to most of the authors of AR4 so what’s your point? Remember, it’s all very interesting for a scientist to contribute his opinion in a “if temperatures warmed what would happen to X” type scenarios, but at the end of the day everything hangs on what the atmospheric physicists who wrote that report believe.

    I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of anyone who was a former head of an astrophysics department or an evolutionary biology department come out and declare they don’t believe in the big bang and/or evolution. It may have happened of course, but it seems unusual…

    “In this case, what papers has then published on the matter? As a scientist, he knows that the correct way to ‘come out’ is not to offer an opinion to a political advisor, but to publish a paper that demonstrates that what you are saying is right and what they are saying is wrong.”

    Scientists have every right to offer opinions as advisors to politicians. Are you saying Hansen has no right to do this also? The point you’re trying to make seems contradictory to me since all sides of the debate do exactly this.

    “Miskolczi used to work for NASA too, and his paper is a waste of time, it is junk science. Working for NASA does not, in itself, mean that much.”

    That’s what critics of Hansen argue also… But I agree with you in the sense that this boils down to one man’s opinion, although he does at least have credible qualifications.

  13. Luke January 28, 2009 at 6:07 pm #

    Well a big sourpuss dummy spit by the ex-boss – had a row with Hansen and now he doesn’t work there the venom is out – really convincing guys. Yea sure. Wonder why he didn’t tell us all this story while he was there – a willing party to this travesty of justice … barf !

    As for transparent science – well the GCM documentation is there – off you go and build your own. And “independent” scientists build their variants. Wow – sounds like an open process (assuming you’re smart enough).

    See the illustrious 650 are still getting a run again – giggle http://climateprogress.org/2008/12/11/inhofe-morano-recycles-long-debunked-denier-talking-points-will-the-media-be-fooled-again/ tee hee

    Oh yea – Willy is a wonker – nah nah nah na. Willy pick up your game – here’s how – au.youtube.com/watch?v=yg0FXbg7jyY You’ll appreciate 1:43

    Anyway all good theatre to distract from the real news of the day – RC puts the boot fair in on the Antarctica paper – it’s not pretty for denialists … http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/01/warm-reception-to-antarctic-warming-story/

  14. Will Nitschke January 28, 2009 at 6:09 pm #

    Wes wrote:

    “Uh, Will, I believe that “the physical basis of global warming” is exactly what the debate is about, it is far, far from “established.””

    That depends how you define ‘physical basis’. When most people talk about ‘physical basis’ they tend to mean what can be shown to happen if all the other complex interactions of the climate system, such as positive and negative feedbacks, ocean cycles, latency periods, were not there. The sort of result you would get if you ran a simplified experiment in a laboratory.

    “AGW is a hypothesis. A hypothesis is only as good as its implications and predictions. Nothing is established about the AGW hypothesis, it awaits verification among its acolytes, but for many researchers it has already failed to usefully explain little details, such as the MWP or the LIA or the fact that sea levels are today merely back to where they were 2,000 years ago.”

    Not entirely sure all of your criticisms here are relevant…

    “So, why do we need a special hypothesis to account only for the warming of the last 4 decades? You tell me.”

    Presumably because we’ve got very good measurements of solar, and other climatic conditions, and climatologists can’t explain the temperature rise… so they go with a plausible theory. We don’t have good measurements for, say, the MWP – proxies at best – so there could have been other climactic factors to explain those things at that earlier time.

    “The “1c per century” Will cites implies warming will increase in pace with CO2 rises. Not so. Warming hasn’t paced CO2 increases over the 120 years and there is no evidence to suggest that it will begin to in the future.”

    There has been nearly a .07C rise actually.

    “Moreover, CO2’s “greenhouse effect” has been “established” to have rapidly diminishing returns in its warming potential as its presence increases in the atmosphere. Thus, the next 100ppm will have a vastly decreased effect on climate than the last and so on, until the effect isn’t measurable.”

    The argument is that there are feedbacks and amplification effects that increase warming. This may or may not be true, but to use the ‘diminishing returns’ counter-argument without addressing the feedbacks and amplification arguments, is grossly simplistic.

    “Many researchers believe we are at that point today. Hard to imagine how 400 to 500 CO2 molecules for every million will warm the climate by 2 to 6c in the next century. That’s what the debate is about.”

    That does sound hard to believe, but an argument from personal incredulity is a well known logical fallacy so if you want to make this point, you need to go further than what you’ve done, in order to be convincing.

  15. wes george January 28, 2009 at 6:13 pm #

    “You don’t need to provide a casual link–this is demanding too much. A relatively sold circumstantial case would be sufficient….how one can demand a ‘causal link’ for the big bang theory of cosmology, or even evolutionary theory…It’s sufficient that climatology meets the generally accepted weaker standard.”

    BZZZZT….Wrong.

    To start with you just said in your previous post “the physical basis (for global warming) has been established.”

    A “physical basis” would be a casual link. No? Now you claim there is no casual link? You’re contradicting yourself in less than 60 minutes.

    I think “sold circumstantial case would be sufficient,” is a rhetorical Freudian slip. Because a “sold” by the media circumstantial case is exactly what we have for AGW.

    A “circumstantial case” is not good enough for science, nor a court of law, only a casual link is. The Hypothesis always is wrong until proven useful.

    Please offer a shred of non-circumstantial evidence that the AGW hypothesis has contributed a single useful, “established” prediction to climatology. Oh, that would be “casual.”

    Don’t mistake the Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis for one of the great classical holistic scientific theories. It’s like confusing Scientology with Buddhism.

    AGW is not a complex gestalt of hypotheses, assumptions and observations that have repeatedly and unfailingly made useful (rock-hard casuality) predictions and thus gained the trust of researchers to explain a multitude of observations in a vast range of disciplines over many decades, worth building upon.

    AGW, simply put, claims that (principally) human-induced CO2 is warming the climate. Everything else is corollary to that single hypothesis. Hardly a grand synthetic theory of Evolution or the origin of the universe type stuff.

    I should like Will to explain just what the “the generally accepted weaker standard” of scientific method is?

  16. Will Nitschke January 28, 2009 at 6:18 pm #

    Luke wrote:

    “Oh yea – Willy is a wonker – nah nah nah na.”

    Thank you for demonstrating why I feel the “you are an idiot” remark is based on rational observations of your behaviour.

    As I said, you seem to spend countless hours here, so you’re obviously very passionate about what you believe in — yet you repeatedly insist on making a fool of yourself… regardless of how angry you might get at times, try to distance yourself emotionally from your arguments and you will improve your ability to convince people 100%. Not psycho babble, just common sense advise from someone who is probably a bit older than you.

    (It’s a bit disappointing to watch you repeatedly get the shit kicked out of your arguments, and then you go off and set fire to yourself, especially when many of the arguments flattening you are relatively weak to begin with…)

  17. Rob Mitchell January 28, 2009 at 6:27 pm #

    Wake up alarmists,
    the warming was driven by a decrease in the earths albedo, related to the decrease in humidity causing a decrease in clouds! Simple! The OLR measurements back this up, they show the earth is LOOSING MORE ENERGY as it warms up, rather than trapping more energy like AGW states. Now that humidity is increasing the world is cooling! The spatial and temporal changes in clouds matches the spatial and temporal changes in temperature. The dominant greenhouse gas is water vapor and that is observed to have a inverse relationship with temperature, Disproving positive feedback! How much more do you need?

    Finally, if you had actually studied science you would know a consensus is unscientific, therefore to claim a “Scientific consensus” merely proves a theory is fraudulent!

  18. Will Nitschke January 28, 2009 at 6:30 pm #

    Wes:

    “BZZZZT….Wrong.”

    It’s not really an argument… more like a “I lost the argument” type response.

    “To start with you just said in your previous post “the physical basis (for global warming) has been established.””

    Depends what you mean by global warming? Are we talking about the .05C rise expected over the next 90 years or the 2-6C temperature rise? The AR4 version? The Hansen version? The version many thoughtful sceptics consider reasonable? You need to define what you mean first.

    “A “physical basis” would be a casual link. No? Now you claim there is no casual link? You’re contradicting yourself in less than 60 minutes.”

    You’re confusing yourself by not defining what we are talking about, that is all.

    “I think “sold circumstantial case would be sufficient,” is a rhetorical Freudian slip. Because a “sold” by the media circumstantial case is exactly what we have for AGW.”

    I’m not talking about a “sold by the media” case. I’m talking about a scientific case as you could have ascertained from the context.

    “A “circumstantial case” is not good enough for science, nor a court of law, only a casual link is. The Hypothesis always is wrong until proven useful.”

    OK, if you’re right, please explain to me the specific experiment(s) that proved the casual links in:

    * evolutionary theory
    * big bang theory

    (the two examples I already cited)

    Remember: if you want a solid causal link you need to be able run an experiment and repeat the experiment and get a repeatable result. Exactly how does one run repeated controlled experiments on the climate system of the entire planet?

    “Please offer a shred of non-circumstantial evidence that the AGW hypothesis has contributed a single useful, “established” prediction to climatology. Oh, that would be “casual.””

    We can go there… but first we need to clarify what you’re talking about.

    “Don’t mistake the Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis for one of the great classical holistic scientific theories. It’s like confusing Scientology with Buddhism.”

    Ad hominin.

    “AGW is not a complex gestalt of hypotheses, assumptions and observations that have repeatedly and unfailingly made useful (rock-hard casuality) predictions and thus gained the trust of researchers to explain a multitude of observations in a vast range of disciplines over many decades, worth building upon.”

    Opinion.

    “AGW, simply put, claims that (principally) human-induced CO2 is warming the climate. Everything else is corollary to that single hypothesis. Hardly a grand synthetic theory of Evolution or the origin of the universe type stuff.”

    No genuine sceptic argues that humans don’t have impacts on the environment and climate system, local or possibly global. (What is global except the sum of local effects?) No genuine sceptic argues that CO2 should not in principle warm the planet because CO2 is a green house gas.

    “I should like Will to explain just what the “the generally accepted weaker standard” of scientific method is?”

    It’s how scientists do stuff in the real world… and it’s not how people *think* science should be done, in *their* opinion.

  19. Will Nitschke January 28, 2009 at 6:33 pm #

    My previous post should have read .5C not .05C

  20. wes george January 28, 2009 at 6:42 pm #

    “That depends how you define ‘physical basis’. When most people talk about ‘physical basis’ they tend to mean what can be shown to happen if all the other complex interactions of the climate system, such as positive and negative feedbacks, ocean cycles, latency periods, were not there. The sort of result you would get if you ran a simplified experiment in a laboratory.”

    Also known more simply as a causal link? As opposed to a circumstantial generally accepted weaker standard that has been sold to us by the media.

    …Personally, I am always incredulous. It’s a tool of inquiry, so is simplicity.

    The AGW hypothesis will stand or fall on its on without less than elegant amendments — the feedbacks are both positive and negative as you admit above, (then omit to mention later.) The AGW-ists merely cherry pick that which reinforces their hypothesis and ignore the others.

    Yet the fact that Earth never experienced a run-a-way Greenhouse Effect (like Venus) in the last couple of billion years of life, even though CO2 levels have been many times higher today than in the past, seems to indicate yet another failed implication of the AGW hypothesis, rather than support.

    Occam’s Razor, anyone?

  21. Louis Hissink January 28, 2009 at 6:43 pm #

    SJT: “This whole list of scientists from Morano is a waste of time, I can find you scientists who believe in creationism. If you go through his list, it contains numerous people who are not qualified to pass any judgement on the matter that is worth more than my opinion.”

    Heaven’s sake, another non sequitur! SJT, really, what has a belief in Creationism got to do with one’s ability as a scientist? Diddly squat.

    The rest of your sentence seems to be a hastily thought concatenation of cerebral exasperations typical of the benighted among us.

  22. Louis Hissink January 28, 2009 at 6:51 pm #

    The following extract is quite relevant to the issues discussed here. It is part of Ray Evan’s address at the “Thank God for Carbon”, 27 Jan, 2009 in Adelaide:

    “The CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research has become one of the most blatant examples of taxpayer funded, AGW proselytizing to be found. Bill Kininmonth, who was director of the BOM’s National Climate Centre from 1986 to 1998 saw how it happened from the inside and this the story he relates.

    In the 1970s BOM and CSIRO joined forces to establish the Australian Numerical Meteorology Research Centre for the development of weather forecasting models and supporting climate research. This only lasted about a decade as hostility at the most senior levels of BOM and CSIRO Meteorological Research resulted in the bust-up of ANMRC. Numerical Weather Prediction went to BOM and CSIRO’s case for numerical meteorology and climate was weakened (which was the BOM management intent – only room for one kid on the block). The wily CSIRO management saw an opportunity in AGW and went to the then Commission for the Future to make a case for a major effort in climate modelling. The Commission for the Future bought the story and established a major PR campaign to promote the AGW story (you might remember the posters of Canberra with the parliament house flag pole emerging from Lake BG!). Then Minister for the Environment Graham Richardson saw votes in the issue as a promotion of the environment protection cause. BOM, then in the Dept of Administrative Services, was recalcitrant and not supporting the scare. The government of the day then had an administrative reorganisation and brought BOM into the Dept of the Environment. The upshot was that the government gave special funding to CSIRO outside of the ARGC process to develop climate modelling, and BOM was left to get on with weather prediction modelling,

    So Graham Richardson bought the CSIRO for, I think $180 millions, and once committed to the AGW story line the CSIRO was stuck with it.

    Garth Paltridge, who was Director of the Antarctic CRC based in Hobart, and which was funded jointly by the CSIRO and the ARGC tells the story how one Easter he had made sceptical comments in the press about the global warming ‘consensus’, and returning to his desk on Easter Tuesday was threatened by a CSIRO functionary with major funding cuts to the Antarctic Research programme for which he was responsible if he uttered such blasphemy again.

    Now the CSIRO’s public reputation is based largely on the work of Sir Ian Clunies Ross, who was appointed chairman in May 1949.

    Reflecting CSIRO.’s dominance of Australian science and the sound foundations laid by David Rivett, Ian Clunies Ross was able to reap the benefits of a series of glittering successes. Radio astronomy, the discovery of the role of minor elements in animal and plant physiology, the dissemination of myxomatosis virus for the control of rabbits, and improvements in wool processing combined to propel the organization, and its chairman, to national prominence.

    Ian Clunies Ross was a charismatic speaker who spoke to audiences all over Australia whenever he could. I still remember him speaking to a packed church at South Camberwell Methodist Church in the heart of the Bible Belt in Melbourne, when I was a young boy aged about 12 or 13.

    But now that the AGW story line is coming apart, and more and more people become aware that it was always a scam, at some point a future Commonwealth Govt is going to have to make a decision about the future of an organisation which costs the taxpayer quite a few hundreds of millions, but whose reputation as a credible source of advice will be in tatters.

  23. Lazlo January 28, 2009 at 7:10 pm #

    Kook…dummy spitter.. SJT and Luke are clearly claiming greater authority (qualifications, experience..) on climate science than John Theon. Please let us know why we should so value your opinions – we are all ears.

  24. wes george January 28, 2009 at 7:10 pm #

    Will sez that circumstantial evidence is good enough for climatology…. I totally disagree.

    “You don’t need to provide a casual link–this is demanding too much. A relatively sold circumstantial case would be sufficient. I can’t see how one can demand a ‘causal link’ for the big bang theory of cosmology, or even evolutionary theory. It’s important not to demand more than other well established sciences demand. It’s sufficient that climatology meets the generally accepted weaker standard.”

    OK. So if I see some guy with a bucket of black paint fleeing a zoo pen full of equine-like creatures with vertical fractal black stripes and I propose the hypothesis that the guy with the bucket of black paint must have painting the “horses” that would pass your definition of good scientific inquiry?

    It certainly is a weaker standard, however, not the generally accepted one.

  25. Luke January 28, 2009 at 7:11 pm #

    Or maybe not – they’re going gangbusters !

    Willy – have you been practicing your smack talking corpse hump as per the video?

  26. Luke January 28, 2009 at 7:13 pm #

    Well Lazlo – so this dude has a stoush with Hansen and is powerless to say anything while he’s there? Come on mate. Is that a plate of sour grapes I see in front of me.

    Argument is weak as. It’s just name calling – which Willy loves.

  27. david January 28, 2009 at 7:15 pm #

    46C today in Adelaide (hottest on record at the Kent Town site), 47C at Keith – probably the hottest ever recorded in Australia that far south, hottest start to a year on record in Perth, 43.4C in Melbourne today, 43+C tomorrow and 43C on Friday (yep that will be yet another record). Adelaide looking at another 1 in 1000 year heatwave with no end in site to its run of 40s.

    Record low Arctic sea ice, a rapidly warming Antarctic, ice bergs the size of countries falling off the Antarctic Peninsula, sea levels at record high levels, the 12 year drought soon to turn 13, Murray River to be replaced by sand south of Murray Bridge,….

  28. Lazlo January 28, 2009 at 7:16 pm #

    You still haven’t answered my challenge Luke: why should we value your opinions on climate models over his?

  29. wes george January 28, 2009 at 7:24 pm #

    “Oh yea – Willy is a wonker – nah nah nah na.”

    I hate to defend Luke, but now that his whole life project to convert climate pagans to the one true faith has become totally irrelevant, (i.e. there is no one true climate faith) I guess I feel sorry for him. He has in better (warmer) times been a worthy opponent.

    So, Will, mate, if you could refrain from charging Luke, et al with logical fallacies, especially the ones you use unprovoked all the time, such as ad homs, you’d appear more intellectually honest.

    For instance, your “I can’t see how one can demand a casual link…” above is the equivalent of my “it’s hard to imagine how…” yet you comment that “an argument from personal incredulity is a well known logical fallacy.”

    So, Will, is it OK for you to use logical fallacies and ad homs but not the rest of us?

    Please adhere to your own admitted weak generally accepted standards you preach.

  30. Will Nitschke January 28, 2009 at 7:30 pm #

    Wes:

    “The AGW-ists merely cherry pick..”

    “Yet the fact that Earth never experienced a run-a-way Greenhouse Effect…”

    A ‘crank’ is someone who never addresses the criticisms made of his arguments and keeps swiftly changing the subject, pulling in more and more material of equally incoherent half logical ‘facts’… Eventually ending up at the starting position again… and so you go ever around in circles…

  31. Will Nitschke January 28, 2009 at 7:34 pm #

    Wes:

    “Will sez that circumstantial evidence is good enough for climatology…. I totally disagree.”

    I know you disagree. That’s not in doubt. An argument (logical or otherwise) is what is now required.

    “It certainly is a weaker standard, however, not the generally accepted one.”

    So you weren’t able to answer the questions I posed re: causal links for evolutionary theory or big bang theory? A reminder: not responding is equivalent to what’s called “losing the argument”.

  32. Will Nitschke January 28, 2009 at 7:39 pm #

    Luke:

    “Willy – have you been practicing your smack talking corpse hump as per the video?”

    I don’t have time for you tube so I didn’t follow that link. I will look at the RealClimate link you’ve posted though, when I get a chance. I am making the prediction that I am likely to puke before I get to the end of what’s written there… but you got to do what you got to do. Of course, you run no such risk… just keep keeping away from those scary sceptical scientific papers you’ve vaguely heard of but never dare read… don’t want to risk any doubts do we? 😉

  33. Will Nitschke January 28, 2009 at 7:43 pm #

    Wes:

    “So, Will, mate, if you could refrain from charging Luke, et al with logical fallacies, especially the ones you use unprovoked all the time, such as ad homs, you’d appear more intellectually honest.”

    The above’s an ad homin isn’t it? Hence making you a hypocrite as well…

    “For instance, your “I can’t see how one can demand a casual link…” above is the equivalent of my “it’s hard to imagine how…” yet you comment that “an argument from personal incredulity is a well known logical fallacy.”

    So, Will, is it OK for you to use logical fallacies and ad homs but not the rest of us?”

    It’s not an ad hominin because I provided two examples straight out of text book science to illustrate the point I was making. To repeat for the 4th time now: big bang theory from cosmology, and evolutionary theory.

    Whereas your replies are (so far) pure ad hominin and nothing more.

    “Please adhere to your own admitted weak generally accepted standards you preach.”

    And another ad hominin… name calling next? Please continue… 😉

  34. Louis Hissink January 28, 2009 at 7:44 pm #

    Will,

    Big Bang Theory?

    All scientific theories are proposed as a result of some observation of a physical event using pre-existing, scientifically derived, knowledge.

    As a Big Bang could not have been observed, it cannot be described as an observed physical event subject to normal scientific scrutiny.

    Therefore there is no such thing as a “Big Bang Theory”, let alone any hypothesis about it.

    While one admires faith, it becomes less so when the faithful start wandering into alien areas.

  35. Lazlo January 28, 2009 at 7:46 pm #

    DAvid – thanks for the weather report.

  36. Alan January 28, 2009 at 8:22 pm #

    I live in an area that gets some of its water from the Malmsbury Reservoir so I went to the Bureau of Meteorology web site and downloaded the rainfall data for Malmsbury from
    http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/ncc/cdio/weatherData/av?p_nccObsCode=18&p_display_type=dataFile&p_stn_num=088042

    I then plotted the data, fitted a fifth order polynomial to the data and extrapolated it 10 years.

    This is what the graph looks like:
    http://s63.photobucket.com/albums/h136/ausrandoman/?action=view&current=dbec930b.gif

  37. Luke January 28, 2009 at 8:38 pm #

    Face it – it’s sour grapes and payback for recent events …

    NASA climate scientist James E. Hansen has been chosen by his peers to receive the 2009 Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the American Meteorological Society (AMS).

    Longtime director of the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) in New York, Hansen earned the Rossby Medal for “outstanding contributions to climate modeling, understanding climate change forcings and sensitivity, and for clear communication of climate science in the public arena.” He was presented with the medal Jan. 14 in Phoenix at the annual meeting of the AMS.

    and a diversion from the flood of AGW positive papers this month.

    tee hee -AND AND AND now – a fifth order polynomial – bend down your bastard – bend – LOL LOL LOL

    Why not a 10th order?

  38. Louis Hissink January 28, 2009 at 8:47 pm #

    Alan,

    Why a fifth order polynomial fit? What natural process would fit that?

  39. SJT January 28, 2009 at 8:52 pm #

    “That’s true but that criticism applies to most of the authors of AR4 so what’s your point? ”

    The AR4 is a large and complex document, covering many topics besides the raw science of AGW. The core science is done by the expert climatologists those providing the raw data used by them to draw conclusions from, for example, experts in glaciers, but not by the economists.

    The experts are all current in their areas of research, and actively publishing in those areas of science. Theon appears to have been a specialist in remote sensing. A worthy pursuit, and an import important part of climate research. But on google scholar I couldn’t see anything to indicate he has any current expertise.

    The models aren’t perfect, (the modelers will tell you that quite happily), but I don’t know what else he has to offer, apparently nothing. The models give us some sort of idea of what will happen, even if it is far from perfect.

  40. SJT January 28, 2009 at 8:55 pm #

    It was quite clear, SJT, that what all sceptics want funded is open and transparent data bases, processes, full and certified reporting and proper and timely release of all working papers so that all the faults in the climate muddles can be identified and all the fudgers, spivs and fraudsters can be brought to book and prosecuted as the common criminals they are.

    That’s where you are wrong, Ian. They are quite ready to believe any piece of information, no matter how poor, just as long as it denies AGW.

  41. wes george January 28, 2009 at 9:18 pm #

    Will does not grasp the difference between a theory and a hypothesis.

    The concept of a theory in science is different from the every day usage, “just a theory.” That’s the way Will uses the term “theory”, sounds more like he means to say hypothesis.

    A theory is holistic, it encompasses under a unifying gestalt many little hypotheses that work together to form a robust sum larger than its parts. I.e. the “theory of evolution” can not have a simple causal proof. The science lives in a state of continuous experimental testing and observational verification of its predictions. A functional theory isn’t so much “true” as a useful working paradigm for continued research.

    The debates around “how” life evolved don’t imply that the fundamentally obvious observation that life “does” evolve is “just a theory,” supported only by circumstantial evidence.

    However, a hypothesis is specific and limited by definition, it must be testable, ie have a causal expression. If, as Will says, all that is required is circumstantial evidence, then we have reverted to a pre-Enlightenment period of inquisition rather than rational inquiry.

    For instance specific mechanics of natural selection and genetic variation can be shown to be either true or false. Likewise, the HYPOTHESIS that CO2 will warm the atmosphere so much at so many ppm is a simple testable proposition subject to the rules of causality. The research may not have been done yet or may be encountering controversies, but the proposition is thus on the table.

    Circumstantial evidence is what often prick the initial curiosity, which leads to the tabling of hypotheses, yet is NEVER enough for verification of a hypothesis.

  42. janama January 28, 2009 at 9:19 pm #

    You can’t stop it Luke, you can duck and weave and prance about but it’s over mate. The scam is now a scam. It’s bottom of the Pew List in the List of Concerns. The Dragon wasn’t smitten, he was the scam he was, just like you.

    Now can we get on with reality? PLEASE!

  43. Lazlo January 28, 2009 at 9:19 pm #

    Yes Luke, I was wrong, it wasn’t you claiming a higher authority, it was SJT. So we need to understand SJT’s credentials vs Theon (I just saw some pigs scudding across the sky…). You just said yah boo sucks! And then claimed that some part-time organisation, hijacked by has-beens (those who do, do..), awarding its own a medal as a qualification! Now, I’m seriously thinking that you are very young and inexperienced in these matters. You would be about 32…?

  44. Sid Reynolds January 28, 2009 at 9:20 pm #

    David’s weather report (and forecast) is renowned for commenting on maxima data and records set. Wow, ‘a thousand years!’ Sounds like Mike Rann’s ”worst drought in 1,000 years’

    However, David, and the beloved BoM are very quiet when it comes to commenting on extremely cold weather events and the spate of record minimum temperatures recorded in this bitter northern winter .So one could trade extreme weather event and temperature record data with David ’till the cows come home, and achieve nothing.

    Some of the claims he has made, however are not factual. Current arctic sea ice are at a 30 year high. (Hardly at record lows). ‘Rapidly warming antarctic’….This is obviously quoting from the report by Michael Mann….the author of the fraudulent and thoroughly discredited “Hockey Stick” graph, and whose scientific integrity is zilch. A perfectly natural event for icebergs to calve of from the ice shelf, especially when record snow/ice volume continues to pack on in antarcticia. (Captain Cook sailed round an iceberg reported to be the size of Tasmania, inthe 1700’s.) Bet it made a splash when it broke off! And ‘record high sea levels’; how silly.

  45. Malcolm Hill January 28, 2009 at 9:22 pm #

    I see the weather report from the resident BOM adviser doesnt say why the temperatures in this part of the world are currently high.

    It wouldnt be the fact there is a large high over the Tasman Sea, causing an almost North to South air flow over mainly desert for some 2000 kms, which in turn has nasty habit in summer of heating up during the day, and blows all the way down to Adelaide where it dessicates my garden.

    Of course by implication, the only reason the high is where it is, is soley because of GW, which in turn is/has been caused by an excess of Carbon dioxide put in the atmosphere over the last 100 years, and thus causing record breaking temperatures measured over period of a measly 100 years on a continent that is millions of years old.

    Bollocks

  46. Lazlo January 28, 2009 at 9:34 pm #

    Malcolm: too complex for these AGW crusaders.. (with lots of crusade money thanks to Obama and Penny..)

  47. Luke January 28, 2009 at 9:36 pm #

    WRONG ! Reynolds – Arctic ice is at a record low http://www.nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png

  48. Lazlo January 28, 2009 at 9:45 pm #

    Luke: WRONG juvenile: http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/recent365.anom.region.1.html

  49. Lazlo January 28, 2009 at 9:48 pm #

    And this for your fact-free postmodernist scientist mates..
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.anom.south.jpg

  50. Luke January 28, 2009 at 11:33 pm #

    UIUC – ROTFL

    Fancy a try-on comparing extent and area…

    “My apologies to Dr. Meiers and Dr. Serreze, and NSIDC. Their analysis,
    graphs and conclusions were all absolutely correct. Arctic ice is indeed
    melting nearly as fast as last year, and this is indeed troubling.” reports an article on Wattsup

    You disingenuous goose ! And a mid-winter area close to the series mean – so where’s the “greatest in 30 years given the length of the time-series”???

    As for Antarctica – what? anomaly close to zero and declining. You clown.

  51. hunter January 28, 2009 at 11:40 pm #

    Luke,
    The low ice pack cover is due to the wind and currents, not the temps.
    And the trend does not show what you claim, any way.
    And you AGW robots should think this through- the open Arctic ocean water, in the midst of Winter, giving off a great deal heat that would otherwise be held by an ice cover.
    If there was not a requirement for historical illiteracy on the part of AGW cheerleaders, they would consider that there are historical reports of Arctic icepack being cyclical, not static.I do notice that the AGW industry is rewriting world temps again, to pretend that there is dramatic increases over the last 10 years, now.
    You guys have sure glommed on to a sleazy bunch.
    Antarctic cooling?
    As predicted by AGW
    Antarctic warming?
    As predicted by AGW.
    Keep the faith, baby- it is all ya got.

  52. steve from brisbane January 28, 2009 at 11:46 pm #

    I’ve done a bit of googling of Dr Theon, and turned up these bits of information that may be relevant to how much weight one should put on his current opinion:

    1. I can’t cut and paste it as it is an poor quality .pdf file, but if you go to tinyurl.com/c5s7rl you find at page 12 of the record of a 1991 conference it appears that he was prepared to say “Undoubtedly, humankind is affecting the environment. Inadvertent climate system changes brought about by mass loadings of carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, methane, etc have thrust global change into the limelight.”

    This was 3 years after the Hansen testimony he complains about now, yet he doesn’t exactly sound all that sceptical at this time. Sure he’s entitled to change his mind, but I still get the feeling that there is some retrospective outrage being expressed about Hansen in the current comments.

    2. I can’t find how old he is, but here’s his picture: tinyurl.com/cgsr7a

    He’s no spring chicken.

    Look, people will say this is unfair, but old age often equates to a tendency to exaggerate, on both sides of the climate change fence. (I am thinking of Lovelock here, with his statements that global warming will only leave a tiny population of humans able to live in Arctic regions.)

    3. He’s been on the lecture circuit for at least a year or two now, on the topic “Global Warming, is it man-made”. This notice is for a 2008 talk to the Republican Women’s Club at Maclean: tinyurl.com/avz423

    He gave the same entitled talk in 2007 talk to the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance tinyurl.com/cxepe3, and is due to give it to a Rotary Club soon too.

    I don’t know. Seems to me that if he is not a conservative personally (not that there is anything wrong with that!), he at least seems to be happy to spend time talking to “safe” conservative audiences who won’t have the capacity to challenge his views. (You see the same with climate skeptics in Australia, too, of course.)

    4. As far as I can make out from various links to NASA documents, his special area of interest seemed to be in remote sensing from satellites. It is not clear to me the degree to which he has actually worked on the climate modelling which he is now so critical of.

    5. His criticisms as quoted by Morano (if indeed he is being quoted accurately and in full context) do sound remarkably broad brush, and it would good to see more detail and a response from the modellers. The statement, as quoted above that “Thus there is no rational justification for using climate model forecasts to determine public policy.” just sounds a little silly. He might be able to put more meat on the bones of his criticism, but until he does, I don’t find this broad brush attack particularly helpful.

    6. Of course, of prime importance for Jennifer and most visitors here is simply that he is expressing a skeptical view. The detail and justification of his skepticism is of secondary concern. There is a dire lack of any form of skepticism here about skepticism.

    7. Even if Dr Theron is completely right, it does not address the potential for large scale ecological changes to the oceans as a result of acidification. I would argue that there remains very, very little in the way of “reassuring” research that acidification will not be a problem.

  53. sod January 29, 2009 at 4:02 am #

    why would his opinion matter?

  54. gavin January 29, 2009 at 4:38 am #

    Lazio: Re Luke;

    “You would be about 32…?”

    skewed iminagination there mate!

    Lazio hasn’t read or seen Lord of the Rings

  55. PeterK January 29, 2009 at 4:49 am #

    SJT: What does he want funded?

    PK: The point is that since virtually all climatology is funded from a common source – the state – it should come as no surprise that
    (a) a near-universal consensus on AGW exists, and further that
    (b) this consensus is the politically correct one in the current context of an increasingly totalitarian political outlook worldwide.

  56. Peter January 29, 2009 at 5:33 am #

    SJT:

    “I would also note he is a meteorologist, and probably has not specialised in climate.”

    Neither is Hansen qualified in climatology.

  57. Will Nitschke January 29, 2009 at 6:18 am #

    Luke,

    “You disingenuous goose ! And a mid-winter area close to the series mean”

    Wiggle watching ice extent cover now? I thought only idiots did wiggle watching? Oh sorry, it’s fine if that sort of reasoning supports your ‘argument’…

    “As for Antarctica – what? anomaly close to zero and declining. You clown.”

    I thought longer trends were important here–not wiggle watching again? Oh sorry, it’s fine to do that when it supports your argument.

    Hypocrite.

    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    (Watch Luke toggle graphs he points to, depending on which one supports his argument for the moment.)

  58. david January 29, 2009 at 6:29 am #

    >However, David, and the beloved BoM are very quiet when it comes to commenting on extremely cold weather events and the spate of record minimum temperatures recorded in this bitter northern winter…

    The northern hemisphere has experience yet another warm year in 2008. It has experienced the lowest observed sea ice volumes, and positive anomalies substantially outnumber negative ones.

    The public “debate” will be decided by shifts in the weather as climate change cascades down space and time scales. The direction of global weather patterns is absolutely clear – more hot days, more hot nights, less cold days, less cold nights, more extremely heavy rainfall events, more floods, higher storm surges, longer and hotter droughts. This is described in countless peer reviewed scientific papers. Scientists have know this for over a decade… the public are now increasingly seeing it as our weather pattern move beyond historical norms.

    The science “debate” – well there isn’t one – because the sceptics refuse to be party to the scientific process of peer review.

  59. Will Nitschke January 29, 2009 at 6:34 am #

    “A theory is holistic, it encompasses under a unifying gestalt many little hypotheses that work together to form a robust sum larger than its parts. I.e. the “theory of evolution” can not have a simple causal proof. The science lives in a state of continuous experimental testing and observational verification of its predictions. A functional theory isn’t so much “true” as a useful working paradigm for continued research.”

    That sounds like a reasonable definition to me. So now you agree with what I’ve been stating? Good.

    What follows from what you’ve written is that if the theory of evolution cannot have a simple causal proof (and by the way, nor does any other complex scientific theory), you cannot demand it of AGW and therefore dismiss it lightly if it can’t provide one.

    The other points you raised may or may not be true, but they are not germane to what I was pointing out, which is when you wrote:

    “All they have to do is what the IPCC has not yet succeeded in doing – Proving a causal link between AGW and CO2.”

    Is a nonsense statement.

    So now we both agree that demanding a simple causal link is unreasonable. This does not let AGW theory off the hook in terms of providing the same sort of evidence required of other scientific endeavours, however. And I never said it did.

    Unfortunately if you misrepresent the nature of the argument and throw in red herrings like “AGW is not scientific,” people don’t listen to the rest of what you have to say, because you label yourself a crackpot.

    Like it or not, there is no simple definition available to any of us on what science “is” and “is not”. If you try to demonstrate by offering examples, I can provide counter-examples that break the rule. The only working definition we have is that “science is what scientists do”. (This makes some people deeply unhappy: tough.) So let’s leave behind the silly arguments over whether “AGW” or any other scientific theory is “science” or “non-science” or “religion” versus “science” and restrict our assessments to whether it is “good science” or “bad science”.

  60. Will Nitschke January 29, 2009 at 6:42 am #

    David,

    Your post is a beautiful description of the quasi-religious nature of the belief system that has attached itself to AGW theory. (I don’t normally like to use the word ‘religious’ but I could not think of a better one for what you’ve written.)

    Once you investigate any of these claims, one finds the situation to be vastly more complex than how you’ve described it. For every example you cherry pick, an equally impressive counter example can be picked to show exactly opposite of what you’re claiming. It is fascinating to watch how the human brain is so perfectly capable of filtering any information discordant with a pre-conceived conclusion.

  61. PeterK January 29, 2009 at 7:07 am #

    Will: Like it or not, there is no simple definition available to any of us on what science “is” and “is not”. If you try to demonstrate by offering examples, I can provide counter-examples that break the rule. The only working definition we have is that “science is what scientists do”. (This makes some people deeply unhappy: tough.)

    PK: Doesn’t that just push the question out to – What is the definition of a scientist? Who is, and who isn’t, a scientist?

  62. Will Nitschke January 29, 2009 at 7:21 am #

    PK,

    Practically or philosophically it’s not a problem. Scientists are generally highly critical of each other’s work so bad science gets filtered out of the process in the long run. People who love science don’t like me saying this, but most new science most of the time is rubbish… and empirical studies (science itself) bears this fact out. It’s only a small percentage of the published research that ultimately doesn’t turn out to be wrong. Scientists understand this. The public–not really. Problems arise when political and social movements decide independently and pre-emptively which science is ‘good’ and which scientists are to be supported financially, awarded, etc. This greatly distorts the ‘natural’ process and progress of science.

  63. PeterK January 29, 2009 at 7:22 am #

    David: The northern hemisphere has experience yet another warm year in 2008. It has experienced the lowest observed sea ice volumes, and positive anomalies substantially outnumber negative ones.
    =>
    1. Global temperatures have very slightly declined for the last decade or so.
    2. After receding, arctic ice is now on the increase

    Will: The science “debate” – well there isn’t one – because the sceptics refuse to be party to the scientific process of peer review.
    =>
    What do you base that on?

    Indeed it is the alarmists who are most destructive of peer review – eg Mann et al doggedly hiding and fudging data, algorithms etc, re: the discredited Hockey Stick.

  64. PeterK January 29, 2009 at 7:29 am #

    Will: Scientists are generally highly critical of each other’s work so bad science gets filtered out of the process in the long run

    Not if science is funded from a single source. And especuially where the science in question has obvious ramifications for the funder.

  65. Will Nitschke January 29, 2009 at 7:37 am #

    PK:

    “Not if science is funded from a single source. And especuially where the science in question has obvious ramifications for the funder.”

    That’s why I wrote “in the long run”. If temperatures continue the short term trend of cooling or fail to rise to match projections in the long run, then the science will “self correct” eventually. To it’s credit AGW has made certain specific predictions, i.e., .2C temperature rises per decade for the next two decades then vastly accelerating after that. (Although they do strike me as rather cautious if we are expected to get to a 2-6C increase by 2100. To get to 4C we should expect to see a .4C rise per decade, if simplistically averaged over the entire century.) These predictions do have to come true. ..

  66. david January 29, 2009 at 7:41 am #

    >Your post is a beautiful description of the quasi-religious nature of the belief system that has attached itself to AGW theory.

    Will what I write is documented in dozens of peer reviewed papers.

    Do you have evidence to the contrary?

    >1. Global temperatures have very slightly declined for the last decade or so.

    We have not had a cooler than average year for 25 years. That is despite La Nina, a cool sun, and record snow storms last January. Also, note the bait and switch – I say northern hemisphere – you switch to globe – here’s the northern hemisphere graph – http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/research/2008/dec/lo-hem-jan-dec-pg.gif . This shows near record high temperatures last year.

    >What do you base that on?

    A complete lack of peer reviewed pieces relevant to global warming by the climate sceptics.

    >Indeed it is the alarmists who are most destructive of peer review – eg Mann et al doggedly hiding and fudging data, algorithms etc, re: the discredited Hockey Stick.

    Mann analysis has been replicated many times over. We have not seen a single alternative analysis published by the sceptics “critical” of his work in a science journal. Why?

  67. cohenite January 29, 2009 at 7:46 am #

    Arctic Sea ice area and extent trends seem evenly poised at the beginning of 2009; one possible explanation for recent warming in the Arctic is this;

    http://acsys.npolar.no/meetings/final/abstracts/posters/Session_3/poster_s3_096.pdf

    The theory has also been raised at NASA;

    http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2007-131

  68. Will Nitschke January 29, 2009 at 7:49 am #

    David,

    “Do you have evidence to the contrary?”

    Hmmm…. you provide no evidence for the amorphous claims you make but demand evidence if any of them are questioned. How dare anyone question you! 😉

    Most alarmists and bogus sceptics have the chronic problem of being able to detect the assumed weaknesses in their opponents arguments, but fail to see any in their own, even (and especially) when they inevitably end up using exactly the same form of argument as the debate evolves.

  69. PeterK January 29, 2009 at 7:54 am #

    > Mann analysis has been replicated many times over. We have not seen a single alternative analysis published by the sceptics “critical” of his work in a science journal. Why?

    Assuming what you say is true, because the bulk of the peers are funded from the same source – the state.

  70. PeterK January 29, 2009 at 8:01 am #

    > Mann analysis has been replicated many times over.

    His methods have been shown to yield a Hockey Stick even when given red noise.

  71. PeterK January 29, 2009 at 8:11 am #

    PeterK: Not if science is funded from a single source. And especuially where the science in question has obvious ramifications for the funder.

    Will: That’s why I wrote “in the long run”. If temperatures continue the short term trend of cooling or fail to rise to match projections in the long run, then the science will “self correct” eventually.

    Well will it? Or will we just keep hearing more and more explanations of how climate not obeying the GCMs is still “consistent with” the GCMs? And see AGW sceptics increasingly hounded from state employment for their political incorrectness. The massive alarmist industry will take more than the truth to be stopped.

    I guess though if we make the long term long enough, you will eventually be borne out. But we may well all have frozen to death by then.

  72. Will Nitschke January 29, 2009 at 8:21 am #

    PK:

    Notice the very careful choice of wording…

    “We have not seen a single alternative analysis published by the sceptics “critical” of his work in a science journal. ”

    So one should exclusively consider only information from science journals. Next, watch very carefully when David posts links to RealClimate, tables, graphs, etc., that have not been published in scientific journals either. The IPCC report’s conclusions doesn’t meet this criteria either. Interesting.

    (He won’t have any problem reasoning this way when it supports his argument, but will object strongly when others who disagree with him do it.)

    “Why?”

    Presumably because scientific research and publication is a slow process.

    Quoted from P.J. O’Rourke but he does make a good point about people who passionately defended the Soviet Union back in the 80’s. Notice the style of question they asked:

    “What pension do retired Soviet works receive as a percentage of their highest annual work-life salary?”

    When you are very very careful with the wording of your statements and questions, one can see that a very specific pre-conceived answer is being sought… and any ‘undesirable’ answers are by default ruled out.

  73. wes george January 29, 2009 at 8:32 am #

    Bloody hell, Will, you’ve gone straight to the tautological heart of the matter: “Science is what scientists do” as the working definition of, uh, science? Forrest Gump couldn’t have said it better.

    Your “working definition of science” dovetails well with your previous statements:

    “You don’t need to provide a casual link (for AGW)–this is demanding too much. A relatively solid circumstantial case would be sufficient….how one can demand a ‘causal link’ for the big bang theory of cosmology, or even evolutionary theory…It’s sufficient that climatology meets the generally accepted weaker standard.”

    Stupid is as stupid does!

    “A relatively solid circumstantial case” would get tossed out of a court of law, much less one of science. Pluuuueeze, don’t claim that I agree with your “generally accepted weaker standard” rubbish.

    Theories are theoretical!

    You have confused “theory” with “hypothesis.” The hypothesis that humans are altering the climate with anthropocentrically introduced CO2 is not of the same order of inquiry as the theory of evolution – the unifying paradigm for the whole of nature from the lifecycles of galaxies and stars through to the forming of our solar system right down to the evolution of life and lower still to the variation in finch beaks on remote islands….!

    It is ROTF laughable to suggest a comparison between a HUGE theory with over a century of research and useful insights behind it and the humble AGW hypothesis, which has yet to make lasting contributions to our understanding of climate and doesn’t even claim to be the unifying central paradigm of climatology.

    Hypotheses hypothesize!

    A hypothesis, such as a proposition about CO2’s impact on climate must, BY DEFINITION, be causally verifiable. A hypothesis is the basic epistemological unit in the scientific method.

    Or, if you prefer to Gump it: Science is as science does.

  74. Will Nitschke January 29, 2009 at 8:36 am #

    PK:

    “Well will it? Or will we just keep hearing more and more explanations of how climate not obeying the GCMs is still “consistent with” the GCMs? And see AGW sceptics increasingly hounded from state employment for their political incorrectness. The massive alarmist industry will take more than the truth to be stopped.”

    Problem is many people are frustrated because they want these issues settled by this afternoon. Not going to happen.

    This drama is going to take some time to play out. If AGWers turn out to be correct, you can thank them later that they didn’t listen to you. If things keep going the way they’ve been going for the last decade or so, then sit back and enjoy watching ‘the train wreck in slow motion.’

    Rationality triumphs in the end, unfortunately it takes long detours on the way.

  75. sod January 29, 2009 at 8:38 am #

    2. After receding, arctic ice is now on the increase

    since when? last summer? are you joking?

    Arctic Sea ice area and extent trends seem evenly poised at the beginning of 2009; one possible explanation for recent warming in the Arctic is this;

    http://acsys.npolar.no/meetings/final/abstracts/posters/Session_3/poster_s3_096.pdf

    that poster is outdated. the warming of the arctic is very REAL. pointing at one time at the apst and claiming periodic behaviour is idiotic.

    So one should exclusively consider only information from science journals. Next, watch very carefully when David posts links to RealClimate, tables, graphs, etc., that have not been published in scientific journals either. The IPCC report’s conclusions doesn’t meet this criteria either. Interesting.

    the IPCC report is based on peer reviewed papers.
    the guys at realclimate let us take part in stuff, that is about to be published.

    but you guys have the word of an elderly retired NASA employee against it…
    no need to “peer review” the nonsense he is telling….

  76. Will Nitschke January 29, 2009 at 8:44 am #

    Wes:

    “Bloody hell, Will, you’ve gone straight to the tautological heart of the matter: “Science is what scientists do” as the working definition of, uh, science? Forrest Gump couldn’t have said it better.”

    I didn’t say you were going to like the definition. It’s the only one we have, unfortunately.

    Your “working definition of science” dovetails well with your previous statements:”

    Only if you try to simplify what’s been discussed to the point of absurdity.

    ““A relatively solid circumstantial case” would get tossed out of a court of law, much less one of science. Pluuuueeze, don’t claim that I agree with your “generally accepted weaker standard” rubbish.”

    You’re mixing statements up again… I wrote that ‘weaker’ relative to proof of causality. I never wrote that a ‘week causal case’ was sufficient for a theory to be widely adopted as true. (There are other factors to consider also, of course.)

    A strong circumstantial case may win in a civil claim although it is not supposed to win in a criminal case. Not sure if it makes much sense to use this analogy, though.

    “You have confused “theory” with “hypothesis.”

    The hypothesis that humans are altering the climate with anthropocentrically introduced CO2 is not of the same…”

    You’re mixing up the basic science terms now. (sigh). A hypothesis is a specific aspect of a theory that you try to test for. Right or wrong, AGW is a very complex subject.

    “It is ROTF laughable to suggest a comparison between a HUGE theory with over a century of research and useful insights behind it and the humble AGW hypothesis, which has yet to make lasting contributions to our understanding of climate and doesn’t even claim to be the unifying central paradigm of climatology.”

    Based on your criteria above, no new science can ever become a “theory” because we need over a century of research and useful insight before we can call something a genuine “theory” ? On that basis, science no longer exists. Or maybe you mean something else. Hard to say because I can’t follow your logic here.

    “A hypothesis, such as a proposition about CO2’s impact on climate must, BY DEFINITION, be causally verifiable. A hypothesis is the basic epistemological unit in the scientific method.”

    OK, if that’s true, what’s the repeatable test we can run to prove the causal link?

  77. Luke January 29, 2009 at 8:49 am #

    Lazlo – hypocrite ? moi? – you’ll have to review the blog standards here about trends, fifth degree polynomials, and trends in 1 year. I’ve just joined you guys in wiggle watching. Is it causing some pain?

  78. Will Nitschke January 29, 2009 at 8:51 am #

    SOD wrote:

    “pointing at one time at the apst and claiming periodic behaviour is idiotic.”

    I just read that article on the JPL/NASA website by researchers claiming exactly this… at the end it states:

    “The study was funded by the National Science Foundation.”

    So you’re saying these scientists are “idiots” because you have the amazing ability to evaluate their work? Incredible, because you have no scientific qualifications…

    I don’t know if this scientific study will in the long run turn out to be true or not… that will take time to determine.

    But for a non-scientist with no qualifications to rubbish a scientific study on the basis that it disagrees with your uneducated opinion? Crackpot…

  79. Luke January 29, 2009 at 8:58 am #

    “OK, if that’s true, what’s the repeatable test we can run to prove the causal link”

    get replicate planet – populate to correct number of humans and technological evolution – increase CO2 level as determined by course of political and technological evolution and energy use – Shake gently – observe climate impacts over 200 years and report back.

    Perhaps 10-20 replicate ensemble to allow for chaos.

  80. sod January 29, 2009 at 9:01 am #

    Will, you didn t understand that page.

    they don t claim “periodical behaviour” from one other instance.

  81. Will Nitschke January 29, 2009 at 9:20 am #

    Sod:

    “Will, you didn t understand that page.”

    Maybe I don’t, but I’m not convinced you do either.

    “they don t claim “periodical behaviour” from one other instance.”

    Actually, they seem to be agnostic on the topic. I think the “this doesn’t *necessarily* disprove AGW” is a reasonable thing to say, and exactly what I would say if I was them and I was writing such a report.

    But to claim that the periodicity claim is “idotic” is interpreting further than what is written there, as far as I can see, so your claim that periodicity is “idotic” can’t be justified from reading the text. If anything, the opposite of you’re trying to argue seems somewhat more plausible.

  82. Will Nitschke January 29, 2009 at 9:23 am #

    Luke:

    “Is it causing some pain?”

    I wouldn’t call it painful, but watching someone make a complete arse of himself (repeatedly), while hoping no one will notice, is not pleasant to watch, even if you know the person doing that to himself may not be sending you a xmas card this year.

    “get replicate planet -”

    Exactly right. Which is why the causality demand is so… stupid.

  83. wes george January 29, 2009 at 9:32 am #

    David says:

    “Mann analysis has been replicated many times over.”

    BBZZZZZTTT! False.

    He’s talking about Michael Mann’s infamous Hockey Stick graph, which illustrated the central implication of the AGW hypothesis: that temperatures today MUST be at historical record highs since we are at historical record high atmospheric CO2 levels.

    Michael Mann created his sensational graphic by cherry picking through the proxy records until he got a statistical mix that conformed to the central implication of the AGW hypothesis.

    Mann’s “hockey stick” graph and his methodology has been so thoroughly discredited that the IPCC has dumped his analysis from later reports…google it yourself.

    Personally, I love Michael Mann’s discredited analysis for what it reveals about the AGW hypothesis. Mann’s work amounts to an admission by the AGW supporters that the hypothesis’ central implication can be tested by looking back in time for observations and temperature and sea level proxies which will either verify or disprove the hypothesis.

    Therefore, the AGW hypothesis really is fair dinkum science, in as much as the definition of a hypothesis is that it must be expressed in terms that are testable. The AGW hypothesis can be tested right now with readily available data. We don’t have to wait for the next 30 years of observations to trickle in.

    This is a vast improvement over the GAWS approach (Generally Accepted Weaker Standard) embraced by William Gump and Luke, et al.

    Luke, for instance, finds verification for AGW in computer models abstractions. He says the “GCM documentation is there.” But computer scenarios of climate 50 years in the future is not verification of the AGW hypothesis, just another prediction and not a useful one, because it can’t be tested… Will is even more fuzzy: Science is as science does he sagely, if uselessly, informs us.

    So good on ya, Michael Mann, for showing the path to verifying the AGW hypothesis lies in the past, not 50 years into the future. He’s a man who really understands the science, if not the method.

  84. Will Nitschke January 29, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    Wes:

    Hockeystick is shonk science… not really disputed by anyone credible. But AGW doesn’t live or die based on one (or a set of) of crap studies done by a particular, unusually incompetent, scientist.

    You need to keep that in perspective when looking at the bigger picture. It’s basically a reasonable rule-of-thumb guide also, that anyone defending it, is primarily a source of propaganda information, and not credible as a source of reliable scientific opinion. Of course, many credible scientists may simply be unaware of the sceptical analysis’s done on this study.

  85. Lazlo January 29, 2009 at 11:28 am #

    ‘Lazlo – hypocrite ? moi?’ It wasn’t me who called you a hypocrite sonny…

  86. Malcolm Hill January 29, 2009 at 11:34 am #

    David of the BOM says,

    “Mann analysis has been replicated many times over. We have not seen a single alternative analysis published by the sceptics “critical” of his work in a science journal. Why?”

    The answers simple. You people only read what you want to read.

    Here is a data base of peer reviewed papers and other works that shows conclusively that the MWP, which Mann was trying to remove does exist on global basis, and the evidence is overwhelming.

    It was compiled and assessed by people with quals and experience over a long period of working in climate science.

    http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/mwpp.php

    All you have to do is to take the blinkers off.

  87. wes george January 29, 2009 at 11:42 am #

    Mann’s hockey stick is discredited. duh.

    Point is that the AGW hypothesis can be verified or discredited with the data available today, rather than wait for Luke’s 50 year climate model “forecasts” to be tested. That’s the lovely, enduring legacy of the Mann kerfuffle.

    I mean, like you asked: what tests can be done to verify the AGW hypothesis, didn’t ya? My reply: the AGW implication Michael Mann tried to prove is the answer.

    Pop quiz, Will. Quick! Can you tell me what that central implication of the AGW hypothesis that Michael Mann and the IPCC thought of paramount importance to prove????

    You said that we might have to wait decades for the AGW mystery to unravel. Not so. I’ll punt that it will be sorted out much sooner using the data already available.

  88. wes george January 29, 2009 at 11:50 am #

    Malcolm, thanks for the link. There within lies the test for the AGW hypothesis Master Will seeks…

  89. Will Nitschke January 29, 2009 at 12:58 pm #

    Wes:

    “Can you tell me what that central implication of the AGW hypothesis that Michael Mann and the IPCC thought of paramount importance to prove????”

    Can you explain what you mean by ‘central implication’ first.

    I’m not sure the IPCC has claimed they have “proved” anything. They seem to think there is a 10% chance that they are wrong. How they arrive at that 90% confidence level is not explained, though.

  90. Michael January 29, 2009 at 1:27 pm #

    but I increasingly understand many find it difficult to even read a simple graph

    Jennifer is top of the class there.

    It seems that many people are inevitably influenced by the qualifications of the person making particular claims irrespective of the available evidence.

    2 from 2 for JM!!

    Just call me ‘Adjunct Professor of Virology’ if you don’t mind.

  91. Ecosceptic_II January 29, 2009 at 8:38 pm #

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/01/27/james-hansens-former-nasa-supervisor-declares-himself-a-skeptic-says-hansen-embarrassed-nasa-was-never-muzzled/#comments

    “Luke (17:50:04) :
    Wow, what great news. Is the wall finally crumbling?”

    Would this be Luke having an each way bet?

  92. SJT January 29, 2009 at 10:46 pm #

    Slams climate models?

    Looks to me like the models are doing fine.

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2007/2007_Rahmstorf_etal.pdf

  93. PeterK January 29, 2009 at 11:26 pm #

    PeterK: Global temperatures have very slightly declined for the last decade or so.

    David: We have not had a cooler than average year for 25 years.

    Even the alarmist Guardian (UK) has said that global warming has of late been replaced by global cooling, with 2008 the “coolest year of the decade”.
    (And that is true even ignoring the high of 1998).

  94. SJT January 30, 2009 at 6:19 am #

    Theon was not Hansens boss.

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/1/28/19755/5879/380/690181

    Another AGW attack based on lies. Nothing to see here, people. Move on.

  95. PeterK January 30, 2009 at 7:00 am #

    SJT: Theon was not Hansens boss … Another AGW attack based on lies. Nothing to see here, people. Move on.

    Even the report says Theon had authority over Hansen’s funding. If that isn’t control, what is?

  96. sod January 30, 2009 at 7:12 am #

    Even the report says Theon had authority over Hansen’s funding. If that isn’t control, what is?

    he was NOT his boss.

    but that is, what the headline claims. false, as usual.

  97. Will Nitschke January 30, 2009 at 7:47 am #

    SJT:

    “Slams climate models?

    Looks to me like the models are doing fine.

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2007/2007_Rahmstorf_etal.pdf

    Climate model predictions are so vague that it’s hard to refute them in the short term… The error range looks like .4C… for any given year… gimmeabreak…

    But even so, if you include the last couple of years (omitted from the report), the models are almost (not quite) already falsified even with the huge error bars (assuming 5% confidence interval). If that’s the definition of “doing fine” in the field of climatology, then I wouldn’t be rushing out to invest in carbon permits any time soon.

    Of course, 2008 might just have been a highly anomalous year.

  98. janama January 30, 2009 at 9:32 am #

    according to Roy Spencer he was Hansen’s, and Spencer’s boss.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/

  99. Jan Pompe January 30, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

    janama don’t you know daily kos is never wrong and Roy Spencer who actually worked there with these people cannot possibly be right.

  100. janama January 30, 2009 at 5:09 pm #

    No Jan – he’s creationist therefore he must be wrong!! plus he’s not a real scientist, he doesn’t post on RealClimate. 🙂

    cool – this makes 100 posts fro the thread, I couldn’t resist.

  101. Louis Hissink January 30, 2009 at 7:09 pm #

    For what it is worth, I side with Roy Spencer’s views, but we might disagree on fundamentals, slightly.

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