Shut Up, they explained

Hippies and warmists don’t like to be questioned.

In their world, there is only one view allowed.  Theirs.  Should you dare disagree, you are deviant. Diversity is desired in nature but abhored by the left.  Dissenters must be discredited, or hounded, or censored.  What dissenters must not be, is heard.

What hippies, warmists or lefties cannot shout down, they shut down.  The debate is over, the revolution will not be televised.

Phelim McAleer is no stranger to the censorious nature of warmists.  Gasland director Josh Fox has added his name to the rogues gallery of agenda-driven propagandists that will. not. be. questioned. Fox has used the 26 seconds of Gasland footage McAleer used to claim copyright and shut down the dissent.  Phelim explains:

Fox’s excuse is a breach of copyright. In a video that is 3:10 minutes long, we used 26 seconds of Gasland only to show how Fox was being unethical and misleading. It is a classic case of “fair use” of someone’s work for the purpose of criticism and is totally legally allowed if not encouraged under fair use law.

But Fox does not want any criticism. He does not want any freedom of speech.

We now have to hire lawyers to try and have our journalism restored to our own YouTube channel. In the meantime we have put the video up on Vimeo (a YouTube rival). You can see it here until Fox and his lawyers try to force Vimeo to pull it down.  We will fight all these attempts to silence our journalism. We have been here before. The Society of Environmental Journalists turned off my mic for asking Al Gore tough questions. The UN used armed security to try and stop me asking difficult questions of a scientist and a politician at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen. And environmentalists attacked me on live television for daring to question the orthodoxy.

And the makers of the Age of Stupid, another eco-disaster fantasy, had me removed from their press gallery for asking the “wrong questions”. They also took legal action to have the blog showing their behavior removed from the internet.

They did not succeed and Josh Fox will not succeed.

Josh Fox may or may not succeed in his efforts to prevent McAleer from exposing him as an agit-prop hipster.

While it lasts, here’s the Vimeo version of Phelim’s film.

**UPDATE: Fox pulled the video from Vimeo, but Phelim has it self hosted here.**

Fox’s tactics are not new, he’s just the latest hippie hipster to walk the path.

Other examples of the Shut Up, they explained prefer censorship over debate.

The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone

Censorship and left-leaning causes are no strangers because it’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

The truth will set you free, and that won’t do at all.


32 thoughts on “Shut Up, they explained”

  1. Well, although I have no desire to argue, I’m here and I’m happy to explain the science behind ACC to anybody who asks.

  2. <blockquote cite="Chris
    June 6th, 2011 at 6:18 pm
    Well, although I have no desire to argue, I’m here and I’m happy to explain the science behind ACC to anybody who asks."

    Thanks for the offer Chris — but we don't need any more "explanation" of what the "experts" say. What would be useful, however, is if you could get the University of Virginia, Michael Mann, and Phil Jones to release their data and computer codes — they were paid for with public money, after all.

    I don't think you'll be successful, however: The code that we did get to see (in the ClimateGate data dump) blatantly inserted false "data" into the record. I'm sure they don't want anyone poking into that kind of stuff.

    Here's the deal, Chris: As long as these government-funded scientists insist on keeping their data and code secret, their credibility will continue to sink. People may not understand the science, but they understand cheating and con men — those guys always say "Trust me!".

    The only thing that might restore their credibility is an independent audit of their science — you know, like the FDA does before certifying a new drug; They don't just ask the company's scientists if it works. Surely the economic and societal changes being sought by the proponents of "ACC" deserve at least as much scrutiny as the introduction of a new anti-inflamatory?

    Of course, an independent audit might also result in criminal charges being filed — in which case the "ACC" scientists will fight it tooth and nail (sort of like they already are).

    Maybe there's some other reason they are so sensitive about outsiders getting ahold of their (publicly funded) data and work — but I can't think what it would be. Perhaps you can suggest something?

    p.s. "ACC"? I guess "GW" hasn't worked out so well (snows in England refusing to evaporate on schedule, etc.), so now it's "CC". Sort of reminds me of the old TV series "Get Smart": "Would you believe Global Warming? No? What about Climate Change?

  3. BobC, you seem to misunderstand the use of the phrase “climate change” as opposed to “global warming”. It was quite some time ago that scientists realized that the phrase “global warming” failed to communicate the breadth of the problem. There are a great many changes in atmospheric behavior arising from the greenhouse effect. Moreover, the warming itself is strongest at the polar regions and minimal in the equatorial regions. Therefore, people started using “climate change” as the more appropriate term. That term is now the standard among people familiar with the scientific issues. The lay term is still “global warming”.

    I can also explain one small aspect of the matter of data release, having been involved in much the same issue in a completely different field. I was involved in a large and expensive scientific campaign to collect important data more than ten years ago. Most of that data was published quite soon, but there was one huge mass of data that nobody wanted to tackle because it was huge and it was a mess. Some of the people close to the project used small portions of that data but the great bulk of that data remained closeted away because in its raw form it was useless. It required considerable effort to sort through the mess, merging a great many bits and pieces, dealing with (and documenting) the inevitable gaps, correcting some errors that had cropped up on one of the instruments, and so forth. All the grant money for that project had been spent and so nobody could take the time to clean it up. Finally, about eight months ago, I had a chunk of time free, and I set to work on the task. I figured it would take me three months, tops. It turned out to take six months, which was a huge pain. But having started the effort, I was determined to finish it. I eventually got everything ready for publication. It constitutes about 800 gigabytes of raw data and another gigabyte of first-round digestion. I shipped it all off to the Principal Investigator just a couple of months ago, all stuffed onto a hard drive. It’s too big for anybody to get over the Internet, but at least we can duplicate hard drives for anybody who wants the data.

    Anyway, the point of all this is that there’s a huge difference between raw data and data that’s ready for publication. The papers that were published based on unpublished data were never challenged, and if somebody were to question the data that I just worked on, I could explain the general principles that guided my decisions, but I would not be able to document every single step I took during this immensely complicated process.

    Your other comments do not concern scientific matters and so I have no comment on them.

  4. Thanks for your reply Chris.

    A few points:

    1) Switching to the phrase “Climate Change” from “Global Warming” after the failure of several high profile predictions of warming (“Snow will become a rare event in England”, etc.) says “Con job” to the average person. I find it hard to believe you are so naive as to not realize that, or that you don’t care about the credibility of climate science. There is no crisis except a predicted crisis — if the AGW hypothesis has no predictive skill, then there is no crisis. It won’t do to pretend that, whatever happens, it validates the models. This is just a round-about way of saying the models have no predictive skill.

    2) I obviously don’t know the details of your data tale. However, it seems reasonable to suppose that, if the data is in too much of a mess to release, it is also in too much of mess to base any reliable conclusions on. An audit requires that all the data and code necessary to replicate the work is released. If the data and/or code is in “too much of a mess” to do that, then it is likely that you couldn’t replicate your work yourself, and any conclusions drawn from it are highly suspect.

    3) “The papers that were published based on unpublished data were never challenged”. Well of course! I’ve reviewed a number of papers in my field (optics) and; if you don’t have the data (which you never do); and you don’t have the algorighms used (which you rarely do, at least in workable form), then you can’t validate the work. Peer review looks for more trivial errors: Failure to properly cite previous work, mathematical errors, unsupported conclusions, etc. Validation can only be accomplished by independent replication.

    4) “Your other comments do not concern scientific matters and so I have no comment on them.” You’re copping out, Chris. If this was simply a scientific matter — that is, you weren’t publically funded, and you weren’t strongly advocating political agendas, then I would say, “Fine — keep your data and work proprietary and let anyone else replicate or refute it if they can.

    Presumably you live in the same world I do, and have noticed that many high profile government employed climate scientists act as policy advocates while showing great reluctance to reveal the nuts and bolts of their work, even to the point of engaging in criminal conspiracy:

    ( “…If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone.” Phil Jones)

    This is not science, Chris — it is political and corrupt, and is the exact reason that the credibility of climate science is plumeting.

    Pretending that this is “just science” is specious.

  5. BobC, you write, “Switching to the phrase “Climate Change” from “Global Warming” after the failure of several high profile predictions of warming…”

    I don’t know what “high profile predictions” you are referring to, but the definition of “high profile” is entirely a matter of personal opinion. There is no need to argue over who or what constitutes a proper representative of science; that has already been established for nearly 150 years. Just after the Civil War, Congress established the National Academy of Sciences to provide the government with expert, reliable advice on scientific and technical issues of policy significance. Since then, the NAS has issued hundreds of reports to Congress on all manner of issues. Not a single NAS public report has ever been later shown to be significantly flawed. They have a perfect track record. So the NAS is the official “high profile” source and it has issued reports supporting the ACC hypothesis. None of its predictions in this regard have been shown to be in error.

    There is a great danger here in picking out a single person as a representative of the thousands of people involved in climate science. Al Gore does not represent climate science. Neither does Phil Jones. Indeed, that is precisely why the NAS exists: to get past the opinions of individuals and write a report that all the experts can agree is representative of the state of the science. I would therefore suggest that the statements of individuals are not representative of the state of climate science. You need to survey the entire field, read lots of papers, get a grip on the whole shebang before you attempt to evaluate it. At the very least, you should read the entire IPCC AR4 WG1. Or, more simply, you can simply trust an institution with a perfect track record: the NAS.

    I do indeed care about the credibility of climate science, but credibility is a subjective thing. There are lots of people who don’t know climate science from climbing ivies, and I really don’t care about their credence. There are lots of people who reject climate science for political rather than scientific reasons, and again, I really don’t care about their credence, because no amount of scientific argument will penetrate their skulls. There are also plenty of people who embrace climate science for political reasons, and again, I really don’t care about their credence. What I care about is gaining the credence of rational people. For such people, scientific explanations will sway their conclusions. I am posting here in the expectation that there are indeed such rational people frequenting this blog, and I expect to help them understand what’s really going on in climate science.

    This is really important. Politics is always worthy of collisions of opinions, and that happens millions of times a day. But I find head-butting over opinions to be a waste of time. I have no right to challenge your opinions. But if we confine our discussion to objective matters rather than subjective conclusions, we can actually have a productive discussion. Anything less is unworthy of our time.

    You write: , it seems reasonable to suppose that, if the data is in too much of a mess to release, it is also in too much of mess to base any reliable conclusions on.

    But in fact there were quite a few papers published based on subsets of the data. The subsets were themselves robust, but a ferocious critic could demand to see ALL of the data in order to verify that there wasn’t something special about the subsets. We could not have satisfied such a demand.

    You write that Pretending that this is “just science” is specious. Again, there’s nothing to be gained by arguing politics. No two people here share precisely the same political opinions, and there really isn’t any point in having a demolition derby of opinions. Yes, the science does have political implications, but let’s not put the cart before the horse. Our policy decisions should be based on what facts we can establish. FIRST we gather the evidence. THEN we draw political conclusions. A great many people start with their political preferences and then work backwards to cherry pick the evidence that supports their political opinions, and deny the evidence that conflicts with their political opinions. I reject that way of thinking. That’s why I’m concentrating all my attentions on the scientific evidence. I do not draw political conclusions from that evidence. First things first.

  6. Chris:

    Have you read this article? Does it sound to you that the author is complaining that nobody has adequately explained the science of AGW/ACC to him?

    In fact, the article is about (and gives examples) of political corruption and coverup and attempted suppression of debate.

    Then you come here wearing your “just a scientist” halo and innocently offer (as if you didn’t notice what the article was about) to explain the science to us rubes (many of whom happen to also have advanced degrees in various branches of science and engineering).

    Be careful Chris: Feigned naivety has a way of ending up looking just like stupidity.

  7. BobC, I understand the content of the article. Since it seemed to be asserting that the people who understand climate science refuse to explain it, I offered to provide any explanations anybody cared to know. If nobody asks for explanations, then I won’t have to write any. The other contribution I can make is to clarify points of confusion that might crop up in the various postings. Of course, should the owners of this blog advise me that this contribution is unwanted, then I shall instantly depart.

    I make no assumptions regarding the state of education of any individual.

  8. “Since it [the article] seemed to be asserting that the people who understand climate science refuse to explain it, I offered to provide any explanations anybody cared to know.”

    Please, this pretense is growing tedious. The article clearly asserts (among other things) that the government-funded scientists claiming to tell us what must be done to save the world refuse to allow their (publicly funded) work to be examined. Specific actions are requested, not more “explanations”.

    There is already a surfeit of “experts” telling us to simply accept what we are told (what right have we to examine their work anyway?) — the subtext being, “sit down and shut up”. You have, uninvited, added your voice to this chorus (“Or, more simply, you can simply trust an institution with a perfect track record: the NAS.”)

    This is a simple, straightforward, easy to comprehend article. I’m having a hard time believing that you really have this much trouble understanding it.

    But then, perhaps I shouldn’t make any assumptions regarding the state of anyone else’s intelligence.

  9. Chris,
    Thanks for your comments. You’re welcome here anytime, and I’d like to thank you, BobC and others for keeping your debate generally agreeable in tone.

    You note Al Gore and Phil Jones don’t represent all of the science, and of course you’re correct. But if you take those two high profile names and add James Hansen, Bill McKibben, Michael Mann, Joe Romm et al, you might begin to see how climate science is ill served by its highest profile people.

    This post was a simple reminder that only in climate science do leaders in the field believe it okay to hide, obfuscate or deny material to other scientists. Which begs the question why? If their methodology is sound, their data proper and their interpretation and statistical analysis robust, they should have nothing to fear from sharing data so others can replicate their models.

    But they don’t, and that’s a problem that no amount of spin can solve. Hansen and others are keen for the global economy to be essentially retooled, based on what climate models predict. I don’t think its asking too much that we have those models carefully examined before committing trillions of dollars to the cause.

    One of the reasons I started this blog was because of the damage the climate guys are doing to ALL of science. Much as Andrew Wakefield tainted all medical research with his claims of MMR vaccine causing autism, Mann, Hansen and company do harm to their entire field of study.

    I used to think that scientists who did poorly in school went on to careers designing products to make hair shiny or lashes longer, but instead they seem to have congregated in the global warming field.

  10. dailybayonet, you write: only in climate science do leaders in the field believe it okay to hide, obfuscate or deny material to other scientists.

    I do not believe that this statement is supportable with evidence. There is no evidence that any scientists attempted to hide, obfuscate, or deny material to other scientists. This statement is predicated on my personal opinion that Mr. McIntyre is not a scientist in the context of my statement. Inasmuch as Mr. McIntyre’s background is as a mathematician, minerals prospector, and mining consultant, I believe that my opinion is well-founded. Moreover, there is no evidence that any scientists in the field attempted to hide, obfuscate, or deny the bulk of their material to anybody. They have published many megabytes of their data.

    I understand that my statements will seem incredible to some here. I suggest that the only effective way to counter my statements is with actual evidence, not statements along the lines of “Everybody knows that…” I am quite familiar with the specifics of this case and am confident that no evidence refuting my claims can be produced.

    Lastly, I note the failure to respond to my comments regarding the NAS. This institution certainly DOES represent the leadership of the field. Does anybody here care to cast aspersions on the NAS? If not, then how can you fail to accept its conclusions?

  11. “I used to think that scientists who did poorly in school went on to careers designing products to make hair shiny or lashes longer…” dailybayonet

    Actually, developing products (especially those with potentially dangerous side effects) is very demanding. Telling the FDA, for example, that the data is in “too much of a mess” to release to the auditors simply assures that the product will never be approved (and you will likely lose your job for incompetence).

    Many academic scientists I know (and all the climate scientists) have spent their entire careers producing nothing more than peer-reviewed papers.

    My students in a graduate engineering class once got into a lively discussion among themselves about the essential differences between engineering and science. Although I generally never air my opinions in class, in this case I was asked. What I said was:

    “To have a successful career, scientists must convince their colleagues that they are right. Engineers, to have a successful career, must be right.”

  12. Chris,

    The NAS only offers its collective opinion — it does not (and did not) audit the science.

    “There is no evidence that any scientists attempted to hide, obfuscate, or deny material to other scientists.”

    You try to spin the obvious evidence of just this (which I even provided a quote from the ‘ClimateGate’ emails) by the smug proclamation that “McIntyre is not a scientist”. This is just sophistry.

    McIntyre has published peer-reviewed papers, including some in the field of climate science. He has also discovered serious errors in papers in that field. He obviously knows far more about statistics that Michael Mann, for example, who seems to not know how to test for the null hypothesis. The fact that Mann’s “Hockey Stick” algorithm produces essentially the same output when fed random “data” indicates that it has no relevance to the real world at all. If you can’t understand that, you have no business using statistics.

  13. BobC, you dismiss the NAS reports because they did not “audit the science”. Whatever do you mean by “audit the science”? Do you require the NAS to go through every paper ever published in climate science, demand to see the raw data, recalculate the results, and verify the conclusions of the paper? Such an effort would cost — I do not exaggerate — billions of dollars. All this to satisfy your own standards of scientific propriety? The scientific process is already expensive enough — I don’t think we need to add such extreme measures to improve it.

    More important, I requested actual evidence and you have provided none, so there really isn’t anything in your comments for me to respond to.

  14. Chris,

    You appear to be nearly totally ignorant of how the world works. Peer review has worked in science, because it really doesn’t matter if most published papers are correct or not. (Peer review can’t determine that anyway, as I explained and you should know, if you have ever done it.) Eventually, through independent replication or refutation, the truth (or an approximation of it) comes out.

    When something really matters, such as introducing a potentially dangerous new drug or certifying a new design transport aircraft, then independent audits and tests are necessary — and yes, this does cost billions of dollars. (Perhaps your naivety is not feigned.)

    I don’t care about anyone’s “standards of scientific propriety” — as I said, it doesn’t really matter (except perhaps to the scientists involved). What does matter is clueless scientists thinking that it’s OK to remake the world’s economy (a event whose risks and ramifications they are eminently unqualified to assess) on the basis of peer-reviewed papers and political lobbying.

    As I commented earlier: “Surely the economic and societal changes being sought by the proponents of “ACC” deserve at least as much scrutiny as the introduction of a new anti-inflamatory?”

    If you are incapable of understanding this, you should go back to your lab and stop pretending you have anything of value to say on this issue.

  15. BobC, you offer a profusion of deprecation, but you still have not provided any evidence to support your claims.

  16. “…you still have not provided any evidence to support your claims.”

    Nor have you, Chris: And that’s the point which you refuse to (or can’t) see — before we remake the world economy and society at trillions of dollars expense and unknown risk, perhaps we should spend a few billions developing independent proof (or refutation) of your claims.

  17. BobC, I have provided links to document every debatable claim I have made. I have made no debatable assertions here other than statements in the negative — which are intrinsically undocumentable. In other words, I have made a number of statements in the form “There is no evidence to support X”. Such a statement cannot be documented — but it can easily be refuted by providing such evidence. That is what I have asked you to do. You have not. In fact, you continue with the practice of making strong claims without providing a whit of evidence to support them. The most recent example is this:

    before we remake the world economy and society at trillions of dollars expense and unknown risk,

    What is the evidentiary basis for the claim that addressing climate change would cost trillions of dollars? To the best of my knowledge, neither IPCC AR4 WG2 nor the NAS make any specific policy proposals, although they do describe various portfolios of strategies.

  18. The evidence for the predicted climate crisis currently doesn’t rise to the evidentiary level required for the introduction of an aspirin substitute. No amount of peer reviewed publications would, in fact, rise to this level. The required audit and independent testing would probably run ~$1B, if everything went well.

    Yet, you are comfortable with placing energy caps on industrial civilization with this degree of (lack of) evidence, based on the fact that you don’t actually know what the costs or risks are?

    It would be amusing to see the ACC scientific community subjected to the rigors of such an audit. From my reading of the AGW/ACC literature, I would guess that >90% of all published papers would be rejected out of hand for lack of adequate protocols, and the rest would be labeled “inconclusive”.

  19. BobC, you have consistently failed to provide any evidence to support your claims, and continue to make undocumented claims. I see no reason in wasting further time with you. Should you provide some relevant evidence to support your claims, I will be happy to resume the discussion.

  20. “BobC, you have consistently failed to provide any evidence to support your claims”

    You’ve got it backwards, Chris: I’m not the one who proposes drastically scaling back the energy usage of industrial civilization, with no knowledge or thought of the possible consequences — you are. It is therefore incumbent upon you to prove your claims. Because you are completely ignorant of the requirements for independent auditing and testing that are common in many critical parts of our civilization (drug and aircraft development, and software design for example) does not mean these common-sense standards should not apply to ACC predictions, especially given the high stakes.

    In fact, since the only crisis is a predicted one, the only real claim to test is the one that future climate can be predicted by the GCM models. This has not been done in the systematic way that most critical software is tested — but a number of people have had a go at it anyway.

    The results are not pretty (for the ACC crowd, that is):

    Here ( is a paper that tested 17 climate models used by the IPCC and found that none of them had any detectable predictive skill outside of the historical ranges they were calibrated for.

    Here ( is another paper that tested many of the same models and concluded that none of them had better predictive skill than simply predicting that the future would be the average of the past.

    Here ( is a strictly data-based paper on the Hurst-Kolmogorov (H-K) phenomenon and climate. They found that actual climate records (individual locations or composite values) exhibit high H-K coefficients in the 0.9 range. Given the data frequency and these H-K values, they point out that this implies that climate records are only predictable in the 2-3 year range, and there is essentially no predictability at 30 years out. They also calculated the H-K coefficients of several climate models’ outputs and found that did not reproduce the high H-K values. This is prima facie evidence that, whatever climate models are doing, they are not modeling the climate in any realistic way.

    Here ( is a presentation on the measured value of Earth’s albedo since 1985. During that time, the effective climate forcing change due to albedo has varied by ~7w/m^2 — nearly 3 times the total calculated forcing change due to CO2 increase from 1900 to 2000. The importance of this is that we have no information about albedo before 1985 — neither measurements nor proxies. Nor do we have any current method of predicting it’s future track. The complete ignorance we have of this variable climate forcing that is multiple times larger than CO2 means that you might as well replace the climate models with artists drawing pretty graphs — they are just as likely to be correct. (BTY: The temperature changes accompanying the forcing changes are consistent with a very low climate sensitivity of ~0.5 deg C.)

    Here’s ( an interesting update on cosmoclimatology research from the Technical University of Denmark. They easily show that various measures of Solar activity correllate much better with historical and prehistorical (via proxies) temperatures that CO2 atmospheric concentration, which seems to be nearly irrelevant. Need I say that these measures of Solar activity are completely absent from any of the climate models used by the IPCC?

    If I were allowed to post something like this on RealClimate, they would come back with some theoretical argument. But there is no theoretical argument that can prove predictive skill — it can only be demonstrated. So far, climate models have struck out.

    So, what you are defending is this: Because climate models predict a future crisis, we are supposed to upend the world’s economy and society — even though said models have never demonstrated any predictive skill distinguisable from chance.

    How can anybody with the ability to think defend this?

  21. “BobC, I have provided links to document every debatable claim I have made.”

    BTY Chris; just where are these links? I am unable to find a single link in any of your posts.

    Or, are you trying to claim that you haven’t made any “debatable claims”?

  22. BobC, I have indeed provided links in those topics where I made specific claims. The fact that I have provided no links in this topic reflects the non-scientific nature of the material here. However, if you find any debatable claims I made that require documentation, please point them out and I shall provide appropriate documentation.

    You have at last provided some links to support your claims. I am taking the time to actually read the papers you cite, so it will take me some time to respond to all of them. However, I can respond to the first paper you cite. Your representation of that paper is inaccurate (you wrote: “…a paper that tested 17 climate models used by the IPCC and found that none of them had any detectable predictive skill outside of the historical ranges they were calibrated for.”)

    What the authors did was to apply the models to retrodict temperatures from the early 20th century. Their findings are difficult for a non-specialist to appreciate; they did not flatly declare (as you do) that the climate models have no detectable predictive skill. What they did was to compare individual models, and groups of models, with each other, with the mean of all the models, and with the actual data. What they found was that the individual models were all fairly convergent in the time period for which they were tuned, but diverged from each other in those time periods that did not provide the source data for their coverage. They concluded that no single model could be relied upon to produce reliable predictions. But they also concluded that the best results were obtained by combining the results from all the models:

    We therefore conclude that the multi-model ensemble mean of all available AR4 models provides the most accurate basis for making best estimate projections of future climate change. The
    common investment advice that ‘‘past performance is no guarantee of future returns’’ and to ‘‘own a portfolio’’ appears also to be relevant to climate projections.

    And in fact, this conclusion is widely embraced in the climate science community. Here’s a quote from a post at RealClimate discussing a recent workshop in Italy:

    I think the most important take-home message from the workshop is that the stake holders and end users of climate information should not look at just one simulation from global climate models, or just one downscaling method. This is very much in agreement with the recommendations from the IPCC Good Practice Guidance Paper. The main reason for this is the degree of uncertainties involved in regional climate modelling, as discussed in a previous post.

    I suggest that you consult that IPCC Good Practice Guidance Paper. I found it very informative; I’m sure you will, too. One interesting point: it provides in one place a good collection of papers analyzing the reliability of the various climate models (rather than the single one you found). Here are some of those:

    Allen, M.R., P.A. Stott, J.F.B. Mitchell, R. Schnur, and T.L. Delworth, 2000: Quantifying the uncertainty in forecasts of anthropogenic climate change. Nature , 407, 617-620.

    Annan, J.D., and J.C. Hargreaves, 2010: Reliability of the CMIP3 ensemble. Geophys. Res. Lett. , 37, doi:10.1029/2009gl041994.

    Connolley, W.M., and T.J. Bracegirdle, 2007: An Antarctic assessment of IPCC AR4 coupled models. Geophys. Res. Lett. , 34, doi:10.1029/ 2007gl031648.

    Giorgi, F., and L.O. Mearns, 2003: Probability of regional climate change based on the Reliability Ensemble Averaging (REA) method. Geophys. Res. Lett. , 30, 1629, doi:10.1029/2003GL 017130.

    Gleckler, P.J., K.E. Taylor, and C. Doutriaux, 2008: Performance metrics for climate models. J. Geophys. Res. , 113, D06104, doi:10.1029/ 2007JD008972.

    Harris, G.R., M. Collins, D.M.H. Sexton, J.M. Murphy, and B.B.B. Booth, 2010: Probabilistic Projections for 21st Century European Climate. Nat. Haz. and Earth Sys. Sci. , (submitted).

    Jackson, C.S., M.K. Sen, G. Huerta, Y. Deng, and K.P. Bowman, 2008: Error Reduction and Convergence in Climate Prediction. J. Clim. , 21, 6698-6709.

    Knutti, R., 2008: Should we believe model predictions of future climate change? Phil. Trans. Royal Soc. A, 366, 4647-4664.

    Knutti, R., 2010: The end of model democracy? Clim. Change, published online, doi:10.1007/s10584- 010-9800-2 (in press).

    Knutti, R., R. Furrer, C. Tebaldi, J. Cermak, and G. A. Meehl, 2010: Challenges in combining projections from multiple models. J. Clim. , 23, 2739- 2756, doi: 10.1175/2009JCLI3361.1.

    Lopez, A., C. Tebaldi, M. New, D.A. Stainforth, M.R. Allen, and J.A. Kettleborough, 2006: Two approaches to quantifying uncertainty in global temperature changes. J. Clim. , 19, 4785-4796.

    Murphy, J., D. Sexton, G. Jenkins, P. Boorman, B. Booth, K. Brown, R. Clark, M. Collins, G. Harris, and E. Kendon, 2009: Climate change projections, ISBN 978-1-906360-02-3.

    Perkins, S. E., A. J. Pitman, N. J. Holbrook, and J. McAneney, 2007: Evaluation of the AR4 climate models’ simulated daily maximum temperature, minimum temperature, and precipitation over Australia using probability density functions. J. Clim. , 20, 4356-4376.

    Piani, C., D.J. Frame, D.A. Stainforth, and M.R. Allen, 2005: Constraints on climate change from a multi-thousand member ensemble of simulations. Geophys. Res. Lett. , 32, L23825.

    Pierce, D.W., T.P. Barnett, B.D. Santer, and P.J. Gleckler, 2009: Selecting global climate models for regional climate change studies. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 106, 8441-8446.

    Randall, D.A., R.A. Wood, S. Bony, R. Colman, T. Fichefet, J. Fyfe, V. Kattsov, A. Pitman, J. Shukla, J. Srinivasan, R. J. Stouffer, A. Sumi, and K. Taylor, 2007: Climate Models and Their Evaluation. In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, [S. Solomon, D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor, and H.L. Miller, (eds.)], Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 589-662.

    Reichler, T., and J. Kim, 2008: How well do coupled models simulate today’s climate? Bull. Am. Met. Soc. , 89, 303-311.

    Rougier, J., 2007: Probabilistic inference for future climate using an ensemble of climate model evaluations. Clim. Change, 81, 247-264.

    Santer, B.D., K.E. Taylor, P.J. Gleckler, C. Bonfils, T.P. Barnett, D.W. Pierce, T.M.L. Wigley, C. Mears, F.J. Wentz, W. Bruggemann, N.P. Gillett, S.A. Klein, S. Solomon, P.A. Stott, and M.F. Wehner, 2009: Incorporating model quality information in climate change detection and attribution studies. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 106, 14778-14783.

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    Now, I’m not suggesting that you read all these papers; *I* certainly don’t have the time to dig through all of them. However, I will suggest that anybody (that includes both of us) who has NOT read all of these papers is qualified to offer an informed opinion on the reliability of climate models. That’s why I prefer to rely on the recommendation of the National Academy of Sciences.

    I’ll get to the other papers as time permits (assuming that your offer a constructive response to this post, rather than more denigration.)

  23. Oh, one other thing about that first paper you cited: perhaps you would enjoy reading the acknowledgements:

    We thank NERC and BP for funding this work, CRU for the gridded observational data, the international modeling groups for providing their data for analysis, the PCMDI for collecting and archiving the model data, the JSC/CLIVAR Working Group on Coupled Modeling (WGCM) and their Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) and Climate Simulation Panel for organizing the model data analysis activity, and the IPCC WG1 TSU for technical support.

    It would seem that these scientists had no problem obtaining all the data and software required to carry out a detailed analysis of the various models and datasets. So much for the falsehood that scientists refuse to release significant data.

  24. Chris,

    One thing you’re probably not aware of: When critical software is tested, the testing group is not allowed to have any communication (or members in common) with the writing group. (In drug testing, if a member of the auditing team accidentally takes an airline flight on the same plane as a member of the discovery team, it can be enough to cause the audit to restart.)

    Although these rules might seem ridiculous to a climate scientist, they are not arbitrary, but have been settled on by a long and sometimes painful process of trial and error, by people who are very much more concerned with consequences than climate scientists seem to be. When the writing team gets to choose who gets the data, as you have advocated, and the testing team must acknowledge and be nice to the writing team, then a real audit has not occured.

    I said that these papers weren’t real audits, but just the closest that has been allowed to date.

    An audit by friends is not an audit. The rather bizzare statement that, although no individual model is right, the ensemble might be seems to have little justification beyond a sop to the writers.

    I will be interested to see if this is verified by an independent audit, assuming one is ever allowed.

  25. I don’t have the link right now, but when I was looking through the website of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project I found it fascinating that every model used a CO2 growth rate of 1%/year, when the measured rate (from Manua Loa) has been between 0.4% and 0.5% for over 50 years.

    If the CO2 concentration continues to refuse to accelerate, it will soon become an embarrassment. Of course, people who simply double the historic rate in order to get “suitable” model results might be immune to embarrassment.

  26. BobC: regarding the use of auditing: you are welcome to declare the scientific method obsolete, and the results of scientific research utterly unreliable because they are not audited. However, your opinion is not shared by the hundreds of thousands of scientists whose careers depend entirely upon getting defensible results and the billions of dollars showered upon those scientists by government agencies, corporations, and academia. Moreover, the fact that science does seem to work quite well without audits (observe that the computer you are now using is the product of a great deal of scientific research, and does all manner of wondrous things) suggests that your demand for auditing in science is without merit.

    Regarding the rate of change of CO2 concentrations, I suggest that you consult Figure 2.3 in IPCC AR4 WG1 page 138. Copy the graph of CO2 concentrations over the last 35 years. Open the image in an drawing program. Draw a line from the beginning of the curve to the end of the curve. Observe that the curve falls below in the line in an obvious arc. This means that the rate of change is increasing with time. This is completely consistent with what we know about carbon dioxide production; with increasing use of fossil fuels, humanity is dumping increasing amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. Hence the acceleration in CO2 concentrations. That acceleration explains why climate modelers use 1% concentrations as a baseline. However, they are not so stupid as to rely exclusively on that value. As early as 1988, climate modelers have relied upon different scenarios based primarily on differing assumptions about the rate of CO2 emissions.

    You have not responded to my long and tediously-researched comment of 7:58 PM. I take it that such effort on my part is a waste of time and so shall refrain from further efforts.

  27. Well, if you’re going to spend your time making up strawman arguments, you might as well quit, as I’m going to start ignoring you anyway. Where did I ever indicate that the scientific method was obsolete? A fantasy of your mind, and an indication of poor reading comprehension.

    If you think the scientific method consists of publishing peer reviewed papers, then you need a refresher — I suggest the Wikipedia page ( for an elementary explanation. (Note that “Full Disclosure” of data and methods is an important part of the method.)

    When a scientist publishes a paper that is later found to be wrong, there are no serious consequences. When my computer crashes, it is an irritation, but I can (usually) recover. If it crashes too often, I will switch brands.

    It is a different story with the drugs in your medicine cabinet or the transport aircraft you fly to a vacation spot (or the automobile you use every day). When those things fail, people die — there are actual, severe consequences. (I know this must be a bit of a shock to an academic scientist who never deals in life or death matters; but if you think about it for a while, you will see that I am right)

    A minority of scientists and a somewhat larger group of engineers deal with potentially serious consequences of their work daily. Much of your quality of life depends on these potentially dangerous technologies — it’s a good thing that we don’t rely on the easily corruptible (and inadequate, anyway) process of peer review to decide if they will work. No, other, more effective methods of evaluation have been laboriously worked out to deal with dangerous technologies that I have labored (apparently in vain) to educate you about.

    Most people know nothing about these things, just as most people have no idea how a television set or a CAT scanner works. Most people, however, will easily grasp this information when it is explained to them.

    Climate scientists, however, seem to be a special group — they seem to believe that, if they don’t know about it, it can’t be important. This even seems to include subjects that are within their discipline — witness Michael Mann’s elementary statistical errors that shouldn’t be made by anyone who has taken a Sophomore course (and, even more worrisome, the fact that none of his peers caught it, and many of them don’t get it yet even after McIntyre demonstrated that the output of Mann’s algorithm is essentially independent of the input). (Perhaps we could style this “Shell Game Science”.)

    Now, we have the spectacle of climate scientists proposing potentially dangerous changes to the world economy — naturally, since they can’t imagine the danger, it doesn’t exist for them — on the basis of their buddy-reviewed papers based on corrupted data and incomplete knowledge. Then they take offense if you suggest that perhaps these results should be audited before committing to the changes. It would be as funny as the Keystone Kops, if the consequences weren’t so great. (This comedy wouldn’t get very far if it didn’t mesh with the agenda of some politicians: “We need to massively increase government power to save the world? Goody!”)

    Your next-to-last paragraph seems to be incoherent to me — were you going to sleep as you wrote it? Let’s take it a piece at a time:

    Modeler’s don’t use “1% concentration” of CO2 — they use a 1% exponential growth of CO2 concentration.

    And, what is all the hoo-rah about an exponential curve being, well, curved? (Duh!). I clearly stated that the measured CO2 growth is an exponential curve with a rate that varies from 0.42%/yr to 0.5%/yr — easily determined by fitting a variable rate exponential to the yearly smoothed data.
    So, while the anthropogenic CO2 emissions went up by a factor of 6 (see here:, the doubling time of atmospheric CO2 decreased from 166 years to 140 years. Assuming this is due to mankind, we would need to double our CO2 output THREE times to reach the “canonical” 1%/year growth.

    Yet, the modelers put in a non-physical 1% rate that will double in 70 years (and have been doing so for decades — somebody needs to point out the Mauna Loa data to them). Non-physical inputs means the output is irrelevant to the real world — Garbage In – Garbage Out. (I know that climate scientists believe in Garbage In – Gospel Out — at least Michael Mann does — but the real world doesn’t work like that.)

    “As early as 1988, climate modelers have relied upon different scenarios based primarily on differing assumptions about the rate of CO2 emissions.”
    Yes, indeed: They use it as a convenient control knob to get the output they desire. I would say these models are not ready to be audited.

    “You have not responded to my long and tediously-researched comment of 7:58 PM. I take it that such effort on my part is a waste of time and so shall refrain from further efforts.

    For sure you had better quit before you get to the large variable forcings that the models ignore. Those are a bit hard to explain, and after your previous paragraph, I don’t think you’re up to it.

  28. BobC, if we ignore those inutile parts of your post that excoriate people (myself included), there is very little left to discuss. One item that does have some intellectual content is your calculation of CO2 concentrations. First off, you’re absolutely correct in noting my terminological error: I did indeed refer to concentration rather than rate of change of concentration at one point. However, your claim that

    I clearly stated that the measured CO2 growth is an exponential curve with a rate that varies from 0.42%/yr to 0.5%/yr

    is contradicted by this earlier statement:

    If the CO2 concentration continues to refuse to accelerate, it will soon become an embarrassment.

    I suspect, however, that this was merely an error on your part concerning the meaning of acceleration.

    I think you misunderstood the mathematics of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere when you wrote:

    So, while the anthropogenic CO2 emissions went up by a factor of 6 (see here:, the doubling time of atmospheric CO2 decreased from 166 years to 140 years.

    Here’s a simple representation of the math:

    f = (M + aC) / M

    where f is the fractional increase the mass of CO2 in the atmosphere
    M is the current mass of CO2 in the atmosphere
    aC is the increment in CO2 provided by anthropogenic emissions

    Your point that the 600% increase in anthropogenic emissions has not had a big effect on atmospheric carbon ignores the fact that aC is much less than M. Furthermore, the non-anthropogenic sources of carbon greatly exceed the anthropogenic sources. The point of concern, however, is that aC disequilibrates the current situation and that aC is increasing.

    Moreover, the dynamics of carbon in the atmosphere are complex in the extreme. The topic is referred to as “the carbon cycle” and changes in that cycle are often nonlinear. Climate modeling takes into account what is known about the dynamics of the carbon cycle; your comment does not.

    I will note in closing that the many assumptions you have made regarding my education, employment, and knowledge are very much in error. I haven’t bothered correcting you because I came here to discuss ACC, not myself.

    The content of your comments is almost entirely personal opinion and unsubstantiated ranting; there is very little intellectual meat worthy of response. I shall therefore leave this floor to you, confident that you shall use the opportunity to fulminate profusely.

  29. Sure Chris — take the high road after your blatant descent into straw man fallacy, putting words in my mouth, etc.

    I think my assumptions about your intellectial character are fairly well backed up by the exchange we have had here. I’m perfectly content to let it stand by itself.

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