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Lindzen's London Illusions

Posted on 7 March 2012 by dana1981

On 22 February 2012, Richard Lindzen gave a talk to invited guests in a rented room in the Palace of Westminster.  Note that contrary to some reports about the seminar, it was not presented to UK Parliament.  Any member of the UK legislature can rent one of the many Palace of Westminster rooms for private purposes; that is what happened in this instance.

Lindzen's presentation, the slides of which can be viewed here and video can be seen here, appeared very similar to presentations given by Christopher Monckton.  In fact, Lindzen's talk contained many of the same climate myths we recently debunked from Monckton, which frankly does not reflect well on Lindzen.  The slides and presentation are almost identical to  Lindzen's testimony to the US House Subcommittee on Science and Technology hearing in November 2010, which in turn was almost identical to a presentation he gave at a Heartland Institute conference 6 months earlier.  In fact, Lindzen did not even update some of his graphs with data beyond mid-2010 for his UK presentation.

Lindzen's presentation contained so many misrepresentations that it would be too time consuming to address them all; however, we will address most of them here, including the base on which Lindzen built his house of misinformation cards.

What Lindzen Got Right

First we should give Lindzen credit for what he got right in his presentation.  For example, he acknowledged that there is a greenhouse effect, CO2 has been increasing, and global temperatures have increased, and notes that these are not controversial facts.  To his credit, in discussing the tropical troposphere 'hot spot,' Lindzen also acknowledged that models are correct to predict that the 'hot spot' should be present, since this is based on fundamental atmospheric physics.  He also acknowledges that the failure to observe the hot spot may be due to satellite and weather balloon measurements being wrong (or surface temperature measurements).  This is something that his fellow "skeptics" have been unwilling or unable to admit.

However, while Lindzen got a few things right in his presentation, he got a whole lot more wrong.

The Earth Has Warmed as Much as Expected

Lindzen quickly came out of the gate with his favorite myth, which we addressed in Lindzen Illusion #1: We Should Have Seen More Warming.  This argument in fact was the entire basis of Lindzen's presentation:

"If one assumes all warming over the past century is due to anthropogenic greenhouse forcing, then the derived sensitivity of the climate to a doubling of CO2 is less than 1C. The higher sensitivity of existing models is made consistent with observed warming by invoking unknown additional negative forcings from aerosols and solar variability as arbitrary adjustments."

To support this claim, on the following slide, Lindzen claims:

"There has been a doubling of equivalent CO2 over the past 150 years."

This assertion is simply false.  A doubling of CO2 corresponds to a 3.7 Watts per square meter (W/m2) radiative forcing.  According to the NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index, the greenhouse gas (GHG) radiative forcing (compared to 1750) in 2010 was 2.81 W/m2 - only 76% of the way to doubled CO2-equivalent.

Lindzen's argument in a nutshell is that the GHG forcing has roughly doubled, and surface temperatures have roughly increased 1°C in response; therefore, the climate sensitivity is about 1°C for doubled CO2.  We recently demonstrated the errors in this argument when it was made by Monckton.

  • First, climate sensitivity is an equilibrium value (unless referring to the transient climate response [TCR]), and the planet is currently not in an equilibrium state. 
  • Second, estimating TCR (which is what Lindzen is really attempting) requires a linearly-increasing net radiative forcing, which simply was not the case over the past 150 years.
  • Third, as convenient as it would be for Lindzen's argument if aerosols exerted no effect on global temperatures, that is simply not reality.

Regarding aerosols, Lindzen has previously referenced the work of Ramanathan, who estimates the net radiative forcing from aerosols and black carbon at -1.4 W/m2 (Ramanathan and Carmichael 2008).  Lindzen is correct that the aerosol forcing is not well known and has large error bars, but those error bars do not even overlap with zero (for example, the IPCC puts the aerosol forcing at -0.4 to -2.7 W/m2).  Just because we can't pinpoint the value, that doesn't mean we can simply assume it is zero, as Lindzen does.

To estimate the TCR properly and determine if the Earth has warmed as much as expected, we can examine the changes over the past 60 years, during which time the net radiative forcing has increased roughly linearly.  According to Skeie et al. (2011), the best estimate anthropogenic forcing since 1950 is about 1.2 W/m2 (and the natural forcings over this period have been close to zero).  The average surface temperature change over that period has been approximately 0.7°C.  Therefore, TCR = dT/dF = 0.7/1.2 = 0.58°C per W/m2 (where dF and dT are the changes in radiative forcing and global surface temperature, respectively).

Thus for the 3.7 W/m2 radiative forcing associated with a doubling of atmospheric CO2, the best estimate transient warming is approximately 2°C, based on the observational data over the past 60 years.  In short, the transient response has been more than double Lindzen's claimed equilibrium response, and the actual equilibrium response is approximately 1.8 times their TCR, according to climate models.  Lindzen's claim about climate sensitivity, which is the basis of his entire presentation, is not even close to accurate.

As we've mentioned, there are large uncertainties associated with the size of the aerosol forcing in particular.  But not knowing its magnitude does not excuse completely neglecting it, as Lindzen does.

Positive Feedbacks

Later in his presentation, Lindzen follows up his incorrect low climate sensitivity argument, claiming that data indicate that climate feedbacks are negative (which would indeed suggest low sensitivity):

"Only with positive feedbacks from water vapor and clouds does one get the large warmings that are associated with alarm. What the satellite data seems to show is that these positive feedbacks are model artifacts."

This claim is incorrect.  That water vapor is a positive feedback has been well-established.  For example, Dessler et al. (2008):

"Height-resolved measurements of specific humidity (q) and relative humidity (RH) are obtained from NASA's satellite-borne Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS)...The water-vapor feedback implied by these observations is strongly positive, with an average magnitude of λq = 2.04 W/m2/K, similar to that simulated by climate models."

While the cloud feedback remains uncertain, most recent research has indicated that it is positive (i.e. Dessler 2010).

Lindzen's Hypocrisy

Lindzen proceeds to criticize a letter published in Science expressing dismay about political assaults on climate scientists, signed by 250 members of the National Academy of Science.

"This letter appeared in Spring of 2010 in Science. It was signed by 250 members of the National Academy of Science. Most signers had no background whatever in climate sciences."

Lindzen objects to the USA's most prominent scientific institution taking the stance that the basic science behind human-caused global warming is sound and that climate scientists should not be subjected to political attacks.  He complains that this authoritative scientific body is taking an authoritative position.

And yet, Lindzen himself recently signed onto a letter sent to the Wall Street Journal by 16 climate "skeptics," only 2 of which (including Lindzen) have published peer-reviewed climate science research in the past  three decades, and at least 7 of which have received fossil fuel industry funding.  That letter said:

"...a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed."

Lindzen and company attempted to take a position of authority in this letter, to discourage climate mitigation policy.  The difference was that 250 members of the most prestigious scientific body in the USA signed the former, whereas Lindzen's letter was signed by just 16 "skeptics" including an economist, a physician, a chemist, an aerospace engineer, and an astronaut/politician.  Lindzen's hypocrisy here is troubling.

Conspiracy Theories

More troubling yet, Lindzen proceeds to engage in conspiracy theories in his presentation.  The quote in blue below comes from presidents of the Royal Society and the National Academy of Science (Rees and Cicerone), and the quote in black is Lindzen's criticism of their statement.

"Our academies will provide the scientific backdrop for the political and business leaders who must create effective policies to steer the world toward a low-carbon economy.

Rees and Cicerone are saying that regardless of the evidence the answer is predetermined. If the government wants carbon control, that is the answer that the Academies will provide."

The presidents of these two prestigious scientific bodies are saying that their academies will provide a summary of the scientific evidence so that political and business leaders can be sufficiently well-informed to craft policies to reduce GHG emissions.  Somehow Lindzen interprets this as the Royal Society and the National Academy of Science acting as political pawns, throwing scientific integrity in the trash bin to give their governments "carbon control."

There is no other way to view this - Lindzen is advocating a ridiculous conspiracy theory, which is even more troubling than his  hypocrisy.

Misrepresenting Global Temperatures

Lindzen also trots out another of his favorite myths - "global warming stopped in [insert date]."  Lindzen inserts 1997:

"Looking at the above [HadCRUT3], one can see no warming since 1997."

As we know, HadCRUT3 is biased low and will soon be replaced with HadCRUT4.  The main reason for its cool bias is a lack of coverage in a number of rapidly-warming areas, particularly in the Arctic.  One of the HadCRUT4 adjustments will be to include more temperature data from stations in the Arctic region.

Other data sets already use area weighting to represent these regions of rapid warming.  GISTEMP shows a 0.14°C warming since 1997, and NOAA shows 0.073°C.  This despite the fact that virtually every non-greenhouse gas influence on temperature has been in the cooling direction over that period.   Human aerosol emissions increased, blocking more sunlight.  Heat accumulated in the deep oceans.  The solar cycle went into an extended minimum.  There were a number of strong La Niña events.  Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) showed that when we filter out the latter two effects and that of volcanic activity, the warming of surface temperatures has not even slowed (Figure 1).

 Figure 1: Average temperature changes recorded by 5 teams of scientists: 2 working on satellites (University of Alabama, Huntsville and Remote Sensing Systems) and 3 working with thermometers and ship/buoy measurements (UK Hadley Centre & Climate Research Unit, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the US National Climatic Data Centre. Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) statistical methods have been used to 'take out' the effects of volcanic eruptions, Pacific Ocean cycles and the Sun.

Misleading with Graphs and Misrepresenting the Arctic

Next in his presentation, Lindzen puts on a clinic about how to mislead an audience with graphs.  Many of his graphs were simply zoomed out with very large axes to make any trends in the data difficult to discern.  For example, he presents this slide to argue that the Arctic sea ice "death spiral" is nothing to worry about (Figure 2).

Lindzen ice graphic lie

Figure 2: Lindzen's slide #38.

Of course when the data are zoomed out to the fullest extent with the seasonal variations included, the long-term trend (Figure 3) is difficult to discern.

Sept Arctic sea ice extent
Figure 3: Arctic sea ice September extent (NSIDC)

As Figure 3 shows, September Arctic sea ice extent (the summer minimum) has declined approximately 35% over the past 33 years.  And the Arctic sea ice volume data (since ice is three-dimentional) paints an even bleaker picture.  NASA has also put together a great interactive tool to illustrate the Arctic sea ice death spiral (Figure 4; drag the white bar to the right to see 1980 Arctic sea ice area, and to the left to see 2012 area).

Figure 4: This interactive illustrates how perennial sea ice has declined from 1980 to 2012. The bright white central mass shows the perennial sea ice while the larger light blue area shows the full extent of the winter sea ice including the average annual sea ice during the months of November, December and January. The data shown here were compiled by NASA senior research scientist Josefino Comiso from NASA's Nimbus-7 satellite and the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. Credit: NASA/Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio.

Lindzen gets a whole lot wrong when discussing the Arctic in his presentation.  He also suggests the Arctic was as warm or warmer in 1940, which is simply not the case (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Temperature Anomalies (1951-1981 Baseline) for the Arctic region (64-90°N) over the past 130 years according to ccc-gistemp analysis and NCEP reanalysis.

Lindzen claims that climate scientists place too much emphasis on annual temperatures and fail to discuss seasonal changes.  On the contrary, many studies have examined this issue and found that there is a complex seasonality in the Arctic in how heat is exchanged between the atmosphere and ocean throughout the year (i.e. see Serreze et al. 2009).  Lindzen also claims:

"summer ice depends mostly on how much is blown out of the arctic basin"

While meteorological conditions are important in explaining yearly variations in the amount of summer Arctic sea ice, they cannot explain the long-term trend illustrated in Figure 3.  That is due to a long-term (primarily GHG-caused) warming.  But Lindzen's final comment about the Arctic is one of his worst misrepresentations:

"In fact, the arctic is notoriously variable...So much for ‘unprecedented.’"

This suggestion that Arctic changes are not unprecedented displays a serious lack of familiarity with the relevant scientific literature.  For example, Polyak et al (2010):

"The current reduction in Arctic ice cover started in the late 19th century, consistent with the rapidly warming climate, and became very pronounced over the last three decades. This ice loss appears to be unmatched over at least the last few thousand years and unexplainable by any of the known natural variabilities."

Thibodeau et al. (2010):

"We conclude that the 20th century warming of the incoming intermediate North Atlantic water has had no equivalent during the last thousand years."

Kinnard et al. (2011):

"Here we use a network of high-resolution terrestrial proxies from the circum-Arctic region to reconstruct past extents of summer sea ice, and show that—although extensive uncertainties remain, especially before the sixteenth century—both the duration and magnitude of the current decline in sea ice seem to be unprecedented for the past 1,450 years"

"These results reinforce the assertion that sea ice is an active component of Arctic climate variability and that the recent decrease in summer Arctic sea ice is consistent with anthropogenically forced warming."

Fisher et al. (2012):

"Arctic ice core melt series (latitude range of 67 to 81 N) show the last quarter century has had the highest melt in two millennia and The Holocene-long Agassiz melt record shows that the last 25 years has the highest melt in 4200 years."

and Smol (2012):

"The demise of the Arctic ponds is a sign of climate change, a long-term shift in the Arctic climate measured by changes in temperature, precipitation and other indicators. Climate change has moved faster here than at lower latitudes. The change we have seen in the Arctic is the bellwether for global climate changes that are already under way."

 A Sad Display

Overall, Lindzen's presentation was extremely disappointing.  Most of his scientific arguments hinged on his "Earth hasn't warmed as much as expected" myth, which is based on completely disregarding the cooling effects of aerosols and the fact that the climate is not in equilibrium.

On top of this clearly flawed argument, Lindzen threw in a number of conspiracy theories and wild accusations.  He claimed the Royal Society and the National Academy of Science are no more than political tools without any scientific integrity, and that "the evidence from climategate and other instances of overt cheating" make the anthropogenic warming theory implausible.

The presentation seems to have been aimed at pleasing Christopher Monckton rather than informing the rest of the audience about scientific realities.

Note: Martin Lack, who attended this presentation, has published a subsequent letter he sent to Lindzen.  This letter covers some of the points in Lindzen's presentation which we did not cover here, including a critical misleading slide which was not included in the PDF of the presentation which was the basis of this post.  Martin's post is well worth reading as well.

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 88:

  1. UPDATE: Frustrated by my failure to hitherto get the British media to take up this story - and realising I had made a reply from Professor Lindzen very unlikely by making unsubstantiated "contentious assertions" - I have now apologised for the latter. However, I would still like - indeed I think the World deserves - an explanation for all of the things Dana and I (and no doubt many others) have noticed about Professor Lindzen's talk that were, to say the least, "strange"...
    No cause for alarm? – You cannot be serious! (5 March 2012).
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  2. Just out of interest, has Lindzen published many papers on Climate Change recently?
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  3. @Hyperactive:

    240 papers. That's exactly why it's 'mind your answers' when it comes to Ricky Mit.

    @Martin Lack - underestimating an opponent leads to defeat.

    Congrats to the progress of Ricky MIT. Never thought there would be a presentation (at $3500/hour plus expenses (/jealous)) that didn't mention his pet dog Iris.

    It's a magic illusion trick. Look for the signals - using SST to reduce positive feedbacks ... what's the trick? (hint - La Nina upwells cold water that he doesn't take into account).
    Ricky Mit claims correlation doesn't mean causation ... while he tries to sell the phony 'CO2 lags temp spike' as a causation sequence.
    His Arctic extent chart obscures the highs and low trends by playing seasonal slinky with the view.
    He mumbles through the equatorial 'hot spot' he was nailed for a few years ago, with an updated 'yea it was wrong but I was still right about the models'. He just forgot to explain the implication of the observation.
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  4. Lindzen's presentation got some publicity but not a lot.

    However, I did see comments about it on blogs here (Ireland) so this is very useful. Thanks.
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  5. The Heartland Institute, not widely know for accurate reporting, fell for the 'Lindzen addresses Parliament' hoax - hook, line and sinker.

    "Massachusetts Institute of Technology atmospheric scientist Richard Lindzen delivered a comprehensive presentation to the British House of Commons last week explaining why humans are not creating a global warming crisis."

    Lindzen's pdf of his seminar talk commences with thanks to the organisers: the campaign to repeal the climate change act. One of their patrons, Bob Carter, is a trustee of the GWPF. The GWPF is an "educational" charity and as such is not permitted to engage mainly or entirely in political activities. Perhaps Lord Lawson will now drop Bob Carter from his panel of "scientific" advisers. Even better, perhaps the GWPF, an organisation which merely publishes biased opinion pieces and does nothing to promote education, will stop calling itself an educational charity.
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  6. Does anybody else see a pattern here - during La Nina years the deniers all start talking about how "the warming has stopped" or "the warming is not relevant", while during El Nino years we get the crap on how is something else - the sun, the cosmic rays or the Leprechauns, or that "it will not be that bad"?!
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    Moderator Response: [JH]No matter how often and how well refuted, climate denier memes are constantly regurgitated by climate denier drones.
  7. Moderators:
    there is an error in my comment. Bob Carter is not a trustee.
    Please substitute the link below and delete this comment. Thanks.
    Bob Carter is an academic adviser to the GWPF
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  8. A large part of Lindzen's paper is taken up rehashing Lindzen and Choi 2009. A good summary of the problems with LC09 can be found at RC - Lindzen and Choi Unraveled

    In brief:

    LC09 uses a technique which is extremely sensitive to changes in the end points chosen - moving an endpoint by a month or less makes a major difference to the outcome and there is no obvious reason why they chose the endpoints they did.

    LC09 compares energy entering and leaving the atmosphere above the tropics - ignoring sideways movement of heat within the troposphere

    LC09 ignores the impact of the Mount Pinatubo eruption.
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  9. "Of course when the data are zoomed out to the fullest extent with the seasonal variations included, the long-term trend (Figure 3) is difficult to discern."

    I think that should read "not difficult to discern" if it's a reference to figure 3.
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  10. nuclear_is_good: "Does anybody else see a pattern here..."

    My God! You've discovered a 'natural cycle' to denier arguments! :]
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  11. Maybe a little off topic as it's a technical question (if there's a better place for this, please forward me there).

    You say that estimating TCR requires a linearly increasing CO2, but I don't understand why. The transient response of an electronic circuit can be measured by an impulse response, step response, linear response, or any other kind of response you want. In theory, there's no reason we couldn't derive a differential equation that represents the TCR as a result of an impulse response, which is much closer to what we see. For a given system, the equation you derive from the impulse response is identical for any other input (step, linear, exponential, et al), so once you've got the equation, you can get anything else you want too.

    As a matter of practicality, deriving such an equation is not viable given the number of terms and solving for it numerically in a GCM is the right way to do it, but even so, wouldn't the terms of the differential equation define the TCR, not the response to a particular input type (linear)?

    Is it because TCR is defined as the response to a linear increase, or something else?
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  12. Hyperactive @2 - Lindzen published Lindzen & Choi 2009, and a slight revision to that (very flawed) paper in Lindzen & Choi 2011.

    angliss @11 - TCR is defined as the response to a linear forcing (see the link to the Monckton post above).
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  13. angliss: Estimating TCR doesn't require linearly increasing CO2, or more accurately linearly increasing forcing. You can (almost) always use a deconvolution to deduce the impulse response function from an arbitrary set of temperature and forcing data. From the impulse response function you can deduce TCR, EQS, or anything else. How much data you need depends on the noise level and the timescale of the response of course.

    However, doing it on the back of an envelope without doing a deconvolution does require a linearly increasing forcing which roughly mimics the definition of TCR in all but scale.

    Does that clarify the point?
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  14. 5 - logicman

    I don't think so. Lord Lawson has a job to do.

    Lord Lawson's links to Europe's colossal coal polluter
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  15. Kevin C - yes it does. Thanks for the explanation.
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  16. The definition of 'The House of Commons' is very specific.
    It is the room where the primary debates take place and voting on policy is conducted. Lindzen did not address anyone in there so basically Heartland Institute is ignorant of cultures and politics outside the US and has faked a meeting that never took place.

    The reality was...
    AFAIK a conference room was rented in the Palace of Westminster and invitations and people bought tickets for the event.

    On the other hand...
    Hansen did address one of the parliamentary select committees about 3 years ago, which was broadcasted on BBC Parliament and online.
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  17. Interestingly, Lindzen has been plying pretty much exactly the same line since at least 1993.

    Owl905 @ 3... I got the above article from your link. There are a number papers on the list that are not actual papers. Some are just articles like this one. Others are papers on the climate of Jupiter. I think Lindzen's contribution to climate science is probably about half that number of papers.
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  18. Rob @17 - pretty much the same line since 1989, in fact.
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  19. @Rob 17 - if you want to dispute Lintzen's list in his "Publications" section, do it with him. There seems to be two references in the list to Jupiter, and the suggestion that papers aren't papers because they're not 'peer-reviewed' papers doesn't get much traction here.

    The non-paper you produced is a debate published in Nature magazine - Nature reviews and accepts/rejects those discussions. If he's done some padding with Business Today, it's minor compared to the compendium of work in atmospheric physics over three decades. It's his accomplishment and reputation that was behind the stunned reaction when he first forwarded the 'AGW has stopped' interview in 2004. He's one of the skeptics that has a lot of expertise traction.
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  20. Lindzen is undoubtedly accomplished, but how someone's ideas are considered by ones peers is a better measure of current reputation than a publication list. His ideas have been out there for long enough that people have been able to test them directly. Unlike the atmosphere, they just don't hold water. The only question is why he holds onto these ideas so stubbornly. Generally, that is not an admired trait.
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  21. les #14
    Thanks, I already left some comments there. When I first signed up at the Guardian the name 'logicman' was already taken, so I has to use a variation. It's easy to spot. My comments are the ones about charity law. :-)

    Back to the topic: the committee room rented for Lindzen is quite small. Perhaps the organizers realized just how many empty seats there would be if they rented the Royal Albert Hall or Wembley Stadium.

    Of course, if they had made their "debate" open to the public then they may well have made a tidy sum from ticket sales: but they would have been outnumbered by those of us who are careful to examine all of the available scientific facts before reaching our conclusions.

    It is a sign of a very closed mind to start with a conclusion and seek evidence in support, as is done by the campaign against the climate act. They are offering prize money for essays: "We invite pieces from 1,000 to 2,000 words in length, to gore one of the sacred cows of the environmentalist movement."
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  22. Lindzen is undoubtedly very smart and very well-informed about climate science. Which is why it's all the more puzzling that he claims we've doubled CO2-equivalent, that we can just ignore aerosols' impacts on temperatures, that he fails to differentiate between transient and equilibrium warming, etc.

    If Lindzen doesn't understand these things, then he's not nearly as smart as I think. If he does, well, it's against SkS policy to comment on peoples' motives or suggest they're being dishonest, so there's not much more I can say about that scenario. Regardless, as long as Lindzen continues not only to make, but rely so heavily on this obviously wrong argument, he simply cannot be taken seriously.
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  23. @dana22 - He is taken seriously by a wide audience of pro-pollutionists. And he needs to be taken seriously, and rebutted seriously, by the voices for science.
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  24. Gavin has a post at RC as well on GISTEMP misrepresentations from Lindzen...
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  25. Utahn - thanks for the link. When I saw that particular slide I really had no idea what Lindzen was talking about. Looks like Gavin has caught him just plain flat out screwing up and wrongfully basically accusing NASA GISS of fraud in the process. I'm sure Lindzen will apologize to the scientists at NASA GISS and the audience that he misinformed any day now.
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  26. Owl905 #3

    "...underestimating an opponent leads to defeat."

    You are spot on there - this was Lindzen's mistake.
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  27. Further update: Hopefully by now my email to 300 people has gone viral but, if not, you simply must read this!!!

    And I am particularly fond of this too (which I have just posted further down the page):
    ...I am not seeking to act as either judge or jury. All I have asked for is an explanation for Lindzen's unwarranted optimism on climate sensitivity; and his insistence that we should ignore a genuine, well-established consensus of scientific opinion - that is continually being re-validated by ongoing observations of ice caps, ice shelves, sea ice, glaciers, permafrost, ocean acidification, salinity and temperature; with the latter now giving rise to increased frequency of extreme weather events of all kinds* - based solely on his tranparently "contrarian" views.

    * Please note that all of these things were predicted as early as 1988 but were deliberately left out of all IPCC reports (so as not "to scare the horses") - resulting in under-reporting of the nature, scale and urgency of the problem we now face:
    Biello, D (2007), 'Conservative Climate: Consensus document may understate the climate change problem', Scientific American, March 18, 2007.
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  28. 'Please note that all of these things were predicted as early as 1988'

    "A recent set of calculations indicate that if the present carbon dioxide level should double, the over-all temperature of the Earth would rise by 3.6dC. If it were to halve, the temperature would drop 3.8dC"
    - Isaac Asimov, "No More Ice Ages?", 1959.
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  29. Real Climate has waded in on Lindzen's London presentation. They show a clear misrepresentation of the differences between different versions of the GISSTEMP Land Ocean Temperature Index. While Lindzen claims revisions between 2008 and 2012 have added 0.14 degrees C per decade to the trend, Real Climate shows the greatest change is 0.04 C per century, and that Lindzen was probably comparing apples with oranges.
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  30. Is there any record or list of who attended this meeting?
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  31. I did email and ask for a list of notable attendees from the organisers but they refused. They probably (like all other so-called skeptic groups) believe in open-ness for all but themselves.
    But from various sources, it seems there were two MPs there (Peter Lilley and Sammy Wilson), and I only know of one 'journalist' - Delingpole.
    Seems it was just mainly a gathering of the Lindzen fan-club.
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  32. It's interesting to read the publicity for the meeting.

    I see that the meeting room was booked by Sammy Wilson(DUP), quote, "man-made climate change is a "myth based on dodgy science ..and hysterical pseudo-religion."

    Note the recommended reading list at the end, which includes such seminal reference works as Donna Laframboise's 'The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World's Top Climate Expert: IPCC Expose'; and, James Delingpole's, 'Watermelons: How the Environmentalists are Killing the Planet, Destroying the Economy and Stealing Your Children's Future'.

    The general slant of the recommended reading suggests that the audience was very much drawn from those with an anti-windpower, pro fossil-fuel agenda.
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  33. @Utahn and Tom Curtis:
    In the comments at RC, Hank Roberts identifies an earlier source for the graph in a post to Junk Science by Steve Milloy on Feb 7th, crediting it to Howard Hayden.
    I'll note that the URL Hayden claims to have used to get both sets of data is consistent, and doesn't switch between station-only and LOTI data, but with the result of Gavin's attempt at replication it looks like Hayden must have gotten it wrong somehow. Lindzen might not have even made the graph, just swallowed it uncritically.
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  34. WheelsOC @33, thank you for the advise.

    If we compare the URL for the 2008 data as provided at Real Climate with that for the current data, it is clear that Hayden's claim to have got both sets of data from the same website literally cannot be true. The reason is that the 2008 website has as part of its adress:


    In contrast, the equivalent section of the address for the current data reads:


    The change in address from tabledata to tabledata_v3 was presumably concurrent with was presumably made with the switch from GHCNv2 to GHCNv3 in December 2011.

    The odd thing is that the address shown on the chart is indeed the current address. However, even a cursory check shows that he cannot have used both the Land Ocean Temperature Index of 2008 and of 2012. Further, he cannot have used the Surface Stations only data from 2008, for that would have generated a negative, not a positive sloping trend. Ergo, while he lists the correct current address he did not use the correct current address to obtain his data. It is difficult, therefore, to see how this can be explained by an accident.
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  35. WheelsOC @33,

    "Lindzen might not have even made the graph, just swallowed it uncritically."

    Lindzen has yet again shown that, like Pielke senior, he is guilty of one-sided skepticism, and also appears to be willing to cherry pick and misrepresent the data to arrive at a pre-determined answer.

    This does not reflect at all well on Lindzen's employer, MIT.
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  36. #31 As I attended the Meeting they should not be able to refuse me if I request the info (although I am now labelled as 'hostile') I will see what I can do. BTW if people want background info on the politicians who were there, search the Category index on my blog for loads of insane quotations and psychoanalysis (it will make a nice change from all that complicated mathematics)...

    #35 "This does not reflect at all well on Lindzen's employer, MIT."
    Therefore, if you are a US Citizen and/or a former or existing MIT student or employee, you should submit a formal complaint to MIT...
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  37. What I never quite get from people like Lindzen who claim very low climate sensitivity is, how do they manage to reconcile this with even just glacial-interglacial cycles, much less any of up to 20+ other sensitivity estimates that suggest much higher figures?

    What I always see happening is, they torture some data in the attempt to establish low sensitivity, then they just ignore every other implication that holds.
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  38. Re: Russell@32

    Noticed the Lindzen event advert you linked to includes Rev Phillip Foster. In fact I think he was sitting next to Monkton in the Lindzen talk.

    Here is his famous armchair video, attempting to do some science:


    It's sad really.
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    Moderator Response: [RH] Hot linked URL.
  39. Rob wrote: "What I always see happening is, they torture some data in the attempt to establish low sensitivity, then they just ignore every other implication that holds."

    What, you think the laws of physics have to be consistent? Maybe the albedo of ice and the saturated vapor pressure of water change over time. Ever think of that, huh? :]
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  40. #38 If you want to get the measure of the Rev Philip Foster, check out my review of his book, While the Earth Endures: Creation, Cosmology and Climate Change on Amazon, which I entitled Rev. Foster - For God's sake stick to theology!... (N.B. It is not ad hom - it is entirely factual criticism).
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  41. @WheelsOC

    "Lindzen might not have even made the graph, just swallowed it uncritically."

    We'll see if he defends it tooth and nail a la Monckton (or rather, tries to change the topic), or steps up, won't we?
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  42. Can we please ensure that all latest posts are included in the daily 'Skeptical Science posts' email for the day of their release? I missed Monckton 3 recently because it was not notified via this Sks posts email, and judging by the lack of comments, I suspect that I was not the only one to miss it on the day of its release. (I only found it eventually by mistake!).

    I now see that there is another post: 'Lindzen's Junk Science' post appearing at the top of the latest posts list side bar.

    Please, a policy of all or none at all. Not this 'it should be here, but isn't' policy we now appear to have.
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  43. fungles - all new posts are automatically included in the daily digest emails. Lindzen's Junk Science will be included in tomorrow's email.
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  44. Am I the only person on the planet that wants to know why the most apalling piece of data manipulation to make a point out of nothing – a mismatched graph of Keeling Curve v Temp (at 28m30s in the video)? And why won't Lindzen answer any of my questions:

    Is it because it was a blatant piece of hypocrisy that Lindzen left out because he knew third parties would spot; but which went un-noticed by an un-critical audience and left them all with the very strong impression that CO2 and temperature rise do not correlate?

    surely Lindzen should be censured by his fellow AGU members and/or MIT for such blatant hypocrisy, obfuscation of relevant data, and misdirection of his audience; on at least 3 occasions since May 2010?
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  45. Professional misconduct complaint against Professor Richard S. Lindzen Sent by me to MIT today:

    Dear Sirs,

    I should appreciate some guidance about whether and how - as a non US citizen - I can make a formal complaint against Professor Richard S Lindzen for apparently repetitive hypocrisy, obfuscation and misdirection of several audiences, including the following:
    1. At the Heartland Institute's 4th International Climate Change Conference in May 2010;
    2. In testimony to US House Subcommittee on Science and Technology hearing in November 2010; and most recently
    3. At a meeting in Committee Room 14 of the Palace of Westminster (at which I was present) on 22 February 2012.

    I have now sent Professor Lindzen 3 emails (on 23 and 25 February, and 5 March but, as yet I have had no explanation - let alone a satisfactory one - for the issues I have raised in my emails to him.

    Transcripts of my 3 emails have been published on my blog as follows:
    An open letter to Richard Lindzen (28 February 2012) - 1800 word email with questions from me.
    Prof. Lindzen – try this instead! (29 February 2012) - Many of my questions re-formulated as 17 statements via which I invited Professor Lindzen to explain his position.
    There is no cause for concern? You cannot be serious! (5 March 2012) - about 900 words - plus some very interesting comments from me and others.

    If nothing else, Professor Lindzen's repetitive divergence from - and ridicule of - the genuine scientific consensus regarding the nature, scale and urgency of the problem we face (i.e. anthropogenic climate disruption) and/or his invocation of conspiracy theory as a grounds for dismissing the validity and reliability of that consensus would appear to be in severe danger of damaging the international reputation of your highly-esteemed establishment.

    Therefore, if I do not hear from you within 7 days, I shall forward this email to Suzanne Goldenberg (US Environmental Correspondent for the Guardian newspaper) suggesting that she publish it forthwith because, in the continuing absence of a satisfactory explanation from him, I am inclined to believe that Professor Lindzen is part of an organised campaign to downplay, deny and/or dismiss anthropogenic climate change being orchestrated by right-wing, ideologically-prejudiced Conservative Think Tanks (CTTs) such as the Heartland Institute and the CATO Institute. I have reached this conclusion, in no small part, as a result of my reading of research done by Peter Jacques et al., the findings of which may be summarised as follows:

    In prefacing their research, Jacques et al. observed that:
    “Since environmentalism is unique among social movements in its heavy reliance on scientific evidence to support its claims… it is not surprising that CTTs would launch a direct assault on environmental science by promoting environmental scepticism… (2008: 353).

    Furthermore, based on their findings, they concluded that:
    “Environmental scepticism is an elite-driven reaction to global environmentalism, organised by core actors within the conservative movement. Promoting scepticism is a key tactic of the anti-environmental counter-movement co-ordinated by CTTs…” (ibid: 364).

    Jacques has also highlighted the central aim of CTTs as being to cause confusion and doubt amongst the general public, in order to prevent the creation of a popular mandate for change (i.e. achieved by using a tactic developed by the tobacco industry of countering supposedly “junk” science with their “sound” science), which he refers to as the “science trap” (2009: 148).

    Based on the findings of the research published in 2008, Jacques therefore also concluded that environmental scepticism is a social counter-movement that uses CTTs to provide “political insulation for industry and ideology from public scrutiny”; and that this deliberate obfuscation stems from a realisation that “anti-environmentalism is an attitude that most citizens would consider a violation of the public interest” (2009: 169). However, Jacques does not blame the CTTs for the ecological crisis he feels we face, as they have merely exploited a dominant social paradigm; “because neoliberal globalism and its logic are protected from critique” (ibid: 119).

    I therefore trust that I may hear from someone regarding this in the very near future.

    Kind regards,

    Martin C. Lack. BSc (Geology), MSc (Hydrogeology), MA (Environmental Politics).
    Author of the Lack of Environment blog - 'On the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems….'

    Jacques, P. et al. (2008), ‘The organisation of denial: Conservative think tanks and environmental scepticism’, Environmental Politics, 17(3), pp.349-385.
    Jacques, P. (2009), Environmental Skepticism: Ecology, Power and Public Life. Farnham: Ashgate.
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  46. dana @ 43

    It's no good trying to sweet talk me by calling me 'fungles'! It will cost you a couple of drinks at least.

    I accept what you say, but I still cannot find Monckton Part 3 in the daily listings, so where am I going wrong?
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  47. I don't keep old copies of the daily emails - it should be in the email on 26 or 27 February.
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  48. Hi Dana,

    It was in the 26 February 2012 email, together with articles by Chris Colose and John Cook.
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  49. It seems to be often repeated that we are merely complaining about one or two graphs in Lindzen's talk and/or that this does not matter because they did not appear in a peer-reviewed journal. What kind of myopic tunnel vision is this?

    Just about every single slide (certainly every single graph) was either incompetently-drafted or intentionally-misleading. (There is also the case of the missing slide @28:30 in the video). There are no other options. As James Hansen has said, in Storms of my Grandchildren, Lindzen appears to behave like a lawyer presenting only information and argument favourable to his client, appears not to be seeking the truth – only a win for his client, and, as such, policy inaction appears to be the aim of those (like him) that dispute global warming. What other explanation is there?

    If my complaint does not work, does not all of the above appear to be good grounds for a complaint by someone connected with MIT? Please feel free to adapt my wording above (#45). Will someone other than me please locate some moral courage and take action?
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  50. dana1981 @ 47

    I do keep old copies and I can assure you that Monckton Misrepresentations part 3 does not appear as a primary reference on any of the emails that I have received.

    It does appear as a link in Part 1 with the words "(as we will see here in Part 3)". It now does cover the topic, but obviously did not at the time because it was a future event.)

    I can find no primary notice of Part 3 (or part 2 other than another link in Part 1, for that matter) in the daily emails. I will freely admit to not being the brightest light on the Christmas tree, so it might be that I am missing something blindingly obvious. However, if we are supposed to hunt for links in other posts, I humbly suggest that it would be better for future multi-part posts to have each part treated as a primary post and notified as such in the daily email, if only so that thickos like me and 99% of WUWT can follow.

    On a completely separate topic, can we notify all and sundry that James Hanson has just given a really good talk on climate change to TED2012 ( He not only talks from the heart, but as we on this side of the fence are fully aware, he actually knows what he is talking about. Perhaps a better description would be that he is the exact opposite of Monckton.
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