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Climate Hustle

One-Sided 'Skepticism'

Posted on 16 September 2011 by dana1981

As the banner at the top of the Skeptical Science (SkS) webpage notes, the primary purpose of our site is to "get skeptical about global warming skepticism" by examining what the peer-reviewed scientific literature has to say about the climate myths promoted by self-declared "skeptics."  We strive to examine the full body of scientific evidence, and see how the "skeptic" claims stack up.

In a recent post on his blog, Roger Pielke Sr. criticized our performance in meeting those goals.  We at SkS are always open to constructive criticism.  Unfortunately, Dr. Pielke has not actually offered any.  In fact, it appears that Pielke has not even bothered to make the effort to read the series he is criticizing.  He seems to think Christy Crocks and Spencer Slip Ups pertain to satellite temperature data analysis:

"As a result of the persistent, but incorrect (often derogatory) blog posts and media reports on the robustness of the University of Alabama MSU temperature data....The ad hominem presentations on this subject include those from the weblog Skeptical Science who have sections titled Christy Crocks and Spencer Slip Ups"

Unfortunately for this piercing critique, these two series of articles do not touch upon the topic of the satellite temperature data. Indeed, the only time SkS has mentioned this work was when we used it as an example of the self-correcting nature of the scientific process.  What the series have bored in on are the wide range of topics relevant to global warming concerning which Spencer and Christy have propogated numerous myths and copious misinformation.  This frequent myth propagation by Spencer and Christy is an unfortunate reality which it seems Pielke would like to sweep under the rug.

Pielke's One-Sided Criticisms

What we find strange is that, although Pielke often rushes to the defense of Spencer and Christy, he never criticizes them for blatant errors of logic and fact that they have made; even though he is happy to criticize more mainstream climate scientists.  His critiques seem a tad one-sided.

For example, Christy's testimony before US Congress earlier this year was riddled with myths and misinformation.  Pielke said not a word about it.  Christy later went on Australian and Canadian radio talk shows and propagated many of the same myths.  In fact, these interviews and testimony were the basis of the Christy Crocks. 

Not only does Pielke refuse to criticize his fellow "skeptics" for misinforming the public and policymakers, but he then denounces SkS for doing just that.  In the process, Pielke is effectively endorsing the myths and misinformation propagated by Spencer and Christy, documented in the very series that he criticizes.

The Scientific Basis of the Series

Let's put more effort into this question than Dr. Pielke and actually examine the content of the two series.  Spencer Slip Ups currently consists of seven posts.  Three of these are an analysis of one of Spencer's books by Dr. Barry Bickmore, in which Bickmore tested Spencer's results by replicating his simple climate model, and found that Spencer's conclusions were invalidated when physically realistic parameters were input into the model. 

In another post, we responded to Spencer's challenge to produce peer-reviewed scientific research ruling out internal variability as the cause of the current global warming by doing exactly that.  We also examined what the peer-reviewed literature has to say about Spencer's hypothesis that the PDO is causing global warming.  And finally, in two recent posts we examined Andrew Dessler's peer-reviewed response to Spencer & Braswell (2011). 

Christy Crocks are much of the same.  For example, we examined what the peer-reviewed literature has to say about Christy's claims with regards to climate sensitivity, climate model accuracy, internal variability, global warming causation, and satellite temperature data vs. models.

In keeping with the purpose and standards established for SkS by John Cook, in every Spencer Slip-Up and Christy Crock we have either evaluated how their statements stack up to the body of scientific literature, or attempted to replicate their results.  And we have found that Spencer and Christy consistently make statements which are inconsistent with the body of scientific literature, and often which are well outside their range of expertise.

Misinforming Policymakers

One of the most egregious examples of a Christy Crock was in his testimony before US Congress, when policymakers twice presented Christy with assertions that scientists were predicting impending global cooling in the 1970s, and twice Christy refused to dispel the myth, instead claiming:

"In this sense yes [1970s cooling predictions were similar to current warming predictions], our ignorance about the climate system is just enormous"

This statement, made to those who are determining what if any policies the United States will implement in response to climate change, is a crock.  We examined the peer-reviewed scientific literature in the 1970s, and found that contrary to Christy's depiction, most climate scientists at the time were predicting global warming.

We wonder if Dr. Pielke approves of Christy's testimony here.  When presented with a climate myth by a policymaker, is it appropriate to mislead the Congress with such statements, instead of reporting the situation as it was?  We would very much like to know Dr. Pielke's answer to this question, and why he continues to turn a blind eye to the repeated transgressions of Spencer and Christy.

Reality Check

In reality, Pieilke was off-base in trying to implicate SkS in criticism of the UAH satellite record; we didn't do that. Even more to the point, Spencer and Christy have both made a number of statements to the public that contradict the body of scientific literature.  These statements were the starting point of our critical series. By defending them but ignoring their errors, Pielke is providing cover for the misinformation propagated by Spencer and Christy.  That's not being skeptical, that's excusing the blatant misinformation of the American public and policymakers.  Pielke Sr. needs to decide what is more important, covering up misinformation or standing up for science and truth.

Note: this post represents the SkS contributors' consensus response to Roger Pielke Sr.'s recent criticism of our site

Update: Pielke has responded, if you can call it a response, since he didn't actually address anything we said here.  A total shifting of the goalposts, once again trying to deny Spencer and Christy's constant propagation of misinformation.  In fact, Pielke's response simply confirmed what we said in this post - he seems unwilling to read the content of our posts, and is totally unwilling to crtiicize his fellow "skeptics." 

Dr. Pielke, we once again ask that you answer the question - do you or do you not approve of John Christy's misleading testimony to US Congress, including his assertion that predictions of global cooling in the 1970s were the same as predictions of global warming today? 

As another example, do you agree with Roy Spencer when he said that as a result of addressing climate change, "Jogging will be outlawed. It is a little known fact that the extra carbon dioxide (and methane, an especially potent greenhouse gas) emitted by joggers accounts for close to 10% of the current Global Warming problem"? 

And do you agree with Spencer's assertion that "warming in recent decades is mostly due to a natural cycle in the climate system — not to an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning"?

Please stop changing the subject, stop pretending Spencer and Christy are faultless Saints, drop the charade, and answer our questions, Dr. Pielke.

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 216:

  1. Having read all the articles on both Spencer and Christy here at SkS it is abundantly clear that Pielke did not bother to read any of the posts before making his own comments. I would expect a scientist of his caliber to be a touch more careful and thorough before posting.

    Ironically, I find that everyone at SkS tends to use the UAH data as a confirmation that all the major data sets are in agreement about current warming. It gets pointed out that Spencer's early work with the UAH was in error but was corrected and now is in agreement with GISS, HadCRU, RSS, etc.

    Dr. Pielke, if you do bother to come and read this article, you might consider spending a little more time reading through what is actually published on this site. I think what you will find is that the articles posted here are accurate representations of the current published literature and are fully cited as such.
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  2. I found it fascinating that Dr. Pielke accused SkS of ad hominem attacks - in a post of his that was later re-posted on WUWT, a prime home of ad hominem postings accusing practicing scientists of everything short of cannibalism.

    There is a serious lack of balance and fairness in Dr. Pielke's comments, and his claims of SkS ad hominem attacks on Spencer's and Christy's satellite data are, as noted, completely bogus.

    It is quite clear that Dr. Pielke has not read the articles he's complaining about.
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  3. As always, nicely done Dana. I might have worded the conclusion a little more strongly, something like:

    "By defending them but ignoring their errors, Pielke is providing cover for the misinformation propagated by Spencer and Christy. That's not being skeptical, that's excusing the blatant misinformation of the American public and policymakers. Pielke Sr. needs to decide what is more important, covering up for misinformation or standing up for science and truth."

    Now this will be interesting. Will Pielke Sr. respond by posting on an anti-science and advocacy blog like WUWT which has been used before to make threats against climate scientists (e.g., Monckton), or will he respond on his own blog (which does not allow comments, so people cannot challenge his assertions), of will he come here to constructively discuss the issues?

    With that all said, I think Pielke Sr. ought to apologize to John Cook.

    PS: And I do hope he answers the question put to him in the main post re Christy misleading Congress.
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  4. Rob @1,

    "Ironically, I find that everyone at SkS tends to use the UAH data as a confirmation that all the major data sets are in agreement about current warming."

    Indeed, but that was not always the case. And it seems from Dr. Pielke's blog post that he is applying a rather selective memory on exactly how events unfolded regarding the problems with the UAH data. So now that he has done so, someone might have to do a more thorough job of setting the record straight than Pielke Sr. did on his blog. But that is a matter for another day....
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  5. Albatross - I like your suggestion and have added it to the conclusion.

    Regarding ad hominem accusations, it's also ironic that Pielke's criticism was directed at SkS while defending Roy Spencer, who engages in ad hominem arguments constantly on his blog (i.e. "IPCC gatekeepers"). But Spencer and Christy's constant myth propagation is far worse than their ad hominems.
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  6. Pielke states at the end of his article, "Similarly, weblogs such as Skeptical Science, if they want to move the debate on the climate issues forward, need to move towards a more constructive approach."

    This is an absurd statement given the tone of most all of Roy Spencer's posts on his own website. Pielke's comment is a little like being asked to apologize to the burglar for allowing him to break into your house.

    The tone set at SkS is accurate and direct. The material presented by the authors here is also accurate and direct, but sometimes the truth packs quite a punch. If anything it is the climate deniers who need to learn to work toward a more constructive rhetorical approach.
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  7. Rob @6,

    "This is an absurd statement given the tone of most all of Roy Spencer's posts on his own website."

    Agreed Rob. And ironic too how Pielke turns a blind eye to the real culprits who are sabotaging constructive, polite and civil discourse, for example WUWT.

    Pielke Sr. doth protest too much. Given his response to the SkS post and his disparaging remarks made about his colleagues, it is becoming increasingly difficult seriously entertain Dr. Pielke Sr.'s indignant pronouncements of others allegedly behaving badly.
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  8. We should not forget that Roger Pielke Sr. is the one who claimed that oceans have not been warming in the last few years, artic sea ice was recovering after 2007, sea level rise has flattened after 2006, etc.
    That was blatant cherry picking or confusing variability with trend. This time he managed to do worse, attributing to SkS a claim which is nowhere to be found in this site. A retraction would be appropiate.
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  9. Pielke Sr., being 'constructive'

    "In conclusion, the EPA Endangerment findings is the culmination of a several year effort for a small group of climate scientists and others to use their positions as lead authors on the IPCC, CCSP and NRC reports to promote a political agenda."

    Here:

    "[T]he paper was received 11 August 2011 and accepted 29 August 2011. This is some type of record in my experiences as editor, and indicates that the paper was fast tracked. This is certainly unusual"

    Constructive is nice and the goal, but let's get it 'right' first.

    Here:

    "Of course, it is always pleasant to have documentation that these individuals are inappropriately using their senior positions to prejudice the scientific assessment and publication process, as I have reported on my weblog for several years. What is more important, however, is that the significance of this breach of the scientific method be recognized by the policymakers and other scientific colleagues who have requested climate assessments."
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  10. Riccardo @8,

    Yes, those were egregious examples of cherry-picking by Pielke Sr. and was promptly dealt with by RealClimate.

    Sadly, he seems to be at it again, see my post at SkS here.
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  11. And just as I predicted, instead of trying to engage SkS is a constructive and open discussion here, Pielke has just posted another 'attack' on SkS on his blog, in which he argues so many strawmen that I lost count! It is essentially a Gish Gallop, with some misinformation thrown in for good measure. It does not constitute a "response" at all, and he did not answer the questions put to him about Christy

    And I note again, his site does not allow comments. I expect that his post will soon appear on a "skeptic" blog like WUWT.

    Perhaps he did answer one question posed to him, it is clear from his response that Pielke Sr. is more interested in covering up the misinformation propagated by "skeptics" than he is interested in standing up for scientific integrity and honesty.
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  12. Yes the post has been updated to reference Pielke's "response", if you can even call it that. It's more of a goalpost shifting Gish Gallop which doesn't address a single thing we said here.
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  13. Dana,

    I thought that, in a way, Pielke Sr's "response" rather enforces your points. Re "comprehension", I think that he may be seeing/reading what he wishes to see/read.

    I encourage, no urge, Dr. Pielke to defend his accusations and statements here at SkS.
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  14. True Albatross, Pielke's "response" has just confirmed the basis of this post. I've updated the update to note this.
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  15. Pielke Sr.'s response sure does beg a lot of questions.
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  16. Of SkS he says it "is not balanced in the presentation of the existing research findings in climate science". Should we learn from him, with a rapidly spiralling credibility? But don't worry, maybe he'll recover, just like arctic sea ice after 2007.
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  17. Dr. Pielke,

    Let me remind you what you wrote:

    "As a result of the persistent, but incorrect (often derogatory) blog posts and media reports on the robustness of the University of Alabama MSU temperature data....The ad hominem presentations on this subject [i.e.., the UAH data] include those from the weblog Skeptical Science who have sections titled Christy Crocks and Spencer Slip Ups"

    That statement by you was wrong-- you were clearly trying to implicate SkS in some strongly worded recent critique of the UAH product and its developers (which reminds me, you seem to have a very selective memory as to how that all unfolded), and you would have known that it was wrong of you to state we were implicated had you read the series.

    It is unfortunate that you cannot concede error on your part. Equally unfortunateis that you elect to turn a blind eye to the repeated misinformation and half-truths propagated by Watts, Spencer and Christy and others. Yes, Spencer and Christy undertook some novel work with the MSU data, but that does not mean they now get free pass to continually berate their colleagues, misinform, float conspiracy theories, politicize science, confuse and mislead the US Congress. Or do you disagree?

    Again, you were wrongly trying to implicate SkS in some strongly worded critique of the UAH product, and your "arguments" to the contrary on your blog do not hold up. We have of course discussed the UAH product here at SkS, why wouldn't we for goodness' sakes?

    In fact, it is stated at SkS that:
    "The original discrepancy is an excellent example of how science works and of critical thinking. With many different indicators showing warming, it did not make sense that the troposphere would be cooling. This discrepancy was taken very seriously by the scientific community, and the consistency and accuracy of all relevant data were examined intensely.

    Science advances by trial and error. The result is an increased knowledge of how to measure the temperature of the troposphere from space."


    In both Spencer's and Christy's bios shown at the beginning of the series, we mention that they received an award from NASA for their work with the MSU data.

    But by all means please do continue to choose to think what you wish to.
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  18. It will be very interesting to see what Joe Romm and crew have to say about this brouhaha.
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  19. Oh dear, after reading Pielke Sr's "response" SkS may have a whole bunch more 'skeptic' myths to dispel. For example, his claim that:

    "There has not been warming significantly, if at all, since 2003, as most everyone on all sides of the climate issue agree."

    Not relevant and it depends which metric you are using and if it is OHC how much of the data one uses (does one use all the argo data or does one use the top X metres that gives the desired lack of warming?) But Dr. Pielke, you also say on your blog, in response to Santer et al. (2011) that:

    "There has been NO long-term trend since the large El Nino in 1998. That’s 13 years."

    We'll ignore the blatant cherry picking of 1998 for now, but it does raise an interesting question. Dr. Pielke did the warming cease in 1998 or 2003?

    You cherry-picking 2003, also seems to fly in the face of this statement made by you on your blog:
    "I agree with Santer et al that “[m]inimal warming over a single decade does not disprove the existence of a slowly-evolving anthropogenic warming signal.”"

    Why then select a statistically meaningless short window of time?
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  20. Dr. Pielke responded very quickly to Dana's post, yet he doesn't seem to be able to find time to answer a very simple question originally posed to him:

    "Do you or do you not approve of John Christy's misleading testimony to US Congress, including his assertion that predictions of global cooling in the 1970s were the same as predictions of global warming today?"

    Waiting. Alas, so far all we have is this.
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  21. A truly astounding response by Dr. Pielke Sr..

    Dr. Pielke - Your first article, Scientific Robustness Of The University Of Alabama At Huntsville MSU Data, inaccurately accused the SkS site of attacking the MSU data, and of ad hominem attacks against Spencer and Christy. The MSU data is valued by every poster and presentation here that I've seen, and you really really need to look up the definition of ad hominem - the articles here address the science (and science failures, and misrepresentations before Congress and the press) presented by Spencer and Christy, not personal attacks.

    After you have refreshed yourself on that definition of ad hominem, I suggest you take a critical look at Roy Spencer's blog, including his consistent ad hominem statements about the IPCC and motivations thereof.

    You then follow up with My Response To The Skeptical Science Post “One-Sided ‘Skepticism” a Gish Gallop of nonsense attacking this thread without ever addressing a single point made in the article.

    I hope you have some idea of just how poor a light you are currently painting yourself with...
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  22. Dr Pielke states in his response... "Skeptical Science would do more of a service to the science community if they accurately presented their (and my viewpoints), even when they disagree, rather than disparage those who disagree with them."

    My jaw is agape at the sheer audacity of this statement. Has Pielke never read Spencer's blog? Anthony Watts blog? Goddard's blog? McIntyre's blog? Dare I say, JoNova's blog?

    Dr Pielke seems to be completely and utterly oblivious of the tone that has been set by the climate deniers in this public debate. Literally, this is like saying we should stop shooting real bullets at the planes that are carpet bombing the place.
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  23. I would suggest that Dr Pielke perform a little experiment. Read a dozen or so articles from WUWT and rate them for inflammatory tone. Then read the same number of articles on SkS and rate them for inflammatory tone.

    After that go check the website stats for each of these websites. From this information please tell us which side of the debate needs to cool their heels.
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  24. Rob @23,

    I agree. Look for a very long time now, those who are concerned about AGW have given "skeptics" a lot of leeway, too much leeway. Well, you can only turn the other cheek so many times. This is an important issue, so "skeptics" can no longer expect to cherry-pick, distort, and misrepresent the science at will. And their apologists can expect to be criticized for doing so.

    I will concede that the names of the series in question are "cheeky", but they were intended to be catchy. Predictably, Pielke is hiding behind that as a weak excuse to dismiss the severity of the misinformation propagated by Spencer and Christy; but him doing so does not change the fact that Spencer and Christy are in the habit of misinforming and spreading doubt and confusion. Would Pielke prefer if we were more direct by saying Christy's half truths" or "Christy's misinformation"? That would be a very accurate description of the statements that are discussed in the series.

    So Dr. Pielke can save us his indignance, especially in light of the disparaging remarks that he has made against his colleagues and his clear double standard.
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  25. WRT Dr. Pielke's most recent post, he says:

    Skeptical Science writes

    "A large amount of warming is delayed, and if we don’t act now we could pass tipping points."

    However, there is NO delayed warming when we measure in units of heat (Joules). A measurement of the heat in the oceans at two different time periods tells us what heating has occurred over this interval...


    This is appallingly wrong. A measurement of ocean temperatures tells us only the current temperatures, whereas the 'delayed warming' describes the warming that will continue to occur until the forcing imbalances are cancelled out. This is warming that we are committed to by the forcing changes such as GHG increases.

    This is a completely bogus statement on Dr. Pielke's part. He should know better, and I'm saddened to see someone of his stature producing it.
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  26. Well, you can't expect such characters to objectively re-evaluate the actual quality of their work. They are perfectly aware of what the truth actually is, they just have a desperate need to hide from it. Trying to discuss rationally with them as if they can be convinced of anything is futile. The important thing from a scientific standpoint is simply to continue being right, and equally important is to make sure everyone is concretely aware of the exact position of the scientific consensus and where those representing political interests are wrong.

    Eventually there will come a point where general public hits the tipping point of overwhelming acknowledgement, and the next manipulation from the denialists will be attempts to distort the public's memory of what the science had been saying all along. I imagine there is a degree to which I must be preaching to the choir.
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  27. Dr. Kerry Emanuel has some sage words in an op-ed:

    "Science tells us that the extent and severity of climate change faced by our children's generation will be determined by the hard choices we must make today. Political leadership is about ensuring that we adults face up to this task.

    We cannot afford to have those leading our nation misrepresent, or be silent about, the reality and risks of climate change."


    That last paragraph also applies to scientists, including Dr. Pielke. While some scientists are turning a blind eye to the risks, others (including SkepticalScience) are being pro active in this regard.
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  28. "Similarly, weblogs such as Skeptical Science, if they want to move the debate on the climate issues forward, need to move towards a more constructive approach."

    A comment like this makes Pielke seem like a concern troll. He has very little of substance to say on the things we're saying, but rather is highly critical of how we're saying it. There is, in my opinion, little room for this kind of attitude. If the fake skeptics are lying to the public, we have no obligation to be polite in pointing it out.
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  29. KR @25 - I belive Pielke is basically right on this point. The surface will continue to warm until equilibrium is reached, but that heat will come from the oceans. As long as you account for all the heat in the Earth system, you don't have to worry about the thermal lag.

    Of course if you're going to take that approach, you do have to account for the entire Earth system, including the deep oceans, which Pielke tends to ignore (including in this "response" post). Taking the deep oceans into account invalidates his argument.
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  30. dana1981 - "...but that heat will come from the oceans..."

    I'm going to have to disagree; that heat will go into the oceans, not come from them, until they reach rough thermal equilibrium.

    Current temperatures (including ocean heat values) measure what is now in the climate system. The 'delayed warming', or as I prefer to describe it the 'unrealized warming', is the warming remaining to fully cancel out forcing imbalances. There is considerable thermal lag as joules of energy accumulate (primarily in the oceans), and imbalances are not redressed immediately. This is true as long as we have a TOA forcing imbalance and thermal lag.

    This was discussed at some length in Has Earth warmed as much as expected thread.
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  31. Is it just me, or does this strike anyone else as the opening salvo in an attack on SkS, following the Eureka Prize win that (hopefully) raised SkS' public profile?

    I wouldn't be at all surprised to see other 'sceptics' start to weigh in on the matter, much as they done previously with Dr Mann and others.

    Talking about playing the player, not the ball... shame there's no referee in this match.
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    Response:

    [DB] "shame there's no referee in this match"

    There is one; that would be me.  ;)

  32. KR, when SkS discusses the 'delayed warming', we are quite clearly discussing not only what Dana mentioned, but also the warming due to already emitted CO2. So Pielke isn't actually arguing against our argument. He's arguing about thermal lag. That quote he used came from a post that spelled out the reasoning about risk, BAU emissions, and all the rest. He's yet to acknowledge anything in that post besides a sub-title. We should all be skeptical.
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  33. My mistake, I was just thinking about surface warming and not taking the global energy imbalance into account.
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  34. Bern, there is a referee. Reality.

    But, we have to wait a lot longer than we usually do for the 'third' referee in the box to announce the result of a disputed call.
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  35. On the subject of delayed warming, remember our cooling layer of acid sky (sulfate areosols) which goes away when we try to stop warming. Just a little good by kiss.
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  36. The big time deniers, needing to explain to themselves why scientists do not agree with them, conclude that it is all politics (projection) and this absurdity forces them into endless additional absurdities.

    Note by the way that "It's all politics" is absurd to start with. There is a real planet earth with a real climate. Hence there really is a right answer. It can not be all politics.
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  37. Key statement at Pielke's: Comments Off.

    On the other hand, the "Insightful interview" he relates,
    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/09/02/insightful-interview-in-eos-of-dr-de-zheng-sun-climate-dynamics-why-does-climate-vary/

    insightfully suggests that things may be worse than we thought.
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  38. When Skeptical Science and Real Climate use science to critique papers and comments by Spencer, Lindzen, Christie etc, I have never seen a rebutal based on science. Just like Dr. Pielke in this instance, it is inuendo, personal attacks, and change the subject. One can only conclude that their objectives are not scientific, but rather propaganda.
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  39. As another example, do you agree with Roy Spencer when he said that as a result of addressing climate change, "Jogging will be outlawed. It is a little known fact that the extra carbon dioxide (and methane, an especially potent greenhouse gas) emitted by joggers accounts for close to 10% of the current Global Warming problem"?

    You mean you didn't notice the satirical context? Hello?!?!
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  40. Chris@1204,

    Come on, please don't try and play it is only "satire" card; this is about science and truth. I am willing to bet you that his target audience would not have seen it that way-- many of his readers at his blog do not believe in the so-called "greenhouse" effect. So they are pretty gullible for the most part and he is preying on that.

    And you forget, there is in fact a myth out there on the internet that we humans are contributing to the rise of CO2 by exhaling, and Spencer is feeding that myth in a public forum. Do you deny the existence of the myth?

    Spencer knows better, it is inexcusable. And it is along the lines of Christy twice failing to set the senator straight who fed him the "1970s global cooling scare" myth when he testified before the US Congress recently.
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  41. Dr. Pielke,

    Since comments aren't allowed on your blog, I'll address this question here.

    You say "The ad hominem presentations on this subject include those from the weblog Skeptical Science"

    with the subject being the robustness of the UAH MSU temperature data. In your response, you do point out an article entitled "Satellite measurements of warming in the troposphere". I looked over this article and could not find any ad hominens. In fact, I see a very good analysis of the claim being addressed, which was Bob Carter's fairly recent statement "Satellite measurements indicate an absence of significant global warming since 1979, the very period that human carbon dioxide emissions have been increasing rapidly." The article ends with the statement "Science advances by trial and error. The result is an increased knowledge of how to measure the temperature of the troposphere from space." which I would hope you can agree with.

    So please identify the ad hominens in that article on any others dealing with the UAH record. If you find no ad homs, perhaps you could highlight and discuss what specifically you feel is inaccurate.

    Next, is there anything about Spencer or his work you are willing to criticize? SkepticalScience has been remarkably reserved at staying away from anything personal, given Roy Spencer series of statements overstating his case, past and present. Recall that in 1997, he wrote:

    "So the programs which model global warming in a computer say the temperature of the Earth's lower atmosphere should be going up markedly, but actual measurements of the temperature of the lower atmosphere reveal no such pronounced activity.

    In theory, one could argue that the computer models are accurate, and that the real measurements have some problem. However this is not the case. An incredible amount of work has been done to make sure that the satellite data are the best quality possible. Recent claims to the contrary by Hurrell and Trenberth have been shown to be false for a number of reasons, and are laid to rest in the September 25th edition of Nature (page 342). The temperature measurements from space are verified by two direct and independent methods. The first involves actual in-situ measurements of the lower atmosphere made by balloon-borne observations around the world. The second uses intercalibration and comparison among identical experiments on different orbiting platforms. The result is that the satellite temperature measurements are accurate to within three one-hundredths of a degree Centigrade (0.03 C) when compared to ground-launched balloons taking measurements of the same region of the atmosphere at the same time."

    Accurate Thermometers in Space

    Given the history and magnitude of the errors, I find it strange that there are many who will swear by the satellite record, all the while depicting the surface record as fraudulent, and those who manage it as frauds.

    Lastly, I don't see anything fundamentally wrong with what Trenberth, Abraham, and Gleick wrote, other than perhaps their use of the word "forced" in reference to the major errors. I suppose "forced" isn't technically true, in that they could have ignored the errors that had become obvious, but such a course of action would have been unlikely. The authors could have done without that word. Could you point out specifically what you feel is inaccurate and what needs to be retracted?

    Thanks for your time. I'm glad you've stopped by here on occasion and hope you will stick around to read beyond the headlines, and maybe make some constructive contributions here.
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  42. NewYorkJ,

    Not to sound like a concern troll, but I think you would have helped me with the specifics on why Spencer's 1997 work was so wrong. And given Pielke no wiggle room.
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  43. Wow! I just read Pielke's so-called rebutal. "Hasn't since 2003". What ever happened to noisy data, and long trend lines and statistical signficance? What is that man thinking?

    And since he does seem to believe in global heat accumulation where does he think the heat is going? Is it just staying in the oceans? What?
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  44. The interpretation here is that his "Pielke Piles It On" posts wanted to start with a pitch in the dirt about ad homenim's: in this case, the titles used on SKS. He used the standard ploy of deflection when his own words mocked his claimed affront at the content.

    The real intent of his original post was support for the two UAH custodians. The content of his post is a revisionist apology for the seemingly never-ending fixes required to the complex MSU datasets. The lead-in rub at Blog-x (SKS was convenient) was to create underdog sympathy for Christy and Spencer.

    In that sense it worked. After reading his defence, I feel even sorrier for those two than I did before.
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  45. As the ad hominem argument comes back again and again and anyhow in the denialist discourse, I think it's time to introduce the concept of ad hominem fallacy fallacy.
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  46. I am surprised that no one has pointed out that it actually has warmed from 2003 to 2011, so Pielke is mistaken about 'cooling'.

    There are plenty of facts out there; it is better to avoid working oneself up in a froth but to keep pointing out the errors.
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  47. I think the section title "Christy Crocks" is needlessly offensive. You can argue for it on technical grounds, but you don't want to put off new readers who are just looking for information.

    The "jogging" article by Spencer is obviously sarcastic. It is poorly done. Spencer makes himself look foolish in my view and undercuts his ability to claim his disagreements with mainstream scientific opinion are objective. But the piece is clearly not meant to be taken literally, as Chris at 39 pointed out.

    This site contains a wealth of scientific information of great use to the general public. Don't let it turn into a personal grudge forum. Most people could care less about blog-vs-blog grudge matches. Rise above it.
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  48. #47, Mike, the term isn't offensive, it's descriptive (and accurate). If Christy had made fewer mistakes and misrepresentations of the science, it wouldn't be accurate or necessary. If a reader isn't going to read a section because of that, then they are not going to last long in any scientific discussion, let alone one about climate.
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  49. Christy Crocks alliterates. I think that was the priority in the name...

    And it picks specifically on crocks, not on Christy. There's an argument either way - I wouldn't see myself getting annoyed by "Mark's Mistakes" but perhaps I would be a lot more sensitive in reality.
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  50. What Mike said.

    This site is a fantastic resource, but remember that the deniers like nothing better than a personality or politics based barney. They're good at that, and they have little or nothing to offer in the way of rational scientific debate.

    Tone down the rhetoric. Stick to technical language. Don't become personal.

    Above all, don't wrestle with pigs.
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