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The mind-boggling coincidence hypothesis

Also hot off the press is a new paper by Gavin Schmidt and colleagues. Doug McNeall reckons I'm not going to like it, but having taken a look (it's open access for registered users of the Nature website), I have to say I think it's lots of fun.

Schmidt and his colleagues are looking at the hiatus in surface temperature rises and considers why the CMIP5 ensemble all got it so wrong. In their new paper they explain that the reason for this is not – as wild-eyed readers at BH might think – that the models are wonky. In fact it's all down to an incredible, incredible coincidence

Here we argue that a combination of factors, by coincidence, conspired to dampen warming trends in the real world after about 1992. CMIP5 model simulations were based on historical estimates of external influences on the climate only to 2000 or 2005, and used scenarios (Representative Concentration Pathways, or RCPs) thereafter4. Any recent improvements in these estimates or updates to the present day were not taken into account in these simulations. Specifically, the influence of volcanic eruptions, aerosols in the atmosphere and solar activity all took unexpected turns over the 2000s. The climate model simulations, effectively, were run with the assumption that conditions were broadly going to continue along established trajectories.

Apparently, if you go back and rework all the forcings, taking into account new data estimates (add half a bottle of post-hoc figures) and 'reanalyses' of old data (add a tablespoon of computer simulation) you can bridge the gap and explain away the pause.

We conclude that use of the latest information on external influences on the climate system and adjusting for internal variability associated with ENSO can almost completely reconcile the trends in global mean surface temperature in CMIP5 models and observations. Nevertheless, attributing climate trends over relatively short periods, such as 10 to 15 years, will always be problematic, and it is inherently unsatisfying to find model–data agreement only with the benefit of hindsight.

So, with the benefit of hindsight, the climate modellers can fit their square peg into a round hole. It wasn't that the models were running too hot, it was just that nature has got it in for climate modellers.


Of course, they still have the problem that the energy budget estimates of TCR are all pointing to much lower climate sensitivity than the GCMs. These studies are, of course, strongly suggestive of the "mind-boggling coincidence" hypothesis being incorrect and the original supposition - that the models are overheated - is right. However, Schmidt and his colleagues make no attempt to address such minutiae, waving them aside, with characteristic bonhomie, as mere speculation:

We see no indication, however, that transient climate response is systematically overestimated in the CMIP5 climate models as has been speculated8, or that decadal variability across the ensemble of models is systematically underestimated, although at least some individual models probably fall short in this respect.

Told you it was fun, didn't I?

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Reader Comments (182)

"The culture of science requires that detailed, formal arguments are presented for publication after the basic sanity check of peer-review. Individuals typically have decades of hard study behind them and a genuine dedication to their subject. Consequently, they tend to have real expertise in their subject."

Michael Mann was a postgrad (admittedly in his 30s) when he wrote MBH 1998 which became the poster child of IPCC TAR3. Cowtan and Way CW 2014 are effectively junior scientists.

OTOH Einstein published his special theory of relativity without peer.breview while in his 20s. Your theory is bunkum.

Mar 1, 2014 at 6:06 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

@Noel Darlow, your response to:

" @Headless Chicken

I'm sorry but you are the one who is confused and you will remain so if you continue to wilfully ignore real science in favour of false skepticism. Whatever uncertainties there may be in the current understanding of climate they are not well-represented on this blog.

The culture of science requires that detailed, formal arguments are presented for publication after the basic sanity check of peer-review. Individuals typically have decades of hard study behind them and a genuine dedication to their subject. Consequently, they tend to have real expertise in their subject.

The culture of false-skepticism is to blog. No learning or expertise is required just $10 per month for a hosting provider."

Is a breathtaking demonstration of doctrinaire response, chauvinism, zombie-hood, or a combination thereof. "The culture of science" requires the scientific method, not peer review. Peer review is supposed to re-inforce the scientific method, but historically, is more often found to oppose it. Who did the peer review on Einstein's paper regarding his theory of light? I recommend you read the history of M. Foucault, a man who was not part of the scientific community, but solved the problem of how a pendulum swings based on what latitude it's at, and after all the Great Scientists of the day fought and argued that he was wrong but had to admit he was correct after he proved it, they then started to say he was simply lucky, and didn't understand what he'd done, and declared they'd find the mathematical proof---and after they failed to do that, HE did. And again, they shouted him down, declared he was wrong, and were forced to eat their words.

Do you know who they were? Right. No one does. But we remember Foucault. No peer review. Just an thorough application of the scientific method.

Science does NOT require someone looking over your shoulder. As for "culture", if you want that, go to a museum or put agar in a petri dish. The "culture" of science is littered with more non-detailed, non-formal, non-discussed discoveries than anything else. Ever heard of "trial and error"? That is the history of science.

You speak like an acolyte of some stuffy academic who wouldn't recognize a new idea if it bit your well detailed, formal, peer-reviewed scientific culture.

You remind me of a woman I met on a dive trip in the Cayman's 25 years ago. She was going on and on about "the arthopod" that one of the guides had pointed out to her. Someone asked, "Do you mean the spiny lobster?" and she said, "No, the arthopod." Several people tried to point out that yes, spiny lobsters were arthopods, but so were spiders---she was talking about a spiny lobster. But she was insistent, then strident, it was NOT a spiny lobster, it was an arthopod (obviously, Taxonomy was not her thing). I don't know why they bothered to try to correct her, though sitting at a different table listening, it was briefly amusing. She reminded me of a child who has learned a new word, and has to use it---even when it's not appropriate.

You remind me of that as well. You are convinced of AGW, but you can't argue the science, so you argue the buzzwords: "science culture" and "peer review" and "well-detailed, formal" etc. Forget the window-dressing for a moment, and meet me where the rubber meets the road: there has been no warming for 17+ years in the surface temperature record. There has actually been a cooling trend. Not to say that this is proof that there is no warming; no one I know is saying that. But it is very strong evidence that mankind and any miniscule amount of CO2 he produces is NOT the bogeyman you and your Alarmist friends make it out to be, and it IS proof that the theories behind the GCMs are WRONG. They only reflect the biases of their programmers, who want to believe that CO2 produced by mankind is the cause, that mankind is the cause of the warming. Skeptics... Skeptics that I know believe that it is getting warmer, and that it's a combination of things, all natural, and that mankind's activities contribute a small amount, but nothing that can be discerned against the natural processes. There is a lot of evidence to support this, and more accumulating all the time. At about the same rate evidence accumulates to prove that the GCMs are nothing more than high-tech Ouija boards.

But you go on. Have a nice life.

Mar 1, 2014 at 6:28 AM | Unregistered Commenterp@ dolan

"They do seem to recognise that there are uncertainties in this - they say their conclusions "may explain most of the discrepancy" (my italics). I don't see any reason why any of this is wrong..."

But it is also accurate to say it may not explain any of the discrepancy, or it may only explain some of the discrepancy. it's just good to see them admit their is one.

Mar 1, 2014 at 6:37 AM | Unregistered Commentersungazer


It is no great surprise to find the process of peer-review under attack but I'm afraid you're not going to get anywhere with that. I'll personally give you Foucalt.

there has been no warming for 17+ years in the surface temperature record. There has actually been a cooling trend.

If we're going to do this I insist that you see it through and don't just ring the doorbell and run away.

First, do you think it is reasonable to cherry-pick a record-breaking El Nino year as your start point? What effect would a different start year have?

I can imagine what you might have to say if a climatologist pulled a cheap trick like that (don't worry: they wouldn't; it would never get past peer-review).

Mar 1, 2014 at 7:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterNoel Darlow


The issue is not "appeal to authority" it's the awful conceit that uninfomed, subjective opinions are just as valid as objective facts.

Mar 1, 2014 at 7:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterNoel Darlow

The start point of the 'pause' is today. We look backwards to measure its length. No cherry-picking involved. The puzzling thing is why we have to go through all the old nonsense arguments again. Many duff papers in all fields are produced under peer review. It is merely a tool, a filter. It may filter out the worthy and pass the worthless. By all means use it, but don't suggest in a lay forum that it is some sort of gold standard. That just ain't so.

Mar 1, 2014 at 7:58 AM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

Noel (7:26 AM)-
If you think that cherry-picks do not pass peer review, well -- all I can say is that I marvel at your innocence.
All sorts of crap passes peer review. Cherry picks aren't the worst problem. I'm sure that peer review filters out some outrageous stuff, and I believe that it generally improves those papers which get approved. But it is hardly perfect.

Mar 1, 2014 at 8:18 AM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

p@ dolan I too am a sceptic but with a slightly different position, I don't know if CO2 is the single nob for temperature on the world's cooker, it could be, but I suspect it's not, which isn't the same thing as knowing. However, if you take a step back and think about it that's what the climate science community are telling us they know, that the single most important element in the world's climate system is the density of CO2 in the atmosphere. Viewed through that lens it looks ludicrous (although it could be true nonetheless). I'm pretty sure, but I don't know, that in the coming centuries (hopefully a lot sooner) this, along, of course, with eugenics and Lysenkoism in the 20th century will be seen as a low in human scientific thinking by all scientists .

Mr. Darlow is, presumably, new to our blog and has come along with the baggage of knowing about sceptics simply from the MSM, or the environmental blogs. Hence he sees us as right wing, anti-science, ignoramuses and assumes that if he sides with "science" against us he is on the side of the angels, and will rout us with authority.

I phoned my daughter in Africa last night at 1930hrs her time, she couldn't speak to me because the entire household had gone to bed as you do when you've got no electricity to light your home. I am willing to be argued out of this, but to me the global warming issue is being used by the left to do what they've always done, take total control of people's lives. The left in this case ranging from mildly liberal bien pensants of the BBC etc. (who wouldn't mind seeing their opponents put in prison for their opinions, or blown up a la 10:10) the more frantic tres bien pensants of the Guardian who dislike working class people with an intensity they don't know they have, to environmentalists who are to the left of Pol Pot, and certainly couldn't give two FFs about any human being dying, with the exception of course of their own vegan grandchildren. Aided by the equally left wing clisci community who have the same spectrum of left wing thought, they have found a cause celebre that they hope will ensure the western industrial civilisation is brought to its wicked knees, and we can all get back to a time when we had to go to bed because we had no lights, or if we have the lights have run out of our energy allocation to warm our houses.

What of the scientific community in all this? Our own Richard Betts is clearly a reasonable, and indeed likeable, fellow, as is Tamsin (although not a fellow, a lass), Ed Hawkins, Rob (you're calling me names) Wilson and a host of other scientists we come into contact with or know about. So what's in their heads? I don't know, I'm assuming that they see a future where we magic abundant energy out of currently unknown renewable energy sources and life will carry on much as it is now for them, bags of funding and a cloistered university life for a full career. Which only goes to show that you can be simultaneously clever and stupid, because the only reason we have so much money for our governments, to invest in scientific activities to an extent not remotely equalled in history, is that the Western Industrialised Civilisations have enough wealth to afford to pay people, 99% of whose working time will ultimately be wasted. (That's science I'm afraid, small successes for mega energy expenditure).

It is probably inconceivable that we will get to the stage where the enviro Pol Pots get ultimate control, as is that we will ever reduce the acceleration CO2 into the atmosphere, except, of course, if the greens get their wish for a world authoritarian government, run by them, naturally. CO2 will continue to belched out because, seemingly unknown to the clisci activists(and scientists) there are billions of people out there for whom the world cannot be worse, people for whom daylight hours are the only time they can leave their homes, kids dying of vitamin A deficiency because Greens are blocking the distribution of Golden Rice, famine through the Horn of Africa, widespread hunger throughout the developing world, lack of sophisticated medicines and treatments we see as quite normal and much, much, more. (You should read Mike Hulme of UEA for a more scholarly and less emotional explanation of why the climate not changing is also a problem for some of our fellow human beings).

So to contextualise all this, why are the cliscis desperately trying to make CO2 the controlling nob for the world's temperature? The heat has disappeared from the system, or at least can't be measured, the warming has stopped, at least for the time being. Why haven't the elders of the clisci community told the young bucks to get back to the drawing board and find out what's wrong with the theory that CO2 is the ultimate nob on the cooker that is our atmosphere? Why are otherwise sensible and intelligent people like Richard Betts telling us that a paper by a scientist who spends his time trying to prove the hockeystick graph is legitimate science, has merit. When Gavin's whole raison d'etre is to keep the "CO2 is dangerous and will cause disasters" meme alive.

Would anyone say a report from say, Michael Gove, on the performance of the coalition has "some" interesting bits as though it could be anything else but an attempt to put lipstick on the pig? Yet we are regularly asked to believe that climate science by known activists, and Nerd and Rookie from the SkS blog have "scientific merit."? What is that about?

Mar 1, 2014 at 8:19 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

"First, do you think it is reasonable to cherry-pick a record-breaking El Nino year as your start point? What effect would a different start year have?"

As the IPCC had forecast continued temperature rises from 1998 onwards and there haven't been any since it is probably an excellent place to start. Or if you want we could start earlier in the Holocene Climate Optimum and prove the world's cooling?

Mar 1, 2014 at 8:27 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

"(don't worry: they wouldn't; it would never get past peer-review)."

By Golly you are new to this, aren't you.

From Jo Nova's blog.

According to Nature:

"The publishers Springer and IEEE are removing more than 120 papers from their subscription services after a French researcher discovered that the works were computer-generated nonsense.

Over the past two years, computer scientist Cyril Labbé of Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France, has catalogued computer-generated papers that made it into more than 30 published conference proceedings between 2008 and 2013. Sixteen appeared in publications by Springer, which is headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany, and more than 100 were published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), based in New York. Both publishers, which were privately informed by Labbé, say that they are now removing the papers.

One paper was called “TIC: a methodology for the construction of e-commerce”. In the abstract it claimed they “concentrate our efforts on disproving that spreadsheets can be made knowledge-based, empathic, and compact”.

The system IS the problem. Peer review is not rigorous, the incentives are all wrong, but it is given huge social and financial importance far beyond what it is capable of.“

Labbé says that the latest discovery is merely one symptom of a “spamming war started at the heart of science” in which researchers feel pressured to rush out papers to publish as much as possible.

These fakes were generated by software and so blatant that they were spotted by software too (did anybody read them?)..."

Mar 1, 2014 at 8:35 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Noel -

That's exactly right. You need to look at the big picture to see the climate trend. A glance at any global temperature graph shows a line which zig-zags wildly around the core trend. Predicting short-term variability and predicting the long-term trend are two completely different problems.
Feb 28, 2014 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered Commenter Noel Darlow

Yes, the big picture and long term trends. But the recent 'long' term trend is just the slow thaw from the Little Ice Age.

Except that the Little Ice Age was yesterday and describing the last 200 years as long term is pushing it. And it is arguable that even this welcome recovery is just the up swing of natural variation or just noise in a random walk -

Enjoy the Holocene while it lasts: Vosktok, 420kya to present.

Shub - the multi-decadal fluctuation quote was by Tommy Wills, not Phil Jones:

"What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multidecadal natural fluctuation? They'll kill us probably..." Tommy Wils, ClimateGate1 email 1682 -

For other climategate emails on the models:

This from Peter Thorne, commenting on a draft of the IPCC report seems apposite too:

"I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run." 3066.txt,

Mar 1, 2014 at 9:04 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

At least Schmidt and colleagues have nailed their colours to the mast. Add it to the file and wait for reality to respond.

Mar 1, 2014 at 9:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil and Keith's Career Trick

Glad you raised the issue of cherry picking.
If cherry picking wasn't used, the entire climate obsession you have would disappear.
If you looked at climatologically relevant times, the current cliamte is unimportant in degree, rate of change, etc.
It is not the skeptics who cherry picked, it is the AGW promoters.
It is the skeptics who have pointed out that since dangerous AGW was declared, nothing has happened.
Which is, as Trenberth, Santer, Gavin & gang, etc. a *problem* they are desperate to explain away.
And notice that none of them are saying the failure of the models is due to "cherry picking by skeptics.
Instead, they blame hiding heat, hiding volcanoes, the sun, the wind, and etc.
But you have it all figured out: The fault is skeptics and their evil cherry picking.
You don't want science. You want skeptics to be silent.

Mar 1, 2014 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Far be it for me to doubt the great Gavin, but it seems to me that one could also make the claim that in the 1990's -2000's it might have been coincidental that temperatures rose sharply at the same time CO2 was rising, as well.

Mar 1, 2014 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterChuck L

"The issue is not "appeal to authority" it's the awful conceit that uninfomed, subjective opinions are just as valid as objective facts."
Al Gore?

Mar 1, 2014 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterbullocky

That tripe is from a guy who cannot even allow that skeptics have arrived at their positions by good faith. while AGW has turned Noel into a coward, I see that he and his fellow obsessives arrived there from a place of mis-placed concern. Just as eugenicists, led by the best and brightest of the day. saw the shiny new science as "settled" and that restricting marriage, forcing sterilization, encouraging abortion, was all part of a sciencey way to reshape society. Now our same self-slected betters are going to use the weather and their obsession with CO2 to inflict the same prejudice driven crap on us.

Mar 1, 2014 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

@Noel Darlow' added The mind-boggling coincidence hypothesis:


It is no great surprise to find the process of peer-review under attack but I'm afraid you're not going to get anywhere with that. I'll personally give you Foucalt.

there has been no warming for 17+ years in the surface temperature record. There has actually been a cooling trend.

If we're going to do this I insist that you see it through and don't just ring the doorbell and run away.

First, do you think it is reasonable to cherry-pick a record-breaking El Nino year as your start point? What effect would a different start year have?

I can imagine what you might have to say if a climatologist pulled a cheap trick like that (don't worry: they wouldn't; it would never get past peer-review)."

How nice of you to "give" me Foucalt. Let's talk about cherry picking: you think that any point you pick within the existence of humankind isn't arbitrary? First of all, what is your definition of "long term"? The average global mean temperature of the earth, historically, as reconstructed by proxies and reported by Australian Geologist and author Ian Plimer in "Heaven and Earth", is 22 degrees C. Since we're running a tad cooler than that currently, any "warming" would be simply returning to the normal temperature. And convenient of your Alarmist pals to chose temps in the last few years as they have, claim the Medieval Warming or Roman Warm Period never existed, or pick dates at the end of the Little Ice Age to skew THEIR graphs' slopes, eh?

What, did you think that the 11,000 years since the last glaciation constitutes "long term"? If so, you are clueless. With regard to the earth's climate, the measurement of what has happened since the Industrial Revolution is a blip, not even a blip in time. Using that scale of time to predict what will happen in 100 years' time is like looking at a few seconds of the ticker on the London Exchange, and predicting what the price of gold will be at 10am on 1 March, 2100.

But hey, you have a nice day, hear?


I agree with you completely, that there are elements of the Left which are using this manufactured crisis to amass more power, more control. Rob Wilson isn't saying there's a crisis, just as an example from the list of scientists you mention, and was victim of a fanging by the "imminent" Michael Mann for what passes as heresy in the Alarmist camp, claiming that there is warming that is not caused by mankind.

There are two incontrovertible facts regarding the entire issue: no one knows what is going to happen next, or has a theory which adequately explains how the climate actually works that is proven to the satisfaction of anyone else; and the political class are making policies which are ruinous to the world's economy, harming the poorest people and in cases yes, killing them or at the least, destroying their lives and starving them---if I were a dictator in Africa pursuing such policies that had such a negative impact on the people of my nation, the UN would be all over me. Where is the UN or Amnesty International about all the harm done by the politicians and their chicken little policies right now?

How about you, Noel? Are all those people suffering ok with you?

Mar 1, 2014 at 5:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterp@ dolan

@Noel Darlow,

One other thing: saying that there has been cooling since 1998 is not cherry picking. That is another agitprop technique, to smear something a person says with an ugly label. It is a fact that there has been no warming since then. That date is picked for that reason only, because the models all say that the warming should have continued.

The choice of that date is specific because the Alarmists kept moving the goal posts, until Santer painted himself into a corner and said that man's "footprint" of warming would be statistically recognizable against the noise in 17 years.

Is is not, and the warming continues to be missing, as you might expect if you didn't believe that mankind was the prime driver of warming, and that natural process and variability had by far the biggest impact on climate.

THAT is the significance of the 17+ years, and the date chosen. It is the farthest thing possible from cherry picking, it is using Santer's own declaration.

But again, you go on and have a nice day.

Mar 1, 2014 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterp@ dolan

" I'll personally give you Foucalt"

Mar 1, 2014 at 10:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterbullocky

"It is no great surprise to find the process of peer-review under attack"
Phil Jones!

Mar 1, 2014 at 11:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterbullocky

Hi Noel,

Do you peer review scientific papers?

I do. Its a minimum standard for publication, nothing more.

Science progresses by published results being repeatable. By data, methods, algorithms being accessible, dissectable, reviewable and reproduced multiple times by independent parties, by scientists who hold strongly opposed views. Science progresses by the authors describing all the other ways by which there results might be explained, why they ignored certain data ("hid the decline") and so forth.

But then I am paraphrasing Feynman now. A great scientist. A great physicist. A great teacher. Who was very sceptical of climate models. Who really did share a Nobel prize for physics. Unlike some charlatans in the CliSci fantasy world.

Mar 2, 2014 at 12:02 AM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

If co-incidence explains the lack of cooling, then co-incidence also explains the warming the IPCC say cannot be explained except by AGW.

How do we know the late 20th warming, the warming that the IPCC cannot explain except by AGW, how do we know that the warming was not due to coincidence?

Mar 2, 2014 at 3:37 AM | Unregistered Commenterferdberple

When people argue that we should leave discussions of climate science entirely to the "knowledgeable" I like to ask a series of questions.

1) Should we leave the economic decisions of your country entirely to economists, even if they are "neo-liberal"?

2) Do you have any trust in academic educationalists to decide how schools shall be run?

3) Do you believe scientists who say GM crops are harmless?

4) Thinking back to when lobotomies and electro-shock treatment of schizophrenia were the accepted options, would you trust your brain without reserve to an academic psychologist?

Those questioned invariably agree that we are unwise to trust "experts" in economics, education, genetics or psychology. That leaves them somewhat flummoxed when I point out that I feel exactly the same way about climate scientists, but that in general I have more trust than they do in experts since I tend to trust the safety of GM and don't have that big a beef with economists.

Mar 2, 2014 at 3:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterMooloo

You hit nail on head.
The assertion that we have no right or role to speak on technical matters, or that our opinions don't count unless we are peer reviewed experts is bosh.
Doctors, scientists, engineers, economists are as wrong as anyone else.
Evidence that confirms to reality is what counts, not experts.
Noel's last fling at argument from authority is just a transparent attempt to silence skeptics and call names.

Mar 2, 2014 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

In the end it looks like Noel Darlow was the one who rang the doorbell and ran away. Slightly ironic given his comment to that effect implying others here would do so.

Mar 2, 2014 at 2:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

@ThinkingScientist said:

"In the end it looks like Noel Darlow was the one who rang the doorbell and ran away. Slightly ironic given his comment to that effect implying others here would do so."

He's an incipient Troll. Trolls are not born, they're indoctrinated and assimilated, sort of like the Borg, I gather (disclaimer: I have never seen an episode of any Star Trek series or episode except the original, and make this comparison based on hearsay from fans of ersatz-Star Trek...). Note how quick he was to cry, "Cherrypicker!" when his accusation proved conclusively he has no idea what that term meant? The Alarmists' zombie-supporters toss around the buzzwords but don't understand the concepts---accepting what they're told like good little acolytes. On the other hand, there are folks who follow the Skeptic camp like myself who are not scientists, make no claim to be, but have an interest intellectually, and personally (should not we all be interested in what policies our politicians pursue, when we foot the bill for them?), and we're more interested in finding out what the issues really are about than just repeating soundbites from the self-proclaimed "experts". We're not interested in book-signings with "scientist-rockstar-wannabes" like Mann, who is more interested in protecting his image than he is in discovering the actual science behind what is actually going on.

Witness ZBD claiming that there were 8 panels who all found no wrong-doing, or whatever his claim was, after Climategate. Sure. Just like the Politburo in the Soviet Union found all those people needed to go to the gulag, or Pol Pot found that all those intellectuals had to be killed to stop them spreading subversive, anti-revolutionary ideas. Just like Ernst Rutherford, with the unparalleled achievement of mentoring 9 Nobel Laureates in Physics (his own, to his vast amusement, was in Chemistry for "splitting the atom") as the Director of The Cavendish after J.J Thompson, was TOTALLY WRONG when he said that the notion of using the splitting of the atom for power was "moonshine". So it's totally inconceivable, sure, that panels selected by politicians who supported the AGW meme that Phil Jones was trumpeting would go soft and not look very hard and then use a lot of weasel-words to be able to conclude a panel without finding anyone responsible for anything and then congratulate themselves on a job well done. For anyone reading Steve MacIntyre's blog,, you can see that most of the boards' results did not say exactly what many of the Alarmists' zombies have been prating, and many contradicted earlier ones, and nearly all steered clear of controversial subjects. I can almost sypathize, trying to put myself into their shoes: if they went the hard road, they'd've likely had to find that Phil Jones and others who weren't even subject to the law because they were on the other side of the pond, did indeed violate FOI laws. Then what? I imagine many felt that Phil Jones had already suffered enough: his reputation was in tatters, no matter what the finding. It was clear that, innocent of manipulating the data or not, he was certainly complicit in trying to abuse the peer-review process to prevent certain findings from being reported.

Science is not well served by hiding anyone's findings. They'll stand or fall on their own merits, and true science lets everyone get their moment of scrutiny.

Jones et al were guilty of venality. They were petty, puerile, and egotistical---fighting not to discover the truth, but to protect their own image, as bound up in the theories they had put forward.

THAT was the subtext and finding of nearly EVERY board, and of the public at large. Regardless the veracity of their own theories, they disgraced the scientific community with their manipulations and prejudice against people who didn't believe as they did, who dared report findings that disagreed with their own. It was THEY who made climate research an "us against them" branch of politics and not science.

And that is likely to be the only thing for which history remembers---and condemns---them.

So let Noel et al spout all the nonsense they wish. They have no real arguments, you'll note: they just keep accusing skeptics of denying the truth. They have no counters to facts, like the surface temperature record, the geological record (I really do recommend Ian Plimer's opus, "Heaven and Earth", and for the political side, though it's getting a bit dated unless he's revised it again, Ian Wishart's, "Air Con" which gets to the heart of the politicization of the science...the Antipodeans ROCK!), actual physics, geology, etc. "The Sea Swallowed My Warming!" seems to be the latest excuse for the "hiatus", which is another euphemism: there is no "hiatus". Climate is doing what it has always done: following the laws of physics in its own random, chaotic way. It was going up, now it's going down, it'll go up again, and the average, taken over 4.5 billion years, will be around 22 degrees C.

And what all these Alarmists have failed to admit or even discuss, is the fact that in every past period of warming during human existence, the warming has been a benefit to mankind.

Fact 1: There was a Little Ice Age, and it was much colder than it is now, thus QED, it has warmed.
Fact 2: The Earth's average temperature over the span of it's existence has been calculated from proxies to be approximately 22 degrees C, which is several degrees warmer than we are now, thus we can expect it to get warmer still, whether mankind exists or not
Fact 3: Previous warming has been beneficial to mankind

Taken together, it tells me that all the Alarmists prattling on about floods, famine, and cataclysms of biblical proportions are fools, because it's about to rain soup, and they're all building sieves, not bowls.

But hey, to each his own.

Oh, and to answer a question above, about Leon Foucault (Noel didn't even spell his name correctly), was the first in modern history (perhaps the first period, but if anyone else had, we have no record of it) to prove that the earth rotates. Scientists were aware of this fact from external effects, i.e., night and day, but had no direct proof, which was a minor frustration, but became a sort of competition among the best and brightest minds of the day. Along comes this nobody who proves it with a pendulum. This annoyed the self-acknowledged "best and brightest" no end, so at first they attacked his proof, but when others repeated it and declared it true, they then attacked him, claiming he was just lucky, not a true scientist, that he didn't really understand what he'd done, and that they, the "best and brightest" would demonstrate the mathematical proofs, and thus still be the ones who truly "proved" that the earth rotates.

M. Foucault embarrassed them again, when they failed to come up with a proof, by providing a very elegant proof himself, proving mathematically how his pendulum worked, how it would behave at any latitude, and proving that yes, he really DID know what he was doing, even though he wasn't rubbing elbows with the "best and brightest" at the Polytechnique.

One of many examples of a person who was not considered---especially by those who considered themselves to be---a scientist making a remarkable contribution to science. And of course, being attacked for embarrassing the Establishment Scientists.

History is replete with examples of how a hierarchy of established "experts" grows reactionary, jealous of their position and self-acknowledged eminence, until they are ignominiously dethroned by some young upstart who has an uphill battle proving his/her theory against the reactionary attacks of the Established Scientists. Note that the "ignominious dethroning" would be neither if the "Established Scientists" were ACTUAL scientists, and more interested in discovery than their own egos.

I simply prefer to use Leon Foucault as the best example of a scientific David vs Goliath because his story tickles me: he really, really annoyed those gruntlemen, and really really put them in their place, and has earned his own place in history.

Cheers, all!

Mar 2, 2014 at 6:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterp@ dolan

An amazingly good essay, by the way.

Mar 3, 2014 at 4:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter


As an admirer of your own posts, sir, I'm honored my humble efforts rate!

Mar 3, 2014 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterp@ dolan

Paging Mr. Occam...

Mar 3, 2014 at 8:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterjasmine

No mention then of the coincidence of the solar magnetic field increasing around 2000, which would have brought the 1980-2000 cosmic radiation induced warming period to an end?

Feb 23, 2015 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve


Jul 30, 2015 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterBeth Cooper

All you have to do is turn the graphs upside down and you will see that there really is substantial warming and that the IPCC actually underestimated the dangers.

Jan 10, 2016 at 6:53 AM | Unregistered Commenternicholas tesdorf

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