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Discussion > Murry Salby: Relationship Between Greenhouse Gases and Global Temperature

Judging the quality of a table is within everyday experience of most people. Judging a scientific explanation is not. To understand Salby's lecture, good maths and quite high scientific literacy are needed. To spot errors in his reasoning and logic (or that of SkS), a much deeper understanding is necessary. Without the necessary skills, the Dunning Kruger effect beckons.

You didn't confirm that your distaste for attacks on Mann and Jones matches your outrage at attacks on Salby.

Jul 22, 2013 at 3:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterMissy

You mean the effect described by the winners of the 2000 Ig Nobel Prize?

Jul 22, 2013 at 3:44 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Ross Lea
No, not at all. I think it had pretty well petered out. I thought your remarks were appropriate, anyway.

I had been hoping that Missy would help me out.

Both Gavin Cawley's (SkS poster) paper and his mass balance argument both seem to be incompatible with Salby's results for CO2 emission. The SkS paper/arguments seem ok until I try to look at them very closely, at which point they go out of focus for me. Perhaps playing with some downloaded data will make it clearer to me whether both, one or other, or neither are correct.

Jul 22, 2013 at 3:47 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A


Your solicitude for the delicate sensibilities of Phil Jones and Michael Mann is duly noted.

In no case have I seen "personal" criticisms of Jones and Mann based upon trolling through family/divorce or employment records as a pretext for avoiding confrontation with the SUBSTANCE of their scientific work.

In all cases of which I am aware, criticisms of Jones/Mann center upon their scientific output and how they have developed, presented, defended, and/or not properly SUBSTANTIATED that work.

In the case of Salby, some people (as in the excremental DeSmog Blog) wish to block or distract from the discussion of his scientific work by focusing upon his possible "personal" issues. While I do not say that considerations of character are irrelevant to judging someone's credibility in general, whether Salby had issues with employers or NSF, ex-wife, etc. has exactly nothing to do with the potential accuracy of the ideas and equations he has presented in his last few lectures.

Jul 22, 2013 at 4:34 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

In all cases of which I am aware, criticisms of Jones/Mann center upon their scientific output and how they have developed, presented, defended, and/or not properly SUBSTANTIATED that work.

I think there has also been criticism of their behaviour with respect to reviewing of papers for publication and making life difficult for authors/editors publishing stuff they did not agree with. In view of their role as leading IPCC authors, such criticisms are also legitimate.

I have never seen anyone refer to details of Mann's divorce proceedings, let alone publish or provide pointers to court papers.

Jul 22, 2013 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered Commentersplitpin

Martin, as I said, I am not competent to help. But there are several here who consider Salby's work ground-breaking. It is probable therefore that they have analysed Salby's maths and confirmed its accuracy, have gone through the process of analysing the SkS and other arguments and have found the logical flaws that you seek. That is what a sceptic would do to overthrow an accepted science, isn't it? I am surprised that they have not chipped in to help.

Regarding Salby's legal history, people should not be so pious. It is impossible to imagine, given the intensity of feeling towards Mann and Jones exhibited on various blogs, that if there had been any dirt to dig up on the two it would not have been front page news and the center of any discussion of the pair for weeks, months or years on Bishop Hill, WUWT etc. The fact that there hasn't been such discussion is probably because there is nothing to find, not because you all felt it was somehow off limits.

Jul 22, 2013 at 8:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterMissy

I have visited Bishop Hill for many years and seen many many trolls come and go but I have never seen such an obnoxious troll as Missy.
Why don't you stop rubbishing everyone else and start giving us your opinions Missy?

Jul 22, 2013 at 8:16 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Shift goal posts much, Missy?

I did not say that anything negative about someone's character would be "off limits" in terms of judging someone's character..... I simply said that it would not be relevant to judging the scientific content of the work. A great scientist might kick puppies and a bad scientist might be devoted to animal rescue in spare time. Sound scientific work might come out of a good or bad person, or many shades of grey in between. Bad scientific work or simply an unsuccessful (though well tested) hypothesis could come from the most saintly climate scientist.

Of course there are intimate links between integrity, judgment, reliability, honesty, etc. and what we term overall "character" -- but scientific output is what it is in terms of data and methods, whether or not the person who provided it is exemplary in all other ways.

Jul 22, 2013 at 8:51 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Salby _invited_ scrutiny with public accusations against his university. His version of events then became ever less credible the more that was learnt of him. And revelations about his private life are not distracting attention from his scientific theories as you suggest. His theory has received plenty of attention, including unconditional applause from some of you and derision from some scientists.

Dung, I am rubbishing nobody, just asking you and others to justify your faith in a theory that has no scientific support. If you lack the knowledge to understand Salby's ideas or to find holes in the consensus counter arguments, then you are supporting the theory just because you'd like it to be true. Don't pretend 'scepticism'.

Jul 23, 2013 at 12:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterMissy


just asking you and others to justify your faith in a theory that has no scientific support.

Why don't you tell us the theory that you support Missy? Do you actually support any theories or do you just get your kicks from picking holes in other people's opinions?

Jul 23, 2013 at 12:57 AM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung, I am rubbishing nobody, just asking you and others to justify your faith in a theory that has no scientific support.

Salby's work will either be verified or shown to be erroneous when others reproduce it or extend it. Theories of atmospheric physics don't depend on "scientific support" to decide whether they are valid or not.

Some bits of Salby's work I have been able to reproduce without difficulty using downloaded temperature and CO2 data. So far we have just a couple of videoed talks he has given, so it's too early to expect others to have reproduced his results entirely.

I have given talks on my own work in the past, outlining methods and conclusions of forthcoming results in papers due to be published in due course. But even given my description of the new methods I'd devised, it would have been very difficult for anyone to reproduce my work without the detailed information conveyed in a paper.

So, for the time being we'll have to wait patiently either for the publication of Salby's work, or for others to reproduce it from the outlines given in his talks. However, everything he presented seems inhernently capable of being confirmed (or otherwise).

Despite the sophistication of the maths he used, his computations are all pretty straightforward and based on processing observed data. They do not depend on, for example, unverifiable concepts such as "radiative forcing" or large-scale models incapable of being validated - things that mean that (for me) it is doubtful whether the term "science" should even be used for what the Met Office et al get up to.

Jul 23, 2013 at 9:54 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Dung wants my opinion. Which theory do I support? Well the question is the cause of the rise in CO2 and there are two options, the consensus (it's anthropogenic) and Salby. It seems unnecessary to spell it out, but if I must, I favour the consensus.


- I asked people to justify their faith in a theory that has no scientific support.

and you reply that

- Theories of atmospheric physics don't depend on "scientific support" to decide whether they are valid or not.

Do you really think I said that scientific support is necessary to determine whether Salby's theory is valid or not? I think your English is better than that. These two are quite different.

Salby's theory might or might not be valid. I cannot judge, and though you seem to be the most mathematically and scientifically capable here, I think neither can you. Unless I misjudged other posters, this means that they have faith in a theory they don't understand. There is nothing wrong with that per se. I can believe theories that I don't understand because I know that, of the people who do understand, all believe them to be true. In other words the theories have scientific support (even though they might be wrong). However if people believe Salby without understanding and verifying, they are on their own (except for Salby presumably). Salby might be right of course but people are just displaying faith, not making a rational choice in believing him over the view that the rise in CO2 has an anthropogenic cause. Hence my desire for them to justify that faith.

My earlier question asking people to justify their faith in temperature and CO2 records from several hundred thousand year old ice cores in contrast to their dismissal of any analysis of the last few millennia using similar techniques (or of thermometers) remains unanswered, so I will not hold my breath for an answer to this question.

Jul 23, 2013 at 8:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterMissy

Dear devious little Missy

Which consensus would it be that you support?
Would it be the one where scientists were asked if man contributed to global warming? If so then most people on this blog would support you (not me). There is no scientific consensus that anthropogenic CO2 is causing the warming because that question was never asked. So Missy, what exactly do you believe?
Do tell.
If you want people to answer your questions then you need to start answering our questions, fair is fair and all that..

Jul 23, 2013 at 8:54 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Mr Dung, I answered you in the first paragraph of my 8:27PM post. I identified the question and gave my answer. I don't know how much clearer I can make it for you.

On there being no consensus, that is silly. There is clearly agreement amongst climate scientists that the rise in atmospheric CO2 has an anthropogenic source (why would Salby's theory be 'ground-breaking' - or whatever the term was - if not). A similarly overwhelming majority will agree that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and will agree what that means. And they will also agree that increasing concentrations of CO2 will change the equilibrium state of the planet towards warming. They will probably not agree exactly to what extent the planet will warm and how fast as a result of the changing CO2 level.

Jul 23, 2013 at 11:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterMissy


You are very slippery and evasive, The consensus of 96%/97% of climate scientists who believe in AGW was based ONLY on the question of whether they believed that humans CONTRIBUTED to global warming, not whether humans were the primary cause of global warming. Now if you are not happy with that then go read the details of Cooks poll.
Are you aware of the logarithmic relationship between CO2 and temperature and if so at what level of CO2 ppm do you think CO2 ceases to have any effect? Should you not be aware of this relationship then go read the IPCC reports because it is verified in there.

Jul 24, 2013 at 1:59 AM | Registered CommenterDung

"And they will also agree that increasing concentrations of CO2 will change the equilibrium state of the planet towards warming."

Anybody know what that means?

Dungy you're wasting your keystrokes with someone who believes that "nullius in verba" is nonsense, and can't do hard sums.

Rhoda was right.

Jul 24, 2013 at 6:46 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Theory: The CO2 added to the global atmosphere is the MAIN cause of the increase in global temperatures.
Test empirical measurement of global temperatures show that no rise has occurred for 17 + years whilst the CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere continue to rise. Therefore the human increase in CO2 in the atmosphere cannot be the MAIN or any significant drive of global temperature increase. Theory FAILLS by empirical measurement.

Jul 24, 2013 at 9:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoss Lea

Mr Dung, you answer what you would prefer had been said rather than what was actually said. I made no mention of polls or percentages or even of 'main' causes (Ross Lea). Read again what I said at 11:40 last night, it was circumscribed and clear. If you or the one who yawns are challenged by the meaning of that post, you have no chance of understanding Salby.

So please explain your faith.

Jul 24, 2013 at 12:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterMissy


The only Consensus that can be "verified" is the one that has been recorded based on a poll of climate scientists which produced a 97% consensus than man is contributing to global warming (or was when it was happening).
Any other consensus is speculation and unverifiable.

Jul 24, 2013 at 3:50 PM | Registered CommenterDung

I do not have a “faith” I leave that to others. I have an opinion based on empirical evidence. Currently I have read TAXING AIR by Prof. Bob Carter et al. He lists not just one but six empirical test that the current theory of MGW has failed. What is the empirical evidence on which you base your faith that man-made emissions of CO2 are the principle driver of Global Warming. ?

Jul 24, 2013 at 4:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoss Lea

Mr D, the facts I listed at 11:40PM (Ross Lea, they are sufficient) are so basic that they would probably gain the support of most readers of this blog, let alone that of climate scientists.

Jul 24, 2013 at 6:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterMissy


Bishop Hill is a strange choice of blog for someone who has no intention of giving a straight answer to a straight question.
In addition I do not see hordes of Bishop Hill readers rushing to support your Oh so basic facts, did I miss something?

Jul 24, 2013 at 10:13 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Mr D, as far as I'm aware I have answered your questions.

Why would readers bother to support me? I stated some basic science, understood for many years, which few would be silly enough to reject. But I understand there are various anti-science blogs where your kind of thinking is de rigueur ( seems to be an example of such), so maybe you would be happier there.

Jul 25, 2013 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterMissy

"But I understand there are various anti-science blogs where your kind of thinking is de rigueur ( seems to be an example of such)..."

Missy is the thieving fraudster, much lauded in the alarmist community, Peter Gleick and I claim my £5.00.

Jul 25, 2013 at 3:09 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo


When one person poses a question to another, the questioner is the one who decides whether it has been answered satisfactorily, fail.

Jul 25, 2013 at 3:42 PM | Registered CommenterDung