A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



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The loooooong road to regaining trust?

POSTNOTE (2011): In hindsight, this was probably a critical moment for Judith Curry, known henceforth as a Judith-Curry-moment). She has gone on to set up an excellent blog [Climate etc], where you can see many details of climate science debated openly with insight and honesty.


Just in case anyone out there has missed it, there is one of those landmark posts on Watts Up this weekend. Judith Curry tried to explain how Climate Scientists need to rebuild trust, and made the mistake of using the “Denier” insult (even though she thinks of it as just a label, rather than a perjorative term). She is still trying to blame poor communication or poor strategies to explain why Climate Science is looking so shonky at the moment. Then Willis Eschenbach diplomatically fries that idea, and points out that the only way to regain trust is not to look like honest scientists but to be honest scientists: to disavow the bad practices and disown the people who have failed science so badly.

Judith Curry responds graciously

To her credit she is engaging skeptics, and she points out in the comments to Willis’ post that:

… by staking this [...]

If carbon didn’t warm us, what did?

Svensmarks Cosmic Ray Theory. TOP: If the sun’s magnetic field is weak it allows more cosmic rays, which may seed more clouds on Earth. BOTTOM: A strong solar magnetic field blocks the same rays and could mean less clouds and clearer skies.

People have known for 200 years that there’s some link between sunspots and our climate. In 1800, the astronomer William Herschel didn’t need a climate model, he didn’t even have a calculator — yet he could see that wheat prices rose and fell in time with the sunspot cycle. Since then, people have noticed that rainfall patterns are also linked to sunspots.

Sunspots themselves don’t make much difference to us, but they are a sign of how weak or strong the sun’s magnetic field is. This massive solar magnetic field reaches out around the Earth, and it shields us from cosmic rays. Dr Henrik Svensmark has suggested that if more cosmic rays reach further down into our atmosphere, they might ionize molecules and help “seed” more clouds. As it happens, this year, the sun has almost no sunspots, but for much of the late 20th Century, the solar magnetic field was extremely active. If the theory is [...]

Skeptics Handbook permeates Copenhagen

Part II of Climate Change Gone Dutch. This is one of the best advertisements I’ve seen yet for The Skeptics Handbook. Seeing footage like this gives me a warm glow. Thanks atomkerman. Priceless!

It’s 5 minutes and the fun starts at 2:00 mins. (Cue ominous soundtrack). Introducing… the dreaded skeptic — a faceless trench coated “mafia” man who surreptitiously leaves a copy of The Skeptics Handbook on the table for … (gasp)… anyone to read. How dangerous. Friends of the baseless theory do what they always do, try to hide the graphs from public view. But the insidious copies are out there… people are reading them… the clock ticks.


The global gullibles shift to high gear smear

It’s tough when you can’t talk evidence, and the topic is science. What’s left is just the Stone Age mud-throwing campaign.

There’s a Matrix-moment coming for Clive Hamilton. Skeptics are now the grassroots activists against Big Money and Big Lies, fighting for the poor and the environment. He’s doing his damnedest to suppress community participation, promote intolerance, and effectively fight for banker profits, corrupt scientists, and plundering bureaucrats.

The AGW camp has on its side all the authority positions in climate science (you don’t get appointed unless you believe), all the climate and science journals, all the government and university funding, the computer models, the Nobel prizes, the Western governments, all the propaganda money can buy, the Greens, the politically correct, the UN, and all the mainstream media (at least, until recently). And the skeptics have…evidence, logic, retired scientists, and donations to blogs. Clive imagines he is speaking truth to power.

Since he can’t win on the science, he tries to bully instead (ironically while whining about…bullies). He peddles easily refutable lies, using unverifiable words from anonymous entities. Twice, Hamilton even contradicts himself, probably because he knows he’s making defamatory claims he can’t back up.

Hamilton realizes [...]

GISS goulash at Gladstone

Gladstone is half way up the coast of Queensland, and though GISS (the Goddard Institute of Space Studies) can claim it has not “adjusted” the data, it appears to have cherry picked it.

Thanks to Ken Stewart for his detailed attention. The information here and graphs come from his blog.

Here’s how you double the warming trend without “adjusting” the data.

Start with several different records The oldest is the BOM (Bureau of Met) Post Office. The highest is the BOM radar, which stepwise jumps up a whole degree. The last is the BOM Airport, which confirms that the Radar for some reason is 1 degree higher than the rest.


Lambert’s Pinker-tape “ambush”: PR stunt

Lambert has claimed a major win over his use of a voice recording (Monckton’s McLuhan Moment). As usual, it all sounds incredibly clear cut and impressive until the bluff gets hit with a 5 minute test…

The bottom line? The infamous “Pinker tape” turns out to be a reenacted piece of cherry-picking exaggeration, where lines are taken out of context to imply something important, or to frame it as if it was significant.

It’s true Monckton did get Pinker’s sex wrong (golly), and there was a point about fluxes being at the surface vs top of the atmosphere, but nothing Pinker or Lambert said makes much difference to the point that matters: climate sensitivity. (When the top of atmosphere problem emerged, Monckton recalculated the climate sensitivity on the spot; it changed from “very low” to “even lower”.) Pinker herself acknowledges that Monckton’s approach is reasonable.

Monckton has over the years pointed to many reasons why climate sensitivity is low. The Pinker paper is just another one of these corroborating pieces (and it looks a doozy). Using satellite measurements, Pinker shows that more sunlight is reaching the surface of the Earth (possibly due to fewer clouds over the ocean). Over the [...]