New essay from Dr. David Evans and SPPI

This has just been released today, and it carries on the cover a well known USHCN station photograph. You’ll probably recognize a number of the surfacestations.org photos in it.

Unfortunately, I was not given the chance to review this essay before it was published. 

There are things I agree with and disagree with in this essay. Regarding the title, I tend to take the view of Never attribute malice to that which can be explained by simple incompetence.

In addition to what I plan to bring to Dr. Evan’s attention I hope that WUWT readers can provide a review of some of the other content.

Here’s the link for download:

For the Full Report in PDF Form, please click here.

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80 Responses to New essay from Dr. David Evans and SPPI

  1. Kev-in-UK says:

    After a quick read, my biggest beef is the constant referral to cheating and misrepresentation – which may well be true – but this is not the way reputable scientists conduct themselves. There’s no point in name calling – the scientific way is by proper and impartial scientific explanation with sound data and sound reasoning and any explanation, whether by the SPPI or anyone else should follow such guidelines.

  2. Craig says:

    It would be difficult to explain everything by simple incompetence alone.

  3. Curiousgeorge says:

    I don’t know how much political clout SPPI has, but probably not as much as those invested in the global warming scam. And that’s what counts, not whether or not a thermometer is located next to a blast furnace. It’s too bad, but until the “science” fits the political agenda, or becomes too widely known to be ignored by the media, these kinds of expose’s do nada. It’s probably all moot anyway, since my take on the situation is that the world is going to hell in handbasket no matter what.

  4. Dr T G Watkins says:

    I read the various parts as published on Jo Nova’s site.
    I can understand criticisms, Anthony,but remember this is aimed at politicians and the uninformed (sorry, tautologous).
    Corrupt versus incompetent? I can accept incompetence in the initial data compilations and theories, but continuing to support the idea with fudging of data, concealing data and codes and the refusal to debate in an open forum with dissenting experts does stretch my kinder, sympathetic instincts.
    I suspect many involved in promoting AGWH are nice, honest people BUT and that is a big but! Maybe I’ve been reading to many books and too many physics papers that I struggle to understand :)

  5. Fred says:

    Given what has happened, both stupidity and malice seem to have been used by the global warming establishment in alarming quantities.

  6. BS Footprint says:

    Yes, it would be best to assume simple, non-malicious explanations.

    Should the climategate email “dark alley” comment be attributable to incompetence?

  7. Rob R says:

    Evans may be wrong on some specifics and may be too quick to call errors and omission as cheating, but in the end he does not dispute the underlying theory that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and will cause some warming. So it appears he is a frustrated luke-warmer. This is also suggested by a number of other articles he has written.

    So the question is whether he has the science right or whether he does not. As with so much in climate-science only time will tell. Anyone looking at this new article would be well advised to put “motive and blame” filters over their reading glasses.

  8. Tom in Texas says:

    Haven’t yet read the 40+ pages (just the ToC and conclusions), but did notice that each photograph is properly credited.

  9. ZT says:

    As the question ‘corruption?’ is phrased as a question, this seems absolutely fine to me – and looks to be a well written summary. The question needs to be asked.

    The establishment needs to explain itself – why have the scientific method, truth, and honesty been turned upside down in support of this cause?

  10. meemoe_uk says:

    “Never attribute malice to that which can be explained by simple incompetence.”
    Of course. But imcompetence has been ruled out time and again, over and over.

    Anyone who thinks this rule can suggest the AGW movement is based on a unforntunate series of mistakes, didn’t understand compound probabilty at school.

    Malice it is.

  11. jeef says:

    If the SPPI is the ‘dirty tricks’ arm of the climate realist movement then they’re fully justified in doing what they’ve done. I thought they were a bit more than that though.

  12. John Peter says:

    I particularly noted the part relating to the missing 0.6C hot spot. I think that a certain Kevin Trenberth is still looking for that somewhere. I believe in the oceans now that they could not find it above the water line. What about the missing Argos information? I think it unacceptable that this is not being made available. Dr Evans seems to be a bit of a fan of Dr Roy Spencer and his clouds negative feedback theory. I must admit that I think Dr Spencer is on to something. An interesting paper touching on interesting and important issues.

  13. Vuk etc. says:

    AGW is an ideology. It is offten a case that the strongest proponents and leaders of an ideology are usually the one who best understand its shortcomings, but they take biggest advantage and benefits of what it offers. Others just follow, perfectly natural behaviour as exercised by flock of birds or shoal of fish; Darwinism in action.

  14. Golf Charley says:

    Perhaps the crack Phd Climate Scientists from AGU might care to demonstrate their skills by writing a scientific critique of this paper, as well as An Inconvenient Truth.

    The public deserve to know. After all we have been paying the scientists wages

  15. Carl Chapman says:

    Anthony, you’re too nice a guy.

    This scam was to make billions for scoundrels, while keeping the developing world in poverty, and enslaving the first world. How much power would the warmists have if they control every activity that produces CO2. Already the dictators are talking about ration cards.

    I think it needs nice guys like you though. Otherwise, sceptics could look lie the AGU, advocating instead of investigating.

  16. Lady Life Grows says:

    Craig says:
    November 8, 2010 at 3:33 pm
    It would be difficult to explain everything by simple incompetence alone.

    The actual article describes it not as simple incompetence but the INEVITABLE result of government-only funding which created a sort of incestuous environment. Anybody who disagreed was tossed.

    “Cheating” is a bit strong for that phenomenon, but it is in the correct direction, and gets a major point across to a shallow-thinking public.

    And it matters. One reason we know CO2 IS up is because of the greening of the Sahel and worldwide increased crops. This is a starve-or-feast difference and the alarmists are on the wrong side of the equation.

    Likewise, both warming and carbon dioxside increase biodiversity.

    It appears the next big “cause” for young idealists will be biodiversity. This gives us an opportunity to promote truth about climate science. There is no need to panic about biodiversity, as the biosphere is a kaeidoscope continuously evolving new forms. But there IS opportunity and fascination and wonder and we can learn positive ways not merely to protect biodiversity, but actually to increase it.

  17. Lady Life Grows says:

    oops carbon dioxide

  18. Dr. Dave says:

    I read this VERY early this morning. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is written at a level a member of Congress can understand. He sort of leaves the reader with a gloomy, “there’s nothing that can be done” tone at the end. How many of us have not already reached the conclusions Evans perhaps not so delicately describes? Perhaps it didn’t smack of “scientific integrity” and dispassionate objectivity, but you gotta admit…he’s right (and you know it).

    There’s really not a whole of text in this PDF. A lot of it is photos, charts, graphs and references at the end. After to read this read Roy Spencer’s latest post at his site:

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/

  19. Mark Wagner says:

    incompetence is usually self-correcting in a Darwinian sort of way (law of natural consequences).

    to deftly sidestep natural consequences, as documented by the repeated avoidance of providing evidence, source data, FOI requests, etc. requires intent.

    this intent = corruption.

  20. Barbee says:

    Several persons here seem to take exception to the term: cheating.
    Is this another example of our PC society run amok or do those commenters honestly believe the scientists in question are just poor ignorant boobs?

    I believe a liar is a liar, a cheat is a cheat and a thief is a thief. (Trust me-that young man whole stole my car was not confused about the chain of ownership.)
    The problem will persist until we lose our fear of facing facts. ‘Pretending’ a problem does not exist does not make it go away. Nor does exaggerating-or minimizing it.

    Sigh~lately, it seems the muck is so deep that no one knows the truth anymore.

  21. Doug Proctor says:

    Unfortunately this SPPI paper is a “rant”, not a reasoned response. Written simply without the ideological righteous indignation, it would have been worthy of recommending to a warmist. It is not worthy of that. Preaching to the choir is what Gore et al do. It is a shame that the SPPI has done this with a simple summary of the problems with the science behind CAGW.

  22. Rod Grant says:

    Dr T G Watkins; “but remember this is aimed at politicians and the uninformed (sorry, tautologous)” – A nice line doc.
    But once I thought about it, I decided that politicians are informed!
    They are informed by party hacks, by opinion polls, and by advisers who tell them 1/ what they want to hear, 2/ what aligns with party policy, 3/ what will pave the way for their own prospects, 4/ according to their own biases and prejudices, and 5/ limited by their own lack of understanding.
    So they are well informed, but I’m not sure from where they are informed of hard facts.
    The US Republicans seem to have taken a bit of notice of public opinion and in this case it might prove useful, although time will tell.

  23. Pleione says:

    “It’s the irresistible force of human affairs”

    This description of AGW is near perfect: no explicit malice or
    incompetence … just the human way of doing most things … except science !!

    The problem with AGW is that it was moved out of the science-only
    domain long ago and now it’s just another ‘human affair’. It should be brought
    back, if possible, to the science-only domain.

    A very well written essay.

    Anthony’s work on surface stations is pure gold and the key to start ‘decoding’
    the rest of the AGW monster.

  24. Bryn says:

    “Paul” at CA posted today a link, http://climateaudit.org/2010/11/08/alderheimers/#comment-245164, to a Swedish TV-on-demand film covering Climategate. It has a number of images of Dr Phil Jones looking all forlorn, rather like Gollum in the Lord of the Rings. Large contributions to the film by Mann, Oreskes and Schneider are complaints at the politicisation of climate science. They brought it upon themselves, so should the realists, such as David Evans, use their own weapons against them?

  25. Eric Dailey says:

    Anthony, I for one would like to know just why you will overlook malice whenever you can show simple incompetence?

    REPLY: Because I’ve met some of the players. Incompetence rules supreme in government jobs. – Anthony

  26. Dave Springer says:

    Incompetent by intent or convenience or perhaps even by sloth would be the kindest way to put it. Kind of hard to assign this to just plain old stupidity when there are so many with advanced degrees who would have to be stupid to the last man.

    The plain fact of the matter is that the ground temperature network was never designed for the kind of accuracy and precision needed to establish temperature trends of tenths of degrees per century all over the globe. Pretending it can be co-opted for that purpose IS stupid and/or dishonest.

  27. Caleb says:

    Question: “Is the Western Climate Establishment Corrupt?”

    Answer: “Yes.”

    I don’t need to read the blasted essay. It’s just more of the same. I’m tired of reading essay after essay after essay which states what was glaringly obvious from day one.

    Look, Anthony: If you are really honest with yourself you have to admit something set off alarms in your psyche, and motivated you to start “checking up on” these blithering Bozos. Something did not seem right.

    Now ask yourself the simple question, “what is the opposite of right?” Indeed, the answer is “wrong.”

    If it were a matter of simple incompitance, these fellows would welcome being shown they were making a mistake. It is tantimount to being about to hit your thumb with a hammer, and being advised against swinging the hammer downwards. Even if we took offence at being told we were “wrong,” (due to the haughty nature of the human ego,) the very fact we could look ahead and imagine the pain of turning our thumb a horrible shade of blue with a hammer would turn our “taking-offence” into “gratitude.”

    Now I ask you, Anthony, how much gratitude have you recieved from these fellows?

    The fact they are not grateful, when people such as yourself gently and Oh so politely try to point out their wrongs, and instead they totally trash people such as yourself, seems to indicate they are absolutely determined to hammer their thumbs.

    This is something beyond incompetance. It involves something less than likable, which is another “wrong” which needs to be “righted.”

    When you use the word, “incompitance,” Anthoney, you should be aware it refers to the adjective “incompetant,” and that an adjective requires a noun. What is the noun?

    If the noun is “scientist,” there is no harm in incompetance, because the noun “scientist” means you are a person who loves truth. An incompetant scientist will not mind having his incompetance pointed out, for it means he will see truth, which he loves, all the more clearly.

    However these fellows most definately dislike having their incompetance pointed out, and will take steps which muddle the truth, to a degree where it is blatantly obvious truth doesn’t matter to them. And the word for this state of mind is “corrupt.”

    To call them “corrupt scientists” is an oximoron, like “near miss.” No true scientist can be corrupt. Therefore they must be described with a different noun.

  28. Caleb says:

    (Please delete previous comment and use this spell-checked version)

    Question: “Is the Western Climate Establishment Corrupt?”

    Answer: “Yes.”

    I don’t need to read the blasted essay. It’s just more of the same. I’m tired of reading essay after essay after essay which states what was glaringly obvious from day one.

    Look, Anthony: If you are really honest with yourself you have to admit something set off alarms in your psyche, and motivated you to start “checking up on” these blithering Bozos. Something did not seem right.

    Now ask yourself the simple question, “what is the opposite of right?” Indeed, the answer is “wrong.”

    If it were a matter of simple incompetence, these fellows would welcome being shown they were making a mistake. It is tantamount to being about to hit your thumb with a hammer, and being advised against swinging the hammer downwards. Even if we took offence at being told we were “wrong,” (due to the haughty nature of the human ego,) the very fact we could look ahead and imagine the pain of turning our thumb a horrible shade of blue with a hammer would turn our “taking-offence” into “gratitude.”

    Now I ask you, Anthony, how much gratitude have you received from these fellows?

    The fact they are not grateful, when people gently and Oh so politely try to point out their wrongs, and instead totally trash people such as yourself, seems to indicate they are absolutely determined to hammer their thumbs.

    This is something beyond incompetence. It involves something less than likable, which is another “wrong” which needs to be “righted.”

    When you use the word, “incompetence,” Anthony, you should be aware it refers to the adjective “incompetence,” and that an adjective requires a noun. What is the noun?

    If the noun is “scientist,” there is no harm in incompetence, because the noun “scientist” means you are a person who loves truth. An incompetent scientist will not mind having his incompetence pointed out, for it means he will see truth, which he loves, all the more clearly.

    However these fellows most definitely dislike having their incompetence pointed out, and will take steps which muddle the truth, to a degree where it is blatantly obvious truth doesn’t matter to them. And the word for this state of mind is “corrupt.”

    To call them “corrupt scientists” is an oxymoron, like “near miss.” No true scientist can be corrupt. Therefore they must be described with a different noun.

  29. ginckgo says:

    “The public may not understand the science but they do understand cheating”

    But if you don’t understand the science, how can you differentiate between valid scientic methods and cheating? So many areas of science are under attack because the methods are not understood and the conclusions conflict with people’s perception of reality (be it in medicine or evolution or climate research). One thing I’ve learned with science is that the much lauded common sense if very often incompatible with the results of the scientific method.

  30. BFL says:

    I am on the side of those that think playing nice with these folk has gone on too long. Dr. Evans puts the salient points together succinctly and with candor (which is in short supply in this era of political correctness). Hopefully this will receive enough widespread attention to result in needed policy changes, but I’m not holding my breath.

  31. Iren says:

    Thank you, Caleb. I loved your post and agree with every word.

  32. TomRude says:

    Yep it could have been published as a summary without the inflammatory title…

  33. How on earth did civilization advance to its present high state given the apparent low character and base intentions of its present guardians? Were our best and brightest always this bloody useless and we never noticed?

    So, we’re reduced to making difficult decisions between incompetence and corruption as motives for our High Priests’ useless science? Those are our choices? We have little to fear from shifts in climate, much to fear from those who lead us through those shifts. God save us from our own self-righteous elite and their foolish plans for our betterment and salvation. A pox on all of them!!

  34. Stephen Singer says:

    It looks like they at least did properly recognize Anthony and surfacestations.org on each photo from surfacestations.org used in the photos explanatory text. Though I might have missed one or two.

  35. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    I drop in, whenever I’m able, to read Anthony’s fascinating articles and the equally
    fascinating comments. I congratulate you all. As a ‘non-scientist’ (I just observe stuff and rest in the fact that GOD uses the foolish things of this world to confound the “wise”- in- their- own- minds’. so I listen, read, and pray.

    After reading the majority of these posts, though ~ I must admit that ‘you Scientists’ may need to get out for a breath of fresh air ~ just a quiet walk in the woods to ‘meditate’ or to ‘pray’ for yourselves…….

    Because, I for one ~ being non-political and VERY objective ~ know that the end result of all this Carbon Non(e)sense goes immediately to the Fabian’s and the Eugenics movement. I mean ~ ‘C’Mon’ GUYS!!! Everyone knows that the less human ‘virus’ you have around……….the less Carbon is emitted, right? I mean, feigning that these ‘alarmists’ (always loathed those things, anyway…it’s their infernal buzzing at 5am or later, actually…) are benevolent rather than mal ~ is ~ gosh…….dare I say it? COMPLETE HOG WASH (whatever Hog Wash is……opphs! I best go off to do do more ‘research’.)……

    God bless those of you who are or rather ‘have’ inklings in the style of Lewis…

    Your Sister in Science ~ Cynthia Lauren

  36. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    …forgot to say that I won’t…HOLD MY BREATH.

    hahaha… gotta love humor.

    Cynthia

  37. JRR Canada says:

    By their actions we shall know them. A well written article, thanks for posting it.

  38. Geoff Derrick says:

    Anthony
    I found the essay by David Evans to be competent and challenging – to me the greatest frustrations as a geologist remain the dashed hopes of integrity in temperature measurement (reduced stations, manipulation of data), and the apparent secrecy now attached to Argo buoy data, which I once ideally thought would answer some basic questions on sea temperatures and even pH and salinity. In view of the secrecy, Evans rightly or wrongly concludes that the Argo people just want to hide data that is unwelcome to the warmists. Where can Joe Citizen get access to Argo to get a handle on results??

    Geoff Derrick
    G M Derrick Geology Brisbane Australia

  39. 899 says:

    Dave Springer says:
    November 8, 2010 at 5:35 pm
    Incompetent by intent or convenience or perhaps even by sloth would be the kindest way to put it. Kind of hard to assign this to just plain old stupidity when there are so many with advanced degrees who would have to be stupid to the last man.

    The plain fact of the matter is that the ground temperature network was never designed for the kind of accuracy and precision needed to establish temperature trends of tenths of degrees per century all over the globe. Pretending it can be co-opted for that purpose IS stupid and/or dishonest.
    You raise a MOST interesting point: HOW MANY of ALL of the thermometers used to measure land temperature are —and have had— scales delineated in tenths of a degree?

    ANTHONY:
    That’s a most salient point, and one which you might consider tackling in the quest to discover just how realistic the measurements have been, and/or whether the interpolations are accurate enough to be used for scientific determinations.

    If weather stations of the past —and present—were/are using mere 2º delineation commercial thermometers as their basis of measurement, then there is NO WAY that tenths of a degree would ever be resolved. Not accurately. Interpolation is in the eye of the beholder.

    Further, and I’ve raised this point in the past: WHEN were those thermometers calibrated, and HOW OFTEN were they re-calibrated to assure their accuracy?

    What was/is the traceability of accuracy?

    Who will swear to that?

  40. Apologies upfront: I generally read all comments before posting but am not doing that tonight due to time demands. Apologies for any repetition.

    Anthony asked for criticism, so I’ll give it. I’ll speak first to Anthony’s stated concern and then to the the paper.

    Anthony, you’re too kind hearted a soul, or I’m too much the opposite. Starry eyed grad students can be forgiven their incompetence because they are blinding following the leaders in their chosen field. However, whomever chooses which sites should be included in analysis and fails to provide any caution regarding siting issues is in my opinion deliberately malicious. They know that lying by omission will shape the opinion of the students and public.

    To the paper…

    I’m providing a critique, meaning I’m not stating where I personally agree or where I’ve found convincing supporting evidence to agree. This is a critique, it is in no way personal. Calling it like I see it.

    I cannot tell who the intended audience is for this paper. I assume it is for those “not in the know” and will proceed under that assumption as the paper is an intended summary of the basic points of “our side” and therefore wouldn’t be necessary if it were directed toward “us”.

    If this is for public consumption, then change “mean” to “average” on page 10 as mean is being used for the commonly understood definition of average. You don’t want to lose the audience with the first mention of statistics.

    Add Fahrenheit temps in parenthesis after Celsius temps as feet is after meters in some places. Be consistent with both throughout.

    On page 12, a statement regarding that airport thermometers were never supposed to be a part of the global climate record is needed. Otherwise, as a layman, I’m saying, “so, they’re there why not use them?”

    On page 13, the statement “if a financial organization or drug company tried to pull this kind of deception they would get busted” needs clarification and support. The banks and drug companies aren’t doing temp measurements. I understand the allusion, but it still isn’t clearly spelled out as a typical argument should be.

    On page 16, the introduction of the term El Nino would be confusing to the layman, and the point therefore lost. Explain what El Nino is.

    On page 16, the phrase “which won’t report for 50 years” is erroneous, the new stations will begin reporting immediately but won’t produce a meaningful trend for about 50 years as mentioned previously in the paper.

    On page 17, the Argo graph needs more explanation for the layman. Ask the guy on the street what a “Joule” is and you’re going to hear about rocks for girlfriends.

    On page 19, bullet point 3 states “except tree rings”. So what? If I hadn’t already read the Hockey Stick Illusion this statement would come from left field.

    The charts throughout the paper have been zeroed. This will not make sense to the common man. Explain zeroing or show the actual temps on the Y-axis.

    On page 20, the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age are introduced without support. As a layman I would find these topics out of place as the Hockey Stick hasn’t been shown or discussed yet.

    On page 21, “the establishment do not” should read “the establishment does not”. The establishment is not a collective noun. Members of the establishment do not, the establishment does not.

    On page 23, the caption is weak. The argument from the warmistas is not that all heating is attributable to CO2, but that man’s contribution pushes the atmosphere over the brink. Their point is that man-made CO2 is adding to the natural heating detrimentally, not causing all heating.

    On page 25, the Hockey Stick needs an introduction instead of a depiction of Vikings. Otherwise, the narrative starts at a point that cannot be understood unless the point is already known. Again, I’m assuming the intended reader is a layman, that is someone who is intelligent and going on about their life learning what they need to survive and excel in their field without any appreciable concern for AGW.

    Somewhere around this point in the paper the layman could have used a description of the logarithmic nature of CO2’s ability to cause warming.

    “Western” is not consistently capitalized throughout, although strangely “West” is.

    On page 29, the terms “anthropogenic” and “IPCC” are introduced without definition.

    On page 29, “The Report” should be “The report”.

    Page 30 reads like something lifted from Art Bell’s website.

    On page 32, bullet 3, the phrase “the earth” should read “the Earth” unless you are specifically referring to soil, which you don’t seem to be.

    On page 33, bullet 2 “it can forms clouds”. Seriously?

    On page 35, a transition is needed to the concept of the radiosondes as the statement is made that “The outcome of the climate debate hinges on this issue: a hotspot confirms their theory, its absence falsifies their theory.” You mention all the right clues prior, but the layman isn’t going to have followed along to the next point and the subject in this point seems to have concluded.

    On page 38, “Even if you don’t understand the significance of the hotspot”, ummm, given all of your basic mistakes so far, don’t dare insult the reader.

    On page 38, “In biblical times they blamed the Gods”. No. “Biblical” is generally capitalized in the frame of reference of the Christians who would say “God” and they only blamed one God. If you are suggesting that during biblical times, different peoples blamed their gods, then there would be no capitalization of “gods”.

    Page 39 is seriously disjointed.

    On page 42 is your tribute to yourself where you state: “Evans is a mathematician and engineer, with six university degrees including a PhD from Stanford University in electrical engineering. The area of human endeavor with the most experience and sophistication in dealing with feedbacks and analysing complex systems is electrical engineering, and the most crucial and disputed aspects of understanding the climate system are the feedbacks.” Wow! That’s Mannian levels of self appreciation there!

    So, there it is, my critique of the paper without stating the large majority I do agree with. Basically, this paper seems to have been written in one sitting.

    Burning with the need to flame me now? Fine. I make no apologies for the recklessness of my blog posts because my intended audience is myself and my editor is my beer in hand.

    [Lots of effort. Thank you, Robt]

  41. Ian H says:

    Factually not bad. Of course it is a very one-sided presentation to the point of being unfair in its portrayal of climate scientists and their motivations. But nothing he says about the science is actually wrong, at least as I understand it.

    There are some things missing that I think should be in there. He left out commenting on the way the climate establishment focuses only on negative effects of warming while ignoring or understating positive effects. For example the greening of the world over the last few decades is statistically significant and quite dramatic. Indeed this is one of the very few recent changes in the climate that actually IS significant (as a statistician would use the term). Yet it doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves probably because people might then think that a greener world was a better one.

    The language is rather extreme. But you know what … the climate establishment has left itself open to precisely this kind of accusation by its actions. What they are doing CAN be construed in this way, and if they were behaving properly this wouldn’t be possible. If they don’t want to be accused in these terms then maybe they should mend their ways and start behaving with more integrity.

  42. Rhoda R says:

    CL Thorpe, your comment on ‘hogwash’ made me curious. It’s pig food, swill.

  43. Steve says:

    As a global warming skeptic, I haven’t read through the whole report yet, but just from skimming it appears to me that this person is trying to make an impact on laypersons who assume that it’s absolute temperature values that make a difference rather than station anomalies (change in temperature).

    He starts right off with pictures of poorly placed thermometers, and indicates that the thermometers are being placed near buildings and concrete and such because it will give a quote “artificial nudge” to the thermometers. This is misleading because it’s the change in temperature that’s relevant. The meteorologist over at wunderground has argued that this type of placement is more likely to lead to underestimation of alleged warming, if anything.

    What I believe it does mean is that temperature observations at such stations are more likely to be unreliable. But a direct assertion that such placement is intentional to give an “artificial nudge” to the recorded temperature doesn’t make sense, because temperature anomalies are used rather than raw temperature data.

  44. wayne says:

    @ scott ramsdell:
    November 8, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    If no else thanks you, I will for that great by topic by topic correction. I’ll use your comments when I comment here from now on to make it easier for the laymen reading here who want to know but left their science from high school or college way behind years ago. Thanks again.

  45. Mariss says:

    REPLY: Because I’ve met some of the players. Incompetence rules supreme in government jobs. – Anthony

    How about the trainers, coaches and team owners?

  46. Dave F says:

    Anthony is not being too nice. He is noting that the likelihood of a giant conspiracy is vanishingly small. Therefore, incompetence is a larger possibility. There is also the possibility that the AGW camp is right. Of course, the evidence against them mostly points to incompetence. Bad siting, floating stations, stations parked on graves, interpolation issues, et cetera. The insistence that the method is correct is flawed, but understandable. I am with Mr. Watts in thinking that malice is not a factor. I differ here: Until Mann and the bunker mentality set in. Then you get Ben Santer wanting to rough up some hooligans in the alley. Phil Jones not sharing. The “Why should I share my data when you just want to find something wrong with it?” Again, though, I feel that incompetence is the cause here, but an incompetence of courage.

  47. Dave F says:

    Maybe a lost comment:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/11/08/new-essay-from-dr-david-evans-and-sppi/#comment-526010

    Not sure, but there is some quirk in WP (or Mozilla) that seems to eat comments, and sometimes does, but sometimes doesn’t.

  48. wayne says:
    November 8, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    @ scott ramsdell:
    November 8, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    If no else thanks you, I will for that great by topic by topic correction. I’ll use your comments when I comment here from now on to make it easier for the laymen reading here who want to know but left their science from high school or college way behind years ago. Thanks again.

    ==========================================================

    I assume this is facetious as I made no comments toward the science. My criticism assumed that the paper was directed toward the layman as there would be no point to direct it toward long term posters such as yourself Wayne.

  49. Brian H says:

    Maybe we need a new term for incompetence that has a REALLY big payoff?

  50. anna v says:

    I think it is not just incompetence, it is also group behavior.

    I worked for 40 years as a member of large groups of scientists. I started with a group of 20 from four labs, and by retirement ended up with a group of over 2000 from over 300 labs. Very early on I realized that there is a sociology of groups , scientific groups too fall in that category.

    There is group think in groups of scientists too, which influences decisions not always in the best direction. Once a decision is pushed through, usually by consensus but after negative positions are clearly presented, there is polarization, similar to football fan polarization. Follow the leader(s) must be a survival trait carried by our genes.

    Now dissenters are not called “deniers” , but certainly it is the supporters who will get the best posts within the group hierarchy. Sometimes dissenters split off and start looking for axions.

    I am saying that due to the great facilitation of the internet, climate scientists have fallen into this “group” “follow the leader(s)” behavior from the “madness of crowds” and not particularly from incompetence of fraud. It is the leaders who frame the decisions and those are the ones who might be accused of both, but leaders also have their psychological feed backs from the crowds and it might be this was their only reward.

    So I am with Anthony, until there is a sociological study or a court lets go with incompetence and “madness of crowds”.

  51. anna v says:

    post lost :(

  52. Brian H says:

    Steve November 8, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Just the anomalies matter, so bad placement doesn’t matter?

    Did you forget, dismiss, or deliberately ignore the long-term trends derived from the heating-up of these stations?

  53. wayne says:

    @ scott ramsdell:
    November 8, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    No Scott, you took that wrong. That was a sincere thanks. I have people read here but few are savvy to science lingo and they are soon lost in the nomenclature as you pointed out about this paper. It’s just that the same points you made of the paper apply when each and everyone of us comment or post here. If we want more people to understand then it’s important to watch the terminology. I just thought your detail was great, lots of examples of where we say some things well understood here that might throw a normal guy new to this climate science.

  54. Richard111 says:

    Interesting to note in more and more comments that there is a political agenda that uses AGW very successfully as a motivating tool.

  55. Kev-in-UK says:

    Steve says:
    November 8, 2010 at 9:54 pm
    <>

    Realistically, IMHO, the temp data sets from poorly sited ground stations and especially those within an urban setting are indeed more likely to be unreliable. However, unless a thermometer is placed virtually adjacent to a (large) cooling stream of air, I cannot envisage a situation where any typical stations would underestimate warming as per wunderground guy you mention. I suppose a situation near to a large water fountain, whereby a fine mist of water is wafted around the station, and could cause local air ‘cooling’ via latent heat of evaporation, etc – but how likely is that?

    One of the photos shows a small metal rain gauge being shown as a ‘reflector’ – this seems a little excessive, as indeed, it would only reflect sunlight onto the temp screen at certain limited times and would be unlikely to significantly affect results IMO, but obviously still needs consideration if we are trying for total accuracy.
    I find it hard to understand why proper standardised station placement, design and construction is so apparently difficult to achieve?

    Re using temp anomalies – the basic idea is that a temp anomaly is to observe the trends and largely assume ‘local factors’ would be wiped out. But increasing urbanisation would in itself be a local factor trend – and the temp anomaly ‘baseline’ that’s chosen could of course accentuate this UHI or mitigate it – depending on the timespan and conditions prevailing for the dataset average to define the zero baseline. So, if there was a load of urban development within that timespan, the baseline will be slightly higher, – if not, and urban development continues after the baseline data timespan, the observed UHI effect would be greater.
    And then of course, there’s ‘homogenisation’ – unless raw and adjusted datasets are presented in parallel, with explanations of differences, proper comparison is difficult.

  56. matty-Perth, Western Australia says:

    Anthony you have brought great credit to the cause and yourself throughout by being so decent but the terms “cheating’ and “deception” are probably the same ones the media will switch to when they jump, and they have to soon. All these environment reporters can’t just shut up forever. Evans knows this moment is coming and when they lash out it will be pirana like. In the press they need stuff to go on about and silence doesn’t sell papers. We are getting closer every day. I have seen Evans on TV and he is measured and convincing, the boldness of this essay says something about where he sees the game heading next year.

  57. bananabender says:

    BP and Shell established the CRU in 1971. They still fund it – along with other major oil & gas producers and the nuclear industry The only logical reason for doing this was to provide a scientific justification for shutting down the coal industry. Shutting down coal means far more natural gas is sold.

    In creating the CRU it is obvious that Shell and BP deliberately chose the worst university in Britain. The University of East Anglia was newly created, cash-strapped and haven for left wing activists.

    BP and Shell also made sure that CRU was stacked with mediocre activist scientists. Why would they do this? A highly reputable university such as Oxford or Harvard would have demanded far more rigorous checks and balances and a far higher degree of independence from the cash source. Mediocre scientists are far more malleable because they don’t have a choice of alternative jobs.

    The outcome was predictable. If you get a bunch of third rate researchers and ply them with enough money will get the results you want.

    Appointing oil company director Rajendra Pachauri to head the IPCC was extra insurance.

  58. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    Thanks, Rhoda. Yes. I was searching for an appropriate word and *while I’ve NEVER used the word ‘hog wash’ in my lifetime before today ~ it was the ONLY statement that utterly fit my sentiments. Just for ‘grins’ I did google ‘hog wash’ and found that our ‘common meaning’ of the word, while indeed being ‘slop’……. linguistically speaking ~ the not so very omnipotent ‘they’ have also labeled a guy who formerly worked with NASA with the ‘term’ ~ as sort of a nickname. Sad, isn’t it? From my recollection, his name had the misfortune of sounding like ‘hogwash’….. or something like that. I do sincerely enjoy research, hence ~ here I am ~ philosophizing while Rome burns???? Oh. You ‘may’ like this one, too ~ if GOD uses the foolish to confound the wise ~ why is it that so many good souls are finding ‘con’s found in this climate bruhaha?
    C L Thorpe

  59. bananabender says:

    David Evans is considered somewhat arrogant. However he is entitled to be. He completed six science, engineering and mathematics degrees in just nine years. He obtained four degrees from Stanford in four years- three MS degrees and a PhD.

  60. gnarf says:

    Good facts in this document (mostly from Mr. Watts), but too agressively presented.
    This is the worst way to do things…because it is very probable most people using temperature records have no idea about this, and they will reject everything because nobody like to be treated like a cheater, a liar.

    This document can’t be taken seriously….worse: it links these very serious facts about temperature stations, with a conspiracy theory, giving very good arguments to reject it. Scientists are human before being scientists, and unfortunately, humans are emotional before being rational.

    Even in front of a blatant mistake, people won’t admit anything unless they can save face.

  61. Ian E says:

    ‘Never attribute malice to that which can be explained by simple incompetence.’

    Odd that the ‘incompetence’ always comes out in the warming of modern data and cooling of older data. I suppose, if one was to be very generous [and you are this more-so than I can manage!], one could just say that the believers spot incompetence (and remove the results) when it leads to results contrary to their views – a sort-of biased editing of the results of neutral incompetence!

  62. Alexander K says:

    I have been following Dr Evans’ cumulative epistles on Jo Nova’s excellent site as they have appeared, installment by installment. To understand Dr Evans’ tactics, it must be understood that Australia has become a battleground with Green activists gaining control of much of the common weal with increasingly disastrous results, such as landowners/farmers no longer being allowed to carry out sensible bushfire mitigation activities. The case of the Thomsons and their difficulties operating their properly and legally set-up feed lot at Narrogin which began when Mr Thomson voiced his doubts about AGW very publicly are the kind of situation that is becoming a commonplace in Australia. When ‘science’ is so egregiously mis-used to not only mislead the general public but to impoverish them as well, Dr Evans paper seems a timely response to me.
    Anthony, I have the utmost respect and admiration for you, but I too have had personal experiences in government service that have left me in no doubt the corruption does flourish in pockets of government service wherever government service exists. Putting it all down to ‘Cock-up theory’ is too much for many like me to accept. The dishonesty and nastiness that was exposed by the releasing of the ‘Climategate’ emails and the continuing dishonesty of the enquiries into that affair, the tactics of leading members of the Royal Society and the APS’s reaction to Dr Lewis and his very public retirement must be countered intelligently and effectively. In my personal opinion, Dr Evans is doing that and doing it very well.

  63. Jan de Ruiter says:

    I would say it is malicicous to use the incompetence of laypersons to advance your own political causes.

  64. Stefan says:

    Dave F says:
    Anthony is not being too nice. He is noting that the likelihood of a giant conspiracy is vanishingly small. Therefore, incompetence is a larger possibility.

    Was Beatlemania a conspiracy, or just a movement in mass culture? I see the popularity of AGW as being largely due to the story having appeal to a mass cultural movement. In reality AGW might be true or it might not. But notice how many people would be disappointed if it wasn’t? My greenie friends would be. They feel eager for something to change, for the world to slow down, for life to become more balanced, and for everyone to make the environment their core value. Many intelligent people have this feeling, and a number of them are scientists.

    Meanwhile some politicians take notice, and some businesses take notice, and perhaps they seek to gain some advantage from this opportunity, rather like a band manager who wants to sell records, regardless of whether they are good or not. When AGW supporters say it is ridiculous to imagine there’s a conspiracy, I think in their hearts they feel this because in their hearts they truly feel that they care about a more “natural balanced world”. They do care. My own objection to them is that, whilst they care, they need to start understanding complexity, unintended consequences, and yes, that some businesses will make money out of this, whether they like it or not.

    An environmentalist who worked in carbon trading told me flat out, that AGW doesn’t have to be true, because it is about “reducing greed.” That’s not a conspiracy. That’s just a popular movement.

  65. Jan de Ruiter says:

    Sorry, “malicious”.

  66. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    Jan ~ I just can’t figure that last statement out… EVERY person… lay or whatever ~
    is/MUST BE incompetent in at least SOME aspect of this globe. People are manipulated all the time, since the beginning of time ~ and all of us can rightly benefit from taking off our rose-colored glasses to examine truths. The TRUTH is that just like ‘reduce, re-use, recycle’ propaganda drummed into each of us on a daily basis ~ YES. Recycling is ‘nice’ and not malicious ~ but ~ as we busy ourselves in the latest (now global) fad ~ rest assured that there are those who enjoy our lack of attention elsewhere to exploit it to the MAX. Malicious or not ~ it’s plain ol’ human nature. That’s why servant leaders are so rare, such an exception. And, as an ‘aside’ I’d like to share with all you polite ‘non-Americans’ out here, that while we are indeed a bit brash ~ the world needs EACH OF US ~ so, now if you’ll excuse me ~ I’m gonna go relish the fact that we in the Southeast of Australia won’t have to be bagging our sheep gas in order to maintain the farm’s profitability.

    C.L. Thorpe

  67. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    From Band managers to AGW being all about ‘reducing greed’ ~ How naive are we?
    Don’t answer that. I’ve worked in the music industry and I’ve had to stop my cockle hunting because of Greenies…sigh… Allow me to enlighten. BOTH are ‘cogs in the machine’ and BOTH are simply a means to an end. Not seeing this is fairly tragic. I’ll pick up pieces of garbage on the beach for FUN as long as I can continue to make my New England clam chowder, folks…but, them Greenies ~ it’s the cockles first, and then People Proof Fences as we allow the rabbits to run free. I’ve got one last grabber for all the Scientists out there……… are you all ‘aware’ that heterosexuals are called ‘Breeders’ and have been for YEARS now? It’s high time that this community/global village, or whatever ~ wakes up and sees that ‘as we farm’ so we ‘are being farmed’.
    Global Warming/et Al…… is simply a means to an end. You smart guys just keep on being honorable and I’ll keep praying for you all.

    C.L. Thorpe

  68. Chris Wright says:

    I’m very concerned by Dr Evans’ comments about the Argo network. He states that the record has been ‘adjusted’ by removing data that indicates more cooling than expected. Is this true? And if so, were technical faults found with the buoys concerned? If no technical faults were found, what was the specific justification for removing this data? If the data were removed simply because it didn’t fit into their assumptions then it sounds like possible scientific fraud.

    Is it also true that the data is not publicly available? If so, then this is also completely unacceptable. You would have thought these people would have learned a few lessons by now, particularly with the anniversary of Climategate this month.

    If the data has been ‘adjusted’ and it is not publicly available, I would suggest that Anthony should contact the Argo director to request that all adjustments and data deletions be explained publicly and that the data itself be made public.

    Like many others, I had assumed that the Argo data was beyond reproach. But even this now seems to be in doubt. This is a sorry time for science….
    Chris

  69. Enneagram says:

    You have to agree that everything was “just roses, roses” until WUWT appeared in the Blogosphere……Afterwards….all turned into “Blood, sweat and tears”
    Perhaps this shows that Meteorology case it is not the only one in science but WUWT has brought to light a much wider case.

  70. Beth Cooper says:

    I owe Dr David Evans a debt of gratitude. An article he wrote on The Missing Hotspot in an Australian newspaper helped put me on the sceptic path regarding out of control AGW and led me to blogs like WUWT, Climate Audit, amd later Jeff Id. O the relief :D

  71. Pamela Gray says:

    No mincing of words in that piece! No Sir! It came in big chunks of veggies and meat in a strongly flavored broth!

  72. Francisco says:

    In theory, it should not be too difficult to determine whether malice plays a role or not.

    Errors due exclusively to incompetence should be free of any clear bias.

    If the errors are in both directions in roughly equal proportion (and by similar amounts), then there is no basis to assume malice.

    If the errors that help make the case for sustained warming are significantly more frequent (or systematically larger) than errors in the opposite direction, then malice becomes very plausible.

  73. woodNfish says:

    Never attribute malice to that which can be explained by simple incompetence.

    You know at some point Anthony, and we are well beyond it, attributing repeated offenses to simple incompetence is no longer possible. It IS malice, and it IS totally corrupt.

  74. Stefan says:

    Chris Wright says:
    I’m very concerned by Dr Evans’ comments about the Argo network. He states that the record has been ‘adjusted’ by removing data that indicates more cooling than expected. Is this true?

    I vaguely remember a news clip about it. The network was showing a lot of cooling. So they identified the individual probes/floats that were showing the most cooling, labelled them “defective” and removed them. After that there was still on average a bit of cooling.

    Naturally would love to know how they knew some were defective.

  75. Brian H says:

    Anthony, you can only fudge and deny the obvious for so long, surely? As noted above and often elsewhere, howcum ALL the errors favor the AGW thesis? The odds against this are about 2^(n-1), where n is the number of errors. Tell me, what would you estimate n is right about now?

    Then when you “Follow the money”, it turns out that pushing AGW pays big-time, and opposing it costs big-time. Given that, fraud is so likely as to be the default assumption, the null hypothesis. Tim Ball, vociferous anti-AGW writer who was perhaps the first ever with a PhD in Climate Science, drives a clunker because that’s all he can afford. I wonder what Mikey, elevated to prominence and authority while the ink on his PhD diploma was still damp, drives?

  76. bananabender says:

    This is great article . The comments provide a lot of extra information.

    It is obvious that the CRU is nothing but a PR agency for the gas, nuclear and biofuels industry.

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100020304/climategate-peak-oil-the-cru-and-the-oman-connection/

    AGW isn’t about sloppy science. It is a systematic and carefully managed fraud that has been running for 40 years.

  77. Roger Knights says:

    scott ramsdell says:

    “On page 32, bullet 3, the phrase “the earth” should read “the Earth” unless you are specifically referring to soil, which you don’t seem to be.”

    Not according to the “bible,” the Chicago Manual of Style:

    “The names earth, sun, and moon, ordinarily lowercased, are often capitalized when used in conjunction with the names of other bodies of the Solar System.”

    I applaud your copy-editorial backseat driving. I do it often myself. Recipients are in dire need of such “helps,” whether they realize it or not.

    And some errors cry out for correction. For instance, two days ago I sent about 15 fixes to the publisher of Patent Searching Made Easy, in which the phrase “page 116-118″ occurred. Actually, as could be seen from the accompanying screenshot of the original text, it was “116-8.” I.e., a reference to a specific page in a governmental patent document. Apparently some copy-editing software (or (gasp) human) figured that a number-pair in that format referring to pages must refer to a page-range, despite the text’s use of the singular. Tsk.

    Stefan: I always appreciate your comments on green psychology.

  78. Roger Knights says:

    PS: And the book used a hyphen in “page 116-118,” not an N-dash. Tsk, tsk.

  79. Smokey says:

    Roger Knights,

    Thanks for the style info on using capital letters. But really, it’s a Sisyphean task trying to get commentators to use an N-dash properly. Personally, I prefer two consecutive dashes on WordPress, because they cause a ginormous dash [G-dash]. That’s just my style.☺

    Even correct apostrophe use is a lost cause.

  80. Roger Knights says:

    @Smokey: Thanks for the back-pat. I was only criticizing a book publisher for this flaw. They’re professionals and should know better.

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