More flubs at the top of the climate food chain – this time NCDC's Karl

It has been one of those days…first the GISS data train wreck in apparently reusing last months temperatures to make this months “hottest October ever” announcement, now we find that the director of The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) may not have the goods for the PhD he goes by. He’s about to become the president of the American Meteorological Society. Interesting times – Anthony


Reprinted from NRO’s Planet Gore

Dr. Pepper, Dr. J, Dr. Karl . . .   [Chris Horner]

Well, this testimony, submitted to the House of Representatives is strange, what with “Dr. Tom Karl” – now the lead author of the U.S. government’s Climate Change Science Program assessment being prepared to support EPA regulation of carbon dioxide – having never earned an academic Ph.D.

That’s according to North Carolina State University, that is, which is the school from which I found a Karl resume claiming a Ph.D., earned “1977-78”. I first found this on a Johns Hopkins website but, after asking Karl’s employer NOAA to clarify where the “Dr.” title they serially tout was earned, that CV has been taken down (but not before I saved the file, of course). NOAA wouldn’t answer my question, but only sniffed that if I can point to them claiming Karl has a Ph.D. – as opposed to just promoting him as “Dr. Karl” apparently on the basis of a 2002 honorary doctorate of humane letters – I should tell them.

The thing is, I have just received documents under the Freedom of Information Act showing that Mr. Karl is indeed styled as “Dr. Karl” on the express basis of having earned that 1978 NCSU Ph.D., as a proposed “co-investigator” in an application for a million-dollar-plus federal grant. The grant was awarded. No word yet whether the U.S. mail was involved in the process.

I suppose it’s possible that Hopkins just made this up to get the grant, and wasn’t relying on anything Mr. Karl told them. And the same could be true of NOAA, which reviewed the grant application (as evidenced by a letter in the responsive documents), and then received $100,000 from the proceeds of the grant. Maybe they got together to prepare Mr. Karl’s House testimony without his input, too.

Given the apparent seriousness of these revelations, I’ve got some correspondence underway seeking clarification from Hopkins, NOAA, and Karl. But, this is a busy time, what with – have I mentioned this? – a book coming out today. More later.

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120 thoughts on “More flubs at the top of the climate food chain – this time NCDC's Karl

  1. This is almost getting to be fun. AWG screw ups are becoming pervasive.
    The Benicia Climate Action plan meets this Thursday. Their plan is to “protect climate” through ideas to “reduce GHGs to 25% below 2000 levels” by 2010. They don’t specify GHG emissions, but the total levels of GHGs. I wonder if they realize that anthropogenic GHGs are such a small percentage of the total atmosphere that it is physically impossible for this small town of 28,000 to get the total atmospheric water vapor, CO2 and methane 0.01% below 2010 levels let alone a 25% reduction. Okay, I suppose they meant to say “emissions,” but they didn’t. Even still, the growth in local population and government since 2000 will make it virtually impossible to get 25% below 2000 levels as it means they would have to achieve about a 35% reduction from today’s emissions.

  2. Am I the first? Well now.
    AGW has turned out to be a freaking joke, a hoax, a fraud, perpetrated by jokesters, hoaxers, and frauds.
    You can fool some of the people, I guess. Personally, I have never been fooled by this particular hoax. I’m not bragging. More like sobbing.
    I respect your stated wish, Anthony, not to fight fire with fire. But what about ridicule? Is it okay to ridicule these clowns?
    Absolutely pathetic. Al “Che” Gore wants revolution in the name of the Big AGW Hoax. Our new President wants to bankrupt coal-fired power plants. Fake data, fake degrees, fake science, fake everything. How about we cap and trade the alarmists?
    Warmer is Better. Fight the Fraud.

  3. This is off topic a bit but can we have some kind of glossary. I’m sure I’m not the only one who isn’t that savvy with all the acronyms used in these articles.
    Neil.
    Reply: There is a glossary link at the top of the home page. If you would like a particular acronym added, you can request it in the comments section below the glossary. ~Smokey the mod.

  4. What is the relevance of ‘No word yet whether the U.S. mail was involved in the process?’ (For those of us residing outside of the USA).

  5. Lying on resumes, and claiming false degrees is typical behaviour for psychopaths – i.e those lying, manipulative, remorseless parasites.
    Ref “Snakes in Suits, When Psychopaths go to work.”

  6. Another embarassing moment for me and my degree (Mat Sci. 95, NCSU)
    *sigh*
    Maybe I should just tell everyone I went to Clemson….

  7. Fine work. It is good to expose the conmen wherever possible. Faking an academic degree is low indeed, but actually quite what we would expect from the global warming crowd.

  8. What is the relevance of ‘No word yet whether the U.S. mail was involved in the process?’
    I believe it becomes a federal offence

  9. Nice to know that in Iran they have high standards of probity. They impeached their Interior Minister (Ali Kordan) for falsely claiming to have an Oxford University degree. Seems to link with this story. Oddly, I doubt that the outcome will be the same. Or do we have standards in public life as high as those in Iran?

  10. I consider Dr Karl one of the good guys by the rather undemanding standards of climate science. I’ve read quite a few of his papers and he avoids the kind of ritual obesiance to AGW that plagues climate science. You know the kind of thing – paraphrasing ‘We didn’t find any evidence that AGW is affecting whatever it is we studied, but we know it will in the future.’

  11. F. Rasmin: if US mail was involved it would make it a Federal Offense. And that would be quite serious for the person involved assuming the allegations are true.

  12. This is OT and not even climate (it is solar, but not as we discuss it). However, it is consistant with “Commentary on puzzling things in life, nature, science, weather, climate change, technology, and recent news”
    Half-life (more or less) from Science News says in part:

    In a separate paper, also posted online in August, Fischbach, Jenkins and their collaborators compared puzzling and still unexplained results from two separate experiments from the 1980s – one on silicon-32 at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y., and the other on radium-226 done at the PTB, an institute that sets measurement standards for the German federal government. Both experiments had lasted several years, and both had seen seasonal variations of a few tenths of a percent in the decay rates of the respective isotopes.

    One suggestion is that neutrinos might provide a slight push on nuclei since one event happened at night during a solar flare. Continuing:

    But some physicists take the results seriously and are searching old data for previously unnoticed effects. If the variations turn out to be genuine, theories may need revision, or new theories may be needed. “There’s no known theory that will predict something like this,” says theoretical physicist Rabindra Mohapatra of the University of Maryland in College Park.
    If the results are confirmed, and nuclear decay is not immutable, perhaps physicists could find a way to speed it up to help get rid of waste from nuclear power plants. Such results might revise models of what goes on in the sun or change understanding of phenomena such as supernovas. Since neutrinos travel much faster than dangerous charged particles, using radioactive samples to detect solar flares when they first begin could prevent damage to satellites – and perhaps even save lives of astronauts.

  13. The comment about the mail: in the USA, there are strict laws about mail fraud (i.e. sending falsified documents by mail). Sometimes, when the authorities can’t nail someone on anything else, they pull out “mail fraud” and prosecute that. The point here is: he received a large federal grant, possibly based on submitting a false CV. If the CV and grant proposal were sent by mail, then…
    It’s the same kind of trick used for drug dealers: here’s this unemployed teenager driving a Mercedes. You know where he got the money, but can’t prove it. So you nail him for tax evasion, since he certainly never bothered to declare his income…

  14. Here is a short list:
    NCDC Dr. Karl not really a PHD climatologist.
    GISS using old data to proclaim hottest October ever.
    Jason 2 producing no data.
    Sunspecks are now counted as sunspots.
    CT problems with Arctic Sea Ice Area.
    IPCC projections repeatedly falsified.
    Mauna Loa CO2 missteps. First too low, now too high this month?
    And all this in just the last year or so. To this observer it seems the inmates are running the asylum. No wonder there are so many sceptics.

  15. Mr B (02:08:16) :

    This is off topic a bit but can we have some kind of glossary. I’m sure I’m not the only one who isn’t that savvy with all the acronyms used in these articles.

    On the top navigation bar, click on the word “Glossary” to get to http://wattsupwiththat.com/glossary/
    I try to remember to refresh my recall of the top text every so often because I’ve forgotten it too.

  16. Mike D -( 1:42.26)
    “You can fool some of the people, I guess.”
    What matters in the AGW battle is whether you can fool enough of the people enough of the time.

  17. This one interests me as the Desmogblog claimed my father’s doctorate was faked, and was just an honorary degree. Queen Mary College of London has produced the degree online ( sorry I don’t have the link handy ). There was a defamation proceeding that they claimed they had won against my father which was a lie as it never went to court. One of the many ways that they tie us up in courtrooms. We did not have the money to fight it out. The lawyer my father retained suggested dad use some of his “oil money” to fight. I can tell you as a hard working shmoe, that we have no oil money, or tobacco money, etc. I think you can guess which side of the fence this lawyer was on. My point being, we have to give this gentleman the opportunity to produce his credentials before we act as badly as they do. One of the best things about our side of the debate, is that we haven’t implemented the low tactics of the opposition in the media, even when given the chance. Take the high road.

  18. F Rasmin,
    Mail fraud is meaningful because of this:
    18 United States Code 63§ 1341. Frauds and swindles
    Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, or to sell, dispose of, loan, exchange, alter, give away, distribute, supply, or furnish or procure for unlawful use any counterfeit or spurious coin, obligation, security, or other article, or anything represented to be or intimated or held out to be such counterfeit or spurious article, for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice or attempting so to do, places in any post office or authorized depository for mail matter, any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by the Postal Service, or deposits or causes to be deposited any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by any private or commercial interstate carrier, or takes or receives therefrom, any such matter or thing, or knowingly causes to be delivered by mail or such carrier according to the direction thereon, or at the place at which it is directed to be delivered by the person to whom it is addressed, any such matter or thing, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. If the violation affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.

  19. After getting over the initial shock of this revelation, here’s what I found from Googling…
    On Mr. Karl’s education…
    http://www.ametsoc.org/amschaps/may03news.html
    “Our guest speaker for the night was Mr. Thomas R. Karl, Director of National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). Mr. Karl received his BS degree in meteorology from Northern Illinois University, and his Masters from the University of Wisconsin. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by North Carolina State University in 2002. He serves as the Director of the NCDC and as Chair of various climate monitoring and climate change committees.”
    However, a simple Google search brings up over *** 500 hits *** referring to him as “Dr. Karl”. Some selected citations are given below.
    But more to the point, referring to someone whose reputation has been gained in science/physics as “Dr.” if they did not earn a degree in their field of study is bordering on fraud, in my opinion. And I say this as someone who dedicated four years of his life to earning a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, which involved prelims, coursework, research, paper writing, thesis writing, thesis defense, presentations at conferences etc.
    Of course, I suppose it’s never too late for Mr. Karl to return to school to actually earn a PhD…

    http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap3-3/sap3-3prospectus-final.htm
    Thomas R. Karl
    Thomas R. Karl is the Director of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, Program Manager for NOAA’s Climate Observations and Analysis Program, and Director of NOAA’s Climate Change Data and Detection Applied Research Center. Dr. Karl is author of many climatic atlases and has nearly 200 published articles and technical reports in various scientific journals on topics related to changes and variations of a variety of extreme climate and weather events. He has served as Editor of the Journal of Climate and as Lead Author of several scientific assessments completed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Chief Editor of the CCSP Product and Synthesis Report 1.1, and served as Co-Chair of the US National Assessment of Climate Variability and Change.
    http://oversight.house.gov/story.asp?ID=1653
    “A year earlier, when Dr. Thomas Karl, the Director of National Climatic Data Center, appeared before the House Oversight Committee, his testimony was also heavily edited by both White House officials and political appointees at the Commerce Department. He was not allowed to say in his written testimony that “modern climate change is dominated by human influences,” that “we are venturing into the unknown territory with changes in climate,” or that “it is very likely (>95 percent probability) that humans are largely responsible for many of the observed changes in climate.” His assertion that global warming “is playing” a role in increased hurricane intensity became “may play.”

  20. Ed (06:23:03) :
    Looks like he has been citing a 2002 NCSU honorary degree recently (in 2006)
    http://www.environmentwriter.org/scienceandthenews/bios/tkarl.htm
    I would not think anyone would really use Dr. or PhD. if they only had an honorary degree? That seems odd…

    According to the vaunted Wikipedia, you use D.H.L. or L.H.D., not “Ph.D.” for this honorary degree.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_of_Humane_Letters
    Wikipedia adds that it is awarded “usually to those who have distinguished themselves in areas other than science.”
    If that’s an allusion to his promotion of AGW, they got that right! 🙂

  21. The wheels come off just prior to going titsup.
    When there is nothing left but lies, you lie and hope that no one sees the change.

  22. I suppose someone in Raleigh could go over to the NC State library and see if there’s a disseration in his name.
    This is odd because if he was listed on a grant application at a Ph.D level position he must have been pretty far along in grad school. Students don’t drop out at this point unless there’s a family/financial crisis or illness, or the dissertation committee says sorry, start over and we’ll see you in 2-3 years.
    (Rarely, the band you play in on the weekends becomes world-famous and you take 30 years off to be a rock star, then return to write your dissertation. I don’t think the Brian May Exception applies here.)

  23. You know, this is actually small beans. It isn’t his lack of a PhD that is important, it’s his lack of scientific integrity. Steve McIntyre also doesn’t have a PhD, nor does Freeman Dyson. Or Harry van Loon for that matter. Nor me.
    ==========================================

  24. this months “hottest October ever” announcement – GISS does not appear to have made any such announcement, as far as I can tell. Got a link?

  25. Of course, those on that list don’t go around calling themselves Doctor either. Other people call them that sometimes, though. Colloquially, ‘Doctor’ is sometimes used for those with expertise, but not academically, and this dude is an academician.
    =================================

  26. “It is common knowledge in the climate science community that Karl does not have a PhD. Here is a 1997 bio: http://www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/seminars/971105DD.html
    While this may be true, it is NOT common knowledge OUTSIDE the climate community (see, for example, the references I cited), and I think it is very disingenuous of Mr/Dr Karl, who has made his name in the science/physics community, to portray himself as something he’s not…which is the holder of a doctorate in his field of study from an accredited college or university.

  27. BraudRP (06:28:43) :

    What matters in the AGW battle is whether you can fool enough of the people enough of the time.

    And at the right time.
    Good article in the New York Times of last Sunday explaining the strategic choices confronting the new administration.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/09/us/politics/09promises.html?_r=1&ref=politics&oref=slogin

    November 9, 2008
    Obama Team Weighs What to Take On First
    By PETER BAKER
    WASHINGTON — With the economy in disarray and the nation’s treasury draining, President-elect Barack Obama and his advisers are trying to figure out which of his expansive campaign promises to push in the opening months of his tenure and which to put on a slower track.
    Mr. Obama repeated on Saturday that his first priority would be an economic recovery program to get the nation’s business system back on track and people back to work. But advisers said the question was whether they could tackle health care, climate change and energy independence at once or needed to stagger these initiatives over time.

    If the schemes for the AGW crowd are to be implemented, they have to somehow get a high priority for climate change. There is going to be a lot of competition for attention, with the economy coming first. Then there is health care. Energy independence, etc. etc.
    No need to pretend there is a crisis in the economy; everyone knows this needs to be addressed.
    The only way to get attention focused on climate change is to announce something catastrophic and it has to start happening pretty quick because the honeymoon will be over within the first hundred days, maybe two hundred.
    People are going to really start balking at taxes (whatever they are called) on energy. We can see Europe already backing off of some the drastic suggestions calling for more expenditures.
    http://www.upi.com/Energy_Resources/2008/11/06/European_Union_alters_climate_plan/UPI-96551226004671/
    This is why some in the AGW crowd have been warning about a tipping point in the climate, from which we will never recover.
    However, the costs of any of these programs is going to be huge and people are not going to be enthusiastic about these costs. It is one thing to give lip service to environmentalism and recycle some plastic bags; it is quite another to sacrifice one’s job to the effort.
    http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/editorials/hc-ridenouranti1101.artnov01,0,4457964.story
    From the above article:

    Sharp emissions restrictions would also push the costs of energy and other consumer products higher.
    According to a study conducted by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the
    restrictions could raise gasoline prices by 29 percent, electricity prices by 55 percent and natural gas prices
    by 15 percent by 2015.

    We’re going to see more and more wild reports and allegations regarding global warming over the next few month, because this is the big chance extremist have to get some of the changes they want.
    And if you were wondering where all the money was going to come from to pay for our new programs, take a look at this:
    http://www.carolinajournal.com/exclusives/dems-target-private-retirement-accounts.html
    From the above:

    Carolina Journal Exclusives
    Dems Target Private Retirement Accounts
    Democratic leaders in the U.S. House discuss confiscating 401(k)s, IRAs
    By Karen McMahan
    November 04, 2008
    RALEIGH — Democrats in the U.S. House have been conducting hearings on proposals to confiscate workers’ personal retirement accounts — including 401(k)s and IRAs — and convert them to accounts managed by the Social Security Administration.

    We live in interesting times.

  28. I can say, “I am the Master.” But I cannot say, “I am the Doctor.”
    Come to think of it , we never really did vet Mr. Vader or Mr. Who, did we? (Did they sign a release form?)
    I have sympathy with David Ball. Hunter College entered my BA in hard-copy record but entered a course I audited several years later in their soft records. Not only do they claim I got an F in the course (which I was merely auditing to brush up; I had passed the exact same course years earlier), but they show only that and not my BA. You have to ask them specially to look in their non-computer records and give the dates to get the right answer out of them. This isn’t a problem if they have your permission to search. But I have reason to believe (not proof) that I was secretly checked up on and “found wanting”–it’s very easy to get info out of a registrar over the phone if you have the subject’s SocSec number and other vital statistics.
    Fortunately, I have no such trouble with Columbia, where I got my MA.

  29. A “Doctor of Humane Letters” is typically awarded for contributions to something other than science. So why is this doctorate of any relevance whatsoever to his work on climate science. Or is this a way of signifying that his major accomplishment is not science?

  30. More… (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honorary_degree)
    “An honorary degree[1] or a degree honoris causa (Latin: ‘for the sake of the honour’) is an academic degree for which a university (or other degree-awarding institution) has waived the usual requirements (such as matriculation, residence, study and the passing of examinations). The degree itself is typically a doctorate or, less commonly, a master’s degree, and may be awarded to someone who has no prior connection with the institution in question.”
    “Usually the degree is conferred as a way of honoring a distinguished visitor’s contributions to a specific field, or to society in general. The university often derives benefits by association with the person in question.”
    “Recipients of an honorary doctorate do not normally adopt the title of “doctor.” In many countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, it is not usual for an honorary doctor to use the formal title of “doctor,” regardless of the background circumstances for the award.”

  31. From the AGW believers perspective I can understand why they would feel the need to lie and cheat, the end justifies the means and any dishonesty is acceptable to assist the greater political aim.
    AGW/MMCC is a political aim and so political tactics are being used, when the science doesnt support the political aim so the science must manipulated to fit the greater agenda, science to the AGW believer is nothing more than a belief verification tool and is only useful when used to support the greater narrative, when science and the political aim diverge then science is cast aside,perverted,altered,faked as required.
    The believers have the MSM on their side and more or less have total control of the traditional information chain so any lies/dishonesty found out will never be spread to the general public to a threatening extent as it would if a sceptic(denier)were found to have commited a similar offence.
    The AGW/MMCC believers are playing their game straight from the political subversion/agitation playbook and untill people realise the real game then all the real science in the world will never get beyond the information dissemination safety nets constructed over time specifically for this type of scenario.
    Knowest thine enemy?

  32. Using “Dr. Karl” may be a bit disingenuous. But it still doesn’t bother me as much as “Noble laureate Al Gore.” 🙂

  33. this months “hottest October ever” announcement
    It is, now. #B^1
    It’s the hottest announcement I’ve heard in quite a while.

  34. ” Dan Klein (07:46:57) :
    It is common knowledge in the climate science community that Karl does not have a PhD. Here is a 1997 bio: http://www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/seminars/971105DD.html
    Dan you are right. However, that story refers to him as Tom or Thomas. Seems that more recent writings refer to him as Dr. I’ve always been of the understanding that it is improper etiquette to do so when one hold an honorary degree. My observation would be he seems to be doing nothing to clarify the designation, thereby implying agreement.

  35. Not to worry. He’ll probably claim that he’s a victim of a sinister plot by “Big Oil”, and squeak out of this embarrassment. Hey, Al doesn’t have a science degree and Hansen isn’t a trained climatologist, so what’s new? The inmates are running the asylum.

  36. Google “Dr. Thomas Karl” and you’ll find several summaries and articles that pre-date 2002.
    Somebody may have been telling porkies…

  37. “NOAA wouldn’t answer my question, but only sniffed that if I can point to them claiming Karl has a Ph.D. – as opposed to just promoting him as “Dr. Karl” apparently on the basis of a 2002 honorary doctorate of humane letters – I should tell them.
    So they don’t know? It was easy enough for me to find one instance in a matter of minutes:
    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2008/20080619_climatereport.html
    http://www.ametsoc.org/stationscientist/noaanewsclimateweather.pdf
    “News from NOAA”, with letterhead, dated June 2008, titled
    “Scientific Assessment Captures Effects of a Changing Climate on
    Extreme Weather Events in North America”
    […]
    “This synthesis and assessment product examines this question across North America and concludes that we are now witnessing and will increasingly experience more extreme weather and climate events,” said report cochair
    Tom Karl, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s National Climate Data Center in Asheville,
    N.C.”

  38. Well I don’t have a doctorate, and it is embarrassing to have to explain to persons who have written to me as Dr Smith, which I am not, that I am not, never have been, and never have represented myself to be, any kind of a doctor.
    And the only such degree that would be of any interest to me, would be DSc, which to me is a real doctorate in the field of science. In the meantime, I could get a PhD (I’m not a philosopher either) in Ice cream making, and perhaps that would equip me to understand why it is cold in the Arctic, and warm in the Tropics.
    To me, the use of Dr as one’s title (other than a stage name for example) by anyone in the field of science; that is neither a DSc, nor a PhD, is simple plain fraud.
    Dr Laura is a PhD; but who would take her advice on matters of science; not that I am suggesting she may be a science ignoramus; it’s just not her educational background.
    For me, I just have a simple bachelor’s degree (Dual major admittedly) plus 48 continuous years in industry as a practicing physicist and mathematician; while sometimes masquerading as an EE, which I have no degree in, but spent at least half my career working as. Well I did start with Elec. and Mag. and Mechanics at what would be equivalent to 8th grade, so maybe that equipped me to design complex mixed signal (analog/digital) CMOS integrated circuits right down to the bare metal, including device and process design. Some how I was just too busy making stuff that sells to take time out to go back to the cobwebs of academia to get a bigger shingle.
    If you ever get to where you can say, that ordinary people have put down their own money (not government or institution) to exchange for almost one billion gizmos that you had a hand in the design of, or have controlling patents for (and it;s not a jelly bean); then I am prepared to listen to your explanation of why I am not qualified to do what I do.
    No I am NOT a climate scientist; but I do understand the basic physics of the important processes that determine climate (though not exactly how they all work to do that; it’s too chaotic for that).
    For those of you in Academia, or who do work for institutions that do research in these climate fields or weather for that matter; I do sense the pressure to conform to the institution’s party line, and I’m sympathetic to that. I don’t have that problem; my stuff has to work; or I get fired.
    Dr Karl has to be called to account.

  39. Who is this guy Karl, and does he even have a masters or any science degree??
    From this annual NOAA report he identifies himself
    below his signature as “Thomas R. Karl, L.H.D.”
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/about/2007-annual.pdf
    According to Wiki, an “L.H.D.” is “The degree of Doctor of Humane Letters (Latin: Litterarum humanarum doctor; D.H.L.; or L.H.D.) is always conferred as an honorary degree, usually to those who have distinguished themselves in areas other than science…”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_of_Humane_Letters

  40. “Tom Karl, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s National Climate Data Center in Asheville,
    N.C.”
    Whoops…
    Well, as I said, it’s never too late for Dr./Professor Thomas R. Karl to go back to school and actually EARN a REAL Ph.D.
    PS
    For those of you graduate students out there slaving away to get your doctoral degree – hey, just quit school start calling yourself “Doctor”! If it works for Tom…

  41. This fits in with some of the claims made recently in Lindzen’s tell-all paper on behind-the-scenes chicanery in the climate scene. Here’s a few relevant quotes.
    On lobbyists for professional societies issuing scientific statements.
    “Of course, the nominal interaction involves lobbying for special advantage, but increasingly, the interaction consists in issuing policy and scientific statements on behalf of the society. Such statements, however, hardly represent independent representation of membership positions. For example, the primary spokesman for the American Meteorological Society in Washington is Anthony Socci who is neither an elected official of the AMS nor a contributor to climate science. Rather, he is a former staffer for Al Gore.”
    On environmentalists sneaking into scientific organizations to appear credible as science experts.
    “Thus, John Firor long served as administrative director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. This position was purely administrative, and Firor did not claim any scientific credentials in the atmospheric sciences at the time I was on the staff of NCAR. However, I noticed that beginning in the 1980’s, Firor was frequently speaking on the dangers of global warming as an expert from NCAR. When Firor died last November, his obituary noted that he had also been Board Chairman at Environmental Defense– a major environmental advocacy group – from 1975-1980.”
    “The UK Meteorological Office also has a board, and its chairman, Robert Napier, was previously the Chief Executive for World Wildlife Fund – UK. Bill Hare, a lawyer and Campaign Director for Greenpeace, frequently speaks as a ‘scientist’ representing the Potsdam Institute, Germany’s main global warming research center.”
    This one might be relevant to Mr. Karl.
    “John Holdren, whose primary affiliation is the Woods Hole Research Center (an environmental advocacy center whose name is designed to confuse it with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a research center), is also a professor in Harvard’s Government Department, and has served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of Sigma Xi (the science counterpart of the honorary scholarship organization, Phi Beta Kappa). He was the Clinton-Gore Administration spokesman on global warming. The making of academic appointments to global warming alarmists is hardly a unique occurrence. The case of Michael Oppenheimer is noteworthy in this regard. With few contributions to climate science (his postdoctoral research was in astro-chemistry), and none to the physics of climate, Oppenheimer became the Barbara Streisand Scientist at Environmental Defense.”
    There’s lots more at the link.

  42. And the data keeps piling up on how AGW is just a big fraud.
    In any company, anyone who gains employment based on the fradulent use of a title he does not have WOULD BE FIRED ON THE SPOT!

  43. “usually to those who have distinguished themselves in areas other than science”
    Sometimes in the area of contributions to the institution’s endowment fund. Slightly less prestigious than having a lecture hall or dorm named after you.

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  45. “ace (10:19:21) :
    Google “Dr. Thomas Karl” and you’ll find several summaries and articles that pre-date 2002.
    Somebody may have been telling porkies…”
    You mean he was calling himself doctor even before he received the honorary doctorate that does not confer the title “doctor”? I am shocked!

  46. I know nothing of Karl. But there are a lot of phony Doctorate and Masters degrees out there. Some from diploma mills, some from imaginations.
    In various government jobs advanced degrees bring raises and may be absolutely required for promotion. And where the degree(s) come from won’t arouse much interest. Often you will get the tuition paid too.
    For initial hiring the checking is usually more careful. You aren’t on the inside, they want someone competent, and they can choose among many applicants.
    All these are generalizations as they must be. We probably have 10,000 public agencies that hire. And that is without counting the immense public school system where academic certificates and papers are treasured even more.
    Private industry, to my personal knowledge, sometimes overlook faults found after hiring. It all depends on the bosses, the person, and the nature of the problem.

  47. Lying on your CV is a firing offence at all the companies I have worked for. The principle is that the employee is no longer able to be trusted.
    So out they must go.

  48. Graeme,
    As it is in the government. The Deputy CIO at Dept of Energy was fired for claiming a Phd on her resume that she did not have. Of course, when they investigated, it turned out she didn’t have the Masters or Bachelors she claimed either.
    If this guy ‘puffed’ his resume, he should be fired as well.

  49. Ed (06:23:03) : For those of us outside of the USA and too poor to travel there to every become familiar with them, US rules are not clear. Here in Australia, persons with an honory Doctorate can and often do use the title Dr, but it is considered Infra Dig. Those who do use the honory title are called W**ers by the populace. In fact here in Aussie land, to actually use a real title of Dr outside of acadamia (and even there most times) is also considered to be an invite to either examine someones piles (in public!), or receive a punch in the nose! The only time to flaunt the title is either when you are on TV lying and big-noting yourself for money (understood, so quite acceptable!), or in a court of law as an expert on something or other (perhaps still lying and big-noting oneself, but this time gratis as a public duty!).

  50. Oddly enough my girlfriend has a Ph.D in physics but never calls herself “Dr”.
    For fun I entered her in the Qantas database as “Dr” and she chuckles whenever she gets a letter from them.

  51. NSIDC finally posted about the sea ice recovery.
    I wish someone would explain this comment:
    “The near-record daily growth rate slowed toward the end of the month and has now fallen below the 2007 growth rate. It is important to reiterate this fast rate of growth is not unexpected under current conditions.”

  52. “The repositioning of the legion slowed toward the end of the month and we have now, er, fallen back slower than previously. It is important to reiterate this skillful redeployment is not unexpected considering the intense opposition. Please don’t kill me, my wife and children would starve.”

  53. Here’s a link showing him being addressed as “Dr.” as early as 1995:
    http://globalchange.mit.edu/forums/agendas/MIT-GCF-9_Agenda.pdf
    You know, I’ve been referred to as “Dr.” on a number of occasions, because people assume I have a Ph.D. because of the work I’m in. But I always correct anyone who makes that mistake. I don’t know if we should assume the same kind of mistaken presumption here, but it doesn’t look like he did anything to disabuse people of the notion.

  54. Dear all,
    perhaps a European perspective might help . .
    In many countries you cannot get a
    PhD, but a Doktor, Doctor, Dottore . .
    The customs in each country are slightly different.
    In Italy every person with a degree is a dottore, any teacher a profesore..
    In Germany you can/must add your title to you name once you finished
    your tesis/exams . .
    Depending on your university your Doktor in physics/chemistry or similars will be of science, philosophy or
    technics (for basically the same research you could get a different title depending which university you are at! However the final exam porcedure is slightly different)
    Personally I never met a person with a Dr. h.c. on no other title and I have no idea, if it becomes officially part of the name like a “proper” Dr., but you might check that . . it might be absolutely correct behavior according to German standards (however it might also not be and what that means for an Amercan goverment employe I dont know)
    Best regards,
    LoN

  55. Very well said, F Rasmin. Same is true across the ditch in Kiwiland.
    We just had a senior bureaucrat bite the dust for falsely passing herself off as a PhD in a CV. But I agree Karl should get the benefit of the doubt until proven culpable.

  56. There have been at least two high profile cases in New Zealand in which senior public servants have claimed fictional PhDs; both ‘resigned’ or were outright fired. An Honorary degree is not a PhD, which is awarded on the basis of a substantial thesis; it is awarded as a University’s ‘gift’, recognising significant achievement ranging from a large bequest to community work, including arts, culture or whatever. It is not research based and so using the title ‘Dr’ in an academic context implies a PhD and that, at the very least, is highly misleading. Other Doctoral degrees (D.Litt, D.Sc for example) may recognise a distinguished career in a particular field. Those so honoured would have a PhD anyway in almost all cases and many would be full Professors.
    There have been one or two attempts to pass off degree-mill PhDs as the real thing in academic hiring and they always get caught; I’m aware of one case where a PhD from London was wrongly claimed – that person has also left the academic world.
    Folk may be interested to know that NZ has elected a new government that will be rather cooler on emissions trading than the previous. Since we use a rather arcane proportional representation electoral system, most governments are coalitions. The main minor partner of the previous Labour government was the Greens and NZ had ambitions to be a world leader in carbon control. The new National government is still in favour of a milder version, but is far less evangelical and includes at least a couple of sceptics in its ranks. The main secondary partner is ACT (Association of Consumers and Taxpayers), whose leader Rodney Hyde is a vocal sceptic and has made the scrapping of emissions trading one of his basic negotiating demands.
    He won’t get that, but a lower, slower, much more cautious approach is likely and will have public support. I’ve done a couple of newspaper and radio commentary pieces from a sceptical standpoint and the public reaction has been around 90 percent supportive. The true believers get pretty excitable, though.
    Anthony (and others) thank you so much for this site – its been a revelation for me.

  57. “Cathy (16:29:15) :
    NSIDC finally posted about the sea ice recovery.
    I wish someone would explain this comment:
    “The near-record daily growth rate slowed toward the end of the month and has now fallen below the 2007 growth rate. It is important to reiterate this fast rate of growth is not unexpected under current conditions.”

    This is similar to the Russian reports at the beginning of WWII, in which they would report that their patriotic forces had met the Germans outside of City ‘A’ and inflicted a stunning defeat, with the German’s falling back in disarray towards city ‘B’. Looking on a map reveals that City ‘B’ was 50 miles closer to Moscow than city ‘A’.
    What they are doing is making the4 best of a bad situation that they simply do not want to report.

  58. Those claiming that there was some fraud or what have you involved here on Karl’s part, that he lied to his employer for example, are going to have to ignore a lot of evidence that there were plenty of places that recorded Karl’s credentials correctly. Here are the credentials listed in some 2002 testimony before Congress ( http://www.ogc.doc.gov/ogc/legreg/testimon/107s/karl0725.htm ):

    B.S., Meteorology, Northern Illinois University, De Kalb, Illinois, 1973; M.S., Meteorology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1974, Hon. Doctor of Humane Letters, North Carolina State University, 2002.

    Here is his bio for President-elect of the AMS ( http://www.ametsoc.org/amsnews/bios/karl.html ):

    Thomas R. Karl received his B.S. from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb and his M.S. from the University of Wisconsin—Madison, and was awarded a doctorate of humane letters from North Carolina State University.

    Here is a public affairs release from NASA after Karl received an award from the AMS:

    Karl holds a master’s degree in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin. He is a fellow of the AMS and the American Geophysical Union and past chair of the National Academy of Sciences Climate Research Committee. He is also an associate member of the National Academies. He has received numerous awards for his scholarly work on climate, including the Helmut Landsberg Award, the Climate Institute’s Outstanding Scientific Achievements Award, three Department of Commerce Gold Medals, a Bronze Medal, and the NOAA Administrator’s Award. He recently received the Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive Award, presented to senior federal executives committed to excellence in public service. On December 18, 2002, Karl was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C.

    My guess is that in places where he was listed as “Thomas Karl, PhD” the mistake was probably made by someone else. After all, his not having a PhD is probably a bit unusual for someone who has the career and achievements that he has had and so there would be a general tendency on the part of people to assume that he does. As others here have noted, when we were still graduate students, journals would always put the title “Dr.” in front of our names when they wrote to us…as they surely figured it was less insulting to err on this side.
    James says

    Oddly enough my girlfriend has a Ph.D in physics but never calls herself “Dr”.

    Being in her position, I mainly do the same. It is only in rather rare circumstances that I will choose to use that title. If you listen to “Car Talk”, Tom and Ray’s criterion is that you should have to deal with blood to use “Dr.” in front of your name.

  59. One last thing, if you look up “doctor of humane letters”, you will find that it is always conferred as an honorary degree, so just saying “doctor of humane letters” as was the case in one of the three examples I gave above is not being dishonest. Admittedly, adding the term “honorary”, as was the case in the other two examples, may avoid confusion by those who aren’t familiar with this fact…at the risk of sounding redundant to those who are.

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  61. I have a humble BA (Philosophy), as does my wife.
    Quite some time ago, I had the opportunity to attend a Royal Society soiree (more usually attended by Fellows). It was a last-minute thing – they took our names over the phone, and when I turned up at the door they had engraved name badges for us, which provided admittance. The problem was that both our names were prefaced by ‘Dr’ – apparently the lowest default designation!
    There was no easy way of correcting the error, so we both just wore them. My wife spent quite a lot of time avoiding Sir Roger Penrose (who she worked with in the publishing field, and who knew she was not a Doctor), but apart from that the evening was fine…..

  62. Joel,
    If an AGW skeptic used false or inaccurate academic CV info, it is all we would hear about.
    You can rationalize away all you want about Thomas Karl, but the fact remains: he is being given credit for things he did not accomplish in order to make him sound more authoritative.
    AGW depends completely on arguing from consensus and appeals to authority, supported by ad homs against any who dare question the apocalypse.
    Mr. Karl is one of the big promoters and beneficiaries of this.
    It is only proper to call out when the profits of doom are scamming us.
    Which is basically 24/7.

  63. I don’t have any special expertise in climate or solar science. I have, however, spent the better part of the past 36 years working in system analysis and engineering. Models and simulations are the tools of the trade. When someone claims predictive powers for one, while omitting the entity (e.g. the Sun) that drives the system (e.g. the climate), we’re out of the realm of legitimate differences in technique, and into the realm of deliberate fraud.
    That this clown would misrepresent his credentials while participating in a conspiracy to commit fraud should surprise no one.

  64. From one philosophic Geezer to another:
    My humble and terminal BA is in English Lit, but philosophy is my true love.
    I think that the Plato would not have been susprised at such fundamental concepts of modern physics as quantum mechanics and chaos theory. In the __Timaeus__, he creates a cosmogonic ‘mythos’ in which a divine Artisan shapes a pre-existing ‘stuff’ according to his vision of pure and perfect form. Now, the pre-existing ‘stuff’ is formless and inconceivable but it does exhibit its own irrational and unpredictable modes of behavior, and is not just passively receptive of form. Plato calls this force ‘the wandering cause’, and it must be dealt with by the Artisan as the natural grain of wood or of marble must be by the sculptor.
    How can I drag this back to climate and other topics discussed in this blog? Let me advert to Leif Svalgaard’s warning about falling into ‘cyclomania’. Plato was very interested in cycles, i.e. rationally describable forms of change, and especially in the cycles of celestial objects: but his conception of the cyclic repetition of things should be tempered by an appreciation of the part that the Wandering Cause plays in change. There is, at the bottom of of things, an irreducible element of randomness, turbulence… quodlibet.
    We think we have a grasp of certain repeating phenomena of the ocean-atmosphere couplet: AAM, PDO, AMO, QBO, MJO …ho-ho-ho; but the same never returns, pace Nietzsche, and this cool phase of the PDO will have significantly different charactersitics than that of the mid-twentieth century.

  65. I’m just not all impressed with Ph.D.’s, honorary or not. Been in the Ivory tower and spent 3 years in a teaching medical center. Some folks there would have been better off if the Ph.D. had traded places with the orderly.

  66. Truly, it isn’t the hallmarks of authority here that is important, it is the failure of authority in climate science to adhere to a primary requisite of science, the willingness to question assumptions. The entire corps of true believers in the paradigm of CO2=AGW seem to be unable to re-examine basic assumptions and to prefer to sift the data and procedures until they imagine sense in their observations. What a madness of the crowd!
    =======================================

  67. Joel,
    You may be right. As I said earlier, it has happened to me. I testify as an expert witness, have a decent list of peer reviewed publications in my field of expertise, and have even been a peer reviewer for two academic journals. So I’ve been addressed as “Dr.” a number of times, when in truth I don’t have a Ph.D.
    But there also may be more to the story than just this. He’s actually claimed a Ph.D., not just the D.H.L. You see for yourself here:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20070207131147/http://www.jhu.edu/~climate/thomaska.htm
    Note that this is the wayback machine. The original has been removed.

  68. Re advanced degrees.
    I am reminded of the comment of the great Chaucer scholar John Kitteredge, who was peerless, despite the fact that he had only a bachelor’s. When asked why he did not go through the formality of obtaining a Ph.D, he responded,
    ‘And who would compose the exam?’

  69. Basil,
    The wayback resume you posted demonstrates that this is not a “tempest in a teakettle”. It looks more like the perfect storm, notwithstanding Joel’s attempts to rehabilitate Mr. Karl.
    Mike Bryant

  70. John says:

    Models and simulations are the tools of the trade. When someone claims predictive powers for one, while omitting the entity (e.g. the Sun) that drives the system (e.g. the climate), we’re out of the realm of legitimate differences in technique, and into the realm of deliberate fraud.

    Do you have a reference for the models omitting the sun?

  71. Mr. Karl was also one of the thousands of scientists at the IPCC.
    “Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change
    Lead Author 1995
    Lead Author 1992
    Lead Author 1990”
    I wonder how many of the others have such credentials?

  72. A search of Mr. Karl’s name on the NCSU website brought up this. Note the Mr. salutation:
    http://www.ncsu.edu/about-nc-state/university-administration/board-of-trustees/honorary-degrees/degrees-conferred/karl.html
    “Mr. Thomas Karl
    Mr. Thomas Karl is director of the National Climatic Data Center, the world’s largest data center for climate data and information. He also manages the Climate Change Data and Detection Program Element for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Global Programs. Karl is best known for his work on climate change. He has authored about 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals and more than 200 technical reports. He is the editor of the Journal of Climate and associate editor for Climate Change. He has also been called on to brief the White House and Congress on climate variability and climate change. Karl is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union and has received numerous awards for his climate work. He did postgraduate work at NC State after receiving a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University. He lives with his wife, Dale Ann, in Asheville, NC.”
    Also see this:
    http://www.ncsu.edu/BulletinOnline/12_02/honoraries.htm

  73. Joel, do *you* have a model (one used by the IPCC) that *includes* the Sun? I’ve not seen one, although they may exist. Surely proving the existence of such (all you need do is find one example) is easier than proving it does not exist, given the number of models and their (relative) complexity.
    I, though, am still stunned by >95% probability claims without supporting significance test results. I build Structural Equation Models (some with over 200 variables) and would *never* claim >95% without producing the test statistic.
    So, to mis-quote Monty Python, in regards to the sun’s effect in the models and the probability, I say, “Produce the fromage, forthwith!”

  74. Can this web site incorporate as a non-accredited university?
    Then we can all award each other doctorates! Two years of reading this
    web site at least once a week will be the course of study.
    I already have 2.5 degrees, but a doctorate would be nice too.

  75. OT:
    To: F Rasmin at 15:39.
    It’s when I hear the kind of sentiments you express, I’m reminded of exactly why I like you Aussies so much. Goodonya, mate.
    John the Pom 🙂

  76. “I, though, am still stunned by >95% probability claims without supporting significance test results. I build Structural Equation Models (some with over 200 variables) and would *never* claim >95% without producing the test statistic.”
    This is where my jaw drops, as well. The IPCC throws around these probablilty figures without any mathematical basis for them. For example, in the Summary for Policymakers, they assert, based on a poll of contributing authors, an assessment of a 95% or greater likelihood that most of the observed warming is due to human GHGs. This poll asked the authors to use their “expert judgment” in arriving at these probabilities.
    I’m a Cornhusker fan. Ask me what I think the likelihood is that they win their next game and I may say something like 85%. No one, however, would think that this figure is the result of any calulation, let alone a “scientific procedure.” It’s literally nothing more than an expression of my subjective opinion on the matter. Opinion is, by definition, not science. If the critical question regarding global warming has to be answered by an opinion poll, then that says everything you need to know about the state of the science behind global warming.
    Moreover, the term “expert judgment” is a misnomer with respect to climate scientists. Expertise has to demonstrated objectively. Imagine a trial where a person is proffered as a handwriting expert, but has never actually demonstrated a practical ability to distinguish one person’s writing from another’s. It doesn’t matter how much the person has studied, or how often the person has asserted the ability, what matters is wherther the person has, in prior instances, shown a proven track record of accuraately distinguishing one person’s writing from another’s, and how that compares to the record of an average person.
    I would ask the same thing of the IPPC contributors. Show some past track record of correctly attributing climate fluctuations to specific causal influences. Show that particular techniques of climate reconstructions have been demonstrated to correctly estimate past annual temperatures within specified tolerances. Of course, to ask the question is to answer it. Since there is no way to objectively verify any of this, the assertion that we should rely on the “expertise” of the scientists that advocate the global warming position is an assertion that we should believe in nothing more than a guess.

  77. “”Purakanui (19:23:57) :
    There have been at least two high profile cases in New Zealand in which senior public servants have claimed fictional PhDs; “”
    So Purak; what of the Maori MPs? Are they not alone with the National Party, sufficient to form a government, without the Greens.
    I only just found out that I could have voted in that election; so I guess I will be ready for the next one; if the Yanks won’t have me.
    And I do hope that some sanity prevails in Kiwiland, because your agriforestry more than compensates for the domestic livestock flatulence issue; so NZ really has a negative carbon footprint, if they were allowed to claim it (so does the USA for the same reason).
    But good luck to you all Purak.
    As my high school motto says; Kia Tamatane !

  78. JorgXMcKie says:

    Joel, do *you* have a model (one used by the IPCC) that *includes* the Sun? I’ve not seen one, although they may exist. Surely proving the existence of such (all you need do is find one example) is easier than proving it does not exist, given the number of models and their (relative) complexity.

    All climate models include the sun and it is silly to believe that they don’t. Without the sun providing incoming radiation, there would be no (or at least much less) outgoing radiation to provide the greenhouse effect. What some people might be trying to say is that the IPCC models do not vary the solar forcing over the next hundred years when they ramp up the greenhouse gas forcing. This is presumably true but since we don’t know how to predict future variations in solar forcing and since recent history suggests that the the magnitude of the radiative forcing from any such variations is expected to be much smaller than the magnitude of the radiative forcing due to rising greenhouse gases, there is good reason not to include any variations in solar forcing in the projections.

    I, though, am still stunned by >95% probability claims without supporting significance test results. I build Structural Equation Models (some with over 200 variables) and would *never* claim >95% without producing the test statistic.

    So, you do a totally different sort of modeling and your are “stunned” that they don’t do things exactly the way you do?!? Climate models are not statistical models and so the things that you desire don’t have any meaning. However, it is worth noting that there is some Bayesian modeling done to determine climate sensitivity using climate models to reproduce various empirical climate data (like the temperature drop from the Mt. Pinatubo eruption and various paleoclimate events) and in that case, they do produce probability distribution functions for the various possible values of the equilibrium climate sensitivity. See, for example, this paper by James Annan: http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frsgc/research/d5/jdannan/GRL_sensitivity.pdf

  79. Joel Shore,
    Please provide evidence from IPCC AR4 that the Level of Scientific Understanding for solar is anything above Low.
    Thank you.

  80. “Climate models are not statistical models”
    This is correct. Climate models are comprised of systems of coupled, highly non-linear partial differential equations which attempt to model the atmosphere, chemistry, ocean circulation, ice, radiation, precipitation, and a myriad of related processes. They are solved numerically by discretizing the differential equations in an adhoc fashion and marching these equations forward in time. Of course, there is very little proof that such “systems” are well-posed mathematically or that the codes themselves are actually solving the differential equations they purport to be solving in a consistent and stable fashion, since no proofs exist for proving the stability of the time-marching algorithms, and, more important, many code authors will not release many important details of their methodologies (some do, but not all e.g. GISS Model E). And, if a climate code blows up numerically, they simply apply “fixers” and “smoothers” to “correct” the solutions so that the solutions are in line with whatever the code user wants. And, with suitable adjustments and corrections, and lots of trial and error, they can ** hindcast ** the climate extremely well…

  81. ‘… if a climate code blows up numerically, they simply apply “fixers” and “smoothers” to “correct” the solutions so that the solutions are in line with whatever the code user wants.’
    This is reminiscent of the increasingly complex systems of ‘epicycles’ that were tacked on to the apparent orbits of the planets in order to ‘save the appearances’ for the geocentric model in the face of contradictory data.

  82. Thanx, Basil, for that Wayback Machine archive on “Dr.” Karl, who lists the following information on his personal website:
    Education:
    Northern Illinois Univ., DeKalb, IL B.S. 1969-73
    Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI M.S. 1973-74
    North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC PhD. 1977-78

    [emphasis added]
    Time to replace Mr. Karl with someone honest — and someone who holds a real doctorate.
    [Joel Shore: “Admittedly, adding the term “honorary”, as was the case in the other two examples, may avoid confusion…”
    Note that Karl lists his fictitious PhD specifically under “Education,” exactly the same way he lists his M.S. and B.S. At least we know the B.S. part is true.]

  83. DR says:

    Please provide evidence from IPCC AR4 that the Level of Scientific Understanding for solar is anything above Low.

    That is indeed the level of scientific understanding that is given for solar forcing in AR4, presumably reflecting the fact that there is a factor of 5 difference between the bottom and top ends of the range for the estimated forcing. However, it is important to note that even if the top end is correct, the radiative forcing is still an order of magnitude down from the sort of forcings we will be experiencing due to greenhouse gases. (A more important source of uncertainty in estimating the equilibrium climate sensitivity [ECS] from 20th century temperature record is the uncertainty in the forcing due to aerosols. This is why looking at other events tends to provide tighter bounds the the ECS than the 20th century temperature record does.)
    Frank K. says:

    Of course, there is very little proof that such “systems” are well-posed mathematically or that the codes themselves are actually solving the differential equations they purport to be solving in a consistent and stable fashion, since no proofs exist for proving the stability of the time-marching algorithms, and, more important, many code authors will not release many important details of their methodologies (some do, but not all e.g. GISS Model E). And, if a climate code blows up numerically, they simply apply “fixers” and “smoothers” to “correct” the solutions so that the solutions are in line with whatever the code user wants.

    As to you first statement, if we limited computational models to those things for which the mathematicians have rigorously proved the problem is well-posed, stable, etc., most of our scientific knowledge would be gone. As a practical matter, it is understood that there is chaos in the system, i.e., that there is high sensitivity to the initial conditions. However, it is also shown that when the models are run in an ensemble fashion with perturbed initial conditions, while the exact bumps and wiggles (i.e., the weather and short term climate fluctuations) will be different in each realization, they all do tend to produce the same general change in climate to the greenhouse gas forcing.
    As to your last comment, it is true that the models need to be tuned in some way so that in the absence of any forcings, they are in radiative balance, i.e., the radiation in equals that out. This is not surprising and similar issues exist in a broad realm of different scientific areas. In fact, in quantum field theory (QFT), one has to subtract quantities that are diverging to infinity in order to get finite quantities that correspond to physical properties like the mass of an electron! I well imagine that if QFT had as politically controversial implications as climate science, we would have whole websites such as this one devoted to “QFT skeptics”! Science is hard and, despite the contrived examples you tend to learn about in introductory science courses, very little can be done mathematically rigorously or without approximations.
    And finally, it is worth re-emphasizing that the projections from climate models are not the only reason we have to believe our current estimates for the equilibrium climate sensitivity in response to a radiative forcing. There are also various “natural experiments” that have been carried out over the history of the earth. For example, there are the ice age – interglacial cycles, the eruption of Mt Pinatubo, etc.
    Also, the climate models are not “black boxes” where all you get out is some prediction of future temperatures. There are various pieces you can test, such as whether the water vapor feedback, a major positive feedback mechanism) is behaving as expected. (The conclusion in the peer-reviewed literature is that it is. Some people here, plotting data that they don’t really understand that is freely available on the web but known to have problems, have arrived at a different conclusion. However, to my knowledge they haven’t even tried to present these results in the peer-reviewed literature…likely because they would never past muster.)

  84. Joel Shore,
    Is radiative forcing the only effect that could be attributed to the Sun? Does even small changes in solar activity affect weather on earth?
    You are making unproven assumptions. Are changes in cloud dynamics also orders of magnitude too small? Clouds are also listed as Low LOSU in IPCC AR4. What happens when there are more clouds? Less clouds?
    Water vapor is another slippery slope. Does the atmospheric water vapor behave as climate models say it does?
    If the sun is basically an incandescent light bulb in space, please explain the various previous periods of warmth much higher than Earth is experiencing today.
    Observations trump theory.

  85. I have only once troubled to check the credentials of a job applicant. He had lied. He later became a Member of the European Parliament.

  86. Note that Karl lists his fictitious PhD specifically under “Education,” exactly the same way he lists his M.S. and B.S.

    Also note that the dates he lists seem to correspond to the entire time he was in the program (e.g., for the B.S. it is 1969-1973). This is different from my CV where I gave only the conferral dates. So, perhaps the listing for PhD meant he was in a PhD program for that time…but he never stuck it out long enough to get a degree. In that case, I admit that it is a poor way to list it as it is logical for people to believe that you actually obtained the PhD if you list it under education (although as someone reading that CV, I would likely say: “Hmmm…According to this, it took 4 academic years to get his B.A. and only one to get his PhD…That doesn’t seem to make sense” and would probably ask him for clarification).
    On the other hand, since there are plenty of other places where Karl did not claim a PhD, there seems to have been no pervasive and consistent attempt to claim it as one presumably would if one was intentionally trying to deceive. Rather, this seems like some sloppiness on his part. I think it is reasonable to ask Karl for an explanation of this; I don’t think it is reasonable to declare him guilty of fraud or deception given the evidence and without having asked him for any explanation.

  87. Joel Shore,
    Aren’t you the same guy who recently gave absolutely no benefit of the doubt, in any possible way, to Lord Monckton?
    But now you’re bending over backwards being an apologist for Mr. Karl. Take another look at what Karl put on his personal website:

    Education:
    Northern Illinois Univ., DeKalb, IL B.S. 1969-73
    Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI M.S. 1973-74
    North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC PhD. 1977-78

    That certainly appears to be deliberate misrepresentation.
    If Karl had been awarded an honorary doctorate, why would he put down “1977-78”? An honorary doctorate is awarded at one point in time, not over two years. And if Karl did nothing wrong, why has he deleted that claim from his website? I don’t understand why you are defending Karl’s deception so insistently.

  88. Joel Shore says:
    “As to you first statement, if we limited computational models to those things for which the mathematicians have rigorously proved the problem is well-posed, stable, etc., most of our scientific knowledge would be gone.”
    Hardly. There’s still good ol’ empiricism :^)
    Moreover, we’re not talking about a simple model equation here. Modern climate models are huge, coupled ** systems ** of non-linear equations, so the issues of well-posedness and stability are even more important, in my opinion. That doesn’t include all of the submodels (i.e. parameterizations) which themselves may be solving differential equations for sources of mass and energy which feed back into the main equations.
    And I won’t get into the validation, verification, and documentation issues. Take a look at the GISS Model E for an example of a poorly documented code.
    Joel Shore says:
    “As a practical matter, it is understood that there is chaos in the system, i.e., that there is high sensitivity to the initial conditions. However, it is also shown that when the models are run in an ensemble fashion with perturbed initial conditions, while the exact bumps and wiggles (i.e., the weather and short term climate fluctuations) will be different in each realization, they all do tend to produce the same general change in climate to the greenhouse gas forcing.”
    If the equations you’re solving produce chaos, which as you point out is ignored in favor of the predicted long term changes (which are a function of the tuned forcings programmed into the code), why then use a time-marching numerical method based on the non-linear equations of geophysical fluid dynamics? Just create a simple differential equation like
    dT/dt = Forcing-Function(t)
    You can probably arrive at the same answer with much less work!

  89. JP:
    He pointed out, with great irony, that he had a small piece of the (undeserved) prize owing to his status as an IPCC reviewer. He then went on (with even greater irony) to point out that, having pointed out that this minor little error (which grossly overstated SL rise), was by way of earning his piece of the prize. He had me chuckling though the whole article.
    I think in your haste to wax ironic, your ironometer was malfunctioning.
    (Bloody peasant!)

  90. DR says:

    Joel Shore,
    Is radiative forcing the only effect that could be attributed to the Sun? Does even small changes in solar activity affect weather on earth?
    You are making unproven assumptions. Are changes in cloud dynamics also orders of magnitude too small? Clouds are also listed as Low LOSU in IPCC AR4. What happens when there are more clouds? Less clouds?

    The original statement that I was responding to here was “When someone claims predictive powers for one, while omitting the entity (e.g. the Sun) that drives the system (e.g. the climate), we’re out of the realm of legitimate differences in technique, and into the realm of deliberate fraud.” You have now gotten far afield from what that poster was originally saying and are now essentially arguing that the climate models might be omitting some as yet unknown (or at least not well-understood) process by which solar activity affects climate other than the obvious way of providing the direct radiative input. Well, statements of this sort could be made in any field of science. You can never prove anything in science because it is not deductive…It is inductive.
    Having said that, it is rather difficult to explain the rise in temperature that we have seen over the past 30 years or so as being attributable to some change in solar attributes because no such change has been identified in attributes such as the luminosity and cosmic rays (which can be modulated by the sun’s magnetic field).

    Water vapor is another slippery slope. Does the atmospheric water vapor behave as climate models say it does?

    There has been a fair bit of study of this and the answer seems to be that indeed it does. See here for example: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;310/5749/841

    If the sun is basically an incandescent light bulb in space, please explain the various previous periods of warmth much higher than Earth is experiencing today.

    I don’t see your point. First of all, over longer timescales there can be more variation in solar output than are seen over shorter timescales. However, most of the previous periods of warmth are understood as being due in large part to higher levels of CO2.

    Observations trump theory.

    Not sure what your point is with this statement, which is true…although sort of simplistic (since in the real world, observational data can be erroneous too).

  91. Frank K. says:

    And I won’t get into the validation, verification, and documentation issues. Take a look at the GISS Model E for an example of a poorly documented code.

    If all science based on the work of poorly documented code was eliminated… Well, you get the idea. In comparison to other fields, there are a hell of a lot more groups out there independently coding up climate models…which tends to be a better check on things than trying to check one particular code very carefully.

    If the equations you’re solving produce chaos, which as you point out is ignored in favor of the predicted long term changes (which are a function of the tuned forcings programmed into the code), why then use a time-marching numerical method based on the non-linear equations of geophysical fluid dynamics? Just create a simple differential equation like
    dT/dt = Forcing-Function(t)
    You can probably arrive at the same answer with much less work!

    Better yet, one can look at a whole hierarchy of models, ranging from simple ones like the one you propose (which usually have at least one parameter that must be fed in from observation or from more detailed models) to the most complex ones…which is in fact what has actually been done in the field.

  92. “Well, you get the idea. In comparison to other fields, there are a hell of a lot more groups out there independently coding up climate models…which tends to be a better check on things than trying to check one particular code very carefully.”
    I agree that comparing results from independently developed codes is a good way to develop a consensus on the range of modeling issues from core numerics to the parameterizations. And I should say that there are many groups who ARE attempting to document and validate what they do – CAM 3 is a good example. Unfortunately, you also have the no-so-good, like Model E.

  93. evanjones, if you’ve a spare moment, could you indicate which elements of Monckton’s official bio we are meant to take seriously, and which are irony? They seem to be all mixed up together.
    Thanks.

  94. I hesitate to add to this tempest in a teapot, but is there any such thing as a Ph. D in education? Ed. D would be more like it.
    Remember the old saw: BS means exactly what you think it does; MS means More of the Same, and Ph. D. means Piled Higher and Deeper.
    Seriously, though, Ph.D’s with their sexy grants and their graduate student slaveys are part of the problem.

  95. Joel Shore:
    “It is true that the models need to be tuned in some way so that in the absence of any forcings, they are in radiative balance, i.e., the radiation in equals that out.”
    Perhaps this question is a result of my ignorance, but why do you assume an equilibrium state for the climate system? The fact that the warmest part of the day is several hours after noon, and that the warmest part of the year is one or two months after the summer solstice, indicates that the Earth is never at an equilibrium state at it’s boundary. I could accept that, over some interval, the net radiation received from the sun minus the net radiation expelled from the Earth has to approximate zero, but how do you measure the length of that interval, and more importantly, how do you establish a limit on the discrepancy between influx and outflux at any point in time, or over any small interval, say a year or even a decade?
    This reasoning also applies to radiative transfer between elements of the Earth’s climate system. My instinct tells me that the heat transfer (both radiative and otherwise) across the surface of the ocean, for example, is not in equilibrium. I seem to recall a climate scientist arguing that it would take many years for the oceans to show the rise in temperature necesary to respond to the existing increase in CO2 levels. Does this not imply that that equilibrium across the ocean’s boundary is a constraint that can only be imposed over a very long interval? How do you quantify that interval in a climate model?

  96. Frank K.
    GISS E the whole group should be fired based on that code alone. No documentation, Odd structure, No revision notes, Version ?? hardly worth the quick review. I must admit I took the easy route and followed your link. What about the data sets?

  97. This is a great blog. I read about it in the “Telegraph.co.uk” and have long been a skeptic of the global warming crisis and the theories surrounding carbon dioxide, the greenhouse effect, etc. As a chemical engineer working for a company that serves oil companies, I’m clearly biased. However, I feel that I have some background a sense for what may or may not be fuzzy science.
    If global warming is only a short term trend, it will eventually show itself, and the popular media will be forced to recognize it.
    I’m sure that this blog has been around for a long time. I’m a little slow when it comes to these things.

  98. It is a felony to falsify a US gov’t job application. A really big one. Years ago a senior scientist on the Star Wars program got religion one day and started speaking out against it. The gov’t retrieved his records from way way back, and determined he did not have the degrees claimed. They pulled his security clearance, end of problem and his job.
    No on in the US claims the title Dr. for an honorary degree. And a whole lot of Ph.D’s decline using the title except amongst their peers. Everyone in the gov’t is supposed to undergo at least a minimal background check, but still folks sneak by once in a while. For some reason, they never know when to stop. One gov’t employee made it to a very senior level job at Dept. of Justice before he was canned. DOJ didn’t prosecute, probably because they were embarassed he was able to bs his way for eight months before anyone got suspicious.
    Another employee of a well-known Agency was testifying as an expert witness, and the defense attorney happened to found out his degrees were fake. This of course is the holy grail of cross-examination — ripping into a fake expert witness. There is nothing more satisfying in the practice of law.
    Don’t underestimate how sensitive US gov’t agencies are to this sort of misrepresentation. Civil servants can be stupid, lazy, careless, impolite, and clueless, but to lie about a material fact in writing? That is a sin not forgiven. (Each industry has its own mortal sin, in academia it is plagarism, in the car business it is rolling back odometers.)
    So NOAA is really interested if Karl misrepresented his credentials, especially his enemies at NOAA.

  99. Joel Shore said:
    There has been a fair bit of study of this and the answer seems to be that indeed it does. See here for example: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;310/5749/841
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1140746
    Climate models and satellite observations both indicate that the total amount of water in the atmosphere will increase at a rate of 7% per kelvin of surface warming. However, the climate models predict that global precipitation will increase at a much slower rate of 1 to 3% per kelvin. A recent analysis of satellite observations does not support this prediction of a muted response of precipitation to global warming. Rather, the observations suggest that precipitation and total atmospheric water have increased at about the same rate over the past two decades.

  100. Mike Dubrasich (01:32:26) agreed that we shouldn’t fight fire with fire. Instead he suggested ridicule as a way to combat the AGW hoax. Below is my attempt at ridicule.
    PMSNBC News Alert
    Dateline: Hell, 17 November 2008
    Editor’s note: In our ongoing search for sensationalism and stories that promote our socialistic agenda, Keith Obermouth, who came sooooooo close to getting Tim Russert’s old job, has secured an exclusive telephone interview with the Prince Of Darkness Himself. A transcript of that interview is printed below in its entirety (well, maybe we did a little editing, but only to make the story more sensationalistic and disconcerting to our readers, and as always to further our socialistic agenda). Note to the typesetter, please remove the immediately foregoing parenthetical phrase prior to printing.
    Obermouth: “Has anthropogenic global warming (AGW) impacted Hell in any way?”
    Devil: “Yes and no. No in that man’s impact on the temperature of the earth’s surface is at most miniscule, and to date the temperature of Hell hasn’t risen at all. In fact, over the last year our measurements tell us that Hell, like earth, has become slightly cooler; but that is obviously incorrect because NASA tells us the earth is getting warmer. We’ll have to modify our temperature measuring techniques. Fortunately, that will be easy because when Dr. James Hansen joins us in the near future we’ll use his expertise in this matter.
    “This may come as a shock to you, but just as man has little or no impact on the temperature of the earth’s surface, I have little or no impact on natural law. The temperature of the earth’s surface is outside my direct control. Sure, I’d like the surface to be more like home-who wouldn’t? But just because I ‘wish it to be true’ doesn’t ‘make it true’. [Oops, maybe you’d better not print that last comment. Right now the world’s population, and especially many who live in the United States, thinks they can make anything be true just by ‘wishing it to be so’. The last thing I want is to get mankind to change its way of reacting to the real world. When confronted by observable facts, ‘wishful thinking’ and ‘knee-jerk panic reactions’ are two of my better recruitment strategies.]
    “Yes in that the fear of AGW is producing early arrivals. Deaths from spoiled food, malnutrition, freezing, etc. are increasing at a rapid rate, and we expect the trend to continue. The situation is similar to the DDT scare, which wasn’t perfect but on the whole was one of my better ideas. We netted several million early arrivals with that one. It would have been perfect, but the law of unintended consequences bit me on the butt. The early arrivals weren’t very good workers because their bodies and souls were racked with disease. Getting them into shape to do my work strained my resources. However, in the case of ‘AGW scare’ arrivals, the outlook is brighter. Malnutrition is much easier to fix than malaria. And the thawing out of frozen bodies is trivial for us to handle.”
    Obermouth: “So you think the AGW scare will impact Hell in the future?”
    Devil: “Yes, in fact we’re making plans for the future. Like the IPCC, we use computer models and they predict the early arrival of 30,000,000 souls. Our models show that the transition of energy production from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, whatever the Hell those are, will result in the early deaths of 15,000,000 at a minimum and may reach as high as 45,000,000. As a result, we are expediting completion of our new wing to accommodate the expected 30,000,000 early arrivals. However, unlike the IPCC computer models used to predict global temperatures, our models accurately predict the future not the past. Of course there’s a downside to those early arrivals. It’s a well known fact that the longer a person lives the more likely he is to commit a mortal sin. Thus, shortening an individual’s life decreases the probability that he/she will join us in Shangri-La. But as the old saying goes, ‘a burning log in the stove is better than two on the wood pile’.”
    Obermouth: “From what you say and given the rhetoric of former Vice President Al Gore, Dr. Hansen of NASA and Dr. Pachauri of the IPCC, I infer they are spokespersons for your organization. Is that correct?”
    Devil: “No, and you can believe me on this one. That’s not to say they won’t grace me with their presence at some time in the future. But hey, you insult me by implying I would pick such incompetent boobs. Why just the other day, the organization headed by that idiot Hansen duplicated for October some September 2008 temperatures from Russia; and as a result his mouthpiece, Dr. Pachauri, claimed the earth’s surface was getting hotter faster than anyone expected. When this mishandling of the data became general knowledge, it set our work back several months. It wasn’t fatal to our cause, but it hurt. When I get my hooves on Drs. Hansen and Pachauri, I’ll teach them what for.”
    Obermouth: “Are you implying that Al Gore, Dr. Hansen, and Dr. Pachauri are headed to Hell?”
    Devil: “Duh. And I was told you were smart. I’ll have to reprimand my call screener. Of course they’re headed to Hell. Do you really think my Political Opponent wants to associate with idiots that do MY work? He’s afraid the global warming alarmist crowd will convince the inhabitants of Heaven that Heaven is heating up and will soon be indistinguishable from Hell. In a secret protocol, I have agreed to take them off His hands when they die in return for which He won’t interfere with their earthly preaching.
    “Their arrival in Hell will, however, require that I change both my official name and my headquarters. With all the hot air messieurs Gore, Hansen, and Pachauri will bring to Hell, the temperature here will rise to a level where the walls of Hell will emit sufficient visible light that I’ll be the Prince Of Lightness, not the Prince of Darkness. Then when energy production transitions from fossil fuel to ‘green’ sources, I won’t have enough power to run my personal air conditioner; and like Al Gore, just how much inconvenience can a savior of the world be expected to suffer? As a result, I’ll have to move my headquarters to one of the outer planets.”
    Obermouth: “Thank you for your time. I wish you well.”
    Devil: “You’re welcome. And by the way, as of today PMSNBC hasn’t named a permanent replacement for Tim Russert. Maybe we can work out a deal–I’m known for that you know. Hold on a second while I check my records. (very short pause) Forget it. I don’t need to waste a deal on you.”

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