An open letter from Dr. Judith Curry on climate science

I asked Dr. Judith Curry if I could repost her letter which she originally sent to Climate Progress, here at WUWT. Here was her response:

From: Curry, Judith A

Sent: Friday, November 27, 2009 2:10 PM

To: Anthony Watts – mobile

Subject: Re: request

Hi Anthony, by all means post it. I am trying to reach out to everyone, pls help in this effort. Judy

Judith A. Curry

Dr. Judith A. Curry

Dr. Curry gets props from the skeptical community because she had the courage to invite Steve McIntyre to give a presentation at Georgia Tech, for which she took criticism. Her letter is insightful and addresses troubling issues. We can all learn something from it. – Anthony

An open letter to graduate students and young scientists in fields related to climate research – By Dr. Judith A. Curry, Georgia Tech

Based upon feedback that I’ve received from graduate students at Georgia Tech, I suspect that you are confused, troubled, or worried by what you have been reading about ClimateGate and the contents of the hacked CRU emails. After spending considerable time reading the hacked emails and other posts in the blogosphere, I wrote an essay that calls for greater transparency in climate data and other methods used in climate research. The essay is posted over at climateaudit.org (you can read it at http://camirror.wordpress.com/ 2009/ 11/ 22/ curry-on-the-credibility-of-climate-research/ ).

What has been noticeably absent so far in the ClimateGate discussion is a public reaffirmation by climate researchers of our basic research values: the rigors of the scientific method (including reproducibility), research integrity and ethics, open minds, and critical thinking. Under no circumstances should we ever sacrifice any of these values; the CRU emails, however, appear to violate them.

My motivation for communicating on this issue in the blogosphere comes from emails that I received from Georgia Tech graduate students and alums. As a result of my post on climateaudit, I started receiving emails from graduate students from other universities. I post the content of one of the emails here, without reference to the student’s name or institution:


Hi Dr. Curry,

I am a young climate researcher (just received my master’s degree from xxx University) and have been very troubled by the emails that were released from CRU. I just want to applaud and support your response on climateaudit.org [95% of it 🙂 ]. Your statement represents exactly how I have felt as I slowly enter this community. The content of some of the emails literally made me stop and wonder if I should continue with my PhD applications for fall 2010, in this science. I was so troubled by how our fellow scientists within the climate community have been dealing with opposing voices (on both sides). I hope we can all learn from this and truly feel that we are going to need voices like yours to fix these problems in the coming months and years.


At the heart of this issue is how climate researchers deal with skeptics. I have served my time in the “trenches of the climate war” in the context of the debate on hurricanes and global warming. There is no question that there is a political noise machine in existence that feeds on research and statements from climate change skeptics. In grappling with this issue, I would argue that there are three strategies for dealing with skeptics:

 

1. Retreat into the ivory tower

2. Circle the wagons/point guns outward: ad hominem/appeal to motive attacks; appeal to authority; isolate the enemy through lack of access to data; peer review process

3. Take the “high ground:” engage the skeptics on our own terms (conferences, blogosphere); make data/methods available/transparent; clarify the uncertainties; openly declare our values

Most scientists retreat into the ivory tower. The CRU emails reflect elements of the circling of wagons strategy. For the past 3 years, I have been trying to figure out how to engage skeptics effectively in the context of #3, which I think is a method that can be effective in countering the arguments of skeptics, while at the same time being consistent with our core research values. Some of the things that I’ve tried in my quest to understand skeptics and more effectively counter misinformation include posting at skeptical blogs, such as climateaudit, and inviting prominent skeptics to give seminars at Georgia Tech. I have received significant heat from some colleagues for doing this (I’ve been told that I am legitimizing the skeptics and misleading my students), but I think we need to try things like this if we are to develop effective strategies for dealing with skeptics and if we are to teach students to think critically.

If climate science is to uphold core research values and be credible to public, we need to respond to any critique of data or methodology that emerges from analysis by other scientists. Ignoring skeptics coming from outside the field is inappropriate; Einstein did not start his research career at Princeton, but rather at a post office. I’m not implying that climate researchers need to keep defending against the same arguments over and over again. Scientists claim that they would never get any research done if they had to continuously respond to skeptics. The counter to that argument is to make all of your data, metadata, and code openly available. Doing this will minimize the time spent responding to skeptics; try it! If anyone identifies an actual error in your data or methodology, acknowledge it and fix the problem. Doing this would keep molehills from growing into mountains that involve congressional hearings, lawyers, etc.

So with this reaffirmation of core climate research values, I encourage you to discuss the ideas and issues raised here with your fellow students and professors. Your professors may disagree with me; there are likely to be many perspectives on this. I hope that others will share their wisdom and provide ideas and guidance for dealing with these issues. Spend some time perusing the blogosphere (both skeptical and pro AGW blogs) to get a sense of the political issues surrounding our field. A better understanding of the enormous policy implications of our field should imbue in all of us a greater responsibility for upholding the highest standards of research ethics. Hone your communications skills; we all need to communicate more effectively. Publish your data as supplementary material or post on a public website. And keep your mind open and sharpen your critical thinking skills. My very best wishes to you in your studies, research, and professional development. I look forward to engaging with you in a dialogue on this topic.

Judith Curry

Chair, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Georgia Institute of Technology

References:

My past public statements on climate change can be found at my website http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/climate/policy.htm

My paper on “Mixing politics and science in testing the hypothesis that greenhouse warming is a causing an increase in global hurricane intensity” can be found at

http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/currydoc/Curry_BAMS87.pdf

My presentation on the integrity of climate research can be found at

http://www.pacinst.org/ topics/ integrity_of_science/ AGU_IntegrityofScience_Curry.pdf

Advertisements

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Evan Jones

I think that a demand for openness is going to be the clarion call over the next few weeks. I don’t see how either camp can possibly object.
As for what emerges once the books are opened, time alone will tell.
Openness not only includes the DATA, but also the METHODS.
We all know that the USHCN station average (equally weighted) for raw data yields a +0.14C for the 20th century and with the FILNET adjustment it’s +0.59. (I made the averages personally.)
I would like to know how that number is arrived at.

SABR Matt

I have just one problem with what is otherwise an outstanding commentary by Dr. Curry.
She is still thinking in terms of “deal with” the skeptics. As though we’re just politically motivated thugs out to obstruct the good science in the AGW camp. I don’t know where this impression comes from as I’m not an insider and all I see are the facts…the AGW people get billions of dollars in grant money and skeptics get NOTHING. I bristle at the notion that we’re the obstructionists and the politically motivated folks to be “dealt with” and not Dr. Curry’s intellectual equals.
Here’a s tip…if want to “deal with” the skeptics…maybe you ought to treat us with the respect of any scientist, assuming we have research worthy of commentary. Bottom line…we’re not ALL here with a political ax to grind…but the AGW camp *IS* grinding an ax…whether or not its always intentional…you’re asking us to spend billions and billions of dollars to address a problem you haven’t proven is real. The burden of proof is on YOU. Perhaps rather than seeing the skeptics as adversaries…you should see us as turth seekers just like you. Then and only then can progress be made in the open debate. If you’re right and I’m wrong and you PROVE it…then I’ll be the first to admit my mistakes and I’ll respect all of your efforts all the more.

Cromagnum

O/T … is this video a good easy to ready summary of the Urban/Rural TEmp Issue?

Keith Minto

Is the first paragraph the student’s letter and the rest Dr Curry’s response?

Evan Jones

The way I see it, if temps continue to increase at the 20th century rate (even the “adjusted” rate–which I doubt is valid), there is no emergency, whatever.
That is a “normal” assertion.
But the IPCC says there will be a 21st century warming increase of FIVE TIMES (or more) than that of the 20th century.
That is an “extraordinary” assertion.
Extraordinary assertions require extraordinary proof. And so far as I can dope it out, we don’t even have anything approaching ordinary proof. (And the emails appear to reveal that Chicken Little is moonlighting as Foxy Loxy.)

Dr. Curry,
Thank you for posting your comments and opinions on both CA and WUWT. Here in Georgia we are proud of Georgia Tech, what the institution represents, its research, and graduates. Thank you for doing your job.
I would like to see the science which has induced your graduate students to advocate catastrophic global warming, if that was indeed her/his position. Don’t hesitate to encourage your graduate students to post, argue, and harangue us on blogs to get their message across. Who knows, they might even find some intelligent people here.
Congratulations to you and the graduate student whose email you posted. I appreciate the gesture.

Frederick Michael

FOIA.ZIP has knocked down options 1 & 2. The skeptics will get a long overdue fair hearing. This is both an opportunity and a danger.
There is a range of opinions in the skeptics community and not all are reasonable. We could end up embarrassed if some of this precious opportunity is used up by people on the fringes of the skeptical community.
A well known trick is to interview the looniest person you can find to represent a group you wish to make look bad. Count on this happening over the next few months.

Keith Minto (22:01:08) :
Yeah, I’m confused as to where the student’s letter ends and Dr Curry’s takes up again.
REPLY: This is my fault, her formatting got lost in cut and paste. I have re-formatted the post, making certain that clear delineations exist. Please refresh the page to see it. – Anthony

Don.W

Keith Minto (22:01:08) :
Is the first paragraph the student’s letter and the rest Dr Curry’s response?
Agreed! It is difficult to tell where the student’s e-mail ends and Dr. Curry’s letter begins again. I would like to make a couple of points but do not wish to misquote Dr. Curry.
REPLY: This is my fault, her formatting got lost in cut and paste. I have re-formatted the post, making certain that clear delineations exist. Please refresh the page to see it. – Anthony

Jeremy

Judith needs to re-write this e-mail, it’s completely unclear where the grad students text ends and hers restarts.
Talk is cheap Judith. How about taking a courageous step and setup an FTP server somewhere containing all of your own data and methods in an organized structure? How about directly challenging those holding the keys to instrumental networks to make all their data organized and public? If you have never been funded by public dollars, I would say you can keep it to yourself. But if any taxpayer money has helped pay your bills for ideas/research you did, I feel you are honor-bound to let the taxpayers see what they paid for.
I’ve said it elsewhere, it bears repeating.
If Astronomers detected an incoming asteroid and called on the worlds governments to create a Starship Enterprise to go blow it up, they wouldn’t be hiding their observational data from the world. They would immediately share it so other astronomers can confirm their findings. The same thing should go for climate scientists telling us we’re all doomed.

REPLY:
Fixed, formatting was lost, my fault now restored and improved, please refresh – Anthony

Toto

At the heart of this issue is how climate researchers deal with skeptics.
At the heart of the issue is how climate researchers deal with science.
I can imagine how certain climate researchers deal with grad students who disagree.
My advice to grad students: study with a real scientist. In a different field if necessary.

harpo

I found this in a US Senate Report re: 400 scientists who are sceptical about Anthopogenic Global Warming. This guy must have a crystal ball.
*******************
Atmospheric Physicist Dr. Garth W. Paltridge, an Emeritus Professor from University of Tasmania, is another prominent skeptic. Paltridge who was a Chief Research Scientist with the CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research before taking up positions in 1990 as Director of the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies at the University of Tasmania and as CEO of the Antarctic Cooperative Research Center. Paltridge questioned the motives of scientists hyping climate fears.
“They have been so successful with their message of greenhouse doom that, should one of them prove tomorrow that it is nonsense, the discovery would have to be suppressed for the sake of the overall reputation of science,”
Paltridge wrote in an April 6, 2007 op-ed entitled “Global Warming – Not Really a Done Deal?”

Spenc BC

Still condescending as far as I am concerned. What about her opinion on the science comming out of the CRU? Not much in here about that.

Roger Knights

Keith Minto (22:01:08) :
“Is the first paragraph [under Dear Dr.Curry] the student’s letter and the rest Dr Curry’s response?”

Yes. Maybe the letter should be italicized or indented. (Mod?)
Incidentally, this letter was posted on dot earth this morning. Some of the warmist comments are really jerkish–they have completely bought into the notion that our only motivations are financial or political, and that we have been discredited ten times over by their sides’ rebuttals.
REPLY: This is my fault, her formatting got lost in cut and paste. I have re-formatted the post, making certain that clear delineations exist. Please refresh the page to see it. – Anthony

Roger Knights

Spenc BC (22:20:19) :
“Still condescending as far as I am concerned. What about her opinion on the science coming out of the CRU? Not much in here about that.”

Put yourself in her shoes. If she didn’t signal that she was on the warmists’ side, and that they have nothing to lose from engaging with our sides’ silliness, she wouldn’t get any traction with them.

Policyguy

Matt SABR has a point that deserves attention.
“She is still thinking in terms of “deal with” the skeptics. As though we’re just politically motivated thugs out to obstruct the good science in the AGW camp. I don’t know where this impression comes from as I’m not an insider and all I see are the facts…the AGW people get billions of dollars in grant money and skeptics get NOTHING. I bristle at the notion that we’re the obstructionists and the politically motivated folks to be “dealt with” and not Dr. Curry’s intellectual equals.
Here’a s tip…if want to “deal with” the skeptics…maybe you ought to treat us with the respect of any scientist, assuming we have research worthy of commentary. Bottom line…we’re not ALL here with a political ax to grind…but the AGW camp *IS* grinding an ax…whether or not its always intentional…you’re asking us to spend billions and billions of dollars to address a problem you haven’t proven is real. The burden of proof is on YOU. Perhaps rather than seeing the skeptics as adversaries…you should see us as turth seekers just like you. Then and only then can progress be made in the open debate. If you’re right and I’m wrong and you PROVE it…then I’ll be the first to admit my mistakes and I’ll respect all of your efforts all the more.”
With all due respect to Dr. Curry, it would help if she would recognize that “skeptic” is the definition of “scientist” and stop portraying this issue as a multi level dispute, with “climate scientists” on the unassailable top rung and “skeptics” somewhere below.
This is an ivory tower, elietist point of view that exists only because the “climate scientists” are being paid billions in research grants.
Anthony, thanks for providing Dr. Curry with a platform to reach out to a much broader audience with an objective suggestion, and thank you for providing us with an opportunity to provide some feedback on the subtle attitude that seems to continue to pervade the ranks of “climate scientists” who seem to have forgotten that skepticism is what makes a scientist a scientist.

rbateman

7.14 NINETEENTH CENTURY WEATHER OBSERVERS: A WHODUNIT
Glen Conner*
Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky
5.3 California’s Observers 1859
California had ten Smithsonian Observers in
1859. Of those ten, there were seven professionals;
four doctors, one professor, and two attorneys. W. O.
Ayres was a 42 year old San Francisco physician
born in Connecticut. In Marysville, the observer was
an attorney, W. C. Belcher. Wesley K. Boucher was a
lawyer in a gold mining area of Calaveras County. In
Monterey, Dr. Colbert A. Canfield was a physician
and surgeon. Oliver S. Frambes was a professor in
Santa Clara. Robert Gordon, from Ireland, was a
grocer in Auburn. S. A. Gould was the observer in
Santa Clara but his occupation is unknown. The
observer in Downieville was Dr. T. R. Kibbe. Another
physician, Dr. Thomas M. Logan from Sacramento
was the observer there. In Crescent City, Robert B.
Randall was a painter by trade.
______________________________
As regards to the surface temperature from historical records, I am finding I live in an “edited” area according to CRU. When I check for the expected historical records, I am getting 30-50 years trimmed off the back end.
I can personally attest to seeing Monthy Weather Records in the Sac Bee that listed temperature records dating back well before the current “Official Records”. I find the same situation with Red Bluff, where AMS records give a monthly average high & low temp back to 1872, but the current “Official Records” are over 20 years shy of that date.
I am getting the message that Climate Research Scientists want to bury the missing data and go forward with the politically correct one that supports thier hypothesis.
I do not buy these “high ground” reasonings.
Our weather has been stolen, and I want it back.
Public money was used to gather, edit, erase, hide etc. publicly funded weather observations critical to where the Earth now sits as regards Climate.
Unhand our Weather.
If you cannot account that which was taken, then I must conclude that the models are fed cherry-picked data and cannot be credible.

JK

Great post, SABR Matt!
You identified exactly the same problem that I felt when reading Dr Curry’s letter (and her post at ClimateAudit too for that matter).
I say let truth prevail, is that not ultimately what science is all about?
I hope that ClimateGate will bring us closer to full disclosure of the methods and data behind the IPCC-report.

rbateman

I know I am being hard-nosed about this, but the day that I see serious efforts to restore the Historical Surface Temperature Record is the day I see sincerity out of the Climate Science Institutions.
Fool me once.

Richard Patton

I am a skeptic and can easily let myself get frustrated by Dr. Curry’s tone. However, I can also try to put myself in her shoes and try to see all this from her point of view. From her point of view it seems to me that she has suffered what she sees as unfair attacks by people who are holding untenable positions. I have been in such situations before and it can be very difficult to rise above that sort of thing and try to seek some balance. I think she is to be commended for seeking to reach out and we should find ways to reach out as well. The huge politicization of this issue has led to huge polarization with many on both sides taking absolutist positions (in general). I think we can all agree on the scientific method – seems like it would be good to focus on that.

John F. Hultquist

Ok, so we’ve got a courageous academic, smart, and thoughtful. As already said, though, the tone is a bit off insofar as all good scientists ought to be skeptical.
Having said that, if one needs to deal with “skeptics” one ought to know the issues. I great start is to go to ‘JoNova’ and download copies of ‘The Skeptic’s Handbook” — left side of the page just below the short bio:
http://joannenova.com.au/
One could also download Anthony’s surface station report, found here:
http://www.heartland.org/books/SurfaceStations.html
The individual postings of “How not to measure temperature” are more entertaining so graduate students being used to reading “dryer” material can download the report. The lay-reader might better search for the “how not to” blog posts. Just search.

AStoner

She seems to be more of a ‘polite’ true believer. Her mind seems to be made up that global warming is happening and that is all has to be human caused. The fact that she is polite to us does not seem to have any value. In fact it might just be propaganda meant to peel off gullible fence sitters.

Roger Knights

I wrote above, “Some of the warmist comments are really jerkish–they have completely bought into the notion that our only motivations are financial or political, and that we have been discredited ten times over by their sides’ rebuttals.”
I should have added that on one of the dot earth threads I looked at (either today or yesterday) a commenter posted a link to, and a table of contents from, the skeptical science site that contains a long list of rebuttal talking points contra criticisms of CAWG. That reminded me of something I’ve nattered on about in the past (in company with several others): It would be nice if our side had a rebuttal of the rebuttals list with a matching table of contents, because I believe /suspect that that list of rebuttals (and a couple of other ones their side has put together) has been very effective in keeping fence-sitters and journalists on the reservation.
Here, FWIW, is the table of contents (of rebutted skeptical assertions):
http://www.skepticalscience.com/page.php?p=20
1 It’s the sun
2 Climate’s changed before
3 There is no consensus
4 It’s cooling
5 Models are unreliable
6 Surface temp is unreliable
7 Ice age predicted in the 70s
8 It hasn’t warmed since 1998
9 We’re heading into an ice age
10 Antarctica is cooling/gaining ice
11 CO2 lags temperature
12 Al Gore got it wrong
13 Global warming is good
14 Hurricanes aren’t linked to global warming
15 It’s freaking cold!
16 Mars is warming
17 1934 – hottest year on record
18 It’s cosmic rays
19 It’s just a natural cycle
20 Urban Heat Island effect exaggerates warming
21 Arctic icemelt is a natural cycle
22 Sea level rise is exaggerated
23 Hockey stick was debunked
24 Other planets are warming
25 Greenland was green
26 Water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas
27 Human CO2 is a tiny % of CO2 emissions
28 We’re coming out of an ice age
29 It cooled mid-century
30 Oceans are cooling
31 It warmed before 1940 when CO2 was low
32 Mt. Kilimanjaro’s ice loss is due to land use
33 Polar bears are increasing
34 There’s no empirical evidence
35 Glaciers are growing
36 Extreme weather isn’t caused by global warming
37 Climate sensitivity is low
38 Satellites show no warming in the troposphere
39 The IPCC does not represent a scientific consensus
40 CO2 is not a pollutant
41 If scientists can’t predict weather, how can they predict long term climate?
42 CO2 effect is weak
43 CO2 has been higher in the past
44 Greenland is cooler/gaining ice
45 There’s no correlation between CO2 and temperature
46 Neptune is warming
47 Jupiter is warming
48 Pluto is warming
49 There’s no tropospheric hot spot
50 Greenland ice sheet is stable
51 It’s Pacific Decadal Oscillation
52 It’s the ocean
53 It’s volcanoes (or lack thereof)
54 Less than half of published scientists endorse global warming
55 CO2 measurements are suspect
56 It’s aerosols
57 Can animals and plants adapt to global warming?
58 It’s El Niño
59 It’s microsite influences
60 Humans are too insignificant to affect global climate
61 It’s land use
62 It’s methane
63 It’s Solar Cycle Length
64 Naomi Oreskes’ study on consensus was flawed
65 Water levels correlate with sunspots
66 Solar cycles cause global warming
67 The sun is getting hotter
68 It’s the ozone layer
69 Global temperatures dropped sharply in 2007
70 It’s satellite microwave transmissions

Paul Vaughan

“Mixing politics and science in testing the hypothesis that greenhouse warming is a causing an increase in global hurricane intensity”
I (accidentally?) read this as:
“Mixing politics and science in testing the hypothesis of greenhouse warming is causing an increase in global hurricane intensity”
On a more serious note:
For legitimate reasons, releasing code is not always going to be feasible.
However, capable people should be able to reproduce calculations on their own. At times, it may be appropriate &/or necessary for authors/presenters to help auditors by providing a brief outline of calculations.

Jim Clarke

SABR Matt,
Thanks for voicing my concerns about this seemingly noble response from Judith Curry. Climate realists have been calling for openness for more than a decade. For their efforts they have been crucified as idiots and pawns of big ‘whatever’. Climate realists have been pointing out the evidence of corruption in the climate science community. For these observations they have been labeled delusional and their careers have been impeded.
Now we have proof that the Climate realists have been correct about the broken scientific process all along and that the AGW elitists have been the delusional ones. Still, Judith Curry does not want to acknowledge their superior position on this issue. Instead, she still views them as a problem to be dealt with, and then calls for openness and transparency, as if it was her MO all along.
I believe that Ms. Curry, while sounding a little more reasonable than the likes of Mann and Jones, is still a climate elitist, believing that her viewpoint is correct for ‘social’ and ‘political’ reasons, not scientific ones. Her work supposedly linking increasing hurricanes to man-made global warming had a very serious and obvious scientific flaw, but she refused to address it, preferring to cast herself as a victim of abuse from the dark side.
The bottom line is that the science of man-made global warming has been fabricated, at least to some extent. Does Curry acknowledge this? No way! For her, the science is unquestionable and climate gate is simply an ethical problem that needs to be cleared up for reasons of integrity.
Climate realists are calling real science. Judith Curry is calling for AGW scientists to make a better impression. There is a huge difference and we can’t afford to be sucked in by this obfuscating olive branch.

George Turner

Anthony, can you please post another apology for us not refreshing our pages? I’d have seen your dozen earlier apologies but I haven’t refreshed my page yet.
Heeheehee…
Anyway, I liked her letter even though she, or actually the grad student, regarded skeptics as flat-earthers instead of maybe people who are skeptical of the claims on late-nate psychic network commercials. (Hint: Both claim they can predict the future).

Roger Knights

PS: Our sides’ rebuttals list should be arranged in layers, with a top layer consisting of a short-and-snappy response, beneath which is a more detailed discussion (accessible by clicking), beneath which are yet more detailed discussions, etc.

Roger Knights

PPS: I know that all the warmists’ rebuttals have been rebutted, but they haven’t been assembled into an easy-to-grasp, point/counterpoint format that we can cite.

SABR Matt

I just want to clarify that I am not trying to be too hard o dr. Curry…I respect her already just for her willingness to debate us from an honest belief using real scientific process. I disagree with her conclusions, but that doesn’t mean I think less of her.
My point was to encourage her to show us the same respect I would have us show her. Don’t treat us like the enemy…we want the same thing you do.

Manfred

if 50 % of recent warming is due to ocean currents,
half of the rest due to land use changes,
and some part of the remainder based on fabricated data,
there is hardly anything left attributable to greenhouse gases.
many climate researchers may then become redundant in coming years,
and THAT makes an unbiased view may VERY difficult.

John J.

I’m sure Dr. Curry had the best intentions in mind in writing this, but she really started off with the wrong mindset of “dealing with skeptics.” The issue here is one of integrity. Richard Feynman dealt with the Climategate central issue decades ago in his “Cargo Cult Science” speech:
“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself–and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.
I would like to add something that’s not essential to the science, but something I kind of believe, which is that you should not fool the layman when you’re talking as a scientist. I am not trying to tell you what to do about cheating on your wife, or fooling your girlfriend, or something like that, when you’re not trying to be a scientist, but just trying to be an ordinary human being. We’ll leave those problems up to you and your rabbi. I’m talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you are maybe wrong, that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as
scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen.”
That’s how you deal with skeptics, or anybody else for that matter.

3x2

And yesterday…

“We won the war — the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, and climate and energy legislation is near the top of the U.S. agenda,” Dr. Curry said.

Vincent Moneymaker

How does Dr. Curry ‘deal’ with this quote from a CRU email written by Kenneth Trenberth:
The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong.

Roger Knights: That’s an interesting list, and I have no doubt that a lot of the assertions are true. However, a long list of rebuttals is not necessary because the justification of global warming depends on a very few ideas.
There are three things (I think) that must be true for CAGW to be true.
1. CO2 MUST be the primary driver of temperature on the surface of the earth, either directly or indirectly.
2. The current warm period is without precedent in the history of the earth, expecially since the last ice age..
3. Numerical models are predicting terrible things for the future if we don’t stop emitting CO2. There exists a doubly dangerous global threat just waiting for the CO2 concentration to reach an undefined level, then, WHOOSH! The entire earth will reach a TIPPING POINT at which time it will turn upside down, and the Aussies will finally be on top. It is hard to take this leg seriously.
First of all, we know that CO2 is NOT the primary driver of temperature. Somebody has to produce a study that shows this before we can be expected to believe it. It is true that man-made CO2 does contribute to the temp levels, but, it is not a primary driver.
Secondly, Steve McIntyre has demolished Mann’s phony hockey stick, and without that supporting leg, all you have is hockey-stool, or something like that. The problem here is that Mann doesn’t realize that his science is essentially dead, and he has become a national joke. As long has he and his buddies are protected in their banditry of climate science, the world will never know that truth. It is, and for some time has been, a political battle and will probably continue that way.
Thirdly, models have the problem that with all their explanation of historic climate conditions, the predictive power cannot be measured without observing real world data for a substantial length of time. We have already seen a decade’s worth of data in which the models have been shown to be totally inadequate, and I don’t expect their accuracy to improve.
Good luck on that list.

Mike McMillan

evanmjones (21:53:46) :
We all know that the USHCN station average (equally weighted) for raw data yields a +0.14C for the 20th century and with the FILNET adjustment it’s +0.59. (I made the averages personally.)
I would like to know how that number is arrived at.

Evan, did you use USHCN v2 or the original data set ?
From what I have seen of the Illinois revision, the v2 is going to have a whole lot more than than +.59°C slope.
The station temp charting page –
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/station_data/
seems to be using v2 for its “raw” charts. I don’t know my way around the data sources well enough to find the original raw numbers.
I have all the Illinois USHCN stations on one page, blink charts comparing the original data (July) with the most recent downloads (November). The great majority of stations have had their slopes increased, some dramatically.
http://www.rockyhigh66.org/stuff/USHCN_revisions.htm

D. King

“At the heart of this issue is how climate researchers deal with skeptics.”
The heart of the problem is that climate researchers aren’t trained
to be skeptical. Dogma in, dogma out.

Barry R.

First, Dr. Curry, thank you for taking the very courageous step of coming to this website and to Climate Audit and reaching out. I hope you’re able to help move the debate beyond the artificial division into ‘alarmists’ and ‘deniers’.
You’ll probably be surprised to find that a fair number of people who hang around both here and Climate Audit are moderate to liberal in political orientation, care deeply about the environment and even support the replacement of fossil fuels by less destructive alternatives as soon as that is socially and economically practical, regardless of whether or not global warming is occurring.
You’ll find a range of beliefs here, ranging from people who feel that the whole global warming thing is a conspiracy to enrich politically connected corporations and politicians, to climate ‘agnostics’–people who have no strong position on whether or not global warming is occurring and are here to learn from the interplay of ideas.
I personally think that a lot of the reaction against the global warming message is actually stimulated by it’s more ‘ardent’ defenders. That’s certainly true in my case. Up until a couple of years ago I just accepted what I read in the press about global warming. Then two things happened (1) I started reading things about global warming that seemed wildly alarmist, and (2) I read several articles from supported of the global warming hypothesis that were full of propaganda tricks, primarily ad hominem attacks and use of nasty labels for opponents like ‘deniers’. Both of those things, and especially the propaganda tricks set off alarm bells in my head and I started stopping by a variety of websites, such as RealClimate, CA, and this one. I also read through substantial portions of the latest IPCC final report and several of the working papers.
I was usually very unimpressed with RealClimate, primarily because of the obvious and heavy-handed censoring of any effective opposing opinions and what appeared to be encouragement of ad hominem attacks on skeptics. I’m not always thrilled by everything that goes on here or at CA, but opposing opinions do get through. There are ways of checking that, and yeah it happens.
I was favorably impressed with the working papers of the IPCC, less so by the parts of the Final Report I read, and even less so by the ‘dumbed down for politicians and media’ version. The main problem is that uncertainties were played down more at each level. The main thing that stood out though, was how much the actual IPCC report differed from the media reports of it that I had read earlier. It is very clear that, no, the science on a lot of key aspects of global warming are not settled, that a lot uncertainty remains on the causes and extent of current warming and the extent and impact of future global warming.
It’s late and I may be rambling a bit, but based on my experience, the way to reach the people you probably want to reach is (a) Yes, transparency as you indicated. That’s especially important in the programming end of it. All computer code should be publicly available. No exceptions.
(b) Try to discourage ad hominem attacks on website where you have any influence, especially RealClimate. Those attacks may get the choir revved up, but they are a major turnoff to people like me who come in from the outside. Especially, try to get rid of the ‘denier’ label. That is a major red flag. When I started see it, I had an immediate reaction against the positions of the people using it. I didn’t know whether their position was correct overall, but I immediately started hoping that the evidence proved them wrong. Not exactly the reaction you want, but a rather widespread one from what I’ve seen.
(c) Get the science down to a level people can understand and that they can easily see is devoid of manipulation. For example: for somebody who doesn’t understand a lot of statistics simply looking at a large series of weather stations chosen at random (ones that haven’t moved and hopefully haven’t gone from rural to urban) and seeing that yes, there is an increase in temperatures is far more convincing than some huge data set that goes through all kinds of manipulations and then spits out a result. Here’s what I would like to see: something similar to Google Earth where you could zero in on a location and bring up the nearest climate station with info like the high, low, and average temperatures for as long as that station has been at current location, any known changes in the area that might have influenced the temperatures, and maybe a trend graph. It would be nice to have links to any nearby stations that might cover gaps in that particular station, maybe a picture of the station, and maybe even Anthony’s evaluation of how well sited the station is.
(d) Get people involved in resolving uncertainties and issues in climate science. That’s one of the things that attracted me to WUWT. The survey of weather stations may or may not prove anything, but it put additional useful information out there. There are undoubtedly issues where having the kind of mass participation that sites like this can generate can solve problems that are very difficult to solve any other way. Here is a late night brainstorming idea off the top of my head: Encouraging people to record dates of first and last frost locally, or recording cloud cover. Open sourcing the programming and encouraging people to make it better would also be a good idea.

littlepeaks

Do you think that global warming skeptics will ever be referred to as “scientists”? (sigh)

tallbloke

“There is no question that there is a political noise machine in existence that feeds on research and statements from climate change skeptics.”
Dr Curry should I’m sure be aware of Newtons Laws of Motion.
“To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
The ‘political noise machine’ feeding on research and statements from climate change skeptics is an equal and opposite reaction to the ‘political noise machine’ feeding on research and statements from climate change believers, including IPCC lead authors and CRU members.

sylvain

I tried to post this at climate progress where the original from this letter can be found.
It is informative to realize that hardcore ‘alarmist’ still haven’t learn anything from Dr Curry or ‘climategate’
Censored post:
Dr Curry writes:
“The counter to that argument is to make all of your data, metadata, and code openly available. Doing this will minimize the time spent responding to skeptics; try it!”
The refusal to give access to all that is needed to reproduce ones research is the main reason that I’m skeptic of climate research. If researchers are confident that there work is solid, then why obstruct other from being able to reproduce their work.
“Some of the things that I’ve tried in my quest to understand skeptics and more effectively counter misinformation include posting at skeptical blogs, such as climateaudit, and inviting prominent skeptics to give seminars at Georgia Tech. I have received significant heat from some colleagues for doing this (I’ve been told that I am legitimizing the skeptics and misleading my students), but I think we need to try things like this if we are to develop effective strategies for dealing with skeptics and if we are to teach students to think critically.”
I think it is great that you invited Steve McIntyre at Georgia Tech. But in the case of McIntyre, I’m not sure that skeptic is the right word since he is undecided. Even though he found flaws like the Y2K problem, he also pointed out when Hansen was correct (ex: dispute with Michaels about scenario A,B,C) a few years back. If some of his complaints don’t change much then why be afraid of him. McIntyre like science that is done correctly what ever the result is. Maybe instead of libeling people maybe just agree that there can be difference of opinion on this subject.

Larry Scalf

While I thank Dr. Curry for her reaffirmation of true scientific values, I have the following advice: Stay out of politics! Scientists should only speak when spoken to about the policy implications of the current climate situation, whatever that may be (and I believe it is nowhere near as bad as some people make it out to be). And yes, have a LOT of humility when speaking to the layman about the subject of climate science. There is a lot yet to be learned about our climate, contrary to what you warmists want us to believe. As a lawyer, I know a lot about evidence and its uses and misuses. Quality of evidence is always more important than quantity.

Andrew

The AGW Virus
The AGW Anthropogenic Global Warming virus was first isolated in a lab at the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia.
Virus Signature:
The AGW virus can be recognized by the following signature
——
valadj=[0.,0.,0.,0.,0.,-0.1,-0.25,-0.3,0.,-0.1,0.3,0.8,1.2,1.7,2.5,2.6,2.6,2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor
yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,x)
densall=densall+yearlyadj
——
Detection:
The external effect of the virus is visible as a tendency of graphed data to ‘dip’ in the middle and then rise sharply at then end for no other apparent reason.
Pathology:
The AGW virus and been found to infect both IPL computer programs and research papers. All attempts to mitigate the spread of the virus using the current procedures of peer review and analysis have been unable to contain the spread of the infection. In sever cases the virus has been seen to affect the central nervous system in humans although no direct link to the rabies virus has been demonstrated
Patient Zero:
It currently appears that patient zero was an IPL program known to as “FOI2009/FOIA/documents/harris/tree/briffa_sep98_e.pro”. It is not known at this time what other artifacts may have been contaminated by the virus.
Preventing the spread if AGW:
If you detect that the virus has infected one of papers you should place the paper in a suitable quarantined environment. The peat bogs of northern England and Scotland will provide sufficient protection to the environment if the hole is at least 1.47 meters deep.
If you know of any software that is infected with the AGW virus the proper procedure for disposal is to maintain an alternating 100 Gauss field in the immediate vicinity of the infection for not less then 2 hours, 4 hours is recommended.
Please help prevent the spread of the AGW virus, please model responsibly.

Greg Cavanagh

While looking to confirm 3×2’s quote of Dr Curry, I found this site with the quote and an interesting read.
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09332/1017061-115.stm?cmpid=healthscience.xml

crosspatch

I agree with Dr. Curry that simply opening up the data and methods will put an end to a lot of the pestering of the scientists. I also believe it is going to take a lot of work in getting the stuff in a state where they can do that. Since CRUT has apparently “lost” all of the original data, a new database may have to be constructed from scratch.
And I doubt that they will ever put the entire database out into the open for public use, though they may make it available on an as-needed basis for researchers. The reason I say this is have you ever looked at the price for some of that raw data? Getting station data going back that far is not cheap and the people who provide it are not going to give all of it to someone who is simply going to make it publicly accessible.
But even so, giving a researcher who has a question about a particular grid square at a particular time the raw data for that region and surrounding grid cells with the code used to create the value for the cell in question is simply good practice. They can say “here’s the data and the code, you figure it out”. It is only when they keep things hidden that they cause extra work for themselves.
The data is what it is. If the ACTUAL adjustment process can be looked it by outside parties, if at least the meta data for the raw data can be published, and if the code can be published, the result will stand or not on its own merit. The notion of simply taking someone’s word for it is the main issue here.
And this is why I don’t consider myself really a “skeptic”. Because I don’t know if I can be skeptical or not. I don’t have any confidence in the GISS or the CRUT output. I also see a lot of evidence of natural variability. There simply isn’t enough data of believable quality to know if we are seeing something beyond what might be expected from natural variability. But at the same time there is evidence that natural variability can be quite dramatic in extent and quite abrubt in timing.
Put me in the camp of:
Could human emissions influence climate today ? Maybe.
ARE human emissions influencing climate today? I don’t know with certainty but it appears most likely not.
Could human emissions have an impact in the future if they continue to increase at the current rate? I believe they could have an impact.
Would this impact overall be harmful? Overall probably not. Warming from human CO2 emissions would probably be overall beneficial to humans in particular and the majority of life forms except the most cold-adapted.”
But that is really beside the point at this time. We need first to have a global database of temperature data that is maintained by someone who doesn’t produce a “global warming” model. There needs to be an entity that simply keeps track of “what is and what has been” and let someone else or lots of someone elses research “what might come to pass”. Having that database “owned” by people who have a fairly clear idea creates a lot of “validation pressure”. This validation pressure becomes greater the more outspoken they are on their conviction that their hypothesis is correct.
It is sort of like Exxon owning all the oil on the planet, refusing to let anyone look at their data, and then claiming that there is going to be a shortage starting right now and oil prices will have to double. Would you trust that kind of announcement under those conditions? I don’t think so. So here we have climate “scientists” who “own” the data telling us that things are going straight down the tubes if we don’t fork over trillions — a good bit of which will go to climate research and straight into the pockets and prestige of the people owning the database.
Bottom line: It just doesn’t pass the most basic smell test.

Jim Clarke

SABR Matt,
I do not believe that Ms. Curry wants the same thing we do. We want good, rational science. We want people to discuss the science and consider all the evidence, not just the data that supports their beliefs.
When the Webster et al, paper was published, supposedly connecting increasing hurricane counts to man-made global warming, Judith Curry was contributing to a few blogs that I regularly enjoyed. The paper used the hurricane record as it exists and did not consider the constant increase in observational technologies over the last 150 years, resulting in a general increase in the number and intensity of storms reported. The assumption was that the hurricane record was indeed the reality throughout time. If you carry this assumption back even further, you can draw the conclusion that Atlantic Hurricanes did not exist at all before 1492, since there were no observations of them. The assumption was horrible, and the paper was useless, yet Curry refused to acknowledge the scientific fallacy at the root of the paper they created and foisted on the eager mainstream media.
When other scientists on the blogs pointed out the problem with the paper, Curry failed to address the science and portrayed herself as a victim, as if she was being personally attacked by Exxon. She even took the time to produce a lengthy list of logical fallacies that were allegedly being used against her. I just wanted her to explain their rationale for treating the hurricane record of 1900 as if it was just as accurate and robust as the record from 2000, but she would not talk about the actual science.
Even now, she avoids the obvious weakness in the AGW science that is revealed by Climategate, focusing solely on the ‘inappropriate behavior’ of a few colleagues. It is obvious that she does not question the AGW mantra and believes those that do question it “need to be dealt with”.
She is not debating the science, and I don’t think she ever will. If she does, then I will believe she is seeking scientific truth and I will show her respect.
Until then, praising Judith Curry is like praising a ‘kind’ slave owner. In comparison, she may look pretty good, but she still views the AGW crisis skeptic as ‘inferior’ and less worthy than her more esteemed crisis colleagues. Judith Curry does not want to treat climate crisis skeptics as equals…she wants them to go away! Don’t be lulled in by her sugar coated insults.

Roger Knights

bob (23:36:15) :
“Roger Knights: That’s an interesting list, and I have no doubt that a lot of the assertions are true. However, a long list of rebuttals is not necessary because the justification of global warming depends on a very few ideas.”

A full point/counter-point list is not logically necessary, but it is rhetorically necessary. I.e., all the enemy’s seeming “hits” must be undone in order to win over the audience as completely as possible.

Roger Knights

PS: I should add that our side doesn’t have a refutation of every alarmist bit of data or argument, and we should concede that all we can do in some portions of the dispute is cast doubt, or say we have no answer for that yet. But, since they have an extraordinary claim to prove, our making those concessions still leaves them far short of their goal of proof.

RayB

I’d like to thank this young lady for being open minded and advocating open science.
I am offended by being labeled. Most certainly I am a skeptic, but changing my mind is as simple as showing verifiable conclusions via the scientific method, devoid of bias and lies. Labeling me and generalizing only makes me angry,for like the racism that shares the same model, it offers nothing to the discussion other than lowering the standard of discourse.
Most certainly there are environmental issues to deal with. It isn’t like when we crush the CO2 bogey man for once and for all, the world will sparkle blue and life will be all puppies and rainbows. Graceful exit from the AGW collective may be a challenge, but there is certainly plenty for the climate science professional to discover and research.
We pay you guys hundreds of billions of dollars. All we want is the scientifically verifiable truth. If that is too much to ask, maybe we have hired the wrong guys. There are a lot of good men and women in the field deserving of those grants.

P Gosselin

I e-mailed her directly.
She ought to start by practicing science. That is she ought to be demanding :
1. CRU abide by the FOIA,
2. that authors of other papers make their data and methods open.
At school before the, pre-progressive times, it was:
SHOW YOUR WORK, OR YOU GET A BIG ZERO!
How tough is that to understand?

P Gosselin

And that doesn’t mean showing your work only to your friends.
Unless, she engages in points 1 and 2 above, then she ‘s FULL OF IT.
I don’t care how decorated her resume is.