Trenberth's upcoming AMS meeting talk: ClimateGate Thoughts

Dr. Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) a U.S. publicly funded research center, uses the term “denier” six times in this upcoming talk, which he has submitted as a preprint to the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in full public view. I’m reproducing it in full below, with only one comment: he uses the word “denier” six times in his address, one that will reach hundreds if not thousands of AMS members. I’m disappointed that the AMS embraces this language. His planned talk is enlightening, I suggest that everyone read it in full. Dr. Trenberth also helpfully includes his NCAR email address in the publicly available document, such that if anyone has any suggestions for him on how he might improve this address to the AMS before he gives it, he can be sent comments.

UPDATE: Physicist Luboš Motl has some thoughts, see here

UPDATE2: Steve McIntyre weighs in with some historical perspective as does Warren Meyer with A New Scientific Low

UPDATE3: Willis Eschenbach offers an open letter to Dr. Trenberth – highly recommended reading.

Source:
AMS, 23-27 January 2011, Seattle, Washington

“Joint Presidential Session on Communicating Climate Change,”

Wednesday, 26 January 2011: 1:45 PM
609 (Washington State Convention Center)
Kevin E. Trenberth, NCAR, Boulder, CO 

Manuscripts
  • ClimategateThoughts4AMS_v2.pdf (269.5 kB)
  • This talk is in honor of my friend and colleague Stephen Schneider, who was pre-eminent in communicating climate change to the public. I have given many public talks on climate change, and I have always tried to emphasize the observational facts and their interpretation, rather than the less certain projections into the future. I will illustrate how I have always tried to present the material in a fairly policy neutral way, and I have pointed out ways to encourage discussion about value systems and why these lead to potentially different actions about what one does about climate change. For many years now I have been an advocate of the need for a climate information system, of which a vital component is climate services, but it is essential to recognize that good climate services and information ride upon the basic observations and their analysis and interpretation. The WCRP Observations and Assimilation Panel, which I have chaired for 6 years, has advocated for the climate observing system and the development of useful products. Moving towards a form of operational real time attribution of climate and weather events is essential, but needs to recognize the shortcomings of models and understanding (or the uncertainties, as Steve would say). Given that global warming is unequivocal, the null hypothesis should be that all weather events are affected by global warming rather than the inane statements along the lines of “of course we cannot attribute any particular weather event to global warming”. That kind of comment is answering the wrong question.

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

    The above is the foreword posted on the AMS website along with the link to the PDF there. Here’s the text of PDF of his upcoming talk, which I’ve saved locally also in case the main one disappears or is changed.

    ClimategateThoughts4AMS_v2

    AMS, 23-27 January 2011, Seattle, Washington

    “Joint Presidential Session on Communicating Climate Change,”

    COMMUNICATING CLIMATE SCIENCE AND THOUGHTS ON CLIMATEGATE

    Kevin E Trenberth*

    NCAR, Boulder, CO 80307

    1. INTRODUCTION: CLIMATEGATE

    This article briefly summarizes my views that have formed in recent years on communicating climate change in the light of first hand experiences in so-called “climategate”. The latter term refers to the emails and personal information about individuals, including me, that were illegally taken from the University of East Anglia through a hacking incident. The material published relates to the work of the globally-respected Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and other scientists around the world. The selective publication of some stolen emails taken out of context and distorted is mischievous and cannot be considered a genuine attempt to engage with the climate change issue in a responsible way. Instead there should be condemnation of the abuse, misuse and downright lies about the emails: that should be the real climategate!

    I was involved in just over 100 of the hacked email messages. In my case, one cherry-picked email quote went viral and at one point it was featured in over 110,000 items (in Google). Here is the quote: “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.” It is amazing to see this particular quote lambasted so often. It stems from a paper I published bemoaning our inability to effectively monitor the energy flows associated with short-term climate variability. It is quite clear from the paper that I was not questioning the link between anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and warming, or even suggesting that recent temperatures are unusual in the context of short-term natural variability. But that is the way a vast majority of the internet stories and blogs interpreted it.

    *Corresponding author: Kevin E Trenberth, NCAR, PO Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80303.

    Email: trenbert@ucar.edu

    Several of the emails document the detailed procedures used in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR4 Fourth Assessment report for Chapter 3 (for which Phil Jones and Kevin Trenberth were coordinating lead authors) and other chapters. In a hacked email from Phil Jones (not cc’d to me), he wrote: “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!” AR4 was the first time Jones was on the writing team of an IPCC Assessment. The comment was naïve and sent before he understood the process and before any lead author meetings were held. It was not sanctioned by me. Both of the papers referred to were in fact cited and discussed in the IPCC. As a veteran of 3 previous IPCC assessments I was well aware that we do not keep any papers out, and none were kept out. We assessed all papers even though not all could be included owing to space limitations. Moreover, the extensive review process, which is a hundred times more rigorous than that for any individual paper, brought to our attention any papers we may have missed.

    Three investigations of the alleged scientific misconduct of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia — one by the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, a second by the Scientific Assessment Panel of the Royal Society, chaired by Lord Oxburgh, and the latest by the Independent Climate Change E-mails Review, chaired by Sir Muir Russell — have confirmed what climate scientists have never seriously doubted: established scientists depend on their credibility and have no motivation in purposely misleading the public and their colleagues. Moreover, they are unlikely to make false claims that other colleagues can readily show to be incorrect. They are also understandably (but inadvisably) reluctant to share complex data sets with non-experts that they perceive as charlatans (Hasselman 2010).

    Scientists make mistakes and often make assumptions that limit the validity of their results. They regularly argue with colleagues who arrive at different conclusions. These debates follow the normal procedure of scientific inquiry. The IPCC assessments are a means of taking stock and avoiding some of the “noise” created by the different approaches and thereby providing conservative but robust statements about what is known and what is not.

    2. THE DENIERS

    But their critics are another matter entirely, and their false claims have not been scrutinized or criticized anything like enough! Perhaps climategate comes from the somewhat inept response of climate scientists to criticisms from various sources. The climate change deniers have very successfully caused major diversions from the much needed debate about what to do about climate change and how to implement it. It is important that climate scientists learn how to counter the distracting strategies of deniers. Debating them about the science is not an approach that is recommended. In a debate it is impossible to counter lies, and caveated statements show up poorly against loudly proclaimed confident statements that often have little or no basis. Scientific facts are not open to debate and opinion because they are evidence and/or physically based. Moreover a debate actually gives alternative views credibility. On the other hand there is a lot of scope for debate about exactly what to do about the findings.

    3. THE MEDIA

    The media have been complicit in this disinformation campaign of the deniers. Climate varies slowly and so the message remains similar, year after year — something not exciting for journalists as it is not “news”. Controversy is the fodder of the media, not truth, and so the media amplify the view that there are two sides and give unwarranted attention to views of a small minority or those with vested interests or ideologies. The climate deniers have been successful in by-passing peer review yet attracting media attention. In those respects the media are a part of the problem. But they have to be part of the solution.

    4. THE SCIENTISTS

    The main societal motivation of climate scientists is to understand the dynamics of the climate system (both natural and human induced), and to communicate this understanding to the public and governments. Most climate scientists have the goal of establishing the best information about the state of affairs as a basis for subsequent discussion about what to do about it: policy relevant but not policy prescriptive. They have faith in the scientific method and the efficacy of the established peer-review process in separating verifiable scientific results from baseless assertions. They find it disturbing that blogs by uninformed members of the public are given equal weight with carefully researched information backed up with extensive observational facts and physical understanding.

    While statements about climate change are cautious and all sorts of caveats are applied by scientists, or else they are criticized by colleagues, the same is not true for the deniers. Many scientists withdraw from the public arena into the Ivory Tower after being bruised in skirmishes with the public via the press. Others are diverted from their science to address the concerns. There is continued pressure to do policy relevant but not policy prescriptive science. Scientists who cross the line to being advocates for courses of action are often perceived as pariahs by their colleagues because their science is potentially biased.

    Many scientists also do not help with regard to communicating the role of global warming in climate. Prior to the 2007 IPCC report, it was appropriate for the null hypothesis to be that “there is no human influence on climate” and the task was to prove that there was. The burden of proof is high. In general in this case, scientists assume that there is no human influence and to prove that there is requires statistical tests to exceed the 95% confidence level (5% significance level) to avoid a chance finding of a false positive. To declare erroneously that the null hypothesis is not correct is called a type I error, and the science is very conservative in this regard about making such an error. Scientists are thus prone to make what are called type II errors whereby they erroneously accept the null hypothesis when it is in fact false.

    Given that global warming is “unequivocal”, to quote the 2007 IPCC report, the null hypothesis should now be reversed, thereby placing the burden of proof on showing that there is no human influence. Such a null hypothesis is trickier because one has to hypothesize something specific, such as “precipitation has increased by 5%” and then prove that it hasn’t. Because of large natural variability, the first approach results in an outcome suggesting that it is appropriate to conclude that there is no increase in precipitation by human influences, although the correct interpretation is that there is simply not enough evidence (not a long enough time series). However, the second approach also concludes that one cannot say there is not a 5% increase in precipitation. Given that global warming is happening and is pervasive, the first approach should no longer be used. As a whole the community is making too many type II errors.

    So we frequently hear that “while this event is consistent with what we expect from climate change, no single event can be attributed to human induced global warming”. Such murky statements should be abolished. On the contrary, the odds have changed to make certain kinds of events more likely. For precipitation, the pervasive increase in water vapor changes precipitation events with no doubt whatsoever. Yes, all events! Even if temperatures or sea surface temperatures are below normal, they are still higher than they would have been, and so too is the atmospheric water vapor amount and thus the moisture available for storms. Granted, the climate deals with averages. However, those averages are made up of specific events of all shapes and sizes now operating in a different environment. It is not a well posed question to ask “Is it caused by global warming?” Or “Is it caused by natural variability?” Because it is always both. It is worth considering whether the odds of the particular event have changed sufficiently that one can make the alternative statement “It is unlikely that this event would have occurred without global warming.” For instance, this probably applies to the extremes that occurred in the summer of 2010: the floods in Pakistan, India, and China and the drought, heat waves and wild fires in Russia.

    Another point is that we have substantial natural climate variability from events like El Niño and La Niña. Given that global warming is always going in one direction, it is when natural variability and global warming reinforce one another that records are broken and extremes occur. This takes place with warming in the latter part of and shortly after an El Niño event, for instance, as has happened in 2010.

    When asked about what could and should be done about climate change, many scientists back away for fear of being labeled advocates. However, scientists should note that the IPCC strives to carry out policy relevant but not policy prescriptive science assessments, with considerable success. Given the physical science findings, what are the ramifications for society and the environment? It is important for scientists to recognize that Working Group II of IPCC deals extensively with the past and future expected impacts of climate change, the vulnerabilities that exist, and the adaptation and coping strategies for dealing with these. Similarly, Working Group III deals with options for mitigating the problem by reducing future emissions of greenhouse gases. Scientists should recognize that these options exist and, to the extent they are familiar with them, state what they are. Scientists should also be aware of the national and international discussions and negotiations underway to address the problem. Putting a price on carbon, carbon taxes and offsets, and cap and trade systems can be discussed in a neutral way to inform the public.

    Personally, I close this aspect of my presentations with a statement that “you will be

    affected by climate change, and you already are, whether you believe it or not. But more than that, you will be affected by the outcomes of legislation and international treaties, perhaps even more!” As an example of misguided legislation one can point to the subsidies for production of ethanol from corn in the United States which produces marginal gains in fuel without adequately accounting for the damage to soils and other environmental aspects, and effects on the food supply.

    5. THE POLITICIANS

    The argument is that to make decisions, all aspects of the problem must be taken into account and it is the politicians who are supposed to do this, not the scientists, in order to represent all interests. My own observation is that while some politicians are indeed well informed and understand their role, most are not. The corrupting influence of funding from all sources of vested interests prevents many of them from doing the right thing on behalf of the country and civilization as a whole. It is clear that climate science has become politicized, and scientists are slow to recognize this. Politicians hide behind the apparent uncertainties and have failed to act. Hence while politicians are often also part of the problem, implementation of policies necessarily goes through them.

    In the days of hundreds of TV channels and the internet, people do not have to hear “inconvenient truths” and become informed. As scientists we can continue to try with our message of what is happening and why, what is expected in the future, and what options there are to change the outcome, but we need to do more.

    6. WHAT CAN BE DONE?

    Environmental groups and one segment of scientists have focused on what is called “mitigation” that aims to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and slow and ultimately stop climate change in its tracks. Decarbonizing the economy is very important for many reasons, not the least of which is climate change. However, by itself, I view this as short-sighted, as the steps required are so revolutionary as to be highly unlikely to be achieved. Instead, we must recognize that while there is considerable merit in slowing the pace of climate change, and we should work to reduce emissions, it is also essential that much stronger steps be taken to plan for and adapt to the change that is surely coming. How we cope with challenges ahead and build more resiliency in our system, are major questions that should be higher on the agenda.

    The major failures in making progress, such as in Copenhagen in December 2009, imply that we should be more accepting that climate disasters are inevitable, along with environmental refugees, and so what are we going to do with them? Some steps in this direction were taken in the recent meeting in Cancun. It is too bad if success means that we are able to limit the outcome to an ongoing series of environmental disasters that inevitably happen locally as hurricanes strike, heat waves and wild fires take their toll, droughts cause famine, and water shortages or flooding (ironically — in different places, or different times) cause mayhem. The summer of 2010 with floods in Pakistan, India, and China, and devastating drought, heat waves and wild fires in Russia, is a case in point. Indeed, 2010 provided many such examples from the New England flooding and “Snowmageddon” in the Washington D.C. area in February and March to the flooding in California associated with a “Pineapple Express” of moisture from extending from the Hawaiin Islands to California in December. Growth of these disasters into a major catastrophe, war and strife, is something to be avoided if at all possible, but it is likely where we are headed.

    The growing population and demands for higher standards of living mean that the planet is already over-populated, and far too many things are simply not sustainable in anything like their current form. The atmosphere is a global commons, shared by all. As we continue to exploit it and use it as a dumping ground, the outcome is the “tragedy of the commons” and we all lose. Unfortunately, society is not ready to face up to these challenges and the needed changes in the way we create order and govern ourselves. Population issues are largely missing from the discussion, such as it is. Nonetheless, a number of pragmatic steps are possible, but they require planning for decades ahead, not simply the time until the next election.

    Building a better observing system for climate, better climate and earth system models and predictions, and the associated improved information system and climate services is one essential step (Trenberth 2008) as it reduces uncertainties, but uncertainties and natural variability are never going away. Nevertheless, the natural variability provides valuable opportunities for ongoing “news” and education, as teachable moments, but many scientists have not been helpful, and many TV weathercasters are poorly informed and sometimes downright hostile (Wilson 2009).

    It continues to be frustrating at how difficult it is to find out just what has happened and the context from US government sources. Ironically, it is easier to find a forecast (e.g., http://www.cpc.noaa.gov ), than it is to find and analysis and assessment of what has happened and why. Waiting 6 years for the next IPCC report is not an option. The media continue to report highly misleading material about how cold outbreaks, snow events, or one cold month nullifies global warming when the big picture continues to indicate otherwise.

    Routine climate services and regular assessments of the state of the climate and the short-term prognosis as part of a climate service, much as is done for weather forecasts, is an essential development. At present this is being approached at best in a piecemeal fashion, and the needed investment is not available. It should be a high priority and linked to any climate legislation on mitigation and adaptation.

    Climate change is a complex and multifaceted problem, involving not just the environment, but also energy, water, sustainability, the economy, foreign policy and trade, security and defense. Far too little is happening on all fronts: communicating and informing the public, reducing emissions and building new energy infrastructure by decarbonizing the economy (mitigation), and planning to cope with future climate change and its consequences.

    REFERENCES

    Hasselmann, K., 2010: The climate change game. Nature Geoscience, doi:10.1038/ngeo919, 511-512.

    Trenberth, K. E., 2008: Observational needs for climate prediction and adaptation. WMO Bulletin, 57 (1), 17-21.

    Wilson, K., 2009: Opportunities and obstacles for television weathercasters to report on climate change. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 90, 1457-1465

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    Given that global warming is unequivocal, the null hypothesis should be that all weather events are affected by global warming rather than the inane statements along the lines of “of course we cannot attribute any particular weather event to global warming”.
    Such people used to be tarred and feathered in the past. Unbelievable.

    “unequivocal”
    To paraphrase Inigo Montoya in “The Princess Bride”: He keeps using that word. I do not think it means what he thinks it means.
    [True dat. ~dbs]

    I may be far off the mark here and slightly off topic but once again I see climategate referred to as a hacking incident with the emails illegally taken off the servers. Has this ever been proven that it was actually hacked as I do not recall any official report coming out saying who hacked it and when but rather I see many muddied references to it being hacked in an effort to detract from the information by damaging its source.
    As a lot of the information included in the emails were relevant to several FOI requests both before and after the leak of these emails, they should have already been in the public domain. Isn’t it time the warmists moved on from their you hacked us mantra and stopped causing major diversions and distractions by bigging up an unproven source for the information rather than enter into full disclosure and a complete free discussion of the information contained.
    I always see these people dismissing the mikes trick, however I have not seen them reply with why we should trust the data which was shown to be so polluted with garbage in the readme file. I can only assume that,careful cherry picking of the data is in operation, much like it is to back up the whole AGW position.

    ValoSnah

    [snip. Read the Policy page. Calling other commentators “deniers” is unacceptable. ~dbs, mod.]

    Robinson

    Nevertheless, the natural variability provides valuable opportunities for ongoing “news” and education, as teachable moments, but many scientists have not been helpful, and many TV weathercasters are poorly informed and sometimes downright hostile

    Did I read this right? He’s basically saying that scientists should use any single “weather” event to promote the environmentalist cause (which they do, of course). It’s heartening to know that many weathermen/women have sometimes been downright hostile!

    The scariest part:
    “Scientific facts are not open to debate or opinion because they are evidence and/or physically based. Moreover a debate actually gives alternative views credibility.”
    In Trenberth’s mind the concepts of Science and Religion are completely switched.
    A fact which is “not open to debate” is by pure definition NOT a scientific fact. It is an axiom of faith for the adherents of one particular faith. And the entire purpose of science is to bring in alternative views for some form of debate or counterpoint.

    Rick Bradford

    His section on the media turned me right off anything else valuable he might have to say, with its complete cognitive dissonance and circular arguing.

    The media have been complicit in this disinformation campaign of the deniers.

    How anyone can see the MSM in the US, UK or Australia as anything but enthusiastic shills for AGW beats me. And to say the MSM has deliberately chosen such a stance (which is what the word ‘complicit’ means), is a serious if equally absurd charge.

    ..the media amplify the view that there are two sides and give unwarranted attention to views of a small minority … In those respects the media are a part of the problem. But they have to be part of the solution.

    That only holds if you have already decided in advance what ‘the solution’ is, and so expect the MSM to do your bidding.
    Trenberth et al need to realise that the more they make these shrill and repetitive denunciations of ‘deniers’, the more people turn off from their message.

    Philip Finck

    Well there we go. Science shouldn’t be debated or questioned by the unwashed masses since scientists are supreme beings, all deniers should be totally ignored and never engaged. ….. scientists never overstate the obvious, man made global warming has been proven with a greater than 95% confidence, and EVERY weather event is caused by AGW.
    The guy is an absolute nut! He isn’t a scientist, he thinks he is a PROPHET!
    His idea of science is that it is a religion. Utterly bizarre.

    John R T

    ´Growth of these disasters into a major catastrophe, war and strife, is something to be avoided if at all possible, but it is likely where we are headed.´ – section 6. WHAT CAN BE DONE?
    Imposing taxes on successful civilizations, in order to bribe failed cultures, neither answers the question nor is ethical.

    orkneygal

    What an evil speech.

    I can’t decide if the logic hand waving he uses to justify a new null hypothesis is a textbook example of confirmation bias, or simply a statement of religious dogma.
    Ah blind faith:

    Even if temperatures or sea surface temperatures are below normal, they are still higher than they would have been…

    Mike Haseler

    What a sickening piece. I read as far as “Scientists make mistakes …” and decided I’d given this idiot too much of my time.
    Scientists don’t make mistakes. They make testable hypothesis which they then subject to test. It is not a mistake if they are wrong, because science is based on the belief that all assertions could be found to be wrong when or if the right experimental conditions were created.
    That is why science progresses … because real scientists don’t think in terms of “mistakes” but in terms of “testable hypothesis” and they progress by testing those hypothesis not by stating that their best chum is a marvellous fellow and everyone who disagrees with them are therefore wrong.

    Ian W

    Yes, all events! Even if temperatures or sea surface temperatures are below normal, they are still higher than they would have been, and so too is the atmospheric water vapor amount and thus the moisture available for storms.
    Here we have the art of the unfalsifiable hypothesis: The SST are colder and the water vapor is lower but they are higher than they would have been….. ?

    Red Nek Engineer

    You should also respond directly to the AMS Executive Director, Keith Seiter, who schooled under his predecessor Dick Hallgren, who was Al Gore’s phone mate.
    He has been pushing the AGW agenda (like their counterparts at the AGU) in their journals and conferences. They have been arm twisting TV mets to become evangelists for the cause, subtly hinting their seals could be at risk.
    He told me personally over lunch that sites like WUWT and Icecap were not helpful to the science (his science).
    Trenberth is an enigma – sometimes admitting they don’t have all the answers, and the science is not where it needs to be and other times like in this address that their thinking is not open for question.
    You can express your opinion to Keith at kseitter@ametsoc.org

    Roger Carr

    Sarah says: (January 13, 2011 at 3:14 am)
    …however I have not seen them reply with why we should trust the data which was shown to be so polluted with garbage in the readme file.
    My feelings exactly, Sarah; often voiced.
    Have you read “Is it in their Nature to lie?”

    kim

    Heh, like a small child, wrong at the top of his lungs.
    ===============

    Garry

    I am gobsmacked that activist Gaian cultists such as Trenberth and Hansen remain on the public payroll while spouting their alarmist left-wing ideologies, and equally surprised that organizations such as AMS would give them a podium.
    Literally ever paragraph of his presentation is a proclamation of bizarre and hypocritical Gaian nonsense, for example directing his charges at the various groups that are impeding the progress of the alarmist religion, and then asserting that “Controversy is the fodder of the media, not truth, and so the media amplify the view that there are two sides.”
    Unbelievable.

    James Griffiths

    “Given that global warming is “unequivocal”, to quote the 2007 IPCC report, the null hypothesis should now be reversed, thereby placing the burden of proof on showing that there is no human influence.”
    That a scientist should endorse the idea that the correct procedure for the evaluation of science is by a political committee is very concerning.

    Bill Illis

    When your belief is this strong, can you be an objective scientist?
    He has noted himself that we cannot track what is really going on, that there significant parts of the additional energy expected from global warming that is missing. Yet, he is fully 100% convinced anyway, enough so that he doesn’t even want to debate it anymore.
    It is a jump the shark moment really.

    George

    You can tell right off the bat where he was going. The reference to the “hacked” emails shows no regard for the facts to begin with.

    Ben Palmer

    Devastating. Without even considering whether AGW exists or not, from a purely scientific viewpoint, Trenberth’s ramblings are a shame.

    Bdimainman@hotmail.com

    By using the word denier and saying weathercasters are poorly informed and sometimes downright hostile I believe we have a government employee who is using hateful speech to incite. In the wake of the Arizona shootings I wonder if Obama can tell him to turn it down until we have all the evidence.

    Scientific facts are not open to debate and opinion because they are evidence and/or physically based.
    All data here are scientific facts and physically based:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NFC1.htm
    Not that I expect that Dr. Trenberth would read or consider it, but by any miracle if he does, I am happy answer any objections he might have, and if he is so inclined to debate it. Dr. Judith Curry thought it important enough to take a good look, and at least considered it as a possible factor in her forthcoming Arctic study.

    Chris Wright

    “Scientific facts are not open to debate and opinion because they are evidence and/or physically based. ”
    The history of science is basically the story of how one scientific ‘fact’ after another turned out to be completely wrong. In honest science everything is questioned, everything is tested and tested again, and the most important scientific technique is scepticism. Even Relativity, probably one of the most successful scientific theories, is still tested by scientists trying to find if there is anything wrong with it. Unlike AGW, Relativity has stood the test of time, and so, for the moment, it stands.
    If it were not for scientific scepticism we would still believe that the sun rotates around the earth and that continents do not move.
    In my humble opinion Trenberth’s statement is beneath contempt.
    Chris

    Bdimainman@hotmail.com

    Anthony I’m serious about my comment. I don’t know if you would like to start a campaign whereas a general comment that all of us can use to e-mail or send to our representatives but I’ve seen it before. When everyone uses the same comment to send IMHO it’s shows unity and there is strength in numbers. Just a thought.

    Grumpy Old Man

    Has there been a statement by the investigating police force confirming hacking, or is that still merely warmist white noise?
    Considering the time Dr. Trenberth has had to consider his position since the release of the CRU tapes, I would have expected something more sophisticated.

    Viv Evans

    The verbal and mental acrobatics exhibited in this speech are breathtaking.
    First we have this statement (my emphasis):
    “Scientists make mistakes and often make assumptions that limit the validity of their results. They regularly argue with colleagues who arrive at different conclusions.”,
    with the following statement in the next segment (about ‘deniers’):
    “Scientific facts are not open to debate and opinion because they are evidence and/or physically based. Moreover a debate actually gives alternative views credibility.”
    So while scientists argue with those who arrive at different conclusions, this debate is actually quite wrong, because credibility is being given to these alternative views?
    IAW, you can argue if you’re part of The Team, but only with members of The Team. Everybody else must not be allowed to utter a word?
    Reminds me powerfully of Lysenkoism – but perhaps we should count ourselves lucky that we’re not ending up in GULAGs or psychiatric clinics …
    Oh – and if scientific facts are evidence and/or physically based, doesn’t that imply that climate science models are, ahem, not science?
    Unless, of course, a computer model is eo ipso both evidence and physically based.
    Mind – geologists and palaeontologists have accumulated quite a nice amount of real evidence. However, this evidence isn’t sitting in computer models but relies on actual physical entities like rocks, strata or bones. We must therefore assume that, according to Trenberth, it can’t be science …

    kim

    Watch ’em scurry like cockroaches, eh ValoSnah?
    ===============

    Look at the pdf and go to the cartoons at the end. It is hard to reconcile the political nature of these with the scientific method. If he lived in an earlier time I expect he would be beside James Hansen at the front of the crowd tossing logs onto fires burning deniers.

    Peter

    So the Coldest December on record, which we’ve just experienced in the UK, would have been colder still if it wasn’t for AGW???
    The guy definitely has a God-complex, and such people are dangerous, as history has shown.
    And you’d think that he might have been able to come up with some better excuses for Climategate by now, given it’s now more than a year. He must be a very busy man.

    Last updated at 11:49 AM on 13th January 2011
    Mount Etna spews lava on the southern Italian island of Sicily yesterday evening
    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/01/13/article-1346685-0CBDE12E000005DC-979_964x645.jpg

    kim

    Bill @ 3:53AM re: Brisbane.
    Lofting haughtily
    Over the wretched waters;
    Trenberth jumps the shark.
    ============

    Peter

    OTOH, perhaps this is a good thing – perhaps a lot more people will now perceive both him and the whole AGW theory as being completely unhinged and derailed.

    John Marshall

    Does this man think he is God. There are many peer reviewed papers out there that state that his theory about GHG’s is a load of rubbish. I think that these prove him to be human after all and a great maker of mistakes.

    Mike Haseler

    James Griffiths says:
    ““Given that global warming is “unequivocal”, to quote the 2007 IPCC report, the null hypothesis should now be reversed, thereby placing the burden of proof on showing that there is no human influence.””
    “That a scientist should endorse the idea that the correct procedure for the evaluation of science is by a political committee is very concerning.”

    That is why you cannot call someone like Trenberth a scientist. A scientists is not someone who calls themselves a scientist, nor even someone who others call a scientist. They are simply someone who uses the scientific method, and if like Trenberth, you don’t agree with the scientific method, then you have no right to call yourself a scientist or expect anyone else to do so!

    P Wilson

    Yes, it could be said that Trenberth is a denier of the facts

    Judd

    I’d like to ask Mr. Trenberth about what happened to all those hurricanes he told the public, back in 2005, that were supposed to be increasing (due to climate change) but that we haven’t seen? Where did they disappear to Mr. Trenberth? His statements lead to the resignation of someone who actually knew something about hurricanes, Dr. Christopher Landsea, from the IPCC. Landsea saw no correlation and resigned in disgust. Who was right? Perhaps Trenberth should include that little story in his address to the AMS. I find it disgusting my taxpayer money funds this human piece of junk. As far as ‘denier’ is concerned I think he should be ‘denied’ any further funding.

    Louise

    I wholeheartedly support the points made by Dr Trenberth and may even send him an e-mail praising his bravery in standing up for his principles in these dangerous times. Bravery because I believe many climate scientists whose e-mail addresses are given out on blogs such as these get abusive and life-threatening messages and so it does take courage, knowing that there are some very sick individuals out there who think that e-mail messages are not enough.

    Mycroft

    “”Scientific facts are not open to debate and opinion because they are evidence and/or physically based””
    Thought all the out put was on “models” very little phyiscal based study takes place anymore.
    much nicer to sit in warm office and play on a computer

    Stupified

    This guy seems to miss the point, if you study the claims of the non-scientists on both sides you can find outrageously worng statements from both crowds. He is a scientist and should instead focus on the scientific claims and validity of peer reviewed papers on both sides. If he were to do that, his statements would not be as strongly negaTIVE ABOUT “DENIERS” OR AS STRONLY POSITIVE OF HIS WORLD VIEW.
    Its the sceince, stupid.

    xyzlatin

    We have equally fatuous comments by warmist scientists in Australia. They resemble old time religious rhetoric and attitudes. Could it be they are the emerging priests of the new religion of AGW?
    The question is, will the intended audience swallow it, or will there be objections, placards, and walkouts?
    I look forward to a report on the audience reaction after this propaganda piece is delivered.

    KnR

    It reads much more like a call to the faithful from a religious leader than anything to do with science, so in one sense it’s a perfectly fair speech.

    Anoneumouse

    Dear Anoneumouse
    I will be on travel in Europe until 19 January 2011.
    [Bern ISSE 9-14; Grenoble ECRA 15-18]
    I will have only limited access to email.
    Love Kevin

    Scientific facts are not open to debate and opinion because they are evidence and/or physically based. Moreover a debate actually gives alternative views credibility. On the other hand there is a lot of scope for debate about exactly what to do about the findings.
    So no scope to discuss potential flaws in methodology then Kevin?
    Most climate scientists have the goal of establishing the best information about the state of affairs as a basis for subsequent discussion about what to do about it: policy relevant but not policy prescriptive. They have faith in the scientific method and the efficacy of the established peer-review process in separating verifiable scientific results from baseless assertions.
    Would that be the Phil Jones version of the scientific method?
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18599-climategate-scientist-questioned-in-parliament.html
    Jones conceded that he did not usually publish raw data from weather stations, which was often covered by confidentiality agreements, nor the computer codes he used to analyse the data. “It hasn’t been standard practice to do that. Maybe it should, but it’s not,” he said. ‘They never asked’ Asked whether other climate scientists reviewing his papers ever required such data, he said, “They’ve never asked.” In response to a specific question about why he had failed to grant freelance researcher Warwick Hughes access to data, he said simply, “We had a lot of work and resources tied up in it.”
    This is the bit I like the most (from Kevin)…
    Given that global warming is “unequivocal”, to quote the 2007 IPCC report, the null hypothesis should now be reversed, thereby placing the burden of proof on showing that there is no human influence. Such a null hypothesis is trickier because one has to hypothesize something specific, such as “precipitation has increased by 5%” and then prove that it hasn’t.
    In other words, the climate club should be free to run around making silly claims, should be instantly accepted, and skeptics have to do all the legwork debunking them.
    IMO, What a travesty of a scientist!

    “While statements about climate change are cautious and all sorts of caveats are applied by scientists, or else they are criticized by colleagues, the same is not true for the deniers.”
    Really? and where is your criticism of Hansen’s tipping point claims Kevin? Serreze’s ‘arctic death spiral’? Now you see’em now you don’t Himalayan glaciers? Are you in denial about them perhaps?

    JJB MKI

    Well, while he’s getting personal, this denier is loathe to take guidance from a man who looks and sounds like a character from a 70’s disaster movie. You know, the panicky idiot who causes the meteor strike / nuclear meltdown / new ice age..
    His language is part of a deliberate move to shore up the ‘consensus’, as previously credulous people continue to ask awkward questions of Warmist assertions. From the beginning this has been done by framing any scrutiny of AGW dogma as an attack on science itself in the hope of nurturing an ‘us and them’ attitude amongst real scientists (you know, the ones who deal in physical observations and falsifiable hypotheses, who don’t wave around model outputs like some kind of magic staff).
    This is aided by the tactic of casting critics of the orthodoxy as angry, scientifically illiterate right wing nut-jobs and – as we all know – invoking the spectre of holocaust denial (devaluing this term and its true implications as a result). A scientist wishing to examine the ‘evidence’ for her/himself beyond AGW laden abstracts and press releases is discouraged by the idea that to do so would be to undermine science itself and give power to those who would seek to attack it. Just as physicists, biologists, geologists and chemists are likely to be highly intelligent and possess strong critical faculties, they are not are immune from herd-mentality and group psychology. Nobody likes their family to be attacked by outsiders, and people from any background will always club together, form a consensus, to protect their own.
    Unfortunately this tactic works, for now. I’m wondering for how long the AGW High Priests can go on imploring real scientists to avoid ‘peering behind the screen’, using poisonous mischaracterisations of their critics, while the earth continues in its refusal to fall in line with their apocalyptic predictions. I’m giving it five more years. Climate mystics like Trenberth will continue to spew forth projections of doom into the ever more distant future, hiding the ‘missing heat’ in an increasingly complex and bewildering array of asserted, often self-contradicatory climatic interactions, projected scenarios that are always somehow just round the corner, and idealised models with arbitrary ‘tipping points’ in order to shore up their flimsy confirmation-bias ridden hypotheses. It won’t matter though. By then they will be seen for the smug, self-interested, hubris-ridden panicky idiots they all really are, and will be rejected by scientists and public alike.

    When you look through the whole meeting program it is easy to understand why climate change goes on and on. The meterology profession seems to be dependent on the topic for research dollars. There are so many papers on the subject – not just the so-called effects of climate change but also communication. This paper is from the second session on Communicating Climate Change. I notice Vicky Pope and David Karoly are also presenting on the subject.
    http://ams.confex.com/ams/91Annual/webprogram/23CVC.html

    Alexander K

    The fact that Kevin Trenberth is a fellow Kiwi makes me squirm in embarrassment!
    The NZ education system is quite good when judged on a world-wide basis, and has been for a very long time, as witness the achievements of Lord Rutherford, Dr Pickering (formerly of NASA ) and many others, but the odd nutter does slip through, however.
    Trenberth’s nasty speech, which I could only skim after feelings of revulsion set in after a few minutes of close reading, is a wierd mix of the pseudo-religious with a Marxist flavour and is an attempt at self-justification for his past actions and statements as revealed in the ‘Climategate’ emails and also a means of venting his spite that the world is obviously disregarding his incredible expertise and knowledge which, in his lofty view, just cannot be argued with; I am sure that if the emails in question were either stolen or hacked, the Norfolk constabulary would have made a definitive statement by now. I am amazed that he feels the MSM have been aiding and abetting ‘The Deniers’ when the reverse is so obviously the case, and his use of the term ‘Deniers’ only serves to highlight the view that he is operating from an alternative reality that most of the rational populace does not share. His attack on professional weather presenters is yet another window illuminating his irrationality.
    I am amazed that any professional society would accept this disgraceful rant without questioning his attitudes, his so-called facts and his name-calling. The really scary thing is that he and his cohort see this rant as normal and as professional behaviour. It is similar in tone and intent as the odd pieces that Mann wrote fot the NYT and is equally disgraceful.

    R. de Haan

    NOAA, 1998 temperature 1.3 degrees warmer than 2010. U.S. cooling at a 0.94 degree per century rate. And don’t you deny it!
    http://www.c3headlines.com/2011/01/noaa-reports-that-1998-temperature-was-13-degrees-warmer-than-2010-us-cooling-at-94-per-century-rate.html

    Dave

    To quote what Mark Twain might say about this… “lies, damn lies, and unequivocable CAGW”