An Index to Willis's Writings

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach.

In an effort to make some sense out of my posts and to enable me to refer to them and remember where they are located and what they are about, I put together a list by category, along with a short description of each one.

Figure 1. I try to remember which of my posts contains the missing link … Photo Source

Looking at my list, I realized that other people might find it useful as well. So without further ado, here it is.


It’s Not About Me :: How I got into this mess.

In Which I Finally Understand the Fair-Weather Gale :: How I got into trouble at sea and escaped to tell of it.

In Which I Talk to the Thunderstorms :: How thunderstorms work in the South Pacific.


Model Charged with Excessive Use of Forcing :: My first attempt to treat the GISSE climate model as a black box.

Zero Point Three times the Forcing :: My second attempt at treating the GISSE models as a black box, where a commenter shows the way.

Life is Like a Black Box of Chocolates :: My second success at the black box analysis of a climate model, the CCSM3 model.


Interview With The Prophet :: WARNING – Contains cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. By clicking this link you agree not to be offended by cartoons. If images of the Prophet offend you, do not click the link. Done in 2006, in solidarity with the Danish cartoonists. (PDF 380K)

Livetooning the ICCC :: My cartoons of the International Climate Change Conference, 2010, day 1

Livetooning the ICCC, Day 2 :: My cartoons of the International Climate Change Conference, 2010, day 2


Data Smoothing and Spurious Correlation :: Examples of how the smoothing of data can create false correlations between datasets.

Another Look at Climate Sensitivity :: A calculation of “climate sensitivity” from basic principles.

GISScapades :: Examples of why good correlation between datasets does not mean they have similar trends.

Some of the Missing Energy :: Shows how energy can both enter and leave the earth’s system without changing the temperature.

Where Did I Put That Energy? :: My first attempt to understand the equations used by the AGW scientists.

The Cold Equations :: The improper mathematics used by AGW scientists, and exactly where it is wrong.

Not Whether, but How to Do The Math :: The new Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project.


Climate, Caution, and Precaution :: The manifold issues with the “Precautionary Principle”.

The Empire Strikes Out :: The UK gives in to the climate alarmists

It Was The Worst of The Times :: Motive in the DeChristopher case.

Expect the BEST, plan for the worst :: Problems with Dr. Muller of BEST and his testimony before Congress.

Second BEST :: More issues with Dr. Muller’s testimony to Congress.

Between Wind and Water :: How windmills and hydroelectricity impact the California energy market.


When Results Go Bad … :: Inconsistencies in the IPCC reports and the Norwegian Climate Service

The Smoking Gun At Darwin Zero :: Examination of the Darwin, Australia temperature record.

Darwin Zero Before and After :: Examination of the Darwin, Australia temperature record, part II.

Fudged Fevers in the Frozen North :: Anchorage and Matanuska Alaska temperature records.

Himalayan Hijinks :: The temperature record in Mukteshwar Ku, in the Himalayas.

Where the !@#$% is Svalbard? :: The temperature record of Svalberg, in the Norwegian Arctic.

Before One Has Data :: Problems with the Laverton Australia temperature record.

More Gunsmoke, This Time In Nepal :: Investigation of adjustments to the Katmandu, Nepal temperature record.

Is Armagh Burning? :: A look at the Armagh, Ireland station record.


Measuring Precipitation on Willis’ Boots :: My first report of my Freedom of Information request to the Climategate folks.

The people -vs- the CRU: Freedom of information, my okole… :: Account of my experiences with the Climategate folks.

Editorializing about the Editorial :: Discussion of climategate and the Science Magazine editorial on same.


Under the Volcano, Over the Volcano :: On the Mauna Loa CO2 record.

Some people claim, that there’s a human to blame … :: On the human contribution to current CO2 levels.


The Constructal Law of Flow Systems :: The hugely-important Constructal Law is discussed.

Constructal GDP :: I enquire into the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and its relationship to the Constructal Law.


Skating on the Other Side of the Ice :: On the lack of change in global sea ice area in thirty years.

On Being the Wrong Size :: About the proper understanding of the size of a phenomenon.

Where’s the ice for my drink? :: Sea ice and the claim of “constant retreat”.

You cursed brat! Look what you’ve done! I’m melting! Melting! :: Problems with the calculation methods for sea ice.

The Ice Who Came In From The Cold :: Changes in the amplitude of sea ice variations.

Antarctic Agreements and Disagreements :: Temperature trends on the West Antarctic Peninsula.


Firing Up The Economy, Literally :: On how energy is not a measure of development, it is development.

A Pox on Both Their Houses :: Taxes and the horrendous budget deficit.


Where Are The Corpses? :: Discussion of modern historical extinction rates.

Common Sense Added to Endangered Species List :: More madness about extinctions.


Every Silver Lining Has A Cloud :: An impractical geoengineering scheme.


The Steel Greenhouse :: Explains the greenhouse effect.

People Living in Glass Planets :: Another shot at explaining the greenhouse effect.


The Thermostat Hypothesis :: Proposal that thunderstorms and clouds regulate the tropical temperature.

The Unbearable Complexity of Climate :: Shows why “simple physics” doesn’t apply to complex systems.

Nature hates straight lines :: On the non-linearity of natural phenomena.

The Details Are In The Devil :: A thought experiment that shows why a homeostatic system can’t be analyzed using methods designed for ungoverned systems.

Further Evidence for my Thunderstorm Thermostat Hypothesis :: Subject says it all


Out in the Ama-zone :: The unsubstantiated claims made by the IPCC regarding the Amazon.

A Strange Problem with the IPCC Numbers :: The IPCC estimates of the forcings and climate sensitivity leads to unrealistic results.

More Oddities with the IPCC Numbers :: The heat content of the ocean is proposed as a reason for the difference.

I Have A Stake In The Outcome :: In which I suggest that the IPCC has outlived its lack of usefulness.


Judith, I love ya, but you’re way wrong … :: A response to Judith Curry’s essay on the loss of trust in climate scientists.

Willis makes the NYT, Gavin to stop ‘persuading the public’ :: An article in the New York Times mentions my discussion with Judith Curry.

Trust and Mistrust :: Why the public doesn’t trust climate scientists.

My Thanks and Comments for Dr. Walt Meier :: A response to a post by Dr. Walt Meier on the loss of trust in climate science.


I Am So Tired of Malthus :: The truth about how we are managing to feed the planet.

Animal, Vegetable, or E. O. Wilson :: Why vegetarianism won’t let us feed more people.

Vegans are not from Vegas :: Further discussions on vegetarianism.

Which Group Is Smarter? :: Climate scientists think farmers are foolish.

Farmers versus Famine :: We’re winning, but people keep claiming we’re losing.

The Long View of Feeding the Planet :: Population and food


A Modest Proposal for Nuclear Waste Disposal :: How to get rid of the nuclear waste.

The Magic Cookpot :: My idea for a fuel efficient wood stove.

SODIS Roolz :: A cheap way to sterilize water in the third world


Why Copenhagen Will Achieve Nothing :: Compares the emissions of the developed and developing nations.

Carbon Emissionaries :: Comparison of US and EU fuel use and emissions

Dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t :: How money from Europe, where dams are banned, goes to build dams in China.

How Much Would You Buy? :: Putting a price per degree on the cost of controlling temperature through carbon regulation.

Why a “Revenue Neutral” Energy Tax Isn’t :: The hidden costs of revenue neutral taxes.


CMIP Control Runs :: Issues with the Computer Model Intercomparison Project model runs.

Testing … testing … is this model powered up? :: Are the models “lifelike”? Most of them are not.

Knobs :: Problems with climate model representations of net cloud forcing.

Which way to the feedback? :: Feedback processes in the Eastern Tropical Pacific.

Top Secret NOFORN Restricted Access Climate Model Results :: Problems with getting the CCSM3 model data.

First Light on the Ozone Hockeystick :: Ozone forcings used by the CCSM3 to hindcast 20th century temperatures, and their problems.


Congenital Climate Abnormalities :: Discusses the lack of any weather or climate which is historically unusual or anomalous.

Unequivocal Equivocation – an open letter to Dr. Trenberth :: Dr. Trenberth attempts to reverse the null hypothesis, but can’t pull it off.


The Electric Oceanic Acid Test :: Discussing the claims of the “acidification” of the ocean by CO2.

Walking the Plank-ton :: In which I claim, based on no evidence, that a scientific paper on phytoplankton levels is deeply flawed.

Plankton Cause Hurricanes! Urgent Action Required! :: Discussing the effect of plankton on hurricanes.

The Ocean Wins Again :: My previous claims that the phytoplankton study was flawed are upheld by mainstream scientists.


An Open Letter to Dr. Michael Mann :: Dr. Mann trys to claim that he is innocent and pure as the driven snow. I disagree.

Michael Mann and Donald Kennedy :: How the “investigation” into Dr. Mann’s malfeasance only interviewed his friends.

Exonerated? Not. :: Further inquiry into the “investigation” that Mann says exonerates him.

An Open Letter to Dr. Subra Suresh :: A request to the new head of the National Science Foundation that they act … scientific.

Peer Review, Pal Review, and Broccoli :: Problems with the peer review system as practiced in climate science.

An Open Letter to Bruce Alberts of Science Magazine :: Comments on Science Magazine’s decision to enforce their own policies.

Not Evil, Just Destructive :: Joe Romm, always unpleasant

Not Evil, Just Romm :: Romm part two

An Open Letter to Google :: Google ventures into the climate game. I protest.


Climate Change in Lake Tanganyika :: Published in Nature (PDF). I dispute the findings that climate change has altered the biome of Lake Tanganyika

Are Recent Temperatures in Svalbard Extreme? :: Published in Energy & Environment (PDF). I show that claims of highly unusual temperatures in Svalbard, Norway, were greatly exaggerated.

The Thunderstorm Thermostat Hypothesis :: Published in Energy & Environment (PDF). I advance the hypothesis that homeostatic mechanisms regulate the earth’s temperature, and propose tropical thunderstorms as one of the main mechanisms.


Conservamentalism :: My views on natural resources, and their use, abuse, and management.
Ecological Footprints – a good idea gone bad
:: Some of the many problems with the ideas behind the “ecological footprint”.

Dr. Ravetz Posts, Normally :: Post-normal “science”, the antiscientific philosophy of Dr. Jerome Ravetz.


Overshoot and Undershoot :: A look at a climate model’s attempt to model the Pinatubo volcanic eruption.

Prediction is hard, especially of the future. :: How the GISSE model forecast for Pinatubo was wildly off, but is claimed as a success anyhow.


Upcoming Anonymous Poll on Anonymity :: The initial idea for a poll on anonymity.

The Pseudonymous Poll Trailer :: More ideas for an upcoming poll on pseudonymity.


Come Rain or Come Shine :: Analysis of the US state-by-state precipitation records


Underground Problems with Mann-Holes :: Problems with the use of boreholes in the earth as temperature proxies.

Willis on Hegerl :: Review of a paleoclimate reconstruction.

When Good Proxies Go Bad :: Analysis of the proxies in the Mann 2008 paper on temperatures of the previous millennium.

Can’t See the Signal For the Trees :: Cluster and similarity analysis of the Mann

In Which I Go Spelunking … :: Cave records as evidence of climate.


Willis publishes his thermostat hypothesis paper :: My paper on the Thunderstorm Thermostat hypothesis is peer reviewed and published.


More on the National Geographic Decline :: Examination of a temperature record from the 1970s National Geographic magazine.


An Englishman’s Castle: Forensic Climatology and the Central England Temperature (CET) record – UPDATED :: An examination of the changes in the CET temperature record.

Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics … and Graphs :: How month-by-month graphs can show the true amount of climate changes.

Where’s the Climate Beef? :: Analysis of the US state-by-state temperature records

Of Hawks and Handsaws :: Month-by-month temperatures from the NORDKLIM Scandinavian dataset.

Climate Actually Changes! Film at 11:00! :: The EPA estimates of regional heat waves.


PDI: Elsner :: Historical measurements of hurricane effectiveness

Tanganyika Revisited :: A discussion of the claimed changes in Lake Tanganyika.

Anthropogenic Decline in Natural Gas :: On the claim that human extinction of megafauna caused a decline in animal flatulence.

Waxman Malarkey 2: Impact Zone Australia :: Claims from the Waxman-Markey web site

Waxman-Malarkey: Impact Zone US Northeast :: Claims from the Waxman-Markey web site

Waxman Malarkey 3: Impact Zone Alaska :: Claims from the Waxman-Markey web site

Waxman Malarkey 4: Impact Zone Ireland :: Claims from the Waxman-Markey web site

Border Transgressions :: Claims about Mexico and climate change are shown to be unfounded.

Of Rice and Men :: Problems with an analysis claiming global warming affecting rice yields.

Dr. Curry Warms the Southern Ocean :: Looking at the data regarding temperatures in the Southern Ocean

Eight tenths of a degree? Think of the Grandchildren! :: The absurdity of the climate threat.

Save the Sunburnt Whales :: Claims of global warming causing whale sunburn are discussed, none to gently.

Nature Unleashes a Flood … of Bad Science. :: Models and more models make scary predictions of floods, part one.

Nature Magazine’s Folie a Deux, Part Deux :: Models and more models make scary predictions of floods, part two.

News The Media Missed :: Why climate models are inadequate for analyzing the Arctic—no data.

Models All The Way Down :: Another study where there is no data at the base of a stack of models.

Mental Sloth and Joshua Trees :: A claim that the extinction of the ground sloths affected the climate.

The Nuclear Winter of our Discontent :: Claims that nuclear tests disrupted the climate are discussed and discounted.

Kilwa Kisiwani Gereza :: Bogus claims about the slow erosion of a historical building

Reality Leaves A Lot To The Imagination :: NASA says the climate data isn’t up to the task of testing the models.

Kill It With Fire :: Michael Mann once again tries to resuscitate his Hockeystick.

Gotta Admire The Chutzpah :: No, the western snow pack isn’t melting, no matter how many people say so.


Sea Level Rise not the cause of Erosion in Tuvalu :: Published in Energy & Environment (PDF). I show that the rising sea level will not affect coral atolls, and provide evidence for the human alteration of the Tuvalu reefs.

An Analysis of the TOPEX Sea Level Record :: Satellite-measured sea level data

Floating Islands :: Shows why tropical coral atolls “float” upwards as the sea level rises.

The Irony, It Burns … :: Confirmation of my 2004 paper in Energy and Environment on rising sea levels and coral atolls.

Putting the Brakes on Acceleration :: Sea level is decelerating, not accelerating as has been repeatedly warned.


Willis on Santer et al 2006 :: Analysis of the Santer 2006 paper on tropical tropospheric amplification.

Tropical Tropospheric Amplification – an invitation to review this new paper :: New method used to examine the tropical tropospheric amplification.


Available here.

My best to everyone,



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Thanks Willis, I am saving your whole posting on a memory card.


Thanks for this. It will be much easier to follow all your posts.
I would such suggest, however, a haircut before your next publicity photo 🙂

Martin Brumby

Excellent and much appreciated.
So that’s the index.
How long do we have to wait for the book?
In time for Xmas shopping, I hope?

John Marshall

You might like to try:-
Radiation Physics Constraints on Global warming. Dr. Denis G. Rancourt. Published 9 May 2011. He is inviting peer review, not selecting peer reviewers so go ahead. The paper uses good argument to show that the theory of GHG’s does violate the laws of thermodynamics and that this theory is not required to explain the surface temperature as observed. ie. without GHG’s the temperature woulds be -18/-19C.
Also try:-
Does a Global Temperature Exist? Essex, McKitrick and Andresen June 2006. Explains why the global average temperature is not possible to measure due to many physical constraints so is not a good proxy for climate. Peer reviewed in the Journal of Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics.
Both good thought provoking papers. Both can be thrown into the faces of the alarmists.

I love the way you are always creating new words.

Willis – what an awful lot of work!
I was going to suggest starting up a climate journal based on an open journal system, but as usual, the software is easy, but the organisation is difficult.
But, if there had been a climate journal, I’ve no doubt that a lot of your work would have formed the core of the journal.
Mike Haseler


Huge amount of work there Willis, congratulations. Thank you for indexing, much easier. And I see now there are many I have yet to read. Thnak you also for the time and care you take in explaining concepts, work steps etc. Much appreciated.

I added this to my list of “WUWT Classics” in Ric Werme’s Guide to WUWT. Actually, I gave it special mention outside of the list. After all, Willis is in a class by himself!

R. de Haan

Very good to publish this oversight of most readable and entertaining articles.
There comes a moment in time when everything has been said and all arguments are at the table.
The warmist press however taken on the process of recycling their blatant propaganda endlessly, supported by an incredibly biased press.
The propaganda war rages on and I am sure you’re not going to give up.
That’s why I am quite sure your list of publications will continue to grow.

Excellent work, Willis, and a very useful resource. As Martin Brumby suggests, a book might be in order.
Now the trick will be to make sure I don’t lose the link to this page!
[Reply: Just type “willis” or “index” into the search box to find it again. ~dbs, mod.]

Ric Werme says:
May 15, 2011 at 5:09 am

[…]Willis is in a class by himself!

He was sent there after repeatedly interrupting the teachers to correct them!
Lots of interesting stuff there Willis. It must have been fun retrieving all of that off of the various hard drives you undoubtedly have kicking around. I tried recently to fetch all of my photos together on one drive [hopefully to send to WPOTD] and I’m still at it…
Many thanks!


Book Book Book!
And as Ric Werme says, you are in a class alone. Sui generis.

John W. Garrett

It is impossible to thank you enough. I occasionally despair that “common sense” has been exterminated from the face of the earth. You are the antidote.

Theo Goodwin

Thanks so very much, Willis. Also, thanks again for all the work you have done in defense of rationality in science and in defense of American Civilization against the vast army of government financed watermelons. You deserve a Pulitzer Prize for science journalism.


Very good Willis. I am fan and agree with most of your essays and articles. I have a feeling that you are changing slighty about some of the science (or so-called science) as you study and analyse more.
Keep up the good work and keep strong from an engineer who has some understanding of heat transfer, some other technologies and some economics.

jack morrow

An excellent way to read and become a “denier” and also a Willis fan. Great stuff-thanks.


Thanks for all your fine work and for this index. It will come in handy; you have a great writing style and deserve a wide audience.
Best regards,
Gregory Olsen

Area Man

I became a big fan after reading Judith Curry’s initial postings after Climategate and your excellent points.
In particular:
“…I don’t appreciate being lectured by infants. I don’t appreciate being told that I should be put in the dock in a Nuremberg style trial for disagreeing with infants.”
from here:
That’s some very good stuff. Please keep it up.


I suggest you add the date for each of the linked pieces summary.

Jeff Mitchell

And thank you very much for the list of your posts. I read every one thoroughly and enjoy them immensely. You are making a difference that is worth quite a lot. Keep it up.

SUGGESTION: Every time in the future that you post something on WWTT, update this post so that it always has all of your posts organized so nicely.
SUGGESTION THE SECOND: Others who post articles here should do likewise, and Anthony should create a special page “Articles by Author” that has a link to each of them.

James Sexton

Thanks Willis, I hope this becomes a trend elsewhere. As R. de Haan says:
May 15, 2011 at 5:24 am
“The warmist press however taken on the process of recycling their blatant propaganda endlessly,….”
There really hasn’t been any substantive material added to the warmist debate for quite some time and now most of my failures in discussions are due to my inability to find the proper material to rebut. This should help.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

Ecological Footprints – a good idea gone bad

No Link is showing, only the title in bold. Here’s the link:

Henry chance

Without climate gate, many would miss out on the appreciation of Willis.


On going back thru, In my mind the most important piece is the one on the “Thermostat Hypothesis” / “Thunderstorm Hpothesis” Where does the original data for the plot of figure 2 in:

I hope you can forgive me my little “technology history” lesson.
Way back at the beginning of the 19th century, there was a completely unlettered young man, his name was Michael Farady. Through some circumstance, perhaps chance, perhaps providence, who knows, he became apprenticed to a fellow by the name of “Humpry Davy” This came about because Faraday, although mostly self educated, attended Sir Davy’s lectures, took notes, and sent Sir Davy a copy of the notes.
The rest, as they say, is history. As Faraday eventually became the head of the Royal Society. And in the latter years of HIS life, had a fellow by the name of James Clerk Maxell attend HIS lectures and take notes. Now we take the “amatuer” Faraday’s 3000 pages of notes/lab books, turn them over to JCM, and in 1861 he publishes, “On Faraday’s Lines of Force. (Also known as Maxwell’s equations…)
From Maxwell’s work came the work by Heinrik Hertz, who was formally educated (as Maxwell) about 20 years later. But again, the “amatuer” comes in as a little known Itallian “telegraph” engineer obtains Hertz’s papers, and develops a “practical” method to make use of “Hertzian waves”.
Of course, if you have a WiFi anywhere carrying THIS info, we are indebted to Faraday/Maxwell/Hertz/Marconi. So what’s the set up, “Dilettante/Amatuer,Professional,Professional/Dilettante Amatuer”.
I regard you as the same as Faraday and Marconi.
So what UNIT will we name the “Willis”? Perhaps the unit used to measure the level of scientific hubris by the “professionals”. Let us say James Hansen puts out a paper, “On the World Going to Hell, Because of Anthony Watts”. We could give that say a 99 on the Willis scale (100 being reserved for Gores and Manns).

Willis Eschenbach

enough says:
May 15, 2011 at 9:34 am

On going back thru, In my mind the most important piece is the one on the “Thermostat Hypothesis” / “Thunderstorm Hpothesis” Where does the original data for the plot of figure 2 in:

I agree that the Thunderstorm Thermostat Hypothesis is my most important original contribution to climate science.
As I said in the caption to Figure 2, what is shown is the

Average of one year of GOES-West weather satellite images taken at satellite local noon.

I did the photographic analysis myself, using a program called “ImageJ”. It’s great free image analyzing software. The results shown in the inset box at the bottom of Figure 2 are the results of that analysis.
Hope that answers your question, if not, ask again,

Willis Eschenbach

Jacob says:
May 15, 2011 at 8:37 am

I suggest you add the date for each of the linked pieces summary.

Yeah, you’re likely right. However, I put together the post using Excel to make up each of the sentences in the post, and since there are more than a hundred posts and scientific papers (145 and counting) I’m reluctant to modify it by hand.
Within each section, however, the posts are sorted from earliest to latest.
Finally, if you put your cursor over a link, it shows the name of the link, which in all but a couple of cases contains the date of the posting.

I think “Smoking Gun at Darwin Zero” was the article that hooked me onto WUWT.
Many thanks.

Gary Pearse

Max Hugoson says:
May 15, 2011 at 10:51 am
“I hope you can forgive me my little “technology history” lesson.”
Max, may I add another essentially unknown but giant amateur: Reginald Fessenden – probably unknown because he was a self-deprecating Canadian.
Perhaps the most unsung of amateurs – he studied classics and math but never got a degree,was accepted into an elite school at eleven to study math and at 14 was lecturing in math in a private school while studying at Bishop’s in Lennoxville Quebec. While everyone was still ga ga-ing about Marconi, he invented voice and music transmission by radio. Earlier he had tried to get the new Chair in Electrical Engineering at McGill in Montreal but was turned down because a) he didn’t have a degree and b) he hadn’t even been a student of science or engineering. He however got a consolation prize by being appointed to similar posts at the U of Pittsburg and at Purdue. I judge him to have been a Willis Eschanbach kindred spirit too.
“Fessenden, experimenting with a high-frequency spark transmitter, successfully transmitted speech on December 23, 1900 over a distance of about 1.6 kilometers (one mile), which appears to have been the first audio radio transmission”

Joel Shore

You might like to try:-
Radiation Physics Constraints on Global warming. Dr. Denis G. Rancourt. Published 9 May 2011. …
Also try:-
Does a Global Temperature Exist? Essex, McKitrick and Andresen June 2006. Explains why the global average temperature is not possible to measure due to many physical constraints so is not a good proxy for climate. Peer reviewed in the Journal of Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics.
Both good thought provoking papers. Both can be thrown into the faces of the alarmists.

The only thoughts that they provoke in this “warmist” is the question, “Do people really take this nonsense seriously?” The first paper argues against the basic greenhouse effect that I think Willis will tell you is really out there.
The second paper is worthy of a little more discussion just because I actually seem to be one of the few people who has actually downloaded their data (which I do applaud them for making available) and played around with it. Here is my analysis of it:
(1) Climate scientists don’t measure the global average temperature…They measure global average temperature anomalies that have much better spatial characteristics than the global average temperature. (Think Mt. Washington, New Hampshire vs. the valley nearby: They will display radically different temperatures but similar anomalies.)
(2) They attack a strawman. Nobody claimed that “global average temperature” has a rigorous thermodynamic definition. It is simply a useful metric, or figure of merit. Heck, technically speaking, temperature itself is only well-defined in thermal equilibrium, which in the real world never actually exists…only to varying degrees of approximation. So, technically, you are never really measuring anything that has a rigorous thermodynamic definition.
(3) The only real “meat” in their paper is when they attempt to show that how one takes the average can affect the trend. However, to do so, they do something really contrived. They start with a very limited data set of stations and then define averages by arithmetic averaging of various moments r of the temperature (Fig. 2). For example, for r=10, they average T^10 and then take the 10th root of the result.
They then plot the result over a ridiculously-large range of r (from -125 to +125). What that has the effect of doing when r is large and positive is basically choosing the highest temperature in each month; when r is large and negative, it basically just chooses the lowest temperature each month.
So, what they are doing is a really stupid average where they essentially throw all the weight onto just one station each month. So the moral of this is to not do really, really stupid averages!
Just a couple more things to note: If you stick to a reasonable range of r that one could rationally justify, like say, r = -4 to 4, the effect on the trend is actually quite small in their example. My prediction is that it would be even smaller once you start using larger data sets (i.e., more stations) because then the spacing in temperature between stations is less and you have to go to more extreme r’s before your “averaging” technique essentially just picks out one station each month.
Also, my guess is that their choosing of the particular cities so that got negative trends when they went to both large positive and negative values of r may not have been just chance…but obviously it would be hard to demonstrate that they cherry-picked rather than just getting lucky and is pretty much irrelevant anyway.

Pamela Gray

Joel, you are in error about similar anomalies. In my previous life, I did noise surveys, sometimes outdoors. Temperature inversions and episodes of strong radiational cooling were common issues and have significant affects on community noise levels.
Inversions wreck havoc with temperature behavior. When it is warm up high, it will get colder down low. This means that just because a low lying temperature gauge demonstrates a warming trend, does not mean that higher elevation gauges would demonstrate a similar trend.
It is also the case that radiational cooling occurs in some high elevation valleys, keeping the temp gauges from showing trends (Wallowa valley is prone to strong radiational cooling), while low elevation valleys are not as prone to radiational cooking.
But then we might have a winter filled with inversions and that statement no longer applies.
Your statement cannot be indiscriminately applied.

Brian H

A stunning collection! Saved and copied.
But one description boggled me:
“In which I suggest that the IPCC has lived out its lack of usefulness.” That can be parsed, but condenses to something like saying the IPCC’s uselessness is now over.
I suggest “…the IPCC has outlived its usefulness.”

Pamela Gray

I am still getting used to my upgrade on an old computer. Short of re-writing the whole thing,
…temp inversions mean that low and higher elevation gauges may not show similar trend anomalies…
…”cooling”, not cooKing…

Joel Shore

Like everything else, it depends on what you are using the anomalies for. If the anomalies are being used to study trends on the scale of years-to-decades then I think the studies that have been done show that the anomaly fields do have much better (more slowly varying) spatial characteristics than absolute temperatures. The correlations between nearby locations are not perfect…but they are pretty good…and significant positive correlations extend out to ranges of hundreds of miles.

Brian H

Pamela Gray says:
May 15, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Inversions wreck havoc with temperature behavior.

No, they don’t. They generally wreak havoc with it, though.

Willis Eschenbach

Brian H says:
May 15, 2011 at 12:24 pm

A stunning collection! Saved and copied.
But one description boggled me:
“In which I suggest that the IPCC has lived out its lack of usefulness.” That can be parsed, but condenses to something like saying the IPCC’s uselessness is now over.
I suggest “…the IPCC has outlived its usefulness.”

Actually, I meant to say “outlived its lack of usefulness”, I’ve corrected it, thanks.

Dr T G Watkins

We need a book – Actually two, science and a fictional novel. You have a rare gift for writing.
BTW Willis, what are your thoughts on the writings and theories of Miles Mathis.


A great reference page
re. The thermostat idea, I have come across a couple of quite interesting discussions about diurnal cloud cover changes: Dai and Trenberth (2003) looking at how well they are (or arent) modelled by CCSM:
and an earlier discussion looking at the global impact of diurnal change, Bergman (1996) The role of Diurnal variations in the mean time energy budget

Willis Eschenbach

Joel Shore says:
May 15, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Like everything else, it depends on what you are using the anomalies for. If the anomalies are being used to study trends on the scale of years-to-decades then I think the studies that have been done show that the anomaly fields do have much better (more slowly varying) spatial characteristics than absolute temperatures. The correlations between nearby locations are not perfect…but they are pretty good…and significant positive correlations extend out to ranges of hundreds of miles.

Joel, always good to hear from you. I discuss the difference between correlations in anomalies and similarity of trends here. Even excellent correlation may mean nothing about whether trends are similar, as I show by both theoretical and actual examples.

Thanks Willis

Pamela Gray

Anomalies are statistical constructs and hide the all-important reason for the daily temperatures (in which the monthly averages calculated from these daily temps are then combined into annual series which are then combined with a long term average to show anomalies). Not to mention the homogenizing, infilling, smoothing and linear trending that is applied. Those that spend significant amounts of time salivating over linear trends and anomalies are often, in my opinion, like the city kid who has no clue where milk actually comes from, and when told, looks down their noses at that uncomfortable bit of information.
Here is where the metaphorical milk comes from: Both the historical record high and record low for the month of May occurred in the Pendleton area in 1897, but not on the same day. How’s that for confusing data. Wonder what the homogenized “official” record shows. There are conditions in which strong radiative cooling will lead to record lows and record highs during a single month. There are a number of stations in the US (and probably elsewhere) that have incredibly recorded record lows and highs on the same day!

Maxwell Dworkin

And here for red meat lovers, pruned of all vanity press eructions and products of DYI peer review, is the entire scientific life’s work of Willis Eschenbach, :
Nature 430, Brief Communications Arising
(15 July 2004) | doi:10.1038/nature02689; Published online 14 July 2004
Ecology: Climate-change effect on Lake Tanganyika?
Willis W. Eschenbach1
Top of page
Arising from: C. M. O’Reilly, S. R. Alin, P. -D. Plisnier, A. S. Cohen & B. A. McKee Nature 424, 766–768 (2003); O’Reilly et al. reply
In their analysis of Lake Tanganyika’s ecosystem1, O’Reilly et al. claim that climate change, in the form of rising temperatures and falling winds, is causing a decline in the lake’s productivity. However, their own data show that air temperatures were either steady or dropped slightly between 1952 and 1978, rising only slightly between 1980 and 1992, and that wind speeds have increased by 35% since 1985. These climate changes therefore have no correlation with either lake temperature or productivity, so it cannot be inferred from their data that climate change is the cause of the productivity decline.
PO Box 351, Pacific Harbour, Fiji, South Pacific
Willis is of course to be congratulated, as Watts ratio of bloggerel to published bona fid science has just passed 5,000 to one, making Eschenbach seem erudite by comparison.
I look forward to seeing their works translated into tok pisin.

Willis Eschenbach

Dr T G Watkins says:
May 15, 2011 at 12:54 pm

We need a book – Actually two, science and a fictional novel. You have a rare gift for writing.
BTW Willis, what are your thoughts on the writings and theories of Miles Mathis.

Egads! Thank you for introducing me to such a magnificent madman as Miles Mathis. There are fanatics, but he’s in a class all his own. Destroys Einstein in a few pages, explains how tides are caused by electromagnetism, and (my personal favorite) how the ice ages were caused by “charge from the galactic plane and Jupiter” … and that’s just warming up, he goes on from there. He provides hope for lunatics everywhere.


On the subject of the ‘Thunderstorm Hypothesis” have you or any one else done any follow up work. If you go to works by Goody, he does a theoretical treatment using a convective model which shows it provides negative feed back to thermal runaway with an increasing sun. The work seems to be forgotten. ” from Atmospheric Radiation; Goody and Yung, 2nd edition: 9.4.3″ Your data analysis would confirm this work.
Also when one takes into account the affect of atmospheric pressure on the warming effect of the atmospheric blanket, another piece of the faint sun hypothesis is explained. Most agree in paleo times the atmosphere was significantly higher 5 to 10X; but I am still looking for a detailed reconstruction. No luck yet


Please write BOOKS (not just one) on the subject.
Please do.


An Index to Judy’s Writings
Since the start of Climate Etc on 2-Sep-2011 to 1-May-2011, there were 188 blogs and 62,939 comments!

Mac the Knife

Thanks a bunch for the index an all of the work embodied there!
Re: The lead photo. Somehow, I pictured you as a ‘silverback’… };>)

Brian H

Willis, “outlived its lack of usefulness” is still an incoherent double-negative. It asserts, if anything, that the IPCC is now useful. Whereas the article actually states, “it’s terminal, put it out of its misery.”
I’ve tried lotsa combos, and I don’t think you can say what you mean using the words “outlived its lack of”, nohow.

Brian H

the phrase seems to indicate you’ve got some idiosyncratic definition of “outlive” happening. But the dictionary says quite simply, “Live longer than”. Try dropping that into your sentence.