The climate science peer pressure cooker

Will Replicated Global Warming Science Make Mann Go Ape?

By Patrick J. Michaels – from World Climate Report

About 10 years ago, December 20, 2002 to be exact, we published a paper titled “Revised 21st century temperature projections” in the journal Climate Research. We concluded:

Temperature projections for the 21st century made in the Third Assessment Report (TAR) of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicate a rise of 1.4 to 5.8°C for 1990–2100. However, several independent lines of evidence suggest that the projections at the upper end of this range are not well supported…. The constancy of these somewhat independent results encourages us to conclude that 21st century warming will be modest and near the low end of the IPCC TAR projections.

We examined several different avenues of determining the likely amount of global warming to come over the 21st century. One was an adjustment to climate models based on (then) new research appearing in the peer-reviewed journals that related to the strength of the carbon cycle feedbacks (less than previously determined), the warming effect of black carbon aerosols (greater than previously determined), and the magnitude of the climate sensitivity (lower than previous estimates). Another was an adjustment (downward) to the rate of the future build-up of atmospheric carbon dioxide that was guided by the character of the observed atmospheric CO2 increase (which had flattened out during the previous 25 years). And our third estimate of future warming was the most comprehensive, as it used the observed character of global temperature increase—an integrator of all processes acting upon it—to guide an adjustment to the temperature projections produced by a collection of climate models. All three avenues that we pursued led to somewhat similar estimates for the end-of- the-century temperature rise. Here is how we described our findings in paper’s


Since the publication of the TAR, several findings have appeared in the scientific literature that challenge many of the assumptions that generated the TAR temperature range. Incorporating new findings on the radiative forcing of black carbon (BC) aerosols, the magnitude of the climate sensitivity, and the strength of the climate/carbon cycle feedbacks into a simple upwelling diffusion/energy balance model similar to the one that was used in the TAR, we find that the range of projected warming for the 1990–2100 period is reduced to 1.1–2.8°C. When we adjust the TAR emissions scenarios to include an atmospheric CO2 pathway that is based upon observed CO2 increases during the past 25 yr, we find a warming range of 1.5–2.6°C prior to the adjustments for the new findings. Factoring in these findings along with the adjusted CO2 pathway reduces the range to 1.0–1.6°C. And thirdly, a simple empirical adjustment to the average of a large family of models, based upon observed changes in temperature, yields a warming range of 1.3–3.0°C, with a central value of 1.9°C.

We thus concluded:

Our adjustments of the projected temperature trends for the 21st century all produce warming trends that cluster in the lower portion of the IPCC TAR range. Together, they result in a range of warming from 1990 to 2100 of 1.0 to 3.0°C, with a central value that averages 1.8°C across our analyses.

Little did we know at the time, but behind the scenes, our paper, the review process that resulted in its publication, the editor in charge of our submission, and the journal itself, were being derided by the sleazy crowd that revealed themselves in the notorious “Climategate” emails, first released in November, 2009. In fact, the publication of our paper was to serve as one of the central pillars that this goon squad used to attack on the integrity of the journal Climate Research and one of its editors, Chris de Freitas.

The initial complaint about our paper was raised back in 2003 shortly after its publication by Tom Wigley, of the US National Center for Atmospheric Research and University of Toronto’s L. D. Danny Harvey, who served as supposedly “anonymous” reviewers of the paper and who apparently had a less than favorable opinion about our work that they weren’t shy about spreading around. According to Australian climate scientist Barrie Pittock:

I heard second hand that Tom Wigley was very annoyed about a paper which gave very low projections of future warmings (I forget which paper, but it was in a recent issue [of Climate Research]) got through despite strong criticism from him as a reviewer.

So much for being anonymous.

The nature of Wigley and Harvey’s dissatisfaction was later made clear in a letter they sent to Chris de Freitas (the editor at Climate Research who oversaw our submission) and demanded to know the details of the review process that led to the publication of our paper over their recommendation for its rejection. Here is an excerpt from that letter:

Your decision that a paper judged totally unacceptable for publication should not require re-review is unprecedented in our experience. We therefore request that you forward to us copies of the authors responses to our criticisms, together with: (1) your reason for not sending these responses or the revised manuscript to us; (2) an explanation for your judgment that the revised paper should be published in the absence of our re-review; and (3) your reason for failing to follow accepted editorial procedures.

Wigley asked Harvey to distribute a copy of their letter of inquiry/complaint to a large number of individuals who were organizing some type of punitive action against Climate Research for publishing what they considered to be “bad” papers. Apparently, Dr. de Freitas responded to Wigley and Harvey’s demands with the following perfectly reasonable explanation:

The [Michaels et al. manuscript] was reviewed initially by five referees. … The other three referees, all reputable atmospheric scientists, agreed it should be published subject to minor revision. Even then I used a sixth person to help me decide. I took his advice and that of the three other referees and sent the [manuscript] back for revision. It was later accepted for publication. The refereeing process was more rigorous than usual.

This did little to appease to those wanting to discredit Climate Research (and prevent the publication of “skeptic” research) as evidenced by this email from Mike Mann to Tom Wigley and a long list of other influential climate scientists:

Dear Tom et al,

Thanks for comments–I see we’ve built up an impressive distribution list here!

Much like a server which has been compromised as a launching point for computer viruses, I fear that “Climate Research” has become a hopelessly compromised vehicle in the skeptics’ (can we find a better word?) disinformation campaign, and some of the discussion that I’ve seen (e.g. a potential threat of mass resignation among the legitimate members of the CR editorial board) seems, in my opinion, to have some potential merit.

This should be justified not on the basis of the publication of science we may not like of course, but based on the evidence (e.g. as provided by Tom and Danny Harvey and I’m sure there is much more) that a legitimate peer-review process has not been followed by at least one particular editor.

Mann went on to add “it was easy to make sure that the worst papers, perhaps including certain ones Tom refers to, didn’t see the light of the day at J. Climate.” This was because Mann was serving as an editor of the Journal of Climate and was indicating that he could control the content of accepted papers. But since Climate Research was beyond their direct control, it required a different route to content control. Thus pressure was brought to bear on the editors as well as on the publisher of the journal. And, they were willing to make things personal. For a more complete telling of the type and timeline of the pressure brought upon Chris de Freitas and Climate Research see this story put together from the Climategate emails by Anthony Watts over at Watts Up With That.

Now, let’s turn the wheels of time ahead 10 years, to January 10, 2012. Just published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters is a paper with this provocative title: “Improved constraints in 21st century warming derived using 160 years of temperature observations” by Nathan Gillet and colleagues from the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis of Environment Canada (not a group that anyone would confuse with the usual skeptics). An excerpt from the paper’s abstract provides the gist of the analysis:

Projections of 21st century warming may be derived by using regression-based methods to scale a model’s projected warming up or down according to whether it under- or over-predicts the response to anthropogenic forcings over the historical period. Here we apply such a method using near surface air temperature observations over the 1851–2010 period, historical simulations of the response to changing greenhouse gases, aerosols and natural forcings, and simulations of future climate change under the Representative Concentration Pathways from the second generation Canadian Earth System Model (CanESM2).

Or, to put it another way, Gillet et al. used the observed character of global temperature increase—an integrator of all processes acting upon it—to guide an adjustment to the temperature projections produced by a climate model. Sounds familiar!!

And what did they find? From the Abstract of Gillet et al.:

Our analysis also leads to a relatively low and tightly-constrained estimate of Transient Climate Response of 1.3–1.8°C, and relatively low projections of 21st-century warming under the Representative Concentration Pathways.

The Transient Climate Response is the temperature rise at the time of the doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration, which will most likely occur sometime in the latter decades of this century. Which means that results of Gillet et al. are in direct accordance with the results of Michaels et al. published 10 years prior and which played a central role in precipitating the wrath of the Climategate scientists upon us, Chris de Freitas and Climate Research.

Both the Gillet et al. (2012) and the Michaels et al. (2002) studies show that climate models are over-predicting the amount of warming that is a result of human changes to the constituents of the atmosphere, and that when they are constrained to conform to actual observations of the earth’s temperature progression, the models project much less future warming (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Dashed lines show the projected course of 21st century global temperature rise as projected by the latest version (CanESM2) of the Canadian coupled ocean‐atmosphere climate model for three different future emission scenarios (RCPs). Colored bars represent the range of model projections when constrained by past 160 years of observations. All uncertainty ranges are 5–95%. (figure adapted from Gillet et al., 2012: note the original figure included additional data not relevant to this discussion).

And a final word of advice to whoever was the editor at GRL that was responsible for overseeing the Gillet et al. publication—watch your back.


Gillet, N.P., et al., 2012. Improved constraints on 21st-century warming derived using 160 years of temperature observations. Geophysical Research Letters, 39, L01704, doi:10.1029/2011GL050226.

Michaels, P.J., et al., 2002. Revised 21st century temperature projections. Climate Research, 23, 1-9.


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Steptoe Fan

WOW – would like to see NOVA devote an hour to this !
how to make that happen ?

I think it’s Mann that is watching his back.
The Bully boy tactics he was able to employ freely, ten years ago would now be the hard evidence needed to convict him…I wish he was stupid enough to try it!

Steptoe Fan

Patrick ,
you really should submit your manuscript to PBS / NOVA as the outline for a future program – and let the public know how ‘it’s’ open and tax funded media source responds.


First as tragedy, then as farce.

David Davidovics

Its sickening to see how so few people can destroy so much of an otherwise beautiful idea. I still love science has to offer, but as an institution it will take many years to recover from this well organized attempt at centralized control of academic freedom.
And to all you warmists out there – How the eff can you NOT call this a conspiracy???

kbray in california

it’s mysterious kooks and daggers stuff…

John F. Hultquist

I always enjoy finding a “wordsmithing gem” in an article or post. WSJ content authors are famously good at this. Patrick Michaels deserves credit for a neat turn of phrase: precipitating the wrath — in a climate related posting. Great!
I should mention the rest of the material is fascinating.


This whole Mann/Wigley saga relating to the resignation of de Freitas reads more and more like a (bad) mafia movie:
“We gotta send a message to the streets dat you don’t mess wid da mob, boys!
It don’t matter if he’s right or wrong, boys, rub him out!”
They are a bit lucky not many people read this blog, eh? 😉 ……

The amazing part is this one: I was the person who recruited Mann to UVa, because I thought our Environmental Scienes Department should be diverse. Silly me.
I can’t send this to NOVA as it would appear self-serving (and it would be). Someone on this listserve has to do it!
The untold parts of this story, nonetheless, need to be told. Like why I am not at UVa after 30 years of faculty service, for example?

Eric Anderson

Extremely interesting post. Thanks for sharing this.
Question: You say “Both the Gillet et al. (2012) and the Michaels et al. (2002) studies show that climate models are over-predicting the amount of warming . . . and that when they are constrained to conform to actual observations of the earth’s temperature progression, the models project much less future warming (Figure 1).”
If I’m reading this right, in this particular case it isn’t the models themselves that were the problem, but the fact that the models were not initially “constrained to conform to actual observations”?
Dr. Michaels, if you are following this thread can you share a bit more information about what this means? Are we talking about initial parameterization, or initial input states, or adjustments made after some years of observation to make the models more closely match? What is the exact nature of the constrainment that results in the projection of less future warming (i.e., what, so far, has arguably turned out to be a more accurate result)?


In the journals, recklessly but slowly, with acerbity.
It’s not his back, but his face he should watch. The splashback of this volatility is hazardous.


Audible virgins
Beware vipers at the breasts.
Milk and honey land.


As I read your comments, I sense a lot of pain and a glimmer of hope that you will be vindicated. However, your motives for getting the truth out are anything but self serving.

Mark F

What does Dr. Weaver think about *this*? I can hardly wait.

To admit that it hurt gives them power. But yes I would like the truth to out.

Crispin in Waterloo

Eric Anderson says:
“If I’m reading this right, in this particular case it isn’t the models themselves that were the problem, but the fact that the models were not initially “constrained to conform to actual observations”?”
That is how I read it too. The thing is, do the models do it ‘blind’ with respect to GCR and Solar UV+EUV? As those are changing, it is likely the response is even lower becaise for over 1/2 of that 160 years the sun was ramping up. If it was based on CO2 and temperatures (mostly) plus ocean heat content (as far as it is known) it will be overestimating future rise as a) the world runs out of carbon-based fuels to burn, peaking well before 2100, and b) the sun simply fails to cooperate.
From the available fuels and what is known about the carbon cycle, it looks as if it will be difficult to get the CO2 above 550 ppm, ever. This ‘doubling’ business is based on an assumption of exponential CO2 emissions without considering the fuels available to do it. Of course if the ocean takes over as a major source of stored CO2, all bets are off, save that the response will not be very robust for the usual logarithmic reasons.

Phillip Bratby

It would seem that there is a consensus emerging amongst top climate scientists that we are not going to get 2degC of “dangerous climate change” this century. Can we all go home now and get on with business as normal? Can we get rid of the IPCC? Can we get rid of all the green taxes now and start to dismantle the wind turbines?
It would seem the answer to all questions should be YES.


OT: I dropped by to see if RC had any comment on this. So far, they do not. I found this and was pleased to see that Gavin corrected a commenter concerning what NASA does and does not say as an agency and a caution to cite sources.
Urgelt says:
7 Jan 2012 at 10:55 AM
NASA warns that there may be a tipping point beyond which an accelerating positive feedback loop scenario might come into play. Under this scenario, most of the clathrate deposits in the arctic (both tundra and shallow continental shelf deposits) could be released into the atmosphere in a fairly short period of time (less than a century), implying a rate of outgassing that makes 100 times present estimated levels a vast underforecast. *That* is the worst case scenario, not an arbitrary 100 times present estimated outgassing rates.
Is there a tipping point? What is it? Nobody knows. We’re flying blind. That notion ought to give us pause.
[Response: ‘NASA’ does not make agency statements on scientific issues. Perhaps some NASA scientists have said such a thing, or perhaps they are researching it, but whether it is credible or not has very little to do with it being ‘NASA’. Please provide cites and references for claims like this, especially on a thread that is precisely about exploring the quantitative consequences of this outgassing. – gavin]

PJM wrote:

The untold parts of this story, nonetheless, need to be told. Like why I am not at UVa after 30 years of faculty service, for example?

Anytime you want to tell it Dr. Michaels.

I was the person who recruited Mann to UVa, because I thought our Environmental Scienes Department should be diverse. Silly me.

It happened throughout academia. The earlier generation was willing to admit their rebellious leftist students to the professoriate, feeling an obligation to open the academy to these different ideas but, silly them, they were caught by surprise when the leftists practiced what they preached and slammed the door after themselves. No one who is not a leftist can get in anymore, and the whole enterprise will have to be defunded and abandoned (coming soon to the blue states anyway, as they are all going bankrupt).
Luckily the best educational resources are increasingly online and the signaling function of university admissions and degrees can always be replaced by simple testing for knowledge and intelligence. We no longer need the universities, which is a darned good thing, since they have already been destroyed. They still do some important scientific research (excepting the vast majority of climate science) and they are important for medical research (since the tort revolution made private medical research nearly impossible), but the mis-education of our youth cannot end soon enough.


Is the .7 degree of observed natural temperature rise factored in?

Peter Miller

1. We still need to cover the planet with pretty, unobtrusive, bird loving, reliable, inexpensive, wind turbines.
2. We need to spend at least $50 billion per year on climate research – an excellent way of tackling the looming unemployment problem amongst incompetent and/or dishonest scientists.
3. We need to annually impose hundreds of billions of dollars in extra taxes to further damage western economies and then transfer these funds to the nations of Third World, typically used as efficient processing and transit points to private Swiss bank accounts,
4. We should recognise the efforts of Mann and the rest of the Team for their exceptional……………………… fill with words like ‘integrity’, ‘honesty’ if you are a warmist and ‘deceit’, ‘incompetence’ if you are a sceptic.
The incredible cost we are inflicting on ourselves to solve a non-problem in climate is going to make us the laughing stock of future generations.

Ken Hall

The hockey team have completely perverted the peer review process to suit their political agenda and turned peer review into something which more closely resembles the inquisition.

cui bono

Great (if frightening) post.
I hope Dr. Michaels is allowed and willing to submit testimony to the ‘State Pen’ lawsuit brought by Mann. All evidence of the latters corrosive influence on climate science in the past few years should be in the public eye.

Greg Holmes

This is great news, vindication, but it took 10 years. I keep writing to Gov’t depts and politicians here in the UK and the reply is always “the concensus” speech. I know that they are politically scared of admitting that the IPCC is flawed, but it really is the job of Polticians to look into these sort of claims and if they doubt the veracity of the claim should really say so. Using old text books is no defense. All I can do is keep writing and making a nuisance of myself and hope the waste of resources stops someday.

Patrick, it must feel good to have your results independently replicated. But just out of interest, was your paper cited in this new work? Or have you been written out of history?

This is getting serious folks. No bull. Really. Poor ol’ Al Gore and Tim Wirth and Ban The Moon at the UN must be feeling unloved. (snicker, giggle)
regards, rotfl (only our pointless, activist jackasses at the ABC would present such drivel)

John Marshall

Wheels within wheels. A real den of iniquity.
If you can’t attack the science attack the man.
Keep up the good work!

Peter Stroud

Unfortunately the politicians, at least here in the UK, unlikely to read articles such as this. Or if they do, they will be assured by their scientific advisors that the conclusions are rubbish. Similarly the MSM will either ignore or trash the work. The scientific case for scepticism will never see the light of day in the land of the great and good, until at least one group of politicians calls for a truly independent review. A very unlikely event.


Re RC and Gavin The team have been given instructions to avoid exaggerating any AGW claims for them to have even the slightest hope of professional survival

the resignation of de Freitas

Did he actually resign, or was that just the intended outcome?
The title is clever, but this doesn’t feel like “peer pressure” to me. It seems more like string-pulling and libelous manipulation. “the sleazy crowd”, indeed.

At one time I had regretted not going down the academic track and heading into industry instead.
Then I saw how petty some researchers can be, and thought it wasn’t all that bad to have missed out on that. Petty bickering not being one of my preferred things.
Time passed, and the whole “Global Warming” thing started popping. There were hints of ‘cooked books’ in what got published, and the occasional thing that did get out causing way out of proportion responses.
Finally ClimateGate, and an ‘up close and personal’ view of just how backbiting, self serving, mendacious, vicious and downright “aggressively petty” self serving it could be. As noted above, more in keeping with a Mafia culture than polite mutual review.
I am now quite happy that I avoided that nest of vipers….
But… I still have a compulsion to truth and a love of the scientific method. What is clear from Climategate is that formal “professional” scientists have no such “forcings”….
If the goals of the scientific method are to survive ( honest search for truth based on objective evidence) then the whole “Peer Review” process needs to be scrapped. Period.
At one time folks just found things, wrote them up, and published. Sometimes in letters privately circulated. Sometimes in self published manuscripts. Occasionally in letters to journals. Then the “peer review” process developed. It may have had a benefit at one time ( correction of error prior to embarrassment in public, enhancement with added ideas) but that time is clearly past.
The inevitable self serving and power lust of the human condition (at least, SOME human’s conditions) leads to using the system as it stands to browbeat others and practice “occupational birth control” on folks who do not agree with “settled science”. Since the whole idea of “settled science” is an oxymoron, it is clear that the system will inevitably slide into decay, self dealing, and abuse. ANY system where power over others is wielded in secrecy by those with the most to fear from the success of those others will have such a collapse.
What fixes it is public access. The light of day.
We need to go back to the era prior to secret self dealing and blackmail. To an era where folks can simply publish their work as they see fit. The internet clearly lets that happen (as evidence this site…)
But can it be enhanced to do the duties that peer review offered?
Yes, fairly easily. An article can be published to a listed group of individuals who can then comment on it. IMHO, nothing in this process can be anonymous. If folks can’t stand to say “Hey, Jim, I think you have this bit wrong.” as they are afraid of damaging some relationship, then they need to find another line of work. Once that ‘private review’ is done, the article can then be published. Simply by a copy / past to a new thread that does not include the reviewers comments and the revision history. At that point “public review” can commence with any and all folks posting comments and responses. Once that is done, editors can pick articles that particularly stand out and publish them in the archaic paper format (if they feel that is really still of importance.)
In computer programming, we have something called a “desk check”. You go over the code at your desk, often with a fellow programmer, to make sure it looks good. Then we have a “code review”. This is never anonymous. You go into a conference room with your workmates, boss, sometimes the client / customer, and sometimes the odd vendor or others who like to participate and you again go through the code. If someone finds an embarrassing broken bit, you thank them and fix it. Can’t take that? Go get a different job.
Harsh? Maybe. But the product is better and you get used to it pretty quickly.
I see nothing in science that makes the participants “special”. Every cook is given immediate feedback on their work product. If it stinks, they find out fast. (Often loudly). Every hairdresser and every house painter gets a report card every day. Often quite publicly. On the nightly news, when the report makes a flub on stage, it isn’t hidden and it isn’t anonymous. Just look at the various “outtakes” from movies, TV, and even weather reports. A cop who makes a mistake might just wake up dead or beaten, and often with cameras running and a showing on the nightly new.
IMHO, it’s time to take the anonymous back room dealing out of science. Open the windows and doors, turn on the spotlights and cameras, and grow up.
It’s time for “Public Review”.
What “climate science” has shown us is that the “professionals” are more like 5th graders. No, on second thought, more like kinders in their lack of social graces and petty sensitivities. This is exacerbated by secrecy and anonymity. It’s time for them to do things the same way everyone else does them: On stage in full view in a public forum.
Yes, it will take a dramatic cultural shift and a whole lot of folks oxen will be gored. Most likely some journals will go under (though frankly I think I’d be more inclined to read them as the quality would go way up). But the present system clearly isn’t working. So time to toss it out and start over. Pull the fangs of the anonymous power brokers, anonymous reviewers, and anonymous editorial decisions.


michaelspj says:
January 10, 2012 at 10:12 pm
The amazing part is this one: I was the person who recruited Mann to UVa, because I thought our Environmental Scienes Department should be diverse. Silly me.
Like the Who said, just don’t be fooled again. Irony is that under the PC-term “diversity”, the desired/achieved result has been the opposite — conformity. Another doublespeak term.


What EM Smith said. Sir, you have shown us the way forward along lines of which I am sure many of us have been thinking.
This needs the non-Team real scientists to lobby the journals and for someone to set up the first public review science forum on the internet: which Anthony has already mooted. Forward, Mr. Watts!
Once started, this review system will leave the charlatans nowhere to hide, governments may cease to heed their doomsaying and the western economies may yet be saved. Meanwhile, the planet and its passengers will trundle along just fine.


For those interested, Mike Mann will be giving a seminar at Penn State on the 23rd.
Jan 23rd Michael Mann, Professor of Meteorology, Penn State, “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines”
All seminars are held on Mondays at 4:00 pm in 112 Walker Building.
This EarthTalks colloquium series will present a slate of speakers who will address various aspects of how electronic media is changing how we teach and learn and explore the environment, and how this media is changing the research university.
Typically there is a question and answer period afterwards.

David in Georgia

I’m looking at the chart and I’m wondering if the estimates are not already too high. It sure appears to me that the estimates for 2012 and 2015 are nearly three quarters of a degree above our current temperatures already. The very lowest bar (I assume that bar represents the range of temperature to include error above and below the actual prediction) goes from 1 degree to 1.3 degrees. I thought our current estimate of temperature anomaly was closer to a half a degree. Unless we have a step change in the next year, we need to drop the whole chart down a notch.

“At one time I had regretted not going down the academic track and heading into industry instead.
Then I saw how petty some researchers can be, and thought it wasn’t all that bad to have missed out on that. ”
I’m still having that internal conflict now, part way through my PhD. I’ve worked in both the private and public sector in various jobs prior to the benchmark (including research roles in both) so I’ve seen both sides of the fence. The scientific idealist in me wants to stay in academia to teach and research but practically it can be, as you put it, a nest of vipers and with the increasing dominance of an ever more irrational populace, media and educational establishment in the UK I don’t see how I’d last. I can’t believe I’ve actually been with academics willing to drop important matters of principle over “a good cause”.

David A. Evans

E.M.Smith says:
Hear, hear!
When I left industry, (as in starting alone,) what I missed most was someone to ask, “does this look right?” when writing my code. Lacking that made the process much longer as I had to try much harder to check my own work.
Once you “put it out there”, it’s too late, you take the brickbats from your “customers”.

E.M.Smith says:
January 11, 2012 at 4:04 am
amen very well put get the anonymous out of review and let the light of day kill the parasites that plague climate science.

EM Smith, you are correct. Sunlight… It works best in disinfecting everything, government, science, health problems, etc.

hmm comment disappeared but to E.M. smith perfectly said.


The performance of the AR4 models has been horrible but the public is unaware of this simple fact.
Between 2000 and today the models predicted around .3 ° C warming while actual warming has been ZERO.
Unless we get a serious amount of warming soon there models are worthless.

Pat, as the climate farce continues to unravel, you will be vindicated more and more. Most of us remember the storm you weathered. Even before climategate, we were aware of your significant contributions. Here is a heartfelt thank you from a long time skeptic.

EMS (Mike)
Many of us who have been folowing the whole CAGW debate well before Climategate have been saying what you have just stated for years i.e. that the ‘pal review’ process has been broken pretty much from the start and is well past it’s scrap date. I doubt if anyone else could have expressed as well as you have done here Mike.
Public review is the way forward IMO as well and the so called ‘journals’ thanks to the internet age and blogs are now well and truly surplus to requirements.

R. Gates

This is an important paper that might help to further reduce the uncertainty of the transient climate sensitvity. The big caution, and point that really needs to be made is that transient sensitivty is not the “final” temperature at which the system will settle. The equalibrium sensitivity will be higher, but exactly how much higher, no one knows, as a full understanding of all the earth-system feedbacks is no known. Recently Lord Monckton was arguing the point that transient sensitivity is “nearly equal” to equalibrium sensitivity, but this certainty is not known, and can’t possibly be known as all the factors related to slower feedbacks and earth system responses are certainly not known and still the subject of intense research.
The upshot of all this, it could very well be that transient sensitivity is around 1.5C for a doubling of CO2 (though some hard-core skeptics will even recoil at this suggestion, as they doubt CO2 has any effect at all), but even, in the the unlikely scenario that CO2 levels could be kept at 560ppm, temperatures would continue to rise until the equalibrium sensitivity temperature were reached, considering all earth system responses with slower feedbacks, and this process could take many decades, even up to a century, after the transient sensitivity temperature was reached. 3C (+ or – 1C) for a final equalibrium sensitivity is still quite a reasonable estimate as certainly equalibrium sensitivity will be higher.


@ E.M. Smith
You’re basically right about academics — at least the badly behaved ones (I know many exemplary ones, however) — but consider that the system promoting their ascendency is designed to select for the aggressive and argumentative ones. The competition for their jobs requires political skills and attaching to the right mentors in order to acquire tenure and get attached to the grant-funding sequence of projects that is the lifeblood of their work. This is not an excuse for unethical and boorish behavior, but rather an explanation of why we find more than the expected number of louts in climate science. Notice too that one or two pivotal actors (you know who they are) are enough to drive the herd into places where they might not go under the influence of more enlightened leadership. It’s another symptom of an incestuous system trying to consolidate its strength.
The other interesting development is that greater numbers of scientists seem to want to become journalists (people who are less informed, subject to different demands, and less careful about precision than most scientists are trained to be). I think it started with Carl Sagan, the first really big populizer of science, who made science communication grudgingly acceptable among fellow academic scientists. Before that it was pretty much distained. Now, it gets you the perks.


E.M.Smith says:
January 11, 2012 at 4:04 am
It’s time for “Public Review”.
Peer Review = Secret Review,
Secrecy breeds Contempt
I agree with Smith. We hold software code reviews in the open for very good reason. People do not learn from their successes, they learn from their mistakes.
Anonymous peer review hides the mistakes of science, preventing science from fixing mistakes in the methodology.


Dr. Michaels,
As a UVA grad (CLAS 78, Biol & Chem), and a fellow scientist (and Journal Editor!) interested in maintaining the integrity of the research endeavor, I have followed your story and that of Dr. Mann closely. It is lovely to see your work supported. More importantly, it has been horrifying to view the petty nonsense that transpired around your paper uncovered by the Climategate emails. I don’t know what the answer is, but agenda-driven “science” has to be carefully monitored and discouraged wherever possible. This is the principal problem, in my view: shaping the outcome of studies to fit a pre-conceived desire. Chiefio (above) may have the answer: public review, but in my field at least, there isn’t enough incentive for the vast majority of work to receive enough scrutiny via that mechanism. Peer review has its flaws, but like most human endeavors, it relies on people acting with good character and ethically. It, like the conduct of research itself, is highly vulnerable to unethical behavior.
A short anecdote: Shortly before he stepped down, the past president of UVA made a visit to my neck of the woods to address alumni. I managed to grab his attention for a few moments, and asked whether he was glad to be rid of that embarrassing Michael Mann (this was pretty soon after the release of Climategate email batch 1). He expressed some shock that I would view Mann this way, and mumbled something about also being rid of you. My wife was one of the first graduates of the Environmental Sciences department at UVA. I hope they’re getting their act back together after what was clearly a very contentious time. All the best.


R. Gates says:
January 11, 2012 at 7:10 am
The equalibrium sensitivity will be higher, but exactly how much higher, no one knows, as a full understanding of all the earth-system feedbacks is no known.
No. The equilibrium sensitivity may be higher, it may be lower. It depends of the shape of the unknown.
Think of a playground swing. Give the swing a good hard push. It will have a very high transient response, but the equilibrium response will be insignificant.
The problem is linear thinking. Someone pushes you, you fall. More likely in the past few billion years the earth has learned Climate Kung Fu. It uses the force of its opponent to block the opponent, and thus stay balanced on its feet. This balance gave rise to life.
Where is the evidence? 10 thousand years ago the earth was warmer than now, for a period of a couple of thousand years. According to climate science this should have lead to a catastrophic release of CO2 and methane, which should have permanently raised temperatures.
But it didn’t happen. Climate Kung Fu kicked in and defeated the evil transient response, leading to a lower equilibrium. Rest easy glasshopper.

Mark T

@E. M. Smith

In computer programming, we have something called a “desk check”. You go over the code at your desk, often with a fellow programmer, to make sure it looks good. Then we have a “code review”. This is never anonymous. You go into a conference room with your workmates, boss, sometimes the client / customer, and sometimes the odd vendor or others who like to participate and you again go through the code. If someone finds an embarrassing broken bit, you thank them and fix it. Can’t take that? Go get a different job.

Standard for any engineering design review. For PCB design, there isn’t typically a “desk review” other than you and the other engineers that are on the project (if any are) trading slides/notes in preparation for the review. Other than that, it’s pretty much the same. I’ve stood in front of 100 people reviewing my work, sometimes with a video conference as well (semi-anonymous critics in the background). Not all are engineers, some are business development/marketing, some are finance, some are simply program management, all with their own vested interest in the project. Each has his own key points they want to make sure get addressed, i.e., you have to wear many hats during your review, considering all possible criticisms, constructive or otherwise (budgets are often at the end, with the engineer standing around referring to his own program managers and/or team leads).

Harsh? Maybe. But the product is better and you get used to it pretty quickly.

If you aren’t prepared, or just did poor work, they can be downright hostile and embarrassing. Sometimes they’re simply hostile because there are agendas in the room that are in opposition to what you are doing (competing ideas from another team, budget masters that view the project as frivolous, etc.). The first review an engineer does is truly trial by fire, a learning experience we all must go through. Some cannot take the heat and find other ways to apply their skills.
From personal experience, I’ve always found board (PCBs) reviews to be more difficult since there are often more caveats due to the wider range of technologies that may be represented by the design. A digital design often incorporates analog circuitry, power supplies, etc., and will likely have mechanical constraints (heat dissipation, size, weight, power) plus complex interface requirements. Each of those specialties will be represented among the reviewers, particularly so for projects that are large. It can get pretty intense and you won’t always have the answers so follow-up efforts may be required (complete re-designs are not unheard ofafter a preliminary, and sometimes “critical” design review, if the budget is flexible enough).


This post is a dishonest disgrace. The figure deletes essentially half of the Gillett (which is the correct spelling, by the way – two ‘t’s) results, calling them “not relevant”. More like not convenient, because they show Gillett’s second possible climate response, which is one with significantly higher warming. The full figure can be seen here:
I don’t think Gillette et al. would appreciate their figures being tampered with and their results misrepresented. This smacks of Michaels’ deletion of Hansen’s scenarios B and C in his Congressional testimony.
REPLY: Oh please. Way to ignore the issue. Dana, you think everything on WUWT is a disgrace, so your view is right in line with your M.O., yet you ignore your own problems with SkS and the editing of posts, comments, and response post facto. Get your OWN HOUSE IN ORDER before criticizing others. Sadly, I expect you’ll be posting yet another SkS smear in the near future. I’ll make sure Pat Michaels sees your rant though. – Anthony