David Karoly – leader of the 'climate underground'?

Oh how quickly they forget. Last month, scientist David Karoly was thanking Steve McIntyre for spotting the error that led to the retraction of the Gergis et al paper:

“We would like to thank you and the participants at the ClimateAudit blog for your scrutiny of our study, which also identified this data processing issue.

Thanks, David Karoly”

Source: http://climateaudit.org/2012/06/08/gergis-et-al-put-on-hold/

This month, Karoly is writing a pal book review for Michael Mann’s Climate Wars, and its like that never happened: (bold mine)

Commentators with no scientific expertise, ranging from politicians such as Republican congressman Joe Barton from Texas, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, or Republican Senator James Inhofe from Oklahoma, to blog writers Stephen McIntyre and Marc Morano, have repeatedly promulgated misinformation and sought to launch formal investigations into Mann’s research, claiming professional misconduct or worse, even though it had been peer reviewed and confirmed by other scientists.

McIntyre has no scientific expertise? Well he had enough expertise to find what peer reviewers missed,  and with that knowledge, knocked your paper out of the running, and back to square one. If that isn’t expertise I don’t know what is.

McIntyre notices over at CA that Karoly has a peculiar personal message in a public appearance, and writes in comments: Posted Jul 10, 2012 at 9:58 PM | Permalink

Here is a picture of Karoly at the opening of the Hepburn Community Wind Farm in Victoria, Australia on November 5, 2011. The slogan on his shirt was the slogan of the radical group, the Weather Underground, in the late 1960s when I was at university. Their manifesto is here. Lots of stuff about pigs and imperialists.

McIntyre adds:

Posted Jul 10, 2012 at 10:22 PM | Permalink

Maybe it’s age-specific. For someone who grew up in the period, the phrase and the radical movement were inseparably linked. Wikipedia has an interesting article on the faction http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weather_Underground.

I still have my vinyl Dylan album with Subterranean Homesick Blues on it.

My counter corollary would be: “you don’t need a climatologist to tell you which way the grants flow”.


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Rick Bradford

Karoly is known in Australia as an impetuous twerp with grandiose notions about himself.
His letter of thanks to McIntyre was a major surprise; now he seems to have thought better about trying to be pleasant — it doesn’t suit his personality, for one thing.


….you don’t need a psychologist to tell you who exhibits Cognitive dissonance

Hot under the collar

I bet he was glad to be opening a wind farm, I don’t know about the answer blowing in the wind -the brown smelly stuff certainly is with their ‘data processing issues’, ‘lost data issues’, ‘peer review issues’, ‘freedom of information issues’, ’email issues’, ‘science is settled issues’, ………

Patrick Davis

Seriously, Karoly is an arrogant fool. Ignore his “work”, file in the bin.

John Brookes

Is there some reason why Steve McIntyre can’t both spot errors and promulgate misinformation?
REPLY: Is there some reason why Karoly thanks a person for their scientific expertise, then claims they have none? – Anthony

Anyone who criticizes the “climate change” brigade can’t be considered a valid critic because he must be a non-scientist? Must be only one true science and only a select few who can determine who is a true scientist.
I’m not sure someone showing up at a Wind Farm event with the Dylan quote on his tee shirt equates with the Weathermen.

Lew Skannen

You don’t need to be a scientist to know that if your primary feed stock for a pet model is a pile of composted vegetable matter, household waste and industrial refuse your output may fall somewhat short of pearl quality.
Or, more simply – GIGO

Jon at WA

The rear of the t-shirt reads,
‘Not to be trusted under any circumstances’
Karoly is in deep and his mates are currently bombarding the ABC viewing public with the reef is doomed. ABC cub reporter, potato head Conor Duffy has doom and gloom on full spin cycle. 2800 of the worlds most perfect experts Yah da yah da!

This man is an activist pure and simple. Unfortunately he was also a reviewer for the “attribution” chapter of the AR4.
Along with Tim Flannery, he’d be my first choice for a good old fashioned Tar n Feathering.

charles nelson

Aguably, the greatest service that WUWT provides is ‘scrutiny’.
Once upon a time the Warmists could get away with the most monstrous ‘inconsistencies’, you know the kind of thing, altered figures, doctored graphs and graphics, disappearing and hastily re-written web pages and press releases, ridiculous claims etc etc.
Now they know that they are being carefully monitored and that anything they say can and will be noted down and used at some future point against them. That’s why they detest WUWT so much.
Oscar Wilde once said ‘consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative’.
For the last 20 years the Warmist Scientists have allowed their collective imagination to run riot.
Time for a little consistency, which should be ‘the first objective of Science’.


David Karoly is in Australia. Back when I were a lad, I had a uni lecturer who was also a Karoly. He was as mad as a box full of bats.
I wonder if David is any relation?

Pete of Perth

The other side of the story with a mention of the Hepburn Wind farm


wasn’t that the group that the unrepentant domestic terrorist david ayers was involved in? weren’t they the ones who blew up the madison wi university research building that killed some poor physics grad student back in the late 60s or early 70s?

Mike Lewis

The hypocrisy is staggering but not unsurprising.

Dave N

I defer once again to the maxim that one needs no qualifications or experience whatsoever to be able to point out to someone else that they are wrong, nor will any amount of money, no matter where it comes from, change whether or not they are wrong.
Karoly is engaging in argumentum ad hominem and is an embarrassment to Australia.

Disko Troop

It would appear that David Karoly is under the impression that the font of all human knowledge and advancement is somehow contained within a grouping called “The Scientists”. If he cared to look back through history he would find that “scientists” have had remarkably little input to our lives and are largely irrelevant.
For example, the Earth changing discoveries and inventions have mostly been made by engineers. The Aeroplane by the Wright brothers. Motor vehicles by Benz. Lenoir, Brayton etc. The maritime time piece that enabled longitudinal navigation by Harrison, Steam trains and pumps by Watt and Trevithick, Steel steam ships by Brunel are all amongst the major advances of the last few centuries. Marconi, and radio. Not a Phd to be seen anywhere. What have “scientists” given us?… The atomic bomb; penicillin by a complete accident in the lab and not much else. Merely a few refinements to lay inventors ideas.
I would suggest by the historical record that other than the ability to pontificate about pointless “discoveries” like the Higgs boson, scientists are pretty much an expensive waste of space. I will trust my heritage and my grand children’s future to the engineers and leave our erstwhile scientists such as Karoly, Mann, Gherghis khan and Hansen to argue about irrelevancies amongst themselves.


“McIntyre has no scientific expertise? Well he had enough expertise to find what peer reviewers missed”
Except it wasn’t McIntyre that found it …
REPLY: So is the claim, but unsupported by anything but “we did it first” from “the team”. Most likely a face saving ploy. – Anthony


Every grant writer, every grant provider, government, university, scientist, or everyday skeptic involved in climate research and funding needs to read the executive summary of the Fukishima Nuclear accident in Japan. The key finding was that the collusion between government, regulating agencies, and industry, where money was flowing profusely, ultimately failed the people of Japan. It is the same with climate research in my opinion.
The insiders should read it to know that we are justified in our skeptical stance. And the skeptics should read it to know that what we are doing is right and for the better good.
The damage that collusion in climate research and governance can do must have a balancing force for the greater good of all.


this evening Aunty ABC ran a spot on the supposedly Big increase in warming happening really high temps ocean wise round aus , brief kudos to la nina for rain, but Insistence on carbons seriously and faster than forecast effects on warming.
some BoM chap who really should remain nameless and preferably Jobless as well.
karoly has a competitor for Stupid along with flim flannery as well.
1st 2nd and 3rd..pick one, they all qualify.
facepalm indeed!


He looks to me like a person who Gergises up all the time. Steve McIntyre and the others probably feel that they have been savaged by a dead sheep 🙂 Sorry for the borrowed quote.


Foucault has a lot to answer for, but then most of these ego bloated fools seem to be middle class wannabees, folk who work for a living are far more pragmatic.

Patrick Davis

“Baa Humbug says:
July 11, 2012 at 4:33 am”
A waste of tar and feathers IMO. I suggest [SNIP: No. Let’s just not go there. -REP] Might perk them up to reality a bit!


David has just proven to the world he is a small, petty little man, full of himself and enjoying the fetid delusions of his very limited mind.
A perfect pal and an excellent supporter for Mikey Mann and the Team

The reason for these attacks was that Mann led a ground-breaking series of studies in the late 1990s that described Northern Hemisphere temperature variations over the last thousand years and showed that the warmth of the latter part of the twentieth century was very unusual, likely warmer than any time in a thousand years, including the so-called Medieval Warm Period.

hmmm…has anyone read the publications if Tim Barnett in the late 1990s? I have been reading him in relation to Madrid 1995. He is a lead author of Ch 8 in FAR and SAR, which were both dismissive of paleo data for establish a yardstick of climate variability upon which to compare recent (human?) warming. There is also an article eventually published in Holocene in 1996 (with Santer as one of the authors) that was pretty much the basis for the scepticism of SAR chapter 8 before Santer made the final changes after Madrid.
Anyway, a whole bunch of mostly IPCC affiliated detection and attribution experts lead by Barnett (including Santer) published a Status report in 1999:
It contained a graph comparing 3 paleo graphs published in 1998 by Jones et al, Briffa, and Mann et al with a scathing commentrary:

…the disparity between these reconstructions at some times over the last 400 years is as large as the observed changes in global temperature over the last 100 years.’ It concludes that ‘at present it is debatable whether there is enough temperature proxy data to be representative of hemispheric, let alone global, climate changes given the lack of large spatial scale coherence in the data.

The graph is reproduced here:
A few editions of Holocene later and three of the paleo folks (including Mann) publish a very reactionary reply.
Considering what was happening in the science at the time just makes you aware how willfully ignorant or down right deceitful are such public statements as this by Karoly. What makes it worse here is that Karoly was right there in the midst of all this research. It is hard to imagine that he was not aware that there were serious problems with Mann’s work, and that it could hardly be considered any more groundbreaking that Jones or Briffa’s rather less alarming findings.


It was Jean S and Steve McIntyre that found it. Go to Climate Audit and read the threads on Gergis and see the timelines.
Karoly lied, as usual.
And Karoly has a track record of stating blatant falsehoods. Go read his review about Mann’s book and see what kind of a person he is.

So much for GoreBullWarming:
Hope you all saw this article published in Nature by scientists of the university of Giessen/ Germany, three days ago:
” … and substantial SUMMER COOLING OVER THE PAST TWO MILLENNIA in northern boreal and Arctic latitudes.
These findings, together with the missing orbital signature in published dendrochronological records, suggest that large-scale near-surface air-temperature reconstructions relying on tree-ring data MAY UNDERESTIMATE PRE-INSTRUMENTAL TEMPERATURES INCLUDING WARMTH DURING MEDIEVAL AND ROMAN TIMES. …”
[REPLY: That was discussed at WUWT on July 9th here. You should also realize that this comment, as written, is rather off-topic for this thread. -REP]


… and sought to launch formal investigations into Mann’s research, claiming professional misconduct or worse, even though it had been peer reviewed and confirmed by other scientists.
It appears Karoly is suggesting that no investigation is required because misconduct has already been confirmed by other scientists via peer review.


John says:
July 11, 2012 at 5:17 am
“McIntyre has no scientific expertise? Well he had enough expertise to find what peer reviewers missed”
Except it wasn’t McIntyre that found it …
If McIntyre did not find the error then why thank him and Climate Audit for something they did not do?


Old Marxists never die, they just go on and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on…..

John said:
“McIntyre has no scientific expertise? Well he had enough expertise to find what peer reviewers missed”
Except it wasn’t McIntyre that found it …

Anthony replied
So is the claim, but unsupported by anything but “we did it first” from “the team”. Most likely a face saving ploy.
I think that it was a CA reader, Jean S, who first discovered the error in Gergis et. al.
See http://climateaudit.org/2012/06/06/gergis-significance/
(Not that I am suggesting that Steve McIntyre is lacking in expertise — quite the opposite)

Tom Stone

If these “climate scientists” are playing loose with the facts in order to get other people’s money, then their peer review may be by a jury of twelve at the courthouse.


IIRC,Karoly is the Magiar or Hungarian counterpart of Charles in English- and French-speaking countries, and of Karl in German-speaking countries.

Commentators with no scientific expertise, ranging from … have repeatedly promulgated misinformation
As the recent retraction of Gergis et al shows, it is climate science itself that has “promulgated misinformation”. And none of the climate science experts caught the error. For all their supposed expertise.
What has become abundantly clear is that climate science is built on a foundation of faulty mathematics and faulty experimental design, leading to “selection bias”. This has been kept hidden the public by an almost universal failure of climate science to archive their data and methods for independent replication.
As the climategate emails have shown, climate scientists has not done this accidentally. They have gone out of their way to prevent release of their data and methods to the public for independent replication. Instead, they have resorted to old fashioned mudslinging. This is basic debating fundamentals. When your evidence is weak, attack the person.
In this respect climate science is a pseudo science. “Selection bias” is the hallmark of pseudo science. “Hide the decline” establishes that climate science is not a science. Suppression of evidence is the tool of pseudo science.
Mathematics on the other hand, which is Steve McIntyre area of expertise is a science.


Thanks for that link to Barnett et al (1999). One thing that is fascinating is to see a real statement about problems with proxy records, difficulties of reconstructions, and uncertainties in the field just as Mann was about to become the rock star of the IPCC world.
Karoly’s hagiography completely passes over the ways in which Mann obliterated legitimate doubts and uncertainties with his aggressive politicized agenda. From what I can see paleoclimatologists would be better off going back to the state of the field in the 1990s and thinking about whether Mann (or Gergis, Karoly et al) have really improved understanding or not:
Barnett et al (1999) on state of the research
[emphasis added]
[Barnett et al (July 1999)]: “Recent compilations of paleoclimatic data have offered the first opportunity to analyze this type of data on a global scale. Straightforward comparisons via cross-spectral analysis of the recent paleodata with the instrumental record show that most of the paleodata are not simple proxies of temperature (Barnett et al. 1996; Jones 1998; Jones et al. 1998; see Table 1). Indeed, only a few of the tree-ring records from mid to high-latitude sites can be interpreted directly as temperature changes. Attempts by Jones et al. (1998) to use these “good” records to construct a record of Northern Hemisphere (NH) temperature over the last five centuries are shown in Fig. 2. Also shown is a different reconstruction created using a full compilation of proxy data (Mann et al. 1998). The disparity between these reconstructions at some times over the last 400 years is as large as the observed changes in global temperature over the last 100 years. Some of the differences are due to different compilations of proxy data and also differences in the seasons reconstructed, but most of the disparity simply represents uncertainties in our knowledge of past changes in NH average temperature.”

Vince Causey

It is obvious that “they” will never admit to the errors in the Mann hockey stick, as they may grudgingly admit to errors in some non iconic papers. The hockey stick is after all, the linchpin in their pseudo science, something to be defended with fanatical will. The fact that Mann’s mates looked at the paper and “saw that it was good”, is canonical enough.
As for Karoly – well, some people just never grow up.

Louis Hooffstetter

“…scientist David Karoly…”
I beg to differ. Degrees are irrelevant. By definition, “scientists” follow the scientific method, and allow their results to be verified. If you don’t follow these simple rules, you don’t qualify for the title.

My profession is HR and recruiting, and I can tell you without reservation that very often it’s people who supposedly lack expertise in certain positions who perform the best in those positions. There’s a big difference between having a degree in this or that particular field, and having the raw skill set to actually work successfully in that field. Accountants become Construction Estimators, people with no education in Engineering are often the best at product distribution and document control. I’ve seen people go out of their to try and stuff themselves up their own rear ends in their attempts to glorify and over think what they do. Bottom line is, you don’t need to be an officially recognized master carpenter to spot a poorly executed dovetail joint, and to do it better. If there’s anything the ‘climate science’ community needs it’s a healthy dose of humility and strong whiff of their own feces to remind them that, yes, it too stinks. Of course it’s understandable that they could miss and forget that fact, surrounded as they are with the stench of what passes for their ‘research’.

You know, I find this all very funny. Okay, so bloggers don’t have any scientific expertise. What does that say towards the scientists who get their a$$ handed to them every time they spew their jibberish? SteveMac has more hides on his wall than Bill Cody. But, the blogosphere in general has beat the “science” fiction writers at every turn. Just yesterday we all shared a laugh at Dr. Masters’ expense. But we could easily dig up any number of the many who has been slapped silly by the realities of our observations. Remember the 30 min destruction of Dessler’s response to Spencer? Well…. there’s too many to mention, but, the point is, everyone knows and can see how these supposed super smart sciency guys are laughable clowns flailing away and doing all they can to get marginalize and quiet the skeptics. And, it just feeds the fire.
No scientific expertise? That’s fine, then Karoly wouldn’t have any trouble in an open debate with any number of people here and elsewhere….. right? LOL….

“I’m not sure someone showing up at a Wind Farm event with the Dylan quote on his tee shirt equates with the Weathermen”.
The t-shirt is an issue. “Clothes make the man” and if you see a person wearing a t-shirt like that one or a Che Guevara t-shirt, you can pretty much guess what is in their heads and what will be coming out of their mouths.


Alot of King Richard the seconds in the climate world.

Anthony replied
I think that it was a CA reader, Jean S, who first discovered the error in Gergis et. al.
It appears the specific error in Gergis et. al., that the data had not been detrended, was made first made public by Jean S.
However, the wider error, that tree ring “calibration” is a form of “selection fallacy” or “selection bias”, that results in “hockey sticks”, that discovery largely rests on the careful work of Steve McIntyre over a long period of time.
The detrending error in Gergis et. al., is almost certainly a result of trying to overcome the “calibration” problems. Thus it could be said that Steve McIntyre’s earlier work formed the basis for the detrending error in Gergis et. al.
What is more significant about this incident is that it points to the failure of peer review. This paper had been reviewed and passed by scientific experts. RC and their team of climate scientists for all their expertise did not find the flaw.
Thus, the Gergis et. al incident directly contradicts the arguments made by Karoly. The error in Gergis et. al was not found by the experts. it was found by the public. Proving yet again, beware the opinion of experts.

“even though it had been peer reviewed and confirmed by other scientists.”
He also left out that part where people with scientific credentials identified significant flaws.


Given that Stephen McIntyre provides his data and code you would think a cheap ad hom from Karoly would be unnecessary – he could easily have provided real examples of Stephen’s errors. Assuming he could find any. That shoe, so far, has been on the other foot.

Werner Brozek

Perhaps Karoly should be asked if he wrote certain portions of his book review several months ago and that he should check if all names are still accurate. And if not, it should be questioned whether his whole review is wrong.

cba says:
July 11, 2012 at 4:59 am
wasn’t that the group that the unrepentant domestic terrorist david ayers was involved in? weren’t they the ones who blew up the madison wi university research building that killed some poor physics grad student back in the late 60s or early 70s?
The same.
Ayers produced the agitprop and left the bomb-making to people who *thought* they knew how to make bombs — which is the reason he’s one of only a very few Weathermen still alive…


One question: Is CAGW theory falsifiable? If so, how? That is the ultimate test for whether science is being practiced..
And scientists are not always logical. I recall an incident when one of our R&D vp’s brought me an evaluation of a proposed research project, submitted by an “outside source”. The memo was crisp, well reasoned, and strong in its conclusion: the proposal will not work.
But the PHD added as a course of action: Hire the guy for a further investigation of the process.
The VP and I had a good laugh over this one.


Not to defend his comments, but in fact Karoly appears to be describing two separate groups of people: “Commentators with no scientific expertise”, and “blog writers”.
The phrase is set up as “Group A: Examples ‘TO’ Group B: Examples”.
Since Steve McIntyre is in the second group, there does not, to me, appear to be any implication that he is considered to be without scientific expertise.

Only an expert is likely to propose a hypothesis that stands up to all attempts to reject it.
No one needs to be an expert to show a hypothesis must be rejected; they just need to be right that one time.


No I don’t think that claim works even in terms of that one sentence, and certainly not in terms of th review as a whole (wrt the the supposed “Serengeti strategy” Karoly and Mann have to be including Steve McIntyre in the reference since he is by far the most prominent and significant critic of Mann’s work). In terms of that specific sentence you refer to, the structure is this:
“Commentators with no scientific expertise, ranging from politicians … [x, y, z] ….. to blog writers Stephen McIntyre ….”,/b>
I think the “blog writers” are clearly included in the whole sentence contruction of “commentators with no scientific expertise” ….. unfortunately for Karoly, it’s just a low and embarrassing smear against Steve McIntyre, who’s blog (h/t Jean S. as well as Steve) just recently exposed an elementary flaw in Karoly’s paper (Gergis et al 2012). I wonder if this book review had already been submitted before the problems with the Gergis paper emerged, bc it is particularly brazen and shameless of Karoly if he submitted such a review after his email to Steve McIntyre and the current re-working of the paper. In any case, Karoly is the only one who looks bad from such vile and baseless smears….


Interesting, Steve McIntyre just affirmed on CA what seemed evident to me, that he first focused upon Mann’s work because it was considered exemplary in the field and was being promoted by the IPCC etc. as definitive, not because it was obviously weak ala Mann’s “Serengeti strategy”. The whole “Serengeti strategy” meme promoted by Karoly on behalf of Mann is merely foolish propaganda. No one in 2001 would have said “oh Mann is the most vulnerable in the field let’s cut him off from the herd and attack”….. Mann was embraced in the heart of the IPCC process, in ways utterly extraordinary for a scientist so new to the field, and then his work was further scrutinized. But that was the opposite of a “Serengeti strategy”…. it was more like “what is considered definitive evidence in this field and what does it say?”
Steve McIntyre comment on why he first looked at Michael Mann’s work