September Panics and Smurphy's Law

A layman’s view of the strange period of history we are living through

Guest post by Caleb Shaw

During hot spells in the summer I often find it refreshing to click onto Anthony’s “Sea Ice Page,” and to sit back and simply watch ice melt. It is an escape from my busy, sweaty routine, as long as I avoid the “Sea Ice Posts” where people become anxious, political, and somewhat insulting, about the serene topic of ice melting. However by September there is no way to avoid the furor generated by melting ice. It reaches a crescendo.

I used to like the September Panic because I often could hijack a thread by bringing up the subject of Vikings. I’d rather talk about Vikings floating around during the MWP, than a bunch of bergs floating around and melting today.

The September Panic also entertained me because I used to learn about all sorts of things I didn’t know about. The debate always involved people clobbering each other with facts, and hitting each other over the head with links. In the process you’d learn all sorts of fascinating trivia about Norwegian fishermen in the 1920’s, and arctic explorers in the 1800’s, and even some science.

For example, fresh water floats on top of saltier water, unless it is the Gulf Stream, which is saltier water floating on top of fresher water because it is warmer, until it gets colder.

This science crosses your eyes, in a pleasant manner, and leads inevitably to discussions about thermohaline circulation, which is fascinating, because so little is known about it.

It also leads to discussions about how the freezing of salt water creates floating ice that is turned into fresh water by extracting brine, which forms “brincicles” as it dribbles down through the ice at temperatures far below zero and enters the warmer sea beneath. This in turn leads to discussions involving the fact that, with such large amounts of brine sinking, surface water must come from someplace to replace it, and in some cases this surface water is cold, while in other cases it is warm.

The fact the replacing waters can be warmer leads to discussions about the northernmost branches of the Gulf Stream, and how these branches meander north and south. This in turn leads to talk of the unpredictable nature of meandering, the further downstream you move from the original point where the meandering starts, and this, (if you are lucky,) will lead you to Chaos Theory and Strange Attractors.

(In the case of the Mississippi River, the subject of meandering leads you to the Delta, plus the topics of Engineers, New Orleans, and Murphy’s Law.) (In the case of psychology, the meanderings of the human mind leads to the conclusion humans are utterly unpredictable, unless they are psychologists, in which case they obey Smurphy’s Law, which states a psychologist will succumb to whatever ailment he is expert in.)

In conclusion, the September Panic can be a source of fascinating thought, providing you are willing to drift like a berg and wind up miles off topic.

I’ve been through this all before, during the Great Meltdown of 2007, and its September Panic. Those were great times, for in the period 2006-2007 the so-called “consensus” put forward a great propaganda effort, including the movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” and won Oscars, Peace Prizes, and a sound thrashing from Skeptics.

Congress debunked Mann’s “hockey stick” in 2006, an English Judge rebuked Al Gore for falsehoods in his movie in 2007, and also in 2007 Hansen had to back off his “adjustments” due to the work of McIntyre at Climate Audit. When Rush Limbaugh mentioned McIntyre’s victory, Climate Audit was overwhelmed by traffic, which was one reason the existence of WUWT came to be known by me, and many others.

In essence the “consensus” experienced a debacle in 2007, for its attempts at propaganda drew so much attention that all its flaws stood naked in a glaring spotlight, and ordinary people began to understand the emperor had no clothes.

All this happened before the 2007 ice-extent hit its record low, and added a quality of desperation to that year’s September Panic. Desperate for proof, Alarmists felt the low ice-extent proved Al Gore was right, and the IPCC was right, but, by using such dubious and refutable sources, they effectively were putting their heads on a chopping block. Or climbing out on a limb. Or swimming like fish in a barrel. (Take your pick.)

At this point a new word, a word most people had never used or even heard before, became quite common in the climate debates, and the word was “obfuscation.” (It would be interesting to compare how often that word was used in 2007 with how often it was used in 2005.)

The Alarmist’s obfuscation has now persisted for five years, which means that the melt-down of 2012 is a bit boring. It is a case of “been there, done that.” No longer do I often learn things I didn’t know about. One hears the same, tired, old arguments from 2007, and one knows it is hardly worth replying, because Alarmists are not interested in the vast and awesome complexity of a chaotic scientific reality, preferring the simplicity of a “belief,” which they grip with white knuckles.

About the only interesting and new approach on the part of Alarmists is their attempt to misuse psychology, and to make it a way of marginalizing and ostracizing those who point out their mistakes. Though appalling, this is interesting because it seems a perfect example of Smurfy’s Law.

Formerly the definition of “Liberal” was “generous,” and one thing that old-time Liberals were very generous about was giving minority viewpoints a fair hearing. In any discussion of Dams, Deserts and Droughts, they would hear the views of ordinary engineers, meteorologists, and hydrologists, but also insist upon hearing the views of extraordinary Native American rain-dancers. They desired “diversity,” and had contempt towards those who would not consider, or at least be considerate towards, “alternative views.”

Strangely, this concept has now vanished among some who formerly wore the tag, “Liberal.” Gone is their desire for “diversity,” replaced with a fawning regard for the “consensus.” The very same people who sneered at convention when young are now guilty of being the very thing they sneered at: Blindly conventional.

In a way this is a normal part of maturing. Churchill stated something like, “Those who were not Liberal when young had no heart; those who do not become Conservative when older have no brain.”

However there is a significant difference between the ordinary process of maturing, and people who enact Smurphy’s Law. In the ordinary process of maturing there are some core values which endure the battering of youthful idealism, as it gets hammered into the tempered steel of maturity. As the poetry of William Blake is subtly altered from “Songs of Innocence” into “Songs of Experience,” the poetry remains poetry; the heart remains a heart. However, in the case of Smurphy’s Law, those core values either are completely abandoned, or were abandoned in the beginning. (After all, psychology attempts to measure the human spirit with calipers and thermometers, and sometimes has a hard time conceding things such as “heart” and “poetry” even exist.)

At the risk of being poetic rather than scientific, I’ll state that our youthful ideals are like sails that haul us against the wind of a world that can be stormy and can leave our sails in tatters. Our core values are like a keel that keeps us from capsizing, so that even if we lose our hearing like Beethoven did, we still can produce a Ninth Symphony. Without such a keel of core values we can flip-flop, and end up enacting Smurfy’s Law, and see ourselves opposing the very free speech we once stood for.

This, and not the bergs bobbing about in the arctic, is the real melt-down that has occurred, and which we have been witness to. The very people who once were most adamant about free speech are now vehemently opposed to it. The very people who were most open minded to the most bizarre alternative-lifestyles now have minds clamped tighter than clam’s, (certain that they themselves are oysters and hold pearls.)

What a joke. Those who once were Liberals now are not, while those who never wished to be called Liberal now are.

It is a great struggle we are involved with, (defending free speech and open-mindedness,) but it does get tiresome, which is why I occasionally use Anthony’s “Sea Ice Page,” to flee to the North Pole, where I can serenely watch the bergs bob about and melt.

It is a great relief to escape the nonsense of Smurfy’s Law for a time, and to instead consider that which is awe inspiring: Creation is an incredible place, a chaos that has no business being orderly, but is.

Everywhere you look there are marvels too complex for even the hugest computer to handle: The vast meanderings of the Gulf Stream; the mysterious, pulsing appearances and disappearances of huge amounts of water into and out-of Thermohaline Circulation, the metamorphosis of a ripple on a front into the vast circulation of a huge storm with an eye, and so forth, from the deepest depths to the upper atmosphere, and on through solar winds to the sun.

Of course, even when you think you have escaped the bother of petty politics for a while, you’re liable to get dragged back to reality, even when hiding up in the Arctic.

For example, the Cryosphere Today map will show open ocean, as you read a news item about a fifteen-by-eleven-mile pack of bergs, containing ice as much as eighty feet thick, closing down a drilling operation in that area of “open ocean.”

At this point I always feel I am being dragged kicking and screaming from the sublime to the ridiculous. I “don’t want to go there,” but I have to.

In a way it reminds me of being the father of teenagers. They might tell me they were heading down to the Public Library to study, but I would get to thinking that such study seemed a bit out of character, so after a half hour I’d go check the Public Library to see if they really were there.

It is a sad state of affairs when you cannot take scientists at their word, and have to go check up on them as if they were teenagers, however some have earned this disgrace: They cannot be trusted. And this besmirches other scientists, good and honorable men who are just trying to do their work, but who suddenly notice a layman like me scowling over their shoulder. (Ever try to work with someone hovering over your shoulder? Half of the time it makes your hammer hit your thumb.)

Unfortunately science has earned such scrutiny. I no longer trust that the Arctic Ocean is ice-free just because Cryrosphere Today maps it as ice-free. I double check, using perhaps the DMI sea-surface-temperature map:

And I am then puzzled by the fact this map shows sea-surface-temperatures below the freezing point of salt water for large areas the Cryosphere map shows it as open ocean.

So I say the heck with maps, and resort to my lying eyes. The North Pole Camera has drifted far south of the pole, into Fram Strait. You can tell where the camera is by using the Buoy Drift Track Map at

And this shows you that, according to various Cryosphere maps, the camera should either be showing half ice and half open water, or should show a nice view of fishes at the bottom of the sea. Instead it has a view of ice in all directions, with the summer’s melt-water pools freezing over, when the camera’s lens itself is not frosted over. When you check the site records you notice that, even though it has drifted south of 82 degrees north, temperatures have at times dipped below minus ten Celsius.

At this point you start to feel a bit like the father of a teenaged daughter who has discovered their child is not at the Library, who wonders where the heck the girl has gone.

One can continue on to the satellite view, which, if clouds are not in the way, shows the “open ocean” is remarkably dotted by white specks of ice.

Though one could perhaps then argue about whether the bergs amount to more-than or less-than 15%, and whether this means the water is officially defined as “open ocean” or not, such quibbling is a bit like discovering your teenaged daughter flirting at the ball field, and having her argue that the fact she has a book with her makes the ball field a “library.”

One simply has the feeling that truth is being stretched dangerously close to its limits.

Considering young scientists usually begin filled with idealistic zeal, and hunger and thirst for the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, it seems a wonder they can wind up stretching truth and resembling a psychologist suffering from Smurphy’s Law. How could they sell out to such a degree?

The reason for selling out is always the same: Money.

I can not say for certain that, when I was young and sleeping in my car, I would not have been tempted by a grant for 1.7 million dollars. Perhaps even Beethoven would have been tempted to make pizza, rather than the Ninth Symphony, if someone had offered him 1.7 million dollars. (One interesting short piano work of Beethoven’s is entitled, “Rage Over A Lost Penny.”) Money is the root of all evil, and when we see scientists swayed by their patrons we should perhaps say, “There but for the Grace of God go I.” (And also, “Blessed are the poor.”)

In any case, it seems we live in a time when some scientists are working under the thumbs of benefactors and patrons who desire results presented with a certain political “spin.” If it is possible to present data concerning the melt of the Arctic Ice Cap in a way that makes it look more extreme, because this may make a carbon tax more possible, the scientist will be under great pressure to do so.

The scientist is in essence working with a frowning boss scowling over his shoulder. The only way we can counter-balance this effect is to also look over his shoulder, and give the poor fellow the sense that “the whole world is watching.” This will likely make scientists miserable, and also make them yearn for the days when they were ignored and could work in peaceful obscurity, however it will also keep them honest, which is for the best for all, in the long run.

Even as we behave in this somewhat petty and parental manner, we should not forget what brought most of us to examine the clouds and seas and sunshine and storms in the first place: Our sense of wonder. Others may focus their thinking to the cramped line-items of musty, budgetary chicanery for a narrow political cause, if they so chose, however the vast truths of creation remains open for the rest of us to witness, and to wonder about, if we so chose.

For example, ice-melt in the arctic may be the sign of many different possible things, including the advent of the next ice age. Open water may not only lose heat to outer space, but might lead to arid regions having increased, glacier-creating snowfalls. There are all sorts of ideas and realities to discuss and wonder about, starting with the surprisingly early snows that just buried the sheep in Iceland.

This September, the farmers of Iceland have something real to panic about. And perhaps that is the most important thing about dealing with truth: To stay real.


newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Arfur Bryant

That was a great post. Interesting, easy to read and insightful. Out of lots of good paragraphs, this one stood out for me (emphasis mine):
“The scientist is in essence working with a frowning boss scowling over his shoulder. The only way we can counter-balance this effect is to also look over his shoulder, and give the poor fellow the sense that “the whole world is watching.” This will likely make scientists miserable, and also make them yearn for the days when they were ignored and could work in peaceful obscurity, however it will also keep them honest, which is for the best for all, in the long run.”
Thanks a lot.


Thank you for a beautiful and poetic essay.


the endless repetition of the following meme does not take into account all the rightwing govts of europe which have enacted CAGW policies, despite objections from citizens across the political spectrum.
and another dubious bloomberg poll doesn’t take into account people like me who have always voted for labor candidates (US Dems) or green candidates, but who read the climategate material and took note that the temperatures have not been performing according to the CAGW team’s predictions:
1 Oct: Bloomberg: Mark Drajem: Global Warming Links Democrats, Independents Isolating Romney
Democrats and independent voters overwhelmingly accept the scientific evidence that human activity is warming the earth’s temperature, while almost two out of three Republicans don’t.
Among likely voters, 78 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of independents believe humans are warming the earth, according to a Bloomberg National Poll. That finding is consistent with other polls that show undecided voters, and majorities in contested states such as Ohio and Virginia are in line with President Barack Obama and most Democratic candidates in wanting to address the issue…
A drought affected two-thirds of the lower 48 U.S. states this month, one of the worst such dry spells on record, and temperatures there for the first eight months of the year were the warmest since records were first kept in 1895, according to government data…
“One problem for Republicans is that they are painting themselves into a climate-change corner,” Daniel J. Weiss, director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a self-described progressive group with ties to the Democratic Party, said in an interview…
“If you don’t agree there is a limited government solution, an effective coping mechanism is to deny the problem,” Alex Bozmoski, director of the Energy & Enterprise Initiative at George Mason University, said in an interview. A veteran of Republican campaigns, Bozmoski said that his group is pushing for cuts in all energy subsidies and for some taxes to shift from income and capital to be placed on the carbon dioxide emissions…




Thank you – a wonderful read.
Regarding the former liberal thinkers, I’m constantly amazed by the double-think that they are inflicted with. While being amazed that some of us “deniers” would doubt the word of the consensus of climate scientists, and while they insist that it makes no sense to assume a world-wide conspiracy of scientists all lying to the public, they can in the next breath condemn GM food and say that of course the scientists are lying about it being harmless and cannot be trusted as they all work for multinationals like Monsanto.
Even more confusing is that when a world-reknowned biologist, Steve Jones, warns that climate change is a real and present danger, they of course believe him as a trusted source, but when the same man says the GM food is completely safe, this being his actual area of expertise, then they reject what he has to say.
This really is Orwellian double-think.


A bit off topic, but the first paragraph reminded me of a poem I had to learn at school 60 years ago called ‘The Ice-Cart’ by Wilfred Gibson.
Well worth a read on a hot day.

Thank you, Caleb/


This is indeed a layman’s obfuscation.


Excellent, Caleb.
I wish I could have written that so well.

J B Williamson

Just to be pedantic…
“Those who were not Liberal when young had no heart; those who do not become Conservative when older have no brain.”
I believe the phrase originated with Francois Guisot (1787-1874): “Not to be a republican at twenty is proof of want of heart; to be one at thirty is proof of want of head.” It was revived by French Premier Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929): “Not to be a socialist at twenty is proof of want of heart; to be one at thirty is proof of want of head.”
It is unlikely to have been Churchill since he went from being a conservative to a liberal later in life.
Great quote though:-)

Paul Deacon

Thank you Caleb and Anthony, for a lovely post.


I’m sorry, but there are MANY conservatives without a brain. Nobody questions the intelligence of the people who agree with them; even though they PROBABLY agree for STUPID reasons. Like political reasons. This post is really about political stripes, not science or clear thinking. Smurphy’s Law indeed.


Sorry to be off topic, but has anyone been able to get onto the JoNova site the last couple of days?
It was working for a while, but seems to have disappeared again 🙁
It is the long weekend and footy finals weekend down here, so that may explain why its not getting fixed.

Reblogged this on Climate Ponderings and commented:

An excellent article.
Seems to sum up the the whole climate “debate” beautifully……..

Peter Whale

Exceptional essay I thoroughly enjoyed it. When a piece like that produces thoughts to ponder on it has achieved its goal. Thank you.

Excellent post.
I loved the idea of equating the scientists to teenagers :-).

son of mulder

Good essay but I’d steer clear of the political liberal vs conservative stuff because all politics has been corrupted by two faced creeps.


Interesting read, however I cannot help feeling sorry for the scientists with everybody looking over their shoulders making sure they get the “right” answers. It is not as if you can even re-train in a different scientific discipline to escape the scrutiny very easily, as it is well know that global warming is the cause of all natural phenomena.
By the way, you have repeated a common misquote: “money is the root of all evil”.
NO! “The love of money is the root of all evil”. The first three words are absolutely critical and change the whole meaning. Money is an inanimate object, numbers in a bank’s computers. It is as capable of great good in the hands of the right people (Bill Gates, Warren Buffet) for whom money is means to right the injustices of this world as well as great evil in the hands of the wrong ones.
By the way, the correct Churchill quote is:-
“If you’re not a Liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you’re not a Conservative at forty you have no brain.”
And the reason he said that was because when he was 20 he was a member of the Liberal party and he later moved to the Conservative party and was justifying his action. The phrase is more party political than philosophical. In the UK the “Conservative” pro-capitalist party has many “liberals” in it and the “Liberal” party is more “social democrat”. So if you strip out the party politics, a better way for an American to understand it is:
“If you’re not a socialist at twenty you have no heart, if you’re not a capitalist at forty you have no brain.”
In the UK “liberal” (lower case L) has a generally different meaning from the US. Here it is as much a right-wing concept as a left-wing one. It stresses “freedom” as much as “generosity”. Thus a liberal is in favour of free markets and has a deep hatred of racial or sexual prejudice. Read the Economist if you want to understand what a “liberal” is in the UK. I am very definitely a British liberal at the ripe old age of 52. Even though I have long since voted for the Conservative Party, I am very glad to say my intolerance of intolerance is as strong as ever!


Sceptics are getting it wrong about Arctic ice. No, I don’t mean our guesses about ice extent but shouldering some sense of guilt about getting those guesses wrong. We tend to nit pick about inviible ice because we don’t want to admit there is less ice than we wished for. We shouldn’t fuss about it. Unless Anthony is holding out on us, we haven’t got a government funded super computer to calculate the ice activities in the far north. So when our optimistic hopes of a recovering ice sheet go wrong, well it was only a guess anyway.
The official predictions are however more serious. When more ice melts than they predicted they’re not more right, they’re still wrong. Some of the future warming is predicated on a declining ice sheet but if that arrives early, where does that leave their prediction? If we arrive at a tipping point early and there’s no tip, well that’s another part of their science that is a bust.
We should be seeing thoughtful comments about having to rethink how much ice there may have been in the past (eg during the MWP) and what it does to the climate models. Instead we get jeering from them and gleeful chants of ‘it’s worse than we thought!’ No it’s not. The ice melted and we have not burnt to a crisp or drowned.
We let them get away with claims that declining ice is responsible for the recent harsh European winters, despite there being no correlation between ice extent and winter temperatures in countries like the UK. They tell porkies like that and we ignore them because we’re hiding our heads because we wanted the ice to recover in our time frame, not that of the planet.
We have to admit to ourselves that the ice in the Arctic has probably reached a tipping point. The key anchors between the ice and the islands of the Arctic Basin are not reforming quickly enough to make the ice stable in the spring and early summer. If the ice isn’t pegged to the land it floats out of the Arctic and melts. That way any ice that reforms in the winter is vulnerable as soon as the melt starts. Indeed, it’s vulnerable during the winter as it flows out and gives us a false sense of increasing ice because it fuels the ice along the Greenland coastline. That is not to say that the anchors won’t reform but at the moment there isn’t any sign they’re going to. It seems likely that the Arctic will reach a new normal which may be very similar to 2007/2012 in appearance but don’t hold your breath. That doesn’t mean it will continue to decline or might not recover slightly but we won’t know for at least a decade.
But so what? How can we say that the current situation isn’t normal? The climate modellers can’t because we already know that their models do not model reality. We shouldn’t be having September panics. We should leave that to those who have a super computer that can’t get it right.

Mike Fowle

Very interesting and well written piece. I would just suggest that as well as money, a motivation for some scientists to act like teenagers is an underlying belief that they are indeed saving the world. If the data doesn’t quite fit the belief, well it’s more important to get the message out anyway. Wasn’t that Schneider’s approach?


Delightful and eloquent summary.
Perhaps their next censorship tactic will be to tempt skeptic blogs with multi-million dollar buyouts to stop blogging.


Thanks for a great article! An excellent explanation of the current state of the climate debat.
And it is true:
Progressives now want everything to stay as it was,
Conservatives now want things to evolve the way they are destined.
Very strange indeed. Confusing actually.


“Even more confusing is that when a world-renowned biologist, Steve Jones, warns that climate change is a real and present danger, they of course believe him as a trusted source, but when the same man says the GM food is completely safe, this being his actual area of expertise, then they reject what he has to say.
This really is Orwellian double-think.”

No, that is unfair. It is not “double-think” to agree with somebody on one subject and disagree with them on another.
“Double-think” is the ability to say you believe one thing while at the same time acting in the completely opposite way. Thus the department of Government charged with prosecuting a war becomes the “Ministry of Peace”. Throwing people you disagree with in jail becomes a way of promoting “freedom” and, of course, “everybody is equal, but some people are more equal than others”.
I am a great Orwell fan!

Julian Braggins

J B Williamson says:
October 1, 2012 at 12:54 am
Just to be pedantic…
Also, just to be pedantic, Churchill was most definitely a Conservative later in life, I was there under his Conservative governments 1940-45 and 1951-55.

Disko Troop

I have reposted this on my facebook page. Not that very many read my stuff but of those that do maybe one third will refuse to read it because the link is from that evil fossil fuel paid d**ier site and is therefore wrong. Two thirds minus an outlier will completely ignore it and the one other bloke, the outlier, who agrees with me will put a “like” underneath.
Climate is so passe….(Add your own French accent)
Ivor Ward


“pat says:
October 1, 2012 at 12:30 am
the endless repetition of the following meme does not take into account all the rightwing govts of europe which have enacted CAGW policies, despite objections from citizens across the political spectrum.”
The only “endless repetition” of a meme I see for starters is that europe has “rightwing governments”. Europe has a few centrist government who have stood up against global warming… the czech’s come to mind. Europe’s idea of rightwing is relative to stalin being a moderate.
As to “objections from citizens across the political spectrum.” “All” is really only recently has the fact the evidence of fraud, lies and outright theft has become so far over the top even the socialists are having a hard time justifying it to themselves.


For those of you who got tired reading that a quick summary.
Caleb doesn’t trust scientists cos they tell him stuff he doesn’t want to hear.
Caleb likes the “things are complicated so we know nothing” logical fallacy.
Caleb likes concocting really really long winded insults.

Baa Humbug

AndyG55 says:
October 1, 2012 at 1:18 am
Andy, Joannes site is accessible to me.


J B Williamson at 12:54 am:
Thanks for the provenance of the saying. Clearly Chuchill was repeating a well known phrase and twisting it to justify his own decision to move from the Liberal Party to the Conservative Party. He was a member of the Liberal Party and First Lord of the Admirality during WW1 where he was a disastrous failure, his term ending with the massacre at Gallipoli.
After WW1 he moved to the Conservative Party where he was Chancellor of the Exchequer for a while where he undertook the disastrous policy of moving us back on the Gold Standard at a penalising pre-war rate causing devastating deflation. Our economy only recovered when he was kicked out of the job and the policy reversed.
He finally got it right when he fell out with the Conservatives over their policy of ignoring Germany’s re-armament and appeasing Hitler. The rest is history.

Peter Crawford

An entertaing read.
But JB Williamson has it wrong. Churchill served as a minister in the Liberal govt. during WW1 then as a Conservative from 1924 onwards until his retirement as an out-going Conservative Prime Minister in 1955.

Excellent post. Arctic melts, Antarctic freezes. But alarmists ignore this.
The ”precautionary principle” is banded about by the alarmists. It is not a scientific principle and following it would lead to man’s extinction. We would certainly still live in caves.

Bernard J.

So, how much of the Arctic sea ice needs to melt away before you start sitting up and taking notice?


Every professional engineer who sees the Trenberth ‘Energy Budget’ knows the claim the Earth emits IR as if it were a black body in a vacuum is bogus. it’s because they measure coupled convection and radiation and you can never have a perpetual motion machine.
Many physicists go a bit deeper and work out that Trenberth’s outrageous mistake is to
replace UP PV – DOWN PV with UP PV- DOWN PV + DOWN PV = UP PV. PV refers to the Poynting Vector, the measure of temperature you make with a pyrgeometer. The claim that all UP PV can do thermodynamic work plus the other mistake, to claim DOWN emissivity at TOA =1, is the source of the perpetual motion machine.
None of the models can predict climate. Real scientists and engineers know it but they are outvoted by the pseudo-scientists like the 1000s who devote themselves to pyrgeometers imagining that the W/m^2 on the dial is a real energy flux. Poor saps.


Baa Humbug says:
Andy, Joannes site is accessible to me.
I got nothin’ 🙁

Don K

A question if I may. How good is satellite coverage of the polar region with instrumentation good enough to distinguish 15% ice cover? Has good coverage been available for all of the “satellite era”


The post was going along well until…
“Money is the root of all evil, and when we see scientists swayed by their patrons we should perhaps say, “There but for the Grace of God go I.” (And also, “Blessed are the poor.”)”
Some can handle money and not compromise their principles while others cannot. Just because a seemingly higher percentage of climate scientists fall into the latter, don’t blame money or greed. Blame the individuals lack of desire to remain committed to the scientific method.

Robert A. Taylor

I’m new at this, and hesitate to do this, but here goes:
Caleb said:
And I am then puzzled by the fact this map shows sea-surface-temperatures below the freezing
point of salt water for large areas the Cryosphere map shows it as open ocean.
The link does not show that. The temperature scale goes from 0 to 34 deg. C. Sea water freezes at -2 or less depending on salt consentration. The scale itself is ridiculous. It should go to -3 or lower.

Good post. Wasn’t 2012 the predicted year that the arctic would be ice free in 5 years?


How on earth did they find that sheep? Was it the ‘scat’?


Good post.


son of mulder says:
October 1, 2012 at 1:41 am
The reason politics is corrupted is because people continue to believe that principles don’t matter. As long as the electorate votes for “a candidate that can win,” instead of for candidates who have principles we’ll get two-faced, ill-defined “Professional Politicians.” Politicians who’ve compromised for the sake of expediency have moved us to the point we’re now inhabiting politically. They don’t do it by sacrificing the other guy’s principles…
If you want a totalitarian state, say so and vote for politicians who’ll give it to you – and I’ll fight you every step of the way.
If you want liberty, find a politician who understands what that means, votes on it consistently, and vote for them – I’m with you all the way.
The rest of you, who aren’t sure what you want – stay home, stay out of the way!

Peter Miller

At the end of the day, as this essay indicates, it’s all about keeping the alarmist establishment honest.
This, as we all know, is a thankless, difficult task. If they weren’t grant and/or media addicts, the task would be a lot easier.
Whenever I see a silly, snotty remark on WUWT, such as Lazy’s one today, I am reminded of Edmund Burke’s statement: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
In this case ‘the triumph of evil’ represents victory by the high priests of the CAGW cult and economic Armageddon for the rest of us. So, we have to do something and one of those somethings is spreading the word that climate reality is rarely what the Establishment says and that it can be found on sites like WUWT, Jo Nova and Climate Audit.

Neil Jones

Brilliant piece of writing, I didn’t want it to stop.
By the way did you see this/ –

Ben Kellett

Nice post, well put – captures the essence of how modern scientific “truth” is often pursued very well! However, one small but important point, which actually adds to the metaphor rather than taking anything away….”the LOVE of money is the root of all evil”. Money itself, of course is inanimate and required in this world in order to live. However, the love of it (as we all know) corrupts and drives the telling of lies, which of course is what this post is all about.
Nice work!


“And this besmirches other scientists, good and honorable men who are just trying to do their work, but who suddenly notice a layman like me scowling over their shoulder.”
What? No female scientists involved?

James P

Disko Troop
“Add your own French accent”
Try pressing Alt 130 🙂
Great piece, Anthony. Did you invent Smurphy?


What a great essay. Thank you Caleb, I really enjoyed reading that.
There obviously need to be more of us leaning over shoulders and inducing ‘thumb-hammering’


LazyTeenager says:
October 1, 2012 at 2:11 am
And, as usual, LT has nothing to say of any relevance except the usual ad hom.

John West

An excellent post overall, but I have to disagree with:
“The reason for selling out is always the same: Money.”
Some may sell out because of their ego.
Some never “sell out” but are nevertheless corrupted by confirmation bias or the noble cause.
Some may merely lack the ability to question what they perceive as authority.
It is just as wrong to portray all CAGW promoters as being bought and paid for by “Big Government” as it is to portray all skeptics as being part of the fictional “well-funded well-organized denial machine”.