Fabricating Climate Doom – Part 3: Extreme Weather Extinctions Enron Style

Guest essay by Jim Steele, Director emeritus Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University

An Illusion of Extreme Climate Disruption

“While clearing larvae were starving in response to destruction of their hosts, survival in the outcrop was higher than previously recorded: an estimated 80% of larval groups survived.” 1  – C. D. Thomas, University of Leeds, United Kingdom

In Part 1, I documented how Camille Parmesan’s 1996 paper (heralded as proof that global warming was forcing butterflies northward and upward) had misread landscape change for climate change, how she failed to publish that “extinct” populations had now recovered and refused to provide the data to permit replication of her iconic paper. In Part 2, I documented how Parmesan hijacked the conservation success story of the Large Blue and the detailed conservation science of Jeremy Thomas in order to again blame global warming for expanding the range of endangered UK butterflies. In Part 3, I document how Parmesan kept half the evidence “off the books” to suggest extreme weather, supposedly caused by rising CO2, was causing population extinctions in the Sierra Nevada, and our top climate scientists then embraced and spread that myth.

In her paper Impacts of Extreme Weather and Climate on Terrestrial Biota2 Parmesan wrote, “Here, evidence is brought forward that extreme weather events can be implicated as mechanistic drivers of broad ecological responses to climatic trends. They are, therefore, essential to include in predictive biological models, such as doubled CO2 scenarios.” To demonstrate the destructive power of extreme weather, Parmesan and company detailed a sequence of events that caused the extinction of a Sierra Nevada population of Edith’s checkerspot butterfly. However unlike Parmesan’s 1996 paper,3 it was no longer global warming at low elevations that caused the population’s extinction. She now blamed climate change for unusually cold weather at higher elevations. The authors wrote:

“Twenty years of studies at one site in the Sierra Nevada of California have implicated three extreme weather events in carving a pathway to extinction of a whole set of E. editha populations at 2400 m.

“The first catastrophe occurred in 1989 when low winter snowpack led to an early and unusually synchronous adult emergence in April (as compared to the usual June flight). So early, in fact, that flowers were not yet in bloom and most adults died from starvation. Just one year later another relatively light snowpack again caused adults to emerge early. Adult butterflies, adapted to summertime conditions of warmth and sun, suffered many deaths during a “normal” May snow-storm. Each of these events decreased the population size by an order of magnitude…

“The finale came but 2 years later in 1992 when (unusually low) temperatures of ‑5° C on June 16, without the insulating snowfall, killed an estimated 97% of the Collinsia (host) plants….The butterflies had already finished flying and left behind young caterpillars that were not killed directly but starved in the absence of hosts. As of the latest census (1999), these sites remained extinct.”

Parmesan and her colleagues argued that CO2 warming had triggered cold events, which disrupted the “synchrony” between the weather, the butterflies and their food plants. Unlike Jeremy Thomas who was seeking to save an endangered species, Camille Parmesan was not interested in the details required for successful conservation. She was looking to support her global warming theory admittedly “searching for a climate fingerprint rather than critiquing each study”.4 And she knowingly omitted contradictory details and failed to mention that the other half of her observed population had prospered during those same events.


I say that she knowingly omitted the details because her future husband, Mike Singer, and C.D. Thomas wrote the research papers from which Parmesan manufactured her extreme weather story;5,6 when written, Parmesan served as their field assistant. Although weather is involved in each and every wildlife boom or bust, her reported extinctions had everything to do with how land use had changed the butterflies’ “microclimates”.

Parmesan directed the reader’s attention to just one of two neighboring populations. Both populations were literally within a stone’s throw of each other and normally they would be considered two halves of the same population equally affected by global warming. Yet only one half went extinct while simultaneously the other “natural” half survived. In fact by all accounts, the natural half didn’t just survive the “extreme weather”, it thrived!

In the early 1960s, only the “natural” half ever existed. As far as we know, it had always inhabited the rocky outcrops where the Sierra Nevada’s thin, glaciated soils prevented dense forest growth and permitted sufficient sunny patches for the caterpillars to warm their bodies. In contrast, the extinct population had just recently colonized habitat created in the 1960s after the US Forest Service had expanded logging into higher elevations. The logging opened the canopy to the warmth of the sun and created new microclimates.

Parmesan’s extinction story was a very selective retelling of the referenced study, “Catastrophic Extinction of Population Sources in a Butterfly Metapopulation”6 and a second companion paper.5 The caterpillars of the surviving natural population had fed mostly on a hardy perennial plant, which easily survives the Sierra Nevada’s erratic weather. The half-population that went extinct uncharacteristically fed on a fragile annual species Collinsia torreyi that typically invades logged areas. The checkerspot in the Sierra Nevada rarely laid its eggs on Collinsia, because normally it was not a reliable food source.

But recent logging near their natural habitat changed all that. Not only did logging open the forest floor to more sunlight, it also exposed deeper soils that had been enriched from the logging debris and burn-piles. That human disturbance created the just-right conditions for the annual Collinsia to survive for much longer periods. Serendipitously it also created a novel butterfly-plant synchrony. A longer-lived and more abundant Collinsia could now sustain the full development of hungry caterpillars.

With the life cycles of Collinsia and the checkerspot temporarily in synchrony, Collinsia suddenly became a valuable food resource. The butterflies from the outcrops opportunistically colonized the logged area and created the new second population. However this serendipitous food supply had simply prompted a boom and bust, not unlike the nearby ghost towns during the Sierra Nevada gold rush days.

While Parmesan indicted climate change in “the grand finale” during which frost killed 99.9% of the annual Collinsia, she omitted the crucial detail that the frost had little effect on the perennial food plants that sustained the natural population. More importantly, Parmesan also omitted that she had observed survival for the natural population “was higher than previously recorded, an estimated 80% of larval groups survived”.5,6

The deadly logged landscape had altered the microclimate and thus the timing of the caterpillars’ emergence from diapause. (Diapause is a period of inactivity and reduced metabolism similar to hibernation) In the Sierra Nevada, the checkerspot caterpillars diapause throughout the winter, snuggled safely under the soil and surface debris. Over the millennia, the caterpillar has evolved an instinctual sensitivity to the critical weather cues that triggered the safest time to emerge from their subsurface retreat. However, logging had opened the forest canopy, changing the pattern of snowfall accumulation, snow melt and forest-floor vegetation. Just as one centimeter of taller grass had cooled the subsurface for the Large Blue’s ant hosts, the recently logged forest floor was also heated differently. That sent the wrong signal to the diapausing caterpillars. Extreme weather affects adjacent locations equally; however, it is the different microclimates that determine how the animals respond.

Parmesan never told her readers that the natural population thrived or that the natural population maintained their synchrony with both the weather and their food plants. By re-constructing only half of the details, and with the apparent blessings of Dr. C.D. Thomas and her husband Dr. Singer, Parmesan metamorphosed a story of nature’s adaptability and resilience into another story of climate catastrophe. Such blatant sins of omission are a very serious offense, and this “scientific” paper should be retracted. The peer review process failed to detect an obvious distortion of the truth that was readily noticed by anyone who read the original study. To date, a modest 243 papers have cited her paper2 as another consensus evidence of catastrophic climate change caused by extreme weather. However when our leading climate scientists uncritically embraced her story, it was referenced by thousands more. 8

Seeking Extreme Weather and Biological Calamities

“overall in the United States there is a slight downward trend in the number of these extremes despite an overall warming in the mean temperature, but with cooling in the southeastern United States” 8

“The number of deaths related to tornadoes, hurricanes, and severe storms have either decreased or remained unchanged over the past 20 years.” 8 –Dr. David Easterling, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

D.R. Easterling from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Thomas Karl, now the director of National Climatic Data Center and G.A. Meehl, the Senior Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research were advocates looking to support CO2-caused warming. In their 2000 paper Climate Extremes: Observations, Modeling and Impacts, Easterling et al. wrote,

“if there are indeed identifiable trends in extreme climatic events it would add to the body of evidence that there is a discernible human affect on the climate.”

Apparently feeling a need to promote a greater sense of urgency, Easterling, Meehl, and Karl uncritically embraced any research that linked rising CO2 levels with extreme climate events and biological tragedy, and to that end they had invited Parmesan to coauthor their paper.

To raise our concerns about climate extremes, the first few paragraphs of Easterling’s paper listed the death and destruction caused by recent hurricanes and asked if the extreme events were natural or caused by humans. However they then reported that through the 1990s damage from extreme events had actually declined reporting, “The number of deaths related to tornadoes, hurricanes, and severe storms have either decreased or remained unchanged over the past 20 years.” 8

Heat stress was also declining; they reported that the number of days with extreme temperatures over 90.5°F and over the 90th percentile threshold peaked during the droughts of the 1930s and 1950s. They concluded, “Thus, overall in the United States there is a slight downward trend in the number of these extremes despite an overall warming in the mean temperature, but with cooling in the southeastern United States(emphasis added).”8 In an earlier paper Easterling also reported that maximums had not increased in Russia and China.9

A 2013 State of Knowledge Paper paper by 27 climate scientist has confirmed that for the contiguous USA, heat waves and droughts are still less common than in the 1930s and 50s as their graphs below depict. Although the authors offered mixed interpretations and caveats, the data was clear and they wrote, “For the conterminous United States (Fig. 1) the highest number of heat waves occurred in the 1930s, with the fewest in the 1960s. The 2001-10 decade was the second highest but well below the 1930s”


Easterling and Parmesan’s paper had also reported, “Examination of drought over the 20th century in the United States shows considerable variability, the droughts of the 1930s and 1950s dominating any long-term trend. Recent investigation of longer term U.S. Great Plains drought variability over the past 2000 years with the use of paleo-climatic data suggests that no droughts as intense as those of the 1930s have occurred since the 1700s. However, before the 16th century some droughts appear to have occurred that were of greater spatial and temporal intensity than any of the 20th-century U.S. droughts.”8

Similarly the 2013 State of Knowledge paper wrote, “each decade has experienced drought episodes that covered 30% or more (by area) of the contiguous United States. The 1930s and 1950s had the worst droughts, with 31.7% and 15.6%, respectively, of the U.S. experiencing their driest period on record. By comparison, during the first decade of the twenty-first century (2001-10) 12.8% and for 2011 8.3% of the U.S. experienced their record drought.” (see their graph below)


As shown in the graph below from 2013 State of Knowledge paper, mega-droughts far worse than the 30s and 50s happened over a thousand years ago based on reconstructed from tree ring data from 800 to 2000 AD.


Twenty-seven climate scientists concluded “decadal variations in the number of U.S. heat and cold waves do not correlate that closely with the warming observed over the United States. The drought years of the 1930s had the most heat waves, while the 1980s had the highest number of cold waves.”7

Although the data from both papers clearly showed no unusual increase in extreme weather, we must still be cautious about interpreting any extreme weather data. As Easterling lamented, “lack of long-term climate data suitable for analysis of extremes is the single biggest obstacle to quantifying whether extreme events have changed over the 20th century.”8 And he confessed that great caution needs to be taken when comparing extreme weather events warning, “investigators have often used quite different criteria to define an extreme climate event. This lack of consensus on the definition of extreme events, coupled with other problems, such as a lack of suitable homogeneous data for many parts of the world, likely means that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to say that extreme events in general have changed in the observed record (emphasis added).”8

Yet despite the lack of any evidence of unusually extreme weather and the lack of reliable data, Easterlng and Parmesan’s paper ironically marked the beginning of an era in which every weather event would soon be translated into “unprecedented extremes” caused by CO2 climate change, and again Parmesan’s butterfly effect was again instrumental in promoting biological doom.

With scant evidence that climate change had caused any increase in extreme weather they emphasized Parmesan’s extinctions writing, “Several apparently gradual biological changes are linked to responses to extreme weather and climate events.” They repeated Parmesan’s earlier fairly tale that climate change was forcing butterflies northward and upward, even adding imaginary data, “In western North America, Edith’s Checkerspot butterfly has shifted its range northward (by 92 km) and upward (by 124 m) during this century.” Did Parmesan not tell our top climate scientists that there was never any such migration? Yet they continued “drought, “false springs,” and midsummer frost, have been directly observed to cause extinction of local populations of this butterfly. Thus, the gradual northward and upward movement of the species’ range since 1904 is likely due to the effects of a few extreme weather events on population extinction rates.”

Did Parmesan also not tell them the natural populations in unlogged habitat had experienced their greatest survival during her purported “extreme weather” event? Did Easterling, Karl and Meehl not know Parmesan’s paper kept half the evidence off the books? Or did their CO2 advocacy turn a blind eye to bad science? Despite no increase extreme weather and no real biological catastrophe, the paper Climate Extremes: Observations, Modeling and Impacts is cited by over 1,650 papers to build a consensus and the public is bombarded with fear mongering that we should “Be Very Afraid”. What I fear most is how the politics of climate change has defiled good science and good environmental science!

Adapted from the chapter Deceptive Extremes in Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism by Jim Steele

The book is also available on Amazon here

Literature Cited

1. Singer, M., and C. D. Thomas (1996) Evolutionary responses of a butterfly metapopulation to human and climate-caused environmental variation. American Naturalist, vol. 148, p. S9–S39.

2. Parmesan, C., et al. (2000) Impacts of Extreme Weather and Climate on Terrestrial Biota. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, vol. 81, 443‑451

3. Parmesan, C., (1996) Climate and Species Range. Nature, vol. 382, 765-766

4. Parmesan, C. and Yohe, G. (2003) A globally coherent fingerprint of climate change impacts across natural systems. Nature, vol. 142, p.37-42.

5. Thomas, C.D, et al., (2000) Ecological and evolutionary processes at expanding range margins. Nature, vol. 411, p. 577‑581.

6. Thomas, C.D. et al. (1996) Catastrophic extinction of population sources in a butterfly metapopulation. American Naturalist, vol. 148, p. 957–975

7. Peterson, T., et al. (2013) Monitoring and Understanding Changes in Heat waves, Cold Waves, Floods and Droughts in the United States, State of Knowledge. Bulletin of the American Meterological Society. June 2013, p. 821-834.

8. Easterling, D.R., et al. (2000) Climate extremes: Observations, modeling, and impacts. Science, 289

9. Easterling, D., et al. (2000) Observed Variability and Trends in Extreme Climate Events: A Brief Review. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, vol. 81, p. 417-425

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August 25, 2013 12:11 am

I would like to think that eventually our political masters will realise that the whole Global Warming machine is built on lies and fed by more lies. Sadly, though, politicians long ago lost the ability to differentiate twixt lying and telling the truth.

M Courtney
August 25, 2013 12:28 am

Such blatant sins of omission are a very serious offense, and this “scientific” paper should be retracted.

If what you write is factually correct then this paper should certainly be retracted.
But with over 200 papers citing it, what are the chances? Far too much embarrassment would be involved for far too many people.

August 25, 2013 12:40 am

. . . in order to again blame global warming for expanding the range of endangered UK butterflies.

Should be “contracting”

stan stendera
August 25, 2013 12:43 am

The glaring difference between (Dr.) Steel’s approach as a true scientist and the approach of a computer jockey like Michael Mann, and even the approach of a more careful climatologist like Dr. Easterling is stunning. The villain in this is obviously Ms. Parmesan. Parmesan cheese keeps and ages for nearly forever. Perhaps it should be Ms. Limburger.

Janice Moore
August 25, 2013 12:46 am

Ha, ha, Stan, good one, lol. Yes! Because her “research” STINKS!

Janice Moore
August 25, 2013 12:49 am

Thanks, Jim Steele, for sharing more of your WONDERFUL BOOK. I hope it sells very well. I hope that you and your students are enjoying the end of summer at your beautiful camp over these next few weeks.
That Parmesan is a menace to science.
Way to get the TRUTH out, intrepid warrior for Science. And it will get out; truth stands the test of time.

August 25, 2013 12:58 am

As the climate hoax is slowly revealed, most climatologists, once so vocal in their support of this nonsense, will simply fall silent. Politicians who used and furthered this hoax to justify their own agendas will be held blameless against the false science. It will, as usual, be the taxpayer who bears the weight of $100s of Billions spent on green technologies meant to solve a climate problem that never existed.

August 25, 2013 1:02 am

A very thorough debunkng. Well done.
The solution is removal of the grants system entirely, and abandoning the efforts to make science more relevant to society’s problems, because it has resulted in (some) scientists manufacturing socially relevant problems to ensure a supply of grants.

August 25, 2013 1:13 am

Marvelous work. Thank you.

Peter Stroud
August 25, 2013 1:16 am

The only way that this disgraceful distortion of science will ever get into the public domain is via the MSM. And as we all know, there are painfully few journalists prepared to comment. I doubt whether editors of the offending journals will take any action.

August 25, 2013 1:44 am

When your out to ‘save the planet ‘ anything is justified , of course that it also a real career enhancer does not hurt either in motivation.

August 25, 2013 1:53 am

If I were the fragrant Ms Parmesan and you Sir were wrong in what you say above I would sue you, of course this will not happen because you can’t sue someone for libel when they tell the truth.
Mr Watts Sir your blog is on a roll with at least four or five brilliant posts in a row.

Mike Bromley the Kurd
August 25, 2013 2:20 am

“I want it to be this way, so it WILL be this way! To hell with inconvenient and pesky facts!”

August 25, 2013 2:20 am

krb981 says: “I would like to think that eventually our political masters will realise that the whole Global Warming machine is built on lies and fed by more lies. Sadly, though, politicians long ago lost the ability to differentiate twixt lying and telling the truth.”
Very intersting point, politician’s tow a line and then lie and fabricate their arguments to keep their political beliefs current. Perhaps this is a problem we have underestimated; once a politician takes a course they stick to that course to the bitter end, for most fo them towing a poitical line, lying and reinterpreting evidence is part of the daily chore of life. So when they make a scientific call they expect the scientists receiving public money to do the same, it is what is right in their world of bum protection.

August 25, 2013 3:14 am

Parmesan is a human being and has bills to pay. This whole CAGW con has been produced by paid for results. Now look at Parmesan’s conclusions and climate science as a whole in light of the ‘Declining Effect‘ and you see we have a mess. As for extreme weather they need to show long term trends and show any extreme trends is caused by man made greenhouse gases.

August 25, 2013 3:20 am

Outright fraud. These people should prosecuted but wont be, It;s a free for all to extract money. It’s the biggest world wide ponzi scheme in the history of mankind. The waste and destruction and extent of the scams have devastated towns, country’s, lives, resources and economy’s. It is now beyond repair or calculation.
Well done Warmist.

August 25, 2013 3:26 am

Thank you for taking the time to report this matter. It is of utmost importance to document these scientific transgressions.

August 25, 2013 4:14 am

“Such blatant sins of omission are a very serious offense, and this “scientific” paper should be retracted”
Absolutely. By definition, science is replicable. Any study that can’t be replicated should never be termed “scientific”. If research data is not made available for replication, it should be termed “fraud”.

Ian W
August 25, 2013 4:21 am

M Courtney says:
August 25, 2013 at 12:28 am
Such blatant sins of omission are a very serious offense, and this “scientific” paper should be retracted.
If what you write is factually correct then this paper should certainly be retracted.
But with over 200 papers citing it, what are the chances? Far too much embarrassment would be involved for far too many people.

And this is not the only such paper.
Will science ever recover from this with multiple fraudulent papers the basis for further research? However will it all be unraveled?
It is obvious that the learned societies and journals do not have the stomach to do it.

August 25, 2013 4:51 am

Excellent article. I wonder why we are expected to believe that the climate is supposed to be static and any change is a portent of doom. You would think that we have progressed in education and knowledge past that rather primitive view. I find it hard to believe that the butterflies are so sensitive to minor perturbations in their weather and have survived until just now. Worst droughts ever? Where is the next John Steinbeck writing about the mass migration from the dust bowl?

stan stendera
August 25, 2013 4:55 am

Anthony, Anthony, Anthony. Moderators!! Sticky post, sticky post, sticky post.

August 25, 2013 4:59 am

“earlier fairly tale”

Gary Pearse
August 25, 2013 5:37 am

I think this free-for-all has to be countered by having the studies meticulously redone with video support showing butterflies, plants and a GPS. Take along a high school class- they need an antidote for the poisoned education they are getting, too. Maybe make it a summer camp deal. Somehow, independent funding has to be supplied to do this sort of thing. One could start with the close-at-hand, low cost field areas. If these felonious ‘scientists’ knew their work would promptly be checked up on, they would be forced to be less cavalier. Peer review has its many well-aired short comings, but perhaps the worst one is that in the case of the biological sciences, reading a paper critically isn’t enough (it works, perhaps for the hard sciences and those that describe an experiment, but too much trust is required of the researcher in an age of ‘extreme’ moral degradation). The peers have to go to the field and see for themselves just as Dr. Steele appears to have done. Dr. Steele is it possible for you to do or initiate a repeat study and have it published? Meanwhile, anyone, think of a way one might develop a fund for replicating such studies. Heck, I would love to go and photograph butterflies and plants in the Sierras on my own hook.

Steve Keohane
August 25, 2013 5:38 am

Thank you for exposing this deception.

August 25, 2013 6:24 am

In the fullness of time it will be discovered that land use is the driver of climate change. indirectly this is caused by fossil fuels. humans used 4% if the surface prior to the introduction of fossil fuels. now we use 40%. this has made it appear that fossil fuels are the cause of climate change.
as the example of the butterflies shows, when you cut down the trees the local climate changes. if you then plant crops, introduce livestock, or build cities, the change becomes permanent. When you then expand this over a large fraction of the surface area of the planet, you have global change.
even in the poorest of the poor countries you no longer see farmers plowing with animal labor. the small diesel tractor costs less, works all day without rest, and you don’t need to feed it when it sits idle. on market day you hook a wagon to the tractor and drive to town.
we could eliminate all this by raising the price of fuel high enough. but we would also need to eliminate the 90% of the population that relies on our expanded land use made possible by low cost diesel engines.

August 25, 2013 6:35 am

This is a perfect example of the flawed science that has become “Climate science”, something that people need to understand.
I doubt very much that the 200+ papers citing this study are in any way dishonest, most likely they expand on details. Someone could now cite over 200 papers that show the same results, and yet only one actually did research and essentially falsified results. People I know would say, “So you’re saying it’s a giant conspiracy and everyone is in on it?” NO! It’s a classic advertising technique, known for decades. Get an idea out there, and watch everyone else jump on the bandwagon (ie. low fat is good, breakfast cereal needs vitamins and iron added).
It is essential that the core, root, original papers are exposed for the shams they are, then the house of cards built using them as a foundation will fall.
Climategate demonstrated that the core, root, original claims of warming were fudged and/or manipulated, and competing theories were blocked from ever being published. Thus, virtually everything that is built from that work is not credible, and needs to be discarded.
There doesn’t need to be some “giant conspiracy”, I do believe that the majority of people working on the “CO2 causes warming” hypothesis truly believe it. The beginning was bad science, and the rest is confirmation bias.

August 25, 2013 6:35 am

Federble…..are you f..ing kidding me?

August 25, 2013 6:36 am

Commenters: ‘TOE’ the line, please. The language is falling apart enough!

August 25, 2013 6:55 am

Bob Greene says:
August 25, 2013 at 4:51 am
Excellent article. … I find it hard to believe that the butterflies are so sensitive to minor perturbations in their weather and have survived until just now.
agreed excellent. How come we don’t see studies showing how global warming kills mosquitoes and biting flies? why is only butterflies and unicorns that are killed by global warming. how come the pest species are so much hardier?

August 25, 2013 7:02 am

Dr. Parmesan is employed by the University of Texas at Austin. If there are serious allegations of scientific misconduct (fabrication or falsification of data), the research integrity officer is Dr. Robert A. Peterson, associate vice president for research. You may contact Dr. Peterson at rap@mail.utexas.edu, +1 512-471-9438. He would be obligated to investigate any well documented allegations presented to him. Ignoring adverse data is also considered misconduct.

August 25, 2013 7:04 am

john piccirilli says:
August 25, 2013 at 6:35
4% land use prior to mechanization. today cities 4%, agriculture 36%. What was farmland 150 years ago is now cities. what was wilderness is farmland. the rest is too wet, too cold, too rocky, too dry. nowhere is it too hot unless it is also too dry. add water and too hot ends up growing 50% of the fruit and vegetables in the US.

Pamela Gray
August 25, 2013 7:12 am

Maybe the time is ripe to once again propose that we develop an independent review panel comprised of the nation’s top statisticians, biologists, glaciologist, meterologists, and the like to develop a set of standards (IE: whatworksclearninghouse.com comprised of independent experts not engaged in the profits to be had in the commercial aspects of education) whereby peer reviewed research is critiqued and determined to be either solid or not in terms of SIGNIFICANT direct/indirect effects of AGWing. The amount of tax payer dollars being spent on mitigation (now possibly surpassing the amount of tax payer dollars being spent on education) demands that such a panel be convened.
Why are elected politicians skeptical of this AGWing “fad” among grant-seeking scientists not forming and funding such a panel? Or could it be that all the top experts are already supping at the hog trough?

Pamela Gray
August 25, 2013 7:16 am

See the above website for an example of the kinds of “standards” being demanded of research that is selected for review. And sometimes the results ain’t pretty, causing the authors to squirm in their seats! This website has done more to improve educational practice than any other source.

August 25, 2013 7:21 am

anecdotal evidence such as the death of butterflies is unfortunately accepted as proof in many “soft” sciences. even medicine makes this mistake. eating less salt helps obese people, so medicine recommends all people eat less salt. where are the studies that eating less salt helps thin people? how do we know it won’t in fact cause them harm? why were roman soldiers paid in salt. why is the word salary derived from salt? why didn’t people die in the millions from eating salt preserved food prior to refrigeration?
we have a diabetes epidemic as a result of the same faulty logic applied to fats. no one thought to ask why all fat is harmful, when we have evolved over many generations to eat fat. no one thought to ask if perhaps it was artificial fats introduced in WWII that were the problem. instead, the french paradox was explained as a result of drinking red wine.

Onlooker from Troy
August 25, 2013 7:39 am

Prof Steele
I greatly appreciate your work and your integrity. I am currently reading your book and I find it to be a great approach to debunking so much of the bad science that has been produced by the CAGWers.
I hope to use it to open the eyes of my well-meaning but gullible mother. I’m afraid she has eaten up the fear mongering spewed by the likes of Jim Hansen. I was skeptical before, based on my natural tendencies and the propaganda-filled presentation of CAGW by Hansen, et all, and the media, but I’ve only recently truly delved into the whole issue and therefore couldn’t previously argue from the real facts. This will be a great source for doing so. Thank you for your service to science.

August 25, 2013 7:45 am

Pamela Gray says:
August 25, 2013 at 7:12 am
Maybe the time is ripe to once again propose that we develop an independent review panel
beware the opinion of experts. such a panel could easily be stacked by political interference. it could also be plain wrong.
unfortunately scientists can prove almost anything they want, simply by minimizing adverse data. the researcher may not even be aware they are doing this due to unconscious bias. thus any study that relies on statistical significance should in itself be suspect. just because something is likely to be true doesn’t mean it is true.
open review via the internet can fix some of the worst examples, however the only true test is repeatability over time. Chance tells us that our results of the first study may simply be coincidence. We found a result because that is what were went looking for. And after we found it, we stopped collecting data.
for example. toss a coin 10 times. if you get 10 heads in a row you then publish a study showing how your flipping technique produces all heads. the data supports your finding, but it doesn’t make it true. had you continued collecting data, you would have discovered your error.

Peter Miller
August 25, 2013 7:53 am

Just another instance of classic climate science, a mix of data manipulation and deliberately ignoring inconvenient facts.
A really good read and not surprisingly a troll free comments section.

Pamela Gray
August 25, 2013 7:55 am

ferdburple, I know whereof I speak. Go to the link I provided in my addendum to examine the acceptance criteria for educational studies. The standard is very high and is clearly based on gold-standard unbiased critical review practice. Click on any report and you will find the LONG list of studies that were rejected for examination due to inherent weaknesses in the study design. This is the kind of review panel and methods I am talking about it and could readily be implemented to examine published, peer reviewed climate research. We already have something like that here at WUWT. But I think it can be improved upon by setting a set of standards in place much like they have at http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/.

Jeff Alberts
August 25, 2013 8:01 am

Extinct: I don’t think this means what she thinks it means. (channeling Montoya)

August 25, 2013 8:15 am

Indeed these alarmist types have usurped, undermined and destroyed true environmentalism.
I wonder if these charlatans really care that raptor splattering turbines and Mercury “poisoned” solar fixtures (All inoperable half of the time).are harmful more than beneficial to the environment,
Are they concerned with the exploitation and waste of using God-given agricultural resources to produce corn ethanol for motor fuel when one can pump motor fuel from the ground. When the corn belt soil and water are used up, what do we eat then? Petroleum? Is this “sustainability” ?
This rape of resources is borne of the United States Government. Be wary of their intentions.

August 25, 2013 8:25 am

The Cheese stands alone.

Eustace Cranch
August 25, 2013 8:33 am

krb981 says:
August 25, 2013 at 12:11 am
“I would like to think that eventually our political masters will realise that the whole Global Warming machine is built on lies and fed by more lies.”
You make it sound like politicians are victims of a scam. Please. They are active participants.

Jim Steele
August 25, 2013 9:07 am

Thanks for all the kind words however I need to clarify one point. This is a re-post from part 2
Usually directors of field stations are Professors but I only have a Masters. New students always called my Doctor, and I often gave up correcting people. So despite 25 years of university service, I should not be called doctor. Unfortunately most professors do not want to be tied to a field station. Dr. James Kelley who was the Dean of SFSU’s College of Science and Engineering, appointed me director because I was a capable biologist and he believed my passion for environmental science could save the Sierra Nevada Field Campus from being shut down. Our chairman, Crellin Pauling, Linus’ son, did not believe in field stations and wanted to close it down to use the money to support molecular and genetics research. I am proud to say Dr. Kelley and I were able to turn the rustic Sierra Nevada Field Campus into one of California’s leading environmental education centers. Dr Kelley is also a skeptic and wrote the foreword to my book.
Due to extreme weather, the Sierra Nevada Field Campus only operated during the summer so my director’s position was only half time and my main duties were during the summer. So instead of pursuing a doctorate, I chose to teach science in San Francisco’s innner city schools during the remainder of the year to fulfill my sense of social justice. Although a few kids were harder to love than others, my students honesty and love for learning made me a better teacher and a better person. I realized that if didn’t get my students to understand the science that enthralled me, then I had simply not made it clear enough.
Later I lectured the cell and molecular biology labs for the introductory biology class for majors at SFSU. I asked my students to call me Jim as I will also ask you. Acceptance of what I say should not be based on any percieved “authority” but the evidence I present. My understanding of climate change evolved as I grappled with the varying populations of birds that we studied each summer for 25 years. Cycles of El Nino greatly altered the regional climate and landscape changes greatly altered the microclimate. So I named the book is Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism. Parmesan’s checkerspot butterfly was nearby, and the shabby science blaming climate change (as I wrote in part 1) demanded I look critically at all such claims. Once I saw the similar faulty science for penguins,polar bears, pika, frogs and marine ecosystems I knew I had to write the book.

August 25, 2013 9:17 am

Beautiful. Well done..

August 25, 2013 9:22 am

Such cheesy “research”, Parmesan’s name suits her.

Jim Steele
August 25, 2013 9:30 am

. . . in order to again blame global warming for expanding the range of endangered UK butterflies.
Should be “contracting”
No expanding is correct. The landscape changes I documented (in “Fabricating Climate Doom – Part 2: Hijacking Conservation Success in the UK to Build Consensus!” http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/06/fabricating-climate-doom-part-2-hijacking-conservation-success-in-the-uk-to-build-consensus/ ) had caused the extinction of the Large Blue and contracted the range of the Silver-spotted Skipper. Jeremy Thomas’s work determined the loss of short-turf grasslands was denying those warmth loving butterflies and ants their required heat. Mowing of fields, incentives for increased grazing and the return of the rabbits expanded the range short-truf grasslands and thus expanded the range of the Skipper. But Parmesan blamed the expansion on global warming. Most of the threatened species had contracted to the southern most parts of the UK. With increased conservation, recovering species had no where else to go and expanded northward to re-claim old habitat, but Parmesan argued that expansion was consistent with Hansen’s catastrophic predictions.
There are also butterflies whose caterpillars prefer the shade. As fossil fuels became more accessible people in the UK countryside abandoned the ancient practice of coppicing. Coppicing cuts branches for fire wood but leaves the stumps to regenerate more branches and the woodsmen would cycle through several patches of forest. This exposed shady glens and reduced shade loving caterpillars. When coppicing was abandoned the shade returned and the shade-loving species expanded. England is one of the few countries where there has been an increase in forest acreage. Parmesan also blamed the expansion those shade-loving species on CO2 warming. With the UK’s subsidies for wood burning power plants, the return of the UK forests may be in peril.
Parmesan published those range shifts in a 1999 Science article Poleward shifts in geographical ranges of butterfly species associated with regional warming which has been cited by over 1,000 consensus scientists.

John F. Hultquist
August 25, 2013 9:51 am

Thanks Dr. Jim Steele.
I found the reported perversion of science in this series of papers astounding. If I win a lotto I’ll send copies of the book to all congress and state elected folks and related sorts. I’d also include copies of “The Delinquent Teenager” by Donna Laframboise.
ferdberple says:
August 25, 2013 at 6:55 am
“. . . unicorns . . .
! ?
I remember back in the 1960s seeing unicorns. Not so many now. I had not connected the demise to global warming, but what else could it be? Thanks ferd.

August 25, 2013 9:51 am

Obviously a ton of work has gone into exposing this fraudulent paper. Thank you.

August 25, 2013 10:17 am

A corruption feedback loop illustrated. How do we break this loop is the problem.

Jim Steele
August 25, 2013 10:21 am

In 1999 Nature again published a Paremsan paper “Poleward shifts in geographical ranges of butterfly species associated with regional warming “ and Parmesan again hijacked conservation science. The paper highlighted a map showing how the Sooty Copper butterfly disappeared from its southern range in Spain and simultaneously appeared in Estonia. The Sooty Copper became another icon of the northward flight from global warming featured on several internet stories.
The Sooty Cooper’s southern most range was in Montseny in northeast Spain. Like the Large Blue and Silverspotted Skipper of the UK, the Sooty Copper was a warmth loving butterfly of short turf grasslands. When the Montseny region was designated as a biological preserve, human disturbances were eliminated and the forests reclaimed grasslands maintained by grazing. Researchers commenting on the vegetation’s response wrote,” During the decades previous to the 1980’s, burning and grazing maintained Callun heathland and suppressed the growth of shrub and holm oaks. After the 1980’s, when fire practices ended, and temperatures started to rise, shrubs and holm oak started to gain dominance.”
To suggest the Sooty was fleeing northward from global warming, her paper featured a map that suggested the Sooty Copper had just arrived in Estonia. In her 1999 paper she wrote “There are also three other records in Estonia, once each in 1942, 1994 and 1996”. However the 1942 date was problematic because it suggested other reasons for the butterfly to be observed inestonia. So in her 2006 paper, “Ecological and Evolutionary Responses to Recent Climate” she again highlighted the Sooty Copper but kept more data “off the books”. She wrote “In the most-extreme cases, the southern edge contracted concurrent with northern edge expansion. For example, the sooty copper (Heodes tityrus) was common in the Montseny region of central Catalonia in the 1920s, but modern sightings are only from the Pyrenees, 50 km to the north. Symmetrically, H. tityrus entered Estonia for the first time in 1998, by 1999 had established several successful breeding populations, and by 2006 had reached the Baltic Sea”
Clearly CO2 can cause all things bad, and it had also taken a serious toll on Parmesan’s memory. Not only did she continue to ignore the landscape changes in Montseny, she now forgot she had reported the Sooty Copper was in Estonia in 1942, not “for the first time in 1998”. Still the consensus flocked to her Ecological and Evolutionary Responses to Recent Climate Change paper citing it over 2300 times.
The Union for Concerned Sceintists dedicated a page to her work writing “Her careful field observations of butterfly populations have provided compelling evidence of how climate change has already affected our living planet. In fact, her landmark studies have helped pave the way for a wealth of eye-opening research tracking changes in numerous other populations of plants and animals.”

Don E
August 25, 2013 10:41 am

Regarding extreme weather, didn’t Darwin say extreme weather was essential to natural selection?

Paul Coppin
August 25, 2013 10:42 am

Would somebody please explain to these “scientists” that “extreme weather events” do not ordinarily correlate to “climate change”? All climates experience “extreme weather events (EWE)” in some form depending entirely how “extreme” is defined for that climate. There is no empirical definition. A climate is a net sum of all parts over time; an extreme weather event is only a point in time, whose “extremeness” is an artificial construct which is, in most cases, heavily sociologically biased.
Biologists especially, should recognize that extreme weather events are only one of many selection processes that adaptive species have coped with over the millenia. The fact that they do and have survived EWEs suggests strongly that they have been exposed to many EWEs over their adaptive history. Present day survivability of a range of EWEs is the proof. EWEs at the biological range limit doesn’t imply climate change, nor is it indicative of it, although climate change may alter spacial range limits over time, changing the geographic survival pattern when looked at on short timelines.

Jim Steele
August 25, 2013 11:49 am

GeneDoc says “If there are serious allegations of scientific misconduct (fabrication or falsification of data), the research integrity officer is Dr. Robert A. Peterson, associate vice president for research. You may contact Dr. Peterson at rap@mail.utexas.edu
I just sent a formal request to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society requesting that they retract Parmesan, C., et al. (2000) Impacts of Extreme Weather and Climate on Terrestrial Biota. Per your suggestion I cc’d Dr. Peterson.
It may help if other outraged readers email the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society ( kheidman@ametsoc.org , amspubs@ametssoc.org ) demanding a retraction. I also sent a copy of my request to the editors of the Retraction Watch website.
I will let people know how this request progresses.

Jim Steele
August 25, 2013 12:00 pm

Ooops. misspelled the contact to Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society kheideman@ametsoc.org

george e. smith
August 25, 2013 12:03 pm

Every biologist knows that if you cut one or more legs, off a bullfrog, e.g. a Calaveras County bull frog, on average, they do not jump as far. You can try yelling at them a little louder, and they may improve a few jumps, but on average, the average jump length, will show a negative jump anomaly.
And if you remove a larger number of legs, the jump length anomaly gets increasingly negative.
What is not widely known, and is in fact quite new to frogology science, is that the phenomenon changes completely if you cut all four legs off a Calaveras County bull frog. No matter how hard you yell and holler, they simply do not jump at all.
Cutting all four legs off a bull frog renders them stone deaf !

August 25, 2013 12:12 pm

200+ papers citing this study , I wonder how many actual read the paper or did they just include it as part of some ‘expected to have ‘ list , which is a approach bit more common in science then they would like to admit to .
I bet must pushing its ‘validity ‘ have never even read it , they just ran with the ‘message’ of the conclusion.

August 25, 2013 12:12 pm

Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
Statistics don’t lie, but statisticians do. Figures don’t lie, but liars figure. Likewise, science never lies, but it might be wrong, and scientists will certainly lie about it. It is important to be committed to being corrected. Being wrong is always much worse than being corrected. Go ahead and read Jim Steele’s essay about butterflies at wattsupwiththat.com.

Bruce Cobb
August 25, 2013 12:22 pm

; haha. I think they call that jumping to a conclusion.

August 25, 2013 3:30 pm

What they said: “…Therefore, if there are indeed identifiable trends in certain extreme climatic events, such as extremes in temperature or precipitation, it would add to the body of evidence that there is a discernable human effect on the climate, and potentially have important consequences on society and natural systems.”
What Steele said they said: “if there are indeed identifiable trends in extreme climatic events it would add to the body of evidence that there is a discernible human affect on the climate.”
What he should have said they said: “…if there are indeed identifiable trends in…extreme climatic events,…it would add to the body of evidence that there is a discernable [sic] human effect on the climate…”
But, lacking a validated mechanism for CO2 to result in extreme cold or precipitation, their statement is merely coprolite in training. You can’t polish a coprolite. Oh, wait. You can.

August 26, 2013 5:04 am

The latest and amongst the worst yet.
The oceans are not , NOT, becoming more acidic. Why is the lie of acidification allowed to pass uncontested.???

August 26, 2013 12:18 pm

Mr. Steele,
This is a fascinating read to say the least. While I appreciate that you have already written this article at least once for a book (as I understand it) and it has been paraphrased or re-posted to this blog, I’d like to suggest a third venue for you. The American Entomologist. As you are likely aware, but many others aren’t, this is the quarterly magazine of the Entomological Society of America. Articles are peer reviewed prior to publication so it would have to pass through that process.
Before anyone suggests that the peer review process would automatically discount this from being published due to academic dishonesty I would suggest that although Drs. Parmesan, Singer and others listed are members of the Entomological Society of America, that Society thus far seems more interested in integrity of science than simply riding along merrily with the bandwagon on climate change. Make no mistake, the majority of members of that Society will side with the notion of the peer reviewed climate science that says the planet is warming and CO2, amongst other factors, is driving a very real warming trend. But that in and of itself does not preclude such an article from being published so long as the submitted article is long on data and absent speculation.
Based on what you have presented here it should be fairly easy (though time consuming) to put together such a paper to illustrate the differences between Parmesan’s 1996 paper and what happened outside of the affected areas she looked at and published on to the exclusion of the surrounding populations. If presented in a concise manner without casting any aspersions toward Parmesan, her co-authors or the global warming/climate change movement, then it would stand a reasonable chance of being published. If any aspersions were to be even hinted at then I expect it would be dismissed out of hand and I honestly wouldn’t disagree with the dismissal myself regardless of my stance on climate change. I do understand the frustrations with behaviours bordering on fraud but one must take the high road to be taken seriously. If you present the material as nothing but objective science your information will be well received.
I’ve met both Singer and Parmesan in person. I’d no idea she was a graduate student when they met. Understand that you’re facing an uphill battle as they are both personable and well liked in the entomological communities. Both are also well respected and as is the case with any well respected individual if you are to attempt to discredit their work you better be dang sure of your data and conclusions; you seem to be. I will re-iterate the need to publish this absent any personal feelings or dislike of the author or their personal leanings and beliefs. It doesn’t matter if you are correct if they can dismiss you out of hand because of a personal attack.
The mainstream media will never touch this, but the American Entomologist just might and that would be a very positive step. I wish you the best.

Chris R.
August 26, 2013 1:28 pm

I’d like to remind everyone thatJim Steele’s gave two
numbers for number of citations. He writes that Parmesan’s paper
“…has been cited … 243 times …”. He also gives far more damning
evidence with respect to the Easterling et al. paper in Science
which Parmesan lent her name to–this was cited 1,650 times!
So, to my mind, the larger crime on Parmesan’s part was not the original
paper, but the continuing fraud she perpetrated by affixing her name
to the 2000 Easterling et al. paper.

Janice Moore
August 26, 2013 4:35 pm

@ Jim Steele: I just e mailed a pointed letter using your above article as my basis to Mr. Ken Heideman (and to the general ams address) at the addresses you supplied us in your comments on August 25 at 11:49 am and 12:00pm, asking that the AMS retract Parmesan’s and Easterling’s (et. al.) 2000 articles.
Thanks for giving us an opportunity to DO something (albeit a little something).

Jim Steele
August 26, 2013 8:04 pm

@buggs I have only talked with Parmesan on the phone and with Singer via email. I pass no judgement on them as people. But I do pass judgement on shabby science that has been used to create climate fear.
I have considered writing a rebuttal paper, but as you suggest I am not sure how ardently their friends will defend them, thus I am not sure if it will be worth my effort. For whatever reason, they clearly presented their results in a very misleading way promoting climate doom, so I chose to submit a request for a retraction of her extreme weather paper.
I feel rock solid that the evidence supports my claims. 1) As I reported in part 1, Emails from Singer and to Fish and Game undeniably report there was never any migration upward or northward for the Edith checkerspot. Nor was there ever an analysis of the local temperatures. For their science to be socially responsible, they should have have published their findings that many of the extinct populations that had once reported as extinct due to climate change have now re-colonized. 2) They have refused to supply their data to allow replication of their claims, and thus they defile the scientific process. 3) The 2 published papers by Singer and CD Thomas clearly state adjacent populations in the outcrop experienced their best survival during Parmesan’s purported “extreme weather event,” yet she only reported the extinction of the new population in the logged area.
Any member of the Entomological Society of America who truly wants to maintain the integrity of the science should join me in demanding a retraction. If the are concerned about scientific integrity they can read Thomas, C.D. et al. (1996) Catastrophic extinction of population sources in a butterfly metapopulation. American Naturalist, vol. 148, p. 957–975. and Singer, M., and C. D. Thomas (1996) Evolutionary responses of a butterfly metapopulation to human and climate-caused environmental variation. American Naturalist, vol. 148. If they lack access I cansend them PDF’s. It will be undeniable that in order for Parmesan to generate a believable story that extreme weather cause a local population extinction, she had kept the information about a resilient thriving natural populations “off the books”. Parmesan, C., et al. (2000) Impacts of Extreme Weather and Climate on Terrestrial Biota should be retracted, as should Easterling’s.
Read the papers yourself and when you see what I say is true, I hope you join me in asking for a retraction.The skeptical community awaits to see a demonstration of scientific integrity. Sound environmental stewardship requires the political will of the public. It takes the whole village. The deterioration of science integrity and the growing public distrust is the greatest threat to promoting sound environmental stewardship.

george e. smith
August 26, 2013 8:42 pm

Well butterfly extinctions are most likely to be caused by university entomology students sticking pins through the thorax of the butterflies they collect to see if they can duplicate Parmesan’s research results. By the time enough people have duplicated her results, the bugs will be extinct.
Butterflies are free, they can fly anywhere; up the hill, down the hill or over to the Crimea. They especially like to fly to places where there aren’t already more butterflies than the place can feed.

Jim Steele
August 27, 2013 6:47 am

My request for retraction has been forwarded to the chief editor.
Dear Sir:
Thank you for your message. I have forwarded it to Jeff Rosenfeld, Chief
Editor of BAMS, for consideration.
Ken Heideman

August 27, 2013 10:16 am

Mr. Steele,
Thank you for the response, it is appreciated.
Let me start by apologizing insomuch as I didn’t intend my comment to suggest doubt about your work. I have not read it (all) as yet (I will) so I wanted to be cautious with my comments.
I fully appreciate your hesitation to write the rebuttal paper. There is a chance it will be dismissed out of hand because it counters “well respected” work that has been reviewed and published and goes against conventional wisdom. Sadly at times that is all the justification that is necessary. I don’t know that Parmesan and Singer are all that high up in the hierarchy that is present in the ESA, I just know that they both are invited to plenty of meetings to speak. So they are popular at the very least. That may or may not equate to respect.
I’m not surprised that they (she?) refused to release to supply the data, the usual excuse is that it will be used for another paper and as such remains proprietary. I do understand that excuse as there are many in science that would happily take someone else’s data and publish it. It happens. It sucks. But I do also understand your point and the need for openness. Many will share data in time. Unless there is some reason not to that goes beyond the information being proprietary.
I may join you in requesting a retraction but for me to do so would require me to provide a justification to the editor that is significant. Otherwise I’m afraid it comes across as so much spam to them I’m sure. You’ve done an excellent job pointing out flaws in the work and rest assured nearly no one else ever will. I knew/know of Parmesan’s work and it is spoken highly of in the entomological community that are amongst the true believers. It’s an uphill battle but it becomes a question of integrity in the end, doesn’t it?
As to why it’s presented that way? Well, you go from a grad student to a respected scientist in no time with lots of people inviting you to speak at conferences. Your expenses are paid, you meet lots of new people, make connections, see many interesting places in the world and are treated well. Your resume is thickened and each presentation counts as a ‘publication’ in a loose sense. All of a sudden you’ve got more grant money. How’s any of that bad? Fame, fortune and feed the ego baby, all while you believe you’re saving the planet? That’s cynical of me to state but it may not be untrue.

Janice Moore
August 27, 2013 12:26 pm

@Jim Steele (re: 6:47am) — Mine, too.

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