In defense of a scientist in the humble quest for truth

As a follow up to the statement made yesterday by Dr. Willie Soon, this essay is appropriate. Christopher Monckton of Brenchley answers the campaign of assaults on the reputation of Dr. Willie Soon, an unsalaried astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics – Anthony

Willie SoonThe recent campaign of concerted assaults on Dr Soon’s reputation

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

Recently the Boston Globe, The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, Scientific American and even Nature, as well as many other media outlets and environmentalist weblogs, have mounted what appears to be a costly, malevolent and carefully coordinated campaign of assaults on the reputation of Dr Willie Soon, falsely alleging that in several of his published scientific papers he had failed to disclose that some of the funding for his research has come from fossil-fuel interests.

This campaign of libels was calculated to damage Dr Soon’s reputation, to undermine the credibility of his research results, and to threaten his employment at the Center for Astrophysics by improperly suggesting that he has acted unethically and dishonestly. I propose to knock the worst of these libels on the head. This will be a long read, but well worth it.

Dr Soon’s affiliation to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics is, in the words of its current Director on its 50th anniversary in 2005,

“the world’s largest and most diverse center for the study of the Universe, comprising the astronomy and astrophysics programs of two renowned scientific institutions: the Smithsonian Institution and Harvard University. 2005 marks the 50th anniversary of Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s move to Cambridge to affiliate with Harvard in the partnership that would, in 1973, be formalized as the Center for Astrophysics.”

Dr Soon has been a solar physicist at the Center for a quarter of a century. His research specialty is the influence of changes in solar activity on the Earth’s climate and the study of stars of the same type as the Sun. Since 1994, together with various distinguished co-authors, he has published some 60 research papers on these and related topics.

Indeed, the director of the Center himself, in an interview with a journalist for the Chronicle of Higher Education who later wrote a libelous article stating that in his published research papers Dr Soon should not have said he is affiliated to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, regrettably lent some credence to this allegation by stating that “from a legal point of view” there was “no such entity as the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics”:

“The problem, according to Charles R. Alcock, a Harvard professor of astronomy who also serves as director of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, is that the ‘center’ refers primarily to a shared set of physical facilities. Almost everyone working at those facilities, Mr. Alcock said, is either an employee of Harvard or an employee of the Smithsonian, a federally administered collection of museums and research centers.

“‘From a legal point of view,’ he said, ‘there is no such entity as the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.’ And Mr. Soon is employed only by the Smithsonian, Mr. Alcock said. ‘It’s always been that way. He has never had any Harvard appointment.’”

The director of the Center is not only a Harvard professor but also director of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, which shares the same postal address and premises at 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts as the Center.

The fact that in 2005 the director himself had described the marriage of the Observatory and Harvard as having been “… formalized as the Center for Astrophysics” suggests that, contrary to the director’s present statement that the Center does not exist as a legal entity, there was in fact some formal process, event, act or deed by which the entity known as the “Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics” came into some form of legal existence in 1973, when the Observatory moved to Cambridge “to affiliate with Harvard” in a “partnership”.

Furthermore, funding proposals for Dr Soon’s research, written on the letterhead of the Observatory and signed by the director, bear the following box that appears prominently at the foot of the page:

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Either there is, as the director’s 2005 statement published on the Center’s own website states, a legal entity of some sort that has operated since it was formalized in 1973 as the “Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics”, in which event the director’s present statement to the contrary is false and damaging to Dr Soon’s reputation; or there is no such entity as the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, in which event the director’s signing and presenting funding proposals in the name and on the letterhead of an observatory that is prominently described in those proposals as “a member” of that non-existent entity – proposals which were intended to lead and did lead to the award of grants – seem more than somewhat irregular, if not illegal.

Furthermore, Dr Soon has never made any statement in any of his published papers, or anywhere else as far as he can remember, to the effect that he has a “Harvard appointment”, as the director’s remarks to the Chronicle of Higher Education imply. He has always stated, correctly and surely blamelessly, that his affiliation is to the “Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics”.

At no time has anyone at the Observatory or the Center told Dr Soon that he should not state in his published papers that he is affiliated to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, to which – after all – the Observatory is by the director’s own admission itself affiliated. On the contrary: a previous director had given specific instructions, not since rescinded, that all researchers should identify themselves in their published papers as affiliated to the Center.

Nor can it be credibly asserted that the Center was until recently unaware of the manner in which Dr Soon had declared his affiliation in his scientific papers over the past quarter of a century: for a member of senior management (a botanist) has seen fit to pass judgment on the quality of Dr Soon’s research (in astrophysics), from which it may legitimately be inferred that he had read – or at any rate ought to have read – at least one of Dr Soon’s 60 published papers in order to come to a view on the quality of his research.

I now turn to that widely-published allegation – unsupported by evidence or even by argument – that Dr Soon’s research is not of “the highest quality”.

An attack on the quality of Dr Soon’s published scientific research

The Chronicle of Higher Education quotes Mr W. John Kress, the Smithsonian Institution’s “interim under-secretary for science”, as follows:

“Mr. Kress even admitted a lack of confidence in his own employee’s work. ‘Up until now, it has not been an issue of our scientists’ not disclosing their sources of funding,’ he said. ‘As far as we can see, up until just recently, that appeared to be the case with Willie Soon. He was publishing science. He may have interpreted his results in various ways, but the actual data and the results reflected his research, which, although I would say is not the highest-quality research, was research carried out in a scientific process.’”

Now, Dr Kress is entitled to his own private opinion as to the quality of Dr Soon’s research. But, as an office-holder in an institution to which the Observatory is affiliated and with which the Center is connected, Dr Kress is not entitled to fuel the fire and compound the libels against Dr Soon, a researcher of long standing at the Center, by offering to the news media a gratuitous, unsupported and insupportable allegation that his research is unmeritorious.

For in speaking thus, and in not making it clear whether his opinion (whether expert or inexpert) was that of the Smithsonian, he was bound to give the impression that the Center had “a lack of confidence” in Dr Soon’s work.

What makes Dr Kress’ crass remark still more offensive is that the Smithsonian had given Dr Soon an award in 2003 for

“detailed scholarship on biogeological and climatic change over the past 1,000 years … in official recognition of work performance reflecting a high standard of accomplishment”.

In 2004, Dr Soon received the Petr Beckmann award of the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness for

“courage and achievement in defense of scientific truth and freedom”.

In 2014, he received the Courage in Defense of Science Award, with a monetary prize, from the George C. Marshall Institute. The award was presented at the Heartland Institute’s Ninth International Conference on Climate Change held in Las Vegas that year.

The Smithsonian Institution’s statement of February 22, 2015

Under the pressure of complaints from external lobbyists about a recent paper co-authored by Dr Soon in the Science Bulletin and about other earlier research contracts most details of which had been divulged in releases of information to Greenpeace or its associated front groups over many years, the director of the Center for Astrophysics has announced that its Inspector-General will conduct an investigation into this affair for the Center.

On February 22, the Smithsonian Institution issued the following statement:

“The Smithsonian is greatly concerned about the allegations surrounding Dr. Willie Soon’s failure to disclose funding sources for his climate change research.

“The Smithsonian is taking immediate action to address the issue:

“Acting Secretary Albert Horvath has asked the Smithsonian Inspector General to review the matter.

“Horvath will also lead a full review of Smithsonian ethics and disclosure policies governing the conduct of sponsored research to ensure they meet the highest standards.

“Wei-Hock (Willie) Soon is a part-time researcher at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass. He was hired to conduct research on long-term stellar and solar variability. The Smithsonian does not fund Dr. Soon; he pursues external grants to fund his research.

“The Smithsonian does not support Dr. Soon’s conclusions on climate change. The Smithsonian’s official statement on climate change, based upon many decades of scientific research, points to human activities as a cause of global warming.”

The Center should certainly investigate the attacks against Dr Soon. In normal circumstances one would expect any such review to conclude that the orchestrated campaign against him is improper and was motivated not by any desire to reach the truth but by a malicious intent to cast doubt upon the value of his published research and to threaten his position at the Center.

That said, the statement from the Smithsonian above makes it apparent that a disinterested review of the matter by a senior Smithsonian staff member is now not possible.

As will be explained below, in conducting any such review the Smithsonian would in effect be investigating its own contracts with the funders of Dr Soon’s research, about which it already knows all that there is to know. It is the Center, not Dr Soon, that accepted the financial support from external entities; the Center agreed, signed and holds the contracts.

An attack on Dr Soon’s scientific views about the climate question

The concluding paragraph of the Smithsonian’s statement of February 22 says:

“The Smithsonian does not support Dr. Soon’s conclusions on climate change. The Smithsonian’s official statement on climate change, based upon many decades of scientific research, points to human activities as a cause of global warming.”

This offensive passage is simply unacceptable. First, it is improper for the Smithsonian to prejudge the issue to the extent of saying it does not support Dr Soon’s “conclusions on climate change” (whatever that might mean in their interpretation of the matter). It is not the business of the Smithsonian managers to say – except in peer-reviewed papers by their researchers – whether or not they support any of their staff members’ conclusions on climate change, or on any other topic.

Secondly, the only “conclusion” by Dr Soon “on climate change” to which the Smithsonian statement implicitly refers is that human activities are not

“a major cause of global warming”.

For otherwise why would the institution have bothered to mention that its own

“official statement on climate change … points to human activities as a cause of global warming”?

Prejudice against Dr Soon is again evident in the wording that has been selected.

Just as it is the responsibility of individual researchers to be able to provide scientific evidence to back research papers or public statements that they issue in their area of expertise, so it is no less incumbent on academic institutions such as the Smithsonian not to misrepresent the scientific conclusions of its researchers.

Let me be quite clear. At no time has Dr Soon ever said, written, or even implied that human activities are not

“a cause of global warming”.

Indeed, throughout the Science Bulletin paper on Why models run hot, it is self-evident not only that I and my co-authors, including Dr Soon, accept that our returning some CO2 to the atmosphere from which it originally came will cause some global warming, but also that we are thoroughly familiar with the scientific reasons why – all other things being equal – more CO2 in the atmosphere will cause some warming.

The true scientific debate is not about whether CO2 causes some warming. Rather, the debate is about how much warming it will cause.

The Smithsonian’s false implication that Dr Soon had reached the “conclusion” that human activities are not

“a cause of global warming”

is, in the circumstances, gravely damaging to him, since it suggests that he repudiates (for instance) such proven scientific results as the fundamental equation of radiative transfer.

Allegations of undeclared conflict of interest

The central allegation that stands against Dr Soon is that he had had a “conflict of interest” in that he had received much of his research funding from fossil-fuel corporations and foundations but had failed to declare it in a dozen of his 60 published papers.

The Smithsonian’s statement of February 22, 2015, regrettably lends credence to these allegations by stating that its inspector-general proposes to investigate allegations surrounding

“Dr. Soon’s failure to disclose funding sources for his climate change research”.

It would have been pardonable to talk of investigating whether “allegations that Dr. Soon had failed to disclose funding sources for his climate change research are true or false”.

However, the Smithsonian’s unfortunate wording, which had not been cleared with Dr Soon in advance as it should have been, strongly suggests the Center has already decided he had dishonestly failed to disclose his sources of funds. The wording as it stands is an open invitation to unethical “journalists” to persist in their libels against him.

Accordingly, at least two assertions in the Smithsonian’s short statement of February 22, 2015, are untrue, unfair, and calculated to be profoundly detrimental to Dr Soon’s scientific reputation.

The conclusion is obvious. It is essential that any investigation into this matter be chaired not by the Smithsonian’s inspector-general but by a senior scientist altogether unconnected with the Smithsonian, with Harvard, with the Observatory, or with the Center, and who is wholly independent of their management.

The non-governmental grant-funding process

In answering the untruthful criticisms that on frequent occasions Dr Soon had had but had failed to disclose a financial conflict of interest, I shall begin by explaining how the grant-funding process works for the many scientists, like Dr Soon, who receive no stipend from the Center but must earn their living out of grants made by government bodies, corporations, or foundations to whom they must apply for grants. Individual grants are usually tied to specific research projects.

At the Center, the rule – which Dr Soon has always scrupulously followed – is that all grant applications for proposed scientific research must be approved in advance both by the director’s office and by his department, the Center’s Solar, Stellar and Planetary Sciences Division. For this reason, all grants awarded are automatically known to the Center at once. Dr Soon has no power to accept any grant unless and until the office of the Director has approved not only the amount and source of the grant but also the research purpose for which it was awarded.

Dr Soon, simply by stating his affiliation to the Center, as he has done without complaint from anyone for decades in all his published papers arising from research supported by specific grants, has made full and sufficient disclosure that he has no conflicts of interest regarding his research: for the Smithsonian Institution’s Statement of Values and Code of Ethics, which applies to the Center, specifies that his superiors themselves provide the oversight to prevent any undue influence by donors, sponsors or other outside parties on any scholarship or publications that stem from externally donated funds.

The Center deducts 30-40% of any external grant to cover its own overhead costs. Indeed, the director of the Center has recently admitted that Dr Soon ends up with less than half of each grant. Much has been made of the fact that he has brought in some $1.2 million in grants over ten years. That means he received an average of less than $60,000 a year, out of which he had to pay his research costs, including travel, equipment, materials, publications and research assistance. On what little was left, he has managed to feed his young family. In some years, he’d have been better off flipping burgers.

As a working scientist, Dr Soon has no authority to sign any research contract to receive any grant, let alone to decide or to dictate the terms of such contracts. Those matters are reserved to the Center.

As has been shown by public reproduction of facsimiles of the contracts between the Smithsonian and relevant external providers,[1] Dr Soon’s signature is not on any of the contracts that have been made with the Observatory to support his research. It is, therefore the Center that carries the responsibility for accepting and properly administering the external payments that support his work. He is merely employed by the Center to discharge research that is paid for out of the external grants for which the Observatory has entered into contracts.

Given that external contracts are signed and held by the Observatory, and given that in 2012, in response to 2009/2010-onward series of requests by Greenpeace under the Freedom of Information Act the Institution chose to make public the details of all such contracts that had been used to fund Dr Soon’s stipend, claims that he has failed to disclose information about who has funded his past research are manifestly false.

Neither Dr Soon nor any of the many other scientists employed by the Center on external grants actually write or sign grant contracts. Instead, as is both proper and conventional in large research institutes, contracts are prepared by the Observatory’s administrative staff. After a contract relevant to Dr Soon’s expertise has been written and approved by the outside funders, his job is to undertake scientific research in the agreed area, and to report the results in papers written either on his own or in conjunction with his scientific colleagues. He is paid by the Observatory, not by any external funders, to carry out those duties.

The 2015 Science Bulletin paper Why models run hot

The current press campaign against Dr Soon began after he had co-authored a paper titled Why models run hot: results from an irreducibly simple climate model, published in January 2015 in China’s leading learned journal of scientific research, the Science Bulletin of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, co-sponsored by the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

I was the lead author of the paper, written with Dr Soon, Professor David Legates and Dr William Briggs, Statistician to the Stars. We concluded – in line with a substantial and growing body of recent peer-reviewed research on the question how much global warming our industrial activities may cause – that doubling the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, which, on the average of the six projections made by the IPCC in 2007 will not occur for at least 100 years,[2] might eventually make the world warmer by as little as 1 Celsius degree, not the 3, 5, or even 10 Cº that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and various government scientists have tried to suggest.

Neither I nor any of my co-authors received any funding of any kind from any source for any part of any research conducted by us in the preparation and writing of this paper. The paper was researched and written entirely in our own time and at our own expense. As we correctly stated to the journal, therefore, we have no conflict of interest whatsoever.

Each of the four authors of the Science Bulletin paper has a lively and expert academic interest in our subject, and we wrote our paper because we considered – rightly, as events have turned out (for there have already been more than 22,500 downloads either of the abstract or of the full paper) – that other researchers would find our simple model of the climate interesting and helpful.

Both Dr Legates and I have had our scientific integrity challenged for the same reason that Dr Soon’s integrity is being challenged: to divert attention away from the embarrassing scientific questions we have raised about the present “official” version of global-warming science.

It is surely time to focus on the science itself. Using our model, anyone with a little knowledge of math and physics can determine climate sensitivity relative to CO2 concentration changes not unreliably by using nothing more complex than a pocket calculator. Within hours after the Daily Mail ran a strongly supportive news piece about our paper, an EU-funded environmentalist extremist group had telephoned round and obtained instaquotes from half a dozen rent-by-the-hour “scientists” about our paper, but, as our point-by-point refutation [Eds, link to attached document, please] demonstrates, several of them had not even read it and not one had raised a serious scientific objection to it.

In the Science Bulletin paper we have made climate science accessible to all – and scientists worldwide are responding to our initiative with enthusiasm. Our paper, available online at www.scibull.com, is the most-downloaded scientific paper in the 60-year archive of the Science Bulletin. It has been downloaded an order of magnitude more often after just one month than its nearest rival has accrued since almost a quarter of a century ago.

The content and conclusions of Dr Soon’s papers

By the very nature of the scientific research Dr Soon conducts and publishes, a prejudice in favour of any particular viewpoint at the behest of any funding entity cannot be credibly alleged against him. It is noteworthy that in the recent campaign of libels against him there has not been, as far as I know, a single suggestion that any particular result or conclusion was reached in part or in whole because either that particular research project or his scientific work in general was funded by fossil-fuel interests.

Even the Center’s dreadful interim science czar has conceded that what Dr Soon is publishing in the journals is recognizable as science. It is not propaganda, for neither the subject-matter nor the methodology nor the results nor the conclusions of his research is of a character that permits tampering or skewing to suit a particular political or financial vested interest.

Our paper for Science Bulletin is a case in point. It was not a paper that could, by its nature, in any circumstances be reasonably considered to have given rise to any conflict of interest on my part or on the part of any of my co-authors. For in it we merely introduced and explained our simple model, setting out in detail the origin or derivation of each equation and the appropriate interval for each relevant parameter, and supporting and illuminating our methodology and conclusions with almost 60 references to previously-published reviewed papers in the learned journals of climatology.

A model is not in itself a conclusion: it is an instrument that anyone can scrutinize and, if thought fit, use. We demonstrated in our paper that if one were to use the official values of our model’s parameters the model would generate climate-sensitivity values near-identical to the official values. Our model, therefore, was not in any way tailored to generate artificially low climate sensitivities.

After we had calibrated our model using the official parameter values, we then selected parameter values that we considered appropriate and ran the model again to establish whether it was capable of determining the rate of warming in the 25 years since the IPCC’s First Assessment Report of 1990. Our model indeed faithfully reproduced the observed rate of global warming, which was about half the central rate that the models on which the IPCC had relied had predicted in 1990.

We regarded this experiment as a respectable test of our model, since about half the period from 1990-2014 fell during the warming phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation that ended in 2001 and half fell during the subsequent cooling phase. These phases, which last 30 years, giving a 60-year cycle, must be carefully allowed for: otherwise the error made by many early models would arise: they based their predictions on the warming rate from 1976-2001, a period wholly within a warming phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. This was one reason for the models’ exaggeration of the predicted rate of global warming.

Anyone reading our paper may or may not agree with our choice of parameters and hence with our revised estimates of climate sensitivity, which are very much lower and very much closer to observed reality than those of the more complex models. Since we very plainly stated the official values of all key parameters and explained the fact of and reasons for any departures we had made from those official values in our own determination of climate sensitivity, the entire process was fully transparent, allowing any reader of our paper to substitute his or her own choice of parameter values for ours.

There was, therefore, no prejudice of any kind in our paper, which was a straightforward and very popular account of the principal methods and parameters for determining the climate sensitivity.

The very popularity of our paper may have been the reason for what appears to have become a concerted and now-prolonged campaign by news media and environmentalist extremist campaigning groups of a certain political stamp to allege that Dr Soon has, but has failed to declare, conflicts of interest in numerous earlier papers authored or co-authored by him.

These allegations were reported gleefully in the Boston Globe, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Nature, Scientific American, and many other media outlets and news pages of science journals in a manner calculated not only to divert attention from the conclusions of our paper but also to damage Dr Soon’s reputation in his scientific calling, to put his employment at the Center at risk, to deter more serious journals from accepting future papers bearing his name as an author, to deter potential funders for fear of adverse publicity, and thus to threaten not only his livelihood but also the science he loves.

The Smithsonian’s application of Freedom of Information rules

An important precedent in the public disclosure of sources of research funding and related research matters that is especially relevant to the matter under discussion was set by the Center for Astrophysics in 2009/2010.

At that time, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the Smithsonian Institution decided – against advice from 58 distinguished scientists, including Dr Soon’s former divisional director, Dr. Eugene Avrett, and a 1993 Chemistry Nobel Prize laureate, Dr. Kary Mullis – that Dr Soon’s personal emails, and all related grant proposals and details, should be made publicly available to Greenpeace in response to a request made under the Freedom of Information Act, from which the Smithsonian is by law substantially exempt.

It was obvious what would happen. The information that Dr Soon had truthfully disclosed to the Center for its internal purposes has now been made public and has been unfairly exploited by external vested interests to launch attacks on him, his colleagues, and the Center because the interests of these outside groups are threatened by his scientific findings.

Greenpeace itself has been notoriously coy about the hundreds of millions it receives in funding every year. In at least one country its charitable status has been extinguished; in another it has attracted condemnation from the government for willfully causing damage to the environment. Yet it presumes to lecture Dr Soon about morality.

The news media’s skewed coverage of climate science

The adequacy, truthfulness and motives of the media in their everyday coverage of the global warming issue fall to be questioned, together with the degree to which headlines about the details of Dr Soon’s external research support are really addressing a significant issue alongside other climate-related news.

CO2 emissions have actually risen since 1990 at a rate faster than the IPCC’s “business-as-usual” prediction made that year.

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Nevertheless, (though this crucial and revealing fact has never been reported in any mainstream news medium: you’ll only find it at breitbart.com), global temperature has risen at less than half the rate the IPCC predicted in 1990 with what it called

“substantial confidence”.

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According to the Remote Sensing Systems’ satellite global-temperature dataset, there has now been no global warming at all for more than the past 18 years. All other datasets show a little warming. Most are within statistical shouting distance of the RSS result.

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Over those same 18 years, atmospheric CO2 has risen by 10 percent, which represents close to one-third of the human-related CO2 returned to the atmosphere from which it came since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Hurricanes, tropical cyclones, typhoons, extra-tropical storms, floods, and droughts were all formerly predicted by the IPCC to increase in intensity, frequency, or duration.

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None has done so, and there is simply no empirical evidence that the occurrence of weather-related disasters is on the increase. What can be safely said is that the number of deaths caused by extreme weather has declined rapidly.

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Also, sea level has been predicted to rise rapidly, but the European Envisat satellite showed sea level to have risen at a rate of just 1.3 inches per century from 2004–2012.

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At the same time, the GRACE gravitational-anomaly satellites, the most accurate method of measurement we have, showed sea level actually falling from 2003–2009.

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According to Professor Nils-Axel Mörner, who has written more than 600 learned papers in his 50-year career studying sea level, global average sea level may not be rising at all at the moment.

Global sea-ice extent shows practically no trend since the satellites first began looking in 1978.

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Very few of the surely not uninteresting facts in this summary of recent evidence relevant to manmade climate change has been reported properly in the media. Some news media, such as those whose “journalists” have libeled Dr Soon, have done their best never to publish any of it.

It is surely repellent that mainstream science and environmental “journalists” have failed to report either the total absence of global warming in the past decade and a half, or the near-total absence of warming’s predicted and supposedly apocalyptic consequences. And yet at the same time these persons have the impertinence to call Dr Soon dishonest for allegedly having failed to disclose grants that he has in fact always promptly, properly, and fully disclosed to his employing institution, which evaluates the grants and accepts them only if they find no conflict of interest.

How does a scientist engender a conflict of interest anyway?

The notion of “conflict of interest” declarations is a relatively new phenomenon for scientific publications, especially in solar and climate physics. Though declarations of interest are a well understood and applicable procedure in political or financial matters, it is far from clear that they have any part to play in science.

The reason is that in science it is the scientific method itself that ensures the accuracy, applicability, and usefulness of results.

The idea that because money to conduct research is derived from, say, the EPA, NSF, or Exxon-Mobil implicates a scientist in a conflict of interest is not fruitful, for by extension then all scientists have a conflict of interest all the time (unless they have private means and are working unpaid; and even then they may be living off the interest from ill-gotten investments in, say, the hydrocarbon business).

Science is different from politics or commerce in that who pays for a piece of research – whether it should be Genghis Khan or Mother Teresa – is simply irrelevant to making judgments about the validity of the research product, which stands or falls depending upon its consistency with the facts and the ability of other scientists independently to confirm the results.

What conflict of interest can possibly arise if a scientist simply conducts his research and experiments driven by his own curiosity and ability, and then reports his results in a paper submitted to a scientific journal?

Dr Soon, for instance, simply do not know what interests the funders of his research have, though he does know that he has not been influenced by any of them. He does not know what conclusions they would like him to reach. He simply writes his scientific proposals, which are submitted to the potential funders, who are asked if they are willing to fund the proposed research. Where is the conflict of interest in that?

Furthermore, should anyone want the full list of the agencies that have funded Dr Soon, from his post-doctoral days in 1991 till now, that list is available from the Center. Dr Soon’s sole interest is in continuing to do scientific research wherever he can be useful.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it would be useful for readers to understand that over the past few years Dr Soon has probably made less take-home pay annually than a very junior EPA employee, or the janitor at the IPCC. He could certainly earn much more money by working on other scientific topics or by identifying himself as supporting the notion of a human-caused global warming crisis.

He loves his science, he loves his country and he pays his taxes alongside every other citizen.

Telling people that Willie Wei-Hock Soon is so corrupt that he is trying to hide all the cash he has received from corporate sources for his quarter of a century of research at the Center for Astrophysics is false, mean-spirited, and insulting. Allowing such attacks to stand, and to allow politics and fear tactics to silence Dr Soon or any other scientist, or to censor scientific publications, would not only be a personal calumny against him: it would also be a blow against scientific freedom of expression the world over.

Ø The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Professor Robert Carter in drafting this article.


[1] wattsupwiththat.com/2015/02/23/greenpeace-enlists-justin-gillis-john-schwartz-of-the-ny-times-in-journalistic-terrorist-attack-on-willie-soon-miss-target-hit-smithsonian-instead/

[2] IPCC (2007, p. 803, Table 10.26).

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155 thoughts on “In defense of a scientist in the humble quest for truth

    • The principle is defense-in-depth. Carefully provide all the particulars, and your opponents will have a more difficult time finding and opening for a counter-attack.

      • Agreed. The complexity of the defence is simply a function of the complexity of spin in the attack: if they hand you a plate of spaghetti then you have to unravel it, strand by strand.

    • I have to disagree. The point by address of the problem is well worth examining. It refutes thoroughly the bizzaar accusations in the MSM and by Green Peace, though why anyone would take Green Peace or the WWF seriously is baffling to begin with. The fact that the IPCC and other CAGW theorists cannot or possibly will not explain why the models run hot is a primary scientific communications problem. The objection to even discussing it, or concluding that while there will be warming, it will not be catastrophic is enough start one wondering about the advisability of an aluminum foil chapeau.

    • No, Michael, not ‘valiant’ but accurate, painstaking and verifiable. And no, Michael, less would NOT have been more. Christopher Monckton, who I have had the pleasure of watching give a talk at a university meeting, is deliberately thorough in his marshalling and presentation of the facts so that those who would seek to oppose him must do so using facts and logical argument instead of weasel words and sly ad hominem.

      Now the academics, journalists and naysayers have nowhere to hide. So come on shysters all – let’s see what you are made of. Either answer these points or slink away humiliated. And Dr. Soon, please think about pursuing some of these people for libel. A win, and the whole house of cards begins to crumble.

      • I agree. This is why so many CAGW proponents you character assassination in addressing the writings of Christopher Monckton.

    • A perfectly written essay, neither too long nor too short. It touches on the points with adequate depth that a person can pursue these points in more detail if one wishes.

    • The devil is in the detail, and this detailed piece properly demolishes the false allegations against Dr. Soon.

      Pity they can’t spell “centre” properly though……

  1. It seems the investigation by the Smithsonian does need to include the public relations skills of Mr W. John Kress, the Smithsonian Institution’s “interim under-secretary for science”.

    Most professions demand that public communications do not malign colleagues without proven cause. And this media whoring was prior to the investigation.

    We can look forward to the scoping statement that explains how Mr Kress has been questioned.
    Or perhaps why the Smithsonian has neglected to put into practice communications policies..

    • Why is he “interim”? Called in for a piece of dirty work, expendable if not succesful?

  2. First they ignore you, then they laugh at you.
    Then they fight you!

    But…

    Soon you will win!

    • Or as Salk said…

      First they say you are wrong.
      Then they admit you are not wrong, but say that your work is not important.
      Then they claim to have known it all along.

      It seems that Soon might be somewhere between stage one and two.

      • Ah, back to Climate by Numbers.
        Point three was reached – the pause was predicted by the models.
        Apparently.

    • There is a saying:

      If you’re not catching flak you’re not over the target.

      Why models run hot >>> over target = flak and hysteria from Greenpeace.

      By their definition of conflict of interest you can find conflict of scientists’ interest and failure to disclose to journals at CRU. Do all their scientists declare to journals that CRU has received funding from Greenpeace International, Reinsurance Underwriters and Syndicates, WWF, EPA, Climate and Development Knowledge Network, Earth and Life Sciences Alliance? The last two linked funders are very much ‘climate change’ orientated. Just out of interest other funders include British Petroleum, Shell and the Sultanate of Oman. The level of humbug has reached unprecedented levels and we must act now!

  3. I have only two observations to make. First, that Dr. Soon won the Petr Beckmann award is perfect for his status as scientific iconoclast. In his book “Ecohysterics and the Technophobes” Beckmanmn made me laugh until tears ran down my face. The award is named for a great seeker of truth–one who escaped the iron curtain. Soon deserves it.

    Second, in the last couple of weeks I have looked for the alleged substantive criticism of the most recent work of Monckton, Soon, Legate, and Briggs; and I really haven’t found any. On a Climate Depot thread there was carping about what is the heat capacity of earth implied in the model. This is not an explicit parameter in the model, but can be calculated by using the modeled temperature rise versus forcing–if the critics really wanted to know. And there was additional carping about their model applying the forcing to the entire earth system “instantaneously”; but, any careful reader would see parameters lambda sub infinity and r, which between them provide variable lag. In short the carping at present is from those who didn’t read the paper, or don’t understand feedback.

    • You obviously have not visited Climate Etc recently. There, you will also find Lord Monckton’s substantive reply to my critique. Which reply is, IMO, partly right and but mostly missing my point. The ‘irreducibly simple equation’ the authors (including Soon) derived is itself a hidden version of Bode 1/(1-f) since their term ( lamda sub 0 * f sub t) equals in their paper g sub t closed loop feedback—which their paper says is none other than Bode f. The rest of the equation is just another way to calculate ‘grey earth’ SB ~ 1.2C needed for Bode translation to climate.
      So, although you did not find it, now you have coordinates to a substantive critique.

      • Mr Istvan is wrong to say we had “hidden” our use of the Bode equation. We had been entirely up-front about it. It does little harm at net-negative or low net-positive feedbacks, but as the singularity approaches it leads to large exaggerations that do not occur in the real world, for the reasons outlined in the paper.

  4. Read it elsewhere before. And agree, less would have been more. The big deal is, in German idiom, “Schnee von Gestern” …Yesterday’s snow … ( which has all sorts of yellowish/brownish/blackish inferrences…). Lovely idiom.
    These same accusations against Soon have been trotted out before, from the same Greenpeace sources, and previously discredited. Just not as amplified as now by NYT and WaPo who merely show how reportorially challenged they now are.

    The other issue is, who amongst the warmunists (deliberate allusion to Lysenko and more) has clean hands. Probably no one.

    • Hands can be washed clean.
      But the scouring hurts. It requires bravery, repentance and acting accordingly.

      Sadly, too many Climateers are relying on their Horcuxes to maintain their careers and are not considering starting again.

    • Which derives from late Medieval French criminal poet Francois Villon:

      Mais où sont les neiges d’antan?

      Ripped off by Commie plagiarist Bertolt Brecht:

      Wo sind die Tränen von gestern abend?
      Wo ist der Schnee vom vergangenen Jahr?

  5. I agree with Mike. Less is more and specifics about why the administrators mentioned should be conducting themselves in such a mealy mouthed fashion would be useful

  6. Maybe I have overlooked it, but where is the documentation of the Greenpeace FOIA request? Was the information denied them, since they used this method? Or was it merely to make the claim of foul play more convincing?

    And if information had been denied them, the blame would surely fall on the institution that has signed the agreements, not on Dr. Soon?

    It really looks very much like the favored alarmist tactic of using the skeptics’ arguments the other way round. A FOIA tit-for-tat, but with no milk in their tit.

    • The emails and document from Soon were handed over to Greenpeace. Read Monckton’s essay ….

  7. Meanwhile, as detailed by Mark Steyn, eco-activist celebrity Sharon Stone stiffed MCSquared, a U.S. public relations firm who paid her a $275,000 advance and incurred $77,420 in expenses to appear at an anti-Chevron rally in Ecuador. Stone backed out because of health problems but so far has not returned the advance. MCSquared has filed suit.

  8. I really wonder why you continue to believe this is all about science….

    This is fascism.

    Period

  9. I’m shocked if Mr Soon had not been character attacked many times before.
    .
    I can remember reading good articles by him ten years ago — I realized immediately he communicated too well (for a scientist) to be ignored.
    .
    Leftists consider character attacks to be the highest form of “debate”.
    .
    Would you want to be a leftist and have to argue in favor of socialism, the global warming catastrophe fantasy, evil CO2 (tell that to greenhouse owners) , deadly DDT, criminals who get shot while committing violent felonies when their intended victim has a self-defense gun, etc.
    .
    How could one win those arguments with data, facts and logic?
    .
    If one was on a debate team and asked to defend the warmist’s primary climate change claim: (Earth has been warming for 18,000 years since the peak of the last ice age, with ONLY natural causes of the warming, and then suddenly after 17,925 years, warming MAGICALLY no longer has any natural causes (although 100% of cooling has natural causes!), and suddenly ONLY CO2 is responsible for all the warming) ……then there is only ONE WAY to debate in favor of that bizarre belief: Character attack the opposing debate team — insult their thick lens eyeglasses, tell them they dress like nerds, and most important, claim they are obviously on the payroll of BIG OIL !
    .
    One must have a thick skin to disagree with a leftist about ANY of their beliefs — it’s like telling a Baptist there is no god !
    .
    One of the best ways to debate a leftist is to quote the predictions fellow leftists made 10, 20 and 30 years ago, especially on environmental issues, every one of which was ‘life on Earth will end as we know it’ …. and then the boogeyman of the year would be replaced by a new boogeyman when the old one stopped scaring people.
    .
    The “climate pope’ Al Gore took only two elementary science courses in college and couldn’t manage to get an A or B in either of them!
    .
    He is a good investor however, and already has an exclusive license for the Central Park Gondola Rentals, on which he will likely make another fortune, after Manhattan in underwater from global warming, as he predicted.

    More rants and raves here:
    http://www.ELonionbloggle.blogspot.com

    • Very weird.
      You find someone you think is corrupt in a strange way.
      Then you find they know someone else and you think they are corrupt in a strange way – the same strange way. They’re here already!

      How long before you think everyone is corrupt in that strange way?

      Lack of imagination or paranoid obsession?

    • Very weird Greg Laden has commented on WUWT when he is not a den!er. Even the warmist Guardian has published articles from those they strongly disagree with. That’s not to say Soon agrees or disagrees.

      I previously challenged Greg to show me where it is stated that ‘Why models run hot’ is funded by fossil fuels industry OR funded at all. (I knew it was not funded at all). He failed to do so and pointed me to links that did not show what he was hinting at – because you can’t find something that does not exist. He was playing Mr. innuendo and smear. I told him that his repeated failure to provide evidence would mean that our discussion had ended. He deleted my last comment.

  10. When this story first broke on WUWT, I asked why hadn’t CM been heard from, he being a co-author of the paper in question. It is now clear that he has taken his time to put together a thorough and intelligent rebuttal.

    • Tom, Well said.

      And to Chris, good on ya for another stellar display of polemical excellence in advocacy, strengthened by the fact of convenient truth.

  11. Bottom line is that research is full of special interests from both sides and that scientists themselves have their own political beliefs.

    The scientist that works above the fray , seeking truth is the one to be honored. One who has no moral stake in the outcome, but simply is after the truth. Sadly these types are few and by their very nature not outspoken. They do not make ludicrous claims like the hockey stick without fully vetting their work. They respect the truth too much to make a warped version of it. The others are trying to run science for fame or to achieve some political end. Maybe some simply like tinkering with models and computer programs. In this case it is art, not science. We have now this climate science which is a bastard child of real science.

  12. “It is the Center, not Dr Soon, that accepted the financial support from external entities; the Center agreed, signed and holds the contracts.”

    That is not so. The agreements are headed thus:

    The entity is the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, not the H-S Center. That is the entity to which Dr Soon gave his affiliation in his proposals and reports.

    • Thanks for posting that. The agreement shows clearly that the relevant part of the claim – “not Dr Soon” – is correct. It would also seem to be quite natural for anyone associated with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory or the Harvard College Observatory to consider themselves to be a part of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics:
      The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) is a “research institute” of the Smithsonian Institution. It is joined with the Harvard College Observatory (HCO) to form the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). Because these research activities share Harvard and Smithsonian staff and resources, the links at this website will take you to information posted on the “CfA” pages.“.
      https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/sao/

      But the bottom line, of course, is that the relevant part of the claim has clearly been verified by your posted extract from the agreement.

    • Hmmnnn…..

      from https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/sao

      “The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) is a “research institute” of the Smithsonian Institution. It is joined with the Harvard College Observatory (HCO) to form the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). Because these research activities share Harvard and Smithsonian staff and resources, the links at this website will take you to information posted on the “CfA” pages.”

      • “Nick. Did you miss that “foot” part when you quoted the head?”
        Which “foot” part? I quoted the head of the agreement on p 16 of the FOIA extract. The H-S Center is not mentioned in that agreement.

      • Bob Broder: I actually respect Nick. He comes here and fights the good fight. He can’t read apparently, but to his credit, he is civil. And Nick. If you are using a relatively decent web browser, you can search this web page for “foot”. Monckton showed us a footer and you referred to a header. I’m guessing these concepts are new to you. The “header” is at the top or “head” of a page. The “footer” is at the bottom or “foot” of a page. If you have a PDF of one of those agreements (the whole thing), please post a link so we can all see the absence of the footer Monckton refers to.

      • John,
        I took that header from the nytimes doc, which is a pdf of a photocopy of FOIA materials, including the whole SCS agreement (no H-S). It is not searchable; I’m not aware of any source that is. My copy was from p 16, but it is similarly excerpted in the original WUWT post, which has the NYT docs link.

      • John,
        I can see the confusion. You are distracted by the article’s reference to the proposal to SCS; I am talking about the signed agreement. The article is wrong about the proposal. It is not written on letterhead, and is not signed by the director. The indicated author is Dr Soon, and he included the reference to the H-S center, along with the logo and various Smithsonian boilerplate (which I’m sure he is entitled to do). But it is his document.

    • Nick: For current purposes, I consider this a distinction without a difference. The point made was that Dr Soon was not a signatory.

  13. Forgive my ignorance, but could I please trouble someone to explain why Soon has been singled out? Is it the topic he is studying? Is it his position? Prestige? I get the nondisclosure aspect, but what is going on at a deeper level? I am a bit lost. Thanks in advance :-)

    • Max:

      I don’t believe he was singled out. There is a concerted attack on all skeptics, a preemptive first strike against the upcoming embarrassment at revelations over the chicanery of NASA GISS, NCAR, Hadley CRU and others of the charlatan warm-mongers before GOP-controlled Congressional hearings.

      Soon was one high value target because the Warmunistas thought they could mount a diversionary attack not on his science but his supposed violations of proper practice and guilt by association.

      The SOP Leftwing tactic may have backfired, a la Ollie North.

    • This Layman’s take is that a frontal assault on the honest, scientific views he and others have presented wouldn’t stand up so a “divide and conquer” strategy has been adopted. Along with “guilt by (implied) association”.

  14. Lord Christopher, if I may presume to be so familiar, you have constructed an admirable affidavit. I work in a law office, in a low-level position, it is true, but it appears to me as if you have had legal training. You have addressed every point I would have adduced.

    If I may further compliment you, it appears to me as if you have been engaging in top-down modeling. Top-down is the only approach which is valid and the only approach at all likely to yield meaningful results. As a veteran game designer who strictly storyboards his work, I commend your efforts and your indispensably correct methodology.

    I deeply respect your approach to the scientific problem, and deeply appreciate your efforts on behalf of Dr. Soon — and on behalf of my colleagues and friends — who are beset by these untoward, unscientific, ill-motivated attacks.

  15. Trofim Lysenko is alive and well, and working on high at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, which simultaneously doesn’t exist and does exist, similar to Schroedinger’s cat.

    “The Smithsonian is greatly concerned about the allegations surrounding Dr. Willie Soon’s failure to disclose funding sources for his climate change research…”

    Note that they could have said: “The Smithsonian is greatly concerned about the statements surrounding Dr. Willie Soon’s alleged failure to disclose funding sources for his climate change research…” But they didn’t, preferring to presume Soon guilty of…something or other. His funding sources are irrelevant, as Lord Monckton states.

    These guys look like idiots, caving in to such gross ad hominem attacks in defiance of all logic, claiming the Center of Astrophysics isn’t a real entity. They obviously are trying to establish a double standard in which only government-funded research is allowed for climate studies. This would constitute a State monopoly on Science. If allowed to get away with this, they will kill Science completely, if it’s not already dead.

    Lift the rock labeled “Orthodox Climate Change Science” and beneath it you’ll find…Stalinism.

    • @jorgekafkazar

      Thank you for this accurate analysis! Especially the last sentence is very true, unfortunately!

      Is it not strange, that left-wing activists and the liberal MSM, which organized and coordinated the vicious attack on Dr. Soon, do wail constantly about the intolerance and aggression of Mr. Putin and his authoritarian regime, but then use the same illiberal tactics on people who publicly disagree with their totalitarian climate alarmism ???

      Dr. Willie Soon, keep your good work up! The world needs open-minded and brave scientists like you, who can think independently from the scientific mainstream herd, which was often enough wrong (see e.g. the last disproved “scientific consensus” about “dangerous cholesterol in our food”).

      And history will show: You belong to the long row of viciously attacked scientists, which got it right, as acknowledged later in the long run, like Galileo Galilei, William Harvey, Ernst Florens Friedrich Chladni (about the origins of Meteorites), Ignaz Venetz, Ignaz Semmelweis, Ludwig Boltzmann, Alfred Wegener, Barry Marshall…

    • the only thing the institute is concerned with is donations drying up from the warmists,or possibly promises of new donations not appearing if willie soons remains associated. a bunch of unscientific spineless cretins with no balls.

      maybe some crowd sourced funding ala steyn for some legal representation for dr soons may convince these idiots to wind their necks in. this is utterly shameful behaviour for so called educated adults.

  16. This deserves repetition:

    In conclusion, it would be useful for readers to understand that over the past few years Dr Soon has probably made less take-home pay annually than a very junior EPA employee, or the janitor at the IPCC. He could certainly earn much more money by working on other scientific topics or by identifying himself as supporting the notion of a human-caused global warming crisis.

    He loves his science, he loves his country and he pays his taxes alongside every other citizen.

    How can any sentient being seriously believe that Dr. Soon is so slanting his work as to attract more grant money?

  17. What this is about is that the faithful (and the people who donate to GreenPeace) absolutely believe this supposition that if you are funded by fossil fuel “interests”, then your research is slanted to keeping the oil flowing and global warming is still real.

    These people desperately want to continue believing in global warming and environmental catastrophe and it gives them comfort to believe the skeptics are really just funded by oil to slant the research and keep the oil flowing.

    It is not about good research or bad research, it is about maintaining the “faith” and people feeling good about their previous choices (and to keep the money flowing into GreenPeace).

    Research / Smeesearch. They feel good that Dr. Soon is bought off and they were right to start with. In fact, they feel so good about it, they might just drop another $100 on GreenPeace tonight. Maybe next month as well.

    Now you can substitute “GreenPeace” for the “National Science Foundation” or the “IPCC” or an “Global Warming Bookwriter” or a “Science Editor for X Newspaper” or “Science Editor for Z Journal” or the “Environment Science Department of the University of Anywhere” or “Campaign Fund for Member of Congress Y” and it all continues to be the true scenario.

    Its all about funding flowing to someone.

  18. The attacks on Dr. Soon are meant to divert attention from the Pachauri scandal. Standing up for Dr. Soon is the correct thing to do (thank you, Monckton) but don’t allow yourself to be fooled by the distraction. There is no substance to it no matter how vile.

  19. “He may have interpreted his results in various ways, but the actual data and the results reflected his research, which, although I would say is not the highest-quality research, was research carried out in a scientific process.”

    It is interesting to me that this statement is considered very damaging to Dr. Soon’s reputation. Consider that mainstream climate research does NOT reflect the actual data and is not carried out in a scientific process. In light of this fact, it is obvious that Dr. Soon’s research is far superior than the schlock that passes for mainstream climate science.

    Inadvertantly, the speaker complimented Dr. Soon by letting a little of the truth slip out. Dr. Soon sticks to the data and the scientific process when writing scientific papers; rare and beautiful practices in the world of science today.

  20. Great statement by Monckton, but I have a question.

    Didn’t the climategate emails show that IPCC gave Dr.Soon preferential treatment when extending the hard deadline so as to INCLUDE his paper in one of their periodic reports?

  21. It is wonderful that Dr Soon has a friend like you Lord Monckton. Unlike some others I see value in exposing all the details. The devil is always in the details and a thorough exposing is always a good start.

  22. The smell of liability fills the air. Will these bullies be taken to task this time?

    I propose the “Climate Skeptic Defense Fund”. Sound familiar?

  23. In the normal course of events a scientific journal is more than willing to publish a rebuttal of any paper that it publishes, just so long as the rebuttal has scientific credibility and is peer reviewed. Has anyone lodged a rebuttal?

  24. Dear Christopher, Lord Monckton;

    A solid defense of a real scientist, thank you. And thank you, Dr. Legates, Dr. Briggs and Dr. Soon for your efforts, paid for out of your own pockets.

    It is impossible to model the climate, it is too intractable and always will be, regardless of the computing power available. A curve fit to historical data is a comfortable activity, but it tells us nothing about what is coming (see the recent hail at Long Beach Ca. what model predicted that ???, oh yes the “hail and brimstone” model revision 7.2.31-A by “Dewey, Cheatum and Howe”, ca. 1912, ha ha ha, kudos to Johnny Carson)

    It’s the details that matter, not how anybody happened to arrive at them.

    Cheers, KevinK.

    • In order to keep climate modellers free from accusations they are not producing anything of value, the contracts are drafted by the DC-based firm of Soakem & Split. The deliverables list only requires that they ‘try’.

      The alarmists are going after Dr Soon because they have no rebuttal to his cogent analyses of their models and his entirely viable alternative explanations for the rise and pause.

      The alternative simple, useful and unassailable model provides clear insight into the excessive warming built into the IPCC’s GCM’s. CO2 is not as effective a forcing agent as they assumed. He corrects their errors. What’s not to like about this? Some people build disaster models. Others build model disasters. The IPCC’s toy atmosphere machine doesn’t work. Someone has to be blamed.

  25. I spent ten years as Director of Sponsored Research and find it inconceivable that Harvard and Smithsoniian believe they can get away with this crap. No where is there an institution of higher learning or government research institution that would permit acceptance of any grant from anybody without knowledge of the supporting entity by the director of the institutions program office and an extensive internal review. The Chronicle of Higher Ed knows this and should be sanctioned for pointing it out. Soon is NOT at any fault.

  26. check the photo used to illustrate this “story”:

    4 Mar: Guardian: Energy company could end funding for climate change denier
    Scientist Dr Wei-Hock Soon, who accepted $1.25m in funding from Exxon Mobil and others, defends his record and attacks ‘politically motivated groups’
    Funders appear to be backing away from a prominent climate change denier who may have failed to disclose that his peer-reviewed articles were funded with grants from petroleum companies…
    The Heartland Institute has framed the debate as a partisan issue, blaming the American left for attempting to discredit a scientist who questions accepted science…
    This logic will probably ring hollow for scientists who, for years, have worked to build evidence of climate change while denial groups and conservative politicians attempted to discredit them…
    Soon’s statement on Monday came as clean energy advocates questioned whether one company, electric utility Southern Company, had any business funding research when it could have used the cash to reduce ratepayers’ bills…
    Southern Company said on Tuesday that it “funds a broad range of research on a matter of topics that have potentially significant public policy implications for our business”.
    “While the scientific and political discussions on climate change continue, Southern Company is focused on researching, developing and deploying innovative energy technologies to deliver clean, safe, reliable and affordable electricity to customers.”
    *** This story was amended on 3 March to correctly reflect Southern Company’s position on funding energy research
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/03/wei-hock-soon-climate-change-denier-grants-exxon-mobil

    ***Guardian, why not link to the following 24-page report…and assess how much CAGW is costing Southern Company and its customers?

    24 page: PDF: 2014: Southern Company: Carbon Disclosure Report
    http://www.southerncompany.com/what-doing/pdf/Carbon_Disclosure_Report.pdf

    • “This logic will probably ring hollow for scientists who, for years, have worked to build evidence of climate change while denial groups and conservative politicians attempted to discredit them…”

      Yes, those poor, poor scientists working to build evidence of MAN MADE climate change while being comfortably ensconced in fossil fuel heated (and cooled) buildings using gobbs of “petro-chemicals” and fossil fuels to jet off all over the place to “build evidence” of MAN MADE climate change….. Cry me a river, how about you all go find a nice cave to work in, and get back to us when you are certain from the dim light from your wood fires that you have some, even any paltry evidence of MAN MADE climate change.

      We will all be waiting in our comfortable abodes (thank you, all you engineers and real scientists for that comfort) to hear your detailed reports….

      Cheers, KevinK.

    • ‘Soon’s statement on Monday came as clean energy advocates questioned whether one company, electric utility Southern Company, had any business funding research when it could have used the cash to reduce ratepayers’ bills…’

      So really they were worried about how that might impact peoples bills. How noble of them. /sarc

  27. Am I missing something?

    The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (or whatever you want to call the entity) not only signed the contract for the grant funding, but they also took a huge rake off of it. So if the argument is: Soon took dirty Carbon money, then the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics certainly knowingly did as well. And if, because of this, Soon’s work must be dismissed, then logic follows that all of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics must be disregarded as well.

    • No, you’re not missing anything. The Smithsonian received the grant, took their cut, and signed the checks for what was then paid to Dr. Soon.

      Meanwhile, since 1988, the United States government has paid out over $40 Billion to investigate “Climate Change”.

    • You have to admire the large amount delusion behind a statement like “act on climate”… It reminds me of others like the “war on drugs” or the “axis of evil”.

      But one needs to ask, hasn’t the administration been “acting on climate” for a while now? Why is there a permanent desire to “start” doing something? Or is perhaps this denunciation of a lack of “getting on with it” a kind of self-incrementing statement?

  28. Dr. Soon,

    Just so you know they do stay on it for some time.
    You may come out of it soon.

    Sorry that is just me.

    Still yet, I took my 4.0 in three years EE degree from UT Arlington Texas into the U.S. Navy, got attached to operation igloo white, made it work via off the shelf items from Halliburton, some stuff from IBM, even had some help from Sandia Lab. We did protect the Marines in the I-Corps, we did locate many truck depots where the NVA had guns and ammo, we did slow the supplies and in the end had the war almost won.

    Got sold out, then got called baby killers , (not that many babies out on the Ho Che Min Trails).

    They have not let go so much yet. Still not that much of a bother unless you let it get under your skin.

    It is more their problem than mine or in your case yours.

    Blow it off, keep yourself from getting in the dirt with them.

    Have a nice life.

  29. The desperation is now palpable. One can almost smell the fur smoldering on the hairy backs of the foolish followers. Good health and long life to you and your family Dr. Soon. Time will yield the sweet enlightenment of truth.

  30. It’s ironic. The most clear research-to-order with the most enormous conflict of interest (being a member or representative of an advocacy group) comes from the SkS side. They go all out for research to fit their agenda and the headlines they want. Yet Nuccitelli says nothing about his real job or employer nor his role as an advocate journalist under conflicts of interest. Example: http://www.mdpi.com/2225-1154/1/2/76/htm

  31. Can someone help me understand the following statement in the article above?

    “Dr Soon, simply by stating his affiliation to the Center, as he has done without complaint from anyone for decades in all his published papers arising from research supported by specific grants, has made full and sufficient disclosure…”

    Does that mean Dr. Soon disclosed only his affiliation to the Center and did not disclose specific funding sources for his papers? If so, given that his funding was funneled through the Center, was that enough to meet his funding disclosure requirements?

    Other than the Monckton paper, which was done without outside funding, can anyone show how funding was disclosed for one of Dr. Soon’s other papers? There have been blanket statements by Dr. Soon and others that he met all disclosure requirements on his work. But I have yet to see an example of what that means. I’m just trying to figure out what the dispute is about. Neither the NY Times article nor this Monckton article explains what Dr. Soon did or did not disclose, nor do they explain to my understanding what the disclosure requirements actually require.

    From what I have seen, both accusers and defenders speak a great deal “around” the issue but are lacking in specifics. I really don’t care so much about what the official name of the organization is that he is affiliated with, or how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. What I’m still wondering about is what specific wrongdoing Dr. Soon is accused of committing. I know what the general accusation is. But if someone could produce the disclosure section of one of Dr. Soon’s offending papers where he was supposed to have disclosed funding from source X but failed to do so, it would be very useful in helping to understand the issue. Then it would also be helpful to hear Dr. Soon’s explanation for it. But before accusing someone of misconduct, there should be one or more specific, chapter and verse examples produced that show the misconduct. Has that been done? Or are the requirements just so vague that it boils down to a matter of opinion?

    • Louis,
      Bevan showed a table here.

      Here is the acknowledgement of the Monsoon paper. It acknowledges the support of the Indian institutions, but not the Southern Company.

      • Soon acknowledged none of his funding for that paper, the only acknowledgement of funding was by Agnihotri. It’s of course possible that he had no relevant funding but he did quote that paper as a deliverable to two of his sponsors, it is this practise which arouses concern. If it’s a deliverable then surely that funding source ought to be cited?

    • Does that mean Dr. Soon disclosed only his affiliation to the Center and did not disclose specific funding sources for his papers? If so, given that his funding was funneled through the Center, was that enough to meet his funding disclosure requirements?

      That’s never adequate, an author declares his employment and any relevant funding supporting his work. Soon was a PI on numerous grants, the Smithsonian managed the funding as it does for numerous researchers. If a colleague of mine receives a grant on a subject on which I publish and I don’t have any collaboration with him, I don’t have to acknowledge his funding in my papers. It’s clear that Soon didn’t feel inhibited by his organization’s view on Climate change given his record.

    • Louis:

      You ask

      Can someone help me understand the following statement in the article above?

      “Dr Soon, simply by stating his affiliation to the Center, as he has done without complaint from anyone for decades in all his published papers arising from research supported by specific grants, has made full and sufficient disclosure…”

      Does that mean Dr. Soon disclosed only his affiliation to the Center and did not disclose specific funding sources for his papers? If so, given that his funding was funneled through the Center, was that enough to meet his funding disclosure requirements?

      It means that by stating his employment by the “Center” (i.e. the Smithsonian) in his scientific papers, Soon fulfilled all and every pertinent funding disclosure he was required to make and also that he could make .

      The Smithsonian and NOT Soon accepted funds from Southern.
      The Smithsonian retained 40% of the funds from Southern and disbursed the remainder to Soon.

      The only way Soon could cover the issue of funding to his employer would be for him to list in each of his publications all the funding sources of the Smithsonian throughout the time of his employment. No publisher of any scientific paper would accept such a list being included in the paper and would demand that Soon restrict the funding information to all that was required; i.e. Soon was employed by the Smithsonian.

      Similar smears to those being made in the US were previously mounted against Soon in the UK. He complained to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) and this is the finding of the PCC in his favour.

      The smears of Willie Soon are completely without foundation and/or merit which is why you have had difficulty discerning a specific complaint against him: there are only smears and no specific complaint against him.

      Richard

    • It seems that there is no one-to-one mapping of a grant to any particular paper. If you look at the Greenpeace Documents, you will see a laundry list of “deliverables” for each grant. Consequently, it isn’t so simple to say that a particular grant funded a particular activity. The grants were, from the agreements, given with “no strings attached.” Don’t be distracted by the claims of not disclosing funding. They are specious. The relevant issue is conflict of interest and not funding, per se. There is no conflict of interest that I can see. As others have stated, it would be very difficult to make a disclosure statement given these facts. Please see my comment here. The monsoon paper, for example, was supposedly funded by a grant to study the physical links between the Surface Sunshine Record and Chinese Temperature Record.

      • The relevant issue is conflict of interest and not funding, per se. There is no conflict of interest that I can see.

        And the reason that you can see that is because you know what his funding was. The point of full disclosure is so that the reader can judge for himself if there is any conflict of interest.
        If a paper is listed as a deliverable for a particular grant then surely that should be reflected in the Acknowledgements section of that paper.

      • Phil.:

        And the reason that you can see that is because you know what his funding was.

        Absolutely not. The funding itself is irrelevant. The terms of the funding is what is relevant and show that there is no conflict of interest. Absent disclosure of the terms of the funding due to the confidentiality provision in the agreements, you have the STATEMENT OF VALUES AND CODE OF ETHICS of the Smithsonian:

        CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
        All members of the Smithsonian community have a duty to act in the best interest of the Smithsonian rather than in furtherance of their personal interest or for private gain. We must avoid apparent or actual conflicts of interest and ensure that potential conflicts of interest are disclosed and managed in accordance with applicable guidelines, directives, and standards of conduct.

        The disclosure (or non-disclosure) of funding is a red herring. The relevant issue is one of conflict of interest and there is no credible evidence of that. In fact, the funding seems to have been structured on purpose to avoid any actual or potential conflicts of interest, in accord with the Statement of Values and Code of Ethics of the Smithsonian.

        Phil.:

        If a paper is listed as a deliverable for a particular grant then surely that should be reflected in the Acknowledgements section of that paper.

        The “monsoon” paper was listed as a “deliverable” on 3 grants: UNDERSTANDING SOLAR RADIATION AND CLIMATE CHANGE: A RESEARCH PROGRAM INTO THE PHYSICAL LINKS BETWEEN SURFACE SUNSHINE HISTORY AND CHINESE TEMPERATURE RECORD (Southern agreement 15670 and Donors Trust Grant No. LTR 11/18/10) and SOLAR IRRADIANCE MODULATION OF EQUATOR-TO-POLE (ARCTIC) TEMPERATURE GRADIENTS (Southern agreement 20175). However, each of these agreements and the grant also had a laundry list of other “deliverables,” so it isn’t clear that any particular agreement or grant funded any particular paper.

        The truth is that the Smithsonian received a number of grants and then paid Dr. Soon and others salaries and travel expenses. Dr. Soon’s immediate source of funding was the Smithsonian.

      • The funding itself is irrelevant. The terms of the funding is what is relevant and show that there is no conflict of interest.
        The disclosure (or non-disclosure) of funding is a red herring. The relevant issue is one of conflict of interest and there is no credible evidence of that.

        It’s certainly not a ‘red herring’, it’s the standard expected procedure, not disclosing funding on a regular basis is unusual behavior.

        The “monsoon” paper was listed as a “deliverable” on 3 grants:

        So you disclose those grants, it’s not that complicated, you make it sound like an insuperable barrier.

        The truth is that the Smithsonian received a number of grants and then paid Dr. Soon and others salaries and travel expenses. Dr. Soon’s immediate source of funding was the Smithsonian.

        Like anyone else on ‘soft money’ Soon’s source of funding was the grants for which he was the PI, I’ve been a PI on numerous grants and you’re the one for responsible for the management of them. The argument that they are the Smithsonian’s grants is the real ‘red herring’ here.

      • Phil.

        You wrote

        Like anyone else on ‘soft money’ Soon’s source of funding was the grants for which he was the PI, I’ve been a PI on numerous grants and you’re the one for responsible for the management of them. The argument that they are the Smithsonian’s grants is the real ‘red herring’ here.

        No! That is nonsense.

        The Smithsonian accepted the money and representatives of the Smithsonian signed for it. Soon did not.

        The Smithsonian retained 40% of the money and the Smithsonian allocated the remainder to pay for research the Smithsonian expected to be undertaken by its employee(s). Soon accepted money for research funding from the Smithsonian and said he was employed by the Smithsonian.

        Soon fulfilled all and every pertinent funding disclosure he was required to make and also that he could make. I explain this in my above post.

        Your unfounded and untrue suggestions that Soon somehow did something wrong are smears that say nothing about Soon but confirm what your many previous posts on WUWT indicate about you.

        Richard

      • richardscourtney March 5, 2015 at 9:20 am
        Phil.

        You wrote

        Like anyone else on ‘soft money’ Soon’s source of funding was the grants for which he was the PI, I’ve been a PI on numerous grants and you’re the one for responsible for the management of them. The argument that they are the Smithsonian’s grants is the real ‘red herring’ here.

        No! That is nonsense.

        No it’s fact, that’s exactly how appointments of this sort work.

        The Smithsonian accepted the money and representatives of the Smithsonian signed for it. Soon did not.

        Soon wrote the proposal asking for the money and the administrators countersigned it, that’s the way it works, he was the Principal Investigator, he gets to decide how the money is spent.

        The Smithsonian retained 40% of the money and the Smithsonian allocated the remainder to pay for research the Smithsonian expected to be undertaken by its employee(s).

        When you submit a proposal the overhead cost to the institution is added, in this case it’s 30%, the remainder is spent as allocated by the PI, Soon in this case. In the case of salaries, a benefit rate is applied, usually around 30%.

        Soon accepted money for research funding from the Smithsonian and said he was employed by the Smithsonian.

        Which covers the declaration of employment but not the funding of the research.
        I understand that you aren’t familiar with the way in which research funding is applied for and administered in the US, I have spent 30 years doing so and it’s done the way I’ve described above.

  32. Hi Louis,

    Thanks for your interesting comments. It is clear that you’re having a very hard time finding something to hang your hat on. Shouldn’t that tell you something? The accusations against Dr. Soon seem to be trumped up. Some folks are trying very hrd to show what a bad guy Willie is. But why? Who benefits? That is a question that should always be asked in these cases.

    If the specific accusations against Dr. Soon cannot be explained in a simple ‘elevator speech’, then it seems to me there is a lot of hand-waving going on. Some people are trying desperately to convince us that Dr. Soon is an evil, reprehensibly lawbreaker. Or something.

    The NY Times and others are trying to emit lots of smoke. But where is the fire? I don’t see it.

  33. Typo.
    In the 6th paragraph from the bottom it should read “Dr Soon, for instance, simply does not know………….”

  34. This, for Louis’ benefit, is the acnowledgements for the Soon Baliunas 2003 paper that also created a media stink, had a Climate Research editor resigning (who thought having 1 skeptical editor out of 10 was unacceptable), and had a witch hunt against the editor that dealt with the review process.

    Acknowledgements. This work was supported by funds from
    the American Petroleum Institute (01-0000-4579), the Air
    Force Office of Scientific Research (Grant AF49620-02-1-
    0194) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    (Grant NAG5-7635). The views expressed herein are those of
    the authors and are independent of the sponsoring agencies.
    We have benefitted greatly from the true and kind spirit of
    research communications (including a preview of their
    thoughts) with the late Jean Grove (who passed away on January
    18, 2001), Dave Evans, Shaopeng Huang, Jim Kennett,
    Yoshio Tagami and Referee #3. We thank John Daly, Diane
    Douglas-Dalziel, Craig and Keith Idso for their unselfish contributions
    to the references. We also thank the Editor, Chris
    de Freitas, for very helpful editorial changes that improved
    the manuscript. We are very grateful to Maria McEachern,
    Melissa Hilbert, Barbara Palmer and Will Graves for invaluable
    library help, and both Philip Gonzalez and Lisa Linarte
    for crucial all-around help.

    • Actually it was the Editor in chief (appointed by the publisher in order to deal with the problems in reviewing this paper) and four other editors who resigned. The editors were upset in particular because of the protests of scientists referenced in the paper who complained that their work had been misrepresented or misinterpreted, and the inadequacy of the reviewing process that allowed those flaws to not be dealt with.

      Regarding the Acknowledgements:
      The PI for the NASA Grant was Baliunas not Soon, the PI for the AFOSR grant also appears to be Baliunas and also is on stellar magnetic activity. The NOAA grant was actually awarded to David Legates not either of the authors of the paper, so it’s unclear why it was included! So the only support that Soon acknowledged was the API, and it could be argued that that was the only relevant support acknowledged.

  35. “The Smithsonian does not support Dr. Soon’s conclusions on climate change. The Smithsonian’s official statement on climate change, based upon many decades of scientific research, points to human activities as a cause of global warming.”

    What they support is neither here nor there. Lots of insitutions supported guidelines on saturated fats and heart disease. Today, there is controversy because the link to heart disease cannot be found, despite the consensus of the past. Now let’s take a look at the ‘Smithsonian Institution’. They have mental problems and maybe mentally conflicted.

    Smithsonian Institution
    Fiscal Year 2014
    Budget Justification to Congress
    For more than 20 years, the Smithsonian has been a partner in the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), which coordinates and integrates federal research on changes in the global environment and their implications for society. Congress mandated the USGCRP in the Global Change Research Act of 1990, and 13 departments and agencies participate in the program. During the past two decades, the United States, through the USGCRP, has made significant scientific investments in the areas of climate change and global change research. The USGCRP’s 10-year strategic plan was issued in 2012. The unique research contribution of the Smithsonian Institution provides a long-term perspective — for example, undertaking investigations which may require extended study before producing useful results and conducting observations on sufficiently long time scales to account for human-caused modification of natural variability.”
    Submitted to the Committees on Appropriations
    Congress of the United States

    ANNUAL REPORT 2009 – Smithsonian Institution
    2009 DONORS TO THE SMITHSONIAN PAGE 26
    The Smithsonian gratefully acknowledges those donors who made gifts, payments on gifts, or pledges during the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009……..ExxonMobil…….
    SMITHSONIAN CORPORATE MEMBERS……BP America….ConocoPhillips ExxonMobil….
    http://www.si.edu/content/pdf/about/2009-smithsonian-annual-report.pdf

  36. Very interesting how little money he actually gets. In a non related issue I am interested in, Dr. Farsalinos is championing proper research into the safety or not of vaping in order to try to stop the similar misinformation propagated by government etc to keep the cash cow of tobacco alive.

    http://www.ecigarette-research.com/web/

    His latest paper was funded by our community in a kickstarted sort of way.

    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/e-cigarette-research-temperature-of-evaporation/

    Perhaps this might be an idea for Lord Monckton and the reach of WUWT to assist those left on our side in accademia?

  37. That graph showing the GRACE data is a bit of a shock. So, once again, “adjustments” have changed a negative trend to a much bigger positive trend.

    Irrespective of whether these huge data “adjustments” have any element of scientific fraud, something does seem rather obvious:
    If data requires enormous “adjustments” that actually change the trend, then, surely, the data is worthless.

    But why throw away useless data if it can be “adjusted” to get the desired result?

    I hope that the whole question of data “adjustments”, particularly relating to the weather station data, will become prominent and that there will be a proper and unbiased investigation into the “adjustments”. But I’m not holding my breath.

  38. I find this statement interesting –

    “The Smithsonian does not support Dr. Soon’s conclusions on climate change. The Smithsonian’s official statement on climate change, based upon many decades of scientific research, points to human activities as a cause of global warming.”

    I don’t have to read between the lines to see that the Smithsonian is hedging its position as it CLEARLY states “human activities as A cause” not THE cause. Since no researcher ever says that human activities do not effect global warming, the Smithsonian position is identical to Dr. Soon’s position, although it differs by degree only. Sadly, the Smithsonian. like so many other federal entities, has lowered itself to the gutter in defense of the indefensible bovine droppings of AGW. So much for principle, ethics, morality, and virtue.

  39. i wrote a letter to the Guardian in defense of Dr Soon having been a co-participant with him at the Chicago climate conference in 2010. My letter was not published. We all know where the Guardian stands!

    • Hardly, he declared that he held an appointment at the Lawrence-Berkely Lab. it’s not necessary for a journal to also declare the overall management contract by which that lab is funded by DOE. That the person who submitted the paper to the government database felt it necessary for administrative purposes is a bureaucratic issue.

      • Phil.

        In this thread you wrote

        The truth is that the Smithsonian received a number of grants and then paid Dr. Soon and others salaries and travel expenses. Dr. Soon’s immediate source of funding was the Smithsonian.

        Like anyone else on ‘soft money’ Soon’s source of funding was the grants for which he was the PI, I’ve been a PI on numerous grants and you’re the one for responsible for the management of them. The argument that they are the Smithsonian’s grants is the real ‘red herring’ here.

        Now, in response to a comment about Koomey and Romm failing to declare a source of funding to a laboratory that employed them, you write

        Hardly, he declared that he held an appointment at the Lawrence-Berkely Lab. it’s not necessary for a journal to also declare the overall management contract by which that lab is funded by DOE. That the person who submitted the paper to the government database felt it necessary for administrative purposes is a bureaucratic issue.

        The inconsistency is pure and gob-smacking hypocrisy which is typical of you.

        The reality is that Soon stated he is employed by the Smithsonian and “it’s not necessary for a journal to also declare the overall management contract by which that lab is funded”.

        Richard

      • Richard please don’t continue to post about matters you don’t understand you just make yourself look foolish.
        The reality is that Soon stated he is employed by the Smithsonian and “it’s not necessary for a journal to also declare the overall management contract by which that lab is funded”.

        There is no overall management contract with a government agency funding the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

        The Lawrence-Berkeley National Lab is administered on behalf of the DOE by The University of California, the contract referred to is the contract between DOE and the University of California for the running of the facilty, not the funding of individual research projects. Similar arrangements exist inter alia for Sandia NL (run by a subsidiary of Lockheed-Martin), PPPL (managed by Princeton University). For an employee of a National Lab to declare the contract for management of the Lab as part of the declaration of funding is unnecessary, National Labs are funded by the government! It would be like an employee of Ford including a statement that Ford was funded by selling cars! What is required is the identification of funding which supports the individual research projects if such exists. Frequently employees of such establishments declare that the work was performed at the Laboratory, which is supported by the DOE. Employees of universities and similar institutions such as the Smithsonian, which in general don’t have such a single source of funding, don’t have to make reference to that funding (other than to indicate their employment/affiliation) , what is needed is to declare the support that directly funds the research.

      • Phil.

        Please don’t continue to post complete nonsense in attempt to excuse your own words that have been quoted back to you.

        Richard

      • Phil. says:

        Richard please don’t continue to post about matters you don’t understand you just make yourself look foolish.

        Phil., you would do well to get out of your ivory tower and into the real world. I don’t think you have a clue about how things really work. There isn’t a single verifiable, testable measurement of AGW, but you keep trying to fight your rearguard MMGW action based on a …conjecture.

        If you want to base your entire world view on a mere conjecture, you go right ahead. But telling people they are “foolish”, and that they don’t understand, that is only a reflection on you — not on them.

        The same goes for your monkey-piling on a respected scientist, who probably takes home less pay than you do, but who certainly earns more. If you were baselessly attacked like Dr. Soon, you would squeal and cry like a prepubescent teenage girl. It’s always the insufferable martinets who can’t take criticism.

        It’s easy to join the monkey pile. It’s mindless, and fun. But it’s much harder to stand up for what is right. That’s where you and your pals fail.

  40. A somewhat different approach extends the findings of Soon et al .
    The analysis at http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com demonstrates that CO2 has no significant effect on average global temperature (AGT). Because CO2 is a trace gas, no significant effect on AGT also means no significant effect on climate.
    It and the peer reviewed paper at Energy and Environment, vol. 25, No. 8, 1455-1471 disclose the two natural factors that do explain average global temperatures (95% correlation since 1895) and credible trend back to the depths of the Little Ice Age (around 1700).
    This work proves that ‘climate sensitivity’, the effect on AGT of doubling CO2, is not significantly different from zero.

  41. In defense of the truth.
    “Four exhausted men from Minnesota squeeze into one motel room in Framingham.
    Nearly every inch of space sits under layers of wet clothes. Ten pairs of gloves lie on the heater. The smell isn’t pleasant, and their work clothes rarely dry. But such is the life of an ice dam removal crew, one of several who have sped more than 1,100 miles from Minnesota to Massachusetts to free New England homes from their dam prisons.
    At first, the calls for help trickled in to Minnesota’s ice dam companies. Water was seeping into Boston homes, down walls and under eves. Local roofers were already inundated. But the snow kept coming and so did the ice, and the slow drip of pleas became a deluge. There was work to be done and money in those gutters.”

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/style/2015/03/05/minnesota-crews-rescue/JaKgEgceZTijvr6cwrqbnN/story.html

  42. “Neutron monitor (NM) data has been widely used in the search for correlations between cosmic rays and atmospheric processes, notably that between galactic cosmic rays and satellite-derived observation of low cloud amount. The usefulness of neutron monitor data in providing information on the actual atmospheric ionisation at cloud heights is therefore an important consideration (e.g. Harrison and Carslaw, 2003). From Fig. 8, it is apparent that the majority of stronger and significant correlations are at the higher (10–20 km) altitudes, i. e. that the NM data are most useful for estimating the ionisation rate between 10 km and 20 km. Below 10 km, the possibility that the correlations obtained between the launch time NM count rate and the in situ count rate occur by chance cannot be discounted. Whilst this may be partially due to the small count rates at the lower levels, or indeed the contribution of surface radioactivity, Bazilevskaya et al. (2008) also show that the correlation between in situ measurements and NM data decreases substantially below 1 km. Hence it is unlikely that short-term variations in atmospheric ionisation are well predicted by NM data, for the typical timescales associated with balloon flights of a few hours. For monthly timescales, a closer agreement is apparent in the lower atmosphere, such as at 700 hPa (e.g. Usoskin and Kovaltsov, 2006). Consequently the rapid onset of a Forbush decrease which is apparent in NM data may not provide a good representation of the actual atmospheric short-term ionisation changes at cloud levels. This may, in part, provide an explanation for the differences found in the response of clouds to monthly and Forbush changes (Calogovic et al., 2010).”
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364682614001850

  43. “The occurrence of coldest region in the lower and middle stratosphere has been investigated using COSMIC/FORMASAT-3 radio occultation measurements. Observations from January 2007 to December 2011, comprising of 2,871,811 numbers of occultations uniformly spread over land and sea, have been used in this study. Using vertical profiles of temperature upto 40 km altitude, zonally averaged at each 5° latitude band between 90°N and 90°S, it is shown that the coldest region in the upper atmosphere occurs during winter in high latitude stratosphere (latitudes >45°) in both the hemispheres with southern hemisphere (temperature less than <−85 °C) cooler than northern hemisphere (temperature ~−75 °C). The spatial extent of the region of low temperature region found between 10 km and 30 km altitude, indicating a 20 km vertical thick layer of cold temperature. In the southern hemisphere, such a region of coldest temperature remains for more than six months (April–October), in the Northern hemispheric polar region (~−75 °C) it is seen mostly during four winter months between October and January. Using NCEP-DOE reanalysis data, we show that cold temperature in the stratospheric region coexists with the jet streams prevalent in those regions. Strong wind jet is surmised to make stratosphere colder. The absence of sunlight in the coldest region is known to cause jet streams. Impact of stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) on the sharpness of tropical tropopause (stability) has also been investigated. Observations suggest that during westerly phase of QBO, the stability of the tropopause increases."
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364682614002351

  44. Variation since 1960 of global sea surface temperature (HadSST3), observed sunspot number (Solar Influences Data Analysis Center (SIDC), and Specific atmospheric humidity (g/kg) at 300 mb altitude (Earth System Research Laboratory (NOAA)). Base period: 1961-1990. The thin lines in the diagram represent the monthly values, while the thick lines is the simple running 37 month average, nearly corresponding to a running 3 yr average. Last month shown: February 2015. Last diagram update: 3 March 2015.

    http://www.climate4you.com/

      • “We’re certainly talking about the what-ifs, but I don’t think anyone is changing plans at the moment,” said race director Dave McGillivray. “We’re hopeful that Mother Nature takes care of this for us between now and then. But we’re prepared if that doesn’t happen to take some measures to make it race-ready for all our participants.”

        When the calendar turns to April, McGillvray and other officials will run or drive along the course multiple times, looking for road damage. McGillivray is confident the roadway will be in good shape by Patriots Day, but the same may not be true for the sidewalks and other spots where spectators stand.

        In Newton, the grassy area between the carriage road and Commonwealth Avenue is usually packed with spectators on race day. Right now, it’s packed with snow and ice.

        “I’m hoping Mother Nature really helps out on that one,” said Newton Police sergeant Jay Babcock. “I’m not saying there’s no plans to remove snow there. That’s just not the focus now.

        “What we’re looking for is making sure the roadway is clear from curb to curb and any potholes or other holes are filled. Our routine is everything is the same, except for the snow. If the snow doesn’t melt, it will be removed. From curb to curb, it will be cleared.”
        http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/03/06/boston-marathon-organizers-staying-wary-snow-effects/5wz7lPs9nBhKjTGgbH82wI/story.html

  45. Ah, Greenpeace.
    They are the splendid folk who trashed the Nazca drawings, aren’t they?
    A UNESCO World Heritage site. At my church we have a chef who is the son of the German researcher who went to Peru to study these artifacts. He says the ecosystem is very fragile and will probably never recover from the Greenpeace damage.
    Greenpeace serves an ideology, pure and simple. Nothing constrains them. They are right, and anyone who disagrees will be destroyed.
    Greenpeace should be destroyed, as they will continue to do harm so long as they continue in operation. They do not differ from the ISIS folk who trashed the museum in Mosul. Same story: ideology over all.

  46. Why the shrill cries about fossil fuel funding? The logic goes like this: the models are perfect (just physics, dontcha know) and the forecast is clearly catastrophe and all we need to do is activate the rainbows and unicorn farts. The only possible reason anyone would oppose action is a selfish motive–must be the rich oil guys. It is a valid logical construct, if you grant the premises.

  47. Abstract
    For a long time, it has been known that low-energy continuous gamma radiation is present in open air at the Earth’s surface. In previous investigations it was assumed that this radiation is produced almost exclusively by gamma photons emitted due to the natural radioactivity, which are backscattered by air above ground. We show that significant amount of this radiation (related to energy region 30–300 keV) that peaks at about 90 keV, is produced by cosmic-rays, with the photon flux of about 3000 m−2 s−1. We find that the contribution of this omnipresent low-energy gamma radiation of cosmic-ray origin, including the corresponding low-energy electron flux, to the doses of general population are non-negligible components of overall doses induced by cosmic rays near sea level.
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364682614002892

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