Climate Science and Climatology; Specialization and Generalization; Forest and Trees

Guest opinion: Dr. Tim Ball

Many jumped to the defense of Dr. John Bates, the former NOAA employee who waited until he retired to disclose malfeasance in the science and management at that agency. Bates claimed he told his bosses about the problem but said they effectively ignored him. The problem is everything was already in the public record. I listened to Congressman Lamar Smith tell the general audience at the June 2015 Heartland Conference that subpoenas were filed requesting full disclosure of all the material. He also told us the requests were rejected, but a follow-up was in progress. The same information was reported in the mainstream media, albeit with a bias. Why didn’t Bates go to Smith in confidence and report what he knew? The Smith requests must have been the talk of the office or at least the water cooler.

All sorts of lame excuses were made for Bates, perhaps the only one with limited merit was that his disclosure was better late than never. The problem is he and his supporters can’t have it both ways. He can’t be a knowledgeable climate scientist doing valuable work, when what he and all the others around him were doing was corrupted, unquestioning, naïve, limited, political science. It has to be more than a deliberately blind Nuremberg ‘just following orders’ situation. The larger question is why did he not see what was going on? Even when he realized Thomas Karl had used cherry picked, inadequate data to eliminate “the pause.” It appears he assumed it was an isolated case. He only saw what he wanted to see because he accepted corrupted science without question. How, as a scientist, could he see the consistent IPCC prediction failures and not ask what was wrong with the science?

The most obvious answer is that being a scientist and a bureaucrat are mutually exclusive. Interestingly, the proof of that statement is those scientists, like James Hansen, who openly advocated, proselytized, and publicly acted for what their political masters wanted, could break the Hatch Act. It was specifically designed to limit such activities. He did it in the most brazen way by being arrested outside the White House. Those who knew what was wrong kept their mouths shut and society suffered.


It is impossible to be a scientist and a bureaucrat because by the definition of a bureaucrat you must do what you are told. Walter Gilbert said,

“The virtues of science are skepticism and independence of thought”

Both are anathema to bureaucracies. There is a larger explanation that encompasses and limits all current understanding, not just science. I wrote about this before and included it in both my books because it is especially true of understanding of climate and climate change. I wrote about it before on WUWT, but the Bates/NOAA case indicates an update is needed. It is a problem of overspecialization that is created by climate science. Almost everybody in climate science is a specialist in another area who happens to apply that specialization to studying climate, usually, because funding was available, and always out of context. Hal Lewis, the late Emeritus Professor of physics, explained the impact,

“the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists… It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist.”

Some portions of the following are from my earlier writings. I say this to illustrate how insane, inane, and illogical the world of research has become when quoting yourself without citation is considered plagiarism. Of course, it underscores the satirical comment that to copy from one source is plagiarism to copy from several is research.

The year 1859 was a pivotal year in human understanding because events occurred that appeared to provide a great advance but also produced a serious limitation. In that year, Darwin’s Origin of Species was published, and Alexander von Humboldt died. We are now reaching a point where the effects of those events require a rethinking of knowledge, understanding, and explanation; an updating of what we call the truth. In the Science credit for Arts course I taught my opening comments told them I was going to tell them today’s ‘truth.’ It won’t be yesterday’s ‘truth’ although that was as real to people then as today’s truth is to us. And, it won’t be tomorrow’s ‘truth,’ but they can be assured there will be one because truth, like science, is never settled. Unfortunately, they are all educated as logical positivists for whom there is only absolute truths.

Alexander von Humboldt, who is currently being rediscovered, is considered the last ‘universal person.’ It is a definitive end because he knew all the known science of his time and the sheer volume of known science is now beyond human capacity to know. One thing von Humboldt’s ability allowed was the production of the first weather map. This is important because he took individual discreet pieces of information, atmospheric pressure at a location, and plotted them on a map. He then connected points of equal atmospheric pressure with a line called an isobar thus creating a pattern for the understanding of weather unavailable from the individual pieces of information.

Darwin’s work, which as Alfred Russell Wallace pointed out failed to mention humans, triggered the scientific need for data from which to produce a theory. His work was aided by Carolus Linnaeus who produced a classification system that provided a sorting system. The problem is, it also limited the analysis because when a creature was found that didn’t fit, the Duck-billed Platypus, they simply created another category without considering that it might indicate the classification system was wrong. Regardless, the sheer volume of data led to the creation of different branches of research that became individual specialties. Western universities expanded from two major faculties, the Humanities and the Natural Sciences, to a new and now largest faculty, the hybrid Social Sciences. Within each, the number of specialist areas exploded until conflicts developed in those areas that were trying to work with the real world beyond the Ivory Towers. Some universities responded by creating what they called Inter-disciplinary studies, but even they were problematic because they overlapped the institutional management boundaries causing turf wars.

All this triggered an intellectual shift as the dictum in academia became that to specialize was the mark of genius, to generalize the mark of a fool. The problem is in the real world each specialized piece must fit the larger general picture, and most people live and function in a generalized world. The phrase “it is purely academic” means it is irrelevant to the real world. In the twentieth century, the western world went from the dictum that there are general rules with exceptions, to there are no rules, and everything is an exception. This manifests itself in society as condemning generalizations and promoting that everything is an exception – the basis of political correctness.

(Self–Plagiarism alert). A frequent charge is I have no credibility because I only have “a geography degree”. It is an ignorant charge on many levels and usually used as a sign of superiority by specialists in the “hard sciences”. My Ph.D. was in the Geography Department at Queen Mary College because climatology was traditionally part of geography. The actual degree was granted in the Faculty of Science.

Climatology, like geography, is a generalist discipline studying patterns and relationships. Geography is the original integrative discipline traditionally called Chorology. In the late 1960s, when I looked for a school of climatology there were effectively only two, Hubert Lamb’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at East Anglia, and Reid Bryson’s program in Madison Wisconsin. Neither was a viable option, although I was privileged to consult with Professor Lamb about my thesis.

Ian Plimer said studies of the Earth’s atmosphere tell us nothing about future climate.

An understanding of climate requires an amalgamation of astronomy, solar physics, geology, geochronology, geochemistry, sedimentology, plate tectonics, palaeontology, paleoecology, glaciology, climatology, meteorology, oceanography, ecology, archaeology and history.

It’s an interesting observation that underscores the dilemma. Climatology is listed as a subset but must include all the disciplines and more. You cannot study or understand the pattern of climate over time or in a region without including them all. He is incorrect in some of these, but that illustrates the problem, for example, meteorology is a subset of climatology. He leaves out many specializations by limiting his list to an understanding of the atmosphere when the list for climate is much longer. Meteorology is the study of physics of the atmosphere but the number of other disciplines required to understand the atmosphere is implied in Figure 1.


Figure 1, a simple systems diagram of weather (After Kellogg and Schneider 1974). Note that three boxes include the word “flux,” but the 2007 IPCC Science Report says, Unfortunately, the total surface heat and water fluxes are not well observed.

How many specialist research areas can you list from this diagram?

Climate science is the work of specialists working on one small part of climatology. It’s a classic example of not seeing the forest for the trees. Some think computer modelers are generalists. They are specialists trying to be generalists who don’t know the interrelationships, interactions, and feedbacks in the general picture. Wegman’s identified the problem in his Report on the Hockey Stick fiasco.

As statisticians, we were struck by the isolation of communities such as the paleoclimate community that rely heavily on statistical methods, yet do not seem to be interacting with the mainstream statistical community. The public policy implications of this debate are financially staggering and yet apparently, no independent statistical expertise was sought or used.

It was taken to extremes at the Climatic Research Unit and exposed in the leaked emails of Climategate.

The problem of specialization appeared early in climatology and almost precluded wider cross-specialization perspectives from the start. Two early examples illustrate the problem. An early breakthrough in climatology occurred when Ericson and Wollin published “The Deep and The Past” in 1964 outside of academia. It achieved attention because the authors published it as a ‘trade’ book.

Robert Claiborne realized that he was getting different and conflicting time sequences between anthropology and glaciology courses when studying the natural influences on the pattern and sequence of human history. He proposed a doctoral thesis to examine the problem. Again, it was interdisciplinary so was rejected. Claiborne turned outside academia and wrote a trade book titled, “Climate, Man and History” published in 1970. Apart from the intellectual rigidity that specialization introduced, it also illustrates how the IPCC effectively stopped meaningful research in 1990.

Good examples of researchers struggling to end run the tunnel vision of academic specialization and the later limitations of the IPCC to understand better climate and climate change include;

· Sun, Weather and Climate, (1978) by John Herman and Richard Goldberg

· Ice Ages: Solving the Mystery, (1979) by John and Kathrin Imbrie

· The Manic Sun: Weather Theories Confounded, (1997) by Nigel Calder

· The Maunder Minimum and the Variable Sun-Earth Connection (2003) by Willie Soon and Steven Yaskell

· Taken by Storm: The Troubled Science, Policy, and Politics of Global Warming. (2003) Christopher Essex and Ross McKitrick

· The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change, (2007) by Henrik Svensmark and Nigel Calder

Society has deified specialized academics, especially scientists. Consider the phrase You dont have to be a rocket scientist used to indicate “hard science” intellectual superiority. Substitute a different occupation and prejudices emerge. You dont have to be a farmer. Now consider the range of specialized areas required for success on a modern farm. A farm, like so many working segments of society, can only succeed as a generalist operation. I realized the problem when a farmer told me he suspected he had problems with his soil. He went to the University Faculty of Agriculture to learn that they had no ‘soils’ people. They had people who could help with nematodes, clay-mineral complexes, trace minerals, all subsets of soil, but no ‘soil’ person.

Climatology is a generalist discipline that requires incorporating all specialist disciplines. The modern glorification of specialization allowed climate scientists to dominate by claiming their piece of a vast puzzle was critical. IPCC climate scientists misused specialized areas, especially in climate models, to achieve a predetermined result. It is only exposed when other specialists, like Steve McIntyre for example, examine what was done, or climatologists find a piece of the puzzle that doesn’t fit.

The Bates event is a symptom of a much wider problem. It is much more than just the fear of speaking out about malfeasance in the workplace. It is more than the problem of bureaucrats doing science or people using science for a political agenda. All those exist and require attention. However, they mask the larger problems of our inability to describe, understand, and advance in a generalist world that has developed a research structure that glorifies specialists who know a great deal about a minuscule piece but don’t even know where it fits in the larger picture.


219 thoughts on “Climate Science and Climatology; Specialization and Generalization; Forest and Trees

  1. I am quite happy that Bates wrote out as he did.
    It must be hell working in a place where you know your views are totally looked down on.
    We all have to hold our tongues at times and not just with work but friends and family. Harmony in our day to day lives is important..
    Do not knock him, please.

    • Vast amounts of money, power, some people’s careers/reputations, and a great many people’s well being/lives were on the line, angech . . your request is bone chilling to me . .

  2. “Even when he realized Thomas Karl had used cherry picked, inadequate data to eliminate “the pause.””

    This is just wrong. Bates has been clear that he was not accusing them of manipulating data, just not putting sufficient caveats on “experimental” data. In fact the findings have been confirmed by subsequent studies, which confirms that the data was actually sound. Bates was critical because he felt the authors could not have been sufficiently confident in the soundness at the time and should have said they were experimental.

    • So you are saying that the pause is not, in fact, real, as Karl wrote. It would be interesting if you could disclose the subsequent studies that found the data was sound.

      • Here is one
        “Assessing recent warming using instrumentally homogeneous sea surface temperature records
        Zeke Hausfather, Kevin Cowtan, David C. Clarke, Peter Jacobs, Mark Richardson and Robert Rohde”

        They say in the abstract “We show that ERSST version 4 trends generally agree with largely independent, near-global, and instrumentally homogeneous SST measurements from floating buoys, Argo floats, and radiometer-based satellite measurements that have been developed and deployed during the past two decades.”

        To avoid confusion over ERSST, they say “Although the largest changes to the ERSST record occurred during World War II, ERSSTv4 also indicated a higher rate of warming after 2003. This led Karl et al. (18) to conclude that the central estimate of the rate of global mean surface temperature change during the 1998–2012 period was comparable to that during the 1951–2012 period,”

        Thus is is confirmed that the series that led Karl to declare the pause dead has been confirmed by later studies.

        Hausfather said in an interview
        “Not using their data we get the exact same results, both for the ocean record and for the land,” said Zeke Hausfather, lead author of the Berkeley study. He called Bates’ claims “all about procedural disagreements within NOAA that have very little bearing about our understanding about what’s happening to Earth’s climate.”

        Bates himself “said in the interview that there was “no data tampering, no data changing, nothing malicious.” “It’s really a story of not disclosing what you did,” Bates said in the interview. “It’s not trumped up data in any way shape or form.”

      • ” It would be interesting if you could disclose the subsequent studies that found the data was sound.”
        Just posted a reply, but is has vanished. If it appears later apologize for the duplication.

        One such study is “Assessing recent warming using instrumentally homogeneous sea surface temperature records” Hausfather et al.

        They confirm that the date series used by Karl 2015 was in the best agreement with other data:
        “We show that ERSST version 4 trends generally agree with largely independent, near-global, and instrumentally homogeneous SST measurements from floating buoys, Argo floats, and radiometer-based satellite measurements that have been developed and deployed during the past two decades.”

      • Seaice1, the Hausfather study is simply the result of cherry picking the end date to coincide with the peak of the 2015 super El Nino. Anyone who uses that study to support the Karl nonsense is deep into confirmation bias. It is easy to see the effects of the date choice by looking at Hadsst3. The trend is doubled.

      • From Berkeley –
        “The 2015 analysis showed that the modern buoys now used to measure ocean temperatures tend to report slightly cooler temperatures than older ship-based systems, even when measuring the same part of the ocean at the same time.”
        “After correcting for this “cold bias”..”
        “ships began to automatically measure water piped through the engine room, which typically is warm. Nowadays, buoys cover much of the ocean and that data is beginning to supplant ship data. But the buoys report slightly cooler temperatures because they measure water directly from the ocean instead of after a trip through a warm engine room.”

        They adjusted the cooler buoy data to match the warm ships “data”.

      • Lee, check up on anomalies. It makes no difference if you correct up or down. What you are saying is similar to suggesting converting Fahrenheit to Celsius would exaggerate a temperature rise compared to converting Celsius to Fahrenheit. I does not matter.

      • What trend? Hausfather is about comparing data series that all end at the same time and seeing which agree best. Your objection is nonsense.

      • seaice 1, So what was wrong with correcting down if there is no problem with it? The way I see it the ship’s data put an anomalous upward spike in the dataset, which should not have been there, exaggerating warming. By continuing the tradition they are still enhancing the dataset. It is being used as a prop for AGW/CC.
        You can compare C and F because you know the adjustment to apply to arrive at your preferred metric. Not even similar.

      • It’s senseless adjusting the buoy, rather than the ship, data when you admit (in the same paper)

        “buoy data have been proven to be more accurate and reliable than ship data”

    • Well said seaice, his biggest complaint wasincorrect archiving. As Willis would say: be still my beating heart.

      Tim Ball
      “He can’t be a knowledgeable climate scientist doing valuable work, when what he and all the others around him were doing was corrupted, unquestioning, naïve, limited, political science.”

      Sorry Tim but your just making this up.

      • Agreed, any real “skeptic” movement is greatly diminished by this sort of thing. Bates seems to have accused Karl of cutting procedural corners…that was about it. If there is a real point to be had against Karl’s results, then folks need to show directly where he (or Zeke) are incorrect. This is just arguing in bad faith and is exactly the same sort of tactic that the real skeptics accused the establishment of for years.

      • Richard M – what is your point, that Zeke used more data than the original comparison? But if updated for more recent data it (the pause) is gone anyway? Either way, who cares. The ‘pause’ is gone…maybe it will come back, thus is the nature of temperature trends. I’ll believe your on to something if/when Zeke or Mosher come on here and acknowledge your argument…or at least see what they have to say about your criticism.

      • Tony,

        Here we agree.

        Dr. Ball is in denial over Dr. Bates being acknowledged as a

        This despite the clear timeline wherein he (Best) went to Lamar
        Smith with his information BEFORE he retired from NOAA.

        Subsequently, Dr. Ball’s efforts seem to be a series of “Me ! Me !
        Me !” squawks… followed by “Not him !” and more “ME’s !”

      • @S. Geiger ” Bates seems to have accused Karl of cutting procedural corners” You obviously haven’t read what Bates said have you. Changing the rating of data which then guides scientists to use that data, without assessing the data before changing the rating.. yes you obviously did not read what Bates said

      • Richard M “the Hausfather study is simply the result of cherry picking the end date to coincide with the peak of the 2015 super El Nino”

        You just melted seaice1


      • Mark – Helsinki …..”Changing the rating of data which then guides scientists to use that data, without assessing the data before changing the rating.. ” can you please show me the reference for this…or is this your interpretation?

      • “Dr. Ball is in denial over Dr. Bates being acknowledged as a
        “whistleblower”. ”

        The war was over by then, it seems glaringly obvious to me, and I really don’t understand how anyone with a halfway logical mind could think that “pause” staring people like Mr. Bates in the face for years (eventually old enough to vote ; ) would not cause any rational scientist in the know, to themselves be a skeptic . .

        It seems to me that Mr. Bates is either an imbecile (highly unlikely) or a clever but dishonest weasel who “saw the handwriting on the wall” so to speak, and came up with a way to have his cake and eat it too . .

      • Steve Geiger
        February 20, 2017 at 11:12 am

        Mark – Helsinki …..”Changing the rating of data which then guides scientists to use that data, without assessing the data before changing the rating.. ” can you please show me the reference for this…or is this your interpretation?

        Maturity Matrix Model, wasn’t this done on that single computer that died? :D This is where data got it’s new rating, and there is no evidence that the data was reassessed or just pushed up in rank.?

        Also guaranteed Google is playing it’s part in this epic scam. I have noticed specific searches increasing returning the usual sources of propaganda. I ma getting Mashable SKS Snopes when looking for specific information of which these results have none of.

        I can’t find it atm but I didn’t read it from thin air. I’ll keep looking.

      • @S.Geiger “Tom Karl liked the maturity matrix so much, he modified the matrix categories so that he could claim a number of NCEI products were “Examples of “Gold” standard NCEI Products (Data Set Maturity Matrix Model Level 6).” See his NCEI overview presentation all NCEI employees [ncei-overview-2015nov-2 ] were told to use, even though there had never been any maturity assessment of any of the products.”

        John J Bates own words.

      • @S.Geiger and isn’t Maturity Matrix Model Level 6 related to the “crashed computer” issue lol

        Tom Karl has been a very naughty boy.

    • @seaice1

      “………just not putting sufficient caveats on “experimental” data.”

      The problem here, from my understanding of the situation, is it seems Karl didn’t conform to protocol before presenting his data to the IPCC in time for Paris.

      Look at it like this; If you were accused of committing a crime and the Police ignored internal protocols to lock you up just because they believed you committed the crime, wouldn’t that be considered wrong? Indeed, it could set a precedent in that particular Police force. If it was later found that you were guilty of the crime, internal processes can, therefore, be dispensed with altogether.

      This is barely even a case of scientific malfeasance, it’s worse, it’s scientific opportunism for the sake of political gain.

      What’s even worse is that Karl is being hung out to dry when the IPCC should be investigated for how many other scientific studies have been accepted without due process being followed. This incident undermines science as a whole and climate science in particular, and the IPCC are complicit.

      Nor should it be the sceptical community condemning Karl and the IPCC, it should be the alarmist community, for discrediting their own science. Failing to do that simply compounds the entire matter and exposes alarmists as fundamentally dishonest.

      • I am not suggesting the accusations should not be investigated, but if the police are accused of not filling in the arrest form properly it is not helpful to say they have been accused of fabricating evidence.

      • seaice1,
        Using your analogy, the police did not fill out the arrest forms and they did not archive the evidence. Hence, there is no way to demonstrate that a crime actually occurred.

      • Without following recognised protocols there is nothing to stop the Police (Karl) from fabricating data. But the point is, even if he didn’t, it leaves the door open for other to do so.

      • All h is accused of is using experimental data without the warning, and that is debatable as the status if experimental is a little blurred. But if he did wrong he should be challenged. What he is not accused of is cherry picking or manipulating data.

        JasG -please show me where he said “and bullied the NOAA team into replacing good data with bad data in order to eliminate the pause for (presumably) political reasons.”

        He said the thumb on the scales, but I think you made the rest up.

      • @seaice1 Bates clearly said that Karl’s thumb on the process herded scientists toward warmer data. (not exact words but certainly he did say this pretty much)

        Changing data quality rating without assessing the data, guided scientists to data karl wanted used.
        That is still malfeasance

      • seaice1 Changing the rating without assessing data is not following protocol, yes, but as this was an intentional act, it is also scientific malfeasance

      • Mark. Bates has never said that. That is your interpretation. But since your interpretation of the Huasfather paper was made without apparently reading or understanding that paper your interpretation appears to be affected by confirmation bias.

      • Ray in SC. What you could do is have a new investigation using independent data to prove the crime occurred. That is what has happened with Hausfather.

      • seaice1
        February 21, 2017 at 12:50 am

        Mark. Bates has never said that. That is your interpretation. But since your interpretation of the Huasfather paper was made without apparently reading or understanding that paper your interpretation appears to be affected by confirmation bias.

        I suggest you actually read what Bates said.
        Here are his own words. You are either 1 lying or 2 badly misinformed/ Given how easy it is to find this, I’d prefer you were a liar instead of an idiot

      • seaice1
        February 21, 2017 at 12:50 am

        Mark. Bates has never said that. That is your interpretation. But since your interpretation of the Huasfather paper was made without apparently reading or understanding that paper your interpretation appears to be affected by confirmation bias.

        So it is delicious that you talk of confirmation bias, because you just demonstrated a perfect case of it

    • Typical of a warmist to argue semantics to ignore reality. Bates said that Karl had his thumb on the dial and bullied the NOAA team into replacing good data with bad data in order to eliminate the pause for (presumably) political reasons. In reality a mere confirmation of what everyone suspected already – including you and the amateurs at Berkeley Earth, whose report is the only one that supports Karlisation, written by a team that also have their thumb constantly on the dial. That report is in opposition to Fyfe et al. which concluded we still need to explain the reason for the pause rather than just crudely adjust it away.

      This issue clearly separates those who value data-driven science from the politically-motivated who don’t mind adjusting data to suit their narrative.

      • Brett, my observation has been that the number of trollist comments is a measure of how damaging a post is to the AGW cause. They usually assign just one troll to a post. In this case, I think they called out four or five from their sock puppet list. “You get the most flak when you’re right over the target.” Bombs away, Dr. Ball.

      • JasG – yes that is what Bates said, which is obviously more than claiming Karl cut procedural corners. Later he wished he hadn’t said it, then confused everyone by retracting it.

        Also, Zeke said he used the data available to him when he put together the paper. Can’t he update the paper to include later data?

      • Even worse Zeke is going around protesting using the historically repressive Hijab as a symbol of freedom.

        I rest my case

    • As for Hausfather et al., straight out of the gate it can be discounted by dint of them adding the 2016 el nino before it has finished and before the ensuing la nina that would drag the trend down. Classic politics-driven science! Though I suspect there is also another simple arithmetical error just as in their previous useless paper and likely also some handy made-up data like their Cowtan&Way Arctic adjustment.

      • “straight out of the gate it can be discounted by dint of them adding the 2016 el nino before it has finished and before the ensuing la nina that would drag the trend down”

        It is a sign of confirmation bias to discount evidence you don’t like for spurious reasons. Did you read the paper? It is about comparing data sets from as far back as the 1990 based on a single type of data (bouys, AGRGO float or satellite) with reconstructions using different methods (ships, buckets etc.) and seeing how the different ways of combining the data sets into reconstructions compares with the single source data sets. As such the fact that El Nino has or has not finished is irrelevant.

      • @seaice1
        Picking a trend that doesnt start in an El Nino but ends in one is not “discounting evidence you dont like”
        The data should not have used El Nino to back karl et al K15. Either you wait or you remove it.

        The same trick is used to make models look relevant. Without 2014\15\16 El NIno (yes it started in 2014 and was already hurting Brazil with drought as it always does) the models are still in the 5% of models not within the bogus 95% range, which is bogus anyway as being just on the edge of 95% is still only making a handful of models close to actual observations GISS is not an observation by any stretch of the imagination FYI

      • Ugh sorry, *Picking a trend that doesnt start in an El Nino but ends in one is not “discounting evidence you dont like”? Yes it is because El Nino is not part of the warming trend from alleged GHG forcing is it.

        Thinking is very hard for some

      • seaice1
        February 20, 2017 at 6:37 am

        “straight out of the gate it can be discounted by dint of them adding the 2016 el nino before it has finished and before the ensuing la nina that would drag the trend down”

        It is a sign of confirmation bias to discount evidence you don’t like for spurious reasons. Did you read the paper? It is about comparing data sets from as far back as the 1990 based on a single type of data (bouys, AGRGO float or satellite) with reconstructions using different methods (ships, buckets etc.) and seeing how the different ways of combining the data sets into reconstructions compares with the single source data sets. As such the fact that El Nino has or has not finished is irrelevant.
        Why do you keep uttering confirmation bias? That is irrelevant, and you displayed that exact above.

        You dont respond to replies that show you are wrong either.

        laughable bias. Carry on tho yeah

    • “which confirms that the data was actually sound”…

      The point is they took a WAG at the time..
      Just because it was right…does not excuse the WAG

      No different than predicting the weather….and being right

      • Like buying stock for a client—sometimes you hit it right and sometimes you don’t. If you go in completely blind and don’t disclose that you are clueless and just throwing darts at a board, that’s dishonest. Pretending to know what you do not know is politics, not science.

    • “So, in every aspect of the preparation and release of the datasets leading into K15, we find Tom Karl’s thumb on the scale pushing for, and often insisting on, decisions that maximize warming and minimize documentation.” Quoted from Dr. Bates 4 Feb 2017 at Curry’s blog.

      Your claim of soundness prompt memories of the “hockey stick” being found correct to come to mind.

      • Thank you Chad. Finally, someone here quoted what Dr. Bates actually said. Stay tuned for the Congressional Investigation.



        “(idiomatic) An act of bias or a tactic for cheating which creates a situation that unfairly benefits one party involved in an interaction.”

        “An idiom that means you are trying to influence the result of something in your favor; cheating; a bias or a tactic that unfairly benefits one party more than another in a transaction.”

        Anyone who has followed the many “adjustments” to the surface temperature data, as ably recorded by Tony Heller and others, will have no difficulty understanding the dishonest motive behind these adjustments.

        Watch carefully, my good people: Nothing up my sleeve!

        Source: Tony Heller

  3. The one academic discipline that could ask the right questions about the work being done by the various climate scientists is the philosophy of science, yet it has been strangely silent. Certainly when I studied it in the 1970s philosophers like Sir Karl Popper more or less defined the field and drew very strict lines between science and non-science. I’m tempted to add statistics, because I’m sure a professional statistician, maybe blind to the subject being described by the statistics, would draw very different conclusions to those of many climate scientists.

    It will be interesting to see the direction climate science takes with the Trump presidency. Will all those climate scientists who have felt forced into hiding their own views come out into the open? Maybe when their institutions get the right sort of research grants…!

    • The money at stake is huge. All data should be relabelled as parameter A, parameter B, etc., and then analysed by professional statisticians who know nothing, or are at least agnostic, about climate. Then the all can be relabelled and we can see what is really going on.

  4. “In the twentieth century, the western world went from the dictum that there are general rules with exceptions, to there are no rules, and everything is an exception. ”

    This is just making stuff up. There has been no such dictum. Nearly every subject uses exactly the same rules based approach they always did.

    • That you don’t know about the very widely discussed and growing problems with pal/peer review, confirmation bias, statistical abuse, lack of replication and the if-it-bleeds-it-leads scandal of science publishing says much about you. If you don’t ever read stuff then you won’t know any of this of course but your opinion is then based on what you prefer to believe rather than the reality that Tim Ball is discussing.

      • JasG, what are you talking about? I am aware of problems of confirmation bias – in fact I just pointed out an example above. I am aware of problems with peer review. I am aware of the replication problem highlighted in psychology but surely existing in all fields to some extent. I am aware of the distortionary effects of not publishing negative results and not declaring trials or their expected outcomes before they happen. I am aware of the problem of sensationalism (particularly in press releases rather then the papers themselves). Lots of other people are aware of them and there is wide discussion of these problems.

        I am aware that none if this has anything to do with a dictum there are no rules and everything is an exception. I know this because if there were such a dictum then these would not be identified as problems since they would all be classed as exceptions. I also know this because there is no such dictum.

      • No Sheri, it is the meaning of the sentence, not its construction or vocabulary selection. Any words than convey the same meaning would have drawn the same response.

    • Most people don’t know what a universal man is or what a universal is. This is what Tim Ball refers to in very simple terms. This marks beginnings of the end of science.

    • Nearly every subject uses exactly the same rules based approach they always did.
      nope. replication and successful prediction used to be the criteria for acceptance. peer review simply meant your paper might be worth reading.

      today, peer review is used in place of replication and successful prediction, to imply that your paper is correct even though correctness has not been demonstrate. in effect peer opinion has replaced actual scientific experiment. thus the explosion in false positives.

  5. Thank you for the education.

    Not a scientist in any respect. Have a History degree which I might argue is the most general of all generalist degrees. Also spent a couple of years long ago enforcing US environmental regulations. Time in that dead bureaucracy left a mark. I am not surprised when a John Bates or a John Beale pops up.

    • I am not a historian, but I understand that history is about sources and attempts to asses their reliability. Not so different from science

      • History is also about individuals and entities attempting to control the narrative and suppress the truth. Certainly resembles climate science in that regard.

      • seaice1

        Nope, science is a lot different than history:

        1) Your theory must make falsifiable predictions
        2) Experimental results need to be able to be duplicated
        3) Accurate natural phenomena (i.e. data) must support the theory, or theory is modified

        Nature (data) determines the accuracy of theory, not the other way round. This isn’t a bunch of guys sitting around trying to divine the truth about the past.

      • History is about what happened, why it happened, and what were the results of it happening. Studying sources and attempting to assess their reliability is merely part of the process and would be pointless on its own, a bit like calibrating scientific instruments but never actually using them.

      • Science and history/law are two separate methodologies for determining truth under two separate conditions. They and their target fields overlap only slightly. Science relies heavily upon statistical analysis and is best used when an experiment or observation can be repeated at will to test the model (theory) being proposed. The general scientific procedure is a recursive one of proposing a model, comparing it’s predictions to reality, modifying the model, and repeating until successful predictions are made.

        The historical/legal field, on the other hand, is concerned with discovering the truth about unique, non-reproducible phenomena through the evaluation of available eyewitness testimony and evidence. It is primarily concerned with evaluating and judging documents and records and truth claims.

  6. Trying for simplicity then…

    NASA implies that the radiative effects of water vapour mostly, with a little help from CO2, warm either the air or surface, (I’m never sure which) by 33ºC.
    Evaporation from moist surfaces cools the surface taking that heat with it in the form of latent heat to be released as it progressively condenses with altitude thereby warming the air at a rate of 3.3ºC/km on average.
    This results in a reduction of the gravitational/dry lapse rate of 9.8ºC/km. to 6.5ºC/km.
    So as moist air loses its moisture with altitude it warms the air by 3.3ºC/km to be 33ºC warmer than it should be at a 10km high tropopause.
    Winds and turbulence are the only way for this warmer air at the top to mix with the cooler air below within the gravitational/dry lapse rate of the now dry air.
    This mixing equalises the potential increase of temperature to the average of 16.5ºC throughout.
    Which means an increase at the surface of 16.5ºC through the power of latent heat and its mixing within a gravitational field alone.

    … or am I missing something here?

    • The greenhouse effect is the difference between the average temperature (or heat) of the molecule or surface that last emits IR before it leaves the earth and heads to space and the average surface temperature.

      That temperature difference (for each molecule and surface) is given by the lapse rate x height.

      And so the 32C greenhouse effect tells us that the average height is 32/6.5 = ~5km

      If you add greenhouse gases, all this does is add more IR emitters and slightly raises the average height at which IR emitted by CO2 molecules leaves the atmosphere. For a doubling of CO2 (1C change) that height change is ~150m.

      In other words, you can experience the full horror of a doubling of CO2 by climbing a hill, and then descending 150m … and I have often noticed this horrific effect, because I find that as I descend the last 150m of a mountain I am desperate for a drink.

    • You are missing something. Try this thought experiment. I do not know if I have it right, so please chip in if I have made a mistake.
      1) We start with a planet with no water and and no atmosphere where earth is now. The surface would warm to 33K lower than we observe for Earth. Do you agree so far? The heating from short wavelength radiation is balanced by cooling from long wavelength radiation.

      2) To keep things comparable, lets imagine this world a little closer to the sun, so we end up with surface temperatures the same as Earth (to avoid frozen water in the later steps). Incident radiation is higher, but the temperature is the same, at 15C

      3) Now we add an argon atmosphere (1 atm pressure at ground), assume it to be totally transparent to radiation and still no water. The only source of heat in this atmosphere would be conduction from the ground. The atmosphere could not become hotter than the Earth is now, even though we have greater incident radiation. At the bottom of the atmosphere we have 15C (through conduction). As we ascend I guess we would get colder. because of the dry adiabatic lapse rate. As the atmosphere warms in contact with the ground it expands, and does work. Since the process is adiabatic, the gas must cool. We have 15C at the surface at cooing as we ascend. The only way the surface can lose energy is by IR, and the incident is the same, so the temperature at the surface will remain at 15C.

      4) Next we add water. This water is invisible to radiation. Some would evaporate. This must cool the surface, since energy does not come from nowhere. However, a cool surface must heat until equilibrium between incoming and outgoing radiation is the same, so it remains at 15C.

      5) Initially the air rises according to the dry adiabatic lapse rate until condensation occurs. This would then cool at the lower wet lapse rate. So we get a surface at 15C and the atmosphere being hotter than it would have been without the water. We have transferred some energy from the surface to the atmosphere.

      6) The surface is still at 15C. There is no mechanism for it to become any warmer.

      7) This hypothetical Earth is closer to the sun, but without the greenhouse effect it cannot warm any further. All we can do is transfer some energy to the atmosphere.

      Please comment in this idea – if there is an error please point out where it is.

      • Here goes…

        1) On a planet with no atmosphere there is no air so no temperature of air, only of the surface which like the Moon would be super hot in the sun/day time and super cold in the shade/night time. With a misleading AVERAGE of -18ºC.

        2) No need to move the Earth closer to the sun.

        3) Adding an ideal gas with the same atmospheric mass as ours today means the air can only be warmed by conduction and convection with a lapse rate of 10ºC on the up an 10ºC on the down. What you see at the heated surface is what you get somewhere else to warm a cooler surface. There is no potential increase of temperature with height, same up same down with big extremes of the misleading AVERAGE surface temperature.

        4) Adding the same capacity of ocean as now enables storage of 3000 times the amount of heat than that of the atmosphere. Water is not invisible to solar radiation and absorbs nearly all of it down to a hundred metres if it comes in at a steep enough angle with no cloud or water vapour to intercept it. Now we have the means to further moderate extremes of temperature by spreading heat from the tropics far and wide. Not only by ocean currents but also by evaporation which steals heat from warmer places to give to cooler places far away. This results in further moderation of misleading AVERAGE surface temperatures to a more equable global climate.

        5) See further back for how a reduction in the dry lapse rate results in a potential temperature increase of 33ºC at the tropopause. And how wind and turbulence equalise that progressive increase in temperature with height by mixing the cooler air at the bottom with the warmer air at the top to its average of16.5C throughout.
        This results in an increase of air temperature at the surface of 16.5C. Remember that this increase of surface temperature is a result of the cooling of a warmer surface somewhere else. Again smoothing out a misleading AVERAGE global temperature of 15ºC at the surface.

        6) There is no need for a radiative “greenhouse” effect. It’s all about an atmosphere of a certain mass with a gravitational lapse rate and in our case an ocean to moderate the extremes between poles and the equator.

      • #1 is probably wrong. That 33 K reduction in temperature assumes that the earth has the same albedo as now, with clouds and oceans and no atmosphere- a fantasy world.

        #3 is definitely wrong. See

        The non greenhouse atmosphere will gradually heat up until it;s all the same temperature as the ground.

        Since we’re dealing with science fiction here, there’s a Science Fiction problem that has been bothering me. In Larry Niven;s “Ringworld” series, a super advanced super intelligent civilization creates a giant ring orbiting the sun with a 1 au radius. There are high walls on the inner side of the ring to hold in an atmosphere, and the ring is spinning fast enough to generate 1 g gravity. There are rotating panels slightly closer to the sun than the ringworld which block and reflect sunlight, giving the ringworld a “nighttime” What would climate be like on such a world? There wouldn’t be seasons. There’d be no Hadley circulation creating standard wind directions.

      • and what about clouds which reduce the incoming possible energy … and ice which does the same …

      • Pablo, thank you for discussing. 1) The average is as I suggested.
        3) So you agree with the lapse rate? The warmest the atmosphere average can get is the surface average temperature?
        4) So the ocean can only spread he energy and cannot raise the temperature above the previous?
        5) This thought experiment was an answer to the further back comment. That was not an explanation. I can see how the temperature of the atmosphere at altitude could be raised to the surface temperature, but not above that.
        6) You have not explained how this could happen. Adding water stores more energy and can spread it around but cannot raise the temperature unless it can change the energy balance.

        Alan, thank you also.
        1, yes this is a fantasy world. We can imagine he same albedo, it does not really matter.

        3) Thank you for he link – I will have a look bu no time now. I wondered about the lapse rate and would the atmosphere all heat up to the same temperature. I concluded that work still needed to be done to expand, but if the atmosphere was all the same temperature there would be no warming or expanding.

        Kaiser – these are details that can be considered later.

      • Alan, I have looked at the link, thanks. It seems reasonable that the atmosphere would heat to uniform temperature. Another way to view it is that such an atmosphere can gain or lose energy ONLY from contact with the ground. If there is no way to lose energy from the top of the atmosphere, it must eventually reach equilibrium with the ground.

        If we add non-radiating water we will end up with uniform humidity and no such thing as weather. Interesting. However, what we will not end up with is a warmer world.

      • Alan,
        This was an interesting comment from the other post by kdk33:
        “Lastly, if I assume the entire atmosphere is isentropic – all the way to the tippy top – then T1/T2 = P1/P2^0.4. If I solve for T2 letting T1 and P1 be the conditions at the tippy top of the atmosphere, I calculate an enormous value for T2, the surface temperature. Clearly the atmosphere cannot be isentropic all the way up. At some point it becomes non-isentropic.

        I think the isentropic condition breaks down when convection ceases to be the dominant mode of heat transfer. As you rise, the atmosphere becomes less dense, convection less effective, until eventually heat transfer is dominated by radiative heat transfer. Radiative heat transfer is not constrained by the DALR and can drive the temperature gradient to zero. Hence the planet surface temperature is not enormous.”

        I think this means that if we have radiant energy loss from the top we can maintain a temperature difference and a lapse rate. If we don’t we can’t.

      • My god seaice 1.

        The earth without an atmosphere has precisely one mode of energy in, and one mode out.

        Radiant in,
        Radiant out.

        There’s no 33 degrees of warming from placing a frigid bath of heat conductive fluid around a rock warmed in vacuum.

        When you add the first atmosphere you supply the conduction losses in addition to the initial radiant losses,

        so you now have two modes of cooling: radiant, and conduction. Additional modes of cooling are not heating.

        Frigid baths of fluid are not heaters.

        When you add enough GHGs to exclude 1% sunlight energy, surface energy density declines yet another 1%.

        When you add enough GHGs to exclude 10% sunlight energy surface energy density declines by another 9% for a total of 10% surface energy density reduction.

        Reducing light onto a rock
        can not make more come out
        than when more was going in.

        No matter how many people swear it happened one time. It never happened and never will.

        That’s why climate-billies who believed in the trash called AGW can’t stand talking about thermodynamics in science: they are ridiculous for ever even having supposed it to be possible.

        It’s ridiculous is the word for it, ridiculous, and transparent, and fraud.

      • E Becker, The temperatures I refer to are after steady state has been re-attained after adding the atmosphere.

        “so you now have two modes of cooling: radiant, and conduction.”
        When you add the atmosphere, the atmosphere becomes part of “the system”. There is no conduction out of the system as the atmosphere cannot conduct energy to space. When you add the atmosphere it will perturb the system. Then the surface will return to the same temperature as before once it has warmed the atmosphere.

        It seems that you agree with me that the surface temperature will return to the previous surface temperature.

        “When you add enough GHGs to exclude 1% sunlight energy, surface energy density declines yet another 1%.

        When you add enough GHGs to exclude 10% sunlight energy surface energy density declines by another 9% for a total of 10% surface energy density reduction.

        Reducing light onto a rock
        can not make more come out
        than when more was going in.”

        This part is incoherent. GHG block outgoing radiation, not incoming. There were no GHG in my hypothetical anyway.

    • GH warming 33c, but how much does the atmosphere and hydro cycle cool the planet? 30c+? That would mean GH warming is double if atmosphere is cooling it by 30c+

  7. Interesting commentary. I agree that Bates showed little courage, as he had retired and was beyond retribution, and in a new administration that would endorse his revelation. The CAGW advocates have a compulsion to defend Karl and Mann, and insist there was no wrongdoing. they remind me of the die-hard Nixon defenders, or Marxists in Northern California insisting that the fall of the Soviet Union meant nothing.

    • Complete nonsense Tom. Proven by the fact Bates raised this while he was at NOAA and was shut down.

      • While Bates could have been in contact with Lamar Smith before he retired, his name did not come out publicly until after he retired.

  8. I understand totally why someone working for a government bureaucracy would wait until they have left that employment to make a comment, as speaking out against the leadership and not signing from the same book can result in a very negative feedback loop.

  9. As an engineer with just a few basic science courses in physics(3) and chemistry(2) it seems to me a ‘climate scientist’ will be lost without physics and thermodynamics. I’m pretty well convinced that more CO2 is beneficial and that warming is beneficial and that there is adequate data to so indicate unequivocally. It also seems the ‘back radiation’ effect is bogus and could be easily proven experimentally if it is valid. And the entire question is moot as we need to develop the ideas of small, fail safe, distributed nuke plants to replace fossil fuels. We could stop building more and more ugly power transmission lines – put nukes underground in large cities – after all what do our troop s have in submarines and aircraft carriers but safe, reliable nukes. Our only problem is we cannot get out of our own way – That is the essence of Dr. Happer’s message.

    • As another engineer, it doesn’t help repeating the meme about back-radiation. This is only a shorthand term for the mechanism of the radiative greenhouse effect which we already know is real because clouds and water vapour do warm the planet. Think of it not as a warming but rather as the delayed cooling of a rotating planet and it is easier to grasp.

      Like you I think the solution to this plausible though coy problem is one of better power engineering rather than callously expecting everyone to go without energy.

      • Clouds and water vapour slow down radiative cooling of the planet at the relevant wavelengths for sure but also reflect, absorb and scatter much of the incoming solar radiation without which the surface cannot heat up in the first place.

      • It appears to me that the first mechanism of increased GCR flux and cloud nucleation is the tropospheric retention of heat released (due to changes in wind patterns) by the ocean surface. Increased water vapor retains ocean heat at the poles where the most warming is detected.
        Later, the lack of insolation in the tropics and mid latitudes results in cooling SSTs, and as the heat runs out, frozen precipitation begins to dominate and upper latitude albedo increases while atmospheric water becomes increasingly sequestered.
        If the heliosphere remains in a shrunken state long enough, the SSTs drop to a point where jet stream circulation is influenced more by albedo changes than oceanic heat releases.

      • I’m not any kind of scientist, just an ordinary man in the street. Water vapour does not warm the planet by delaying cooling, because it also delays warming. That fact is easily demonstrated by comparing temperatures in the desert and the rainforest. Rainforests have warmer nights and cooler days. So, JasG, as an engineer, what’s your excuse?

      • The atmosphere cools the planet. More green house gases cool the planet more than any other type gas: they’re the only type listed on sunlight: top/bottom of atmosphere charts.

        Oxygen creates some losses in surface energy through daylight blue-sky refraction.

        The Green House Gases are the sole cause for all the rest of the losses: 20%.

        There’s no such thing as refractive insulation media suspended in a bath, blocking light to a

        light warmed object,

        making more light come out of that object,

        than when more was coming in.

        And anyone who says it’s possible needs to ask themselves why all green house believers ban people and are mocked to their faces for even believing in it.

        Because a child with a real education can see not a word of all that magic heating is true, or even possible to mistake for reality based physics, once one tries to figure out exactly how more

        insulating fire blanket
        between a fire and object warmed,
        makes more fire get to the object,
        as more fire is deflected (refracted) away by the fire blanket.

        This is the simple principle of a fireman’s refractive canvas coat.

        The coats aren’t made thicker and thicker so the firemen’s backs get hotter and hotter.

        Refractory insulation
        between fire and thermal sensors,
        creates reduction in temperature,

        again – no matter how many losers swear they’ll kill themselves if they’re told again.

        We real scientists have forever. Those trying to stop scientific discussion based in real thermodynamics are despised as repugnant frauds.

      • Sleepalot. You acknowledge that water vapor reduces both incoming and outgoing energy. Is there any reason why you think the magnitude of both processes must be the same?

    • @ Shawn Marshall
      February 20, 2017 at 5:19 am : The Gas Laws/Poisson Relationship demonstrate how energy finds alternative but equally efficient pathways down the gradient to space. So there can be no ghe. Only some molecules held closer together than others, by the gravity.gradient. It is tragic to see that some people are just too smart to grasp this.

      • that experiment didn’t even begin to “prove” that a cold object can heat a hotter object … not even close …

      • @Kaiser Derden Nor did Dr Spencer claim it did tbf.

        The experiment shown below does not prove that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere perform such a function, only that it is not a violation of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics for a cooler object emitting infrared radiation to keep a warm object warmer that it would otherwise be if the cooler object was not present.

      • it’s about IR not heat after all. Heat would not transfer from cooler to hotter object but IR emitted from a cooler object would surely be added to the warmer object because IR is not interested in equilibrium.

      • Riddle me this. If the total GHG effect is 33c, warming earth from -19c to 14c. and the atmosphere and hydro cycle cool the planet by around 30c, how is the GHG still 33c and not actually 63c? :)

  10. In the Science credit for Arts course I taught my opening comments told them I was going to tell them today’s ‘truth.’ It won’t be yesterday’s ‘truth’ although that was as real to people then as today’s truth is to us. And, it won’t be tomorrow’s ‘truth,’ but they can be assured there will be one because truth, like science, is never settled. Unfortunately, they are all educated as logical positivists for whom there is only absolute truths.
    Dr. Ball, you are confusing truth with incomplete perception of truth. If there is no absolute standard, there can be no truth, only opinion. It’s disappointing to see such championing of relativism. It’s moral relativism in Bates that you are condemning with this post

    • I think Tim Ball has a valid point here; he just does not express it very clearly.

      Einstein said: “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.” Karl Popper makes much the same point — we can never prove our hypotheses right; the best we can do is try to prove them wrong.

      Moreover, the science of the day always consists a mix of well-established facts — the boiling point of water, or the circumference of the earth can be expected to withstand any future scrutiny — and more tenuous extrapolations. Space and time were separate and absolute, until they were not; genetic inheritance could only ever work with DNA, until there were RNA viruses and then even prion proteins; light was a particle, no, a wave, no, it has properties of both; dinosaurs were cold-blooded reptiles, no, warm-blooded ones, no, they actually had feathers. Each of the previous conjectures was supported by evidence, but ultimately falsified. It is quite likely that much of what we now hold true, after careful consideration of the currently available evidence, will be falsified by future evidence.

      You need the historical perspective to really understand science as a process, to not mistake today’s snapshot for the ultimate and unshakable truth. This is nothing to do with relativism, moral or otherwise.

      • @ Michael Palmer
        February 20, 2017 at 6:17 am: But good science stands the test of time when empirically correct. The context will expand and even maybe change, but good stuff will still work reliably. And that is beautiful to see for a scientist.

      • Brett, I take your point, but sometimes the science is good, and yet more than the “context” changes — take the physics revolution of the early 20th century for example.

  11. The most obvious answer is that being a scientist and a bureaucrat are mutually exclusive. Interestingly, the proof of that statement is those scientists, like James Hansen, who openly advocated, proselytized, and publicly acted for what their political masters wanted, could break the Hatch Act. It was specifically designed to limit such activities. He did it in the most brazen way by being arrested outside the White House. Those who knew what was wrong kept their mouths shut and society suffered.

    You can’t say we weren’t warned:
    Climate “Science” on Trial; The Prophet Eisenhower Warned Us About Climate Scientists

    The real problem is, I’m an amateur climatologist and I can spot the problems, as have countless other people that post on this blog. These articles detail the corruption, and they only took me a few hours to write, and I’m an outsider. The people perpetrating this fr@ud see it first hand and remain silent.

    Climate Science Behaving Badly; 50 Shades of Green & The Torture Timeline

    Climate “Science” on Trial; Cherry Picking Locations to Manufacture Warming

    • You constantly and consistently use other blogs to hype up your own. You have been at this for quite some time now. Does your blog not generate any traffic on it’s own?
      Links to co2islife blog starts at 3.

      • I wouldn’t call it “hyping my blog.” Because the explanations for such issues take more than a few sentences, I write a blog post and then post a link. My blog doesn’t generate any revenue, so I don’t care about views. All my posts are relevant to the topic at hand, so what is your problem? You must me projecting your insincere motives onto me.

      • BTW TonyL, most of us are on the same team, trying to sincerely educate the public. I would argue that the more people we have like Mr Watts and their blogs the better. I am constantly referencing and drawing viewers to this and other informative websites. That is what we do, we try to unselfishly educate the public on this issue. Help me understand why anyone would ever have a problem with this? That is how this volunteer army works, we all help each other out to spread the word. You are the only one that has ever posted that they have a problem with it. Why? What harm do my posts do other than undermine the case of the climate alarmists. Do you have a problem with that? And BTW, yes I’ve been getting great views. Views that are far ahead of my expectations. This post:

        How to Discuss Global Warming with a “Climate Alarmist.” Scientific Talking Points to Win the Debate.

        Is doing exceptionally well, and right now seems to be going viral on Facebook. Each day the views just keep going higher and higher at a compounded rate. Thanks for asking, and be sure to share :)

      • @ co2islife:
        I do not mean to be too hard on you. Your comments generally are on topic and do contribute to the conversation. I have surfed over to check out your blog. I can tell you worked hard on it and it does seem to be a worthy effort.

        On the other hand, going back a month to Jan. 20, you have linked to your blog a total of 120 times. As they say, “anything worth doing is worth overdoing”, or something.

      • Tony L , I could be accused likewise of hyping my own site . But it’s generally , as I believe is true for co2islife , because we know where relevant material or graphics are . For instance , I know of no place other than my site where the absolutely most basic classical computations of planetary temperature are worked thru in a freely available array programming language . I find it astoundingly hard to get people to engage in forming a foundation of generally agreed on computational physics such as is basic for an undergraduate in any other branch of applied physics . It is literally the case I could not even get the crowd at to demonstrate that they understand the generalization to arbitrary spectra of the computation which produces the endlessly parroted 255K meme . I would love to have some other reference to how to compute the equilibrium temperature of a billiard ball under a sun lamp and find it pathetic that I know of none . But that leaves me referencing my own by default .

      • I have tried to follow the comments but noone seems ( as far as I can tell) that another thing that the retired whistle blower mentioned was corrupt or bad computer code. Dr Ball has a point but didn’t seem to cover that part of Bates claims.

      • EXACTLY, Alexander: that’s what a doctorate or degree in something is: a trust that one will practice replicable, documented scientific endeavor or be stripped of ones’ degrees.

  12. There’s a well known experiment where a group of students were split between jailers and detainees. It that experiment it was found that very quickly that jailers started acting in quite appalling ways because “it was expected”.

    In such situations, people seldom complain for what becomes “expected”, even though to an outsider coming in it is appalling Instead it is only when what they see becomes so utterly appalling, that they have to do something.

    And as such, I suspect Bates still largely thinks what NOAA and NASA were doing was appropriate – even if to someone approaching the organisation and subject from afresh would find their accepted practises as intolerable.

  13. In keeping with Dr. Ball’s theme, consider the practice of human medicine with all of its specialization. Medicine and climate science share many of the same traits.

    Specialized knowledge has its place, but it is today difficult to find
    an excellent general practitioner who is willing to know and care for the whole patient, even to the point of researching and managing a person’s afflictions. If you or a loved one hasn’t suffered from a rare and challenging condition, you can’t grasp the frustration of having multiple specialists pronounce the wrong diagnosis or give up and blame the patient. It sometimes takes years before one can find a competent and caring physician who is willing to study all of the patient’s records, who will listen to the patient, and who can make the correct diagnosis. Such patients often cannot count on continuing care and commitment from their physicians and must manage their own cases. Woe unto the uneducated layman of average or below intelligence who is faced with such a malady.

    Many of today’s doctors even refuse to do rounds when their patients are in the hospital, leaving that to “hospitalists,” doctors who are strangers, knowing only what they can glean from a quick glance at a patient’s chart.

    Today, the system is rigged against the excellent doctor, and many of the best are being pressured into retirement or going out of the networks into independent practice.

    • Amen to that. As an MD by training, I have always thought that the job of general practitioner, if you truly want to do it well, is the most demanding specialization of all, but it is not treated with the respect it deserves; and accordingly, people who in principle have the ability but also have ambition are discouraged from pursuing this as their career.

      • General practitioner. I haven’t heard that term for quite a while. The closest thing now is “Family Practice”. It brings back fond memories of my father who was a true general practitioner in medicine. As a small town and rural doctor he did many things that the urban family practitioner would not dream of doing. He gave and read electrocardiographs, delivered babies, performed minor surgery, set broken limbs and was the county coroner for many years among other things. Unfortunately, medicine was his life and he was not happy after retirement at the age of 75.

      • My doctor does come to the hospital to see to his patients who are admitted – even if under the care of specialist. And I can vouch that it is truly heartening to see him.

    • Please don’t knock “hospitalists”—I had some excellent ones when I was hospitalized repeatedly in 2015. Some took much time to listen, others tried to give me meds I told them were not allowed and just didn’t listen. They’re individuals and as such, may be very skilled or not skilled.

      Specialists are a necessary evil—you don’t want someone curing your cancer that is a GP. You need an orthopedic surgeon to repair your shattered leg. That’s reality. I understand the frustration—at one time I had 4 specialists that would disagree with each other. I enlisted my GP, very honestly saying why, to referee the 4 specialists. I will admit at the moment I just get prescription refills and gardening tips (he’s got some good ones!) from my GP, but if I need a referee, I know he’ll be there. He’s been my GP off and one for over 30 years, so he’s very familiar with my medical issues. That, to me, is the function of the GP—helping people understand what the specialists are saying and helping people understand when a specialist is needed and when one is not. I like my GP, but specialists have been vital to my recovery more than once. They can work together.

      • Yes, you do need specialists, but you are selling the GP short. He is not a mere interpreter of received wisdom. Have a look at Robert’s comment above. The GP, particularly in a rural area, will always be the first on the scene. He must deal with emergencies, but even more commonly he is the one who makes the first presumptive diagnosis, even before he refers you to the specialist. Fishing out the few patients who are in the early stage of a serious disease from the endless, mind-numbing parade of trivial flu, hangover and back pain requires astuteness and discipline. So does keeping abreast of the whole field of medicine in the evenings, after working 10 hours or more. It is a most demanding job — as with Robert’s father, only those who dedicate their life to it can do it well.

  14. It is a pity that Professor Ball spoils an otherwise solid article by starting it with an attack on Dr. Bates. Having seen the denigration and harassment that Professor Ball, even after retirement, has had to suffer for speaking out, is it any wonder that another scientist might prefer to delay before blowing a whistle.

    I noticed elsewhere “Meanwhile, McConchie advised my lawyer that the Michael Mann case that was filed after the Weaver case will go to court on February 20, 2017. I am currently advising witnesses to set the time aside.”

    Good luck Professor Ball for today’s court case. Please keep us posted as to the developments.

    • Solomon,

      “It is a pity that Professor Ball spoils an otherwise solid article by starting it with an attack on Dr. Bates. Having seen the denigration and harassment that Professor Ball, even after retirement, has had to suffer for speaking out, is it any wonder that another scientist might prefer to delay before blowing a whistle.”

      And if another of the . . participants in the alarmist cause comes forward now, with evidence that they too recently voiced concerns about this or that aspect of what was going on, are they also “off the hook” so to speak, to your mind?

      Can each in turn blow that whistle now, and we end up with nothing but heroes after all, who tried to save us from a great . . misunderstanding?

  15. Tim,

    You’re vastly over-complicating the situation.

    There’s no need for a deep understanding of the history of science and scientists to understand Bates’ tardy confession.

    The US government bureaucracy is filled with tortured souls like Bates. They have a cushy job, filled with perks, social respect, nearly unlimited power, very good pay, great health insurance, and an unbelievable pension. In return for these benefits, they just need to sacrifice their integrity and their soul. Go along to get along. Look the other way. Pretend you didn’t see that. A Faustian bargain…

    In order to maintain their sanity, these bureaucrats create complicated justifications for their inaction in the face of crimes, sins, malfeasance, misdeeds, and worse. Speaking up would mean loss of all their benefits, public approbation, character assassination, and worse.

    Look at the massive misdeeds, just recently, in the IRS, the Department of State, the CIA, the DOD, EPA, Interior, the Veterans Administration, and many, many more. Yet there are very few who speak up. Very few whistleblowers.

    Nothing to do with the history of science, or scientific specialization. Just the pitiful facts of the human condition, and human nature.

    Doing the right thing has costs and consequences.

    Bates cut a deal with the devil. He looked the other way until he was out from under the threat of retaliation. Yet, even when he spoke up, he still maintains his veil of justifications, pretending that all the other bad things were not happening. Of course he knew how corrupt his organization was. But to maintain his facade, he cannot say that. He gets his cake, and gets to eat it too!

  16. Climate scientists like political scientists and Bill Nye the science guy, use science as a marketing or persuasive tool, real scientists don’t need to include “science” in their title, Chemical scientist isn’t necessary, we know what you do.

  17. Unfortunately, they are all educated as logical positivists for whom there is only absolute truths.

    The absolute truth exists. Period. There is only one truth. What exists, exists. What has happened, has happened.

    The trouble is that the absolute truth is unknowable by us puny humans. We have to make do with approximations.

    • There is such a thing as objective reality and it is within bounds knowable.

      We now know for instance that the earth goes around the sun. That’s no longer an hypothesis, as it was when Copernicus posited it, but an observable fact.

      • That’s approximately true. It takes approximately one calendar year. It’s orbital radius is approximately 93 million miles.

  18. Modern cladistic taxonomy, based upon descent, ie shared derived traits, hasn’t entirely supplanted traditional Linnean taxonomy, which is still used in certain applications.

    The platypus and the echidnas were originally placed in the Order Monotremata of Class Primates. Recently some taxonomists have revised this Linnean classification along more cladistic lines, assigning platypus and its fossil relatives to Order Platypoda and echidnas and their fossil kin to Order Tachyglossa in Subclass Prototheria, the sister group to Subclass Theria, including both unranked clade Metatheria, ie marsupials and their extinct ancestors, and clade Eutheria, ie placentals and our ancestors.

    The evolutionary biology of monotremes was advanced by sequencing of the platypus genome in 2008 and of an echidna in progress or completed (not sure). There had been a school of thought that monotremes and marsupials were more closely related than marsupials and placentals, but this now appears not to be the case (as most taxonomists had always argued). That is, monotremes branched off from the line leading to therian mammals before the split between marsupials and placentals.

    Echidna Venom Gland Transcriptome Provides Insights into the Evolution of Monotreme Venom

    • Some have argued that Darwin’s experiences in Australia, including observing platypuses and studying a specimen shot by a colleague, at the end of his voyage on HMS Beagle, led to his discovery of evolution, but that is not the case. Nor was it in the Galapagos Islands, but at the start of his trip, in South America, particularly Patagonia. We have this on his own authority.

      Here is how Origin of Species begins:

      “WHEN on board H.M.S. ‘Beagle,’ as naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of the inhabitants of South America, and in the geological relations of the present to the past inhabitants of that continent. These facts seemed to me to throw some light on the origin of species…”

      He noted that fossil animals there are related to living species, eg sloths and rheas, although the climate and terrain were suited to species found elsewhere in the world. Biogeography is still today an important study in evolutionary biology. While his observations made sailing around the world convinced him of the reality of the then heretical hypothesis of “transmutation” of species, it was only after returning to England and reading Malthus that he hit on the insight of natural selection as an evolutionary process. Over 20 years would pass before he published Origin, however.

      • Evolution is the mother of all conclusion-first “sciences”, it seems to me. If one begins with the assumption that every living thing evolved from a common ancestor, then naturally this or that similarity in form/genetic coding (essentially the same thing, since the code determines the form), can seem like evidence that they did, but this is circular reasoning, to my mind. (Regaurdles of whether or not all living things actually so Evolved).

        Once that conclusion-first “science” was enthroned, the door was wide open to all manner of circular reasoning based “science”, and the CAGW was just a natural/inevitable result of such assumptive “science” being treated as “settled”.

      • That is not at all how the fact of evolution has been observed.

        The actual genetic changes that produce phenotypic differences can now be observed. We know for instances the mutations which led to human bipedalism and to our larger brains.

        As more and more genomes are sequenced, we can observe the degrees of relatedness of various groups, and not only the specific variations which account for physical differences but the non-coding material which shows common descent.

        The fact of evolution is better understood scientifically than is universal gravitation.

  19. As usual, a superb read and fine insights. I had been asked to take a PhD but declined after having had a protracted battle to get an MSc thesis by two readers with diametrically opposing views in theory (in geology, a magmatist and a metasomatist). Actually most geologists of practical field experience don’t see them as either or situations.

    1. I had thought Bates was “the” whistleblower Lamar Smith had back in 2015?
    2. Darwin’s failure to consider humans caused me to think, from having six children and from learning the principle ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny in paleontology (growth and development of a creature passes through the stages of its evolution: single cell to adult) that after birth of a child, it continues: 1-4 early primate, 5-8 Neanderthal, 9-18 Cro-Magnon, 19+ hopefully civilized Man.
    3. Rocket scientist is an example of your main thesis: there is no such thing.. that would be engineer. After the start of the space age, engineering became the premier discipline that even hard scientists wanted a piece of. Even laundry detergent was “engineered” in the tv ads.
    4. I’ve watched climate science learn confounding stuff that was well known in other domains. LIA, MWP, etc. I and a few others still try to teach that coral simply grows upwards when sea level rises, deltas also grow upwards with sea level rise and erode down when the level drops.
    5. A few years ago I shamefully dismissed you for being a geographer. I apologize for that and recognize your prodigious knowledge in the field and beyond. I’m a fellow Manitoban and have the sardonic streak that I’m still trying to quell.

    • Darwin lost his favorite daughter Annie at age 10 to scarlet fever and maybe TB. Two other of Charles and his Wedgwood first cousin Emma’s ten children also died young, to include their last, born five years after the preceding son Horace (KBE, FRS), Charles, who might have had Down’s Syndrome or some other genetic disorder.

      Darwin himself worried about inbreeding, but most of their kids were successful, including a number of FRSes. He studied the child psychology of his first born William, comparing his development with the orangutan babies he had already observed at the London zoo.

  20. If we are going to attack all those who come forward now, for not coming forward earlier, the only that will happen is that fewer will come forward.

    • @ MarkW
      February 20, 2017 at 6:19 am
      If we are going to attack all those who come forward now, for not coming forward earlier, the only that will happen is that fewer will come forward:.
      Hear, hear!

    • I don’t disagree with this stance but I am not excited about lionising those who are overly late to see the light.

    • the man is a coward … and he was a coward before … that is simply the truth not an attack … if you think that will cause other cowards to become brave I have a bridge to sell you … we need more brave men and women not more cowards …

  21. Climatology is a generalist discipline that requires incorporating all specialist disciplines.

    Nope, physics first, discussing actual, clear cut enigmas. The rest can wait.

    The Observed Hemispheric Symmetry in Reflected Shortwave Irradiance


    While the concentration of landmasses and atmospheric aerosols on the Northern Hemisphere suggests that the Northern Hemisphere is brighter than the Southern Hemisphere, satellite measurements of top-of-atmosphere irradiances found that both hemispheres reflect nearly the same amount of shortwave irradiance. Here, the authors document that the most precise and accurate observation, the energy balanced and filled dataset of the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System covering the period 2000–10, measures an absolute hemispheric difference in reflected shortwave irradiance of 0.1 W m−2. […] Climate models generally do not reproduce the observed hemispheric symmetry, which the authors interpret as further evidence that the symmetry is nontrivial.

    The difference in average annual clear sky reflectivity of the hemispheres is at least sixty times larger, than in their all sky reflectivity (ocean surface is much darker than land).

    It is an amazing regularity in a mindbogglingly complicated system, with no scientific explanation at all. The situation is untenable, yet, no climate scientist is interested, because it is a sui generis scientific question, neither money nor political influence is involved. Sad.

    • It helps to know Quaternary and Pleistocene geological info on climate and indeed the highs and lows of CO2 and temperature over earth history to at least constrain climate. At least it allows us to not waste time on terminal tipping points. History is a good thing to tap into, too. A painting of the “Frost Faires” on the frozen Thames is a pretty solid piece of evidence, wine grapes grown in Scotland and the farming of Greenland, too. No, in the short few years that I have been following the issue, I’ve seen climate scientists learning confounding stuff that they had to find ways to hide or ignore, stuff brought forward by specialists in other disciplines. Earth history is a big experiment that we haven’t decoded enough. Most of the answers we seek reside there.

      • You are correct that many answers are available in history, but history is a difficult tablet to decipher. What I have noticed is that climate scientists, in fact lots of people, tend to turn lessons on their head. When they might conclude that historical episodes suggest climate mechanisms we don’t fully understand at present, what they conclude instead is that these episodes tells us all about what to expect in the warm world ahead, which they use as an argument for more grant money. It is very frustrating. The “warmer world ahead” is an axiom for them.

    • Lately I have been pondering that the atmosphere and oceans contain a lot of symmetry. As you probably already know, systems containing lots of symmetry can be uncontrollable or unobservable or both. Sometimes being unobservable or uncontrollable is a trivial issue of no real importance to engineering systems; sometimes it is very important.

  22. Excellent post Dr Ball. I have found that specialization in science/engineering is often used in the wrong order. For example, to design a steam boiler, one needs a very general understanding of thermodynamics, heat transfer, materials science, structure, economics, etc. Later in the game you need some specialization, metallurgy, for example, to actually understand the very specific requirements of metal used to keep boilers from failing…a common occurrence at first. On the other hand, a metallurgist might not do a great job of designing the boiler in the first place.

    Early in my life I wanted to be a Veterinarian. Realizing this as a “stretch goal”, I contemplated what degree to obtain along the way. I chose Physics. When I had looked at all of the disciplines I could choose from, various engineering, various life sciences, various sciences, I quickly determined that Physics was an overarching line of study that could readily accommodate the myriad courses I needed for Vet school…biochemistry, organic chemistry, biology, etc, etc, along with courses that would allow me to get a job absent Vet school, calculus, various engineering (mechanical, electrical, structural, etc). If it was science related, I could pretty much add it to my Physics degree. It was a good move, no Vet school. I started out as a Fire Prevention Engineer…one of the most generalist disciplines in existence. Later on, I wanted to get into Nuclear Power…and went for a Masters in Engineering. I recall that when I applied to the school (WPI), they somewhat scoffed at having “only” a Physics degree. I thought at the time…boy, they really don’t get it. I took a couple of advanced (read specialized) engineering courses to prove my mettle…aced them…and the Dean allowed me to do as I pleased toward my MS in Engineering. Off to Nuclear Power, another extremely generalist discipline. Later on, I started an electronics company (thank you Mr. Physics Degree.)

    During all of this (I am retired now, running a 100 year old sawmill), I was continually confounded by the myriad of “specialists” that claimed to know it all (in their areas), but seriously lacking the ability to see where their area of expertise fit in with the big picture. For example, I dealt with PhD in Fire Dynamics involving a fire simulation program (ie model). Using the “state of the art” model, the PhD concluded that a specific situation involving fire exposure to control cables was unacceptable (cables failed). As the area was protected by automatic thermal actuated water sprinklers, I was a bit skeptical. I did some very general approximations, and readily concluded that the sprinklers would actuate and protect the cables. This fell on deaf ears. I then dug a bit deeper, and found that the model was incorrectly simulating radiant heat transfer exposure to the sprinklers. Begrudgingly, the PhD acknowledged this, and after spending nearly 50 grand on the vaunted model analysis, added a disclaimer that the sprinklers would actuate and save the day. The whole exercise was a colossal waste of time and money; all because the specialist forgot that he must be a generalist first.

    When I read various posts on WUWT, the more specialized the writer seems, the higher my skepticism grows. I could care less what initials follow their name, what school they did or did not go to, how many papers they wrote. All that matters is that they can coherently argue their position. In the end, nothing else is relevant.

    • +1 from a geologist, metallurgical engineer, mining engineer and economist (all in one) and all in use.

  23. “However, they mask the larger problems of our inability to describe, understand, and advance in a generalist world that has developed a research structure that glorifies specialists who know a great deal about a minuscule piece but don’t even know where it fits in the larger picture.” And that minuscule piece may not include proper research skills including proper sampling and statistical analysis.

  24. On specialization: “To know more and more about less and less is, in the end, simply to know nothing at all.”

  25. I have a small point which needs to be set in a larger context.

    Western science begins with the embrace of Aristotle and Greek empiricism in 13th century Christendom. Aristotle’s philosophy was rooted in direct observation of immutable reality through the senses. Aquinas synthesized this with Christianity, and the result set the wheels in motion for everything that followed (ref: “Aristotle’s Children”, Richard Rubinstein) Man’s gaze turned from the heavens to his surroundings, and remarkable things happened from his new understanding of his physical world. The important qualifier was that everything had to be part of the same world. There were no different “truths”. Aristotle’s simple logical demonstration that contradictory ideas could not be simultaneously true was, and is, irrefutable.

    The startling progress that followed in the next several centuries was hijacked in the early 19th century by Hegel, the grandfather of “progressives”. With a philosophical slight of hand, he nudged aside observed reality with an abstract concept, namely that progress is an inevitable consequence of the passage of time. It was an easy enough theory to advance in the West of the time, which had experienced centuries of economic, technological and (outside of war) population growth.

    The “progressive” philosophy was quickly conscripted by others who used it to justify their dialectics (narratives), the most successful of whom was Marx. From the mid 19th century onwards, the intellectual climate began to shift, at first in the Humanities, and in recent years into the science faculties. The intellectual process slowly shifted away from observation of reality to selecting facts which fit a prescripted narrative. At the same time, the concept of a truth based in observed reality was marginalized, and Aristotle’s dictum was cast aside. Now contradictory ideas could both be true, and consistency became the “hobgoblin of small minds.” (Emerson)

    Darwin was a relentless self promoter, a likely plagiarist, and someone who understood how to provoke a controversy. He understood that his theory sat in the border region betwen fact and narrative, and saw his opportunity. His continuing fame speaks to his success in seizing that opportunity. But his contribution to the larger intellectual shift is not significant.

    To return to Dr. Ball’s conclusion: “…in a generalist world that has developed a research structure that glorifies specialists who know a great deal about a minuscule piece but don’t even know where it fits in the larger picture.” This is unquestionably correct, but Dr. Ball’s earlier assertion that truth changes with time is not. If there is a root problem it is the failure to test one’s specialist hypothesis against the hypotheses of other related fields. If they yield contradictory results, they cannot both be true, and there is only one truth.

    • It seems to me that you overestimate the contribution of speculative philosophy to actual science. Aristotle was a philosopher and scientist, but the other philosophers you mention had really very little impact on science.

      A big deal used to be made of the “atomists” — the Greek philosophers that developed the idea of atoms as the smallest units of matter. The problem with this is that they just made it all up. Atoms might be round; no, others said, they are shaped like little hooks, which allows them to hold together. None of their ideas is relevant to modern science, and if the name “atom” had not been retained out of reverence, they would by now be wholly forgotten. With the exception of Aristotle and a few others — Aristarchus of Samos, Hippasos of Metapontum — the ancient philosophers took no notice of the applied physical science of the day. Balances with arms that differed in length, pressurized pipes, air guns, metallurgy — there was food for thought aplenty, but the philosophers took no notice and engaged in pure speculation instead. Getting rid of this sort of philosophy, of the misconception that the world can be understood using reason alone was the crucial step towards modern science.

    • D. P. Laurable
      “But his contribution to the larger intellectual shift is not significant.”

      And in regards to Darwin, surely there are not that many scientists whose contribution made a more significant intellectual shift.

    • D. P.,

      Aristotle was not an empiricist and most 13th century Christian philosophers weren’t either, with few possible exceptions, such as Roger Bacon.

      Modern science arose in rebellions against the authority of the ancient pagans and the Church. Copernicus, a canon, felt the need to delay publishing his heretical heliocentric theory for 36 years, until literally the end of his life. At the same time, Vesalius dared to challenge the authority of Galen.

      Your baseless assertion of plagiarism by Darwin is libelous. There is ample evidence that he formulated his theory of evolution by natural selection in 1837, if not before. Like Copernicus, he waited until publishing, although not quite as long, since he his hand was forced by Wallace’s having the same insight 20 years later.

      While the facts of evolution and natural selection are now trivial observations, in 1859 they were epochal. Few scientists have had a greater impact on thought than Darwin. Wallace could not have marshaled all the evidence that Darwin brought to bear because he had not worked on the problem for 20 years. He sent his note to Darwin because it was already widely known among naturalists that the eminent Darwin was a “transmutationist”.

      • Nor of course did Wallace ever accuse Darwin of plagiarism. Many of Darwin’s fellow naturalists were privately familiar with his theory from at least the 1840s onwards. His notebooks are irrefutable evidence of his priority in discovering natural selection. It’s more clear-cut than the case of Newton and Leibniz for inventing calculus.

      • Also, hard to be a self-promoter when you’re practically a recluse, especially after the onset of his illness. He had allies like Huxley to promote the theory of evolution through natural selection.

        What many don’t realize is that the facts of evolution and extinction were recognized long before Darwin. Evolution was called “development”, plainly visible in the fossil record to both Christian naturalists (like Darwin’s geological mentor Sedgwick) and free-thinkers alike. The issue was what caused it, ie were there natural process or did God periodically kill off some old species and create new ones, as devout scientists believed.

  26. Great article. Medicine is suffering from the same thing. So are our universities in a general sense. The word university means to find unity in diversity. We celebrate diversity for its own sake. None of the disciplines tie together. For example go to a university’s medical research department and they will tell you they are working to extend the human life span. Then go to the philosophy department and they can’t give you a compelling reason to live out the span that you have now.

    • What they are really working on in those medical departments though is extending the lifespan of mice. The problem is that nature hasn’t optimized mice for longevity yet, so it is easy to improve on nature here; with man, nature has already done most of the work, and thus very few of the tricks that work on mice will work on humans.

  27. Don’t knock whistle-blowers! These guys are crusaders for Truth!
    Are we better-off for Bates (perceived warts ‘n all), or worse-off?As to any shame that many would heap upon his shoulders, “A red-face costs you nothing so long as your inner principles stand strong.”
    The more Bates’ the better … let’s encourage them, not knock-’em!@

    • he wasn’t a whistle-blower … he was a coward who waited until there was no consequence to coming forward …

  28. OK so it is clear what Karl did.

    he did NOT have data manipulated, he did not change data himself to produce warming.

    What did he do, he changed the rating of data according to Bates. Changing the rating, upping it will by process guide scientists to use that data.
    Karl did not have the data assessed in order to attain a higher ranking. This is the misdirection used (he did not follow protocol). Thing is, what he did also ensured scientists would use data he decided should be used via his changing of the rating of said data, so the scientists did nothing wrong, karl did, he at best misled them to think data was better than it was.

    That is scientific malfeasance.

    The explainations from Karl defenders will keep saying it is all about just not following protocol, but the very act of what Karl did in not following protocol led to warmer un-assessed data being used.

    Karl intentionally did this, because you cant change the rating of data by accident.

    Case closed, malfeasance. No wonder he ran from NOAA after that paper. A leaving political present for the warmists

  29. So we can see the misdirection being used by Karl’s defenders here, they say “protocol” but wont mention the actual way in which karl broke protocol that led to warmer data being used.

    Warmists abuse language and obfuscate as Zeke has done, Zeke immediately threw some bs together the minute the story broke, in damage limitation mode.

    remember Zeke is the same guy warming data that moves down the latitudes when he should be cooling it. He hung himself out to dry on twitter with that one, debunking his own lies

  30. Thinking through things is extremely difficult for the biased and dogmatic because they suffer internal resistance to the truth if it is not palatable

  31. There has been a huge change in the scientific method over the past 50 years, which is in large part responsible for the explosion of false positives.

    Previously, replication and successful prediction was the gold standard for science. Peer review meant nothing, other than you had permission to publish – that your work might be worth reading.

    Today, peer review is held up as some sort of gold standard for science, but in reality it is meaningless. Just because some peer agrees your material might be worth reading, doesn’t mean it is correct.

    Every scientific paper should have stamped on it when published:


    • Peer review is part of a for profit operation now and the reviewing is done by folks on the public payroll and if your bucks come from government it is certainly going to affect how you review papers on climate science

    • I don’t think that many scientists have illusions about the limitations of peer review. The abuse of peer review for science propaganda is another matter. In a way, it is actually quite useful — each time someone invokes peer review like a totem or magic spell you know they are naive and clueless.

  32. Excuse me if I speak to the subject of the post, rather than the warmist smokescreen the trolls have emitted. I heard this story a long time ago, not sure where: At a great European University, perhaps in Germany or Switzerland, there was a Physical Sciences building shared by the Chemistry and Physics departments. Each science had its own wing. Where the wings met, there was a large door. That door had been locked when the building was completed and never opened in over twenty years.

  33. Oceanography literally means mapping the oceans which has gone from topography to whatever the technology thinks it can measure. Maybe instead of geography we should use the term cartography because that is what a lot of this is. Most of my education (un?)fortunately predates the modern age of specialization, so, with some affirmative action that I am still catching up on, I saw quite a bit of the evolution to specialization. Marine laboratories, with which I have a lot of experience, were conceived to bring together specialties in the broad sense, essential to understand this huge and complicated system. A marine geologist not long ago reminded me of the failure here and specialization was one of the not always stated excuses to move away from this concept.

    An early, by modern standards, but still useful textbook of mine, The Oceans (Sverdrup, et al.), may not now have possible counterparts, but it is past time for a synthesis, which may need to be done outside of the current system. Certainly putting more emphasis on geography and history back into early education would help, and the teaching of oceanography too early has resulted in, or helped cause, part of the conservation ideology that we experience.

    The morality deconstruction part is more difficult to understand, but it seems that defamation and its roots, perhaps in rumor and innuendo, have increased. I guess it went along with what was warned about and science is always susceptible.

    • To H.D. Hoese: “Certainly putting more emphasis on geography and history back into early education would help” I could not agree with you more.!!!

  34. The thing which interests me about the Bates statements is that he said far more than that protocols were not followed. Much to Mosher’s delight on these pages he then withdrew just about everything he said.

    As the great man said, why is it so? Has anybody asked Bates why? Or has he now gone completely to ground? And if he has gone completely to ground, why is that so?

    • Who knows.. Legal threats? Bates doesn’t seem the sort to just blurt out something and retract it. He just have had reasons to say what he did.

      I have seen official human reports retracted almost fully because of political pressure, like the UN’s Goldstone report for example. Humans cave to pressure but at the moment we don’t know.

      Don’t mind Mosher, he’s playing the role of cheer leader for people who actually have scientific skills because he’s a nobody. 5 seconds of talking with the guy proves that. Cut and paste merchant

    • I have to wonder if it doesn’t have something to do with where he lives. Asheville is a very leftist city. It’s a lot like Portland, OR, and called by some the San Francisco of the south. You can expect to be shunned there if you express doubts about global warming. So perhaps he had second thoughts when he realized the kick back he would receive there, and decided that he didn’t want to spend his retirement as a local pariah.

  35. In part to provide evidence to support the AGW conjecture the IPCC sponsored development of a plethora of climate models in the form of climate simulations. The fact that so many models were created is evidence that a lot of guess work was involved since ony one model can be correct. The large number of models generated a wide range of predictions for today’s global temperature. But they all have one thing in common. They have all been wrong. Apparently they hard coded in that increased levels of CO2 causes warming which really begs the question. The result was that the climate models predicted global warming that did not happen. Well either the models must be wrong or Nature in the form of actual temperature measurements must be wrong. Because to admit that AGW may not be nearly as great as previously thought might result in a reduction of the IPCC’s funding. apparently the IPCC decided that Nature was wrong and “adjusted” previously published data to fit the models. So the IPCC’s world is no longer the real world but rather a fantasy world as defined by their models. Since the IPCC has yet to reduce the number of models under consideration it is clear that they do not know what the real world really is.

    In determining the effects of global warming there is nothing more important for the IPCC then to make an accurate determination of the climate sensivity of CO2. In their first report the IPCC published a wide range of possible values. Only a single value can be the correct value. In their last report the IPCC published the exact same range of values for the climate sensivity of CO2. So after more than two decades of study the IPCC has learned nothing that would allow them to narrow the range of their guesses one iota. The IPCC also refuses to recognize the efforts of others that would indicate that the climate sensivity of CO2 must be less than the IPCC’s publiahed range of guesses. For example, one researcher found that the original calculations of the Planck climate sensivity of CO2 were too grreat by a factor of more than 20 because the original calculations failed tha take into consideration that a doubling of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere would cause a slight decrease in the dry lapse rate in the troposphere which is a cooling effect. So instead of a Planck sensivity of 1.2 degrees C for a doubling of CO2, a better value is a value of less than.06 degrees C which is a trivial amount.

    Then there is the issue of H2O feedback. The rational is that warming caused by adding more CO2 to the atmosphere would cause more H2O to enter the atmosphere. Since H2O is also a greenhouse gas, adding more H2O to the atmosphere would cause additional warming and hence amplify the climate change effects of CO2. It is true that H2O has LWIR absorption bands but H2O is also a major coolant in the Earth’s atmoshere moving heat energy from the Earth’s surface to where clouds form via the heat of vaporization. More heat energy is moved by H2O via the heat of vaporization then by both conduction, convection, and LWIR absorption band radiation combined. Evidence of H2O’s cooling effect is the fact that the wet lapse rate is significantly greater than the dry lapse rate which is a cooling effect. Also for the Earth’s climate to have been stable enough for life to evolve the feedback must be negative because negative feedback systems are inharently stable. So attenuating .06 degrees C because of H2O’s negative feedback gives us a climate sensivity of CO2 as a very small number close to zero and is in keeping with the fact that there is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate.

    At first the AGW conjecture sounds plausable but a more in detph analysis reveals major problems. The most glaring is that there in no radiative greenhouse effect upon which the AGW conjecture is based. A real greenhouse does not stay warm bacause of the action of LWIR absorbing and radiating gases but because the glass limits cooling by convection. It is a convective greenhosue effect that keeps a real greenhouse warm. So too on Earth. Gravity limits cooling by convection and, as derived from first principals, keeps the surface of the Earth 33 degrees C wamer because of the atmosphere. 33 degrees C is the calculated amount and 33 degrees C is what has been measured leaving no room for an additional radiative greenhouse effect. The Earth’s convective greenhouse effect is a function of garvity, the heat capacity of the atmosphere, and the depth of the atmosphere and has nothing to do with the LWIR absorption properties of some trace gases. The non existance of a radiant greenhouse effect anywhere in the solar system renders the AGW conjecture as science fiction.

  36. A typo perhaps, but the opposite is true re. “the wet lapse rate is significantly greater than the dry”.
    Moisture in the air reduces the dry lapse of 10ºC/km to on average 6.6ºC/km by warming the air by 3.3ºC/km.
    This deviation from the dry means that at a 10km tropopause the air is 33ºC warmer than it should be for its height (still a lot colder than the surface of course).
    Mixing of the colder air from below with the warmer air above by winds and turbulence averages out the difference to make for a potential temperature increase at the surface of 16.5ºC.
    This is not heat a heating mechanism overall as moisture is produced by evaporation which has cooled a surface somewhere by the same amount. But it helps to spread warmth around.
    I maintain that water in all its forms is a moderator of extremes of temperature on Earth by moving surplus solar energy from hot places to cool. Talk of average global temperatures is meaningless.
    Water acts as storage heater (oceans), central heating (ocean currents), insulator (ice), and air conditioning (evaporation) all in one.

    • If looking at the reduction of the moist lapse rate as seen looking downwards from 5km up and Earth’s effective temperature zone at -18C. then it appears to be a direct cooling mechanism to the surface of 17.5ºC.

      Moist: -18 + (5 x 6.5) = 14.5 at surface
      Dry: -18 + (5 x10) = 32 at surface

  37. Darwin’s work, which as Alfred Russell Wallace pointed out failed to mention humans, triggered the scientific need for data from which to produce a theory.

    How many scientific theories have been produced over the centuries that did not need data? Kepler would not have been able to produce his laws of planetary motion without access to the mass of accurate astronomical observations made by Tycho Brahe. Going even further back into the history of astronomy where did the Ptolemaic system come from? It lasted for centuries because it was sufficiently consistent with the data for it to be useful.

      • Observational data were required to confirm relativity.

        Clearly, data were required for science before Darwin. Copernicus and geocentric models both relied on the same data, but had different explanations for those observations. Correct that Kepler used Tycho’s observations to derive the eccentric orbit of Mars, for which Newton provided an explanation.

      • Yes, data were needed for confirmation, you will always need data for science (according to most common definitions) but the origin is interesting. Darwin observed lots of things, noted similarities and differences and produced his theory. Einstein thought “what if…” and pursued it to its conclusion. Special relativity is not that hard to follow (unlike general relativity) when explained, but thinking it up in the first place was hard.

      • The theory of evolution via natural selection might depend more upon particular observations than does the theory of special relativity, but even the latter thought experiment (with math) requires some reference to everyday observations and experiences.

      • Yes, Gloateus, there will always need to be data and observations, but the question was “How many scientific theories have been produced over the centuries that did not need data?”

        Given definitions of science one could argue that any theory that did not need data was not science, so the literal answer is “none”. Nonetheless, I thought the example of relativity was an interesting exception to the balance of data/theory that one usually finds in science. It was fundamental, one of the great breakthroughs, but required little data.

        It relied on an acceptance of previous theory that the speed of light in vacuum was constant. That itself is somewhat counter-intuitive. Not sure how that one was arrived at, but probably data was needed somewhere.

    • And for blue whales, which subsist almost exclusively on krill (admittedly a number of different species thereof), with some incidental small fish, crustaceans and squid.

  38. Seaice1 – just a quick note to thank you for your contributions in this thread. I don’t agree with a number of them necessarily, but I appreciated your line of thought and in particular how professionally you engaged with a large number of others who challenged your assertions. Well done. This is how we learn and overcome our own biases.

  39. The modern glorification of specialization allowed climate scientists to dominate by claiming their piece of a vast puzzle was critical. IPCC climate scientists misused specialized areas, especially in climate models, to achieve a predetermined result.

    True, but I think there are other more important factors such as:

    1) The time-scales in climatology are so long that a climatologist can be retired and dead before their work is proved definitively wrong.

    2) The computer modellers can crank out five “peer reviewed” papers while the experimentalists are still putting their lab coats on. Guess who wins the publications-war?

  40. Bates was a climate change wh-ore — taking the taxpayers’ money for his salary (and pension) was more important than being a whistleblower while a Democrat was president.

    He knew leftist politics was overriding good science at NOAA … and had the credentials to be believed if he went public … but kept quiet for too long.

    The climate change cult has created a false CO2 boogeyman to get money and power.

    Since no human can predict the future climate, those who do so MUST have an ulterior motive (such as getting attention, money and power).

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
    Edmund Burke.

    Keep up the good work on climate politics, Dr. Ball, … while the fools debate tenths of a degree “adjustments”.

  41. Why are rainforests cooler during the day? Evapotranspiration and clouds. The shielding of OLWR by upper canopy species keeps it warmer at night.

    The surface of the earth cools by evaporation during sunlit hours. This is why deserts are warm during the day. The movement of water vapor then drives circulation of air but the work done on said atmosphere is adiabatic and only latent heat is transferred.

    Yes, specialization is for insects. I am the embodiment of Lazarus Long.

  42. As always, Thank you Dr Ball. I have studied the “system” for many years as a computer tech in many offices including the government. What we see is the power of the pension. Control of the moles in the system is absolute as the public pension is the golden egg. Politicians will create any belief out of whole cloth and will get their disingenuous workers to toe the line. And if you point it out they will admit you are correct as they slip the blade in your back. I imagine Dr Ball’s back has many knife scars.

  43. If I might generalize further about the proliferation of evils…
    –Love is what’s missing. Love is the cure. WAIT! …don’t skip over this…I am serious.
    –For if people had a basic, a general definition of “love” and actually followed it, perhaps made it “law”, evils like noted in this article would begin to quickly abate. Here’s a definition with which one might start:
    Love is the humble, willing and earnest (oftentimes sacrificial) unconditional true caring for and
    cherishing of all people, and, inasmuch as one earnestly becomes more & more capable and has opportunity, attending to all aspects of the well-being & happiness of all persons –even oneself!

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