Distortions, Misdirections, and Lack of Accountability Continue to Plague Climate Science

Guest Opinion: Dr. Tim Ball

Many problems plagued climatology since climate science took over in the 1980s. Each specialist in a different area suddenly became an expert in climate and climate change. They brought their different perspectives, sometimes helpful, but usually unhelpful and even distorting. Most came for funding opportunities, but many for the political objectives. They all lack awareness that climatology is a generalist discipline. It involves putting together, in a systems approach manner, all the studies from specialists who, because they get involved in climate studies, call themselves climate scientists. This piecemeal approach reflects the problems of creating computer climate models. Modellers assemble as many facts as they think apply, or will achieve their result and then, with improper or inadequate connecting mechanisms, put together what they think represents global climate. It is as Henri Poincare said,

Science is built of facts the way a house is built of bricks; but an accumulation of facts is no more science than a pile of bricks is a house.

How we view and interpret those facts depends on our personal views regardless of the supposed objectivity claims of most scientists. One thing I learned from working with Chinese climatologists is that they see and therefore assess the world from a completely different perspective. They are aware, because of long historical records of climate and crop production, of the cyclical and widely fluctuating nature of climate.

The Greeks studied and talked about climate, in fact, the word comes from the Ancient Greek ‘klima’ meaning inclination. In other words, they knew the angle of the sun determined the climate and identified three average zones, warm, temperate, and cold. The concept of climate effectively disappears until the 20th century. At the beginning of the 20th century, weather became important, mostly through the need for accurate forecasting, but that meant it was restricted to the knowledge of the physics of the atmosphere, the definition of meteorology.

In the 20th century, people knew about meteorology and associated it with weather forecasting. This was because official forecasting began during WW I with the introduction of flying in warfare. The relationship between forecasting and meteorology continues today as all media outlets have meteorologists, not climatologists on staff. There are very few climatologists at most national weather departments. Until very recently few took any training in climate and climate change. This explains why most media and government weather people know little about climate and fall in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) deception.

It wasn’t until Hubert Lamb opened the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in 1971 and Reid Bryson established the UW-Madison Institute for Environmental Studies, now known as the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies in 1970 that climate became a focus of academic interest. Interestingly, both worked as forecasters in WW II, and both knew the limitations of forecasting. Both understood the need for long-term weather records if you were to understand the patterns and mechanisms to improve forecasting. Despite this, climate was mostly ignored and only practiced obliquely by keeping weather records that were used to determine averages. The public talked about the climate of a region or a place, but few knew, as is still true today, what the difference is between climate and weather, or meteorology and climatology.

There were a few pioneers identifying climate change, but that was on a long-term scale, such as Louis Agassiz’s identification of Ice Ages in1840, and James Croll’s seminal 1864 work on Sun/Earth relationships and climate change. Then there is a significant gap of approximately 100 years in the study of climate until Milankovitch published in the 1930s but set aside by WW II. During that time meteorology became firmly entrenched, and climate only reappeared academically post-war with Lamb and Bryson.

Over the period from 1930 to 1970 a new applied mathematical technique called statistics developed and was applied to all the social sciences. This was when the conflict developed between, the ‘hard’ sciences and the application of the scientific method and techniques to other disciplines. It was and is still very clear that most mathematicians and physicists believe that no other discipline could understand climate or climate change. The fact is that climatology, as an integrative discipline, was taught as part of physical geography.

The application of statistics across the social sciences is part of logical positivism. Wikipedia defines it as,

“…a school of philosophy that combines empiricism, the idea that observational evidence is indispensable for knowledge of the world, with a version of rationalism incorporating mathematical and logico-linguistic constructs and deductions in epistemology.”


Ludwig Wittgenstein conceived the idea at the turn of the 20th century. Wikipedia notes,

“Wittgenstein’s influence has been felt in nearly every field of the humanities and social sciences, yet there are widely diverging interpretations of his thought.

Some of the responses to this concept indicate the problem people had with its absolutism. Evan Esar said,

“Statistics: The only science that enables different experts using the same figures to draw different conclusions.”

Or mathematician and philosopher A. N. Whitehead’s observation that

“There is no more common error than to assume that, because prolonged and accurate mathematical calculations have been made, the application of the result to some fact of nature is absolutely certain.”

All this had a great influence on the study of climate change because climate is the average of weather in a place or its change over time. After WW II climate was only about averages. Then, starting in the 1960s, and in consort with other social sciences especially economics, trends became important as predictive tools. The climate at the time was in a cooling trend that began in 1940 so, using simple linear trends, they assumed this would continue. Consider this quote from Lowell Ponte’s book The Cooling.

“It is cold fact: the global cooling presents humankind with the most important social, political, and adaptive challenge we have had to deal with for ten thousand years. Your stake in the decisions we make concerning it is of ultimate importance; the survival of ourselves, our children, our species.”

Notice it applies today by changing “cooling” to ‘warming.’ The cover of the 1977 book The Weather Conspiracy said,

“What does it mean? Many of the worlds leading climatologist’s concur. We are slipping towards a new Ice Age.”


This cooler period is the one the people at the CRU and RealClimate ignored, then said there was no consensus and finally, falsely claimed, it was caused by human addition of sulfates to the atmosphere. These are the same people who later said the warming trend that began in 1980 would continue forever unless politicians took dramatic remedial action. Now, along with social sciences in general, they are ignoring the third part of statistics, variation. Every change in statistics indicates change, but you need a good understanding based on adequate data, long records, and the relationship between mechanisms and change. The IPCC does not have any of these, as their failed projections attest.

A few years ago, when hijacking airplanes was the scare of the day, I pointed out the value of geography to my students. If you take over a plane, fly in the proper direction. Go one way, and you are designated a hijacker, go the other, and you are a political refugee. Of course, the political views of the commentator distort the assessment.

Now, we have a classic example of political bias about direction in the global warming debate brought about by increased variation. Recently NASA GISS reported

“From February 2016 to February 2018 (the latest month available) global average temperatures dropped 0.56°C. You have to go back to 1982-84 for the next biggest two-year drop, 0.47°C—also during the global warming era.”


Both temperature drops need perspective to understand their significance in the global warming debate. Note that the alarmist claim of unprecedented warming in the blade of the hockey stick was that temperature rose 0.6°C in approximately 120 years. Compare that with the 0.56°C drop in two years. Add to that the fact that the range of error for the 0.6°C figure was ± 0.2°C or ± 33.3%. Here is how the IPCC report and illustrate the claim.

The global average surface temperature (the average of near surface air temperature over land, and sea surface temperature) has increased since 1861. Over the 20th century the increase has been 0.6 ± 0.2°C (Figure 1a).


Figure 1 (Source IPCC Figure 1a)

This warming became the blade of the hockey stick, a device created to prove there was a dramatic temperature increase in the 20th century. It also claimed to prove that the latter part of the 20th century was the warmest and a that a previously claimed warming known as the Medieval Warm Period didn’t exist. The IPCC claimed that human CO2 explained the overall increase in global temperatures since 1950. If that is true, then how do they explain the 0.56°C drop in just two years, while they claim CO2 levels continued to rise? You can be sure that if the temperature increased by that much, all AGW alarmists would be shouting it to the world. But we won’t hear a word because it is going in the wrong direction. We might hear a concocted response if we ask the question loud enough.

Phil Jones, Director of the CRU at the time 1000 of their emails were leaked, produced the 0.6°C figure. Jones is a hydrologist. Here is what his bio at CRU says,

· BA in Environmental Sciences, University of Lancaster (1973)

· MSc in Engineering Hydrology, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne (1974)

· PhD in Hydrology, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne (1977)

Despite this, he claims to be a climatologist in the same bio. Maybe that is the problem, because except under rare circumstances water goes in one direction, whereas temperature is always changing direction. This is the same Jones who rejected requests for his data by Warwick Hughes saying he wanted to find fault. Hughes’ objective was, as with people’s requests for Michael Mann’s material, the desire to carry out the standard scientific test of producing reproducible results. This is the same Jones who claimed extreme distress over the leaked emails. Here is what The Guardian reported.

“Jones, who told the Sunday Times he had considered suicide over the controversy caused by the release of the emails, said he could not comment on allegations that the university mishandled requests for his data under Freedom of Information Laws.”


Why did he consider suicide when he claimed he had done nothing wrong? This is the Jones who, when finally cornered, announced he had lost the data.

This is the same Jones who in the leaked emails wrote,

“PPS Our web server has found this piece of garbage – so wrong it is unbelievable that Tim Ball wrote a decent paper in Climate Since AD 1500. I sometimes wish I’d never said this about the land stations in an email.”

My chapter in “Climate Since AD 1500” was good because I am a climatologist. My “piece of garbage” was also good for the same reason, but now it didn’t fit the direction he was taking. He changed direction, not me; just as the temperature data is changing because of natural climate change. The increased variability is associated with natural changes that presage global cooling. Meridional flow increases, and variation increases as all variables change. Jones analysis was wrong because he is a specialist in hydrology, not climatology and the politics destroyed his objectivity.

170 thoughts on “Distortions, Misdirections, and Lack of Accountability Continue to Plague Climate Science

  1. One problem is that the IPCC figure 1 chart is substantially cooked (or Jonesed?), reducing the variability of the instrumental record, and making the correlation with GHGs stronger.

  2. I would argue it differently:
    The need for research funding for his group is what destroyed Phil Jones’ and his colleagues’ objectivity. That the politics of anthropengic CO2 as a convenient culprit, and contrived solutions were aligned with the Left’s and environmentalists objectives certainly helped.

    • For example: the global cooling alarmism of the 1970’s was considered a natural phenomenon whose only anthropogenic solutions including building more nuclear power, digging more coal, drilling for oil in offshore and Arctic reserves. Not exactly an environmentalist’s idea of a good situation.
      But in early 70’s scientists were stuck with global cooling, because well global temps were objectively getting colder.
      But scares like the coal-Acid Rain, CFC Antarctic ozone hole, and now CO2-AGW are anthropogenic and argue for control measures being imposed on human economic behavior. Which aligns with the rapid movement of the Left toward more Marxist style state control of the economies and peoples behavior.

      • That is a key distinction: if it’s natural, one can’t change it; and that is why blaming it on humans is the way to gain control.

      • Yeah, doesn’t it suck when people are held accountable for their actions and effects? So unfair, only Marxists would promote such an idea. We all know that the Market takes care of all social and environmental problems as long as it’s not regulated. The Market loves us and cares for us and will protect the planet and humanity so we don’t have to do anything but buy more stuff. Amen.

        • The market cares about waste and efficiency. The entire operation of the market is to minimize waste and increase efficiency.

          In contrast, planned economies lead to increased waste and reduced efficiencies. Compare East and West Germany at reunification.

          Stalin and Mao were Marxists leaders. They killed the better part of 100 million people and were never held accountable.

          In contrast, the market has raised billions of people out of poverty and currently has many billions of people living better lives than the kings and queens of just a few hundred years ago.

          • Ferd,

            The market doesn’t “care” about anything.

            You all are misunderstanding me if you think I’m a Marxist – I’m sick of the Left being called Marxist! I’m a liberal and I’m a capitalist. However, I don’t think unregulated markets are the answer precisely because the market doesn’t care and people can’t be relied on to care, and as a result 10% of Americans own 75% of the wealth. The market has raised people out of poverty, yes, and also leaves millions in poverty. We have the highest incarceration rate in the world, an opioid epidemic (now there’s a market winner!), and schools that haven’t seen a funding increase in 10 years. I’m a capitalist who believes it’s not healthy for a nation for power and wealth to accrue in the hands of a few, and for millions to be left behind. Equal opportunity is a great concept, but it’s no more realistic than equal outcome (which I don’t advocate!).

        • “Yeah, doesn’t it suck when people are held accountable for their actions and effects? So unfair, only Marxists would promote such an idea. ”
          Are you kidding? When a Marxist ever promoted accountability? Accounting is evil for a Marxist, and for a reason.

          “We all know that the Market blah blah blah”.
          The market doesn’t exist as some sort of entity with some goal, willpower, or whatever. We, human, are the market, when we willingly exchange stuff, and an exchange is obviously totally neutral for social and environmental issues. So blaming the market for anything is just BS, promoted by people who want to switch blame for their action on someone else. Marxist do that, and for a reason, too.

          • “We, human, are the market, when we willingly exchange stuff, and an exchange is obviously totally neutral for social and environmental issues.”

            What? Why obviously? Why neutral?

            When you are wealthy, you can afford to make choices. You can shop according to your conscience. The poor don’t have those choices, and the exchange is not

            We are not the market. The market is a structure full of sources and sinks and feedbacks too complicated for people to manage, which is why we have recessions. We are not the market because the market is controlled by supply and demand, and we don’t always have power over that. We are not the market because the market has no ethics of its own, people have to choose to have them. The capitalist ethic is to make money, even if it comes at a social and environmental cost.

            And money means power – the power to legislate for the good of the rich rather than society or the environment.

            I’m a capitalist because I think it’s the best system, but that doesn’t mean its flawless.

        • In Kristi’s world, where ever that may be. Nothing good ever happens unless someone from government orders it.
          If you are offended by the actions of a company, stop shopping their and try to convince your neighbors to join in the boycott.

          Unfortunately for Kristi and those like her, very few people get incensed at the same things she does, so these boycotts don’t work. Kristi then declares that her failure to change the behavior of companies is evidence of market failure which only government diktat can cure.

          • MarkW seems to fantasize about me a lot, letting his imagination run wild. It’s kind of creepy.

        • Oh Kristi, who is it you want to save? Feel like you’re on a mission of global consequence?

          Those are called, “Delusions of Grandeur”.

          Or maybe you just wish to pilfer other people’s pockets and need a convenient little framework to ‘justify’ doing it, and not look so much like a total crook?


          • Yeah, doesn’t it suck when people are held accountable for their actions and effects?

            You’ve convinced me Kristi — I have to submit myself to account for my sins. I admit, I’ve been driven & drove to & from many places over my lifetime. And even heated/cooled my house, bought stuff that needed energy to produce, consumed red meat, and on & on. So I now have to find a way to make amends for the theoretical billionth of a degree C that I’ve personally caused.

          • WXcylcles, you obviously know absolutely nothing about me and you’re just making yourself despicable with your insults.

          • Yes Kristi, I don’t know you at all, so I go by the bitter narrow-minded neo-communist nonsense that you just wrote, and the prior, and hold up a mirror to you.

        • Kristi, the market loves you more than a Venezuelan bureaucrat does. It’s all relative.

        • “care of all social and environmental problems”

          1) What the hell is a “social problem”?

          2) Environment problems, you mean pollution, right? Which pollution?

        • The alternative to “the market”
          giving people the products and services they want is
          government bureaucrats “running” an economy.
          Where has that worked well?
          Your comment makes me think about
          the old fashioned words “ding – bat”.

    • There was an anthropogenic aspect to global cooling, ie from pollution darkening the air.
      But alarmists couldn’t blame all global cooling on manmade pollution. You just can’t beat blaming CO2 for “dangerous”, actually natural warming, however, since you get to tax breathing.

    • An English comment: The clause “He changed direction, not me” actually means “He changed direction, but he didn’t change me.” What the writer wants is “He, not I, changed direction.” Excellent article, but misuse of objective or nominative case always gets my attention.

  3. Climate Scientists like Jones make a fundamental error. The object in using statistics is to try to explain variation. Instead they try to explain means or trends. They cannot explain variation.

    • The object of statistics is an attempt to understand what is random and what is not.

      • Variation (and standard) has distinct mathematical operations depending on the nature of the underlying distribution. Such distinctions are lost of the public when one discusses variation.
        Science and maths communicates best when it is offerred to most adults as a child’s explanation to the ever present , “why.”
        In a similar vein, the “what is space?, “What is time?”questions are best answered child like unless you are ready to dive in Einstein’s GR.
        Time: so that everything that can happen, doesn’t happen all at once.
        Space: so that everything that can happen, doesn’t happen in the same place.

  4. @ Dr. Tim Ball,
    After your disparagement of nearly every living human being in your first paragraph, I skipped the rest of your post.

    • I don’t see anything nasty in the first sentence. It reflects accurately how the msm treated everyone with any expertise in anything who proclaimed on climate science, especially if they proclaimed doom. An example: an expert in ancient kangaroo droppings became an instant climate scientist in Australia.

    • u.k. It is sad that you chose to do that and shows rather a closed mind.
      I can’t really see how you found it to be so disparaging.

      • “u.k. It is sad that you chose to do that and shows rather a closed mind.
        I can’t really see how you found it to be so disparaging.”
        The scientific community was accused of political or profit motivation among other things. That first paragraph reeked of conspiracy irrationality.
        Of course you won’t see it as disparaging, if it reflects the way you see the world.

        • If you are going to be a troll on this site it would pay to show a little more intelligence. You are about the dumbest troll I have struck on this site.

      • u.k., that depends on why they visit WUWT. If they only goal is to whine and distract …

    • u.k. (US)
      Great. I fully support getting clown & idiots out of client science (psychologists to the head of the line).
      I doubt this included “nearly every living human being” (except yourself, of course).

    • @ uk …feeling a bit ultra sensitive today? I had to go back and read the first paragraph to see what I had missed. Only to find that I did not miss anything.

      • u.k.(us),
        I too felt compelled to go back and read the first paragraph. While it might be accurate to say that Ball is disparaging those who call themselves climatologists, they are a very small fraction of the world’s population. Yes, I think that you “embellished,” but that really didn’t contribute anything to the discussion. Hyperbole is usually used to elevate the emotional content, while doing little for objectivity.

      • @
        Alan Tomalty,
        I’ll try my best to explain myself, but you need to ask a direct question.
        I think I know what you are getting at, but you need to come right out and say it.
        No worries, this is only the internet.
        Choose your words carefully.

      • “u.k.(us) May 28, 2018 at 9:02 pm
        Alan Tomalty,
        I’ll try my best to explain myself, but you need to ask a direct question.
        I think I know what you are getting at, but you need to come right out and say it.
        No worries, this is only the internet.
        Choose your words carefully.”

        Flat out falsehoods mixed with vague threats; a techn called logical fallacies.
        ugk is here solely to distract, demean and obfuscate.

  5. A lot of things that I would like to drum into a warmy when they harp on about someone not being a climate scientist eg Peter Ridd despite more knowledge of the biology and local sea temperatures than someone like Phil Jones.
    Another is proxies that you hint at. This comes from social science and is a substitute for a direct measure of a property of human personalities that can’t be measured. While temperatures are measured using another property eg length or voltage, its where you are certain that dependence on other variables is less than the precision required and you can do a proper calibration. The “calibration” used for proxies are well short of that and people need to be reminded how similar it is to social sciences.
    I would like to point out that even GTA from thermometers is a proxy reconstruction, especially land. The result is heavily dependent on a poor record, both temporal and spatial, and the mean of minimum and maximum temperatures of an instrument just above the ground is not even close to an intrinsic property while infilling for missing data is done using a method developed for a proper intrinsic property.

  6. “This piecemeal approach reflects the problems of creating computer climate models.”
    …that and a temperature history that has been rigged to shop more warming than there has been
    When you cool the past to get a greater slope….and then use those numbers in the models…of course you’re going to get more warming than what is real….
    Speaking of linear…..the models are exactly inline with the slope the past has been cooled to

    • The failure of CO2-GHGE theory is more fundamental than that graphic.
      Surface warming by itelf is not exclusive to CO2GHG Effect. The theory is modeled in radiative transfer equations of supercomputer GCMs. The emergent GHE prediction from the CMIP3 ensemble was for about a 1.3 ratio of tropical mid-troposphere warming to surface warming,. That prediction is exclusive to GHE theory. The observation though has been about 0.8.
      Other explanations of observed surface station temperature increases must be considered. UHI effect contamination of the data and modern era increasing removal/loss of rural station data should be at the top of the lost.
      Folks like Nick S. and Steve M point out that the past is actually warmed in the adjustments. All that argues the UHI contamination of the data set is far worse than the level of corrections suggest.
      As for stratospheric cooling predicted by GHE, that can also occur under decreaseing solar EUV/UV and declining ozone. So that observation (stratospheric cooling) is not a conclusive fingerprint of GHG effect.

      • “Folks like Nick S. and Steve M point out that the past is actually warmed in the adjustments”
        I heard them say the adjustments cool the record………
        Well of course it does…..when UHI adds 10 degrees…and you only adjust .5 degrees…..you can claim the adjustments cool the record

      • Warming the past allows for future adjustments.
        And warming the past reduces the that UHI Effect contamination introduces.
        The UHI contamination in the data sets is likely far worse than they let on.

      • Something that never gets discussed is that evaporation and sublimation are accelerated by the kinetic energy of wind. That is, apparent cooling varies with windiness. It doesn’t affect the total heat content of Earth, but it does affect local temperatures and, because only surface temperatures are used for computing global averages, we don’t get a complete picture of the movement of heat. Lest someone complain that wind is a negligible factor, I would remind you that the alarmists are pinning their hopes for the future on wind farms. Wind is just another factor that doesn’t get addressed in climate models except as the result of ‘climate change.’ It is treated as a dependent variable instead of an independent variable.

      • Clyde,
        One word: advection.
        It is the key component in tropical systems extracting energy from a warm ocean water surface. The very essence of ocean:atmosphere interface and energy transfer.

      • joelobryan,
        My understanding of the definition of “advection” is the lateral movement of heat. I was speaking to the processes of evaporation and sublimation, which encompasses the removal of water molecules from the surface, thereby increasing the relative humidity of the overlying air and simultaneously cooling the surface. Strictly speaking, the vertical exchange of energy at a boundary is convection.

  7. … Lack of Accountability …

    Not only are they not accountable, they are encouraged and rewarded.
    If they did the same crap in other industries, their careers would be over, they might even be in jail.

  8. Nearly all the cool scientific discoveries have already been made. What is left is mostly grunt work or things that are extremely difficult. Otherwise they would have been discovered already. We have several orders of magnitude more scientists than at any time in history, and many orders of magnitude more money thrown at science. The result is that the number of journals has multiplied many times and there is a huge number of articles being published daily that nearly nobody reads.
    Given the huge number of scientists one would expect several Darwins, Newtons, and Einsteins, and great discoveries being made very often. Quite the contrary there appears to be a dearth of great scientists and great discoveries. At least in relative terms compared to the huge size that the modern science machine has achieved.

    • Gresham’s Law of money applies to science funding. Bad science drives out good.
      There have been some advances in the Era of Big Science, but not commensurate with expenditures. Much of what has been accomplished has been in applied science or technology.
      IMO, in your field, molecular biology, understanding has improved greatly since the term was coined in 1938 (especially after the War, with the structure of DNA and the Central Dogma), but proportionately less so since 1978, ie the second half of its history, starting with Altman in ’78 and Cech in ’81 (catalytic RNAs).
      Confirmation of the Big Bang theory in 1964 (cosmic microwave background radiation) and apparent discovery of accelerating expansion of the universe in the 1990s were pretty big deals, as was the Higgs boson.
      Among today’s too numerous scientists, there are people as smart as Copernicus, Vesalius, Kepler, Galileo, Steno, Newton, Lavoisier, Hutton, Faraday, Pasteur, Darwin, Maxwell, Rutherford, Einstein, Planck, etc, but, as you note, most of the great, easy discoveries have been made. There are still great, fundamental discoveries out there, but they are harder.

      • Moore’s law points out that computers continue to get better, faster, more efficient, cheaper, etc. etc. in an exponential way.
        Eroom’s law points out that drug discovery is becoming slower and more expensive over time, despite improvements in technology.

      • Commie,
        The easy drugs have been found, often by hit and miss trial and error.
        Directed evolution and other synthetic biology techniques promise improved drug discovery. But we’ll see.
        Are there scientific question which will never be answered? Maybe. Some think the fate of the universe is known, given its apparent mass, but I’m not so sure. But even if that be “settled”, the issue of an infinity of universes might not be subject to confirmation or falsification, ie by the scientific method. At least one other universe however might be detectable.
        We might some day know what gravity is and of what spacetime is made, if anything. We’re getting close to the origin of life, at least showing which pathways are feasible, whether it actually occurred that way in the solar system or not.

      • Eroom’s law doesn’t apply to genetic manipulation (i.e. CRISPIN) of the immune system to combat illness/disease. These types of therapies aren’t classified as “drugs.”
        Time for a new law don’t you think?

      • Javier,
        Yes. Discoveries are waiting to be made, but it will in most cases cost much more to make each one, especially with so much squandered on phony “science”.
        Thought experiments on the backs of envelopes have less scope now.

      • Felix May 28, 2018 at 5:44 pm
        … so much squandered on phony “science”.

        The enterprise is organized in such a manner that bad science is the rule.

        Research is currently organized in a way that amplifies, rather than alleviates, peer pressure: Measuring scientific success by the number of citations encourages scientists to work on what their colleagues approve of. Since the same colleagues are the ones who judge what is and isn’t sound science, there is safety in numbers. And everyone who does not play along risks losing funding.
        As a result, scientific communities have become echo-chambers of likeminded people who, maybe not deliberately but effectively, punish dissidents. And scientists don’t feel responsible for the evils of the system. Why would they? They just do what everyone else is also doing. link

        Publish or perish. If you don’t publish enough and in the right journals there’s no way you’re getting tenure. That means your career is over.
        The gatekeepers for getting published are the journal editors. They are looking for interesting results. There’s no punishment for being wrong though.
        So, we have an oversupply of PhDs who are desperate to publish. They have to produce interesting findings. There’s no punishment for being wrong. What do you think is going to happen?

    • “Nearly all the cool scientific discoveries have already been made.”
      I don’t buy this.
      The lack of exceptional scientists is more a direct result of 100 years of Mar&ist infiltration into western education. With that infiltration comes the removal of true critical thinking outside the box and the implant of social awareness and being inside the box.

      • (Hit post inadvertantly)
        “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.”
        – Lord Kelvin, circa 1900.

    • Javier,
      Every time I have started thinking like over the past 40 years…

      Nearly all the cool scientific discoveries have already been made. What is left is mostly grunt work or things that are extremely difficult. Otherwise they would have been discovered already.

      I turned out to be wrong,… Apart from the fact that the things that seemed extremely difficult turned out to be low-hanging fruit… with the benefit of hindsight… 😎

    • I disagree Javier. Even though for example 50% of all medical studies are fraudulent or false; the other 50% vastly outnumber the medical studies in the past. Same thing for patents. Same for nearly all other disciplines. The number of good papers was skyrocketing until climate science started to infect all of science in the last 30 years. We must bring back DDT, get rid of the ridiculous ozone law and regulations(it was all bunk) and of course get rid of this stupid global warming fiasco. Doing these 3 things will save many lives and gobs of money and get science back on track. Sadly the greens have put the world at the edge of a precipice.

      • “The number of good papers was skyrocketing until climate science started to infect all of science in the last 30 years.”
        Gosh, so many gullible, easily led scientists! All of science is now out of step with the wise folk here eh?
        Shame, I say, shame!

        • All of science is now out of step with the wise folk here eh?
          apparently not all are wise.

          The corruption of science is no different than corruption anywhere.

          For example, start up a company that stands to make a trillion dollars if the government minister decides X.

          Place 49% of the shares in an offshore lawyers trust payable to the great grandchildren of the government ministers great grandmother.

          Secretly give the minister the details off the offshore trust and no-one else. Wait for the decision X, giving you 51% of a trillion dollars.

        • The problem is probably a result of perverse incentives and groupthink. link The result is that, when replication is attempted, the vast majority of published research findings are found to be false.

          Mistakes are sometimes only uncovered when drug companies sieve the literature for possible therapeutic leads. A scientist at Amgen tried to repeat 53 promising studies he had come across; he managed to reproduce just six. link

          The problem did not start with climate science however climategate was the time when many people twigged on to the rot pervading science in general.

    • Javier,
      Might it be because in the past only the brightest were encouraged to go on to college, while today everyone is encouraged. The number of scientists may be greater than ever, but they are people who in the past might have been tradesmen and craftsmen instead of scientists.

      • 53 years ago I entered undergraduate school at one of the top engineering and schools in the US with 500 others. 250 of us graduated. It was difficult and most fransferred or flunked out. Today my alma mater is not even ranked in the top 10. My quarterly from the school is enough to make one sick with liberal, politically correct crap. Lots of new scientists with poor educations. The educational system is geared to make everyone successful at graduating and getting their money, not at educating anyone. Even the factors used to evaluate schools are ridiculous. I don’t really care if the school ranks high in multiculturalism for instance.

      • Spelling was also not that important, as you can see and it was a science and engineering school.

      • Ah, I think you’re onto something – and the really bright people today spend their time talking nonsense to each other on WUWT.
        Now I see where the world is going wrong!

        • It looks like we have another troll. Why do they even visit this site. Shows how pathetic they are.

      • I’ve been here before. I just like to drop in on you boys occasionally to make sure you’re tucked up snug in your little ghetto talking nonsense to each other. You can’t do much harm here.

      • I see that the quality of trolls is falling all the time. They are finding it increasingly difficult to defend cagw so they continually try to derail threads.

      • It’s amusing that people who support sites that ban anyone who disagrees with the narrative, come to places like this to tell us how big an echo chamber we are.
        Self awareness is lost on trolls.

      • His mama told him life was like a box of chocolates, I’m sure. You need to have been around for a while to understand what liberalism has done to our educational system and science in general. Plus, then you must have the mental capacity to to absorb what you see.

      • Jack Davis,
        You have completed your obligatory patronizing. Now please go away unless you actually have something to contribute other than snarky insults that, in your mind, demonstrates your moral and intellectual superiority.

    • Javier,
      Likewise, where have the superb classical musicians gone, when they were supposed to continue the early excellence of Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Chopin?
      Even more, where have the fine painters gone?
      Maybe it boils down to a lack of proper education of the quite young generation.
      It is hard to believe that the child prodigy has really gone extinct because of global warming. Geoff

      • I’ve always though that the great musicians of the second half of the 20th century have dedicated to popular music, where money is to be made. A Mozart born in 1962 might have ended up in a rock band taking a name like Jon Bon Jovi.
        Same with painters. They are painting what their patrons (the art investment market) demand. Unlike in music, the taste of the art market has evolved differently than popular taste. But that is because the art is still bought by rich people, while music is now bought by common people.

      • Geoff and Javier,
        I think that when the music historians of the future look back on this century they will see the background music of Hollywood movies as being the equivalent of the operatic music of old, and names like John Williams will be held in high esteem.

    • Javier sez:
      “Nearly all the cool scientific discoveries have already been made.”
      I wrote an article on productivity for my economics newsletter
      a few years ago — looking at productivity-enhancing inventions.
      There’s no doubt we’ve had a productivity slowdown in the past 20 years,
      but the next generation of great inventions could come this decade
      based on artificial intelligence. I’m optimistic.
      The internet was, at first, a productivity enhancement,
      but the effect was short-lived — perhaps people began wasting
      time at work on the internet / social media?
      Perhaps the ease of making revisions to work documents
      slowed the writing process?
      I used to write my economics newsletter (since 1977)
      in one draft, using a typewriter. Rarely retyped a page
      because that was too much work!
      Now I use a computer, and have to resist writing more
      than two drafts — maybe the writing is a little better now,
      but using the computer takes me longer than using
      an old-fashioned typewriter!
      My climate blog:

    • Nearly all the cool scientific discoveries have already been made.
      nope. there are an infinite number of cool scientific discoveries to be made and we have only discovered 0.000 percent of them.

      For example, why can’t we shield against gravity?

    • Given the huge number of scientists one would expect several Darwins, Newtons, and Einsteins, and great discoveries being made very often.
      the first human to pick up a burning stick and recognize the potential made perhaps the biggest leap in science and human development, yet remains unknown.

      Why did it take so long afterwards to make the steam engine?

  9. “Despite this, he claims to be a climatologist in the same bio. Maybe that is the problem, because except under rare circumstances water goes in one direction, whereas temperature is always changing direction.”
    Understanding temperature would require two PhDs.

    • Understandstanding climate temperature set adjustments through the decades requires a degree from Hogwarts U..

  10. Dr. Tim Ball — You missed the main player in climate and climate change, the World Meteorological Organization. They brought several documents including “Climate Change” in 1966 by eminent meteorologists from world meteorological departments. IPCC formed to serve the political interests while WMO served the science.
    There are several scientists who worked on sun and moon impacts on weather.
    Weather is a part of traditional Indian Astrology — every new year they present what will in store in terms of rainfall and crop production.
    Andhra University in Visakhapatnam/Waltair has full pledged Meteorology & Oceanography department prior to 1960s.
    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

    • IPCC was formed in 1988… Does anybody know if James Hansen had a hand in it?. His speech to congress about global warming was in the summer of 1988. Richard Feynman had died in February 1988 and that gave Hansen the go ahead to try and convince Congress of this hoax. He wouldn’t have dared if Feynman was still alive. The world needs another Feynman.

      • Where does this myth that Feynman would have backed you guys arise? He was a stickler for intellectual honesty – you self deception wouldn’t have persuaded him for a second. You have no right to hijack him from the grave.

      • Feynman’s sister is a CACA skeptic.
        So would her brother have been, since the CACA hypothesis has been repeatedly shown false.
        He was a stickler for the scientific method, of which CACA flies in the face.

      • No it doesn’t! And yes he was – he had no time for drivel. And I’ve never voted the same way as my sister – though I still love her.

      • Studying and actually understanding science is just self deception. Interesting view of the world you got there.

      • Well Mark, if you were aware you are not understanding it correctly that would be wilful misunderstanding. Let’s just say you’ve been misled. As Zazove says, this site is an interesting anthropological study.

        • In other words, since I don’t agree with the people you agree with, I don’t understand science.
          Yes Jack, we are already aware that you hold yourself up as the standard against which all “science” must be measured. Anything you disagree with isn’t science.
          Quite being a troll and try to learn something for once.

      • How do you know how your sister voted, Jack?
        I had to laugh at the controversy that sprung up about the claim about how Hillary lost the election because conservative husbands and sons made their wives and sisters and mothers vote for Trump. And I wondered how that worked since each person goes into the voting booth alone and so noone but that person really knows how they voted. So I was just wondering how you knew how your sister voted. Maybe there is something I’m missing.

        • Liberals find it impossible to believe that people don’t agree with them for worthy reasons.
          It has to be some form of coercion.
          Liberals also believe that the color of your skin or whether you have an X or Y chromosome determines how a person is supposed to think and feel.

          When the KKK did that, they called it racism and sexism.

      • That is not true. Voyagers and advisors to rulers used weather predictions ancient world. Based on such data the modern weather forecasting was built.
        The fact is he nowhere referred WMO which has excellent reports prepared by top meteorologists from national meteorological departments.
        Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

      • I was being facetious, and I meant to say WW1. I’m sorry, but he did say something to that effect. Dr Ball’s history lesson was hilariously shallow and self serving. This site is a hangout for the self-deluded.

      • Getting supplies to Europe from North America during WW 1 and WW 2 also helped spur weather forecasting.
        The growth of aviation played a big role as well.

  11. Dr Ball – good article. I find it useful to consider some very simple – if complex – concepts:
    Weather is what is happening outside in an area of interest at the moment usually temperature, wind, precipitation and/or humidity of whatever else is important at the moment. Weather change is a change in any or all of those things;
    Climate is the sum of all weather (never mind that the units don’t match) in any area of interest. and climate change is the sum of all climate over any time period of concern.
    This doesn’t really simplify things much but it puts many of the issues into focus – for me.

    • Climate was originally thought of as the typical weather in a particular region of the world. That’s the origin of the term. But now it’s also thought of as the average weather of the whole world during some period of time, typically three decades at a minimum out to 4.5 billion years.
      In Earth’s history, its climate has been everything from a global ocean of molten rock to near worldwide seas of solid water ice. We’re presently in a less cold interval in one of the coldest periods of the past 580 million years.

  12. Re: “Distortions, Misdirections, and Lack of Accountability Continue to Plague Climate Science”
    I disagree. They are not a plague. Distortions, Misdirections, and Lack of Accountability Are The Core Of Climate Science.

  13. Dr. Ball,
    I disagree that the concept of climate disappeared until the 20th century. In his “Notes on Virginia” (1782), Thomas Jefferson wrote:
    “A change in our [Virginia] climate is taking place very sensibly. Both heats and colds are becoming much more moderate within the memory even of the middle-aged. Snows are less frequent and less deep. They do not often lie, below the mountains, more than, one, two, or three days, and very rarely a week. They are remembered to have been formerly frequent, deep, and of long continuance. The elderly inform me, the earth used to be covered with snow about three months in every year. The rivers, which then seldom failed to freeze over in the course of the winter, scarcely ever do so now.”
    TJ was writing in a balmy interlude between the Maunder and Dalton Minima.
    In the 19th century, the existence of ice ages (Agassiz and Buckland) was recognized and explanations for them advanced (French Adhemar & Scot Croll), which would influence Milankovitch in the 20th century. IMO, the 19th century was the most important in the history of climatology, thanks to the discovery of very warm and very cold intervals in the past, with the recognition of geologic time from the mid- to late 18th century (Buffon and Hutton).

    • I was chuckling all the way through Dr Ball’s article. His simplistic cherry picking of history undermined his arguments rather well. Good to know I’m not the only one to see that, though it appears we’re rather few here.

      • One thing I’ve noticed with all of Jack’s posts. He never bothers to refute anything.
        It’s easy to assume that even Jack knows that he can’t refute the articles.

  14. Dr. Ball I agree with everything you wrote except for 1 thing.
    You wrote
    “because except under rare circumstances water goes in one direction,”
    Water goes in 3 directions. It goes from the oceans to the atmosphere by evaporation and then back to the land or ocean by condensation and then back to the oceans via all the great rivers of the world.
    Another point I would like to make is that the soft sciences like the social sciences (climate science included) and even medicine lost their way when they allowed their statistical tests to be 2 sigma instead of the 5 sigma that physics requires. The editor of Lancet said last year that 50% of all medical studies are fraudulent or false.
    i believe that there are 2 reasons for this The 1st is that peer review has become pal review and the cost of reproducing a study is too large and nobody wants to spend the money. The 2nd reason is that once one study gets accepted that was based on 2 sigma and another study uses that 1st study to validate its 2 sigma conclusions and the process goes on ……………adinfinitum; it isnt too long before you have junk.
    The 4th point I would like to make is that even though engineers use models; they have to validate their constructions based on smaller structures and other manufacturers and researchers conduct real world tests to validate the models. Climate science was the 2nd science in history that couldn’t validate its models by real world testing. Meteorology was the 1st one. In meteorology’s defense I will argue that they only try to predict 10 days ahead whereas climate science tries to predict 10 decades ahead. And meteorology isn’t insisting that we tax carbon as a result of their bad predictions. Yet climate science is insisting we tax breathing as a result of their bad predictions.

  15. I grew up believing in Merlin Olsen, Evil Conival, and John Glenn.
    Now there is only a heads down blob of shit. The war was lost, our paradigm failed.
    Back to the drawing board.

    • The thought came thru, now to work on the spelling (Knievel), and the curse words just make you sound like a…….. poser.
      So, back to the drawing board, indeed.

  16. Small corrections:
    – Napoleon charged his staff with finding a way to forecast the weather for his military campaigns and they did so. I believe the little guy was credited with this develooment.His chef also invented canned food to make his military machine faster moving. I’ve looked for a link but the swoon in education seems to have buried this fact.
    -Paleoclimate was taught to geology students as part of paleontology and sedimentary petrology when I studied (at U of Manitoba) in the 1950s and long before that. Its precisely why real geologists (not today’s ‘environmental optionees’ in ‘earth science’ – itself an apellation that seems to have melded with with social sciences). I once hired a geology graduate student who informed me later that she hadnt taken the mineralogy option! It’s like a chemist skipping study of the periodic table of the elements.

    • Gary,
      Blame the college for making mineralogy an option instead of a requirement.

  17. If “Climate Scientists” could state the relationship between the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere and the Average Surface Temperature of the Earth, they would have done it a long time ago to the satisfaction of everyone. The physics of this problem are, as my 8th grade math teacher Mr, Hanson, said, “non-trivial.” In point of fact the relationship cannot be calculated present-day. Attempts at Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity or Transient Climate Sensitivity all assume that all increase in temperature since 1880 or so are due to CO2.
    Once again, more CO2 at TOA increases the altitude at which the atmosphere radiates to space, decreasing the temperature at which the atmosphere radiates to space, increasing the heat content of the atmosphere, but nobody knows how much. This is a concise and accurate assessment of the heat content of the atmosphere.
    Anyone care to contradict me? Stokes??? Mosher??? Kristi what’s her name???
    I said this a couple three years ago here, why all this debate?

    • If they would just admit there is no such thing as “average surface temperature ” and that is a made up construct then no one would really care what it is.

  18. I’m figuring your ‘piece of garbage’ was in fact a ‘piece of garbage’! I’ve got the evidence of this piece to inform my guess.
    “One thing I learned from working with Chinese climatologists is that they see and therefore assess the world from a completely different perspective. They are aware, because of long historical records of climate and crop production, of the cyclical and widely fluctuating nature of climate.”
    So Western climatologists are not fully studied in climate fluctuations going rather further back than the time mankind first started planting crops? Your example points up the incredibly shallow character of your analysis.
    The Chinese are fully onboard with the inarguable facts of climate change, and understand that we are its current main driver. China is as proactive as other nations in taking steps to avert disaster – a better world citizen than America under Trump and Pruitt.

    • China signed on to the Paris accord. That has been and continues to be the total extent of their proactivity. In the meantime they continue to build about 1 new coal plant per week in China, and are busy planning and building new coal plants in the energy-deprived countries in Africa. It is a stunning strategy to not only help out the poor in Africa by providing them with cheap, abundant energy, but also to gain new political friends in those African nations. And to H*ll with the AGW myth.

    • Jack seems tp ne a sort of parrot bot, repeating talking points that no one who understands language, facts or reason would say.

    • The Chinese have agreed to do nothing about their CO2 emissions until 2030, at which time they will start to consider doing something about it.
      In Jack’s world that constitutes “being on board”.
      Of course in Jack’s world, the definition of scientist is “someone who agrees with me”.

  19. The problem with AGW is that it is a conjecture based on only partial science. It seems plausible at first but upon closer inspection it falls apart. Based on the paleoclimate record and the work done with models, one can conclude that the climate change we are experiencing today is caused by the sun and the oceans over which mankind has no control. There is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate and plenty of scientific rational to support the idea that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is zero. The AGW conjecture depends upon the existence of a radiant greenhouse effect caused by trace gases in the Earth’s atmosphere with LWIR absorption bands. Such a radiant greenhouse effect has not been observed in a real greenhouse, in the Earth’s climate system, or anywhere else in the solar system for that matter. The radiant greenhouse effect is nothing but science fiction so hence the AGW conjecture is nothing but science fiction.

    • “…plenty of scientific rational to support the idea that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is zero.”
      Uh huh. Got any?

      • Ah, it’s funny. You put the evidence before them and they turn and say ‘you haven’t shown any evidence!’.
        Then they come out with “Based on the paleoclimate record and the work done with models, one can conclude that the climate change we are experiencing today is caused by the sun and the oceans over which mankind has no control.”
        Ah, that’s right – the oceans are a prime mover in climate change. I’d like to see the evidence for that!

        • Models aren’t evidence.

          Unless you are going to argue that the presence of man changes how CO2 behaves, then the paleo record is a very good source of evidence for determining the relationship between CO2 and climate.

          You dismiss it because it doesn’t prove what you want to believe.

      • Zazove:
        Thanks for the opportunity to explain
        climate change skepticism:
        The warming from 1975 to 2000, blamed on CO2,
        was very similar to the warming from 1910 to 1940,
        which was not blamed on CO2.
        There is nothing in the temperature record to even suggest
        anything abnormal happened to the average temperature
        from 1975 to 2000.
        Therefore, the cause of the warming from 1975 to 2000
        could have been natural, with little or no effect from CO2.
        The would mean the TCS of CO2 was zero, or near zero = harmless.
        But … If ALL the warming from 1979 through 2017 was blamed on
        CO2 — a worst case assumption —
        — then the TCS would be about +1.0 degrees C.,
        which is also harmless.
        If the warming from 1975 to 2000 was caused by CO2,
        there needs to be an explanation of how, and why,
        4.5 billion years of natural climate change suddenly
        stopped in 1975, and then man made CO2 “took over”
        as the primary ‘climate controller.’
        No such explanation has ever been released
        by NASA-GISS or NAAO.
        The claim that CO2 controls the average temperature
        is merely assumed, with no debate allowed,
        and virtually no real science.
        Real science does much more than “assume”
        — it can be falsified, unlike the demonization of CO2.
        Real science also encourages skepticism, debate
        and replication of experiments
        Modern climate “science” does not.
        Modern climate science, therefore,
        is junk science — further evidence
        is 30 years of wrong predictions
        from the so-called ‘climate models”
        based on the assumption that CO2
        controls the average temperature —
        if it did, we’d have 30 years of
        right average temperature predictions!
        For additional reading,
        try my climate change blog,
        with over 17,000 page views so far:

    • “The AGW conjecture depends upon the existence of a radiant greenhouse effect caused by trace gases in the Earth’s atmosphere with LWIR absorption bands. ”
      Even the most rabid warmists (the so-called climate scientists ones like Gavin Schmidt or Phil Jones, not the ignorant foot soldiers) know and write that the Greenhouse Effect has nothing to do with the real convective greenhouse effect. That tells something about how the “science” behind this globull warming hysteria is bad.

    • Money (and employment) is the primary problem Mjw.
      How much money would there be if the scientists were honest,
      – The current climate is wonderful.
      – We don’t know any details about what causes climate change, and
      – We have no idea what the future climate will be.

  20. Jack Davis
    “… the oceans are a prime mover in climate change. I’d like to see the evidence for that!”
    The name ‘El Niño’ nowadays is widely used to describe the warming of sea surface temperature that occurs every few years, typically concentrated in the central-east equatorial Pacific. ‘La Niña’ is the term adopted for the opposite side of the fluctuation, which sees episodes of cooler-than-normal sea surface temperature in the equatorial Pacific.
    These events are due to strong and extensive interactions between the ocean and atmosphere. They are associated with widespread changes in the climate system that last several months, and can lead to significant human impacts affecting things such as infrastructure, agriculture, health and energy sectors.
    These episodes alternate in an irregular inter-annual cycle called the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Southern Oscillation is the term for atmospheric pressure changes between the east and west tropical Pacific that accompany both El Niño and La Niña episodes in the ocean. ENSO is the dominant feature of climate variability on inter-annual timescales.
    Our research helped show that El Niño and La Niña cycle has impacts all over the world. For example, El Niño years are one factor that can increase the risk of colder winters in the UK. We now better understand these impacts and reproduce many of them in our climate models.
    Is that enough evidence?

      • No real evidence the spliced together graph you use has much to do with anything happening in reality.
        And if it does, what the impact is.

      • zasove,
        I presume that you are suggesting that an apparent short-term correlation between CO2 concentration and global ocean heat content is evidence for cause and effect. But, Solomon was speaking about surface temperatures and you segued to heat content.

        • I’d be surprised if zazove knows the difference.
          I’d be even more surprised if he cared.

      • As usual, zazove posts garbage.
        Translate that joules into temperature and you get a temperature rise of only a few hundredths of a degree.
        Anyone who believes that a few hundred probes now, and a few dozen years ago, can measure the ocean’s temperature, from the surface all the way down, to a few hundredths of a degree is delusional.

    • Solomon, let’s take a first principles look at this. Both major fluids on the surface of our planet, air and water, overturn vigorously in discernible semi-chaotic convection patterns. What drives that vigor is heat. The heat comes from two sources – the sun and the planet’s interior. The heat is the driver, not the fluids.

      • Jack Davis,
        I agree absolutely with your remarks as to the primary sources. There is, however a difference between a “primary source” and a “prime mover”.
        But you asked for evidence that “… the oceans are a prime mover in climate change.”
        The Met Office – not generally known for climate scepticism – believes that it has such evidence.

      • Jack Davis,
        It is generally accepted that the heat from the interior of the Earth is negligible. That leaves us with the sun as the primary source of heat. But, what you overlook is the role of aerosols and clouds in modulating the amount of heat retained by the Earth system. Your world view seems to be like an automobile with no gas pedal.

  21. This is actually the tip of the iceberg or floating sea of garbage of data issues in many disciplines. It seams in the modern era we have accelerated news transmission and the volume of news coverage, both real and bot-generated. But we still report on the same old flawed data systems, statistics, and data noise because the alternatives are too expensive to correct or start over. Meanwhile the stench is rising.

  22. This is an odd moderation going on here. When I make a thoughtful post, such as my reply to Clyde and Solomon – persuasive I thought – it gets removed. That’s happened at least twice in this thread. When I make a flippant response, it is allowed to remain. Interesting moderation!

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