Okay, Roger, an acknowledgement

I wrote, yesterday, a rather snarky – and insulting – post about what I thought was an embarrassing blunder by Roger Pielke Sr in his recent WUWT post. Roger responded with the following tweet

Tom Curtis then pointed out that Roger may not have blundered in the way that I thought he had. Given that this debate appears to regularly involve people making incorrect claims that they never correct, I will try to buck that trend and acknowledge that I did indeed misinterpret Roger’s post. I’ll even apologise for the tone of my previous post.

However, I do think that it was fairly easy to misinterpret what Roger was saying. Essentially, Roger wrote the following basic equation

Radiative Imbalance = Radiative Forcing + Radiative Feedbacks.

For the period that Roger was considering, the Radiative Imbalance was 0.71 Wm-2, the Radiative Forcing was 2.29 Wm-2 and hence the Radiative Feedbacks have to be -1.58 Wm-2. Therefore, the net Radiative Feedbacks are negative.

This is where the confusion comes in. The Radiative Forcing is due to external drivers (solar, geothermal, anthropogenic). The Radiative Feedbacks are normally the system responses to the resulting temperature change (water vapour for example). What Roger has done is include the flux due to the temperature change itself as part of the Radiative Feedbacks. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with this, but – I believe – it is non-standard. Hence, I was lead to believe that Roger was implying that the water vapour feedback, for example, was negative. I realise now that he wasn’t, but it wasn’t as obvious as maybe it should have been.

Having acknowledged the above, I’m still confused as to what Roger is implying with all this. Firstly, the temperature change included in the Radiative Feedback term is about 0.8oC. This produces an increase in surface flux of around 4.4 Wm-2 (which, according to Roger’s definition, is a negative feedback). Hence, if the net Radiative Feedback is -1.58 Wm-2, there must be other factors (water vapour for example) that produce a positive feedback of 2.82 Wm-2. So, the positive feedbacks exceed the Radiative forcing as – I believe – expected.

Another issue is that if you include the temperature change in the Radiative Feedback term then the net Radiative Feedback is always negative for anything that would be relevant to our current climate. If the net Radiative Feedback were positive that would suggest that the response to the increased temperature would be producing a larger positive feedback than the negative feedback due to the increased temperature and we would, I think, be in an irreversible runaway state. As far as I can tell, given Roger’s definition, a negative net Radiative Feedback is precisely what we would expect. In fact, when we reach equilibrium the net Radiative Feedback will exactly match the Radiative Forcing since the Radiative Imbalance will be zero.

What Roger seems to be implying is that the IPCC has ignored this whole situation. I don’t actually think this is correct. If you consider the more standard form for the energy balance equation, it is
ΔQ = ΔF – λ ΔT,
where ΔQ is the Radiative Imbalance, ΔF is the Radiative Forcing, and – λ ΔT is equivalent to Roger’s Radiative Feedback term. However, λ is normally associated with the climate sensitivity. If you consider the period 2001-2010 (relative to the 1850s) then Otto et al. (2013) give ΔQ = 0.65 Wm-2, ΔF = 1.95 Wm-2, and ΔT = 0.75oC. Solving for λ gives λ = 1.733 Wm-2 per oC which one can invert to give 0.58oC per Wm-2. A doubling of CO2 produces a Radiative Forcing of 3.7 Wm-2 and hence the equilibrium temperature after a doubling of CO2 will be 0.58 x 3.7 = 2.1oC.

This is lower than other estimates (typically around 3oC) however if you include errors in the above calculation, the range is 1.2 – 3.9oC, largely consistent with other estimates. This lower estimate is also, I believe, one of the reasons why the IPCC has reduced the lower end of its ECS range. Furthermore, there is a lot of discussion about this. It is likely due to an element of internal variability and the influences of aerosols that are acting to reduce the system heat uptake (or reduce the overall Radiative Forcing). So, I don’t believe it is correct to argue that the IPCC have not considered all these various forcings and feedbacks. They just haven’t done it the way Roger seems to have wanted them to do it.

Anyway, the main point of this post was to acknowledge that I had mis-interpreted Roger’s post but to also point out that even though I now think I understand what he is suggesting, I’m not really sure why it’s relevant or that what he’s implying – with regards to the IPCC ignoring this – is correct. However, given that I did mis-interpret Roger’s post maybe I should consider that he is saying something important. So, if someone would like to clarify through the comments, I’m happy to be convinced.

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240 Responses to Okay, Roger, an acknowledgement

  1. RP SR appears to be claiming that he can’t post here. That seems pretty weird; everyone else can. And he gives not a fig for all the people (such as me) banned from commenting on his posts at WUWT. As RP might say, “very sad”.

    He’s also very sad about people being anonymous. Except for those commenting at WUWT; that’s not a problem, obviously.

  2. He’s of course welcome to and I would aim to make any discussion as non-confrontational as is possible. The anonymous thing is interesting because I’m uncertain about it myself. I do consider every now and again to simply de-anonymising myself but have rather got myself into strange position and I don’t really know the best way to get out of it. I didn’t really expect this site to be taken seriously (still don’t to be honest). I don’t have any real reason for being anonymous, but there’s no – in my opinion at least – fundamental reason why not to be. I do try not to use it to attack others and I think I avoid it in general but I acknowledge that my previous post about Roger could have been a little less insulting. Admittedly that is probably more embarrassing for me, given that I’ve now had to acknowledge an error, than anything else :-)

  3. Okay, I see Roger says he left a comment that hasn’t appeared. Well, nothing appeared on my comment list. I certainly haven’t done anything to stop Roger from commenting. I’ve sent him tweet to say that if he’d like to re-submit the comment, he’s welcome to do so.

  4. Rachel says:

    Check your spam folder. Sometimes bona fide comments go into mine.

  5. I’ve checked that. Nothing there that I can see.

  6. If you wish to be un-anonymized, you can wait for Willard Tony to out you.

    If you already commented at Willard Tony’s, you might not be that anonymous.

  7. Indeed, I have a suspicious that I may not be quite as anonymous as I thought. I haven’t commented at WUWT, but somehow it seems that something is known of me. Not everything, I think, but maybe I’m wrong :-)

  8. Willard Tony’s own case refutes his claim about non-anonymity:

    > @ Willard it makes him accountable […]

    http://judithcurry.com/2013/10/16/microagressions-on-social-media/#comment-401021

    unless by “him” Willard Tony did not want to include himself.

    What I write under my name is my honor. What about Willard Tony?

  9. William Connolley – I have always said that no one should be banned from any weblog, as long as they are courteous. This includes WUWT. I also object to people being anonymous when discussing a scientific issue, unless they have job security issues. Even then, I want to know who they are offline if I am going to engage in a debate.

    As to my comment from yesterday, I did try to post, and it said it was too busy, and then eliminated it . I am trying with this one again. Roger Sr.

  10. Now that my comment worked this time, please answer the questions I raise in my comment yesterday, which I repeat below.

    “Radiative forcing is the change in the net, downward minus upward, irradiance
    (expressed in W m–2) at the tropopause or top of atmosphere due to a change in an external driver of climate change, such as, for example, a change in the concentration of carbon dioxide or the output of the Sun.” http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGIAR5_WGI-12Doc2b_FinalDraft_AnnexIII.pdf

    as you noted in your post. The IPCC further writes

    “The traditional radiative forcing is computed with all tropospheric properties held fixed at their unperturbed values, and after allowing for stratospheric temperatures, if perturbed, to readjust to radiative-dynamical equilibrium. Radiative forcing is called instantaneous if no change in stratospheric temperature is accounted for. The radiative forcing once rapid adjustments are accounted for is termed the effective radiative forcing.”

    Are you actually claiming that the radiative forcing is the same as the radiative imbalance? If so (and this is not my definition), than you still need to explain where the added water vapor and cloud positive radiative contributions fit into the observed changes in ocean heat content.

    Now, why do not you start with the physics definition that I present in my post that

    Radiative Imbalance = Radiative Forcing + Radiative Feedbacks

    and present the magnitudes of each term on the right (since we have a good estimate of the imbalance from the ocean heat content changes.

    Also, it would be courteous to identify yourself (or maybe you have, and I have not seen that).

    Cordially

    Roger A. Pielke Sr.”

  11. It worked. The anonymity issue is one in which I partly agree with you. However, if I’m going to tell you who I am, I suspect that I should simply de-anonymise completely. Not that I’m implying that I wouldn’t trust you, simply that if I start telling people who I am, I might as well just be completely open. Given the standard tone of the debate, it’s not something I would want to do without giving it a little thought.

    Although yesterday’s post may not have reflected all that well on me in terms of civility, that isn’t – I don’t think – the norm. Hopefully this correction at least indicates that I have no real problem with acknowledging an error, even if there was some (I would argue) justification for the confusion.

  12. No, I’m not suggesting that the radiative imbalance is the same as the radiative forcing. My confusion stemmed from your use (I believe) of a non-standard definition of the radiative feedbacks.

    My understanding is that, typically, the feedbacks are a response of the system to the change in temperature, which can then feedback to increase (or decrease) the overall (equilibrium) temperature change.

    The standard form of the energy balance equation that I’m aware of is
    ΔQ = ΔF – λΔT,
    where I’ve defined the terms in the post above. In this form, the feedbacks are incorporated in the definition of λ. If there are no feedbacks then we get about 1oC of warming for a doubling of CO2 which produces a change in forcing of 3.7 Wm-2. Hence, in this case, λ would be 3.7 Wm-2 per oC (I believe it may be 1.2oC per doubling so λ would then be 3.08 Wm-2 per oC).

    Hence, if λ is less than 3.08 Wm-2 per oC, that would imply positive feedbacks (ignoring that due to the temperature change itself) and if λ is greater than 3.08 Wm-2 per oC that would imply negative feedbacks (ignoring that due to the temperature change itself).

    Using the numbers in Otto et al. gives λ = 1.733 Wm-2 per oC. Hence, positive feedbacks from water vapour etc.

    However, now that I understand how you’ve defined the terms in your equation (I would argue that including the change in temperature in the feedback is non-standard and maybe not really a feedback, but that’s not the point), I now understand what you mean by a negative net radiative feedback. I’m still not sure that I get the significance of this as it seems entirely consistent with, for example, what’s presented in Otto et al. (and what’s discussed in the Hansen et al. 2011 paper). So, as far as I can tell, the IPCC documents discussed this in quite some detail.

  13. OPatrick says:

    It did seem improbable the Roger Pielke would make such a (to someone familiar with the science, apparently) obvious error. No doubt a bit embarrassing for you, but we can learn from our mistakes. However, I hope everyone is consistent in their expectations of each other.

    In his post Roger made some fairly strong statements. For example:
    9. The reason is likely that they would to avoid discussing that in recent years; at least, there has been no significant addition of water vapor into the atmosphere. [corrected in the comments to 9. The LIKELY reason that they avoid discussing IS that in recent years there has been no significant addition of water vapor into the atmosphere.]Indeed, this water vapor feedback, along with any other feedbacks must be ALL accommodated within the magnitude of the global average radiative imbalance that is diagnosed from the ocean heating data!

    It certainly appears that, even using the 2013 IPCC WG1 assessment estimates, that the vapor amplification of global warming is not, as least yet, occurring.

    And in the conclusion:
    The IPCC report has failed to report on the implications of the real world radiative imbalance being significantly smaller than the radiative forcing. This means not only that the net radiative feedbacks must be negative, but they failed to document the magnitude in Watts per meter squared of the contributions to positive feedbacks from surface warming, and from atmospheric water vapor and clouds.

    These must be smaller than what the IPCC models are producing.

    If these claims and accusations are not supported will Roger acknowledge that he has overstated or mis-stated this (if he has)? Will he correct comments such as the following,from Michael Moon?

    “9. The reason is likely that they would to avoid discussing that in recent years; at least, there has been no significant addition of water vapor into the atmosphere.”

    Since all GCM’s require an increase in water vapor in the atmosphere to provide their positive feedbacks, this is the most important sentence ever written on this site!!!

  14. A bit embarassing, but there is some history. Roger seemed to be defending a post by David Stockwell – written last year – that was making a similar argument but that was, in my view, completely wrong. When reading Roger’s I thought he was making the same argument, but he wasn’t quite. My bad maybe for not reading it more carefully and taking more time over it, but it seems like we’re all learning something from this, so maybe a positive outcome at the end of the day.

    I will say, however, that what you highlight is what’s confused me about Roger’s post. I don’t see how he can conclude that the vapor amplification of global warming is not, as least yet, occurring. As far as I can tell, his own analysis suggests that there must be something producing a positive feedback of around 2.8 Wm-2. If this isn’t mainly water vapour, what is it?

  15. > I also object to people being anonymous when discussing a scientific issue, unless they have job security issues. Even then, I want to know who they are offline if I am going to engage in a debate.

    Why?

  16. I published my perspective on this subject years ago, and I recommend you read it.

    Pielke Sr., R.A., 2003: Heat storage within the Earth system. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 84, 331-335. http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/files/2009/10/r-247.pdf

    The equation that I present is fundamental physics where the Joules are tracked. I am amazed the difficulty that some of the commentators have in seeing this.

    In terms of the water vapor feedback, if it is at a rate of 2.8 Wm-2 from an increase in water vapor in the atmosphere, where is this heat being compensated for in the observed ocean heat content change? The clouds,and CO2 and the other greenhouse gases also have positive radiative forcings,

    Also, what is the current effective radiative forcing from each term? To me it is a bit disingenuous for the IPCC to present difference since 1750, rather than their best estimate today. Indeed, in the 2007 IPCC WG1 report they even muddled this issue.

  17. BBD says:

    What is meant by “in recent years”? Since ~2000? My understanding is that there is evidence for a moistening of the atmosphere over recent *decades*, so I am curious about this, especially as I would expect WV to be affected by variability of tropospheric temperature – such as the recent slowdown in warming.

  18. BBD says:

    Indeed, in the 2007 IPCC WG1 report they even muddled this issue.

    How so, exactly?

  19. wottsupwiththatblog Regarding your remaining anonymous, I can assure you I would keep confidential. Lacking that disclosure, I will engage for a while here, as others are presenting their real names (e.g. William Connolley who actually published an article several years ago based on our interactions (and confirmed our findings). I respect William for doing that.

  20. Joshua says:

    Roger –

    ” I have always said that no one should be banned from any weblog, as long as they are courteous. ”

    Should we then expect that Anthony would be banned from his own site, or should discourteous people be banned only if they are anonymous?

  21. I’ll make a short comment because I do have to give this some more thought (why now and not earlier, you might say :-)).

    I kind of agree that now that I understand your equation that it includes everything. Firstly I should say that the 2.8 Wm-2 was just my estimate based on a quick calculation using σT4 and determining the difference between the flux at a T of 288 K and one of 288.8 K. Given the net radiative feedback from your equation then requires an additional positive feedback. I’m not suggesting that this is exact, but simply that it seems as though some non-negligible positive feedback is required.

    I’m not sure what you mean by your question with regards the ocean heat content. As far as I can tell, it is represented there. The only way to explain the rate at which the oceans are accruing energy, given the change in forcing and the temperature response to that forcing, is that there is a another positive feedback. If there wasn’t, we’d be beyond equilibrium (I think).

    Also not sure why you have an issue with them representing the forcing relative to 1750. The forcings and feedbacks are the changes since (or relative to) 1750. I’m not sure how one would define such a thing for a single instant in time. The energy imbalance, yes, but the forcings, I can’t see how. Would you do it relative to having no atmosphere at all?

  22. I’ll give it some thought.

  23. Tom Curtis says:

    The irony is that while Roger maintained his own webblog, he disabled comments, thus effectively banning everybody (anonymous or not, discourteous or not).

  24. Joshua says:

    For me, the larger irony is when people who spend so much time arguing about valid science present these weak arguments about anonymity without any basis in evidence.

    I challenge anyone to show how anonymity affects these debates. I get the intuitive assumption that people who are anonymous are more likely to be discourteous or unaccountable, but…

    We have plenty of non-anonymous people who are both discourteous and unaccountable (with Anthony being a prime example – I have a nice example of a failure of accountability if anyone’s interested).

    We have plenty of anonymous people who are both courteous and accountable.

    We further have people like Anthony and Willis arguing that anonymity is somehow correlated with being a “coward,” again, without any substantiation with evidence. And it isn’t as if these are just one-off claims. They are many over and over, without any effort at validation.

    I should point out that this particular argument by assertion is not unique to “skeptics,”

    This argument that anonymity somehow changes the nature of someone’s logic is at its root, a fallacious argument. The quality, nature, and tone of someone’s argument stands on its own, independent of whether a name is assigned.

    It is the same, IMO, as the subjective arguments about what is or isn’t an ad hom, or what an “appeal to authority” is, or who is or isn’t a “troll.” These are arguments where people apply selective reasoning so as to confirm their biases. We can see cases over and over where, like Anthony and Roger do with the meaning of anonymity, people apply criteria selectively so as to reinforce their preconceptions.

    What impresses me the most about the blogosphere is that we have smart and knowledgeable people, who are focused on careful scientific analysis and reasoning, who regularly employ a logic that is, developmentally, what is to be expected of an adolescent.

  25. Rachel says:

    I think there is some benefit to being anonymous in debates like these and that is that the argument must be judged on its own merit rather than making judgements on the basis of the person making the argument.

  26. Joshua says:

    Rachel –

    Sure, that’s a possibility.

    It also seems to me to be entirely possible that by assuming a sort of new “identity,” people are free to be more open and free-wheeling in their thinking. We certainly know that “identification” is a significant influence in how people reason in these scientific discussions, so changing one’s identity, so to speak, might affect thought processes. I think of second-language learners who need to adopt a “second-language identity” to really begin thinking in ways that are more compatible with the cultural norms that are different than those of their national origin.

    But the point is that this is all speculative in nature. People who claim elevated status in their scientific/analytical abilities are arguing conclusions, with complete certainty, for which they have no validated and quantified evidence. That, of course, does not invalidate any specific scientific analysis they present – that they display biased reasoning in one context does not prove it exists in another context – but it does show that biasing influences affect us all and must be controlled for openly. And further, when people present fallacious arguments over and over, with complete certainty about their correctness, you have to begin to wonder whether their propensity for “motivated reasoning” is particularly strong.

  27. GaryM once suggested we make scientific papers anonymous and criticisms non-anonymous.

    This idea has merit, if only because it would destroy citation indices as we know them.

  28. Wotts, I would stay anonymous if I were you. You have nothing to gain by giving up your anonymity as you have already build up a solid digital reputation. Why expose yourself to mails to your boss and friends, something will stick, or FOI harassment?

  29. Here is how the 2007 IPCC WG1 SPM muddled this particular issue. In the caption to Figure SPM.2 they wrote

    . “Global average radiative forcing (RF) estimates and ranges in 2005 for anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2 ), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and other important agents and mechanisms, together with the typical geographical extent (spatial scale) of the forcing and the assessed level of scientific understanding (LOSU)”

    This caption certainly seems to indicate these are the forcing as of 2005.

    Only in a footnote do they write

    “Radiative forcing is a measure of the influence that a factor has in altering the balance of incoming and outgoing energy in the Earth-atmosphere system and is an index of the importance of the factor as a potential climate change mechanism. Positive forcing tends to warm the surface while negative forcing tends to cool it. In this report, radiative forcing values are for 2005 relative to pre-industrial conditions defined at 1750 and are expressed in watts per square metre (W m–2).”

    The obvious question is if they are actually presenting estimates of the changes since 1750, what is the current (2005 in that report) and 2013 in the current report radiative forcings?.Where does the water vapor radiative forcing fit in?

  30. wottsupwiththatblog – You asked

    “I’m not sure how one would define such a thing for a single instant in time. The energy imbalance, yes, but the forcings, I can’t see how.”

    When we turn a burner on, on a stove, to heat water in a pot, we start inserting heat (Joules) into the pot. This is the “forcing”. It is instantaneous just as are the radiative forcings.

    The climate models follow this instantaneous approach in their parameterizations of the radiative fluxes. They do not force with the difference from 1750.

  31. Indeed, that is certainly a concern. I don’t have anything to gain from de-anonymising and, potentially, much to lose. That’s certainly the direction I’m heading.

    For Roger’s benefit, I will acknowledge something. I should certainly have written my previous post in a different way. I normally do acknowledge that I may be wrong and, for whatever reason, I really didn’t do so in that case. I should have written it differently for two main reasons. One is simply that you can end up wrong and so seeming so confident can be an embarrassment. Also, not considering that you might not be wrong is – in my view – a flaw. The other is that if I do choose to stay anonymous, then I should at least be willing to recognise that some may not wish to engage here and so writing a highly critical post (even if warranted) may not be fair. I certainly don’t want to feel that I can get away without worrying about what I write simply because I’m anonymous.

  32. Marco says:

    Wotts, be careful. It would not be the first time that Roger Pielke Sr makes large claims and then demands others to do the actual analysis. It happened to Tamino, and I suggest you read the thread carefully:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/lets-do-the-math/

    there’s a tiny little tidbit of possibly relevant information about Roger Pielke Sr posting the real name of Tamino. While most people already knew that, based on that I wonder how much you can trust Pielke Sr to keep your name a secret.

    It also suggests that Pielke Sr has a problem admitting when he is shown wrong. Unlike our host here…

  33. OPatrick – You asked

    “will Roger acknowledge that he has overstated or mis-stated this (if he has)?”

    Whenever, I have made errors, I very publicly acknowledged them. In the case of the subject we are discussing, now that readers are becoming aware of the perspective I am presenting, I look forward to a constructive discussion on the substance of the science.

  34. I understand your analogy and indeed that’s true. However, it seems to me that if we want to cast this the way you recommend, then we need to deal with absolutes. So the forcings would become solar flux, geothermal flux, and the influence of the anthropogenic greenhouse gases. The feedbacks, as defined by you, would be the surface flux, the influence of water vapour, clouds, etc. So, that’s fine but that’s – as you say – what’s done in a full climate model.

    So, I can see how one would model this using a time dependent model. However, I can also see the value in presenting the changes in forcings since some reference point in the past. Presumably you need to choose a point at which you think the system is in equilibrium so that the changes then tell you something of how the system is responding to these changes.

    So, yes I agree with you that you could use absolutes rather than changes but then one would need to rely on the results of full climate models. It seems to me that presenting the information in the way the IPCC does allows one to do some basic sanity checks as to whether or not the models are producing sensible results. However, this is probably why I would give less credence to the ECS estimates from, for example, Otto et al. than I would to those from full models or from paleo-climatological studies.

    So, in some sense, I agree with you but I simply see these forcings (for example) presented by the IPCC as being extra information. They don’t replace climate models.

  35. Don’t forget the most important reason, Wotts:

    > Maybe it’s just a vocabulary thing.

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/31268600509

  36. Wotts,

    Keep your eye on the puck. The IPCC must FAIL at something:

    The reason [of IPCC’s FAIL] is likely that they would to avoid discussing that in recent years; at least, there has been no significant addition of water vapor into the atmosphere. Indeed, this water vapor feedback, along with any other feedbacks must be ALL accommodated within the magnitude of the global average radiative imbalance that is diagnosed from the ocean heating data!

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/10/21/radiative-forcing-radiative-feedbacks-and-radiative-imbalance-the-2013-wg1-ipcc-report-failed-to-properly-report-on-this-issue/

    Senior’s emphasis.

    There must be a reason why there’s nine occurences of “fail” in Senior’s op-ed.

    For it is an op-ed, right?

  37. > I look forward to a constructive discussion on the substance of the science.

    What’s the scientific definition of FAIL, again?

  38. So, again I’m slightly confused by what you would recommend when you say “current”. The forcings represent a change since some time in the past when the system was in (or believed to be in) radiative equilibrium. So, what’s presented in the IPCC radiative forcings diagrams is how anthropogenic influences have directly change the radiative forcings of the climate. As far as I understand it, this essentially tells us how much lower the outgoing flux would be if nothing else were to change. I can’t really see what you would present as a current value. In some sense the radiative imbalance is the current state of the system but if you don’t know by how much the forcing has changed since the system was last in equilibrium and by how much the surface temperature has changed since that time, then radiative imbalance at this instant in time doesn’t really tell you anything (okay, it tells you how fast the system is accruing energy, but doesn’t really tell you what the likely equilibrium or transient temperature responses will be).

    As far as water vapour is concerned, my understanding is that the IPCC chooses to present this as a feedback and not a forcing. This is partly because the forcings tells us what the direct anthropogenic influences are, while the feedbacks are the changes (such as increased water vapour) that occur as a result of the changes in temperature (and also feedback to further increase/decrease the temperature).

    I will admit that other than finding that explanation in the document (somewhere near the end of chapter 8) I haven’t found anywhere where the water vapour feedback is actually quantified.

  39. Roger, I must pull you up on something. I don’t believe that it’s true to say that the forcings are “instantaneous”. If the Sun gets brighter over some time interval, then the total solar insolation (flux) would increase. The forcing would be the change in the flux over that interval. The instantaneous value is the total flux, and the forcing is the change in flux (over some time interval).

  40. wottsupwiththatblog – I fail to see why a time-averaged flux is anything but the time average of a set of instantaneous fluxes. Step outside and place your face into the Sun and you are feeling an instantaneous radiative forcing. Stay there long enough and the time integration will give a sun burn. Try your view with physical forces, and this should clarify for you. Roger Sr.

  41. If I place my face in the Sun there is a flux (energy per square metre per second). If I stay long enough then I burn because the longer I stand in the Sun the more energy my face absorbs. Maybe your first sentence illustrates the issue (I think). A forcing is not, as I understand it, a time-averaged flux. A forcing is the difference in the flux at the beginning of a time interval and at the end of a time interval.

    For example, if the Sun were to get brighter over some time interval and nothing else were to change, then the system would accrue energy. The average of the change in flux could be determined from the increase in energy, divided by the time and by the surface area of the Earth. This is not a forcing. The forcing would be the difference between the Solar flux at the beginning of the time interval and the end of the time interval. So, the forcings presented by the IPCC are not time-averaged. They are the difference between the flux in 1750 (as defined by the IPCC) and now.

    In a sense, this is why one can’t simply compare the average energy imbalance over some time interval and the change in forcing over that same time interval.

  42. OPatrick says:

    Good. Do you have examples of where you have publicly acknowledged errors in the past? I’d be interested to see how the situations compare.

    Also, do you feel any responsibility for comments like those of Michael Moon? Do you feel that he has exaggerated the importance of the issue you raise? Do you feel it is part of a constructive discussion? (Just to be clear, I obviously do feel that many of the responses at WUWT are not part of a constructive discussion – and indeed nor was wotts’ previous comment, but I don’t think anyone would argue otherwise, including wotts – and I also feel that you do bear some responsibility for the tone of those comments.)

  43. BBD says:

    I’m afraid this will not do, Dr. Pielke.

    Please see (commenter here) Victor Venema’s discussion here.

  44. Joshua says:

    Sounds rather like the idea of a “statist” to me, willard. Who would enforce GaryM’s system? The government?

  45. wottsupwiththatblog – The key piece of information we have to constrain the real world with respect to global warming is the changes in the ocean heat content averaged over periods of time. We have reasonably good estimates, particularly since Argo achieved near global coverage. We can present the values of the change in Joules in terms of a time-space averaged flux (Watts m-2) – i.e. the radiative imbalance.

    With this information, we need to explain the fractional contribution of each radiative forcing and radiative feedback averaged over that time period to the radiative imbalance.

  46. wottsupwiththatblog – A “force” is an instantaneous effect. Please use F=ma as the mechanical analog to show how a forcing is

    “…. the difference between ….. the beginning of the time interval and the end of the time interval.”

    This time integration of the force is called an “impulse”.

  47. OPatrick – Feel free to peruse my weblog and you will find them. I only take responsibility for my comments except when I had my own weblog.

  48. FWIW, whilst I always use my real name, I can’t see that Wotts, or anyone else, being anon makes any difference at all. As long as you’re talking to one person, using a label that all agree on, there is no problem. It can be a little upsetting and confusing to realise that you’re actually going to have to judge someone purely on what they say, rather than being able to check their credentials or the colour of their eyes, but its an excellent discipline. If there are coherent reasons against this view, I haven’t seen them and RP Sr hasn’t presented them.

    That needs to be distinguished from “sock puppetting”: using multiple aliases to present the appearance of more support for a view than their really is; or using a series of aliases in order to disown previous comments you’re no longer prepared to defend; these are unacceptable. But since Wotts isn’t doing that (unlike, say, at WUWT where the mods indulge) its irrelevant in this case.

  49. Invisible hands, Joshua. Invisible hands.

    Or fists.

  50. KR says:

    “Where does the water vapor radiative forcing fit in?”

    As a feedback, not a forcing, as part of the climate sensitivity and response. AR4 in “Drivers of climate change”, the source of your quote, discusses this very clearly.

    Water vapor, with it’s fast response time, is (with the exception of the IPCC listed stratospheric water vapor from the breakdown of CH4) a response – and not a driver

  51. TL; DR — Follow Ron Broberg’s comments.

  52. Roger, I know the definition of a force. However, it is my understanding that the IPCC definition of a “forcing” is a change in flux since 1750. It is not, unless I’m mistaken, a time-averaged flux over that time period (as you seemed to imply in an earlier comment). This seems to be a crucial issue in this discussion and it would be very useful if we could agree on this definition.

  53. Still waiting for that scientific definition of FAIL.

    There are many other commitments you have not fulfilled.

    I can provide a list on request.

    Failing to fulfill those commitments may falsify what is implied by “I only take responsibility for my comments”.

  54. KR says:

    In fact, the very next page in AR4 explicitly discusses water vapor as a feedback. I am quite puzzled by your apparent claim that AR4 did not discuss water vapor as a factor.

    WRT individual components of climate sensitivity and feedback, I personally would consider the _sum_ of feedbacks far more important – a question that can be in large part addressed with paleo and observational studies even without detailed component attribution.

  55. Roger, I don’t disagree with you about the importance of the ocean heat content. I also agree that we can use it to estimate the radiative imbalance.

    However, there are two things I would quite like to address. One is the definition of the term “forcing”. I know I’ve mentioned it in a comment below, but I’ll do it again here. You seemed to imply that it was a time-averaged flux. My understanding is that this is incorrect. It is, as per the IPCC definition, the change in flux over some time interval (typically since 1750). This is not the same as the time-averaged flux. You were asking a while ago about what the current values would be. Given that the forcing is the change since 1750, and typically refers to direct anthropogenic influence, the instantaneous flux today is the same as the forcing (I believe) since there were no anthropogenic fluxes prior to 1750.

    The other issue relates to how we can use the OHC. The equation I’ve been referring to is below
    ΔQ = ΔF – λΔT,
    where ΔQ is the energy imbalance (determined primarily as the time averaged flux of the OHC), ΔF is the forcing (typically the anthropogenic forcing since 1750), and ΔT is the change in temperature (also since the point at which the anthropogenic forcings started to rise).

    So, essentially if ΔQ is the energy imbalance today (normally determined over some time interval – a decade say). The equation above then tells you how the surface temperature has responded to the change in forcing and the term, λ tells you something about the feedbacks (ignoring feedbacks due to the change in temperature itself – which I don’t think is a feedback as per IPCC definition at least). Since a forcing of 3.7Wm-2 would produce a surface temperature rise of 1.2oC, a lambda value of 3.08 Wm-2 per oC would imply no net feedbacks (again, ignoring the feedbacks due to the temperature change itself). A value less than 3.08 Wm-2 per oC would imply positive feedbacks and a value greater would imply negative.

    As I mentioned in a comment above, using values from Otto et al. (2013), we get λ = 1.7333 Wm-2 per oC which would imply positive feedbacks and would imply that they are comparable, in magnitude, to the forcing. So, it seems to me that we have this information even if we use the IPCC definition of a forcing. Admittedly we don’t necessarily have the precise breakdown of these feedbacks, but that would require a full climate model and does, I believe, exist.

    So, what I’m interested in is why you have issues (if you do) with that approach to using the energy imbalance and the radiative forcings so as to estimate feedbacks and also TCR and ECS values. I think the uncertainties are quite large, so I don’t think these estimates are as reliable as some others, but they’re still informative.

  56. dbostrom says:

    For my part enforcing the discipline that I not be anonymous helps to keep in check my tendency to acid language and sarcasm. If I say something I later regret I need to own it completely, for myself. Shame is a useful check on behavior for some of us. I believe a pseudonym or cloak of anonymity would blunt the efficacy of consistent identification as an inhibition, for myself.

    There are genuinely good reasons for an option for anonymity. In this case of degrading the planet with CO2 emissions a person working in the petroleum industry and harboring reservations about their immediate economic sphere might well have something useful to say that otherwise would be left unsaid, if they were required to identify themselves.

  57. Joshua says:

    willard –

    I wonder what Roger Sr. thinks about calling people “climate chickens,” comparing climate scientists to Nazis, and writing blog posts insinuating (without any direct evidence) that a journal board lied in an effort to force a resignation of an editorial board member – when the real reason was simply because the person being asked to resign express a particular scientific viewpoint.

    I wonder if Roger Sr. thinks that such behavior is the sort of discourteous behavior that is characteristic of anonymous blog participants?

  58. wottsupwiththatblog – You wrote,

    “the system was in (or believed to be in) radiative equilibrium”.

    The climate is never in equilibrium due to the annual solar cycle as well as due to other forcings (e.g. volcanic) as well as internal variability. This later on longer time scales has been shown quite clearly in

    S. Lovejoy, D. Schertzer, 2013: “The climate is not what you expect”, 2013. BAMS in press. http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/BAMS-D-12-00094.1

  59. dbostrom says:

    Semantic gaming of this kind on the heels of Wott’s immediately previous remark is conspicuously lacking in serious purpose.

  60. wottsupwiththatblog – This is why we need a clearer discussion of this issue. you wrote

    “Given that the forcing is the change since 1750, and typically refers to direct anthropogenic influence, the instantaneous flux today is the same as the forcing (I believe) since there were no anthropogenic fluxes prior to 1750″

    This is wrong. Are you saying, for example, that there has been no increase on OLR and alteration in the vertical temperature and moisture profiles since 1750? I recommend you read more on this, as then you will realize the importance of knowing the CURRENT radiative forcings and feedbacks.

  61. dbostrom says:

    Dr. Pielke lost me here, the exact moment this stopped being a useful discussion and turned into a silly game.

    Disappointing. The motto of the blog is “trying to keep the discussion civil.” Gaming on words in a serious discussion isn’t being civil, let alone becoming needlessly patronizing.

  62. BBD – Present your analysis of the global increase in the radiative effect (in Watts per meter squared) of added water vapor in decadal time periods. Or refer us to somewhat who has done this analysis.

  63. wottsupwiththatblog – If you know the changes in ocean heart content over time with sufficient spatial and temporal resolution, you have the best diagnostic of global warming. There is no need then to even use the global average surface temperature for this reason.

    The ocean heat content change, when converted to its equivalent Watts per meter squared, provides a way to directly compare with the IPCC estimates.

    I also should alter you to this comment in

    Barnett, T.P., D.W. Pierce, and R. Schnur, 2001: Detection of anthropogenic climate change in the world’s oceans. Science, 292, 270-274

    ” a climate model that reproduces the observed change in global air temperature over the last 50
    years, but fails to quantitatively reproduce the observed changed in ocean heat content, cannot
    be correct”..

  64. Joshua says:

    dbostrom –

    I assume that dbosrom is not an anonymous monicker?

    “Shame is a useful check on behavior for some of us. I believe a pseudonym or cloak of anonymity would blunt the efficacy of consistent identification as an inhibition, for myself. ”

    That may be true for you and any number of other people – yes, indeed, “some of us.” On the other hand, if we look around in the blogosphere, we can see countless examples of people who attach their names to acid language and sarcasm, to name but two of many descriptors of vitriolic language. (Willis and Anthony are favored examples because they so regularly argue that anonymity is associated with “cowardice,” and that by extension, they are brave because they attach their names to their blogosphere comments).

    And I would suggest that relying on “shame” to control behavior is, in the end, not particularly productive, rather than relying on more intrinsic motivations such as an understanding that vitriol is often an indication of fallacious reasoning.

    Regardless, the question for me becomes how we might generalize from your personal testimony, and how we might understand the related, controlling variables. Are you different than Willis and Anthony in that it works for you but not for them? Would they be even more acidic and sarcastic if they were to post anonymously? What kind of people are affected by shaming in this context? Are there people who might actually be more acidic and sarcastic when they are non-anonymous because they enjoy the attention they receive from being vitriolic (look at the positive response that Anthony and Willis get at WUWT for their vitriol).

    As I see it, all of these questions, and many other related questions, are more or less completely unanswered, except perhaps at the anecdotal and personal level and yet people express total certainty about the direction and level of impact from allowing anonymous commenting.

    But I am interested in knowing if there is any actual evidence out there. My own anecdotal observation is that almost as a rule, people assign negative characteristics to anonymity only to those who they disagree with on various matters. To me, that is far more informative than whether or not someone attaches their name to their comments, and more certain than what we know on a general scale about the impact of anonymity.

  65. wottsupwiththatblog

    This is good (below in quotes). You also have documented a failing in the IPCC WG1 report. If you find text elsewhere, let me know.

    “As far as water vapour is concerned, my understanding is that the IPCC chooses to present this as a feedback and not a forcing. This is partly because the forcings tells us what the direct anthropogenic influences are, while the feedbacks are the changes (such as increased water vapour) that occur as a result of the changes in temperature (and also feedback to further increase/decrease the temperature).

    I will admit that other than finding that explanation in the document (somewhere near the end of chapter 8) I haven’t found anywhere where the water vapour feedback is actually quantified.”

  66. William Connolley – Sorry William. In my life experience, it is courteous to introduce oneself when engaging in business or meeting socially. While I can tolerate such a discourteousness in comments by trolls and others, at the level of a weblog where not only was I unfairly criticized, but I do not know even by whom, it is unacceptable.

    It has nothing to do with “professional credentials”; which I do not care about in the context of these discussions.

    I invited wottsupwiththatblog to contact me in confidence offline. If unsuccessful, I will make comments on this subject on a weblog whose developer’s name is known.

  67. dbostrom says:

    Unfortunately Captain McAhab, Watts and others have somewhat poisoned the well when it comes to freedom to speak. It’s discourteous and unfair to launch tortious FOIA demands on employers and quite understandable that Wotts would have misgivings about identifying himself. It’s conspicuous that Dr. Pielke doesn’t insist on the high standards he demands here at the other places he frequents and as well leaves one wondering how well placed any confidence would be in Dr. Pielke’s hands. Standards seem entirely elastic depending on context and audience.

    Turns out the tree isn’t far from the acorn.

  68. dbostrom says:

    “If unsuccessful, I will make comments on this subject on a weblog whose developer’s name is known.”
    On friendly territory, with a different set of rules. Classy.

  69. Roger, I fear that this may be, sadly, turning into one of those discussions where one party starts to mis-represent what the other has said so as to make it appear that they’ve said something particularly foolish. On the off chance that that is not the case, I shall try again. I was referring only to the anthropogenic influence. The IPCC presents the change in anthropogenic forcing since 1750. Since there was, presumably, no anthropogenic influence prior to 1750 (at least in terms of CO2 and other greenhouse gases) the anthropogenic influence today is essentially the forcing. I was not referring to the total forcing today, simply the direct anthropogenic component.

    I notice that you still seem to have not clarified whether or not we agree on the definition of a forcing.

  70. I haven’t actually, I was simply pointing out that I have yet to find it. It may well be there and I note that the IPCC claims that it is well understood.

  71. KR says:

    “Regarding your remaining anonymous, I can assure you I would keep confidential.”

    That is, quite frankly, not supported by past actions (your post here, Update #5), where you appear to have gone to some lengths to break anonymity.

  72. I realise that the system is never in strict equilibrium due to the annual solar cycle etc. However, given that the solar variation on reasonably long timescales (decades or so) is small it is probably reasonable to assume that the system was in approximate equilibrium in the 1750s compared to today. Essentially, I was simply making the point that it is probably reasonable to determine the various changes relative to something like 1750.

  73. > it is courteous to introduce oneself when engaging in business or meeting socially

    Yes, you’ve said that before. But its not a coherent reason against anonymity, its just your personal preference. Attempting to impose your personal preferences on others is discourteous. And this is neither business nor social.

  74. Okay, I agree that the ocean heat content does provide an excellent diagnostic of global warming. I don’t dispute that at all. It will clearly tell us the rate at which energy is accruing in the climate system (or at least where most of the energy is going). What I fail to understand, and you’re welcome to clarify this, is how you can use the OHC, alone, to determine something like the equilibrium climate sensitivity.

  75. BBD says:

    Dr Pielke

    Despite being asked *directly* to clarify what you mean by “recent years” you have declined to do so. You use the term “significant”, which presumably implies statistical significance. All you have done is point to the 22yr NVAP reconstruction which we know is not considered robust and is anyway too short for any strong claim of statistical significance in WV trend.

    I cannot see that you can reasonably support your claim:

    The LIKELY reason that they [IPCC] avoid discussing IS that in recent years there has been no significant addition of water vapor into the atmosphere.

    I think your criticism of the IPCC is therefore unfounded.

    To avoid unnecessary confusion, please respond inline here.

  76. dbostrom says:

    More gaming.

  77. It does appear that way. Maybe Roger can convince me otherwise.

  78. BBD says:

    @ wotts

    He’s going to have to convince several people here now. Including me.

  79. dbostrom says:

    There’s nothing but ashes left in this discussion.

    I don’t understand why Pielke chose to steer the conversation into the ditch when he did. The stakes seem so small for such a choice, too small to justify the bad impression it leaves.

  80. bratisla says:

    Sorry, I don’t get something. Wotts wrote quickly to correct his previous unfairness. He didn’t do that in a dark corner of his site, but right above the “faulty” post. Not only that, but he offered apologies for his tone (see above). And you were offered the possibility to respond in length – this is far from “unfair” in the blog usual practices.

    Why then do you keep insisting on Wott’s anonymity in these conditions ? It would matter if the “unfair” treatment was still going on, but now that lots of things have been clarified I can’t see a reason beyond personal preferences. And I’m sure you can acknowledge that Wotts has a personal preference to remain anonymous.

  81. William Connolley – We will just have to disagree. It is very much business.

    In any case, we each can chose to comment where we elect to. It doesn’t bother you; I find it rude.

    Now that the comments are not focusing on the science (which I am not seeing you do either), I will sign off from this weblog after replying one more time on another comment by wottsupwiththatblog .

  82. HarryWiggs says:

    Agreed, dbostrom, wrt to remaining anonymous, because of prior actions of Willard Watts and his merry band of Flying Monkeys. I appreciate the (semi)civil tone of RPSr here, but remember many times in the past where it was not such: his not-so-thinly veiled threat of ‘play by my rules, or I will out you elsewhere” are duly noted.

    I believe that RPSr has yet to actually own the errors pointed out, as Wotts’ did. We all make mistakes and the usual cast of characters, those on the disinformation side, and their ‘MO’ in regards to the red herring of anonymity seems to be unchanged.

  83. KR says:

    Regarding long term water vapor trends (difficult to measure in many respects, given the variability of radiosonde data and short length of satellite data) it might be worth looking at The Mass of the Atmosphere: A Constraint on Global Analyses, Trenberth & Smith (2005) [h/t Science of Doom] using the ERA-40 data.

    A distinct upwards trend in water vapor is seen since the 1960-1970’s, overlaid with a large yearly variation. This matches increases in absolute humidity and rather stable relative humidity (cf Dai 2005, measured global surface relative humidity change 1976-2004 <0.6%) as projected in GCM’s with temperature change, and by the Clausius–Clapeyron relation between temperature and absolute humidity; ~7.5%/C.increase in absolute humidity.

    Allen et al 2004 is also worth looking at WRT global water vapor radiative effects, and as a validation of ERA-40.

    As to the radiative influence trends from that added water vapor, I would suggest that Dr. Pielke do some runs with MODTRAN to see the radiative effect expected. He’s made the claim(s) contrary to the IPCC and the consensus opinion, the burden of proof rests with him.

  84. wottsupwiththatblog – You wrote

    “how you can use the OHC, alone, to determine something like the equilibrium climate sensitivity.”

    I never said this. Where did you even get this idea that I did?

    My interest in my original post on WUWT was to highlight an issue where the assessment of global warming from radiative forcings and feedbacks (using Joules) failed to perform a thorough and robust assessment. I presented reasons why.

    Finally, until and less you introduce yourself to me (in confidence) in a verifiable way, from now on i will respond to any science issues on WUWT.

  85. > Now that the comments are not focusing on the science

    You can’t justly complain if people choose to talk about topics you yourself have raised.

  86. Roger, I wasn’t necessary implying you said that. Given that I have been critical of those who attempt to mis-represent what I say, if that’s what it seemed I was doing, I apologise. If anything, I was agreeing with your general view that the OHC is important. The reason for asking the question was that a few comments back I laid out how one might estimate the feedbacks and climate sensitivities based on knowledge of the energy imbalance (OHC flux), the forcings and the change in temperature. Using

    ΔQ = ΔF – λΔT.

    So, as much as I agree that the OHC is very important, it seems that the forcings (such as those provided by the IPCC) and the change in temperature are important. Also, although the ΔQ term will be the current rate at which energy is accruing in the system (oceans mainly), the other terms (ΔF and ΔT) should – as I understand it – be for as long a period as possible so as to reduce the influence of short-term variability.

    As far as future communications are concerned, you are free to do as you wish. I do appreciate you commenting here. It’s been an interesting exchange and I have learned a number of things from it. I do note that we still haven’t agreed on the definition of a forcing but I’m happy to leave things as they are.

  87. Rachel says:

    I’m agreeing with the others about staying anonymous. There’s something almost threatening here about the manner with which your identity is requested.

  88. I was just doing that myself. Maybe you can clarify for me what the Water Vapor Scale is.

  89. Indeed. If it’s done anything, it’s convinced me that remaining anonymous might be the best thing to do for the moment.

  90. BBD says:

    KR

    This is exactly why I asked Dr Pielke this question at the outset:

    What is meant by “in recent years”? Since ~2000? My understanding is that there is evidence for a moistening of the atmosphere over recent *decades*, so I am curious about this, especially as I would expect WV to be affected by variability of tropospheric temperature – such as the recent slowdown in [tropospheric] warming.

    He has not responded except to ask me to jump through hoops for him. I don’t think he can substantiate his criticism of the IPCC at all:

    The LIKELY reason that they [IPCC] avoid discussing IS that in recent years there has been no significant addition of water vapor into the atmosphere.

    So I think he should withdraw it.

  91. KR says:

    From the MODTRAN4 documentation:

    “…a positive value is interpreted as a scaling factor for the water column (e.g. 2.0 doubles the default water vapor column) […] When the 100% RH limit is reached, the water is distributed to other levels to the extent possible to achieve the input water column.”

    Water density within water clouds is not scaled.

  92. Thanks. So far, from my playing with modtran, to have a net energy imbalance after a rise in temperature of 0.8oC, and an increase in CO2 and CH4 also requires an increase in water vapour. Of course, I’ve just been messing around with it so haven’t done any kind of thorough study.

  93. Tom Curtis says:

    Pielke claims that:

    “If you know the changes in ocean heart content over time with sufficient spatial and temporal resolution, you have the best diagnostic of global warming. There is no need then to even use the global average surface temperature for this reason.”

    It is a claim that is simply false. The IPCC states changes in radiative forcing since 1750. It does so for the good, and very sufficient reason, that stating the annual average TOA energy imbalance for each year since 1750 would require knowing the annual average outgoing radiation for each year since 1750, a value that is an approximate function of the GMST. Importantly, the value of the factor which determines the relationship between GMST and outgoing radiation, λ, is known with only limited accuracy. On current estimates it lies between 2.5 and 0.8 W m^-2 C^-1, although at the time of the FAR in 1990, it was far larger than that.

    Substituting reporting of the radiative forcing as defined by the IPCC with reporting of the instantaneous TOA energy imbalance therefore requires substituting very well constrained values (at least in some cases) with very poorly constrained values. It would be a case of obscuring what we know to satisfy the idiosyncratic demands of a superannuated professor – demands for which he can give no rational justification.

  94. Tom Curtis says:

    Attempting to impose his personal preferences on others is Pielke’s entire mode of operation. Witness is insistence that the IPCC should conform to his definitional preferences rather than those of the rest of the community of climate scientists.

  95. Tom, thanks – you’ve certainly clarified something for me. Assuming that you’re correct, I hadn’t appreciated that Roger was implying knowing the energy imbalance for every year since 1750 (or something like that). If we could know that, it might indeed be useful. Given that we presumably can’t, then it does seem like an unreasonable expectation.

  96. dbostrom says:

    Yes, and the implied cost of not complying.

    Just for the record, leaving aside the mess created by us interlopers the conversation here between Wotts and Dr. Pielke went solidly into the rubbish bin when Dr. Pielke began playing silly games, as here with juvenile antics around equilibrium. Again I can’t understand the choice; reasonably respectful communication was happening between the two principles and some mutual understanding was being improved and then– boom– out come the toys.

  97. dbostrom says:

    Whoops, that’s “principals”; no understanding will likely ever be reached between the fundamental principles at play. :-)

  98. HarryWiggs says:

    To the definition of a forcing, viz. climate science, this is the one I think is universally agreed upon.

    “In climate science, radiative forcing is defined as the difference of radiant energy received by the earth and energy radiated back to space.”

    Source: http://www.grida.no/publications/other/ipcc_tar/?src=/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/212.htm

    Perhaps Roger can either agree with this, or show us a different definition?

  99. Tom Curtis says:

    Harry Wiggs, it is important to quote the full definition, in this case from the Third Assessement Report (ie, from your linked document):

    “The term “radiative forcing” has been employed in the IPCC Assessments to denote an externally imposed perturbation in the radiative energy budget of the Earth’s climate system. Such a perturbation can be brought about by secular changes in the concentrations of radiatively active species (e.g., CO2, aerosols), changes in the solar irradiance incident upon the planet, or other changes that affect the radiative energy absorbed by the surface (e.g., changes in surface reflection properties). This imbalance in the radiation budget has the potential to lead to changes in climate parameters and thus result in a new equilibrium state of the climate system. In particular, IPCC (1990, 1992, 1994) and the Second Assessment Report (IPCC, 1996) (hereafter SAR) used the following definition for the radiative forcing of the climate system: “The radiative forcing of the surface-troposphere system due to the perturbation in or the introduction of an agent (say, a change in greenhouse gas concentrations) is the change in net (down minus up) irradiance (solar plus long-wave; in Wm-2) at the tropopause AFTER allowing for stratospheric temperatures to readjust to radiative equilibrium, but with surface and tropo-spheric temperatures and state held fixed at the unperturbed values”. In the context of climate change, the term forcing is restricted to changes in the radiation balance of the surface-troposphere system imposed by external factors, with no changes in stratospheric dynamics, without any surface and tropospheric feedbacks in operation (i.e., no secondary effects induced because of changes in tropospheric motions or its thermodynamic state), and with no dynamically-induced changes in the amount and distribution of atmospheric water (vapour, liquid, and solid forms). Note that one potential forcing type, the second indirect effect of aerosols (Chapter 5 and Section 6.8), comprises microphysically-induced changes in the water substance. The IPCC usage of the “global mean” forcing refers to the globally and annually averaged estimate of the forcing.

    The prior IPCC Assessments as well as other recent studies (notably the SAR; see also Hansen et al. (1997a) and Shine and Forster (1999)) have discussed the rationale for this definition and its application to the issue of forcing of climate change. The salient elements of the radiative forcing concept that characterise its eventual applicability as a tool are summarised in Appendix 6.1 (see also WMO, 1986; SAR). Defined in the above manner, radiative forcing of climate change is a modelling concept that constitutes a simple but important means of estimating the relative impacts due to different natural and anthropogenic radiative causes upon the surface-troposphere system (see Section 6.2.1). The IPCC Assessments have, in particular, focused on the forcings between pre-industrial times (taken here to be 1750) and the present (1990s, and approaching 2000). Another period of interest in recent literature has been the 1980 to 2000 period, which corresponds to a time frame when a global coverage of the climate system from satellites has become possible.”

    (My emphasis)

    As can be seen, the standard definition of “radiative forcing” has been in use by the IPCC for 23 years. Roger Pielke Sr still, however, purports to not understand it.

    It should be noted that the text you quote is not from the TAR, and nor can I find it in this discussion or at WUWT. Can you inform us as to its source? In any event, the definition is different from that of the IPCC, being a definition of the TOA energy imbalance rather than that of the radiative forcing.

  100. Congratulations, Wotts on having, frankly, balls – on two counts.

    Firstly, you apologised for an error – it takes a big person to do that. In my opinion any such error was minor. And it was very informative to see how it was treated. Very. Well don you.

    Secondly, stay anonymous. You have done so for good reasons. Do not cave.

    I’m amused to see the invitation to comment on scientific matters on WUWT. A serious scientific discussion amongst the poo-flinging would be precedent setting. Frankly, I wouldn’t bother, as amusing as it might appear to be to try.

  101. Thanks. Despite giving it some thought, it does seem that de-anonymising would likely bring no benefits.

  102. Pingback: As the days of my life are but grains of sand – Stoat

  103. chris says:

    Quite a revealing thread. Most scientists in my experience are able to make clear and concise descriptions of their essential arguments. Dr. Pielke chooses not to do so – it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that this is an attempt to create a pretence that his “argument” remains substantitve.

    I would have thought another post would be suitable at this point in which you restate the standard description of radiative imbalance in relation to radiative forcings and feedbacks, with due consideration of Dr. Pielke’s input here. After all, perusal of this thread reinforces that one can come to an objective assessment both of the standard description of radiative imbalance and how Pielke has attempted to reformulate this. However for a disinterested observer this would require ploughing through this (very interesting) thread.

    So a “summing up” post would be useful and quite sciency. If Dr. Pielke feels that your summing up doesn’t capture his argument faithfully then he can re-engage and make an effort to state his argument in the semantically-straightforward manner that scientists normally employ to ensure that they are properly understood.

  104. BBD says:

    Very wise.

  105. I may do that, but I think I need to catch my breath a little before doing so :-)

  106. James Annan says:

    I think the scientific point is rather straightforward here (though I have only skimmed the conversation). If you include the planck response itself then of course the total feedback is negative, or else the system would be unstable. The interesting question is whether the feedbacks subsequent to the planck response are positive or negative (or perhaps more precisely, the interesting question is how positive they are in total, since everyone credible agrees they are positive).

    I’m not going to point fingers regarding the terminology. Arguably, it is climate science that is wrongest, but it’s also well-established usage that makes sense scientifically to people who are paying sufficient attention.

  107. James, yes I too thought the scientific point was quite straightforward – although that may not have been obvious given how convoluted this discussion became. Certainly, including the Planck response in the feedback is what confused me initially. It’s a fine thing to do but, given that it appears to be non-standard, making that clear might have been useful. As you say, what’s actually interesting is how positive the other feedbacks are, rather than whether the overall feedback (including the Planck) is negative, which it or else the system would be unstable (which it clearly isn’t).

  108. Pingback: MODTRAN | Wotts Up With That Blog

  109. Brad Keyes says:

    Wotts,

    I’m not suggesting you de-pseudonymize, but I fail to understand one of the above arguments in favor of disguise: the fear of FOI harassment. Um, why would anyone do that to you? Are you sitting on a treasure-trove of climate data that the public has an interest in seeing and a right to see? Do your emails touch on the occult machinery of the IPCC? (Do you even work in climate?)

  110. David Young says:

    The real issue here I think was pointed to by Fred Moulton in a comment at Real Climate on ocean heat content. Basically, Fred observed that the OHC data implies about a 0.3 W/m2 imbalance at TOA (actually it may be twice that but that was Fred’s number). According to Fred, consensus estimates have been around 2 W/m2. Fred asked what was going on here and got no answer. I’m not sure I follow all the details above about terminology. But the basic issue seems simple enough. Perhaps James can provide an answer to Fred’s question.

  111. David Young says:

    Sorry, Fred’s actual number was 1W/m2 from various modeling sources. So, I think this may really be a question about models.

  112. No, it’s not FOI harassment (or I don’t think I’ve ever suggested that). I get the impression that it’s not uncommon to receive rather abusive emails if one happens to present the kind of evidence (make the kind of arguments I make) that I do. Given that this isn’t actually my job, I’d rather avoid that if I can.

    Essentially, I chose to be anonymous at the beginning really because it just seemed easiest and I really didn’t expect this to be taken seriously by anyone. I started this blog mainly for my own benefit. I’m still quite surprised by the fact that I actually get comments and that people actually read what I write. Even though I could de-anonymise now, I can’t see how that would benefit me.

  113. The 0.3 Wm-2 is an average since the mid-1960s. I don’t believe that it’s correct that the consensus estimates are 2 Wm-2 (this person may be confusing the change in forcing since 1750 – which is around 2 Wm-2 – with the energy imbalance). As pointed out by Hansen et al. (2011) a lot of climate models are estimating values (today) of around 1 Wm-2. However, that is the value today, not the average for the last 50 years. Today, the OHC data suggests that the energy imbalance should be around 0.7 Wm-2 (averaged over a decade or so). This is still less than some models predict, but if you read this post it present the arguments presented by Hansen et al. (2011). What they’re suggesting is that some climate models are not taking aerosols into accound (or not enough) and these would act to reduce the imbalance to a level more consistent with what’s absorbed.

    However, it seems to me that there are a lot of people who are confusing the long-term average of the imbalance, the current imbalance, and the radiative forcings. It’s important to make sure that you’re actually comparing the right things.

  114. See my answer above. Yes, according to Hansen et al. (2011), models have in some cases been getting a higher imbalance than is observed. However, the disparity is more like 1 Wm-2 from the models and 0.7 Wm-2 from observations. The difference may be due to an under-estimate (in the models) of the influence of aerosols.

  115. Brad Keyes says:

    Makes sense. But I’m confused by:

    “I get the impression that it’s not uncommon to receive rather abusive emails if one happens to present the kind of evidence (make the kind of arguments I make) that I do.”

    Have you been receiving such abuse in your pseudonymous state? My impression on Twitter at least was that we’re being polite to you (and rightly so). If there’s little ill will towards you thus far, why would it increase after unmasking?

    Not that you should or anything.

  116. No, I haven’t and I did consider that inconsistency when I responded to your comment. As I think I have mentioned before, I don’t really have a good reason for being anonymous and try (but don’t always succeed) to avoid taking advantage of my anonymity. The main reason for remaining so is simply that I can’t see any benefit in de-anonymising.

  117. David Young says:

    Aren’t aerosol forcing estimates going down. Thats the wrong way to make this balance?

  118. Tom Curtis says:

    Brad Keyes is being disingenuous if he does not acknowledge the history of abusive and threatening emails that have been received by climate scientists around the world; or the harassment of Dana1981 in the form of letters to his employer. In particular, he is being disingenuous if he does not acknowledge the torrent of abuse directed at Katherine Hayhoe, who is, to my knowledge, unfailingly polite. All that is needed to start the hate mail is that you become a significant thorn in the side to deniers, either by good climate science, or well known exposition of climate science.

  119. Brad Keyes says:

    I know nothing about the horrors which the renowned psychic literary critic Dana1981 has had to undergo, so it’s hardly disingenuous of me not to “acknowledge them.” Ditto for Katherine Hayhoe. I was aware Phil Jones had received some very vile emails during his brief exile as head of the CRU. And on the other end of the world/spectrum, my own nation’s supposedly most-preeminent climate scientists were caught fabricating a me-too narrative about a campaign of death threats that never was, in a revolting attempt to drum up sympathy for themselves while demonizing skeptics—sorry, ‘deniers’—as a group.

    What any of this has to do with our host, or with Mr Venema’s forebodings of FOI harassment if wotts should reveal himself to the world, I’m not even going to try to guess.

  120. Brad Keyes says:

    Also Tom, I reject—that is, I deny—your weird suggestion that “doing good climate science” is ever likely to be a stimulus for harassment by skeptics.

  121. BBD says:

    Really Brad? So how do we explain the attack on Marcott et al. (2013)?

  122. Brad Keyes says:

    OMG… are they OK? Did someone get a good look at the attackers?

  123. BBD says:

    Same old same old, Brad.

  124. Brad Keyes says:

    I guess we’ll never know what you were talking about. :-(

  125. Tom Curtis says:

    Brad, how conveniently ignorant of you given that you were just advising Wotts that she had nothing to fear from losing anonymity. Also, how peculiarly unfactual your claims about Australia’s climate scientists. Just one of the purported death threats turned out not to be so. A climate scientist misinterpreted an abusive interjecter’s later comment about scoring perfectly on a test of markmanship (to renew a kangaroo culling licence) as being intended for them to hear and take as a threat. The other threats and abusive emails (what was actually reported) actually took place as can be read here. The widespread claims that the threats did not occur depend on failing to note that the threats took place in person, and on site rather than by email (as was originally reported), and also noting the the FOI of emails only covered those received at ANU rather than those from Australian climate scientists in general.

    In any event, Wotts can read what she will be exposing herself to if just one of her posts goes viral, in a way that global warming deniers dislike.

  126. BBD says:

    harassment by skeptics.

    So great that the authors felt obliged to post a response to it at RealClimate. But carry on playing at disingenuous silly-buggers by all means. I’m used to it.

  127. Tom Curtis says:

    I see that Brad Keyes now utterly rejects the notion that doing good climate scientist could lead to people receiving emails like this:

    “You will be chased down the street with burning stakes and hung from your f*** neck, until you are dead, dead, dead!

    Die you lying bastard!

    F*** off you lying communist c—!!

    Eat S*** and Die!!!

    (see Mediawatch link in my post currently awaiting moderation.)

    Despite the fact that it has.

    Or perhaps he is rejecting the claim that it could lead to direct, in person threats of physical violence, despite the fact that that actually occurred at the ANU.

    The most telling fact about the saga of abuse of climate scientists is not that it occurs. There are extremists and whackos of all political stripes. It is that purportedly reasonable “skeptics” refuse to acknowledge that it has, or even could occur. It is, I think, because the apple is falling too close to the tree. They do not like the clear evidence that their repeated, falacious claims of fraud and conspiracy are actually believed by people who act on that belief.

  128. I can’t give a definitive answer to your question as I don’t have one. The one point I can make is that comparing the 0.3 Wm-2 (an average over the last 50 years) with the current expected – from models – energy imbalance (1 Wm-2) is incorrect. As far as I understand it, there is still some evidence to suggest that we are underestimating the influence of aerosols. Hence, that may explain the difference between the model expectation of 1 Wm-2 and observationally constrained value of around 0.7 Wm-2. There are others who sometimes comment here who may be able to give a more definitive answer.

  129. Brad Keyes says:

    “So great that the authors felt obliged to post a response to it at RealClimate.”

    And I’m supposed to have known this because… ?

  130. Well, whatever may or may not happen, it seems fairly clear that de-anonymising will likely bring no benefits.

  131. BBD says:

    @BK

    And I’m supposed to have known this because… ?

    Because you made this claim:

    Also Tom, I reject—that is, I deny—your weird suggestion that “doing good climate science” is ever likely to be a stimulus for harassment by skeptics.

  132. Brad Keyes says:

    “Brad, how conveniently ignorant of you given that you were just advising Wotts that she had nothing to fear from losing anonymity.”

    Yes, and I was so close to tricking her into doing it.

    “Also, how peculiarly unfactual your claims about Australia’s climate scientists. Just one of the purported death threats turned out not to be so.”

    Ah—but all the other death threats were non-fiction, is that what you’re saying?

    Oh. There was only one. I see.

    And it turned out, ahem, not to, uh, “be so.” As it were.

    Yet “scientists” like David Karoly assured the media that there had been an organized campaign—or as cognitive psychologists would say, a “conspiracy”—of death threats aimed at the suppression of Australian climate science itself!

    On.

    Zero.

    Evidence.

    Mind you, I’m sure this was a one-off lapse in scientific rigor; I’m sure Karoly never makes, say, climate-change claims on the basis of mere imagination! He seems like such a top bloke (when he’s not vilifying the 50% of the population that doesn’t believe him).

    “A climate scientist misinterpreted an abusive interjecter’s”

    Whoa—what kind of interjecter? You’ve already started making things up, haven’t you Tom, and you’re only half a sentence into your attempt to explain to me what happened in my own country. Oh dear.

    “the threats took place in person, and on site”

    Do you have any evidence that “threats,” plural, “took place in person, and on site”?

    Or are you just being climate-honest with us, Tom?

    “the FOI of emails only covered those received at ANU rather than those from Australian climate scientists in general.”

    How interesting. If I might digress into the realm of personal impressions for a moment, I’ve found—purely anecdotally—that it’s become almost… emblematic, in a way, of people with your belief system, Tom, or at least of those of you who feel an inner calling to propagate said system, that you seem to think Scientists™ have the right to say whatever sentences pop into their head and that if private citizens are impertinent enough to wonder on what basis such things are asserted, it’s their responsibility to spend their own precious time legally compelling said scientists, kicking and screaming, to surrender the data—if they have any, which in the present example they don’t—for their statements.

    Anyway, what were we talking about? Ah yes. The reason the ANU emails offered zero evidentiary justification for Karoly’s nasty little conspiracy theory is the same reason every other university on this great continent is equally incapable of coughing up any evidence for it. There is no evidence for it. There never was any evidence for it.

    I don’t know anybody else to whom it would be necessary for me to spell this out, Tom. There’s something wrong with you if you hadn’t already worked this out.

  133. Brad Keyes says:

    BBD—

    Nope. I give up trying to locate Marcott et al.’s “harassment” statement. Do you, perchance, have a URL for it?

    My recollection, now that I know who Marcott et al. are, is that they copped flak for climate-honestly overselling their result as a “hockey stick” and later mumbling something about “not robust over [inaudible]”.

    If they were harassed, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t for “doing good climate science.”

    That would be, to put it mildly, weird.

    As I put, mildly, to Tom.

    Prove me wrong. Link.

  134. Joshua says:

    Brad –

    Just curious. What is the difference between “cop[ping] flak” and being harassed?

    Also, you say….

    “If they were harassed, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t for “doing good climate science.””

    If Marcott et. al. were harassed, and the reason for their harassment was (at least in your view), not for doing good science but for doing bad science, would it then be justifiable harassment, and the sort Wotts should welcome by de-anonymizing?

  135. Brad Keyes says:

    “The most telling fact about the saga of abuse of climate scientists is not that it occurs… It is that purportedly reasonable “skeptics” refuse to acknowledge that it has, or even could occur.”

    I’m more interested in the fact that you still believe this after my acknowledgement on this very page of the abuse Phil Jones was subjected to. No, it wasn’t for “doing good climate science”—it was for other reasons, which there’s no need to go into because there is no reason that would ever justify some of the emails Phil Jones had to wake up to in the immediate wake of the Climategate release.

    I called them “very vile.” I repeat: they were very vile.

  136. Brad Keyes says:

    Hi Joshua,

    Marcott et al. copped flak—in the sense of incurred criticism—from Pielke, McIntyre and no doubt numerous other scholars and commentators.

    (I don’t think they were criticised for doing good climate science. I think they were criticised for doing something else.)

    It doesn’t follow that they were harassed.

    They may have been harassed.

    (If so, I highly doubt it would have been for doing good climate science. I strongly suspect it would have been for something else.)

    Where is the testimony that suggests they were harassed? Who knows.

    You ask if Wotts should “welcome” harassment by de-anonymising.

    I don’t think it’s even possible to answer that, because, as I’ve already said, I know of no reason why Wotts would be harassed. Tom can’t seem to name one. Can you? Is Wotts, just for argument’s sake, planning to do any bad climate science in the near future?

  137. BBD says:

    Ineffably tedious. And Brad will keep this up forever. It’s what he does.

  138. Brad Keyes says:

    “And Brad will keep this up forever. It’s what he does.”

    That would be a “no” on the link, then.

    Oh well. Bye

    BK

    PS It only took a couple of hours for you to call evidentiary bankruptcy. “Forever” is a bit melodramatic, don’t you think?

  139. Joshua says:

    Hey Brad –

    As near as I can tell, you didn’t answer my question: What is the difference between “cop[ping] flak” and being harassed? Equating “cop[ping] flak” with incurring criticism doesn’t really get the job done. Hopefully, you won’t fail to answer that question if asked a second time.

  140. Brad Keyes says:

    “Equating “cop[ping] flak” with incurring criticism…”

    Which is what the phrase means.

    ” …doesn’t really get the job done. ”

    Well, it gets half the job done. Now all you have to do is define “being harassed” and—voila!—the difference between them will reveal itself implicitly to everyone.

    Why should I do all the work in this relationship?

  141. Joshua says:

    Brad –

    “Why should I do all the work in this relationship?”

    You won’t have to, but you do have to do at least some of work. Thus far, you have basically refused to do any. My first comment to you asked two questions. Your response to me failed to answer either one.

    I’ve selected out the second and limited our focus to the first, thinking that might improve the situation. Seeing that answering two questions was too much work for you, I reduced your tasks. If you answer that one question, we could proceed. I will work. I have some things to say, pending your response.

    I’ll try a third time, and then give up – assuming that if you fail to answer a question asked three times, you have no real intent of answering the question, no real intent to do ANY work in this relationship.

    What is the difference between “cop[ping] flak” and/or “incurring criticism” and harassment?

  142. Brad Keyes says:

    You don’t seem to have taken the hint. I’m not assisting because your question is malformed. (It’s almost as bizarre as the one about Wotts “welcoming” harassment if she comes out.)

    There is no single difference between copping flak and being harassed.

    There are many, many differences between them.

    Why? Because they’re UNRELATED CONCEPTS. There is NO CONTINUUM. There’s (ipso facto) NO LINE, fine or gross or fuzzy or clear, “dividing” them, so don’t waste time asking me to draw one.

    Hey, why not tell me what they have in common, Joshua?

    Why are you har- er, I mean persistently asking me an incomprehensible question? ;-)

  143. Joshua says:

    Brad –

    You seem to be confusing laziness (unwillingness to work) or obstinence (refusal to work), or a lack of motivation (having no reason to work) with a lack of clarity (not knowing what work to do, or how to do the work).

    In the following statements, you are clearly conceptualizing a difference between harassment and “cop[ping] flak”:

    “My recollection, now that I know who Marcott et al. are, is that they copped flak for climate-honestly overselling their result as a “hockey stick” and later mumbling something about “not robust over [inaudible]“.

    If they were harassed, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t for “doing good climate science.”

    You say that they “copped flak,” but that you weren’t sure that they were harassed (by using the conditional “if”). So just a few minutes ago you clearly indicated a conceptualization of a difference but now you claim that you can’t describe that difference?

    You asked for examples of harassment, and then claim that it would be indistinguishable from criticism?

    I can only conclude that you are not engaging in good faith.

    I could, quite easily, describe to you the main or most significant difference between criticism and harassment. Or I could, quite easily, describe to you multiple differences between them.

    I believe that I can, quite easily, give you examples of where Marcott et al. were harassed – and not simply criticized or given flack.

    But to reach some common ground on these questions, we’d have to have some agreement about the differences (or the difference) between criticism and harassment. Obviously, however, if you’re going to pretend that you can’t conceptualize the difference(s) (nonsensically after making it clear that you did conceptualize a difference), there’s no way to proceed.

    Give it some thought. Reassess your position. If you decide that you’re interested in engaging in good faith let me know and we can try again.

  144. Brad Keyes does seem to have a lot of time and energy for this here (and elsewhere). One might think he doesn’t do much of anything else but trail his coat and waste a lot of time with these distractions.

  145. Tom Curtis says:

    Wotts, you may not yet be big enough a target to attract the sort of abuse Hayhoe attracted (for no good reason); but plainly you are having some impact. You have now received the first deniers compliment, the visit to your site of people whose purpose is simply to generate noise so as to make rational conversation difficult, if not impossible. First Richard on the Modis post, and now Brad Keyes on this. Welcome to the real world, in which deniers abhor any comment thread that is not morphing into a clone of WUWT or Climate Etc.

  146. Brad Keyes says:

    Joshua,

    only a mental retard would get harassment and criticism confused.

    I’m not a mental retard. Are you a mental retard?

    Let’s…. assume you’re not. (Notice how—unlike you—I’m prepared to make that assumption without telling you to jump through a series of childish lexical hoops first. It’s a little thing called respect. For other people’s time and intelligence.)

    Now, you were mentioning something about Marcott. Before I lose what little interest I had in this topic to begin with, I would strongly, strongly, strongly advise you to GET ON WITH THE F______G STORY.

    Otherwise I shall be forced to teach you the difference between a catastrophic anthropogenic warming disbeliever and a dolphin.

    (Sorry for the bad language, Ms Wotts!)

  147. Brad Keyes says:

    Tom,

    Wotts knows (or ought to be able to take a pretty well-educated guess) what prompted me to check out her blog.

    You….

    don’t.

  148. dbostrom says:

    Yep. There goes the neighborhood.

  149. Lots of theories:

    (The prescription is not restricted to people with whom you disagree.)

  150. Brad Keyes says:

    My dearest Willard,

    What do my tweets about Sou’s blog have to do with Wotts’ blog?! (In your mind, I mean?)

  151. I thought your tweet was about my comment, Brad,

    But as I said, there are lots of theories:

    > We know how you love Doritos.

    http://rabett.blogspot.ca/2013/03/what-is-science.html?showComment=1364582456807#c1412853996623198679

  152. Brad Keyes says:

    “I thought your tweet was about my comment, Brad,”

    Well it wasn’t. (Why didn’t you just ask?) I did like your comment, incidentally! I liked Leonard Cohen’s speech. A lot. And I can say that here because Wotts isn’t a climate deletionist (as far as I know). But please try to think more carefully before filling unsuspecting blogs with the clippings you’ve made in your various lurkings in my vicinity. As ridiculous as this may sound, not everyone here finds me as fascinating as you do. I’d like to be able to go and explore new blogs without my warmist entourage colonising them and converting them into all-Brad-all-the-time Bradathons. It was flattering when that started happening last year. …for about five minutes. Then it got slightly creepy and boring. So let’s be considerate of Wotts’ other readers, OK? :-)

    Cheers mate

  153. Glad you liked Cohen’s speech, Brad. You ask:

    > Why don’t you just ask?

    You mean, this tweet that starts with “let’s say I second Willard’s comment” is not about Willard’s comment? How could anyone guess it was about a way to test Sou’s policy! Surely, Brad, you must be joking.

    Then it is of little wonder why you say:

    Sometimes I question why I bother on those sites, knowing that the majority of my audience will inevitably consist of humorless cultists. But then, once a year or so, I bump into a fellow infidel who reminds me that the occasional reader does exist who actually understands what I wrote, and that makes it all worth it! Well, almost worth it.

    http://judithcurry.com/2013/10/25/misinformation-disinformation-and-conflict/#comment-404909

    A world without humour would make me doubt too.

    May you find some in your quest for comedies of menace,

    w

    PS: Not only was the prescription not restricted to disagreements, BTW, it referred to mortal questions.

  154. Brad Keyes says:

    “How could anyone guess it was about a way to test Sou’s policy”

    Quite easily: by having actually participated in the conversation and grasped the context thereof! Like, say, Barry—the person I was talking to. As opposed to, say, you—the person stalking and lurking and peeping and, alas, all-too-rarely comprehending. I promise, had you been the subject of discussion, even in the most tangential way, your name would have appeared in blue text with the @ symbol prepended thereto, serving as an invitation to join in.

    “Then it is of little wonder why you say” …

    … followed by another wholesale regurgitation of my thoughts on a topic of no interest or relevance to anyone here.

    I apologise for attracting my cyberstalkers into your space, Wotts. (If you have any advice on how to establish boundaries with one’s, er, fans, I’ll be very grateful to hear it.) For now I’ll try simply leaving, since neither Joshua nor anyone else of interest looks game to engage.

    Catch you on Twitter! :-)

  155. Brad Keyes says:

    Final point:

    Joshua,

    Your interlocutor (way above) is open about his name, Doug (Bostrom).

  156. BBD says:

    I apologise for attracting my cyberstalkers into your space, Wotts. (If you have any advice on how to establish boundaries with one’s, er, fans, I’ll be very grateful to hear it.)

    Classic Brad. Of course what he does is not obtrusive trolling and of course everybody else is a “cyberstalker”.

    This entity is just priceless.

  157. Brad,

    I think there is a “!” at the end of the sentence you quoted. You did not include it. Somehow, I think you also missed the hint it provides.

    We know how you love Doritos, Brad. And just in case you do wonder: no, I’m not really talking about Doritos.

    Godspeed

    ***

    Wotts,

    You might appreciate:

    https://www.eff.org/bloggers

  158. Brad, I gather you have something of a reputation, being – according to a recent post on HotWhopper – the only person to have been banned from there. If the reputation is warranted (and I would have no reason to suspect that it isn’t) I would appreciate some restraint. I’m all for anyone being able to comment. I’m not, however, if favour of people making so many comments that it starts to detract from the theme of the post and rather spoils the discourse.

  159. Hank Roberts says:

    anonymous is not the same as pseudonymous.
    Brad Keyes is doing the ‘rodeo clown’ act, distracting attention while people are waiting for Dr. P’s responses to the above unanswered questions. Did he stay or did he leave?

  160. Brad Keyes says:

    Wotts,

    I think I’m entitled to expect you to read the threads in which my “reputation” originated before you form any beliefs about its nature or validity. (Alternatively, you could simply suspend judgement and take me as I come.)

    Sou has chosen to make it impossible for you see what I wrote at her blog, so I’m sure that (as a scientific and fair-minded person) you’ll refrain from forming any ideas at all about my commenting at her blog—though you’d be justified in wondering what this erasure of evidence says about Sou herself!

    (In case you’re wondering what really happened: I was banned because of the high quality of my comments. Not the high quantity—far from it. Sou banned me before I’d even left 10 comments. If you’ve read her abortive attempts at “debating” skeptics like me elsewhere, this won’t surprise you in the least.)

    Never mind; fortunately, not all climate activists are climate deletionists. Eli Rabbett has left some wonderful threads intact, for instance. I encourage you to read them. (History is another passion of mine; it wonderfully complements science.)

    While you’ll no doubt notice that I supplied more comments than anyone else, you’ll also notice that the quantity of my comments was a function of the quantity of the comments addressed to me by others.

    For example, you have just now written to me; I am writing back.

    That’s 1 comment for me, 1 for you.

    However, I am at something of a [dis]advantage, aren’t I?, as the sole representative of what might broadly be called my “side”, while there are multiple representatives of the “opposite side.”

    If, say, 5 “Affirmative” commenters put their concerns to me, it’s only reasonable to expect that I’ll single-handedly author 5 “Negative” comments in reply.

    What would be bizarrely unreasonable would be to look at a single statistic in isolation—number of comments—and attempt to draw a meaningful conclusion about my degree of “restraint”.

    If I only “send” 1 message for each 1 message I “receive,” then I’d submit that I’m the very model of restraint. Would you disagree?

    Please let me know if the above reasoning is less than crystal clear.

    But In any case, Wotts, if you read a bit further downstream you’ll see that I’ve thoughtfully offered to leave this thread so as not to be dragged into the mathematically inexorable role of predominant commenter.

    Which was nice of me.

  161. Brad, I wasn’t planning to base anything on belief or what anyone else has said. It was simply a friendly request that you try to stick roughly to my moderation policy. Keep things on topic, answer questions, remain reasonably civil, don’t thread-bomb. I tend to be quite relaxed, to be honest, but would rather nip things in the bud than let things get out of hand. I’m more than happy to keep an open mind and see how things go, I really just ask that commenters remain reasonably civil and try not to dominate threads or go too far off topic.

  162. Brad Keyes says:

    Wotts,

    Thanks, I did appreciate your follow-up. Full disclosure: I have a bit of a pet peeve about people (including but not limited to myself) being maligned on the basis of lost, vanished, destroyed, misremembered or downright imaginary evidence, to which I hope you’ll be gracious enough to write off any degree of overreaction in my reply to your penultimate message. Hence my signal loathing for David Karoly, the faux scientist who concocted and circulated a cyber-blood libel about Australian “deniers” waging a campaign of death threats to intimidate climate researchers into silence. Tom Curtis’ apologetics efforts on behalf of this revolting rumor are themselves revolting: he blames the lack of evidence on us—the collective targets of the libel—because, according to Tom, our FOI requests didn’t cover enough institutions! It’s not that the emails don’t exist and are a figment of Karoly’s mendacity, of course, it’s just that we “deniers” haven’t been smart enough to figure out where in Australia they’re secreted!

    But you’re A-OK in my books, Wotts.

    (I trust you saw my Tweet about your perseverence and open-mindedness in trying to get to the bottom of why HTD was considered so egregious.)

  163. Marco says:

    http://www.readfearn.com/2011/06/emails-reveal-nature-of-attacks-on-climate-scientists/

    Those are highly intimidating e-mails, and when received in sufficient quantities and knowing what has happened to some of your colleagues elsewhere (ask Katherine Hayhoe or Ben Santer), only abnormal people would not fear for their physical health.

    There’s also a few examples here:

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/32912.html

    How about these received by some climate campaigners:

    “Did you want to offer your children to be brutally gang-raped and then horribly tortured before being reminded of their parents socialist beliefs and actions?
    and
    “Burn in hell. Or in the main street, when the Australian public finally lynchs you.”
    and
    “Or you will be chased down the street with burning stakes and hung from your f**king neck, until you are dead, dead, dead!”

    A journalist reporting a bit too much AGW? Then you can get stuff like:

    “Your mother was a goat f**ker!!!!!! Your father was a turd!!!!!!! You will be one of the first taken out in the revolution!!!!!!!! Your head will be on a stake!! C**t!”

  164. Doug Bostrom says:

    Yup. Muscle memory trained a long time ago still produces “dbostrom” from time to time when filling in comment ID fields but the moniker is Doug Bostrom.

    It’s a shame that OpenID is withering; the authentication tower of babble is a mess. Anybody here tried commenting on ClimateProgress of late? Only possible if you’re a teenager in mind or body, or so geriatric as to still be clinging to AOL. :-)

  165. There might be no need to parse emails to find something like poison pens:

    The “climate scientists” need to be sidelined, ignored.

    http://judithcurry.com/2013/10/25/misinformation-disinformation-and-conflict/#comment-404568

    Note the discussion that follows.

    Doritos, anyone?

  166. Brad Keyes says:

    As you may be aware, there are thousands of climate scientists in the world, and an unknown number of millions of the people you call “climate campaigners.” And, as even Tom Curtis knows, there are whack-jobs everywhere on every topic. And climate change is a hot topic, or as we say in my country, BS (“barbecue stopper”).

    In light of these universal truths, the striking paucity of the vile emails received by climate scientists (and I won’t quibble over whether they actually rise to the level of “death threats”) proves beyond any doubt that the claims about an organised campaign to silence Australian climate scientists with death threats has never been anything but a febrile conspiracy theory cynically propagated to demonize skeptics.

    To those who find evidence and reason boring, apologies for the interruption.

  167. Hold on, I’m unaware of where anyone (in this thread at least) has claimed an organised campaign. It seems clear that climate scientists do get extremely unpleasant emails and letters from people. Whether or not this is organised is somewhat irrelevant. In my view, it should be regarded as unacceptable by all involved.

  168. Brad Keyes says:

    Hi again Wotts.

    “Hold on, I’m unaware of where anyone (in this thread at least) has claimed an organised campaign.”

    It was the alleged scientist David Karoly who promulgated precisely that rumor, for which Tom Curtis (in this thread) attempts to make excuses.

    “It seems clear that climate scientists do get extremely unpleasant emails and letters from people.”

    Abuse from random members of the public was, unfortunately, all-but-inevitable once “scientists” began advocating new taxes. (“Make carbon tax hurt, Julia Gillard advised [by supposed scientist Will Steffen],” for example.) As Tom Curtis admits—with admirable awareness—there are whack-jobs everywhere, on every topic.

    “Whether or not this is organised is somewhat irrelevant.”

    It’s supremely relevant to conspiracist ideation about evil, death-threatening deniers.

    “In my view, it should be regarded as unacceptable by all involved.”

    It is.

    (Do a search for the word “vile” on this page.)

  169. After you search for “vile”, Wotts, do a search for “Karoly”.

    Notice who mentions it.

    More Doritos, Wotts?

  170. BBD says:

    @BK

    You have said all this elsewhere. Why are you spamming this thread with your obsessions? It’s irritating.

  171. Brad Keyes says:

    @BBD: “You have said all this elsewhere.”

    It irritates you that I clarified something Wotts was “unaware” of? Or that, thanks to me, some facts have now been pointed out at more than one location on the Internet? Quick, call Tim Berners-Lee*; I’m sure he never thought this would happen. Sorry for obtruding!

    *TimBL is a computer scientist who stole the “Internet” idea from tobacco salesman Al Gore

  172. BBD says:

    It irritates me that you rehearse your denialism as you do here.

  173. Brad Keyes says:

    You thought this was a rehearsal? Oh boy. No wonder you keep fluffing your lines. Opening night was 20+ years ago, Dominic. (Also, be a dear and tell Wotts what exactly I denialize.)

  174. BBD says:

    (Also, be a dear and tell Wotts what exactly I denialize.)

    I’m sure Wotts is capable of parsing your discourse.

  175. Brad Keyes says:

    Nice cop-out.

  176. BBD says:

    An informed opinion. Another such is that you are a troll.

  177. Brad Keyes says:

    Why would I troll Wotts? I like Wotts. But I doubt you were “informed” enough to know that.

  178. BBD says:

    You like the sound of your own brilliance, Brad. It deafens you.

  179. Brad Keyes says:

    Brilliance can’t deafen, it can only blind.

    Science denier.

  180. BBD says:

    Brilliance can be aural, my child.
    ;-)

    Please stop the definitional tango. It’s so last year.

  181. Brad Keyes says:

    Tell that to Willard, whose response when caught quote-doctoring is to demand the definition of “quote” (http://judithcurry.com/2013/10/25/misinformation-disinformation-and-conflict).

    In any case, apologies to any persons blinded by my “aura.”

  182. BBD says:

    I’m telling it to you, Brad. And now you have become boring. Nighty night.

  183. Tom Curtis says:

    I had dropped out of the “conversation” with Brad Keyes because:

    1) There is literally no point in carrying on a conversation with a person who continues to insist that a 6 month email record at ANU obtained by FOI can prove that no climate scientist at any university in Australia has received death threats by email, and that climate scientists at ANU did not receive threats of violence (reported as death threats by the ABC, but not by other sources) in person at least 8 months prior to the period of the FOI.

    2) Nor, for that matter, is the much point who keeps on inflating my claims in order to rebut them. Thus my “history of abusive and threatening emails that have been received by climate scientists around the world” morphs into a requirement to defend the account of abusive emails and threats directed at Australian climate scientists; which in turn morphs into a need to defend claims by Karoly of an actual campaign. (Note in passing the morphing involved there. Karoly spoke of “… a campaign in terms of either organised or disorganised threats …”, which Brad Keyes misquotes as “an organized campaign”). It appears in Brad Keyes mind that if the most inflated version of the claim is not true, no version of it is. And against such illogic, all argument is in vain.

    3) My only purpose in introducing the issue of threats was to warn Wotts of the vileness she could be exposing herself to by losing the veil of anonymity. She has more than enough examples now, so this discussion serves little further purpose to my mind.

    Having said that, Karoly’s words do raise a very germane point. I am not clear about what he meant when he said, “”It is clear that there is a campaign in terms of either organised or disorganised threats to discourage scientists from presenting the best available climate science on television or radio.” If he meant that there was an explicit campaign to orchestrate abusive and/or threatening emails, I certainly no of no evidence of it. But there is an ongoing campaign by leading climate change deniers to abuse and vilify climate scientists who speak up about the threat of global warming. This is a very public campaign that appears in blogs, in books and in Heartland Institute Conferences. It vilifies climate scientists as frauds, as scam artists, as liars, and as conspirators in a plot for an undemocratic unified world government. In more extreme cases it vilifies them as deliberately conspiring for the purposes of (variously) destroying the United States, or to commit genocide. Almost all major AGW deniers have contributed to this campaign, and none have called out others for the extremist and offensive nature of their accusations.

    There is no question that the peripheral vileness in the form abusive and threatening emails are a direct consequence of this public campaign of vilification. They may not be (indeed probably are not) an intended consequence, but they are a consequence of it none-the-less. You only need to read the accusations made in the abusive and/or threatening emails to see that they are drawn straight from the public campaign of vilification. People are angry about carbon taxes, but that is only because Anthony Watts, Christopher Monckton, Roy Spencer and the rest of the crew have told them that they should be.

    I do not know whether this campaign is organized, as in it is based on consultation behind the scenes; or disorganized, and coordinated by mutually watching each others blogs. It does not matter. It is a campaign that demonstrably exists, and may have been the campaign to which Karoly referred.

    Many of (all for all I know) of the major proponents of the public campaign of vilification have condemned the individual vileness of the abusive and/or threatening emails. They then proceeded to further vilify the climate scientists for bringing it to public attention. To my mind, that means their original condemnation of the emails is superficial at best. Indeed, it strongly suggests that it is actively hypocritical.

    In this context, it is interesting to look at Brad Keyes behaviour. Certainly his intent on this thread has not been to condemn the vileness (although he does in a pro forma sort of way), but to attack the climate scientists for “fabricating” claims about events which actually occurred.

    Willard (above) draws attention to an illuminating episode at Climate Etc where one Aletho writes:

    “Mannn et al are misanthropic genocidists, for that is the actual result of the policies they promote. Malthusian, social Darwinist and racist supremacism.
    Call them out.”

    Brad Keyes response is not to condemn the vile language, which appears to pass him by. It is to condemn Michal for interpreting that statement as meaning “[Mann et al’s] arguments are genocidal”. Never mind that his arguments for that condemnation are entirely specious. What is telling is that that is what he thinks is important about the exchange. Not the hyperbolic and offensive language of Aletho. Nor yet the vileness of the accussations. Nor the lack of evidence for the accusations. None of that rates a comment. Not even a pro forma objection before moving on to criticizing Michael.

    So, given this example, the frequency of the word “vile” in a search of this thread is an irrelevant datum. It may be something that Brad Keyes says, but it is not something he acts on. It is, in fact, merely a form of politeness – like the question in greeting, “How are you?” from a stranger. It comes from the lips but not from his heart.

  184. Joshua says:

    “In my view, it should be regarded as unacceptable by all involved.”

    Why focus on the substance when their are nits to pick and moral equivalences still on the table?

  185. Brad Keyes says:

    “Why focus on the substance when their are nits to pick and moral equivalences still on the table?”

    Do you seriously not get that a matter of principle is involved when a “scientist” like Karoly stoops to mendacious hate speech? Are you really suggesting it’s nitpicking to deplore such activity? (Which, by the way, I’m the only person so far who’s had the nads to deplore?)

    Don’t tell me—dear God—you people actually buy into Karoly’s vicious conspiracism?

    Then again, given that not a single person on your “side” has ever, in the history of the climate debate, had the nads to deplore Oreskes’ Merchants of Venice theory, it probably shouldn’t surprise me.

    But it does sadden me.

  186. Tom Curtis says:

    And to put that little tirade into perspective, here is Brad Keyes being not at all hateful. Further to my comment currently in moderation, it is very clear that Brad Keyes is part of the campaign to vilify climate scientists (without at all suggesting, of course, that the campaign, and in particular, his part in it, is organized).

  187. Brad Keyes says:

    Dear Tom,

    how are you?

    Here’s some hate speech for you:

    I hate being told that my condemnation of those vile emails doesn’t come from the heart.

    What are you, a cardiologist?

    “People are angry about carbon taxes, but that is only because Anthony Watts, Christopher Monckton, Roy Spencer and the rest of the crew have told them that they should be.”

    Suure. Prior to the ascension of the climate skeptics mentioned, people used to love pointless taxes, didn’t they?

    Cardiologists—especially bad ones—prolly shouldn’t attempt psychology, Tom. You kinda suck at it. (Sorry, mate.)

    By the way:

    1) Thank you for expanding our horizons with the bizarre notion of non-organized campaigns.

    2) “There is literally no point in carrying on a conversation with a person who continues to insist that a 6 month email record at ANU obtained by FOI can prove that….” blah blah blah.

    I see. You have now elected to double down on the argument that if we don’t like being vilified, it’s up to us to prove that there hasn’t been a campaign of death threats. You really don’t get how concepts such as burden of evidence work, do you?

    3) You suggest that the ANU received “threats of violence (reported as death threats by the ABC, but not by other sources) in person at least 8 months prior to the period of the FOI.”

    And your idea of “evidence” for this is… wait for it… the evidence-free testimony of the very…. same… hysteric… who publicly accused a harmless pensioner of menacing climate scientists with a humane kangaroo-culling licence!

    ROFL…

    You really don’t get how concepts such as burden of evidence work, do you?

    (Incidentally, has Will Steffen had the decency to publicly apologise to John Coochey for embarrassing him? Or are pensioners considered fair game for defamatory lies if they don’t believe in CAGW?)

    4) Thank you for admitting that if Karoly “meant that there was an explicit campaign to orchestrate abusive and/or threatening emails,” which is indeed what he meant, “I certainly [know] of no evidence of it. But…”

    But nothing, Tom. You’ve said enough. Thank you.

    5) You criticise my intervention at Climate Etc, saying:

    “Brad Keyes[‘] response is not to condemn the vile language, which appears to pass him by.”

    Yes, as a matter of fact, it did pass me by. Particularly “Aletho’s” startling rhetoric about “racist supremacism”—something I’m fairly sure plays no part in climate alarmism.

    Unfortunately I was distracted by the fact that Michael seemed to be putting words into Aletho’s mouth, so I paid no real attention to the words actually coming out of said mouth.

    6) You say that, “here is Brad Keyes being not at all hateful,” and link to a perfectly reasonable comment about Phil Jones. Listen, Tom, I make no secret of, or apology for, the fact that I don’t like the guy. Is “hate” too strong a word to describe my attitude to a soi-disant scientist who, in his own words, “would rather delete the [CRU station] data than send it to anyone?” Probably not. In fact, definitely not. So I may as well come out and say it. I hate people who call themselves scientists but prefer to destroy an entire library of information about nature rather than share that knowledge with the world—also known as anti-scientists. I can’t help it; I love science, and loathing anti-science is just the other side of that coin. Guess what? I hate the people who burned the Library of Alexandria too. If you can explain to me the difference between one fanatic and the other, I’m all ears.

    7) You really don the tin-foil hat with this one: “it is very clear that Brad Keyes is part of the campaign to vilify climate scientists.” LOL. OK, Tom. The scary thing is, that probably is “very clear” to you.

    You profess to make this comical, conspiracist accusation “without at all suggesting, of course, that the campaign, and in particular, his part in it, is organized.” But you did suggest that. By calling it a campaign. Words, Tom: they mean things.

    ROFLMAO

  188. Brad Keyes says:

    8) Even though there’s no love lost between Phil Jones and myself, you’ll notice that I had no hesitation in acknowledging and condemning some of the vile emails sent to him during his crisis. The fact that he’s anti-science is no excuse.

    In light of my unhesitant and repeated acknowledgment of the above, I wonder if you’ll ever rethink these claims, which you apparently considered profound enough to bold:

    The most telling fact about the saga of abuse of climate scientists is not that it occurs. There are extremists and whackos of all political stripes. It is that purportedly reasonable “skeptics” refuse to acknowledge that it has, or even could occur.

  189. I don’t actually wish to get involved in this discussion. However, the tone of your comment is verging on being more confrontational than I would normally like. Given that Tom claims to have dropped out of this conversation and you’ve had an opportunity to respond, maybe we could agree to end this now.

  190. Tom Curtis says:

    Brad Keyes raises one (and only one) interesting point – can you have an unorganized campaign? He wants to make a case based on the meaning of “campaign”:

    “cam·paign (km-pn)
    n.
    1. A series of military operations undertaken to achieve a large-scale objective during a war: Grant’s Vicksburg campaign secured the entire Mississippi for the Union.
    2. An operation or series of operations energetically pursued to accomplish a purpose: an advertising campaign for a new product; a candidate’s political campaign.
    intr.v. cam·paigned, cam·paign·ing, cam·paigns
    To engage in an operation planned to achieve a certain goal: campaigned through the jungles of Vietnam; campaigned for human rights.”

    (My emphasis).

    I hope even he can agree that a series of books, blogposts, emails, letters to the editor, and speeches constitutes a “series of operations”. Having done so, perhaps he would be willing to concede that the books, etc by leading skeptics have been vigorously pursued. And perhaps even, that they have a purpose? Ergo they constitute a campaign.

    That does not mean that there is some general or committee pulling the strings behind the scenes. They may merely be like minded, and achieve partial coordination merely by watching what each other is doing, and reacting to it. That is, their campaign may not be organized. Or perhaps it is. Certainly there is evidence that part of it is. I doubt, however, that all of it is.

    Nor should the concept of a non-organized campaign come as a surprise to anyone in this day and age. After all, it is not as though non-organized campaigns are new or unusual in this day and age.

    So perhaps it was not such an interesting point. Perhaps, like the rest of his post, it was merely more evidence of Brad Keyes narrow mind and prejudicial outlook. Not to mention the facile way in which he exonerates himself for not standing up against vile and abusive speach on any occasion in which he is not “demonstrating” that he has the proper moral sensibilities, while turning the discussion back to yet more unjustified vilification of climate scientists.

  191. Tom Curtis says:

    Sorry, we can only keep a straight face when you play that one when you actually acknowledge the threats which were made against the climate scientists in Australia, instead of using their mere mention as a pretext to vilify them for fabrication and hate speech.

  192. wotts
    It would be good if you stop protecting your buddies and holding up their skirts for them. The moderation in tone thing cuts both ways. I’ve ever seen you do is step in to shield your friends. It’s obvious. People are not idiots, they can see through this.

  193. “Or perhaps it is.”

    If you cannot give up the conspiracy theory from your mind, at least have the guts to own up and affirm it, instead of wanting to have it both ways.

  194. Shub, I acknowledge a bias in my moderation page. If you don’t like it, then you don’t have to comment. My reason for stepping in there is that it seemed to be a suitable place to stop the discussion. There’s a difference between me deciding the discussion is getting to the point where it’s unlikely to be constructive if it continues, and preventing someone from responding to a comment directed at them.

    I’m not actually trying to protect anyone. I’m sure Tom and others can look after themselves. What I’m trying to prevent is an escalation of the comments to the point where it just becomes unpleasant.

  195. Tom Curtis says:

    Shub, talk all of your various major “skeptic” blog owner friends into turning over their emails so we can see whether or not they discuss strategy behind the scenes (ie, that there campaign is organized). I’m sure John Mashey will find the time to go throught them :) Suggesting that they might (or that a sizable proportion of them might) is certainly not a conspiracy theory. It is merely a plausible possibility for which I only have fragmentary evidence either way.

  196. Brad Keyes says:

    Tom,

    I acknowledge the threats that were made.

    I deny the imaginary threats. You know, the ones that weren’t made. The ones that would have been made if there’d ever been a campaign to make them. Which there wasn’t. (And yes, it is “hate speech” to make a false allegation to that effect. Such a falsehood vilifies skeptics.)

    It’s amazing that I should need to spell this out.

    “Having done so, perhaps he would be willing to concede that the books, etc by leading skeptics have been vigorously pursued.”

    Perhaps you will concede that “books, etc.” is a rather stunning backpedal from the idea of death threats? Or do “books, etc.” constitute threats to you?

    You can’t seem to stop smearing me with “unjustified vilification of climate scientists”, even though the “scientist” I condemned was one who prefers to delete information than promulgate it. Which is approximately, uh, the opposite of the definition of “scientist.”

    Very interesting reasoning there, dude.

    Wotts,

    You have every right to enforce pleasantness on your own blog.

    It’s just odd that *my* comments always seem to be the occasion for your concern. For example, I can’t fault you for saying this:

    “What I’m trying to prevent is an escalation of the comments to the point where it just becomes unpleasant.”

    But I’d submit that it became “unpleasant”—or at least “confrontational”—around about the time Tom said that “it is very clear that Brad Keyes is part of the campaign to vilify climate scientists.”

    But that’s just me.

    And I’d love nothing better than to think Tom actually meant what he said when he claimed to have dropped out of the conversation, because as soon as he stops writing things that are wrong, we can let you have your blog back :-)

  197. Tom Curtis says:

    Wotts, the conversation became unpleasant when Keyes started flinging around words like “fabricating” without feeling any need to provide evidence of his claim. (In fact, if you paid attention, you will notice that his evidence that the ANU scientists fabricated the claim of on site threats is merely that he chooses to disbelieve them, regardless of corroborating evidence such as a shift of their location to a more secure building, etc.) It went over the top when he called Karoly’s theory “hate speech”.

    I do not believe in any principle of politeness that extends only to those present an able to defend themselves. If Keyes is permitted to vilify absent scientists, the notion that we should continue being polite to him is laughable.

  198. “What I’m trying to prevent is an escalation of the comments to the point ”

    The ‘escalation’ usually happens when people like Tom Curtis and BBD, as is their wont, start steering discussions by peppering their comments with increasingly outrageous, unsupported claims. If they were rapped on their knuckles, once in a while, things would stay in line much better. After all, whatever I may think about Tom, I don’t disagree with everything he has to say (well, pretty much everything, but not 100%).

    If and when I come here, I come to discuss matters with you. I think we can discuss core contentious issues quite well, throw away the chaff and move on. What creates situations is when one party is litigating some unsupportable position, like saying ‘the deniers have to prove they did not issue death threats’. If it doesn’t trouble you, it will needle someone or the other.

    Also, remember, these are people with enormous amounts of time on their hands. If they write >100 word comments with numerous clams, there is no way there’ll be any contest, in the first place. You can live happily in the lunatic asylum echo-chamber then.

  199. Brad Keyes says:

    More proof that Tom is confused about the burden of evidence for conspiracy theories:

    “Shub, talk all of your various major “skeptic” blog owner friends into turning over their emails so we can see whether or not they discuss strategy behind the scenes (ie, that there campaign is organized).”

    For the last time, Tom, it’s not up to us to disprove your smears, it’s up to—no, you know what? Forget it. Just forget it. They don’t pay me enough for this.

  200. Tom Curtis says:

    Brad, it is not a smear to say that people with a common interest mutually organize their activity. Nor did I say that “skeptics” do so. Only that some demonstrably do, and that it is possible other major “skeptic” players also do so.

    I do have to say, by the way, that you are a good match for Shub. Your currently batting 1000 for misrepresenting my claims so that they match with the arguments you want to make.

  201. Tom Curtis says:

    Shub, go rewrite history somewhere else. My original point in this instance was a general comment, not mentioning Australian climate scientists at all, and focusing on Katherine Hayhoe. Keyes’ response was (among other things) to write:

    “And on the other end of the world/spectrum, my own nation’s supposedly most-preeminent climate scientists were caught fabricating a me-too narrative about a campaign of death threats that never was, in a revolting attempt to drum up sympathy for themselves while demonizing skeptics—sorry, ‘deniers’—as a group.”

    The tone was inflammatory, the content libelous, and his specific claims false. Further, it is he who made a very distinct positive claim (that the claims were fabricated) for which he has yet to provide any evidence. That you consider me to have started this ruckus merely shows your bias; and demonstrates you are ill equipped to give Wotts advise on how to avoid it.

  202. Brad Keyes says:

    Oh, the old “a shift of their location to a more secure building, etc.”

    Tom, this may count as an unfair advantage, but I actually know something about the events at ANU and I can tell you this vaunted “shift” was part of a routine security upgrade that was not specific to the climate department. For example, the chemistry department also has better security arrangements, as of last year, but here’s the difference: chemists would never use such a banality to defend a cock-eyed theory about being the target of a “campaign of organized or disorganized threats to prevent chemists from presenting the best chemistry possible to the Australian people.”

    When climate scientists make such claims, but provide no evidence for them, the fact that they have zero evidence is all the evidence I have to give you to justify calling it “fabrication.” That’s what I mean when I say “fabrication”: a make-believe story with zero evidence to back it up.

    The rules of evidence seem to be the real stumbling-block for you, Tom. Can we help in any way?

  203. Brad Keyes says:

    “In fact, if you paid attention, you will notice that his evidence that the ANU scientists fabricated the claim of on site threats is merely that he chooses to disbelieve them,”

    No, Tom, you’re the one who needs to pay attention. My evidence for disregarding as utterly valueless the claims about “on-site threats” is that you’re getting these claims from Will Steffen, who forfeited the right to expect anyone to just take his word on such matters when he falsely accused John Coochey of threatening people at a dinner party. (And Australia is waiting for a public apology from Steffen, but I guess we shouldn’t hold our national breath.) Some people are not to be believed in some matters, Tom. Again…why is it necessary to explain this to an adult?

  204. Brad Keyes says:

    Are we done here Tom? I hope so.

    Wotts, thanks for being patient with us.

  205. “The tone was inflammatory, the content libelous, and his specific claims false.”

    None, of the above are true. Well, leave the inflaming part out. If your attempts to drum up climate scientist sympathy bombed with Keyes, maybe you set something off you could have avoided. But it remains that none of the above are true. The tone is no more inflammatory than what I saw in major media outlets against ‘skeptics’, the content is libelous only if you believe your inverted scheme of who owes whom evidence, and the specific claims are that there is a null, which should be super-easy for you to show up as wrong, where yet, you seem to be struggling.

    The larger lesson to take away, is that there are lot of lay people out there who view climate scientists as an arm of the state and are angry with them. The silent majority is always composed of three parts (a) those that agree (b) those that cannot/do not want to be bothered (c) those that vehemently disagree and are biting down. ‘c’ may be a big fraction. Don’t be surprised when you get a taste of what they really think.

    I used to think there was some credibility to the ANU claims (well, not really, but I didn’t outright discount everything). But after I saw the emails, I changed my mind further:

    http://nigguraths.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/how-does-one-trust-an-australian-climate-scientist/

  206. Brad Keyes says:

    I know I said I was done, but… that was masterful, Shub. Inverted scheme, indeed! Cheers

  207. Tom Curtis says:

    So your evidence that your absent of evidence was unneeded was that the Chemistry department had a security upgrade (but no location shift) after the CCI was shifted for security reasons, which you presume proves that the CCI shift was scheduled despite the fact that the CCI had a different shift scheduled for 18 months after that shift, and which they have now made. Riiiiight! Of course, it could not be that after explicit threats were made to staff on campus, ANU decided to upgrade all security arrangements, and not just those of the CCI. That possibility must not be allowed to enter you minds (/sarc)

  208. Tom,

    Brad only denies the imaginary threats. So all Brad has to show was that imaginary threats are imaginary. If the threats were imaginary, then Brad can infer they were.

    Brad does not need to provide any evidence for that. It is not a positive claim. It the threats were not imaginary, of course Brad does not deny them.

    Now be honest, Tom: were there imaginary threats imaginary?

  209. BBD says:

    @ Shub

    The ‘escalation’ usually happens when people like Tom Curtis and BBD, as is their wont, start steering discussions by peppering their comments with increasingly outrageous, unsupported claims.

    This is a lie. I dislike your turning up in comments here and routinely lying about me. As you know, I think this blog would benefit if you were banned. Now you have once again lied about me here, I repeat that sentiment, with slightly more emphasis.

  210. BBD says:

    Wotts

    Behold The Brad in action. This is what he does.

  211. Brad Keyes says:

    It was a secret?

    I’m sorry—you’ve never indicated this before, or objected to use of your first name (by me) before. I honestly didn’t realize it was a problem for you.

    Now that I know, yes, Wotts: could you please delete my last comment? Thanks and sorry

  212. Brad Keyes says:

    Or does anyone know if WordPress provides a way for me to delete it myself?

  213. I’m not a fan of banning people or even being encouraged to do so. I will say, however, that BBD regularly makes positive contributions here, while I can’t really say the same for either Shub or Brad (apologies if that seems harsh). This was a post about forcings and feedbacks and the commentary related quite well to the science. It then turned into a discussion about anonymity and whether or not scientists have been exposed to abuse. Although I didn’t want to get too involved in that discussion, I did find it somewhat amazing that scientists who get abusive emails can then be criticised because it wasn’t technically a death threat. What? I get the impression that some people think scientists are some kind of public figures that should just expect to deal with a certain level of abuse. Really? That’s not how I see it. They’re scientists. They’re paid (not excessively I will add) to do science. They’re not paid to deal with abusive emails (organised or not). So, basically as much as I’d like the discussions to be reasonably open, I don’t encourage the diversion that this topic took and I would much rather discussions remained constructive and reasonably on topic. I’m also less likely to side with those who think that because a set of emails were not technically death threats that somehow that makes it alright or that it makes it okay to criticise the scientists because they over-reacted. There you go, that’s my warning.

  214. Brad Keyes says:

    “It then turned into a discussion about anonymity and whether or not scientists have been exposed to abuse.”

    Of course “scientists have been exposed to abuse.” This seems (to me) to be a fact virtually beyond discussion. Who doubts it?

    “Although I didn’t want to get too involved in that discussion, I did find it somewhat amazing that scientists who get abusive emails can then be criticised because it wasn’t technically a death threat.”

    Can they? This is news to me. I’ve tried to steer clear of any quibbling over “death wish” versus “death threat,” because it’s grubby and can easily be seen as trivialising the horribleness of such emails.

    The scientists I’ve criticised—and Shub & I are lone voices in the wilderness here—are the ones who indefensibly spin the extremely occasional, random hate mail into “it is clear there has been a campaign designed to suppress climate science.” (A campaign by skeptics, presumably.)

    Sorry, but that’s a libelous conspiracy theory.

    “I get the impression that some people think scientists are some kind of public figures that should just expect to deal with a certain level of abuse. Really?”

    Firstly, we’re not talking about scientists in general, but about climate scientists, notably those who’ve voluntarily taken on second jobs as policy advisors and tax evangelists.

    Such part-time scientists certainly should *anticipate*—though they needn’t be happy about, or accept, or forgive—the fact that semi-literate punters with their drink on are occasionally going to fire off hate speech at them once they’ve entered the public tax-advocacy profession.

    “That’s not how I see it. They’re scientists. They’re paid (not excessively I will add) to do science.”

    Climate scientists in Australia are paid excessively well.

    “I’m also less likely to side with those who think that because a set of emails were not technically death threats that somehow that makes it alright”

    I’m not sure how “very vile” can be considered compatible with “alright.”

    I’m not sure how many times I need to describe the examples cited as “very vile” before you believe me: I consider them very vile.

    Not “alright.” Very vile.

    ” or that it makes it okay to criticise the scientists because they over-reacted.”

    Scientists are not meant to “over-react,” if by “over-react” we mean “hysterically exaggerate beyond any evidentiary basis.”

    Such “over-reactions” make it hard to take these drama queens seriously when they voice climate-change fears. If you agree with those fears, that’s all the more reason you should join me in deploring wolf-crying. It doesn’t benefit your “side” any more than it does mine. All it does is erode trust in “mainstream” climate science.

  215. As I said, I’m not that interested in this discussion. That you appear to be unable to be charitable towards those who have vile emails sent to them speaks volumes in my opinion.

  216. Brad Keyes says:

    Receiving hate mail doesn’t give you permission to commit hate speech, in my books. Two wrongs don’t make a right. If this makes me “uncharitable,” so be it. I wasn’t aware people on $190,000 per annum needed charity.

  217. Brad Keyes says:

    btw thanks for deleting my (non-malicious) revelation of BBD’s name.

  218. Wotts,

    You may notice that Brad fails (H/T) to disclose how we came to know that Phil received mail he considers vile:

    He [the interpreter of interpretations James Delingpole] dedicated a column a while back to calling Jones and company liars, and claims they’re exaggerating the hate mail sent their way. Delingpole writes:

    Maybe it’s time someone did an FOI to see whether the UEA’s dodgy and discredited Phil Jones really did get any of those “death threats” he claims to have received after Climategate and which allegedly drove him to consider suicide. Speaking for myself, if Phil Jones released a report claiming that grass is green I’d feel compelled to go outside just to double check …

    I’ve a strong suspicion that the emails I get in my inbox most days from the ecoloons … are far more foul-mouthed, repellant and poisonous than anything these junk scientists have ever received.

    I’ve a strong suspicion not. Grist reports that Simon Hopkins did indeed file a Freedom of Information request to check into Jones’ claims, and sure enough—death threats. Dozens of them.

    http://www.treehugger.com/environmental-policy/read-disturbing-death-threats-sent-top-climate-scientist.html

    Our interpreter of interpretations may have failed (H/T Senior) to disclose his own emails. Brad might tell us where James’ call to action resides on the organization level of social reality.

    If you need more details about this story, you might send a tweet to SimonH. He might like to recall this episode as much as Brad relishes Doritos.

  219. That would seem pretty conclusive to me. If those aren’t death threats, I don’t know what would qualify. I also don’t understand how anyone can even begin to criticise scientists for how they might react to such emails. Maybe some have over-reacted (although given those emails, I don’t see how that’s possible) but if I was to recieve emails of that kind, I suspect I would react in a similar way.

  220. Brad Keyes says:

    Willard, this may astound you, but I had no idea the publication of Phil Jones’ very vile hate mail had anything to do with James Delingpole. Now that I do know, I don’t understand why it’s even remotely important. (Except, perhaps, as a tenuous excuse to work the old “interpreter of interpretations” jibe into the conversation?)

    But you just can’t help imputing something sinister (“fails to disclose”), can you, willard?

    Continual evidence-free insinuations of dishonesty—from either side—are never going to get us closer to Wotts’ laudable goal of polite discussion of climate change.

    Wotts, you seem to be getting different incidents, persons and times mixed up. Nobody here—or at least not me!—has ever sought to downplay the very vile emails Phil Jones received. And as far as I know, Phil Jones refrained from conspiracist ideations in the wake of those very vile emails—though he had the closest thing anyone has ever had to a good reason for such ideation.

    I remind you, Phil Jones is avowedly anti-science—by his own admission, in writing, he would rather destroy than disseminate information about nature.

    Phil Jones has nothing to do with you. Or at least I hope not.

    Phil Jones doesn’t even have anything to do with Australian climate scientists.

    Details (people, events, times) matter.

    Distinctions (people, events, times) matter.

  221. BBD says:

    More astonishing bollocks from Keyes:

    I remind you, Phil Jones is avowedly anti-science—by his own admission, in writing, he would rather destroy than disseminate information about nature.

    Refusing to hand over data he didn’t have permission to hand over to rent-seeking mischief-makers isn’t “anti-science”.

    More of the unrelenting Brad Keyes campaign to misrepresent and smear climate scientists.

  222. Brad Keyes says:

    “If those aren’t death threats, I don’t know what would qualify.”

    I can’t remember if they were, and I have no interest in revisiting them, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if your characterisation of them as death threats were correct.

    Nobody here is disputing this.

    “I also don’t understand how anyone can even begin to criticise scientists for how they might react to such emails.”

    Those emails were received by Phil Jones. Nobody has ever criticised Phil Jones’ reaction. If indeed he had a reaction—though I don’t remember any report of what it was.

    Please pay attention. Distinctions matter. Details matter.

  223. OPatrick says:

    Details matter.

    Do details matter when you say that Phil Jones is “avowedly anti-science“?

  224. BBD says:

    You beat me to it.

  225. Brad Keyes says:

    “Refusing to hand over data he didn’t have permission to hand over to rent-seeking mischief-makers isn’t “anti-science”.”

    God help us. What a strawman.

    Let’s see if, when confronted with the email I was actually talking about, you can spot the clause that avows hostility to science, BBD. (Just to make it easier for you I’ve put it in bold, having learned from painful experience that it is impossible to make things too obvious in climate conversations.)

    “The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone. Does your similar act in the US force you to respond to enquiries within 20 days? – our does!”

    Please tell us why destroying a treasure-house of information about the natural world, as Jones would like to do, would be qualitatively better than setting fire to the Library of Alexandria, BBD.

  226. BBD says:

    He didn’t have permission from all the data owners to hand over the CRU station data.

    Fact.

    M&M are rent-seeking mischief-makers.

    Fact.

    Refusal to capitulate to pressure from rent-seeking mischief-makers is in no way “anti-science”. Arguably the “sceptic” attack (eg M&M) on Jones’ work was anti-science.

    Hyperbolic remarks in private (and subsequently stolen) emails do not convict Jones of being “anti-science”. That’s just the type of rhetoric used by anti-science climate change deniers.

    Facts matter, Brad.

  227. Brad Keyes says:

    OPatrick, you raise a good point about my phrase “avowedly anti-science“. Since this could be taken to mean that Phil Jones has made a declaration like, “I am anti-science,” which would be ridiculous, I shouldn’t have used the adverb “avowedly.” What I meant was that Jones has demonstrated in his own words, in writing, an antipathy to the goals of science (which include the dissemination, not the destruction, of knowledge). “Openly” or “explicitly” would have been closer to what I mean. (Suggestions welcome.)

    Thanks for pointing out the problem with what I wrote.

  228. Brad Keyes says:

    “M&M are rent-seeking mischief-makers.

    Fact.”

    Fact?! (“You keep using that word,” &c.)

    Hardly. Were your sentence an assertion of fact, it would potentially be libelous. As it is, it’s merely emotional, subjective rhetoric on your part, of the kind that enjoys protection from legal action—though not from incredulity, ridicule and disagreement.

  229. OPatrick says:

    Suggestions welcome.

    I suggest you don’t make ludicrous judgements about someone based on an out-of-context e-mail.

  230. BBD says:

    The problem with what you write is that it is trolling. You have been riding your spavined little hobby horse hard and long on this thread as you do everywhere unless prevented. Trolling, pure and simple. I have deliberately refrained from much engagement, but I am fed up with the unending flow of off-topic trolling, instigated by you, for your benefit and to the detriment of every other reader.

    How about you bugger off?

  231. OPatrick says:

    it’s merely emotional, subjective rhetoric on your part
    How shocking that anyone would indulge in emotional, subjective rhetoric. Where else might we find examples of this?

  232. Brad Keyes says:

    “I suggest you don’t make ludicrous judgements about someone based on an out-of-context e-mail.”

    Everyone knows not to make ludicrous judgements (or at least, I do).

    I was hoping for a useful suggestion. You know, along the lines of how you would describe an avowed preference for destroying information about nature rather than allowing the world to see it.

  233. BBD says:

    You don’t know very much about M&M, do you Brad? So perhaps your opinions carry less weight than mine. Had that occurred to you, Brad? Perhaps you should consider it.

  234. Okay, I’m going to close comments on this post. I haven’t been following the thread that closely as I’ve been busy, but this is an example of where I’m getting my moderation wrong. I shall clarify in more detail when I have some more time.

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