Think again on British Antarctic Survey merger say Science and Technology Committee

Parochial stuff: I reported before that Axing the British Antarctic Survey would mean the end of Scott’s legacy?, but it looks like MPs say No:

Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, Andrew Miller MP, said:

My Committee has considered the process undertaken to merge British Antarctic Survey and the National Oceanography Centre. What we have concluded is that NERC have not made a proper case for it nor demonstrated political nous on the strong non-science related issues surrounding BAS.

Which is either Hooray for BAS! or Boo for political interference in science! depending on your viewpoint.

I’m not sure whether the committee has a veto or not. But it would be a brave head of NERC who proceeded after this.

[Update: Its all off. Quietly, NERC are now even more pissed off with BAS than they were before.]


* British Antarctic Survey to Keep Its Identity – Science.

Lindzen doesn't like me

Which is a shame, because I’ve defended him in the past. But then he did go Emeritus in 2011 so perhaps this is all to be expected.

Its not terribly exciting I’m afraid. There is a piece of tat in the Euresis Journal, whatever that is, called Climate Science: Is it currently designed to answer questions?. Skipping over the rest of the nonsense, the only bit I care about is me, obviously:

The myth of scientific consensus is also perpetuated in the web’s Wikipedia where climate articles are vetted by William Connolley, who regularly runs for office in England as a Green Party candidate. No deviation from the politically correct line is permitted.

This is from Winter 2012, and its wrong, of course: I haven’t stood for the Green Party for years now. Not that L cares about accuracy, of course; its just a piece of throw away intended-nastiness. But the head of the article says Original manuscript from November 29, 2008, with corrections and an added postscript provided on October 31, 2011 which is a bit odd – is this really a re-tread of something L wrote in 2008?

Presumably, since the postscript says:

The present paper was written in 2008 (although a few minor corrections have been made to the present version)… On a more positive note, William Connolley is no longer controlling Wikipedia’s coverage of climate, which has become discernibly better.

I wonder why L thinks wiki’s climate coverage is now better? There is a bit more of it, but the basic state of the global warming page and associated material is pretty well what it was in 2008. Still, we have no real idea of what L thought was wrong with it in 2008, and no idea of how it is better. L has abandonded science in favour of vague untestable generalities.

Marathon and misc

2012-10-20 11.54.41 To Amsterdam, for the marathon. In case you’ve been wondering why its been quiet around here. 3:55, since you ask.

I know I still haven’t written the sea ice post. But I will; and isn’t it nice that they don’t all come at once?

I’m reading Atlas Shrugged. Yes, I know Rand is a wacko. And I know CIP didn’t like the book. But I’m quite enjoying it so far (p 703), as long as I skip through the multi-page sermons. Its getting duller now she’s reached Rivendell, though.

Middle class decline: is it inevitable? (h/t: EW). Speaking of Atlas Shrugged, there’s Greece falling apart some more. Though they seem to have a different solution.

In wiki-world, Gerhard Kramm is no more, on the not unreasonable grounds that he isn’t notable.

Oh, and the Italian scientists and earthquakes thing.


* Climate Trolls – An Illustrated Bestiary
* Book review: Atlas shrugged by me

We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period?

[Guest post by John Mashey]

This is a second follow-up to the original falsification, flat-earth maps and dog astrology. Flat-earth is discussed here in More use and abuse of IPCC 1990 fig 7.1(c). This post explores the other topic:

David Deming, “dog astrology journal” and then Jon Overpeck This started with quote of David Deming‘s comments in the Journal of Scientific Exploration(JSE), or “dog astrology journal.” JSE was first brought to my attention by Eli Rabett in 2008, relevant in an Wikipedia talk page on Hockey Stick Illusion, and further in 2010. That discusses the journal issue in which Deming’s article appeared, plus his earlier articles, all of which appeared in 2004-2005, about the time Deming was on the parent organization’s Council. See p.17, but a quick perusal of the entire issue may be informative, including a talk by Michael Lemonick explaining to them why mainstream media doesn’t pay attention, written up in Time.

On 03/16/05, McIntyre quoted Deming, linking twice to Fred Singer’s 3-month-early preprint. One might wonder if Singer helpfully offered any advice to Deming in the writing. The key quote was:

‘ …With the publication of the article in Science, I gained significant credibility in the community of scientists working on climate change. They thought I was one of them, someone who would pervert science in the service of social and political causes. So one of them let his guard down. A major person working in the area of climate change and global warming sent me an astonishing email that said “We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.”‘

Of course, “major” was vague, no evidence was offered (“the dogs ate my emails”) and no one was named. For context, see also Deming 2006 testimony written or better video. See also Why I Deny Global Warming. However, since Deming’s quote was deemed to be Truth, people tried to figure out the identity of the purported emailer.

McIntyre on Deming and Overpeck
12/11/05 Overpeck: “You didn’t really believe everything that I said, did you?”

‘He has been proposed as the most likely person to have uttered the phrase “We have to get rid of the MWP” and Overpeck et al [1997] was one of the early entries in the multiproxy endeavour.’

02/13/07 IPCC Paleoclimate Lead Author on M&M

‘One of the two Coordinating Lead Authors of the IPCC Paleoclimate chapter (chapter 6), Eystein Jansen – the other is Jonathan Overpeck of “Get rid of the MWP” fame…’

05/08/07 Swindle and the Stick

‘After the graphics about the MWP and LIA, you can turn back to the graphic and observe — if this is what specialists thought in 1990, it certainly doesn’t convey any sense of urgency. It must have been hard/impossible to convey alarm with this as a sales graphic. You need good graphics to sell stock and this graph won’t sell stock. Then you segue into David Deming and “Get rid of the MWP”. Deming said [note – see his Senate testimony in 2006 here] (and he’d probably make an interesting interview):
“With the publication of the article in Science [in 1995], I gained significant credibility in the community of scientists working on climate change. They thought I was one of them, someone who would pervert science in the service of social and political causes. So one of them let his guard down. A major person working in the area of climate change and global warming sent me an astonishing email that said – We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.”
Maybe Jonathan Overpeck could be asked on the record about this quote.’

10/26/07 More on Arabian Sea G. Bulloides

‘(Overpeck, the second author of this article, has been rumored to be the person who told David Deming about “getting rid of the MWP”.)’

SO, a few questions for Stoat readers.
1) Have you found any earlier mentions in 2005 of Overpeck as the phantom emailer, either at CA or elsewhere?
2) And then, through early 2008, any other mentions? That brings us to:

02/19/08Sussman Interview With Deming Brian Sussman: Climategate: A veteran meteorologist exposes the global warming scam (2010). Global warming is Marxist plot, UN is evil, one-world government, etc, which might relate back to conspiracy research by Lewandowsky et al. I own a copy of this for my collection of such things. He is a TV weather guy, turned talk-radio host.

BUT, he has an interview with Deming, prefaced with the following (bold mine):

p.18: ‘Again, as you will discover later, Stephen McIntyre is a brilliant researcher who has wholly discredited some of Mann’s most significant work…’

p.30: ‘UNITED NATIONS OF MARX’ and shows yet another variant of Fig 7.1(c), claimed to be sourced from WSJ, 06/21/05, but actually, it’s a different version than that used by Daly/McIntyre and the WSJ.

p.31: ‘Enter a PhD from the University of Oklahoma’s College of Geosciences, David Deming. In 1995, Deming had concluded extensive climate research on ancient tree rings. Boring minute holes into the trunks of trees, Deming examined growth patterns relative to past weather and climate.

He writes glowingly about Deming, then quotes him and continues:

pp.32-34: ‘In 1995, I had a short paper… (NPR reporter, etc) So one of them let his guard down. A major person working in the area of climate change and global warming sent me an astonishing email that said, “We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.”’
‘Since then, Deming has shared the account before a Senate committee in Washington, DC, accurately referring to it as “historical revisionism.” But I wanted the rest of the story, specifically the name of the emailer who desired to subterfuge history.’

Sussman: Did you know the emailer?
Deming: No. You must understand that following an article being published in a journal like Science, it’s quite common to receive emails from colleagues working in similar fields.
Sussman: So, you didn’t know this guy.
Deming: No.
Sussman: Did his suggestion that somehow the record of the Medieval Warming Period had to be altered struck you as odd?
Deming: Yes. I didn’t really think people would take this nonsense seriously.
Sussman: Nonsense? Is that how you thought of anthropogenic global warming back then?
Deming: it wasn’t as big an issue then. I’m a geologist. I am used to observing events over long periods of time. Everyone talks about the [computer] models. I understand the atmosphere is a very complex system, and a system that is categorically impossible to replicate in terms of future predictions. So, I have to rely on what we know and what we don’t know. That’s why it’s important to study past climate. In fact, I have something I call Deming’s 10 Rules of Science. One of them is “You don’t know what you don’t know.” What we do know is that the climate of the earth has undergone major changes. What we do know is that after the last ice age the temperature of Greenland increased by perhaps as much as 50 degrees in a period of perhaps 10 years. Why did that happen? We don’t know – but it happened.”
Sussman: Back to the email. Many of us have heard the rumor that it was Jonathan Overpeck, the NOAA scientist, who has been on a tear for years to rid the books of the Medieval Warm Period, but I’ve been unable to find a record of you publicly admitting as such. Was it Overpeck?
Deming: It’s been many years, and I’ve long since deleted the email, but to the best of my recollection it was sent by an Overpeck.’
p.34: ‘Sent by an Overpeck. Dr. Deming claimed he was unable to recall the first name, and I didn’t want to press this good man any further. However, if it were Jonathan Overpeck, it would make good sense. Overpeck is a government apparatchik working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and has made quite a name for himself speaking at conferences and writing research papers belittling those who disagree with the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis.’
‘My suspicions about Jonathan Overpeck being the guy who contacted Deming were confirmed in a 2008 email unearthed in the CRU leak. During the exchange with Phil Jones and others, Jonathan Overpeck, clearly agitated all these years later by the comments made by Dr. Deming before the Senate (even though Deming never mentioned Overpeck by name), denies making the “we must get rid of the Medieval Warm Period” statement:
The email states:
“I googled….Any idea what my reaction should be?”’

‘I would recommend Overpeck and his selective memory take an early retirement. Through he denies the statement made to Dr. Deming, I discovered an official 1998 government press release regarding the MWP, quoting Jonathan Overpeck. It seems crystal clear that by 1998 his mission to see the record revised was accomplished, as he declares, “the so-called Medieval Warm Period did not exist.”’* *”’Twentieth Century Global Warming Unprecedented’ NOAA Scientist reports,” NOAA Press Release, December 7, 1998,’

[Needless to say, the actual quote does not say this.]

p.35: ‘Seems like somebody’s pants are on fire.’
‘And to whom shall we give credit for the climate lobotomy that supposedly killed the “so-called Medieval Warm Period”? Enter Doctor Leaky: Michael Mann.’
‘Mann apparently inputted data collected by Dr. Shaopeng Huang of the University of Michigan, who examined 6,000 tree-ring boreholes from around the world…

p.40: ‘In hindsight, it makes me wonder … where were Mann, Jones, Overpeck, Gore and a host of other climate clowns during their science fairs?’

People may notice some inconsistencies in all this, especially when played versus IPCC history. (Hint: Overpeck was one of two Coordinating Lead Authors for the 2007 AR4 paleo chapter, along with Norwegian Eystein Jansen. People might check the extent of Overpeck’s roles in IPCC {1990, 1992, 1995, 2001}.

Deming was astonished (in 1995) to receive a message from somebody he knew was a “major person,” but when he wrote about it for in 2005 JSE, didn’t check who it was and was vague by 2008, except to allow it might have been some Overpeck.
One might wonder how well any of this would actually stand up in court… Enough for now.

World's biggest geoengineering experiment 'violates' UN rules?

Or Controversial US businessman’s iron fertilisation off west coast of Canada contravenes two UN conventions, says the Graun (h/t Timmy).

This is the same bloke who was behind the failed Planktos stuff. If you’re deceptive you might call him an environmentalist – but “chancer” would seem closer to the mark.

But I was interested in:

International legal experts say George’s project has contravened the UN’s convention on biological diversity (CBD) and London convention on the dumping of wastes at sea, which both prohibit for-profit ocean fertilisation activities. “It appears to be a blatant violation of two international resolutions,” said Kristina M Gjerde, a senior high seas adviser for the International Union for Conservation of Nature. “Even the placement of iron particles into the ocean, whether for carbon sequestration or fish replenishment, should not take place, unless it is assessed and found to be legitimate scientific research without commercial motivation. This does not appear to even have had the guise of legitimate scientific research.”

That seems to be doing its best to imply that what has been done is illegal. But is it? (Update: via mt, Nature says No and I’ll trust them on this point). The WAPO says he is doing it “perhaps illicitly” – obviously it wasn’t worth their while to bother check whether its licit or not, so they thought they might as well throw in the allegation and see if it would stick. I’ve found at least one piece of fringery that calls it “hugely illegal” but I don’t trust them at all. The Graun continues with someone called Silvia Ribeiro “of the international technology watchdog ETC Group” saying It is now more urgent than ever that governments unequivocally ban such open-air geoengineering experiments which strongly suggests to me that they aren’t illegal, or they wouldn’t be trying to get them banned (update: and you definitely should not trust ETC).

More seriously: people – well, scientists – are being veery cautious about iron fertilisation. With the amount of money potentially available from carbon credits, it isn’t strange that entrepreneurs, who are by their nature far less cautious, indeed risk-takers, are sniffing around scenting dosh. Though without any kind of accredition, it isn’t clear to me why anyone would pay for this as a credit, when they may not get anything recognised out of the far end.


* OIF Accusations Fly at CBD COP11 – Geoengineering Politics
* Is the iron fertilization project off Haida Gwaii a science experiment, business opportunity, or uncontrolled geoengineering?
* Geoengineering and Carbon Sequestration
* Schoppmann Declined Role in Haida OIF Scheme

Adoration of the Lamb


Continuing vaguely along the theme of use and abuse of IPCC 1990 fig 7.1(c), its worth noting explicitly the worship of Hubert Lamb by some of the denialists. I don’t think I need to repeat what is said there, but make sure you read the comments, especially those from Willard, and me of course.

One interesting example of this, which illustrates the same problems, is Premonitions of the Fall (in temperature) at WUWT by David Archibald. Its a very silly post, but it adopts the usual policy of taking all of Lamb’s stuff uncritically, whilst ignoring recent work, in order to push the authors own views.

For a saner discussion that involves Lamb’s work Hughes and Diaz 1994, which recently fell my way, is a good example. It treats Lamb with respect, which he deserves, but not as gospel, which he also deserves.

I’m pleased to find a linkage back to the Goode Olde Dayes of sci.env: ah, those were the days. I kept it in the context of the “global cooling” meme, but it applies to fig 7.1.c too. mt can write well:

It is important to note exactly who made those predictions, (or more properly, who expressed those worries) about an imminent ice age, and who is now predicting rapid global warming. By and large these are not the same people. The first group was essentially the observational paleoclimatologists. Bryson still claims that “the proper tool of the climatologist is the shovel”. The compendium by Lamb which Tom Moore takes as his primary reference was essentially the pinnacle of achievement in that field.

With all due respect (I mean this quite seriously – the erudition and breadth of knowledge of these people, Lamb in particular – is enormously impressive) to that group, their grasp of mathematics and statistics was weak, and of physics weaker still.

For instance, Lamb’s prediction in particular of imminent and rapid cooling was based on, essentially, a crude Fourier analysis (best fits of sinusoidal curves to his record). Since one of the dominant features was a rapid rise over the last century, the *presumption* of a cyclical nature of the record forced a prediction of a rapid cooling *precisely because there had been a recent rapid warming*. And although the niceties of periodograms had all been worked out by that time, Lamb seemed blissfully ignorant of the need to take particular care when fitting sinusoids to a record with significant information at its termination.

In the 1970s, a separate discipline of physical climatology was just emerging from an infancy at the peripheries of mathematics and astrophysics.


* Early version of temperature history – me, from 2005.
* GWPF, 2015