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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A comment on "The crucifixion of Dr. Willie Soon" at Breitbart

There is an article by Joseph L. Bast, president of The Heartland Institute, and the lawyer and alleged pro-freedom of speech fighter Joseph A. Morris at Breitbart with the title "The Crucifixion of Dr. Willie Soon". I am banned from commenting at this outlet of the defenders of free speech. Thus, I am going to put my comment here.

Since Bast and Morris link in their article to one of my comments. The assertion by them that I hadn't read or understood the paper by Monckton, Soon, Legates, and Briggs before I criticized it is false. The comment by me to which they link doesn't support their assertion. Although, there are some points in the paper that are difficult to understand on scientific grounds. For instance, how anything follows for the real climate system from the doing of process engineers who wanted to prevent oscillations in electronic circuits, i.e., positive feedbacks leading to instabilities (see also here). That such nonsense and other fatal flaws in the paper could pass the peer-review process is only explainable to me with a breakdown of the peer-review process at Science Bulletin, the Chinese journal where the paper was published.

Scientists have commented on the paper how scientists do. They have seen fatal flaws in it regarding the quality of the science and pointed it out (e.g., here, here, and here). They did not attack the authors, personally. Bast and Morris, in contrast, seem to think that a paper should be judged according to whether they like the economical, political, or ideological implications. This is not how science is supposed to work, though.

After linking to criticism by scientists on the Monckton et al.-paper, Bast and Morris write, "Having failed to refute the article, environmentalists turned to smearing the authors." By linking the criticism by the scientists with this alleged "smearing", they suggest that it was those scientists who turned to "smearing". Do Bast and Morris have any evidence for this? For my part, I reject any such suggestion by Bast and Morris and consider this as smearing coming from them. To make it clear, I do not support any petition for dismissal of Soon for what he has published in scientific journals, even if it is bad science. That would go against my understanding of freedom of science. Demands by the public for disclosure of funding sources and conflicts of interests are legitimate, though. In the case that Soon has committed any ethics violations it is up to his employer to investigate this and deal with this according to the institution's policies, if there is any initial evidence for it. I do not take any word by Soon, Monckton, Briggs, Bast, or Morris regarding this issue at face value.

Also, it is hilarious that Bast and Morris, these two defenders of Soon's free speech, link to the article by Monckton at Climate Depot (which, BTW, is just filled with more misrepresentation, strawman arguments, non-sequitur, and failure to understand the physics of the climate system), where Monckton demands the dismissal from their employment and the criminal prosecution of those scientists who dared to criticize the flawed science in the Monckton et al. paper. And they don't say any word about Monckton's demands.

Scientifically, the Monckton et al.-paper is trash, as Gavin Schmidt has been quoted to have pointedly summarized it. Monckton et al. also have exposed about themselves that they don't have a clue about how complex climate models work. They loudly declare that the climate models shouldn't use the Bode-system gain equation to calculate the feedbacks. An equation that isn't used in the climate models in the first hand.

So far for my comment. And to reconfirm that the state at Breitbart is still the same:

Monday, January 19, 2015

Monckton, Soon, Legates, and Briggs falsely claim to have presented a new climate model

A press release (here or here) has been issued by Christopher Monckton, Willie Soon, David Legates, and William Briggs who authored a paper, which they could place in Science Bulletin (the former Chinese Science Bulletin) of the Chinese Academy of Science. IMHO, the paper is a mixture of a correct physical concept (the approach of using a simple energy balance model for conceptual understanding of the response of the climate system to external forcing) and misrepresentation of previous scientific publications, flawed methodology, scientifically unfounded assumptions, and plain errors. Those have been partially discussed at ATTP already.

There is a number of hyperbolic statements in the press release, regarding the originality of the content of the paper (bold face after headline by me, except bold face of “Lord Monckton”):

“NEW PAPER: Why Models Run Hot: Results From An Irreducible Simple Climate Model
The IPCC has long predicted that doubling the CO2 in the air might eventually warm the Earth by 3.3 C. However, the new, simple model presented in the Science Bulletin predicts no more than 1 C warming instead—and possibly much less. The model, developed over eight years, is so easy to use that a high-school math teacher or undergrad student can get credible results in minutes running it on a pocket scientific calculator.
The new, simple climate model helps to expose the errors in the complex models the IPCC and governments rely upon.
Lord Monckton, the paper’s lead author, created the new model on the basis of earlier reviewed research by him published in Physics and Society, in the UK Quarterly Economic Bulletin, in the Annual Proceedings of the World Federation of Scientists’ Seminars on Planetary Emergencies, and in Energy & Environment.”

So, according to the press release, Monckton had created a very new climate model by himself, which was presented in the paper by the authors, and the results from calculations with this climate model were in contradiction to results from simulations with several dozens of complex Earth system models, done by climate research groups all over the world. Now, the calculations Monckton et al. have done are certainly in contradiction to the results presented in the latest Report of the Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on The Physical Science Basis. Because of the false assumptions that were made by Monckton et al, which they tried to justify with two non-sequitur statements, one of which was a very false interpretation of data from paleo climate change and the other one was just absurd (or metaphysical, if there is some religious belief behind the assumption).

As for the assertion to have developed a "new model". This pompous claim is an untrue statement by Monckton et al. What do they do in the paper? They apply a Zero-dimensional energy balance model of the climate system that links an external radiative forcing with the temperature response to the radiative forcing. This is the allegedly new model:

This type of climate model, a Zero-dimensional energy balance model, has been used for decades for conceptual studies of the climate system. The original idea is generally attributed to the work by M. I. Budyko (1969), "The effect of solar radiation variations on the climate of the Earth", Tellus, 21, doi:10.1111/j.2153-3490.1969.tb00466.x, Feedback analysis based on a form of the equation as seen in the last line can be traced back to Hansen, Lacis, Rind, Russell, Stone, Fung, Ruedy, Lerner (1984), "Climate sensitivity: Analysis of feedback mechanism", Geographical Monographs 29, Or in a more recent review paper by G. Roe (2009), "Feedbacks, Timescales, and Seeing Red", Ann. Rev. Earth Plan. Sci, 37, 93-115, doi:10.1146/,, such a model was described in nearly identical form:

None of the existing literature where this type of models is discussed is referenced in the Introduction of the Monckton et al. paper. The Introduction is usually the part of a scientific paper where previous scientific research that builds the general context of the new study is referenced, and where the objectives of the new study with respect to this context are formulated. Nor are any of the previous studies referenced in Section 3 where Monckton et al. introduce their allegedly new model. However, all three of the studies mentioned above are referenced further down in a different context, e.g., to compare values of climate sensitivity (the lambda in the equations). Just not where the model is introduced. So it is not made clear by Monckton et al. that the model used by them is based on ideas, which already had been published by other researchers. However, the citing of these papers further down is proof that Monckton et al. knew the other studies, where this type of the model had been described already. Thus, they won't be able to excuse themselves by claiming to not have known these studies and to have newly invented the wheel independently and in good faith.

In summary, Monckton et al. present something, even more emphasized in their hyperbolic press release, as their own idea, although very similar content had already been published by other researchers before. They neglect to give proper credit to these other researchers where it would have been due. There is a name for such a praxis, not just in science, when someone takes credit in a publication for someone else's idea, which already had been published before somewhere else.

Update, 01/20/2015:  Mr. Monckton has personally appeared here to directly respond to my posting. I hadn't expected it, so I am positively surprised. He is welcome to defend his views here. I ask everyone to try to refrain from personal attacks, such as insults against each other or ad hominem arguments that are irrelevant for a discussed matter, regardless how big the disagreement is. Take a deep breath before posting something, you wouldn't have posted with a cool head, if emotions become too strong. Currently, my policy is to not moderate this blog. I can change this at my discretion at any time.

Update, 01/23/2015: More criticism of the Monckton et al. paper here at, including some additional comments by me on severe flaws in the paper.

Announcement 01/27/2015: The 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley has posted a response at CFACT's "Climate Depot" to opinions stated by a number of "soi-disant climate 'scientists'" on the Monckton et al. paper. His Lordship continuous to be "exemplary with his courteous replies to the scientific points that have been addressed to him" (James Rowlatt, Clerk of Mr. Monckton), as he already has demonstrated at Thought Fragments, one of the blogs of these "creatures" who have been "savagely, but anti-scientifically attacking". Consequently, Mr. Monckton demands the "dismissal" of the "named and shamed" culprits for their illicit statements. Further down he makes clear that "the climate fraud will not cease till someone is prosecuted". His Lordship's divine revelations were "definitively established" as irrefutable truth, by being published as a "peer-reviewed paper" in Science Bulletin in the People's Republic of China, one of the remaining places in the world where the true meaning of freedom of speech and freedom of science as the freedom of the leaders and lords to speak without being contradicted and criticized is still being honored, and science-serfs are not allowed to hide within "the ivy-covered walls of acadame". Science Bulletin is extremely prestigious with an impact factor of 1.365, which makes it "the Orient's equivalent of Nature" whose impact factor is only 30 times higher. "Perpetrators" of the "biggest fraud in history" who have "misbehaved" by trashing His Lordship's revelations, or, generally, by publishing results from so-called scientific research that undermine His Lordship's just struggle against the dark forces behind the "UN's gruesome plan" to "establish an unelected, unaccountable, all-powerful global climate tyranny", must be "severely dealt with". Everyone hail the Viscount!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Our poster presentation on predicting the mineral composition of dust aerosols at the 2014 fall meeting of the AGU

I just have come back from this year's fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco. The meeting was very interesting and productive (and exhausting) for me. The amount of exciting science from the whole range of geosciences, presented by many enthusiastic researchers at the AGU, is always overwhelming. I wish I would have been able to suck in more from all the information provided in the oral and poster sessions.

I, together with my collaborators Carlos Pérez García-Pando and Ron Miller, had following poster presentation on "Predicting the Mineral Composition of Dust Aerosols: Evaluation and Implications" in the session "Aerosol Comparisons between Observations and Models".


The abstract of the poster states:

"Soil dust aerosols in Earth system models are typically assumed to have globally uniform properties. However, important climate processes related to dust depend on the aerosol mineral and chemical composition, which varies regionally. Such processes include aerosol radiative forcing, transport of bioavailable iron that catalyzes marine photosynthesis, heterogeneous chemistry, ice nucleation, and cloud condensation.
We have implemented a new version of the soil dust aerosol scheme in the NASA GISS Earth System ModelE that takes into account the mineral composition of the dust particles. Dust aerosols are represented as an external mixture of minerals such as illite, kaolinite, smectite, carbonates, quartz, feldspar and gypsum, as well as iron oxides and accretions of iron oxides with each of these minerals.
We present a new publically available compilation of measurements of mineral fractions derived from ca. 50 references from the literature. This compilation is used to evaluate our new model of mineral and elemental composition within ModelE. We discuss the challenges of comparing simulated mineral fractions to measurements, which often come from field campaigns and ship cruises of limited duration. Despite uncertainties of the measurements, we show the importance of estimating the undisturbed size distribution of the parent soil prior to wet sieving, along with the modification of this size distribution during emission. 
In particular, our new model reproduces measurements showing greater amount of aerosols at silt sizes (whose diameters exceed 2 μm) including significant amounts of clay mineral aerosols (like illite) at silt sizes. Our model also reduces the systematic overestimation of quartz, while allowing iron to be transported farther from its source as impurities than in its pure, crystalline form."

The two papers where the details of the results from three years of research can be found have just been submitted to Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss. Let's see how they are going to do in the review process.

Update 03/07/2015: Our two discussion papers have been published at Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions now and can be found here:

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Tim Ball says Adolf Hitler was right in "Mein Kampf". How far will AGW-deniers go?

This is a slightly modified version of a comment that I wrote at the blog "... And Then There's Physics" where people discussed this matter in an open thread (here).

Equalizing climate scientists with Hitler or Nazis has not been an uncommon rhetoric by AGW deniers. Even Roy Spencer whose work to provide one of the satellite retrieved temperature data sets is very valuable for climate science did it not long ago in his blog, when he wrote a whole post (here) dedicated to calling the ones who accept that what has been found by mainstream climate science "global warming Nazis" and accused them of supporting policies of mass murder. And I got banned from Anthony Watts's junk science blog when I called a commenter out and announced the application of armed self-defense (rather as a rhetorical reply, not that I carry around any weapons), if the commenter takes action, after the commenter equalized climate scientists with Nazis and fake skeptics with the persecuted Jews in Nazi-Germany to justify his fantasies about lynching climate scientists. Well, at least that was what Anthony Watts used as pretext to finally ban me from WUWT, permanently.

However, I think the post by Tim Ball at WUWT (here) has its own quality. It seems to be perceived by a number of people, including by Tamsin Edwards and Richard Betts according to their reply at WUWT (here), that the core of Tim Balls article is again a comparison of climate scientists with Hitler or Nazis. I suppose this comes from superficial reading, which is understandable, since no one sane really likes to wade in a pool of s***. Then again, if one explicitly replies to such a garbage one should at least read it first carefully and see what it actually states.

Although Tim Ball also mentions that Hitler's "lies and deceptions caused global disaster, including the death of millions of people" (Ball actually downplays what the German Nazis and their helpers did, since it wasn't global disaster caused by Hitler's lies and deception due to which millions of people died. Instead, the Nazis committed deliberate, state organized genocide and mass murder of 12 to 18 million people, including 6 million Jewish people, mostly within about 6 years, not even counting the additional tens of millions who got killed in the global war started by Germany), the core of the article is something else. The core is that Ball cites a passage from Hitler's "Mein Kampf", because he thinks that Hitler gave a valid explanation in the quote why "the big lie" works. Ball thinks Hitler was right. Hitler didn't write about his own lies in the quote, he wrote about "The Jews". Ball believes that there was a global conspiracy behind the IPCC and climate science, which worked in the same way as the alleged global conspiracy that was attributed to "The Jews" by Hitler in his anti-Semitic paranoia. At the end of his article, Ball emphasizes ones more that understanding what Hitler was saying was a key for understanding the workings of the conspiracy behind AGW. Now, I don't know whether Ball also personally thinks Hitler was right about "The Jews", or whether he thinks Hitler was wrong about this specifically targeted group, but Hitler's "explanation" was correct regarding the alleged conspiracy behind IPCC and AGW. This can't be deduced from Ball's text alone. One can deduce, though, that Ball subscribes to the same structure of deluded and paranoid explanations as Hitler did, how the world was supposedly controlled by an omnipotent evil cabal. One could call this structural anti-Semitism to which Ball subscribes. If one reads the comments below the article, some of the commenters take the cue, though, and it becomes clear that for some of the lunatics it's one and the same conspiracy that was also hallucinated by Hitler and the Nazis.

Ball's article, and even more the strong endorsement of this vile text by the crowd at WUWT is evidence for me that the accusations against climate scientists to support "evil" policies and even policies of the kind that would lead to mass murder and similar, shouldn't be simply considered just as rhetoric by some desperate cranks and science haters. They are rather projection of own desires and wishes of these people onto those who are prospective targets. This raises the question for me, how far would they go, if they got the opportunity?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Al Jazeera Censors Comments That Expose and Document Hamas' Ideology and Goals

Another experience with, this time not climate related, how facts are not being liked, when the topic is highly ideologically charged: The war between Israel and Hamas. Apparently, comments that expose Hamas' ideology of death, genocidal intentions against Jewish people, and paranoid anti-Semitic world view are not being liked at Al Jazeera, even if the comments are backed up with Hamas' statements from their own Charter (or because they can be backed up?).

My first attempt:

My second attempt, after suspecting they just may not allow links (at the end it was supposed to say "stood behind"):

Not really another attempt:

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cold Winter 2013/14 in United States - "Global warming? What global warming?" (Monckton)

The topic probably seems to be out of place a bit for the ones who live in the Northern Hemisphere, considering the current summer weather outside in many places of it. However, I still have seen it popping up as talking point presented by AGW-"skeptics" at various places. The following quote is exemplary:

"The last U.S. winter colder than this one was in 1911/12, before the First World War.
Thank you, America! Most of Britain has had an unusually mild and wet winter, for you have had more than your fair share of the Northern Hemisphere’s cold weather this season.
Global warming? What global warming?"

(Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, March 26, 2014,

What global warming? Apparently, it is being suggested that the surface temperatures of the winter 2013/14 were about the same as about 100 years ago, and this would refute global warming. Leaving aside for the moment that it already is scientifically not justified to take the weather pattern of a single season to draw conclusions about the longer-term climate trend, here is the global temperature anomaly and its geographical distribution for the winter (December, January, February) 2013/14 relative to the average winter of the reference period 1951-1980, based on the NASA GISS surface temperature analysis:

Some people may have felt cold in United States during the winter 2013/14. However, the global picture reveals something else. The larger part of the globe had a positive temperature anomaly during this winter compared to the reference period 1951-1980, and the globally averaged temperature anomaly amounted to plus 0.56 deg. C. The temperature anomaly in North America during the high winter season did not even deviate substantially from the average winter temperature of the reference period in a large part of the continent, except for Alaska where it was more than 2 deg. C above the reference period.

Many people in US perceived the winter 2013/14 as cold, because they have not been used any more to an average 20th century winter, due to the warming trend of the recent decades. The following figure shows the geographical distribution of the temperature anomaly for the average winter of the last 20 years compared to the average winter of the reference period 1951-1980:

Now, how does the winter of the year 1911/1912, which was mentioned by Monckton as pretext to deny global warming, looks like in comparison? Here is the geographical distribution of the surface temperature anomaly, again relative to the average winter of the reference period 1951-1980:

It looks very different to the winter 2013/2014. Whereas the winter surface temperatures 2013/2014 in United States were a regional cold anomaly within a generally warmer planet, the surface temperatures of winter 1911/1912 in United States do not stand out compared to the rest of the world. The anomaly is small relative to the reference period again, but large parts of the globe were colder during that winter than the average winter of the reference period. Thus it rather was relatively warmer in the United States than in many other parts of the planet, with respect to the magnitude of the anomaly. The globally averaged temperature anomaly relative to the average winter of 1951-1980 amounts to -0.45 deg. C.

Climate change is a change in the statistical properties of climate variables between different time periods, i.e., a change in the average of a variable (e.g., of temperature, precipitation, sea level, sea ice extend, etc.) or a change in other statistical moments (e.g., variance) of the variable over a time period, which should be sufficiently long. Data from only single years do not allow any conclusions whether climate has changed. This would be just weather, which can be quite variable from one year to the next. Therefore, I am going to show next how the average winter changed from the 29-year period 1881-1910 (it starts with winter 1881/1882 and ends with winter 1909/1910) to the 29-year period 1985-2014:

Here we have the global warming, denied by Monckton. The globally averaged increase in the winter surface temperature is 0.78 deg. C between the two 29-year periods. There has been a general surface temperature increase which is nearly global over the last century, with some regional exceptions. The magnitude of the temperature increase is not globally uniform. The Northern Hemisphere has warmed more than the Southern Hemisphere on average. There is an Arctic amplification, with the surface warming amounting to more than 4 deg. C in some Arctic regions. Land areas have warmed more than ocean areas on average. I have to mention a caveat here. The graphic presentation does not show, where the temperature change between the two time periods is statistically significant. There are likely some regions where it is not.

In short, any claims that the colder winter 2013/2014 in United States refuted global warming taken place over the last century are absolutely baseless.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Rossiter, Delingpole, "Climate McCarthyism", and Conservative Hypocrisy

The Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) is a Washington, DC, based progressive political think tank. According to its self-description:

"IPS is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the U.S. and globally. We work with social movements to promote true democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate influence, and military power."

Thus, they are not an academic research institution. They are an advocacy group with a political mission. Like the conservative Heartland Institute or the Heritage Foundation, but from another side of the political spectrum.

Experts from various fields, relevant for the political mission of IPS support the IPS as "Associate Fellows":

"Associate Fellows are scholars who share their expertise with IPS through one of the institute's projects or program areas. IPS Associate Fellows represent some of the country's leading progressive leaders in a variety of areas from inequality, climate justice, foreign policy, and many others. Most work on a volunteer basis unless dedicated funds are raised for their work. Associate Fellows are invited or sponsored by an IPS project director to collaborate with the institute for one-year, renewable terms."

Thus, the relationships between Associate Fellows and the IPS are not relationships of employment. Instead, they are relationships of collaboration on a volunteer basis, usually without any financial compensation. The Associate Fellows are employed somewhere else, if they are employed.

Caleb S. Rossiter, Adjunct Professor with the School of International Service of American University, teaches "courses on African history and politics, U.S. foreign policy and research methods (with a focus on the use and misuse of statistics and models in the climate change debate)" according to his self-description. Obviously he does not work in climate research, he is not an academic expert on climate science. He is a layman in this field. Caleb Rossiter was one of the IPS's Associate Fellows. Until about a month ago.

Caleb S. Rossiter published an article in the Wall Street Journal on May 5, 2014, where he publicly expressed views on economical and political strategies, which apparently do not agree with the ones of IPS, combined with some ignorant claims about climate science, climate modeling, and climate change. Two days later, IPS decided to cut its ties with Caleb Rossiter. They do not want him as Associate Fellow anymore, because his and their views were not compatible anymore (Screen shot of email as published at Climate Depot):

The article in the Wall Street Journal may have been the point where IPS drew the line. However, when I saw Rossiter's rhetoric at his "Climate Change" blog, e.g., against the scientific knowledge presented in the reports of the IPCC, which are written by leading international experts on climate science who work and publish in the field (not by governments, contrary to what Rossiter claims), his conspiracy ideation about the IPCC, or his baseless attack against renowned climate scientist James Hansen, former director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, he likely had it coming for a little bit longer already. I also wonder why Rossiter, with his contrary views, would even want to work with a think tank like the IPS.

Considering the facts above, one could think not much has really happened. A collaborative relationship between a political advocacy group and an individual has been dissolved due to political incompatibility. It happens. Like divorce of a marriage because of sexual incompatibility. Something that is not really worth it on which to spend much time in the news.

Caleb S. Rossiter seems to display himself in this affair as a victim of evil censorship, though, according to Climate Depot:

"If people ever say that fears of censorship for ‘climate change’ views are overblown, have them take a look at this: Just two days after I published a piece in the Wall Street Journal calling for Africa to be allowed the ‘all of the above’ energy strategy we have in the U.S., the Institute for Policy Studies terminated my 23-year relationship with them…because my analysis and theirs ‘diverge.’"

This is just ridiculous. Is he prevented from speaking out freely anywhere, because IPS does not want to work with him anymore? Certainly not. It is like a guy is complaining about censorship, because his girlfriend dumped him. One thing does not have anything to do with the other one.

Equally ridiculous is the spin in the AGW denier blogosphere. There, the affair is displayed as a case of "Climate McCarthyism", like in an article by James Delingpole on the right wing Internet news outlet Breitbart, followed by more than 2400 comments, still counting, largely filled with whining and ranting by the conservative audience about "oppression of free speech", "liberal tyranny", and other absurdities, which may be a good basis for some psychological case studies about the mindset of many conservatives, e.g., to what degree this mindset is governed by absurd conspiracy fantasies or psychological mechanisms like projection.

Now, pretending to take all these crocodile tears seriously for a moment, which are displayed at Breitbart, regarding the allegedly oppressed free speech and the alleged lack of tolerance, one would have to conclude it would be logical then to welcome a climate scientist who has some knowledge on climate topics, even if his informed views counter the views of most of the audience at Breitbart News Network. Reality, as one really should expect, looks quite differently, though:

And finally:

What Irony. As much for free speech and tolerance on the side of conservatives and AGW deniers, once more, regarding views that are not in agreement with their party line, even if these views are coming from someone who is informed. It is the same pattern again and again. Many conservatives, including their opinion outlets, seem to be afraid of informed dissent, facts, and science.