A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



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The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



Dessler 2010: How to call vast amounts of data “spurious”

This is part of the big PR game of publishing “papers.”

In the climate models, the critical hot spot is supposed to occur because (specific) humidity rises in the upper troposphere about 10km above the tropics. The weather balloons clearly show that temperatures are not rising as predicted, so it was not altogether surprising that when Garth Paltridge analyzed weather balloon results for humidity, and found that humidity was not rising as predicted either.

Indeed, he found specific humidity was falling, which was the opposite of what all the major climate models predicted and posed yet a another problem for the theory that a carbon-caused disaster is coming. He had a great deal of trouble getting published in the first place, but once he finally did get published and skeptics were starting to quote “Paltridge 2009”, clearly, Team AGW needed an answer. “Dessler 2010” is transparently supposed to be that answer.

To start by putting things into perspective, lets consider just how “spuriously” small, patchy and insubstantial the radiosonde measurements have been. According to NOAA The integrated Global Radiosonde Archive contains more than 28 million soundings, from roughly 1250 stations.

Worldwide radiosonde stations (NOAA)

… Or how about the […]

Is the Western Climate Establishment Corrupt? Part 9: The Heart of the Matter and the Coloring-In Trick

This point is THE critical one. It was the first point raised in the Skeptics Handbook, developed in the Second Handbook; the point that Dr Glikson had no reply to; the point that tripped up Will Steffen, Deltoid, and John Cook. As a modeler there was the moment in August 2007 when David saw the graphs below and said, emphatically: This is it. It’s over for the climate models. –JN


The public might not understand the science, but they do understand cheating

Dr. David Evans 19 October 2010

[A series of articles reviewing the western climate establishment and the media. The first and second discussed air temperatures, the third was on ocean temperatures, and fourth discussed past temperatures, the fifth compared the alleged cause (human CO2 emissions) with the alleged effect (temperatures), the sixth canvassed the infamous attempt to “fix” that disconnect, the hockey stick, and the seventh pointed out that the Chinese, Russian, and Indian climate establishments […]

The models are wrong (but only by 400%)

This is one humdinger of a paper and it’s been a long time coming. It’s a big step forward in the search for the hot-spot. (If the hot spot were a missing person, McKitrick et al have sighted a corpse.) In 2006 the CCSP quietly admitted with graphs (in distant parts of various reports) that the models were predicting a hot spot that the radiosondes didn’t find (Karl et al 2006). Obviously this was a bit of a problem for the Scare Campaign. Much of the amplifying feedback created in the models also creates the hot-spot, so without any evidence that the hot-spot is occurring, there goes the disaster (and the urgent need for funding and junkets). Douglass et al officially pointed out the glaring deficiency in 2007. Santer et al replied in 2008 by discovering a lot of uncertainties, and stretching the error bars. Since the broad errors bars overlapped he could announce that the hot spot wasn’t really missing (even though he didn’t really find it either). He wrote this up in words effectively saying that the inconsistency in temperatures was not so inconsistent. McIntyre and McKitrick pointed out these key Santer results which used data up to 1999 were overturned with the use of data up to 2009. Somehow, despite all the excitement over Santer et al 2008, the IJOC decided updating it and contradicting it was “not interesting” and it took months to reach that banal conclusion. […]

The Unskeptical Guide to the Skeptics Handbook

It’s taken 21 months, four professors, and three associate/assistant professors, and THIS is the best they could come up with? The printed version listed no author (the pdf has been updated with John Cooks name*) yet wears the logo of the University of Western Australia (UWA), which will embarrass that university as word spreads of the intellectual weakness of their “Guide“.

Did UWA commission this piece of rather inept, qualitative “feel-good” science and clumsy reasoning? Stephan Lewandowsky invited John Cook to speak at UWA and “offer assistance“.

The booklet uses a mislabeled graph with a deceptive scale, won’t show the damning graphs it supposedly debunks, assumes positive feedback occurs despite the weight of empirical evidence against it (Douglass, Spencer, Lindzen), and repeats irrelevant information even though The Skeptics Handbook describes why rising sea levels and glaciers and ice sheets can’t possibly tell us what causes the warming. It misleadingly discusses a different fingerprint — one that isn’t the key point and isn’t disputed by skeptics. Cause and effect are mixed up, and naturally there are strawmen arguments to unnecessarily destroy for the spectacle of being seen to do something. To top it off, Cook still thinks a measurement is […]

Sherwood 2008: Where you can find a hot spot at zero degrees

The line blurs between peer-reviewed-science and peer-reviewed-public-relations.

The Big-Scare-Campaign needed an answer to the missing hot-spot question. They needed to find the “hot spot”, or failing that, at the very least provide a “hot spot” type graph that would answer the critics; something that passed for a scientific answer that might fool journalists and bloggers. The failure to find the projected hot spot is so damning, and so obviously not what the models predicted, that there is a veritable industry of people working hard to find a reason why the weather balloon results must be wrong. Steven Sherwood creatively even resorted to throwing out the thermometer readings entirely and using wind shear instead. (If only we’d known! All those years and we didn’t need the thermometers?)

In Robust Tropospheric Warming Revealed by Iteratively Homogenized Radiosonde Data (March 2008) Sherwood et al combine both windshear and temperature data to reconsider the radiosondes yet again. The Scientific Guide to The Skeptics Handbook and others use the graph from the top left corner of this paper (Fig 1 here) to suggest that the hot spot is not missing, or that the “fingerprint” was found. Sure enough, it’s a cute graph. Looks “hot”, right?


How John Cook unskeptically believes in a hotspot (that thermometers can’t find)

John Cook might be skeptical about skeptics, but when it comes to government funded committee reports, not so much.

The author of “skeptical science” has finally decided to try to point out things he thinks are flaws in The Skeptics Handbook. Instead, he misquotes me, shies away from actually displaying the damning graphs I use, gets a bit confused about the difference between a law and a measurement, unwittingly disagrees with his own heroes, and misunderstands the climate models he bases his faith on. Not so “skeptical” eh John? He’s put together a page of half-truths and sloppy errors and only took 21 months to do it. Watch how I use direct quotes from him, the same references, and the same graphs, and trump each point he tries to make. His unskeptical faith in a theory means he accepts some bizarre caveats while trying to whitewash the empirical findings.

In the end, John Cook trusts the scientists who collect grants funded by the fear-of-a-crisis and who want more of his money, but he’s skeptical of unfunded scientists who ask him to look at the evidence and tell him to keep his own cash.

These two graphs are not the same […]

Round Five: Ignore the main point, repeat the irrelevant

The debate with Paleoclimatologist Dr Andrew Glikson about the evidence for Climate change has reached a telling point. There is a gaping hole.

Through four rounds of to and fro, I’ve been asking for evidence that the predicted (critical) “hot spot” was there above the equator, and we were drilling down to this point. It’s the weak link in the chain of evidence, and if the climate models are wrong on this element, you can kiss goodbye to the catastrophe. Everything else might be right, but there’s no major warming if there’s no strong amplifying (positive) feedback, and and there is no amplifying feedback from water vapor if there is no hot spot. Indeed, I quoted evidence from three peer reviewed studies that show that we’re headed for a half a measly degree of warming rather than a baking 3 – 6 degrees.

In Round 2 Glikson didn’t mention Lindzen, Spencer or Douglass (the three independent papers which suggest that predicted feedbacks are missing or negative). Instead he suggested “Sherwood 2008” found the hot-spot. I pointed out that Sherwood used wind-gauges instead of thermometers. To believe he is right we need to throw out thousands of thermometer readings and […]

Great Debate Part III & IV – Glikson accidentally vindicates the skeptics!

UPDATED Part IV: Andrew Glikson replies below.

I am impressed that Glikson replied politely, rose above any ad hominem or authority based arguments, and focused on the science and the evidence. This kind of exchange is exceedingly rare, and it made it well worth continuing. Links to Part I and II are at the end. Round 4 was copied from comments up to the post.

Depending on flawed models

by Joanne Nova

May 11, 2010

For a sentence, I almost think Dr Glikson gets it. Yes, it’s a quantitative question: Will we warm by half a measly degree or 3.5 degrees? It’s not about the direct CO2 effect (all of one paltry degree by itself), it’s the feedbacks—the humidity, clouds, lapse rates and other factors that amplify (or not) the initial minor effect of carbon.

Decades ago, the catastrophe-crowd made guesses about the feedbacks—but they were wrong. Instead of amplifying carbon’s effect two-fold (or more!) the feedbacks dampen it.

Dr Glikson has no reply. He makes no comment at all about Lindzen [1], Spencer[2] or Douglass[3] and their three peer reviewed, independent, empirical papers showing that the climate models are exaggerating the warming by […]

The debate continues: Dr Glikson v Joanne Nova

Dr Andrew Glikson (an Earth and paleoclimate scientist, at the Australian National University) contacted Quadrant offering to write about the evidence for man-made global warming. Quadrant approached me asking for my response. Dr Glikson replied to my reply, and I replied again to him (copied below). No money exchanged hands, but Dr Glikson is, I presume, writing in an employed capacity, while I write pro bono. Why is it that the unpaid self taught commentator needs to point out the evidence he doesn’t seem to be aware of? Why does a PhD need to be reminded of basic scientific principles (like, don’t argue from authority). Such is the vacuum of funding for other theories that a debate that ought to happen inside the university obviously hasn’t occurred. Such is the decrepit, anaemic state of university science that even a doctorate doesn’t guarantee a scientist can reason. Where is the rigor in the training, and the discipline in the analysis?

Credibility lies on evidence

by Joanne Nova

April 29, 2010

Reply to Andrew Glikson

Dr Andrew Glikson still misses the point, and backs his arguments with weak evidence and logical errors. Instead of empirical evidence, often […]

No, Dr Glikson

Dr Andrew Glikson writes for Quadrant and I respond .

This is a copy. It begs the question. Dr Glikson, is an Earth and paleo-climate scientist at the Australian National University. He’s paid to give us both sides of the story.

No, Dr Glikson

by Joanne Nova

April 19, 2010

Dr Andrew Glikson says the right motherhood lines [see: Case for Climate Change]: he talks about empirical evidence, and wants evidence based policies. All this is good, yet he sidesteps the main point — what exactly is the evidence for the theory of man-made global warming? It’s the only point that matters, yet when he presents evidence it’s either not empirical, not up to date, or not relevant. Why?

By hitting all the right key phrases a reader might accidentally think that Glikson is presenting key evidence and good reasoning. Take this for example: Glikson fears we’re turning away from evidence-based policies. (Me too!) But to complete the sentence he lists all the committees who predict bad weather 90 years from now. It makes for good PR, but is not scientific evidence.

Committee reports count as “evidence” in a court of law, but in science, certificates, declarations, contracts, commission […]