Re: [asa] AGW discussion

From: Cameron Wybrow <>
Date: Mon Nov 30 2009 - 17:11:28 EST


Your focus on merely repeating the arguments for AGW ignores the huge
elephant in the room, i.e., the *attitude* expressed in many of the hacked
e-mails -- the attitude regarding the presentation of data, and the attitude
regarding scientists, editors and journals who will not bend to the
consensus. As long as you and others here do not grasp the bearing of these
e-mails on this question, you will not understand why people have moved from
being suspicious of some AGW claims to being outraged at some AGW

Even if the case for AGW can still be successfully made, these e-mails make
it much harder for the public and policy-makers to trust the scientists.
They can no longer be sure that the scientists have been limiting their role
to acting as neutral advisors about "just the science", and have not to some
extent tried to manipulate the presentation of the data or the peer-review
process in order to persuade the world of a particular conclusion. You and
Rich and other AGW people here may not read the e-mails in this way, but
until you see why a large number of fair-minded, non-malicious, non-partisan
people *will* read the e-mails in this way, you will not "get it". You must
not let your partisanship regarding the *conclusions* of global warming
science (which for all I know or care may be entirely correct conclusions)
blind you to what may soon be confirmed as serious personal and professional
failings of some of the people who are carrying out that science. Can you
not bring yourself even to choke out the words: "I have to admit that some
of these e-mails look pretty bad"? Judy Curry, an actual specialist in
climate science, who presumably knows the issues as well or better than you
and Rich Blinne do, has said as much, as I indicated in my previous post.
As long as you can't say even that much, I find it hard to regard you as the
voice of balance and moderation in the debate.


P.S. More from Judith Curry at:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Randy Isaac" <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, November 30, 2009 4:33 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] AGW discussion

> You are right that another category of skepticism is doubt of original
> data. But it's easy to by cynical and simply make loud claims that the
> data are unreliable. And stolen emails taken out of context make it easier
> to shout it from the mountaintops. As far as I can tell, no one has
> actually been able to identify any significant error in the data. I'm
> still looking.
> But, let me repeat what I've been trying to say over and over. The case
> for anthropogenic global warming does not rest on just one set of data
> from one source. I previously outlined another line of investigation which
> is totally independent of the data in question. There are many others.
> It's like the age of the earth. When you have so many different ways of
> measuring it and they all agree, quantitatively or qualitatively, then one
> anomalous datapoint will be considered an outlier. Likewise, in AGW,
> there's no point in getting worked up about one group and its data. The
> jury is still out about what did or didn't happen. But whatever it did,
> the data in question are not the sole argument for AGW and it doesn't
> change much.
> Permit me to speculate a little. Let's assume that we totally ignore all
> global surface temperature measurements. We still have the atmospheric CO2
> measurements and we have the C-13 measurements so we know where it comes
> from. We know from past history that this will lead to warming. Now we ask
> whether that warming has begun. We have proxy data from ocean measurements
> in the coral reefs and we have oceanic acidity levels and sea level
> increases. We have global glacier thickness levels that are plummeting. We
> have satellite gravity measurements of polar ice volume. We have field
> data of species migration habits. And on and on and on. No, the surface
> temperature data aren't the only game in town. There's a panoply of data
> from all sources. And, oh by the way, the surface temperature data are
> consistent with all the above and with no evidence yet for any fraudulent
> manipulation of data, there's not much room for a skeptic. But I can still
> hope. Please find something that will console me.
> Randy
> --------------------------------------------------
> From: "John Walley" <>
> Sent: Monday, November 30, 2009 2:55 PM
> To: "Randy Isaac" <>; <>
> Subject: Re: [asa] AGW discussion
>> Randy,
>> Would you not consider the issue of interpreting the original data one of
>> your categories below? Is everyone satisfied that the original
>> adjustments were accurate and warranted? How can we ever resolve this
>> conclusively if we no longer have that data?
>> John
>> ----- Original Message ----
>> From: Randy Isaac <>
>> To:
>> Sent: Mon, November 30, 2009 2:44:10 PM
>> Subject: Re: [asa] AGW discussion
>> I'm not quite sure why it would be helpful to start yet another blogsite
>> or debate site on this topic. The experts in the field have posted pretty
>> well everything on the topic and I don't know what we would add to the
>> dialog. Virtually everything we have to say has been said in one way or
>> another. has many key contributors to the field
>> weighing in and addressing questions. In fact, it is worth following
>> their contribution to the email issue at
>> Then there is which seriously considers the top
>> 74 skeptical arguments on global warming at
>> I previously provided the link to the 2007 conference which has a
>> tremendous amount of information. The overview talks say it all.
>> I don't think we have anything else to add. Any data or information that
>> counters this are most welcome. The problem is that most arguments from
>> skeptics make one of the following categories of misunderstanding:
>> 1. Focusing on a subset, spatially or temporally, of the global trend
>> data. (I.e. focusing on the last decade or just Greenland)
>> 2. Speculating on amplification effects of solar activity
>> 3. Misunderstanding the role and validity of models in climate research
>> 4. Confusing surface vs atmospheric vs deep ocean thermal attributes
>> We would all be thrilled to hear of any data that demonstrates there
>> isn't, or won't be, a problem, or of any analysis of data that alleviates
>> the problem.
>> But right now I don't see that a forum of this type would generate any
>> valuable addition to the field. If people do not believe the experts in
>> the websites above, then why would they believe us when we repeat that
>> information?
>> Randy
>> --------------------------------------------------
>> From: "Dave Wallace" <>
>> Sent: Friday, November 27, 2009 11:18 AM
>> Cc: <>
>> Subject: [asa] AGW discussion
>>> Rich, Terry, Randy, Ted
>>> I would like to propose a discussion of the AGW science between:
>>> -Glenn Morton, a former member of this list, taking the con. He
>>> accepted AGW in the past but is now skeptical.
>>> -Randy and Rich taking the pro side, we have heard some of their
>>> positions recently on the list.
>>> To my mind in order to have a reasonable discussion the ability to show
>>> graphs, tables, pictures etc is essential, so I suggest we use one of
>>> the blogging services on the web that supports such. All posts and
>>> comments would be moderated prior to posting and would be limited to say
>>> 1 a day plus minor clarifications from each side. Only comments from
>>> the moderators or the three participants would be allowed on the blog.
>>> List members with questions could send them to the list and the
>>> moderators or participants could decide whether to take them up or not.
>>> Moderators would be Ted and Terry although I think David Opderbeck would
>>> be good if we could get him.
>>> I should point out to people that both Glenn and Rich, at one point did
>>> not accept an evolutionary origin for life and now do. Thus if enough
>>> data is thrown at them they have in the past changed their positions.
>>> Dave W
>>> ps I copied Glenn and while I did not run this particular proposal past
>>> him, I think he would be willing. Glenn's GW web side is:
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Received on Mon Nov 30 17:12:15 2009

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