Re: [asa] AGW discussion

From: Randy Isaac <>
Date: Mon Nov 30 2009 - 21:25:03 EST

  As I have mentioned over and over again, our focus is on the scientific
issues and we look at the validity of the data and the arguments. These are
not determined by the attitude of anyone. You have said you only question
AGW because of the "attitude" issue. Those of us who work in the sciences
have often had to tolerate insufferable attitudes and behavior of scientists
and they can turn out to be correct, with brilliant ideas. So I am not at
all sympathetic to anyone who judges ideas based on their opinion of
"attitudes" of the advocates.
  No, I have not and cannot justify any of the statements in the emails and
I think you unjustly misrepresent me by insinuating that I am not concerned
about the wording. I am indeed. I am concerned about the quick excuses made
on the authors' behalf and am just as concerned about the aggressive
eagerness with which others are quick to malign both authors and the data
without giving fair hearing to the full context. I have not sensed that
concern on your part. I believe I expressed a very precise balance that we
neither accuse nor excuse the authors until the full story has been
uncovered. And that must be done by responsible, objective, independent
  It is very tempting for me at this juncture to make a few observations
about the attitudes of the skeptics and the skeptic sympathizers. Perhaps it
would have been good for you to make such observations to show your balanced
views. But in light of my comments above, I will refrain, though with
From: "Cameron Wybrow" <>
Sent: Monday, November 30, 2009 5:11 PM
To: <>
Subject: Re: [asa] AGW discussion

> Randy:
> 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 scientists.
> 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.
> Cameron.
> 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 21:30:19 2009

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