141 Thoughts on “Skeptical Science

  1. Australian Climate Madness has some good observations on SkS

    John Cook, also writing in The Australian, simply rehashes the same old tired arguments we have seen so many times before, plugging his junk-science ’97% consensus’ paper to justify his incessant alarmism. At no point is there any acknowledgement from Cook about the problems with the IPCC process, and the unexpected halt in warming, which is becoming too big for even the mainstream media to ignore.

    He also oddly fails to disclose his authorship of the climate activist website Skeptical Science (Curry, on the other hand, is open about her blog) – is he embarrassed by its zealotry, perhaps? Cook also claims his “server” was “hacked” and emails were “stolen” last year, when in fact it appears more likely a back door was simply left open at the SkS website, and the files were inadvertently made public. This is a cheap attempt to portray his critics as prepared to engage in unethical or illegal behaviour when in fact it was a self-inflicted wound.

    The only positive is that Cook manages to avoid the “D” word for a change. Well done…


  2. Richard C (NZ) on September 25, 2013 at 12:26 am said:

    On the right side bar at NoTricksZone there’s a link to “Climate Bet For Charity”. Pete’s update:

    ‘Honeycutt-Nuccitelli Climate Bet Progress Report…So Far New Decade Is Cooler Than The Last…Ready To Concede?’

    By P Gosselin on 8. Juni 2013

    To mark the start of the new decade, NoTricksZone and its readers made a climate bet (see right side bar) against two warmists from Skeptical Science: Rob Honeycutt and Dana Nuccitelli (and others). Also see update-5. The warmists are pledging more than $14,000.00!


    The bet is on whether or not the current 2011-2020 decade would be warmer or cooler than the previous 2001-2010 decade. NTZ and its readers say it will be cooler or the same. Messieurs Honeycutt and Nuccitelli say it’s going to get warmer for sure. After all, man is spewing more CO2 into the atmosphere than ever. The money won will be donated to a charity for children in need.

    Almost two and half years have now passed and I think it’s a good time to see how the bet is coming along. Thanks to Robin Pittwood and his Kiwi Thinker blog, we now have preliminary results for the first 2 years and 5 months.

    Clearly in the chart above we see that the current decade is running a bit cooler than the last one.



    CRU confirms this on page 1 of ‘Global Temperature Record’ by Phil Jones:

    “The first two years of the present decade (2011 and 2012) are cooler than the average for 2001-2010,”


    I think I’ll point to this in Stuff comments under the latest AR5 report article for a bit of fun, especially given the expectation from the solar recession that this would be the case.

  3. Richard C (NZ) on September 25, 2013 at 1:23 am said:

    PMOD TSI composite from 1978:


    Last datapoint is 2011.67, 1365.56 but it’s clear that SC 24 after 2008/9 will be down markedly (maybe 0,5 W.m2 at 2013 maximum) from the previous 3 cycles and who knows where the minimum will end up given the end of SC 23 was down by about 0.3 W.m2?

    That’s a cooler regime than the 1st decade 21st century locked in for over a decade ahead unless the sun wakes up and a pretty good bet at NTZ I think.

  4. Richard C (NZ) on October 13, 2013 at 7:36 pm said:

    ‘The Skeptical Science Escalator … of Alarmism’

    By Simon

    No visit to the Skeptical Science website is complete without having one of their smug “escalator” graphics shoved down your throat.

    Not content with the temperature escalator, which paints anyone who questions their zealous devotion to “The Cause” as a simpleton, they have now come up with the sea ice escalator, along similar lines.

    So finally, ladies and gentlemen, we present the Australian Climate Madness version of [drum roll, please], The Escalator!!!

    CLICK HERE to watch animation


  5. Hehe, that’s good!

  6. Richard C (NZ) on November 9, 2013 at 7:37 am said:

    97% topical in OZ at the moment:

    ‘Wendy Bacon’s Warmist Wonderland’

    The UTS academic’s 222-page study of Australian newspapers’ treatment of climate change is far worse than silly. It is more than a bit sinister

    by Tony Thomas


    ’97 per cent of warmists cite a 97 per cent that’s false’

    by Andrew Bolt

    Reader James on a deceptive meme that’s repeated by warmists with little seeming interest in the truth:

    “I have submitted this to ABC Fact Checkers”


    # # #

    Note that one of the last acts of the Keven Rudd government was to give ABC AU$10m for “fact checking”.

  7. Behind the SkS curtain


    A rather fascinating insight into SkS from Steve McIntyre, and contains some frank discussion of the problems with Mann’s hockey stick from the SkS team

    Concludes with Cook’s “call to action”

    So skeptics that I suggest we focus on, assuming we launch with 12 skeptics (welcome changes):
    Pat Michaels
    Fred Singer
    Steve McIntyre
    Roger Pielke Sr
    Freeman Dyson
    Chris de Freitas

    Unless you think others are more deserving of being on the list.

    I bet Gareth could get us some good de Freitas quotes. Michaels should be easy. The tough one is McIntyre.

  8. Richard C (NZ) on November 26, 2013 at 9:07 am said:

    ‘La Niñas Do NOT Suck Heat from the Atmosphere’

    by Bob Tisdale

    Over the years I’ve seen a statement similar to the one made by MarkR in the SkepticalScience post The 2012 State of the Climate is easily misunderstood (my boldface):

    “Global surface temperatures were the 8th or 9th highest recorded, partly because the first two months were cool-ish thanks to a La Nina in the Pacific, where cooler waters sit on the top of the ocean and suck up heat from the atmosphere.”

    The error in MarkR’s statement, which has been repeated many times before, may stem from the assumption that La Niñas are the opposite of El Niños. That is, it is well known that El Niño events release enormous amounts of heat from the ocean to the atmosphere. I assume the flawed logic is that La Niña events must then remove heat from the atmosphere.

    The vast majority of heat released from the ocean to the atmosphere, however, occurs through evaporation.

    It’s likely those assuming that La Niñas “suck up heat from the atmosphere” are thinking only in terms of “sensible heat flux”.



    As illustrated [Figure 1], the sensible heat flux is primarily positive (the average is +2.7 watts/meter^2 for the period of January 1979 to September 2013), meaning the heat is flowing from ocean to atmosphere. Occasionally, there have been short periods where the sensible heat flux is negative, according to the reanalysis, and they occurred often during La Niñas, but they are not limited to La Niña events.

    Now let’s compare the sensible heat flux and the latent heat flux at the surface of the NINO3.4 region. See Figure 2. For the period of January 1979 to September 2013, the average latent heat flux at the surface is about 118 watts/meter^2, or about 42 times greater than the sensible heat flux, according to the reanalysis. And regardless of the state of the tropical Pacific (El Niño, La Niña or ENSO-neutral), there is always a substantial positive latent heat flux along the eastern and central equatorial Pacific, meaning evaporation is always taking place in the NINO3.4 region of the equatorial Pacific…and it always greatly outweighs the sensible heat flux.

    Figure 2 http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/figure-28.png?w=640&h=437

    El Niño and La Niña events are focused on the central and eastern equatorial Pacific, but they directly impact the entire tropical Pacific. So, as a reference, Figure 3 compares sensible heat flux and the latent heat flux at the surface of the tropical Pacific (24S-24N, 120E-80W). Again, the latent heat flux dwarfs the sensible heat flux at all times. The average latent heat flux from the surface of the tropical Pacific is about 138 watts/m^2, while the average sensible heat flux is only about 9 watts/m^2.

    Figure 3 http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/figure-35.png?w=640&h=435

    Bottom line: the equatorial Pacific and tropical Pacific are always releasing heat to the atmosphere, even during La Niña events. Or, in other words, a La Niña does not suck heat from the atmosphere.



    Not just SkS or La Niñas e.g.

    Regional ocean heat uptake is the key

    “Much of the CO2 released into the atmosphere and the heat trapped by the CO2 goes into the ocean sooner or later – approximately 90 per cent of the excess heat has been taken up by the ocean over the last 40 years,” explains Frölicher.


  9. Richard C (NZ) on December 1, 2013 at 9:22 am said:

    Blimey! Skeptical Science Admits Current Decade Running 0.053°C Cooler Than Last Decade!

    By P Gosselin on 29. November 2013


  10. Richard C (NZ) on December 21, 2013 at 8:01 pm said:

    ‘Climate Prat of 2013 – We have a winnah!’

    Written by Pointman

    “You’re pure-blood Dana. Say it loud, say it proud, you’re the climate prat of 2013.”



  11. Richard C (NZ) on May 22, 2014 at 6:32 pm said:

    Wanna Be Hackers?

    Izuru (Brandon Schollenberger)

    Have you ever wanted to know what it takes to be a hacker? Well you’re in luck. I’m here to tell you. I’m going to give you a step-by-step guide to how I got myself reported to the Feds by a major university.

    If you don’t already know, I recently received a threatening letter from the University of Queensland which, amongst other things, threatened a lawsuit if I showed anyone the letter.


    You see, a couple years ago, the secret forum on the Skeptical Science website was hacked. You can read all about it in a lengthy series of posts they wrote about it, starting here.


    Anyway, the important thing is after their secret forum was hacked, they moved their forum to a new, secret location: http://www.sksforum.org. This secret-secret forum stayed secret for a while because nobody cared. Then one day Skeptical Science published a post with a few links which included the secret-secret forum’s URL. I saw the domain name and decided to check it out.

    There wasn’t much to see. There was just a login page with an image on it. The image happened to be located in the directory http://www.sksforum.org/images/. Out of curiosity, I went to that directory. I found a number of images. I didn’t think much of them at first. Then I saw an image of John Cook, owner of the site, photoshopped into a Nazi uniform:


    That creeped me out. I was even more creeped out when I found there were other images which depicted the Skeptical Science team with similar Nazi imagery. Naturally, I told people about these images. Most people were either disturbed or amused by the images, but Skeptical Science representatives were upset. They claimed I had hacked them,……..


    You see, months back I noticed referral links from the secret-secret forum in my logs. They were in the form of, sksforum.org/thread.php?t=14499&p=18772. When I’d click on them, I’d be redirected to one of my own pages.

    I quickly realized the links I was seeing were redirection links for the links people were posting in the secret-secret forum. I figured if I could see the ones going to my own site, I could probably see the ones going to other sites. I was right. Changing the number after p= resulted in a different redirection link. Not only that, but each new redirection link was one number higher than the previous.

    That meant I could look at every external link anyone posted on the forum by repeatedly adding +1 to that value


    I thought it’d be amusing to keep track of what the Skeptical Science team was linking to in their secret-secret forum. After all, it’s pretty silly to have a secret-secret forum while making information about what you’re discussing in the forum public.


    I didn’t have any login information. An amateur might try brute-force guessing, but I’m too clever a hacker to resort to such a crude approach. Instead, I grabbed a can of Red Bull, scarfed down a Twinkie and got ready to write some awesome haxor code.

    By which I mean, I looked at the list I had, found this entry:

    2929 http://…/tcp_results.php

    And put it into my browser’s navigation bar. Lo and behold, this page appeared:

    [SkS 97% Consensus Project]

    Since the page was publicly accessible, I decided to follow its links. I saved what I saw. And now, the Feds are coming after me. They’re going to shove a black bag shoved over my head, transport to some deep, dark hole into which I’ll disappear for all eternity, and the Skeptical Science team will create a new, secret-secret-secret-secret forum. This time they might even learn not to make pages publicly accessible if they want to keep those pages hidden.

    In the meantime, you can be a l33t haxor like me too. The University of Queensland claimed I hacked “the site where the IP was housed.” The site where the data was stored is the site I found URLs for. All I did to that site was try a few pages to see if it’d let me access any. I’m confident you could do that too.

    In fact, I think you already have. I’m sure at some point in your life you rose to the level of a stupid script kiddie and copied the URL of a site. I bet you’ve gone beyond that though. I bet you managed, at some point in your life, to rise to the level of true haxor and pasted the URL of a site into your navigation bar.

    But I have an inkling you’ve gone beyond that. The inkling is small, but it tells me at some point you became truly l33t and hit the Enter button.

    Be careful. The Feds might come after you next.


  12. Richard C (NZ) on May 22, 2014 at 6:37 pm said:

    >”I recently received a threatening letter [cease-and-desist] from the University of Queensland which, amongst other things, threatened a lawsuit if I showed anyone the letter.”

    See the saga in this ‘Students desire knowledge’ thread:


  13. Richard C (NZ) on August 1, 2014 at 10:49 am said:

    ‘Chronology of Tol’s Request for Cook et al 2013 Data’

    Notes by SM, July 28, 2014

    Last year, Richard Tol requested John Cook’s ratings data, including anonymized rater ID and
    timestamp. The data recently released by Brandon Shollenberger shows that the majority of
    ratings (54%) were done by coauthors of the paper and a further 34% by acknowledgees
    identified in the paper. The data also shows that the rater IDs were anonymized in the native
    datafiles and that no special processing would have been required to respond to Tol’s request.
    The data also shows that the native datafiles contained datestamps.


    18 pages.

  14. Richard C (NZ) on August 30, 2014 at 11:20 am said:

    ‘Cooking stove use, housing associations, white males, and the 97%’ [From Climate Depot]

    José Duarte, 08/28/2014

    The Cook et al. (2013) 97% paper included a bunch of psychology studies, marketing papers, and surveys of the general public as scientific endorsement of anthropogenic climate change.

    Let’s go ahead and walk through that sentence again. The Cook et al 97% paper included a bunch of psychology studies, marketing papers, and surveys of the general public as scientific endorsement of anthropogenic climate change. I only spent ten minutes with their database — there will be more such papers for those who search. I’m not willing to spend a lot of time with their data, for reasons I detail further down.

    This paper is vacated, as a scientific product, given that it included psychology papers, and also given that it twice lied about its method (claiming not to count social science papers, and claiming to use independent raters), and the professed cheating by the raters. It was essentially voided by its invalid method of using partisan and unqualified political activists to subjectively rate climate science abstracts on the issue on which their activism centers — a stunning and unprecedented method. I’m awaiting word on retraction from the journal, but I think we already know that this paper is vacated. It doesn’t represent knowledge of the consensus.

    I discovered that the following papers were included as endorsement, as “climate papers”, again in just ten minutes of looking. They are classified as either implicit or explicit endorsement, and were evidently included in the 97% figure:

    Chowdhury, M. S. H., Koike, M., Akther, S., & Miah, D. (2011). Biomass fuel use, burning technique and reasons for the denial of improved cooking stoves by Forest User Groups of Rema-Kalenga Wildlife Sanctuary, Bangladesh. International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, 18(1), 88–97.

    Ding, D., Maibach, E. W., Zhao, X., Roser-Renouf, C., & Leiserowitz, A. (2011). Support for climate policy and societal action are linked to perceptions about scientific agreement. Nature Climate Change, 1(9), 462–466.

    Egmond, C., Jonkers, R., & Kok, G. (2006). A strategy and protocol to increase diffusion of energy related innovations into the mainstream of housing associations. Energy Policy, 34(18), 4042–4049.

    Gruber, E., & Brand, M. (1991). Promoting energy conservation in small and medium-sized companies. Energy Policy, 19(3), 279–287.

    Ha-Duong, M. (2008). Hierarchical fusion of expert opinions in the Transferable Belief Model, application to climate sensitivity. International Journal of Approximate Reasoning, 49(3), 555–574.

    Palmgren, C. R., Morgan, M. G., Bruine de Bruin, W., & Keith, D. W. (2004). Initial public perceptions of deep geological and oceanic disposal of carbon dioxide. Environmental Science & Technology, 38(24), 6441–6450.

    Reynolds, T. W., Bostrom, A., Read, D., & Morgan, M. G. (2010). Now what do people know about global climate change? Survey studies of educated laypeople. Risk Analysis, 30(10), 1520–1538.

    Semenza, J. C., Ploubidis, G. B., & George, L. A. (2011). Climate change and climate variability: personal motivation for adaptation and mitigation. Environmental Health, 10(1), 46.



    ‘More on Cook’s 97%’

    Bishop Hill, Aug 29, 2014

    Jose Duarte has another post looking at John Cook’s 97% ‘consensus’ paper.

    [List of papers above reproduced]

    Duarte is again openly referring to the paper as fraudulent. Yet this paper was cited approvingly by Ed Davey and Barack Obama. And the Institute of Physics is standing by it. Shameless, every one of them.


  15. Richard C (NZ) on August 30, 2014 at 11:36 am said:

    ‘A psychologist’s scathing review of John Cook’s ‘97% consensus’ nonsensus paper’

    Anthony Watts, August 29, 2014

    [Excerpt’s from essay above]


  16. Richard C (NZ) on August 30, 2014 at 11:42 am said:


    “Nuccitelli thinks that if a psychology paper uses the phrase “climate change denial”, it might count as scientific endorsement of anthropogenic climate change. We should linger on that. This is a staggering level of stupidity with respect to what would count as scientific evidence of AGW [emphasized]. The implied epistemology there is, well, I don’t know that it has a name. Maybe it’s some kind of postmodernist view of reality being based on belief, anyone’s belief (except for the beliefs of skeptics) — perhaps a grotesque misreading of Kuhn. Even if we thought reality was best understood via consensus, it’s not going to be created by consensus, and the only consensus we would care about would be that of climate scientists. That Marxist or neo-Marxist sociologists pepper their paper with “climate change denial” does not add to our confidence level about AGW — it is not evidence of anything but the ideology of two American sociologists. It doesn’t test the energy balance model, or revise or validate or estimates of transient climate sensitivity. It has no input into our knowledge of AGW. In any case, I’m stunned by Nuccitelli’s behavior in these rater forum pages, and his behavior as a climate science writer – he and Jenny McCarthy should jointly surrender to some sort of authority.”

  17. Richard C (NZ) on August 30, 2014 at 11:46 am said:

    Duarte (again):

    “I think some of you who’ve defended this “study” got on the wrong train. I don’t think you meant to end up here. I think it was an accident. You thought you were getting on the Science Train. You thought these people — Cook, Nuccitelli, Lewandowsky — were the science crowd, and that the opposition was anti-science, “deniers” and so forth. I hope it’s clear at this point that this was not the Science Train. This is a different train. These people care much less about science than they do about politics. They’re willing to do absolutely stunning, unbelievable things to score political points. What they did still stuns me, that they did this on purpose, that it was published, that we live in a world where people can publish these sorts of obvious scams in normally scientific journals. If you got on this train, you’re now at a place where you have to defend political activists rating scientific abstracts regarding the issue on which their activism is focused, able to generate the results they want. You have to defend people counting psychology studies and surveys of the general public as scientific evidence of endorsement of AGW. You have to defend false statements about the methods used in the study. Their falsity won’t be a matter of opinion — they were clear and simple claims, and they were false. You have to defend the use of raters who wanted to count a bad psychology study of white males as evidence of scientific endorsement of AGW. You have to defend vile behavior, dishonesty, and stunning hatred and malice as a standard way to deal with dissent.”

  18. Richard C (NZ) on August 30, 2014 at 1:02 pm said:

    Duarte (in a nutshell):

    “This study [Cook et al. (2013)] is a teachable moment, a future textbook example of scientific scams.”

  19. Richard C (NZ) on April 25, 2015 at 7:06 pm said:

    [Bishop Hill] – ‘Iris hypothesis bridges model-observation gap’

    [Stevens and Mauritzen abstract] – “A controversial hypothesis [Lindzen & Choi Iris Effect] suggests that the dry and clear regions of the tropical atmosphere expand in a warming climate and thereby allow more infrared radiation to escape to space. This so-called iris effect could constitute a negative feedback that is not included in climate models. We find that inclusion of such an effect in a climate model moves the simulated responses of both temperature and the hydrological cycle to rising atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations closer to observations”


    [John Abraham] – ‘Changes in water vapor and clouds are amplifying global warming’

    “What the present paper [Trenberth, Zhang, Fasullo, and Taguchi] shows is that future changes to clouds will cause slightly more warming. Scientists describe clouds as a “positive feedback” on global warming. This finding is consistent with the work of Dr. Andrew Dessler. He had published work here and here showing changes in clouds are making the Earth warm more than otherwise expected.

    The results of this study harken back to prior work by one well-known skeptic Richard Lindzen who published work on climate feedbacks in 2009, and by another well-known skeptic Roy Spencer who wrote an article in 2011. Those works, among others, reportedly show that the Earth is less sensitive to increases in greenhouse gases. This new work confirms the opposite; it turns out Dr. Dessler was correct after all.”


    “Confirms” Dessler was correct? I don’t think so John.

    Also note the contradiction “are amplifying” and “future changes”.

    White man speak with forked tongue.

  20. Richard C (NZ) on May 2, 2016 at 4:43 pm said:

    Hansen et al (2005) have an estimate for planetary oceanic thermal inertia (as do others in the literature).

    Here’s a synopsis for the record. The article, and Hansen et al, make a crazy miss-attribution but the point is the lag time between planetary energy input change and atmospheric temperature response:

    Mostly citing the above-linked Science study by Hansen et al Earth’s thermal climate inertia is often quoted as being ’40 years’ [“10 -100 years” – Trenberth]. The study [Hansen et al 2005 – see link in article] says something quite different though. It offers a confidence range between 25 and 50 years – with 37.5 years as most likely value.


    >”a confidence range between 25 and 50 years – with 37.5 years as most likely value”

    I think this is a very realistic estimate, it is longer than some others e.g. Abdussamatov’s 20 yr ocean-only and 14+/-6 land+ocean, and certainly a lot longer than “time constant” experts from other fields (think Electrical Engineers and David Evans N-D Solar Model series – many heated arguments over the oceanic time constant).

    For example, solar change occurred circa 2005 and is continuing. Using Hansen et al’s lag time estimate, we should start looking for a temperature response in the atmosphere starting around 2030.

    In other words, the acid test for the alternative solar conjecture DOES NOT EVEN BEGIN until 2030 according to Hansen et al (2005), contrary to most IPCC solar specialists and thermodynamic illiterates like John Cook’s Skeptical Science blog who demand an almost instantaneous atmospheric temperature response to solar change.

    For what it’s worth (probably nothing), I’m inclined to start looking for a temperature response to solar change over the 2020s i.e. a lag time stating at 20 yrs gives 2005 + 20 = 2025, a little sooner than Hansen et al imply.

  21. Richard C (NZ) on June 30, 2016 at 9:02 pm said:

    ‘New methods are improving ocean and climate measurements’

    Posted on 20 June 2016 by John Abraham [Skeptical Science, The Guardian]

    “I have often said that global warming is really ocean warming. As humans add more heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere, it causes the Earth to gain energy. Almost all of that energy ends up in the oceans. So, if you want to know how fast the Earth is warming, you have to measure how fast the oceans are heating up.”

    We wanted to know whether we could correct that archive of ocean temperature measurements to account for measurements made in cold waters. To solve this problem, I teamed up with world-class scientists Dr. Lijing Cheng and Rebecca Cowley.

    Lijing Cheng is a rapidly rising international scientist from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is currently producing some of the best research on the Earth’s energy imbalance.

    Rebecca Cowley is a data expert from CSIRO in Australia. Her group is recognized as among the best in ocean heat content measurements and data quality.


    # # #

    I agree “that global warming is really ocean warming” but I certainly do NOT agree that “as humans add more heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere, it causes the Earth to gain energy” and that “almost all of that energy ends up in the oceans”.

    The earth’s energy balance clearly shows that both the TOA (+0.6) and Surface imbalance (+0.6) is simply solar forcing at the surface (+0.6). There is no net LW radiative energy transfer down into the surface, the LW flux and transfer (-52.4) is up away from the surface. It is impossible for theoretical human forcing at TOA (+2.3) to be the driver of either the earth’s energy balance or ocean warming.

    Lijing Cheng should know this (“He is currently producing some of the best research on the Earth’s energy imbalance”), if he does he obviously didn’t try to get it through to John Abraham.

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