the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Petr Chylek Response to Climategate

Posted by Jeff Id on December 9, 2009

An excellent post at the Blackboard by scientist Petr Chylek

Instead of the Oppenheimer, Mann,  Schmidt rug sweeping lies, we get an honest reply from a real scientist who cares about the truth more than the politics and money.

I published my first climate-related paper in 1974 (Chylek and Coakley, Aerosol and Climate, Science 183, 75-77). I was privileged to supervise Ph. D. theses of some exceptional scientists – people like J. Kiehl, V. Ramaswamy and J. Li among others. I have published well over 100 peer-reviewed papers, and I am a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the Optical Society of America, and Los Alamos National Laboratory. Within the last few years I was also honored to be included in Wikipedia’s blacklist of “climate skeptics”.

He goes on:

For me, science is the search for truth, the never-ending path towards finding out how things are arranged in this world so that they can work as they do. That search is never finished.

It seems that the climate research community has betrayed that mighty goal in science. They have substituted the search for truth with an attempt at proving one point of view. It seems that some of the most prominent leaders of the climate research community, like prophets of Old Israel, believed that they could see the future of humankind and that the only remaining task was to convince or force all others to accept and follow. They have almost succeeded in that effort.

Yes, there have been cases of misbehavior and direct fraud committed by scientists in other fields: physics, medicine, and biology to name a few. However, it was misbehavior of individuals, not of a considerable part of the scientific community.

However, the two other pillars are much more controversial. To blame the current warming on humans, there was a perceived need to “prove” that the current global average temperature is higher than it was at any other time in recent history (the last few thousand years). This task is one of the main topics of the released CRU emails. Some people were so eager to prove this point that it became more important than scientific integrity.

So what comes next? Let us stop making unjustified claims and exaggerated projections about the future even if the editors of some eminent journals are just waiting to publish them. Let us admit that our understanding of the climate is less perfect than we have tried to make the public believe. Let us drastically modify or temporarily discontinue the IPCC. Let us get back to work.

This one is pretty disturbing because it’s a mechanism of early weeding out of non-agreers from climate science.

Let us encourage students to think their own thoughts instead of forcing them to parrot the IPCC conclusions. Let us open the doors of universities, of NCAR, NASA and other research institutions (and funding agencies) to faculty members and researchers who might disagree with the current paradigm of carbon dioxide. Only open discussion and intense searching of all possibilities will let us regain the public’s trust and move forward.

Lucia has an add on email at the end which is worth quoting.

It was yesterday an interesting day. My Letter (now at several websites
e.g. here: was read by over 100 top climate experts and by many of you at LANL.
Today it is quiet day. Lab is closed and I am the only one in the NISC building.

The LANL response was more than 3:1 in support of what I have said (here I count Charles Keller’s multiple responses as one).

12 Responses to “Petr Chylek Response to Climategate”

  1. cogito said

    The voice of reason. Excellent!

  2. AJStrata said

    The science community is about to take back its credibility from these charlatans. Hope they succeed.

  3. Andrew said

    Beat ya to it!

  4. FullDepth said

    You left out a few important paragraphs:

    “Climate research made significant advancements during the last few decades, thanks to your diligent work. This includes the construction of the HadCRUT and NASA GISS datasets documenting the rise of globally averaged temperature during the last century. I do not believe that this work can be affected in any way by the recent email revelations. Thus, the first of the three pillars supporting the hypothesis of man-made global warming seems to be solid. However, the two other pillars are much more controversial.

    To blame the current warming on humans, there was a perceived need to “prove” that the current global average temperature is higher than it was at any other time in recent history (the last few thousand years). This task is one of the main topics of the released CRU emails.

    Some people were so eager to prove this point that it became more important than scientific integrity.The next step was to show that this “unprecedented high current temperature” has to be a result of the increasing atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.

    The fact that the Atmosphere Ocean General Circulation Models are not able to explain the post-1970 temperature increase by natural forcing was interpreted as proof that it was caused by humans. It is more logical to admit that the models are not yet good enough to capture natural climate variability (how much or how little do we understand aerosol and clouds,and ocean circulation?), even though we can all agree that part of theobserved post-1970 warming is due to the increase of atmospheric CO2 concentration. ”

    I disagree with what he says about the models. Is there a published model that shows cooling in response to CO2 increase? The models do work in a ‘hindcast’ mode for the past century. Also, he tries to evaluate climate data from the last few thousand years. Are we to believe those if all the proxies are wrong? But if so, they don’t show the same acceleration of temperature increase witnessed recently.

  5. Al said

    “But if so, they don’t show the same acceleration of temperature increase witnessed recently.”

    Individual proxies certainly do show steep periods of temperature increase. It is Dr. Mann’s step of pruning the vast majority of proxies to identify the most apt “representative” proxies that has issues.

    As Jedd Id has pointed out on this very site: You’re searching for the blade of a hockeystick, then claiming vindication when you find one… ignoring the facts that this (1) works on random noise, (2) is going to lead to a very strong flattening of “the shaft”, (3) involves discarding far more data than is actually used in the final analysis, and (4) assumes a ‘valid proxy’ is, and has always been, a valid proxy.

  6. Al said

    Point 4 involves Briffa’s Yamal trees: Excellent, must include proxies… until 1960. Where we must exclude them. No idea why (but here’s some guesses…).

    The exact same “oddity” of having trees correlate very well over one time period, and not so well over another is hardly unique to Briffa. And yet is a key assumption here.

  7. Aber said

    It is to appreciated that Petr Chylek speaks out. When working on the “Early Arctic Warming” (see here at tAV: ) it was a joy to see that he and his colleagues got it right (exctract from: Chapter 5, at:
    “Thus the general Greenland picture indicates that a substantial warming took place after 1919, but that the warming period was limited to about one dozen years. The Greenland warming rate during the decade 1920-1930, shall have been 50% higher than during the 1995-2005 period. (Chylek, 2006)”

  8. rephelan said

    I’m sorry, Jeff, but Dr. Chylek is still off base. Suggesting that HADCru or GISS are reasonable representations of reality is nonsense. I remember both snowier, colder New England winters and summers that didn’t require a fire to bake a lobster.

    Dr. Chylek may be trying, in all honesty, to salvage a paradigm that is beyond salvage.

  9. Jeff Id said

    #8 I coulldn’t agree more about some of his comments and had the same objections you did. At the same time, he does admit to several important points.

  10. rephelan said

    Thanks, Jeff, and I do appreciate Dr. Chylek’s position…. but I think he’s being only half honest, and half honest is not the same thing as honest. Dr. Chylek has an opportunity here. He could be vilified for a generation or he could join the immortals.

  11. stan said


    I got a little worked up reading Simon’s comments in the comment section to this letter over at Lucia’s. I left this:

    I have to laugh at the pathetic logic twists that scientists are using to try to justify their own belief in AGW theory. The claims about the temperature databases being accurate are ridiculous. They can’t possibly know this. I repeat, they CAN NOT possibly know this. When they state confidence in those numbers, they are simply making statements of faith.

    The adjustment processes have not been made public. What data we have been able to see raises very serious questions about those adjustments.

    The surface station siting is abominable. 90% of the stations flunk basic standards. They don’t know which 90% are bad, by how much, or in what circumstances. Yet, they assure us that their super-duper, top secret adjustment algorith can take all that crap and spin it into accurate gold. I call BS. That’s total fairy tale BS. Anyone who believes they can is not making a scientific judgment, they are espousing religious faith. And until they release the details to let the world look over it, no one has any basis for believing them.

    Of course, that’s the problem with all the rest of the supposed science. No one ever checks. Why is it so hard for these so-called scientists to understand the need for audits and replication? We don’t care if “science doesn’t work that way”. If you want to make these massive changes in society, the supporting science better damn sure START working this way. Stonewalling, move the pea, bait and switch and Hide-the-ball are all OVER. Free the code, free the data, free the methodology, and let some desperately needed sunlight start disinfecting the whole moldy, rotten, stinking mess.

    1. Temperature databases should be regarded as totally worthless until all the raw data, the code, the adjustments, the siting problems, et al have been published for the whole world to review and digest. Until then, you ain’t got squat!

    2. No published study should be regarded as sufficiently sound until it has been replicated by disinterested scientists. And Stats work needs to be vetted by stats experts. Software by software engineers. No more Mannian amateur hour BS. That crap is no longer welcome. Scientists need to stick to the science and bring in pros to do the heavy lifting. The future of the world is too important to be left to amateurs flailing around out of their depth.

    3. No climate model is worth a damn until it has been verified and validated. Period. It would be brain dead stupid to rely on predictions to impose massive costs on the world when the predictions can’t meet minimum forecasting standards. What kind of idiot wants to make that kind of claim. Geeez!

    So here’s where we are alarmist scientists. We don’t trust studies that haven’t been replicated. We don’t trust databases with secret adjustments. We don’t trust models that haven’t been verified and validated. We don’t trust scientists playing around in areas where they are amateurs and refusing to let the pros come straighten out their messes.

    And the sum of all that is that you have very little work that is worthy of any trust right now.

  12. Syl said

    Rephelan and others complaining that Chylek doesn’t go far enough…

    give him time. I mean, really. Word has not gotten out about the temperature data sets in a major way yet. All the other stuff has taken precedence for now. What he says about the slaying of the MWP is extremely important and speaks to the lie of ‘unprecedented warming’ as well as sticks a fork in Mann, Jones and their enablers (Gavin).

    The exposure of manipulation of peer review allows dissenters a voice. If they all used the same talking points they’d have as much credibility as the mantra warmers.

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