the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Scientific World

Posted by Jeff Id on October 23, 2010

Scientific American on Judith Curry.

Climate Heretic: Judith Curry Turns on Her Colleagues

Certainly, it’s not surprising that media is not making money these days, they blame the internet but check out that gorgeous title for an otherwise reasonable article.

For most of her career, Curry, who heads the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has been known for her work on hurricanes, Arctic ice dynamics and other climate-related topics. But over the past year or so she has become better known for something that annoys, even infuriates, many of her scientific colleagues. Curry has been engaging actively with the climate change skeptic community, largely by participating on outsider blogs such as Climate Audit, the Air Vent and the Black­board. Along the way, she has come to question how climatologists react to those who question the science, no matter how well established it is. Although many of the skeptics recycle critiques that have long since been disproved, others, she believes, bring up valid points—and by lumping the good with the bad, climate researchers not only miss out on a chance to improve their science, they come across to the public as haughty. “Yes, there’s a lot of crankology out there,” Curry says. “But not all of it is. If only 1 percent of it or 10 percent of what the skeptics say is right, that is time well spent because we have just been too encumbered by groupthink.”

The Air Vent got a mention in what I consider some pretty good company. The article still has that smell of ever-left wing media but compared to what you’re used to, it is nothing.   They do attempt to paint Judith into a particular corner to which she does not belong, but in the end it isn’t a bad read. As one of the first to link to Judith’s new blog, I have to say that she hasn’t overdone the middle ground on topics.  So far it’s just reasoned opinion, which is what science blogging should be.   Discussions like our recent threads here remind me of university hallways, labs.  I’m enough of a gearhead that unique exciting problems that mean nothing to others keep me up all night, it’s good to see yet another blog which appreciates the open discussion.

Thanks to the heads up from steveta_uk.

14 Responses to “Scientific World”

  1. steveta_uk said

    I don’t deserve the heads up, I saw it on Bishop Hill. Thanks anyway.

  2. Brian H said

    Lest it get “moderated”, I here reproduce the fantastic post by an original IPCC expert reviewer on that article:


    14. Iconoclast 05:06 PM 10/23/10

    The proposition that the average temperature of the earth’s surface is warming because of increased emissions of human-produced greenhouse gases cannot be tested by any known scientific procedure

    It is impossible to position temperature sensors randomly over the earth’s surface (including the 71% of ocean, and all the deserts, forests, and icecaps) and maintain it in constant condition long enough to tell if any average is increasing. Even if this were done the difference between the temperature during day and night is so great that no rational aveage can be derived.

    Measurements at weather stations are quite unsuitable since they are not positioned representatively and they only measure maximum and minimum once a day, from which no average can be derived. They also constantly change in number, location and surroundings. Recent studies show that most of the current stations are unable to measure temperature to better than a degree or two

    The assumptions of climate models are absurd. They assume the earth is flat, that the sun shines with equal intensity day and night, and the earth is in equilibrium, with the energy received equal to that emitted.

    Half of the time there is no sun, where the temperature regime is quite different from the day.

    No part of the earth ever is in energy equilibrium, neither is there any evidence of an overall “balance”.

    It is unsurprising that such models are incapable of predicting sny future climate behsviour, even if this could be measured satisfactorily.

    There are no representative measurements of the concentration of atmospheric csrbon dioxide over any land surface, where “greenhouse warming” is supposed to happen.

    After twenty years of study, and as expert reviewer to the IPCC from the very beginning , I can only conclude that the whole affair is a gigantic fraud

    Every paragraph a gem.

  3. slimething said

    Speaking of hurricanes, weren’t we told 2005 was a prelude to ever increasing hurricane activity, yet in 2010 the ACE is at a 30 year low and no landfall in the U.S. for over 750 days? Didn’t Chris Landsea resign from IPCC AR4 because of Kevin Trenberth holding a press conference among other things? I wonder whose actions, if either, Judith Curry would consider “crankology”.

    An Open Letter to the Community from Chris Landsea (Resignation Letter of Chris Landsea from IPCC)

  4. Derek said

    Brian H said
    October 24, 2010 at 12:55 am

    Lest it get “moderated”, I here reproduce the fantastic post by an original IPCC expert reviewer on that article:

    Brilliant spot, thank you, from many mmore than just me.
    I have also repeated the quote at GWS.
    which as a thread / post was motivated for me by the below thread here.

  5. J said

    Judith Curry is an excellent example of how you should be seeking on the truth without having any preconceived nothions on direction or another. I hope the trend on other climate scientists will be more on this direction in the future. Also in my opinion, her blog brings us “deniers” and “climate alarmists” closer together which may also be very well productive.

  6. Derek said

    J – I can not see the flat earthers “scientists” and “experts” letting this go quietly, or reasonably as you seem to suggest by
    “I hope the trend on other climate scientists will be more on this direction in the future.”.

    In fact many of the most vocal pro AGW “scientists” will NOT be able to let go of it, quietly or otherwise.

    The apparent expressed hope for a “quiet landing” out of this AGW “science” mess, is most probably a naive hope.
    A hope which I share incidentally, but alas, I can not see happening.
    At best there will be a “counter revolution” throwing out wholesale 20 to 30 years of “work”…

  7. stan said

    My only problem with Dr. Curry is that she appears to have a tendency to accept at face value the claims of “scientists” who have refused to allow their work to be checked by others. In this, she appears to be like most others in her field. Completely incompetent (sometimes corrupt) “studies” get cited as settled science knowledge.

    After the experience of Mann, Briffa, Jones, Rahmstorf et al, one would hope that ALL claims of study findings would be considered with healthy skepticism until they had been subjected to audits or replications.

  8. tonyb said

    Brian H #2

    Brilliant quote, but can someone please confirm to me that ‘iconoclast’ is who they say he/she is? If so do we have an actual name so we can determine their competence in that aspect of climate science to which they refer?

    I thought it was a very insightful quote but I wouild like to be sure the source is genuine.

    As regards Judith Curry I would say her scepticism is growing as she feels her way on her blog and comes into contact with all sorts of strange people with different ideas to her-such as me 🙂


  9. Pat Moffitt said

    For a great background on how the media operates with respect to environmental news stores read “Facts fiction and the fourth” East Anderson, William L PhD Dissertation Auburn Univ 1999. He followed how the acid rain story was reported regionally in the media and a statistical analyses of the media incentives. Basically he found:

    “The selling of news to increase circulation leads to the necessity of creating and maintaining crises.” He quotes Higgs 1987 “What Pulitzer and Company created around the turn of the century wasn’t merely a new journalism, but a new and permanent emergency mode of operation that constitutional government was routinely urged to resort to and routinely rewarded for doing so. It is a dog and pony show to activate the extraordinary powers and immunities of the emergency state.”

    Anderson shows both nationally and international news stories using government as its primary source has steadily grown since 1978 when it was already at 78%. He highlights that in 1999 there were 5 Pulitzer Prizes for environmental alarm stories and 0 for a counter dogma story.

    Anderson again:
    “Thus the press, which has special constitutional freedoms to keep government in check, now conspires with the government in a devil’s bargain, says Weaver. The press benefits from using government officials as news sources; those same sources use the media in an effort to convince the public that the solution to any set of present “crises” is to expand the power of the state.”………“Weaver and others do not say, that journalists promote the growth of government because of ideology. They promote government because it is in their best interest to do so.”

    Always remember the business model of the news media is to sell advertising. Crises sell papers- that sell advertising. Having the NGOs and Govt spokespeople write the stories via press releases – allows more of advertising income to drop to the bottom line.

  10. Brian H said

    Re: Pat Moffitt (Oct 24 15:27),
    A “devil’s bargain” — a more apt and evocative phrase I’ve not heard. Definitely a vicious circle of money chasing and creating FUD, used to demand money, which ….

  11. kuhnkat said


    I think you may be over interpreting Dr. Curry’s remarks to include all sceptics. I would also have to admit, being a denier, that there is no end of no science to junk science on the web on “my side” that is exactly what she terms it, crankology. We should look to her statement of the small percentage of good sceptic science that needs to be accepted into the discussion as a positive statement. Of course, i do have a higher standard for my crankology than the typical layman. 8>)

  12. Kenneth Fritsch said

    The SciAmer piece on Judith Curry is just more of same view of the consensus political advocacy for immediate mitigation of AGW. Curry appeared to me to react to the climategate emails as being relegated to a PR issue that could perhaps be rescued from a detrimental reaction to it by the general public by doing some damage control – and thus the role of peace maker was taken on by her. Curry’s comments early in the climategate discussion indicated that she continues to see a large part of the skeptics case as stemming from being dupes of the fossil fuel industry and their propaganda. Curry never had much to say about Mann et al. reconstruction and its progeny, but recently she has become critical of the IPCC. Curry always appeared to me never to criticize directly some of the wackos on the consensus side. It is rather ironic that Curry now is being called a dupe herself even if by innuendo by the consensus keepers.

    The SciAmer piece pretty much is saying that since the science about AGW is settled that Judith Curry’s concessions to even a few minor points by the skeptics gives the whole skeptic argument too much credence with the general public and is wrong headed in that it might delay immediate mitigation of AGW. That gives the view from the consensus thinking and why scientists like Mann have a difficult time admitting any problems with the evidence and conclusion that they present.

    Curry probably is being chastise mostly from the consensus side for being critical of the IPCC because obviously a large part of the IPCC’s function has been to maintain the consensus view within a framework of science – even when it has to be accomplished by a show of hands from a selected few scientists.

  13. stan said

    Just read Willis’ guest post at WUWT [ ]. He lays out the justification provided by the IPCC for assuming a linear relationship of forcing to temperature change. If his description is accurate, it is absolutely devastating embarassment for the preachers of consensus alarmism. Once again, we see how thin the evidence, yet how broad the conclusion.

    I think the biggest mistake made by most scientists who are willing to accept the alarmist catechism is the assumption that the alamist priests among them are competent. Everything the priests have touched is fraught with sloppiness. It’s even worse than we thought!

  14. Brian H said

    Re: Kenneth Fritsch (Oct 25 10:12),
    Well, as long as the majority of the quorum agrees that there’s a consensus … 😉

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