the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

An Interview with Dr. Curry on the Fat Cats of Climate

Posted by Jeff Id on February 28, 2012

James Stafford contacted me by email to ask me to call attention to his interview with Judith Curry.

The IPCC May Have Outlived its Usefulness – An Interview with Judith Curry

“The IPCC might have outlived its usefulness. Let’s see what the next assessment report comes up with. But we are getting diminishing returns from these assessments, and they take up an enormous amount of scientists’ time.”

I think readers will enjoy it.

Dr. Curry and I share different views on something.  I’m not sure what that might be, but this blog was cut from her blogroll during my critique of the  BEST paper confidence interval she coauthored.  She had not replied to me on the matter of BEST for months until recently when she said the team was probably too busy with other things but was considering it.

Anyway, I suspect that my politics may be the issue because in my opinion the IPCC never had a useful role in that it was designed from the beginning to do exactly what it is doing.  Her opinion is common but in my view, it takes a little political naivete to think the IPCC could ever  have been anything except what it is.  Readers do not generally like to hear things which sound absolute.  There is no discussion then. They prefer endless pedantic discussion along the lines of, ‘well if we just had openness’….  In reality, Climate Science funding would diminish under open operation and that is a means to an end I would like to see, but I prefer to write what is on my mind rather than what is most effective at achieving some goal.  Readers may even prefer to hear – well it used to be ok but now it might be bad.  Imagine how much fun we could have with that thread!  In my opinion, the massive bulk of Climate Science simply cannot afford the change in operation of the IPCC but will be forced into it.  They desperately need the center of authority to maintain their money-bloated consensus agenda but my made up global political computer model is predicting some lean years ahead for the fat cats of climate.

Still, I think readers will enjoy the article, there is plenty of meat in it and it should make for some good discussion.  Also, it looks like she may be up to answering some questions at her blog.

16 Responses to “An Interview with Dr. Curry on the Fat Cats of Climate”

  1. M. Simon said

    “The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change”

  2. Ruhroh said

    Hey Jeff;

    In case you missed it, above the ‘Recent Comments’ , Recent Posts and Blogroll,
    right below the ‘search box’, Judith has a link to “Denizens”, where the opening paragraph is this;

    ” The denizens of Climate Etc.
    Posted on November 12, 2010 | 267 Comments

    Climate Etc. has now attracted a critical (and growing) mass of “regulars.” I would like to try what Jeff Id did over at the Air Vent on his Reader Background thread. I will eventually provide a button for this thread on the top bar (next to blog rules), so it is easy to refer to (and add to). ”

    So, this is a unique (emulative) tribute to the value of your leadership.

    Also, I really appreciate you bringing el Cheifio to my attention.
    I would never have met him otherwise.

    Glad to hear you are so busy with real life.
    You already made a difference in mine…

  3. Jeff Condon said

    #2, I know, I don’t really know what happened but it is ok. Maybe if I don’t accidentally do it again things will improve. I’m more interested in the science though. The BEST issue is mathematically interesting in the same way that Steig’s work was. It is clever but has a problem. I had been rather curious to start a discussion where I might learn something but no dice.

  4. Ruhroh said

    In this matter you were a bit like Toto, pulling back the curtain on the frailty of the Best Great Oz…

    Every one of us has a bit of various personality disorders stirred into the mix, and I think you were spoiling the view in someone’s mirror, fogging up the picture with your hot breath.

    I mean, what character flaw would lead a ‘man of the (scientific) cloth’ to rush to judgment just to sit at the big table in DC? From my perspective, the dismissal of your questions was more about ‘Maintaining Appearances’ than science.

    What’s in a name? (hint, no accident about the acronym of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temp-a-Choor’ project.).

    Looks like by erasing your link from her blogroll, Judith made the kind of (political expediency) compromise you are not willing to make. Are we men or mice?

  5. Kenneth Fritsch said

    From early conversations with Judith Curry at CA her comment below indicates to me that her thinking on the consensus has changed. Consensus, of course, stems from advocacy and not science and so the more general problem is the mixing of science and advocacy. Further the IPCC failures stem from concerns with advocacy over science. Perhaps the whole AGW discussion would proceed more efficiently if we had groups self identifying as advocating for a given side on this issue, and then, like a lawyer, presenting evidence for their side. What really bothers me about these discussions is when I see an obvious advocate masquerading as neutral or disinterested in order to gain some stature as an observer. Consensus has to be an issue with advocacy since we do not vote on science issues – or at least not issues, intentionally left as vague as the AGW consensus.

    “JC: I think the biggest failure in communicating climate science to the public has been the reliance on argument from consensus. We haven’t done a good job of explaining all this, particularly in the context of the scientific disagreement.”

  6. Kenneth Fritsch said

    “The BEST issue is mathematically interesting in the same way that Steig’s work was. It is clever but has a problem. I had been rather curious to start a discussion where I might learn something but no dice.”

    Jeff, I understood your question to BEST to be one of attempting to learn based on your own analysis and I whole-heartedly endorse that approach. If I were you I would ask again and perhaps include a larger emailing list.

    I have been attempting to understand better the 3 major temperature data sets of CRU, GISS and GHCN and in doing so have contacted these organizations several times with emails. On only one occasion did I not receive a very prompt reply and then received a reply that answered a standing puzzle for me after I emailed again noting the failure to receive a reply or least a partial reply after the passing of several days.

    My main concern with temperature data sets is whether the owners are properly estimating the uncertainty of the temperatures that they produce as a final product. That would appear to me to be what your general concern was with your query to BEST. I will probably be contacting BEST in the future, but currently I am composing an email to GHCN in order to better obtain some answers for questions that have arisen from my analysis of the Menne and Williams breakpoint algorithm used to adjust temperatures for homogeneity. It is my understanding the GHCN and BEST apply nearly the same algorithm for adjusting for homogeneity. Part of my questions to GHCN will be how well the models, used to simulate homogeneity errors in a temperature set and test their algorithm, truly fit with what we see in unadjusted temperatures or at least TOB adjusted ones. They used several different models in a double blind test of their algorithm. The test is further complicated by the fact that some of the adjustments are based on meta data that allows them to apply their algorithm in a more sensitive manner.

    As an aside, I have learned from Zeke at Lucia’s that the BEST data set is much more comprehensive in stations and station coverage than any of the 3 major sets. The 3 majors use nearly all the same data and with very similar adjustments.

  7. “Dr. Curry and I share different views on something. “

    I’m still trying to parse that one 🙂

    “Anyway, I suspect that my politics may be the issue”
    Doubt it. I’m out too, and Tallbloke, despite giving her the blogger of the year award. But “Uncertainty and Ignorance” is up there.

    That’s what you need more of 🙂

  8. Jeff Condon said

    Nick is out too?

    Wow. Perhaps I didn’t do anything. It would be hard to fit more ignorance and uncertainty into my head.

    My views quote was based on the assumption that I had said something wrong but don’t know what.

  9. Kenneth Fritsch said

    Why don’t you guys just asked the lady why she no longer loves you?

    “Tallbloke (is out), despite giving her the blogger of the year award.” Jeff, you might try one upping with something like a special award for climate scientist of the year for JC. If that does not work then its not that you have not tried charm. You might try getting into a snit with her and see if that works.

    Maybe in the interest of calming the climate wars she is only advertising plain vanilla these days and you guys are not vanilla. Or maybe she is attempting to balance her blog list and already has an out spoken conservative, a defense lawyer and a British gentlemen.

  10. Kenneth,

    When Judith came out on CA, I didn’t trust her purpose. When she came out with her blog, I think tAV was the first one to link to her blog. The link is still there – but still didn’t trust her. Then I posted and emailed on BEST and vanished from the roll in the same timeframe. In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve avoided the blog popularity posts- sometimes against your advice.

    So when I critique her paper, my emails go unanswered, my blog disappears from the list and repeated comments in her threads go unnoticed. I have to tell you, it isn’t cocky of me to say that people I know usually respect my words even though I’m human and often wrong. She appears to have a nice following but being removed from the blogroll represents something different. Unfortunately for her, I also don’t care to cover that fact up even if people misinterpret my point. The Air vent readership hasn’t changed in any way. If I post regularly for a week there are 5k very smart people per day here. If I post every few days, 2k. I imagine the same readers click from other blogs they are reading.

    As you know, a formulatic approach to blogging can build a huge readership but this is my vent time for me and not a popularity contest. Honestly, some of my most positively memorable threads are where I was wrong and figured out something new.

    I do not consider Judith climate scientist of the year and would not offer any award for that. She has not made any scientific post which I found even mildly interesting. The BEST flaws were as obvious to me as Mannian stuff and I’m not the brightest person on this blog by a longshot. It is odd to me that others haven’t picked up on it. If someone dropped that paper in front of me and I’m signing off as second author, nope, ain’t happening. I do love the openness of the BEST dataset, the method may be ok but there isn’t any truly available comparison to date but the CI calcs are not right and the scalpel method is highly prone to bias. They may even be within 3 decimal places by luck but they are mathematically incorrect. .5 *8 = 4 but so does 12/3. In physics, one is right, one is not.

    Hopefully, that makes some sense.

    In the meantime, I will keep digging into data and they hopefully will correct BEST CI’s. Maybe Judith will see the value of tAV and Nick Stokes, but that is on her, not us.

  11. Kenneth Fritsch said

    “In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve avoided the blog popularity posts- sometimes against your advice.”

    Jeff, I agree that it is very important for a serious and technical blogger to avoid careing about who currently loves you – that was my point.

  12. Jeff Condon said

    Sorry Kenneth, one of my shortcomings is a natural density. My wife can tell you all about it.

  13. Brian H said

    You have one of those, too, eh? Condolences.

  14. Jeff, I appreciate all that you have done to restore integrity to government science. I also sometimes have doubts about the motives of others.

    The feminine mode of conflict resolution is a refreshing attribute of Professor Curry. Males prefer to club opponents in the head and settle the dispute quickly. But Dr. Curry’s persistent patience may be more effective in persuading the public that AGW is simply propaganda rather than science.

    In terms of effectiveness, Curry’s blog seems more effective than Anthony’s aggressive WUWT.

    The collapsing economies of the formerly “Free West” block of nations, and the widespread feeling of loss of freedom of choice, civil rights and control over the government may stimulate others to ask:

    Did the Climategate documents and emails released in late Nov 2009 reveal:

    a.) Ordinary human flaws in climatology that are relatively unimportant – as world leaders, leaders of the scientific community, and leaders of the news media want us to believe?

    b.) A cancerous growth on research that may involve some world leaders, leaders of the scientific community, and leaders of the news media?

    c.) Social engineering that was secretly adopted during the Cold War to avoid nuclear destruction and to convert the entire world population into one single peace-loving, community guided by consensus post-modern science and politically-correct attitudes?

    Answer (c) is my choice because it better explains

    d.) The totality of society’s current demise and

    e.) The strange indifference of research agencies and government scientists toward forty-years of precise experimental data – from space-age measurements on the Sun, the solar wind, solar flares, solar luminosity, solar neutrinos, CME (coronal mass ejections), meteorites, planets, the Moon, and the 3,000 types of atoms that comprise the visible universe – that undercuts the AGW model of Earth’s climate, the SSM-(Bilderberg) model of the Sun, the conflict between science and spirituality, and Big Bang model of the cosmos.

    1. “Origin and Evolution of Life”, Journal of Modern Physics 2, 587-594 (2011)

    2. “Is the Universe Expanding?”, The Journal of Cosmology 13, 4187-4190 (2011)

    3. “Neutron repulsion”, The APEIRON Journal, in press (2012)

    In my opinion world leaders, leaders of the scientific community, and leaders of the news media are totally unaware and powerless over the great benevolent Reality that surrounds us and sustains life.

  15. Pops said


    Please lose the apostrophe in the title, unless you had something in mind other than the plural of “cat”.

  16. Jeff Condon said

    Thanks Pops, I have a fast pinkie finger.

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