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Friday, June 20, 2014

Anthony Watts blows his dog whistle to round up the cosmic ray lynch mob

Sou | 12:24 AM Go to the first of 25 comments. Add a comment

Ha ha ha. This is hilarious. There's an article by Anthony Watts on his climate science denier blog WUWT where he writes (archived here):

A peer reviewed Nuccitelli smackdown
Posted on June 19, 2014 by Anthony Watts
Reply to “Comment on ‘Cosmic-ray-driven reaction and greenhouse effect of halogenated molecules: Culprits for atmospheric ozone depletion and global climate change’ by Dana Nuccitelli et al.”

Anthony copies the abstract of the reply to the comment but nothing else apart from the above and a link to the reply. He leaves it up to readers to try to find the original paper, figure out who wrote it and see if they can lay their hand on the comment. (The reply was published a month ago, so Anthony is losing his touch.)

Click "read more" to read the rest :)

Another cosmic ray nutter

The original paper is by a little-known science denier called Qing-Bin Lu, from the Physics and Astronomy Department of the University of Waterloo, Ontario. He's not a climate scientist. Apparently he disputes mainstream science and reckons that the extra CO2 isn't warming the world. He thinks that it's cosmic rays and halogen-containing molecules. He talks about the "the cosmic-ray-driven electron-induced-reaction (CRE) theory for O3 depletion and the warming theory of halogenated molecules for climate change". Dr Lu first published his paper at, then in the International Journal of Modern Physics B. Neither journals are known for high quality climate science papers.

For some reason, a team of people from and various universities decided to send a comment to the Journal pointing out the many flaws in the paper.  Here's a link to the the abstract from their smackdown.

In a nutshell, Dr Lu wrongly assumed that CO2 has saturated the atmosphere to such an extent that it won't warm it any more. He doesn't know the difference between transient climate response and equilibrium climate sensitivity. On top of all that, he messed up the statistical analysis. There was an article at SkepticalScience about all this. The main message I get from that article is that Dr Lu confused correlation with causation. As explained by skepticalscience:
Lu's hypothesis was disproven very simply by Nuccitelli et al. (2014).  Lu argues that the radiative forcing (global energy imbalance) from CFCs matches global surface temperatures better than that from CO2 over the past decade.  This is because as a result of the Montreal Protocol, CFC emissions (and emissions of hydrofluorocarbons, which replaced CFCs) have been flat over the past decade, and global surface air temperatures have also been essentially flat during that short timeframe, while CO2 emissions have continued to rise.
However, a global energy imbalance doesn't just impact surface temperatures.  In fact, only about 2% of global warming is used in heating the atmosphere, while about 90% heats the oceans.  Over the past decade, ocean and overall global heating have continued to rise rapidly, accumulating the equivalent of about 4 Hiroshima atomic bomb detonations per second (Figure 1).
So while CFCs might match surface temperature changes better than CO2 emissions over the past decade, CO2 emissions better match the relevant metric – overall global heat accumulation.  Since a global energy imbalance influences global heat content and not just surface temperatures, this by itself is sufficient to falsify Lu's hypothesis (though the paper contains several other fundamental problems – see the Advanced level rebuttal for details).

Now if Dr Lu's response was "peer-reviewed" then one assumes that so was his original paper and so was the Nuccitelli et al comment. I've no idea who the peers were who reviewed all these papers. I'd say that the peers who reviewed the original paper knew nothing of the subject matter and didn't do their job properly.

Anthony Watts wouldn't have a clue about the original paper or the comment or the reply that he called a "smackdown". All he's doing is using it as an excuse to have a shot at the lead author of the comment, Dana Nuccitelli. Anthony objects to Dana because he is such an effective climate hawk.

Thing is the ozone hole is affecting the climate in my part of the world (as is carbon dioxide). I'll leave that discussion for another day. Suffice to say that Dr Lu is wrong, and Anthony Watts is, as usual, behaving like an utter nutter. You'll have noticed his application of the Serengeti Strategy, singling Dana Nuccitelli out from the other seven authors of the comment: Kevin Cowtan, Peter Jacobs, Mark Richardson, Robert G. Way, Anne-Marie Blackburn, Martin B. Stolpe and John Cook.

From the WUWT comments

There were 14 comments to Anthony's article at the time of archiving.

Four were about the author and/or the article, yet in none of these did anyone make any observation about the contents of the paper, the comment or the reply.

Ten (71%) were taking pot shots at Dana Nuccitelli.

It just goes to prove what we all know. WUWT isn't about science. It exists purely so that the scientific illiterati have somewhere central to rail against the acquisition of knowledge, particularly knowledge about our climate.

charles nelson doesn't appreciate the mystery surrounding the blog article and says:
June 19, 2014 at 4:11 am
Whoever is writing this (that’s unclear because they’re not named) is clearly very angry and that has played havoc with their clarity of expression.
If they could take a few minutes to go back over the piece and give us some detail and context and just correct a few grammatical points, it would be much more effective and informative.
Mods…feel free to remove this comment.

It doesn't take long before the WUWT lynch mob comes out in force. The mob doesn't have a clue about the reply, the comment or the original paper but it does recognise a dog whistle from Anthony Watts.

Pointman doesn't like climate hawks either, is another cosmic ray advocate, and didn't pay any attention to Anthony urging people to stop name-calling. He says:
June 19, 2014 at 4:28 am
Yet another Dana disaster. The boy has the knack of unerringly being wrong but he did win the climate prat of 2013 award.
Paul Homewood says:
June 19, 2014 at 4:42 am
At least Nuttercelli spelt his name right!
Jonathan Abbott says:
June 19, 2014 at 4:44 am
We should start a Dana fan-club. He never ceases to entertain.
philjourdan says:
June 19, 2014 at 4:52 am
It’s nutty. Which tells you the competence and comedy all in one person.

jaffa says:
June 19, 2014 at 5:01 am
Nuccitelli is a fool, no-one has any respect for his views – not even the most rabid alarmist would hold Nuccitelli up as an example of anything other than a complete slobbering imbecile – he may actually be brain-dead. there’s a reason he looks like a zombie (sorry zombies).
Those supporting Nuccitelli here are actually sceptics pretending to support him in an effort to make warmists look even dumber than they are (the same as they do for Mann). Nice work guys.
Hoser says:
June 19, 2014 at 5:28 am
I love how the warmistas unerringly correlate GMST increase with technological advancement, and then use hyperbole and hysteria to give the central planners the excuses they need to control us. Thank you, and by the way, your 5 year grant has been approved..
knr says:
June 19, 2014 at 5:29 am
Dana never tires from showing how little he knows about so much , an man truly amazed by his own delusion of his own brilliance.

Lu, Q-B. "Cosmic-Ray-Driven Reaction and Greenhouse Effect of Halogenated Molecules: Culprits for Atmospheric Ozone Depletion and Global Climate Change." International Journal of Modern Physics B 27, no. 17 (2013). DOI: 10.1142/S0217979213500732

Dana Nuccitelli, Kevin Cowtan, Peter Jacobs, Mark Richardson, Robert G. Way, Anne-Marie Blackburn, Martin B. Stolpe, John Cook. (2014) Comment on "Cosmic-ray-driven reaction and greenhouse effect of halogenated molecules: Culprits for atmospheric ozone depletion and global climate change". International Journal of Modern Physics B 28:13. . Online publication date: 20-May-2014. DOI: 10.1142/S0217979214820037

Q.-B. Lu. (2014) Reply to "Comment on 'Cosmic-ray-driven reaction and greenhouse effect of halogenated molecules: Culprits for atmospheric ozone depletion and global climate change' by Dana Nuccitelli et al.". International Journal of Modern Physics B 28:13. DOI: 10.1142/S0217979214820049


  1. One thing that struck me, other than that Watts was so slow off the mark on this one, was that Lu's comment read a bit like a typical WUWT comment. No science, all bluster. Perhaps that's why Anthony liked it so much.

  2. I don't know who reviewed Lu's original paper. Likely physicists rather than climate experts, given that he submitted it to a physics journal. When I submitted our paper, I recommended 5 climate experts as reviewers, and I'm pretty sure I know 1 who actually ended up reviewing our paper. So ours got a proper review (the reviewers also made a point to express surprise that a paper as bad as Lu's had been published to begin with).

    I look like a zombie? Never heard that one before...

    1. My apologies, Dana. You shouldn't have had to read those comments. And no, you look nothing like a zombie. They're just jealous of anyone so tall, dark and handsome :)

    2. No apologies necessary, those sorts of comments always give me a good laugh :-)

    3. Dana, is not your degree in physics? Are you claiming physicists cannot be climate experts? Also, you knew one of the reviewers? That would seem to be a conflict of interest to me. Does ERL follow the general principals identified in this paper:

      Ethics of Peer Review

      Looking forward to your response.

    4. "is not your degree in physics?"

      Physics and astrophysics, yes.

      "Are you claiming physicists cannot be climate experts?"


      "Also, you knew one of the reviewers? That would seem to be a conflict of interest to me."

      You would be wrong. A lot of journals ask authors to recommend reviewers.

    5. Dana, thank you for your response.

  3. This is the funniest thing I have read in a while. Some prickly professor gets all upset over his paper getting smacked down that he has to come back and dig himself even further in a hole.

    Is this some sort of Dr. Seuss story? Say this several times and you will never forget his name
    Doctor Q P Lu from the University of Waterllooooo
    Doctor Q P Lu from the University of Waterlloo gets the treatment from Cindy Lou Hoo Sou
    Doctor Q P Lu from the University of Waterllooooo goes crying home boo-hoo

  4. The Very Reverend Jebediah HypotenuseJune 20, 2014 at 2:32 AM

    QBL spoke at my uni a couple of years ago.

    He is brilliant.

    He has he disproven that CO2 is the main driver of recent global temperature changes. He has an alternate CR / CFC explanation. AND along the way, he has explained the non-existent 'pause'.

    Three Galileos for the price of one!

    Of course, since terrestrial CR flux has an 11 year periodicity, and global temps do not, mileage my vary.

    The Rabett was munching on these carrots years ago...

    1. Who invited him to speak? Weird that anyone at a university would invite him to speak. I can't think how he manages to hold his current job.

    2. The Very Reverend Jebediah HypotenuseJune 20, 2014 at 4:13 AM

      Royal Military College of Canada, in Feb 2012.
      I don't who actually invited him or thought that he was worth hearing.
      Draw your own conclusions.

      I went to the talk having read 2 of his papers, so I knew what to expect.
      He has been flogging essentially the same paper for years.

      I and others in the audience asked him several questions about the relatively short time-series and dodgy data-reduction used in his talk / papers. He was polite but dismissive...

    3. Sou, he has tenure. No reason to fire him as long as he publishes and does whatever else he has to do.

      Sadly, consistently publishing crap is not of any concern.

    4. Yes, Sou. Off with their heads for not agreeing with Dana. If you do not agree with Dana's 97% definition, censor the deniers!

    5. Hello Anonymous

      Though I am in danger of feeding the troll I am interested in why you posted your comment. Was it just to troll or did you have a point to make? If so can you clarify? Can you answer where the 97% comes into it? Can you explain why you mention censor when there is nothing censored?

      In other words what has this got to do with the article or any of the comments posted? Are you aged about 15 or are you just too immature to string together a reasonable point? Just asking.

    6. Aonymous, do you mean censor like Anthony Watts does when someone comments something inconvenient to him - like last month was rather warm, or that dbstealey not only comments on threads but also moderates them so when he insults someone, he can use his mod hat to magic away their response (and hide behind the hypocritical "that's insulting" line). That's censorship. Sou syphons stupid comments into a special section so that anyone can see how stupid they reall are. Check out the Hot Whoppery to see some examples.

    7. Hi there anonymous, here's a tip for you: if you can hear laughter behind you as you scurry for the exit, you are probably not doing it right dear :)

    8. That paper was from 2000. CFCs were a big forcing until they were phased out in the 1990s by the Montreal Protocol. Get with the times, it's 2014.

    9. The comment policy is clear on comment deletion. Full removal of comments from people who've been banned. Deletion and reposting at the HotWhoppery of comments that are too, too foolish. (Continued rapid bursts of abusive comments gets people banned.) Google automatically deletes linked replies to removed comments.

      On very rare occasions an anonymous anonymous might get caught. I don't believe that happened here. Anyone can contact me if they believe their deleted comment didn't fall into one of the above categories and they think it was really, really a very important comment of earth-shattering status. It's more likely that a banned commenter would sneak through.

  5. For the record, isn't a journal: it's a preprint archive. The rules for posting a paper are pretty lenient. They even have a category called "General Physics" that contains papers by cranks of various descriptions. arXiv postings are not peer-reviewed. It is a fabulous source of information on Astrophysics and High-energy physics, but very few Atmospheric Science papers

    1. Thanks, Chett. Somewhere in the back of my mind I think I knew that. I should have dug deep and brought it to the front :)

  6. Great interview by Dana...

  7. I notice that Jim Steele has posted another guest essay on WUWT, and boy, is it a doozy. Full of misrepresentations.

    Take for instance what he wrote here
    "The models grossly underestimated the mid century warming by as much a 0.5° C. Even their modeled temperatures from the 1860s were warmer than 1940s."

    Bzzt. Wrong.

    If we have a look at page 60 of AR5, it proves that Jim Steele is an outright fabricator. From 1920-1935, the models were in fact spot on, and during 1935-1945, the models were about 0.2C off. Certainly not 0.5C off.

    And the modelled temps during the 1860's were also about 0.2C off with observations, and were in fact about 0.25C COOLER than the 1940's modelled temperatures. These fabrications, designed to make the models look wrong, are just outrageous. And the rest of his 'essay' is just as bad.

    (PS. I apologise to Sou for doing her job)

  8. "The mob doesn't have a clue about the reply, the comment or the original paper but it does recognise a dog whistle from Anthony Watts."

    Like Pavlov's dogs, just throw the names of Mann, Cook, Nuccitelli or Hansen and they come all barking and drooling. Works with "consensus" or "hockey stick" also.


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