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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Some history that led to Judith Curry hunkering down in the NOAA conspiracy theorists' bunker

Sou | 12:17 AM Go to the first of 44 comments. Add a comment

The last couple of days has seen ex-scientist Judith Curry hunkering down in the conspiracy theorists' bunker. She is suggesting that the scientists at NOAA are "biasing and spinning climate science to support a political agenda".

If that's what they were doing (it isn't, as climate researcher Peter Thorne explains), they were not doing it at all well. For one thing, they've published papers describing their work in considerable detail, and the data is freely available (here and here and here) for anyone to check. Judith has no expertise in putting together surface temperature records (if you can't tell from reading her articles), so she wouldn't know what to do with the NOAA data any more than Lamar Smith does. (Judith dropped off the Berkeley Earth project team at an early stage, without making any substantive contribution.)

She does know how to insinuate and spread nasty smear campaigns, however. Over the years she's honed that art to a reasonable, if patently transparent, level.

Warning: I prefer to write about science rather than people. HotWhopper exists primarily to demolish the disinformation from science deniers and replace it with facts. Judith Curry is a special case. She is/was a scientist who's now made it her life's work to vilify her colleagues and spout nonsense about science. If you are uncomfortable with this sort of write up, there are plenty of other articles here at HotWhopper that might interest you. This article doesn't contain much of anything new, except for Judith's latest conspiracy theory. I've just put together some background based on material which is available on the internet, and added some commentary.

Judith Curry's path from scientist to science disinformer

For people who are new to the "climate cyber-wars", this latest distasteful episode from Judith Curry may be an eye-opener. I've taken the opportunity she's provided, to sketch out the path that she took on her journey to science denial, scientist smearing, disinformation and conspiratorial thinking.

It's not a strange story. Others have trodden the denier path, though for the most part those people are older than Judith is. She isn't a youngster, but she'd be among the younger set of climate scientists turned denier. Oh, and Judith is also a special case because, unlike most other scientist-deniers, she has a nasty habit of hitting out at individual scientists, not just making up stuff about the science itself.

Back in November 2010, Michael Lemonick wrote about Judith Curry: "In a sense, the two competing storylines about Judith Curry—peacemaker or dupe?—are both true." Today I don't know if he'd try to argue she was attempting to forge any peace. And he'd have a hard time persuading anyone that she was still a dupe. She's not. Judith knows exactly what she is doing and probably thinks the payoff is worth the scorn.

Judith doesn't have the status that some other other deniers attained before they turned their back on science. Professor Richard Lindzen held down a post at the prestigious MIT for many years before his failed "iris" hypothesis sent him trudging out onto the science denier speaking circuit.  [Correction: I've been told Lindzen started down the denier path before his "iris" hypothesis, back in the early 1990s.] Garth Paltridge managed a senior post at the CSIRO, before he became disenchanted with science, perhaps after not being able to develop his "Principle of Maximum Entropy Production" beyond a hypothesis.

You'll probably be aware that there are not many climate researchers who are also science deniers. There are a couple who reject science on religious grounds, like John Christy and Roy Spencer. There's Willie "it's the sun" Soon, but AFAIK he mostly freelances, and he's not a climate scientist in any case. Most deniers and disinformers are not climate scientists. And very few have published papers contesting mainstream science. The closest Judith came was being listed as co-author on a paper by Marcia Wyatt putting forward a stadium wave hypothesis, which was an interesting idea if you're into detecting patterns, but didn't last two years. That goes partway to explaining why Judith is so keen for the so-called "pause" (which wasn't) to continue. Marcia Wyatt said in the press release that "“The stadium wave signal predicts that the current pause in global warming could extend into the 2030s,"

It should be said that in the main, Judith restricts her outright disinformation about climate to her blog, her testimony to the US Government, talks to right wing lobby groups, and comments to sympathetic journalists and scurrilous conspiracy theories as op-eds for right wing media.

Close on the heels of Katrina, Judith Curry got some media attention after being the third of four co-authors of a paper on hurricanes in 2005. Since then, she's not been able to publish anything that so captured the imagination of the public, which may be why she decided to seek it elsewhere - outside of science.

This is a short-ish story about how she fell off a bridge she built, into the wacky world of science denial.

The early days of denial

I'm in Australia, so I didn't get to hear about Judith's moment of fame with the hurricanes, back in 2005. It was in November 2009, that she took to the cyber-waves in a big way on the back of stolen emails. She was initially cautious, so much so that Joe Romm published her "open letter to graduates", with words of (qualified) support. However, in a comment under her Climate Progress article, she gave an inkling of what was to come when she claimed  about the vindictive FOIA harasser and denier blogger that: "Steve McIntyre is a bona fide skeptic". (Note that I don't think there's been a single article produced by deniers using the the information Steve claimed to so desperately need. So much for bona fides!) She clearly took to Steve's approach to spreading disinformation and, around the same time as her ClimateProgress article, wrote an article for Steve McIntyre's disinformation blog. She was also happy to get publicity at WUWT, saying she was "trying to reach out to everyone" and adding: "pls help in this effort".

Not an attention junkie?

I first met Judith a short while later in April 2010, in cyberspace, on Keith Kloor's blog, when she was making all sorts of vague and unsubstantiated allegations against climate scientists. She told me that she "was not personally an attention junkie", though that didn't gel with her behaviour. Nor with her tales of the media attention and "rock star" status from 2005.

Much to the horror of onlookers, in one of those discussions she was making a song and dance about the discredited report from the disgraced Wegman not being included in the 2007 IPCC AR4 report, when a peer-reviewed Wahl and Amman (2007) was.  (The Wegman report was not a peer-reviewed publication but a report commissioned by Republican deniers, Joe Barton and Ed Whitfield.) I think that she may also have flagged the Berkeley Earth project while complaining about temperature records. (I excused myself from the discussion after Keith Kloor said I was being disrespectful of the person who was in the process of falsely accusing her peers of professional misconduct and corruption. I'd seen enough in any case.)

Building a bridge from stolen emails, then burning it

So Judith took the opportunity to make a name for herself after the disinformation campaign that went on when emails were stolen from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. I don't know if she pawed (sic) through any of the stolen correspondence or not. She obviously read the deniers' misinterpretations of them. What I do know is that she grabbed the chance to get some publicity defaming scientists and turning her back on climate science. She pretended to take the high road, but instead took the low road. She said she was going to build a bridge. She did. Then she leapt across it, falsely accusing the IPCC processes of being "corrupt". She made lots of unfounded allegations at the party held in her honour on the blog of Keith Kloor. I'd say 2010 was the year she burnt the bridge behind her and took up residence in the strange world of science deniers and disinformers. She abandoned science and instead promoted anti-science propaganda literature.

Now one can speculate that she was always on the outer in her own professional sphere. Maybe because she figured she wasn't part of what she saw as an inner circle of climate research elite. Maybe she never found what she regarded as her rightful place. She showed little respect for her colleagues, instead she said she had "respect" for a denier blogger at WUWT and thought he was "honest". She clearly had a lot of sympathy for the various tall poppy loppers and was more than happy to fall into the waiting arms of the science disinformers. She had a few sessions with denier blogger, Steve McIntyre, who at the time spent a lot of effort vexatiously harassing climate scientists and trying to pick holes in their work (and mostly failing). That may have appealed to her baser instincts of professional jealousy. No need to investigate to see if the Auditor's arguments had any merit, it was enough that he made claims. Judith's first and last reaction seems to have been to believe the disinformation she read on denier blogs.

Judith was courted by and courted science disinformers. Even back in April 2010 she indicated she preferred WUWT to science blogs. She was easy pickings and didn't take much grooming. At her debutante party in Lisbon the following year, she may have been quite overwhelmed by the warm embrace she received from the science denial "community". Finally she had found a "home" where she could pontificate and be adored.

Overcoming small mistakes

In the early days, Judith appeared to slip up now and then, though that may have been intended. I've already mentioned how she made a song and dance saying the IPCC should have included the non-peer reviewed Wegman report after it had been revealed to be nothing more than trumped up nonsense (and its author had already been disgraced). In June 2010, she also made the mistake of praising a dumb denier book at - a serious website run by some of the world's leading climate scientists. For these slip-ups she was deservedly ridiculed. I say these were slip-ups, but they were probably fortuitous ones and may even have been quite deliberate because they helped cement Judith's position in deniersville.

In any case, Judith soon caught on. She no longer posts comments on science blogs as far as I know. In September 2010 she started her current blog, and from the outset she attracted a lot of deniers and disinformers.  These days she only occasionally gets comments from people who accept science, and she has to say something quite outrageous to draw them, such as voicing the conspiracy theory she's promoting this week.

Over time, the puzzlement from Judith's peers has turned to scorn, which may have pushed her further into the anti-science camp. She may feel like a heroic martyr to some "cause".  A captive of deniers turned, like Patty Hearst.

Misrepresentations to the US Government and her blog readers

Judith has in past written testimony for a US House Committee said temperatures had declined, in the face of all the evidence to the contrary.  She ended up not being called, but was happy for John Christy to present her written testimony.

She has tried to claim on her blog that she doesn't present science in a manner that would influence policy:
The relevant issue to my mind is to expect non-normative testimony from academic researchers. I discussed this issue on a previous blog post Congressional testimony and normative science. Consensus climate scientists routinely present normative testimony, along the lines of ‘urgent mitigation action needed’. On the other hand, I personally work to make my testimony non-normative...
In claiming to make her testimony non-normative, Judith is claiming that she doesn't argue for a policy direction - implicitly or explicitly. That's just not true. She has argued that mitigation of climate change "would be futile" and misrepresented science arguing that CO2 doesn't affect climate variability on decadal timescales, contrary to mainstream science. In January 2014 she provided written testimony to the Committee on Environment and Public Works  of the United States Senate, arguing for a policy of not mitigating climate change, writing:
Motivated by the precautionary principle to avoid dangerous anthropogenic climate change, attempts to modify the climate through reducing CO2 emissions may turn out to be futile. The stagnation in greenhouse warming observed over the past 15+ years demonstrates that CO2 is not a control knob on climate variability on decadal time scales
In January 2015, she even denied, contrary to all evidence, that the warming of the past sixty five years has been caused by humans activities, writing:
Recent data and research supports the importance of natural climate variability and calls into question the conclusion that humans are the dominant cause of recent climate change.

How to become a scientist-denier-disinformer

There are some lessons to be learnt from Judith, if you are working scientist who is against climate change mitigation:
  • Avoid flaunting your science denial wares in discussions where you'll be shown up. Make sure you are surrounded by enough denial voices, so that sensible voices are drowned out. 
  • Stick to innnuendo when spreading gossip or lies about climate science and scientists. Use hints, and let other people run with your insinuations and develop them into whatever conspiracy theory is flavour of the month. If you think that people won't get the message, turn your baseless insinuations into questions.
  • Every now and then, say out loud that the greenhouse effect is real, even if you can't explain how it works. This is a very inexpensive way of passing yourself off as a genuine climate scientist, not dismissed as a complete whacko. You can contradict yourself at the same time, and claim that reducing CO2 emissions won't have much effect on climate change. As long as you get in that the greenhouse effect is real, you'll trick some member of the public into thinking of you as a bona fide scientist.
  • Avoid commenting on other blogs, especially other science blogs. That's risky. Don't try to con the unconnable at places like If you feel attention is slipping you can post an inoffensive or innocuous comment on a prominent denier blog. 

The safest and most effective way to be noticed by the people you want to notice you, and with minimal risk, is to host your own blog. Don't go opening your mouth at a place where people are going to show up your silliness. Do it where you are going to get some sympathy and where you have some control. On your own blog. Deniers don't have a lot of options when it comes to congregating in cyberspace, so you're bound to get lots of the sort of comments you're angling for. All you need to remember is:
  • Do not correct science denier rubbish. On the contrary praise it, and promote articles and books by science disinformers. Sing the praises of anti-science lobby groups. All it takes is a comment like "very interesting". You don't have to commit yourself to overtly agreeing. 
  • If you think the proportion of pro-science people is too great, take a dig at comments that hint of science.

These tactics have been shown to be very effective. Judith is now called upon by denier politicians to speak to US Senate and House committees and to political lobby groups. She is now a big fish in the science denying pond. Scientists are hard to come by when you're looking for a denier. In the past, denier politicians in the USA had to resort to potty peers from the mother country, who for years tried to masquerade as a member of the House of Lords. Journalists looking for some false balance have been known to go to Judith Curry for a quote, though that's happening less and less often as the mainstream media focuses more on mainstream science, not piddly deniers. And these days, financier Matt Ridley seems to have the foothold as far as the denier media goes.

Judith kept her word about building a bridge to fake sceptics, though she burnt the bridge behind her in a way that probably continues to dismay her professional colleagues. She was so successful in reaching out to them that now her blog commenters are almost entirely people who reject science in favour of conspiracy theories and pseudo-science. Some of these people now use her blog as a notice-board to promote their zany ideas (like this and this and this), while Judith sits back without a murmur of correction or objection.

What might have been the biggest puzzle to many of Judith's colleagues was that after she built her bridge and was awarded a T-Shirt to mark the occasion, she crossed it and burnt it behind her. That didn't surprise those of us who saw this happening from a distance. The signs were all there. Her touting as fact things that everyone already knew were baseless. Then her using her blog, government testimony and public speeches to say things she'd not say in the published literature (because it is unsupportable by any evidence). In public she uses innuendo to cast doubt on the fact of climate change and the harm it is causing and will cause. She is now one of the few "go to" scientists left for the more extremist US republicans because of her anti-mitigation stance. The others being John Christie and Roy Spencer and, occasionally, Richard Lindzen, all of whom are known for misrepresenting science.

The Latest Defamatory Smear Attack by Judith Curry

This week, Judith Curry continued her attacks on scientists (archived here). She is now accusing not just a single scientist of fraud, but the scientific organisation, NOAA.  She wrote an op ed for Fox News of all places, with the defamatory title: Is government tinkering with global warming data?

That complies with Betteridge's law of headlines, which states: "Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no." Not that that will stop deniers from picking up the lie and running with it.

Judith might be a slow learner, but she's learning. Did she do any research herself on the subject? There's no evidence that she did, unless you count going to her favourite paid disinformers and climate conspiracy blogs.

The issue she made much of was answered in the paper on sea surface temperatures, so I'd say she didn't even bother to read the papers she's jumping up and down about. And her question shows that she wouldn't pass a Grade 3 arithmetic test. She wrote:
Patrick Michaels, Richard Lindzen and Chip Knappenberger criticized the analysis, stating that adjusting the reliable ocean surface buoy data upwards to match the much less reliable data from engine intake channels in ships introduces an artificial upward trend in the data because the buoy network has become increasingly dense in the last two decades. 

Here's a lesson for Judith - I'll subtract 0.1 C so you can see the difference in the trend. Yep - there is none:

Adding to buoy data rather than subtracting from ship data was because for most of the period since 1880 there were no buoys, so there was no comparison. If Judith had read the paper describing ERSSTv4 instead of writing arguably defamatory op-eds for Fox News, she might have learnt something. She'd have seen for example:
Although buoy SSTs are generally more homogeneous than ship SSTs, they are adjusted here because otherwise it would be necessary to adjust ship SSTs before 1980 when there were no or very few buoys

The comparison was between buoy data and ship data while they coexisted. On the other hand, the temperature records needed to be adjusted over time to account for things like the shift from uninsulated to insulated buckets; and rising deck heights etc.

But why am I telling you all this? HotWhopper readers are, in the main, not dumb deniers. And most can do basic arithmetic. And most don't fall for disinformer tripe from denialist lobby groups like CATO.

Oh, and in case you're wondering - all this was done properly, against the proper climatology. Any fool can see that - even on Judith Curry's charts. If there was something wrong there'd be a bigger difference between the NOAA record and other records.

Each new effort by scientists is aimed at improving on the previous one. The new NOAA record is based on a lot of effort to refine the sea surface record, which must be a helluva job. And the new land record incorporates many, many more weather stations because it adds in records from a heap more data from the International Surface Temperature Initiative (ISTI). I won't go over ground already covered. You can read about the NOAA work in a detailed article I wrote last June when the paper was published.

Suffice to say that Judith is either immensely stupid or deliberately deceitful, knowing most of her readers are wilfully ignorant.

There's more. She's also making some rather silly points for someone who used to be a climate scientist. She's also built a strawman, asking:
Was any concern raised about the discrepancies of the new ocean temperature data set and NOAA’s other ocean temperature data set (OISST) that shows no warming since 2003? 

Huh? Leaving aside the fact that the OISST data set uses different data sources - satellite as well as ships and buoys on the sea surface, and leaving aside the fact that the new NOAA data set is, well, a completely new analysis so isn't expected to be identical to older ones - where did she get the notion there's been no warming  since 2003 from?

Data source: KNMI Climate Explorer

Another suggestion for Judith is to read some of the papers describing OISST and its comparisons with other sea surface temperature analyses.

Judith favours politicians harassing scientists, except when it's directed at her

Judith says she approves of the ongoing intimidatory tactics and vexatious requests for irrelevant information from the Chair of the US House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Lamar Smith has been waging a war against science for some time now.

She adds a bit of slimey innuendo to the mix, claiming that she has "heard enough behind the scenes" - yeah right - unfounded gossip from CATO and WUWT and her other favourite haunts, I'd say.

Her approval of political harassment shows some consistency. Remember, she seems to have approved of the intimidatory tactics of US legislators in the past, when Joe Barton and Ed Whitfield commissioned the Wegman report, which was subsequently shown to be not just wrong scientifically, but littered with distorted plagiarism.

Double Standards: when is a witch hunt a witch hunt?

The inconsistency comes about when she complains about requests for fairly simple information on her own funding sources.  When Judith Curry received a request from a US congressman, Raul Grijalva,  to identify her funding sources , she referred to it as a witch hunt and an attack:
My first reaction to this was to tweet:  Looks like I am next up in this ‘witch hunt’.  My subsequent reactions have been slowed by a massive headache (literally; cause and effect?)
Other than an emotional burden.  This is the first time I have been ‘attacked’ in a substantive way for doing my science honestly and speaking up about it.  Sure, anonymous bloggers go after me, but I have received no death threats via email, no dead rats delivered to my door step, etc.

Now Raul Grijalva wasn't wanting all her emails and other personal correspondence going back decades. All he asked for was what funding she received relating to her published research. A fairly simple request that, as Judith admitted, did not inconvenience her personally except as an "emotional burden".

The double standards would be viewed as quite extraordinary, except for the fact that Judith has made it plain over the years that she is quite prepared to misrepresent climate science when required to do so. Science disinformers are known to have double standards.

In her article this week attacking NOAA, Judith wrote:
Last month, the House Science Committee, chaired by Lamar Smith (R-Texas), subpoenaed NOAA for data and communications relating to Karl’s article.  However, NOAA is refusing to give Rep. Smith the documents, citing confidentiality concerns and the integrity of the scientific process. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Tex) called the request “a serious misuse of Congressional oversight powers.” 

That's an example of her telling lies. The NOAA not only gave Lamar Smith all the data, they sat down and explained it to him. What they didn't give him was the "communications" part. As reported at The Hill:
NOAA spokeswoman Ciaran Clayton said the internal communications are confidential and not related to what Smith is trying to find out.

“We have provided data, all of which is publicly available online, supporting scientific research, and multiple in-person briefings,” she said.

Judith must know this, so she is not merely applying double standards, she is making up stuff.

Judith tries on the peacemaker hat she took off five years ago

Judith finishes up one of her articles writing that: "The politicization of climate science has gotten extreme.  I don’t know where to start in trying to ameliorate this situation, ..."

ROTFL. Is the word hubris appropriate here? As if Judith has any intention of doing any "ameliorating" all of a sudden. Over the years she has been working harder and harder to fan the political flames. With this latest effort she's bending over backwards to pay homage to deniers, with wanton disregard for science.

References and further reading

House Science, Space, and Technology Committee vs National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administation - article by Michael Tobis

Thomas R. Karl, Anthony Arguez, Boyin Huang, Jay H. Lawrimore, James R. McMahon, Matthew J. Menne, Thomas C. Peterson, Russell S. Vose, Huai-Min Zhang. "Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus". Science 348, no. 6242 (2015): 1469-1472 doi:10.1126/science.aaa5632 (subs req'd)

Huang, Boyin, Viva F. Banzon, Eric Freeman, Jay Lawrimore, Wei Liu, Thomas C. Peterson, Thomas M. Smith, Peter W. Thorne, Scott D. Woodruff, and Huai-Min Zhang. "Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature version 4 (ERSST. v4), Part I. Upgrades and Intercomparisons." Journal of Climate 2014 (2014). doi: (subs req'd)

Peter W. Thorne, Kate M. Willett, Rob J. Allan, Stephan Bojinski, John R. Christy, Nigel Fox, Simon Gilbert, Ian Jolliffe, John J. Kennedy, Elizabeth Kent, Albert Klein Tank, Jay Lawrimore, David E. Parker, Nick Rayner, Adrian Simmons, Lianchun Song, Peter A. Stott, and Blair Trewin, 2011: "Guiding the Creation of A Comprehensive Surface Temperature Resource for Twenty-First-Century Climate Science." Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 92, ES40–ES47. doi: (open access)

The Wegman Scandal

From the HotWhopper archives


  1. I think this is a harsh but fair summary.

    All in all the simplest explanation is that Curry found being one of the very top 'skeptics' preferable to being a second-tier climate scientist. That she had to discard both science and her reputation to do so was a price she appears to have been willing to pay.

    1. I wouldn't have gone to such lengths except for her op-ed at Fox News. That was the most bizarre article for anyone, let alone a climate scientist. Completely unprofessional - but it was her conspiracy theorising that made it stand out above all else. Yet when I thought about it in the context of what she's done in the past five years, her behaviour is quite consistent.

      I'm thinking that deniers are running short of ideas for COP21. They've still got a week or so to come up with something I guess. If I were them I wouldn't be counting on a ratbag like Lamar Smith or Judith Curry.

    2. Ex-scientist? Judith?
      Can you top the ad hominems and sexism??
      A pretty pathetic attack piece and one more reason why I am skeptical.
      Name calling is truly juvenile - disagree with her ideas, but she is still a noted scientist. And, good Lord!, please spare us the first-naming of women as a means of dismissal.

    3. Another one who thinks it's okay for deniers to falsely accuse research scientists of fraud, but rushes to plead the case of someone who makes false insinuations.

      BTW is it just because she's a woman you say the article is sexist?

      As for being "skeptical" of science just because of an article exposing someone who's been denying it - that's truly lame.

    4. Oh please, stop with the tone trolling.

      Curry is not nearly esteemed in science circles as you seem to imagine, so your issue with the regard of her scientific reputation is misplaced.

      And plenty of people who are prominent in the climate change obuscation field are referred to by their first names, on both sides - Anthony, Michael, Phil... no one complains when their names are used.

      I'm all for equality, and it's exactly for that reason I have no compunction treating Curry in exactly the same way as she would be treated if she were male: with the same response that she elicits now.

      And if your assessment of science is based on how nicely people play with each other, then you haven't understood how the laws of physics work. They don't give a shit about your opinions: all that matters are the facts of the data and the science.

      Talk about bathing in logical fallacies...

    5. "A pretty pathetic attack piece and one more reason why I am skeptical."

      Go and read WUWT - try some of the articles and comments written about Sou, or Michael Mann. You will change your opinion immediately - if it is entirely based on which "side" is nastier.

    6. Jama what is Curry noted for? If she wasn't swimming in a very tiny oil-slicked pond of contrarian scientists hailed by conspiracy cranks and science deniers, who would have ever heard of her?

    7. Curry is a well-cited scientist who did or contributed to a lot of valuable science on polar and hurricane processes in the 90's and early 2000's. She wasn't "second-tier". Her climate-science credentials are a lot stronger than many climate bloggers. That's no excuse for her increasingly bizarre behavior since, but it doesn't help to pretend she is/was a "failed" scientist.

  2. About the ship vs buoy data adjustments: it really boggles my mind how anybody with some mathematical understanding can seriously believe that it really matters for the trend whether you adjust one record downwards or the other record upwards with the same constant value.

    And note that the people that Curry cites didn't provide any kind of mathematical analysis - they only made an unsupported claim.


  3. Exxon and Peabody are under investigation for their roles in funding climate change denial (is it time to start using the term ecocide?). I wonder if this isn't going to make professional disinformers even more desperate to ensure a denier candidate gets into the Whitehouse: they may be wondering when the law will be knocking at their door. We might expect their conduct to become ever more outrageous over the next 12 months.

    1. They are really using the Keystone XL rejection like a sledge hammer...
      POTUS killed Keystone dead, hopefully permanently closing the Koch's oil export loophole. The GOP wanted KXL because the oil industry folks who fund their campaigns wanted it. The same folks who say that the keystone pipeline will bring low gas prices are the same ones that said invading Iraq would bring low gas prices. Oddly Conservatives aren't thanking Obama for the $2 gas.

  4. I got Curry very upset with my dismantling of her Bose-Einstein theory of cloud droplet nuclei formation that appeared in her latest book. I took it to the Amazon review page and the backlash by her minions ("denizens") against me was vicious. I don't really care because she doesn't know physics, and people like her shouldn't be teaching this stuff.

    "Professor Richard Lindzen held down a post at the prestigious MIT for many years before his failed "iris" hypothesis sent him trudging out onto the science denier speaking circuit. "

    I am currently going after Richard Lindzen for his ancient theory of the Quasi-biennial Oscillation (QBO) of upper atmospheric winds. This isn't as obscure as it seems, since the QBO has an association with El Nino occurrences and so with the natural variability in climate.

    As it happens, I have found (via the aid of machine learning -- working with the folks at Nutonian, the U of Mn CompSci department, and the Azimuth Project) that the QBO follows a remarkably simple relationship to lunar tidal gravitational forces -- link on my avatar. Lindzen had long ago, circa 1974, intimated that this may be a possibility but never followed through.

    How Lindzen missed this I don't know, but he really screwed up the attribution of natural variability in climate for a generation of scientists. After all, Lindzen is considered an "authority" on atmospheric physics, even more than Curry, who published that massive tome on the subject this past year.

    So what now has happened is that the loyal minions of Lindzen are attacking me, especially the insane Rog Tallbloke and his followers at the "Talkshop". They are accusing me of plagiarism in the way I am reporting my findings on QBO and ENSO. Like Sou, I don't hide my real name and what they are doing is trying to tarnish my reputation by suing the P-word. It's funny if it wasn't so sad, as evidently Rog can't figure out that Machine Learning has no concept of the act of plagiarism.

  5. Has Tallbloke finished the details on his hypothesis for current warming? As I recall, it involves the orbits of Venus and Jupiter and pulling a curve from Uranus.

    1. Funny. Tallbloke doesn't seem to understand the difference between astrology and astronomy. He and his followers apparently love to combine numbers in terms of mathematical ratios that he claims "proves" stuff.

      And concerning his global warming theories -- he can't discuss them fully because he claims he has Intellectual Property rights in legal process. So his plagiarism accusations against me seem really misplaced. How can I plagiarize his work when he has it cloaked in IP secrecy?

  6. Sorry Sou, a bit OT, but there's a rising star of denialism in the Aus parliament.

    Have a look here;

    His "raw satellite data" comment is comedy gold.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Someone seriously needs to make an issue of such scientific ignorance being promulgated by a federal Australian government politician. He is abrogation of his moral responsibilities to the Australian public and I suspect that, given the nature of his spreading of demonstrable false material, he may well be in legal abrogation of his parilamentary responsibilities too.

    3. I can't seem to find anything about Kelly's university education in his official bio or his inaugural speech to Parliament.

      Normally I wouldn't do this, but in this case I'll assume he has none.

    4. I read some of Craig Kelly's twitter feed, and his speeches to Parliament. He strikes me as one of the well-meaning but scientifically-illiterate politicians, who cannot let himself believe that climate change is real. He can conceive of pollution at a local level, objecting to a cement plant, but his mind can't cope with the massive change we are bringing to the climate. Given he lives in Sydney, you'd have thought the penny would drop as the weather moves poleward.

      He's probably surrounded with other people who reject science, too, which wouldn't help. Fodder for a future post or project.

    5. Looks like the usual dishonestly doctored Monckton graph.

      His response to a poster who confronted him on it was:

      "I welcome arguments to the contrary on my FB page, but you actually have to an argument. If you dispute any factual elements of the above graph, or if you claim the graph is "misleading" please argue that case. For example; Are the figures wrong ? Is the scale wrong ? does the graph vary from raw satellite data ? and please note to just mindlessly deny facts because they don't fit your ideology is not an argument. Otherwise you comments will be deleted."

    6. "He strikes me as one of the well-meaning but scientifically-illiterate politicians..." - No way. Guilty until proven not guilty, in this case the verdict is simply guilty. Because the guy doesn't learn and merely posts the usual lobby tripe.

      Something else, your 'Angry Summer' will be rendered a normal thing by the season just beginning.
      I don't think I'll see many a bet taken that after next burn this Kelly would reverse track and talk reality. Why? Because the guy is a climate revisionist.

  7. I can thoroughly recommend WHT's work over at
    His success in modelling several centuries of El Ninos/La Ninas is impressive, considering that ENSO was, after Lindzen's paper on the subject in the 1960s, regarded as impossible to predict.

    Mention of Roj "Tallbloke" Tattersall links in very nicely with the notorious T-shirt incident at the 2010 Lisbon meeting to which Sou refers, since it was organised by none other than Tallbloke. The T shirt in question had a cartoon of a picture of a dustbin (that ‘s “trash can” for North Americans) with the words “Climate Science” written on it, and Curry’s head poking out with the speech bubble “I’ve found a good bit”. So, Curry can be seen endorsing the view that accepted climate science is garbage. This meeting, funded by European Union taxpayers, was supposed to be about bringing about “reconciliation” in the climate change “debate”. That this sort of attack on climate science was taking place and then posted on Youtube by, wait for it, Steve Goddard, indicates the contempt for “reconciliation” at that meeting. Incidentally, I make a cameo appearance in the video, sitting a mere three seats to St. Judith’s right.

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    3. Thanks Bill. I have been reading a lot of Kevin Trenberth's old work on ENSO and QBO recently, and he is a good antidote to Lindzen.

      K. F. Trenberth, “Atmospheric quasi-biennial oscillations,” Monthly Weather Review, vol. 108, no. 9, pp. 1370–1377, 1980.

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  9. Oops, my previous comment was supposed to be a response to WHT's comment some way back in this thread.

  10. I think perhaps "chutzpah" is a better word than "hubris".

    I'm not usually a fan of pieces like this that try to explain why people hold the views they do, but I think you did a good job here.

    I supported Curry when she complained about the Grivalja enquiries and I'm disappointed, but not surprised, that she has been so inconsistent here in supporting Smith's fishing expedition.

  11. "Suffice to say that Judith is either immensely stupid or deliberately deceitful, knowing most of her readers are wilfully ignorant."

    One suspicion of mine is that she's extremely lazy - intellectually speaking. There was more than one occasion when she talked about having put in a massive effort, a few hours, on "analysing" something or other, then pontificating about her "findings". (I gave up on her blog very early on, so I don't know how she goes about things now.) And I'm pretty sure she thought she was really on to something when she came up with that ridiculous uncertainty-flag-drivel. I suspect she put some actual, honest to goodness work into that, but didn't think it through well enough to realise that the whole enterprise was pointless. (Mainly because she _still_ hasn't got her head around what uncertainty means in the first place.)

    And was offended, insulted and completely mortified when most people treated it as trivial and misguided and a bit of a joke into the bargain. That, I suspect, fed the little green monster that's bedevilled her all along. Whether it's true or not, she certainly gives a pretty good impression of having a bad case of physics-maths-climatology envy.

  12. Recall that back in 2010 at Keith Kloor's blog, she metnioned Wegman, called Deep Climate "reprehensiible" (twice) for alleging plagiarism. After others pushed back,she then waffled a bit, blamed others for getting her into a topic she hadn't researched, and declared the topic off-limits, but without apology to DC.

  13. Several months ago there was blurb on WUWT about a NOAA webpage, I think to do with SST, that showed no warming, and she picked it up and ran with it.

    She claims she has been talking to people inside NOAA, and she insinuates these people are telling her there is something in the emails for Smith to find.

    My bet, whoever is involved in that webpage is the person(s) who is talking to her.

  14. In my opinion Climate Etc is her vanity blog, where she gets to write what she wants. I stopped reading it some time ago.

  15. If Judith Curry can post this on her blog:

    "curryja | August 4, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    I strongly recommend reading Montford’s book. It is very well written and extremely well documented."

    then yes, I agree she is an "ex-scientist". Certainly not someone who does any fact-checking.

    1. When someone dismisses the IPCC reports in favour of disinformer nonsense, and refers to the latter as "well documented", then you can pretty well dismiss everything they say. Or at the very least, you need to double and triple check everything they say.

      That was four years ago. The shift from denial to black helicopter conspiracies was probably not that big a leap. I wonder how long before she starts writing about Agenda21 and FEMA concentration camps (or has she been there done that?)

    2. I checked a question I put on her blog a couple of years ago, 'why don't they make chemtrails pink? I like pink', but no reply yet.

    3. Montford has been her "bible". It appears to have been her Road to Damascus moment.

  16. I think perhaps we should throw Judith Curry's own words (about Wegman) back at her every time she posts a smear on reputable scientists.

    "Let me say that this is one of the most reprehensible attacks on reputable scientists that I have seen."

    "To see such respected academics accused in this way (with the accusations so obviously baseless) is absolutely reprehensible."

  17. Curry's cards are clearly marked as denier given that she features in Marc Morano's latest attempt to promote his own brand of denial in an effort to undermine the Paris talks.

    “Who's featured in Climate Hustle?

    Pre-publicity material and blogposts suggest that among the climate sceptics and contrarians featured in the film will be Professor Judith Curry ...”


    1. Good! Then we know there will be no irresponsible advocacy in the movie. ;)

  18. Perhaps this laptop will let me comment here (sorry I'd appear more if I could figure this out).

    You accurately represent my much less expert experience. I was shocked, speaking as a maths-challenged layperson who struggles to keep up without being able to actually do the numbers myself. I was a regular at RealClimate when she showed up, and her spectacular avoidance of answering any technical questions while blaming the questioner seemed so obvious to me, it was hard to understand how she could pretend she was not misbehaving.

    The conversation then moved over the Kloor's Collide-a-Scape, where Gavin Schmidt continued polite and respectful and Judith Curry continued to evade and blame.

    It would be OK if this wasn't a matter of life and death, ultimately, big death of a lot of things, including the "freedoms" these guys are so attached to, since a breakdown of infrastructure and all the rest are not comfortable. I don't think even their guns will help them in the end.

    1. Aha, it worked. One more thing, I found this an invaluable resource, being like you infuriated by her support of Lamar Smith's disastrous effort to remove information from the public and replace it with fossil disinformation (easy to understand, given elections are funded with big corporate money, none bigger than big fossil).

  19. ATTP has a post on the Lamar witch-hunt which includes remarks on Judith's inconsistent attitude WRT such witch-hunts:

    Judith helps to politicise climate science and then complains about that politicisation. Didn't she learn in school that helping to set a fire and then shouting 'Fire! Fire! Fire!' is not a good way to behave.


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