What is “ad hominem”?

It’s this.

Perhaps someone should point this out to Anthony Watts. And the next time he accuses anyone else of ad hominem, perhaps he should be reminded.

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82 responses to “What is “ad hominem”?

  1. All credibility is lost in Watts’s first three words following the “Gail Combs” quote:

    “As a scientist, …”

    As far as is known, Watts has no college degree at all. My dog has as much right to call herself a scientist.

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      Those are actually Combs words.

      • Quiet Waters

        A search on ISI Web of Science reveals plenty of papers by Gerald Combs and a few by Gene Combs. A search on LinkedIn shows three medics/clinicians but no scientists going by that name. A search on Google Scholar is similarly barren of mentions of Gail Combs so one can sympathise with chrisd3’s confusion.

        Is Gail Combs a scientist? Or is s/he a pseudonym for an “anonymous coward” (Watts’ term)?

      • Ah. Never mind.

        Sort of.

  2. “Generally, these defenders are people that only look forward using model projections and pronouncements made by the IPCC, rather than look back at historical data and the propensity for nature to create such extremes, such as the nearly identical weather pattern that led to the 2010 Russian heatwave in which “climate change” was found blameless in a peer reviewed paper by NOAA.”

    How can he even say this, when all of the data supports a warming climate? Like the fact that this is the warmest year-to-date & 12-month period on record in the U.S., last summer was 2nd warmest, winter 4th warmest, spring warmest, etc. Even the climate skeptic approved UAH satellite temperature analysis shows near record warmth, which is even more impressive considering we’re just coming off a La Nina, whereas the warmer years we’re both coming off strong El Nino conditions. And I don’t even have to go back to the 1800s, when the climate was way different from today. Reliable Army Signal Corps records show this.

    • “Generally, these defenders are people that only look forward using model projections and pronouncements made by the IPCC, rather than look back at historical data”

      Nonsense. James Hansen’s order of importance in climatology goes:
      First) Paleoclimate
      Second) Observations
      Third) Models, and even then to mostly help investigate 1 and 2.

  3. With all due respect. It’s clear that “being noticed” has become wuwt’s end-in-itself. The less relivent their opinions on climate have become, the more outrageous the postings. It’s beyond embarrassing and, IMHO, should be ignored, if for no other reason than pitty.

  4. I’d lean more non sequitur than ad hominem, which would be attacking the people behind climate science rather than their arguments. In this case he’s primarily attacking science in general as there’s apparently been no actual fraud discovered in the history of climate science (I don’t know this, but I’m sure Watts would’ve cited it if it existed). This puts Watts’ fraud statistics in a different light–climate science is remarkably rigorous.

    Of course, the argument that the thousands of climate scientists who have collected and analyzed tons of independent data sets that say exactly the same thing are in league out of some overriding financial concern isn’t particularly strong given that the other side is motivated by the many trillions of dollars that’d shifted within the energy economy in the event of a real, global attempt climate change.

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      Yeah, if you follow retractionwatch, you’ll find that a remarkable number of the cases of out and out fraud, fabrication and plagiarism are occurring in biotech related fields. Not so much in climate science, with one notable (and septical) exception.

  5. By the conclusions of the poster most scientists are basically lazy and dishonest and therefore any facts produced cannot be fully trusted. By the same token, we’re somehow to believe the fake sceptical scientists for their exhibited non-peer-reviewed honesty. If that seems a bit shallow and contradictory to you, you’re not alone. With her illustration of integrity I can only imagine why she has been fired more then once.

  6. Hey…next time you link Watt’s site, please warn us to reach for some antiacids and pain killers as well as some Dramamine…”Most people commenting at WUWT have degrees in math and engineering…”…Exuse me…huh…and that means what exactly?????

    Thanks tamino, but noooo thanks…stiil nauseated!!!

    Damn youuuuuu……… :)

  7. Susan Anderson

    While I don’t care for clicking on WUWT, it appears from teh (sic) headline that it pretends a worldwide and continuing weather crisis does not exist. Very strange. I have to wonder how these guys can create a padded cell that is totally impervious to world news. For example, there was an interesting correlation between food prices, climate change, and the Arab Spring which is also characteristic. These guys appear to have no idea what is coming.

    I hope Doug Bostrom doesn’t mind if I quote a recent RC comment of his although my focus is on his vivid description of what is going on, not on his strictures (entirely correct) about loading on problems:

    it’s a dark and stormy night. The bus you’re riding has one broken headlight, is approaching a railroad grade crossing with broken signals. Some folks are standing next to the road almost invisible in the murk and rain, waving their arms, yelling “you probably won’t make it, stop the bus!” Unfortunately your driver is also drunk and myopic; some of the shouting bystanders have gotten too close to the bus and have already been run over.

    Fixing the broken headlight might help. Fixing the crossing signal might help. Screaming louder might help. Exaggerating the danger in the absence of supporting facts won’t help. Yelling to the bus driver that there might be a big dragon riding on top of the train that’s about to transect his bus won’t help his decision process or coordination.

    Let’s be clear that when the bus and its contents are are broken and spilled it won’t be the fault of bystanders next to the road who noticed the danger and pointed it out.

    I was tempted to leave out the stuff about exaggeration but wish to honor his correct stance on that as well.

    In addition, we might spend a bit less energy fine tuning our outrage with our friends and stick to trying to overcome the very real enemy.

    • “These guys appear to have no idea what is coming.”, the key word is ‘appear’. I’m currently of the opinion they do know what’s coming and want to make sure people who believe them will have it worse then, so they’d have some change to benefit from these gullible people then.

      Off Topic, I was surprised when the blog got a surge of visitors but this was explained pretty quickly for I found out who tweeted on it.

      • I can’t recommend this book strongly enough. Did you know it had been demonstrated in the 1958 peer reviewed literature that x-rays on pregnant women doubled (or tripled) the chance of childhood leukaemia? The practise in the US didn’t stop until the 1980s, and even later in the UK. Cognitive dissonance: even the medical establishment couldn’t accept that threshold theory was wrong when applied to feotuses, because that meant they’d been killing patients for decades.

        Now, take a bunch of politically and ideologically partisan bloggers, wingnut politicians, paid PR hacks and shills, fossil fuel executives, etc, and their followers, and tell them their actions over the past half century will cause much harm to the entire species this century, including their youngsters and their grandkids….

      • Gavin's Pussycat

        Actually LNT denial (“Linear, no treshold”, the consensus model for the dose-effect relationship based on the evidence) is having a revival — but among nuclear power apologists…
        I read this passage in Heffernan’s book thinking, will we ever learn. No, don’t answer that.

      • GP, the debate about LNT and threshold is larger than scientists vs. nuclear power enthusiasts. The problem is that the data at the very low range are sparse and noisy. There may also be differences between adults vs.our in utero selves, as JBowers points out. (My current work is in radiation-related public health.)

      • Gavin's Pussycat

        But don’t you agree that before believing there is a treshold, it should be shown that there is one?
        The difficulty of doing so is no excuse for substituting belief for evidence.

  8. And it’s a remarkably innumerate ad hominem at that. To convince us that we should ignore the well-documented fact that over 95% of climate scientists are convinced about the reality of globe warming, solely on the basis of the claim that scientists are dishonest, the post cites a meta-analysis that reports that in anonymous surveys, under 2% of scientists admit to having ever falsified or manipulated data, and that 86% are not even aware of another scientist having done it. Hmmm…how do you get from 2% to 95%?

    For me, one thing that has made science such a rewarding profession is that in my experience, scientists are overwhelmingly, scrupulously honest, to an extent that I think few other professions could match. But I could believe that 2% have done something improper. I certainly fall into the 14% who are aware of a case of misconduct. I once caught a junior researcher whom I was collaborating with on a paper exaggerating the number of replicates to make his numbers look more convincing. I’d invested hours of work into the paper, but fortunately I caught the problem before it was submitted (and now it never will be, because once I found that some data was fabricated, I couldn’t trust the rest). But I’ve probably collaborated in one way or another with over 50 scientists over the years, and also have renewed many papers, and this was the first case I’d encountered.

    • trll,

      As per usual, those in denial (i.e., Watts and the Pielke clan) have the logic backwards. It is far more likely that the 5% who willfully refuse to understand the seriousness of the situation will manipulate the data or analysis thereof to fit their agenda and ideology. How quickly they have forgotten about Wegman’s plagiarism. More examples:

      Lindzen’s horrendous recent talk in the UK (several examples of bad science and misrepresentations and distortions)
      Lindzen cherry picking data in LC09
      Spencer’s ever evolving and mysterious fitting of the UAH data
      Spencer’s appallingly bad paper that forced the resignation of the editor at Remote Sensing for letting it through
      Pielke Snr. repeatedly cherry picking start and end points and making sweeping (fallacious) statements based on nothing more than subjectively eyeing the data.
      Christy repeatedly engaging in the same antics as Pielke Snr..
      McIntyre cherry picking hockey sticks (but one of many examples)
      McKitrick repeatedly screwing up his analyses with the results that the results (not surprisingly) support his agenda.

      Feel free to add the many more examples readers

      But this is the game that the deniers play– to falsely accuse others of doing exactly what you are doing. Well, I call bullshit on that.

  9. Perhaps it is because of medieval examples of the author of this WUWT posting that the word bedlam entered the English language: http://tinyurl.com/74667ob

    … have I just made an ad hominem?

  10. Tamino,
    A request: Could you in the future quote an excerpt when referring to WTFUWT. I simply refuse to give Anthony “Micro” Watts any more clicks. The man is an idiot, pure and simple.

    • Susan Anderson

      Yes please. It’s all about the clicks. “Any publicity is good publicity”?

  11. I posted the following quote at WUWT … seemed to good not to post here too. No response there yet … not sure if in their heated state (pun intended) they’ll read it as actually in support of their rhetoric — it’s not!

    “Be careful. People like to be told what they already know. Remember that. They get uncomfortable when you tell them new things. New things…well, new things aren’t what they expect. They like to know that, say, a dog will bite a man. That is what dogs do. They don’t want to know that man bites a dog, because the world is not supposed to happen like that. In short, what people think they want is news, but what they really crave is olds…Not news but olds, telling people that what they think they already know is true.”

    Terry Pratchett through the character Lord Vetinari from his novel, “The Truth”

    • Bernard J.

      I remember, on reading that year ago, wondering if Pratchett was explicitly writing about global warming deniers.

      It applies to so much tabloid entertainment though, that it’s just as appropriate to note that Pratchett’s is a general social comment.

  12. I find it quite bizarre that after so long on the blogosphere, the What’s Up With That Watts website has failed to address the question fundamental to its existance – What is up with that Watts?

    It is an omission all the more strange because it is a very simple question to answer. Watts is a weatherman.
    It is a matter of record that everybody knows the weatherman lies.
    Not that weathermen ever admit to lying. Even when they are caught with their lies, they are simply unable to admit it and instead will deny being at fault, deny being there at all and will try to blame others for their own misdemeanours.
    Weathermen have been involved in serious criminal activities, including jail breaks and murder. And even within their own professional activities, weather forecasting, their false predictions of gales, flash flooding or drought are so dire that some have been told they could be imprisoned for up to ten years or fined up to £800,000 for their egregious transgressions.

    So when Watts attempts to malign the integrity of others, be they individuals or an entire profession, do remember – That Watts is a weatherman!

  13. It’s basic. The Dano definition:

    ad hom: you are wrong because you are an idiot.

    NOT ad hom: you are wrong because of x, y, z and BTW you are an idiot.



  14. Oh, brother. Now he has yet another post trying to minimize the current heat wave. Apparently, in Watts’ world, this heat wave is no big deal and the media should ignore it. The deliberate misrepresentation of data is a hallmark of the doubt manufacturers.

    Watts: “See here there were more record highs set in year X. And remember temperature data is erroneously warm now because of urbanization. In the old days, everything was all fine and dandy because we all lived in farms.”

    Umm, what? I’d be willing to bet the siting is much better today and that today’s fan aspirated temperature sensors are even more accurate than the sheltered thermometers used in the past. Heck, Anthony’s own data shows this. There were a lot of temperature readings taken in cities, often on rooftops, back then.

    Nevertheless, the data in the aggregate shows an unmistakable warming trend. Indeed, according to the NCDC, this is the warmest 12 month period on record. In addition, summer 2011 was 2nd warmest, winter 2011-2012 the fourth warmest, and spring 2012 the warmest of record. But this is all just made up fantasy to Anthony. I’ll tell you what! Mother Nature sure does have me fooled, just like it’s fooling the sea ice, the glaciers, the oceans, the world’s flora and fauna, etc.

  15. By this post, “Micro” Watts reveals that not only is he an idiot, he is also terribly irony impaired. I just love it when an anti-science food tube uses a computer or other amazing triumph of science to proclaim that science doesn’t work.

    With this post Watts graduates from climate denialist to full blown anti-science loon. His parent’s must be so proud.

  16. Horatio Algeranon

    “Watts gots Noughts”
    — by Horatio Algeranon

    We’ve heard the tale of Tony Watts
    Who started with weather channel spots

    Then moved to taking photo shots
    Of surface station parking lots
    Air conditioners and barbecue pots.

    He posted climate Rorschach blots
    And tied himself in contorted knots
    Trying to prove the science rots.

    But all Watts gots
    Is upward plots.

  17. Susan Anderson

    My Dad was talking about living in Urbana Illinois in the dust bowl era (pre air conditioning). However, now we’ve got the bit in our teeth and are ensuring we move on beyond those extremes, using machines to simultaneously provide relief and make the situation worse. Sounds like a perpetual disaster machine to me.

  18. Bernard J.

    My personal experience with the “Honesty” and “Integrity” of scientists is that it is rare, most will go along with the herd or with higher authority rather than stick their neck out.

    Apparently the ‘scientists’ which whom Gail Coombs personally associates are bereft of “Honesty” and “Integrity”. If such really is her “personal experience” then it would explain why her understanding of science is so far from the truth – she’s hanging out with the wrong crowd, and subscribing to their incorrect physics.

    It’s the only explanation that makes sense, because in my own personal experience with hundreds of scientific colleagues, only one or two in a hundred are dodgy (and yes, I personally blew the whistle on one), whilst the rest are dedicated to the highest intellectual rigour. And it is those 98-99% who understand and accept the fundamental science that underpins global warming.

    Note, this is not ad hominem, it is simply an observation of the scientific skills (or demonstrable lack thereof) of those whom Coombs follows.

  19. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/08/a-wave-of-heated-peer-pressure-results-in-shrinking-integrity/#comment-1027366

    The above link is the answer to the question: “How long will it take before somebody in the WUWT comment thread accuses scientists of making ad hominem arguments?”

  20. You think that Watts is ad-homing now, just wait till he sees the Bill Blakemore interview of Michael Mann that just went up on the ABC News web-site (5-part video plus full transcript).

    Link here (via climatesciencewatch.org): http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/2012/07/08/michael-mann-bill-blakemore-abc-news-interview-on-climate-change-and-the-global-warming-disinformation-campaign/

    Watts is going to go ape-s***!

  21. LazyTeenaget

    Perhaps someone should point this out to Anthony Watts. And the next time he accuses anyone else of ad hominem, perhaps he should be reminded.
    Anthony’s engineers and scientists don’t understand what ad hominem means and they don’t understand what troll means either.

    It also appears that if you naysay things once you are a drive by coward. If you naysay things more than once you are a troll.

    Seems the oldies have come to the Internet late and missed out on some of the culture and slang.

  22. Watts… who is he? If urbanization gives these supposed misreadings, then please explain to me how Rutgers reports a negative 6 million km square snow anomaly for June http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/png/monthlyanom/nhland06.png, or to give it the most urgent currency, the Northern Hemisphere for week 26 of the year has barely 0.51 million km^2 left of land snow cover [excluding Greenland]. All that misrepresented heat we generate in urban areas… yeah right.
    Rutgers select 5 year interval data for week 26

    Wkly km2 WK N.Hem EURASIA N.A. N.A.-No Gr Grnland
    1967 26 10560399 3992572 6567827 4571099 1996728
    1972 26 6630353 1413756 5216597 3099576 2117021
    1977 26 8331691 2849796 5481895 3484979 1996916
    1982 26 6082618 1571318 4511300 2354559 2156741
    1987 26 10172522 4240468 5932054 3775313 2156741
    1992 26 8533103 3174741 5358362 3201621 2156741
    1997 26 6564273 1915518 4648755 2492013 2156742
    2002 26 5430400 804948 4625453 2468711 2156742
    2007 26 4720064 648017 4072047 1915306 2156741
    2012 26 2548791 203455 2345336 311177 2034159

    That’s 8.5 million km^2 in 1967, and now < 0.51 million. The guy is a paid pathological xxxx, period.

    • Anthony doesn’t care about facts. If he did, he would accept the fact that it’s warming. Period. Even his argument about siting of temperature sensors is silly. I’d say it’s actually just as likely or more likely that the siting problems have led to a systematic cool bias of the temperature trend. It used to be standard to place the thermometers above the rooftops, and the sites themselves have gradually migrated from the city center out into the suburbs with time. There’s just a wealth of data besides the instrumental record in the U.S. that supports the basic observable fact that it’s warming. The temperatures of the Great Lakes, for instance, have been steadily rising over time (and the lake levels have generally been falling). Ice out dates on the Great Lakes and other lakes have been moving earlier and earlier in the spring. I mean I could keep reciting evidence to refute his silly arguments (and much of these could be sourced to official old Weather Bureau (now NWS) records available from NCDC).

      • It’s probably useful to remember again that those naughty thermometers were sited by meteorologists, such as those that Watts relied on for his weather reports, to report the temperatures at the places where they were sited. They were not sited by climatologists attempting to record global temperatures.

        However, a portion of those thermometer records were subsequently used to study warming over recent history, and the problems of urban siting recognised and accounted for long before Watts came along. <a href=" Menne et al 2010 proved this”>http://www.skepticalscience.com/on-the-reliability-of-the-us-surface-temperature-record.html, and at that point the canard about thermometer station siting should have died an ignominous death.

        That its zombie, and the Surface Stations project that animates it, survived not only that original rebuttal but the subsequent BEST analysis simply shows that WWWT really doesn’t care about the facts. Really. Period. Full-stop. End of sentence. Don’t mention the war (and yes, they think that they’re getting away with it…)

      • Poop. I think that my point is clear!

      • One of the persistent themes–and ironies–in the climate ‘debate’ is denialists/contrarians/faux skeptics thinking that they’ve Discovered That The Emperor Has No Clothes–that some new, brilliant insight has come to them. The irony generally comes in when it’s found that what they’ve really found is the thousandth iteration of the scientific version of RTFM: “Read The Effing Literature.”

        In other words, they didn’t do a proper literature search, and their brilliant insight was already fully considered and well-accounted for several decades earlier. In the case of UHI, compensatory measures for the effect were undertaken long before it received its modern name. Actually, they were deployed the very first time someone compiled an assemblage of temperature time series for the purpose of investigating whether the globe was in fact warming. That “someone” was Guy Callendar, and the year was 1938:


        If you’re looking for someone who to get the ‘Galileo award’ in climate science (for which deniers are always nominating some schlub like Beck), Callendar would certainly be a worthy candidate. He may have lacked the obvious eclat of a Tyndall or an Arrhenius, but he was original, extremely painstaking and thorough, and an amazing synthesist. Also, the task he undertook was arguably harder: Tyndall and Arrhenius broke new ground, but Callendar (to continue the metaphor) took science by hand and dragged it back to their then-abandoned ground, eventually convincing everyone–well, almost everyone–that the seedsTyndall and Arrhenius had sown were not weeds, but potentially extremely productive and valuable organisms indeed.

        [/metaphor-- ;-) ]

        His first paper on AGW:


      • Sorry for the editorial fails in that comment; but at least the sense is unimpaired, though the grammar took a couple of nasty hits.

      • Kevin: that’s a depressingly common delusion. friends in the business tell me one of the joys of working for a journal is dealing with the green ink brigade claiming to have disproved QM/relativity (general, special or both at the same time)/thermodynamics/gravitation/your pick of cosmology/in fact, your pick of any moderately high-profile topic.

        see also http://xkcd.com/675/ and (topical!) any article on the Higgs boson, especially those published in the last week or so.

    • Susan Anderson

      Yes, that is excellent in a sad way … but that’s what real news is these days, rather tragic and needing a good does of humor to assimilate.

  23. Watts’s habit is to give himself an pass on bad behavior by quoting someone else to do his dirty work, and, when pushed to explain why, simply says it’s “interesting” or a “topic of discussion.”. In this case he uses “scientist” Gail Combs — who has been posting at his site for a long time but never done a shred of research AFIAK– to essential make the conspiracy theory case that all these climate scientists are frauds. We can bet Watts will never demand an apology (or even evidence) over that assertion, but say one bad word (“denier,” anyone?) about him or his buddies and he’ll turn the venom machine on full force.

  24. I am afraid I am probably responsible for setting the spark that resulted in the Watts flame.

    To start with, I am an engineer with extensive experience working on energy projects, energy technologies, and energy policies. I am interested in what I call “triggering events” that might result in a major shift in support toward different energy policies. I was looking for emerging scientific theories that might tie extreme weather events to recent changes in climate change, and in particular the Arctic ice pack melt-off. The Arctic ice pack loss is an observable event; even the WUWT crowd is now predicting ice extent will fall below 4.5 million sq km this year. This loss could impact weather patterns. The WUWT guys don’t even need to agree that AGW caused the melt, to understand that the loss of ice pack and resulting observable higher SLP trends in the Arctic could alter jet stream behavior and change NH weather patterns.

    Over the weekend, AW put up a post “the folly of blaming the eastern-US heat wave on global-warming” that I had been waiting for. I began posting comments on the post, starting with this comment:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/07/the-folly-of-blaming-the-eastern-u-s-heat-wave-on-global-warming/#comment-1026693 linking to the Asymmetric Seasonal Temperature Trends paper by Judah Cohen et. al.

    Then I put up a comment linking to work of Dr. Jennifer Francis, and her youtube video entitled “Does Arctic Amplification Fuel Extreme Weather in mid-Latitudes?”

    Well the discussion turned to attacks on meteorologists as well as climate scientists, then I put up comments by agronomists and arborists, and before you know it Gail Coombs put up her comment, and AW took the comment and ran with it.

    The discussion thread on that post is probably worth reading to actually see how this evolved from criticizing the Union of Concerned Scientists when I linked to sites showing global warming impacts on each US state temps, with the discussion escalating eventually to attacks on all scientists.

    BTW, my real name is Paul Klemencic, and I post on WUWT using the handle Paul K2 (there is already a well know denier who uses Paul K). On this site I use my yahoo handle zinfan94.
    Anthony and the moderators went after me immediately as you can read from the inline comments. I have never used my real name on WUWT because quite frankly, the site attracts a fairly contentious and unpredictable crowd. AW likes to use the personal info from registration info to reveal the person’s real name…

    Today, I have a WUWT hangover, having spent too much time on the site this weekend.

    Paul Klemencic

    • Paul: Well the discussion turned to attacks on meteorologists as well as climate scientists, then I put up comments by agronomists and arborists…

      And oceanographers, various specialized geophysicists– the list continues to grow.

      Watts and Crew are building in their imaginations an ever-expanding pool of “dirty rotten corrupt climate scientists”; the boundlessly elastic definition of “climate scientist” includes any researcher in any field who is so unfortunate as to publish a result confirming the mess we’re making. If incidental curiosity or job requirements lead to the “wrong conclusion” one can expect to be promptly smeared with the tarry brush of aspersion and innuendo.

      “Strictly by coincidence they’re all liars.” How likely is that?

      Robert Grumbine has a post up with some points that ought to be included in daily prayers so as to keep our worldly feet firmly connected to grounded reality: Logical Fallacies and the Scientific Method

      Watts would do well to post Grumbine’s piece and demand a quiet day of reflection from his followers. They seem too oblivious to suffer from humiliation but trying on the methods Grumbine describes might yet save them and the rest of us at least a modicum of further radioactively destructive self-abasement.

    • Since questions are coming up elsewhere, I cut and pasted some of the content of my WUWT comments here (hopefully tamino doesn’t mind). Please remember these are my interpretations (except for AW’s inline response), not that of our host.

      One of my comments posted on WUWT:
      Its peculiar that so many readers here seem to deny that much of the middle part of the US mainland has had some extremely hot weather recently. Most people who live there seem to be asking “What’s UP with this extremely hot weather?” and “When will it end?”

      Well, what’s up might be that we have changed the meteorological system. I am happy to see that WUWT has finally recognized that the Arctic ice pack is melting off severely every summer, including this summer (WUWT expects ice extent to fall below 4.5 million sq km this year). This is a nice baby step in the correct direction.

      Now lets try a bigger step. NH weather systems are driven by the jet stream. The jet stream is driven by the pressure differential between the arctic and the mid-latitudes. Now what happens when the Arctic isn’t as cool, and the pressure of the Arctic mid-troposphere rises?
      The pressure differential changes, and the jet stream slows, which means that it is more susceptible to blocking patterns. In short, Arctic amplification warms the arctic, which changes the jet stream and changes weather patterns in the NH.

      Here is a nice video by Dr. Jennifer Francis, a meteorologist from Rutgers, explaining how this happens:

      So yes, the climate scientists predict climate changes. And now the meteorologists are predicting weather pattern shifts base on observed climatic changes, such as the loss of the Arctic ice pack and reduced snow cover.
      My friends and family are sorry to hear, that these kinds of heat waves are here to stay, and with more on the way in the coming years.

      Another of my comments responding to comments complaining that I am talking about weather, not climate:

      I think climatology is the study of long term climate trends, and meteorology is the study of weather patterns. The two fields intersect when persistent weather pattern changes occur year after year, or when meteorologists link observed climate change impacts (like reduced Arctic ice pack) to weather pattern changes ( such as NH heat waves, droughts, floods, snowstorms, and cold spells). Eventually some climate changes can impact weather patterns.

      Up until recently, the main mechanism for estimating AGW impacts on weather, was the “loaded dice” analogy. Higher average temperatures increase the odds of extreme high temperature events, or higher moisture levels in the atmosphere should result in more extreme precipitation events.

      But the climate scientists underestimated the impact of AGW on the polar regions. The Arctic ice pack, and snow coverage, have fallen much faster than the climate scientists expected. This appears to be due to increased teleconnection of heat into the Arctic, and the fact that the melt mechanism of the Arctic ice pack speeds up as the pack is weakened.
      So now some meteorologists are tying reduced ice pack and snow cover in the Arctic (warmer Arctic) to jet stream changes, which in turn can cause extreme weather events. In summary, because we delayed action to address AGW, we may have altered the meteorology of the NH (we ‘broke’ our weather system). This theory is gaining weight as more and more researchers publish.

      My comments re: Asymmetric Seasonal Temperature Trends:

      Yet, much of the NH mid-latitude land areas are rising at a rate of over one deg F (over 0.6 deg C) per decade. See Figure 3 of the 2012 GRL paper by Judah Cohen. Draft here:

      By 2100, most (over 70%) of the summer days in the Midwest will exceed 90 deg F, unless we reduce AGW.
      Extreme hot weather similar to the last week’s excessive heat wave will occur every other summer week in the future!

      One picture is worth a thousand words… Especially when it tells the story of how AGW is going to hit our states hard with extreme hot weather. This is the report for Pennsylvania (my home state getting hit hard by AGW) by the Union of Concerned Scientists:
      See Figure 1 showing the state’s temperatures before 1990, compared to the state temperatures by the end of this century. More heat waves are coming…

      REPLY: The Union of Concerned Scientists? An NGO turned fearmongering moneymaker that requires only a credit card to be a member with no qualifiactions whatsoever? THATS’s your evidence? GUFFAW, ROTFL! Sure, whatever you say. Kenji says otherwise. – Anthony

      Anthony, have you bothered to read the Cohen (2012) paper I linked to that was published in the GRL entitled “Asymmetric seasonal temperature trends”? There is much there you might like; but most of the analysis contradicts your conjectures in this post.
      Here is the Abstract for your perusal:

      Current consensus on global climate change predicts warming trends driven by anthropogenic forcing, with maximum temperature changes projected in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) high latitudes during winter. Yet, global temperature trends show little warming over the most recent decade or so. For longer time periods appropriate to the assessment of trends, however, global temperatures have experienced significant warming for all seasons except winter, when cooling trends exist instead across large stretches of eastern North America and northern Eurasia. Hence, the most recent lapse in global warming is a seasonal phenomenon, prevalent only in boreal winter.
Additionally, we show that the largest regional contributor to global temperature trends over the past two decades is land surface temperature in the NH extratropics. Therefore, proposed mechanisms explaining the fluctuations in global annual temperature trends should address this apparent seasonal asymmetry.

      Comment responding to complaints that models were used to construct the Cohen et.al. figures:

      Actually Figures 1, 2, and 3 are all based on collected data on seasonal temperature anomalies. Figure 4 compares observed NH seasonal temperatures with model output (interestingly, only the NH winter temperature trend fell below the model trend band).
      The supplemental figures contain some additional model output, and very interestingly, Figure S4. shows the comparison between observed trends in Arctic sea level pressure versus the model forecasts for the boreal winter. The Arctic SLP is climbing in the northernmost latitudes, whereas the models predicted falling SLP.

      Yes, indeed, something is going dreadfully wrong in the Arctic.

  25. Oh, BTW, I am afraid you were also caught in the crossfire there; the WUWT crowd likes to refer to you as tamina, and suggesting that a post here should be viewed, got me a lot of derision.

    Most of my comments survived, but one comment was snipped in entirety, where I suggested that AW and the WUWT could have spent less time questioning the accuracy of thermometers, and more time plotting seasonal temperature trends. I really tried to stick to the science, and interesting lines of scientific questioning.

    • Wow, every time I go look at WUWT (about six times a year, I’d guess), the level of stupidy has risen.

      Your patience (and that of maybe 1/2 dozen others) is admirable.

    • “Tamina”–That won’t help their sophistication quotient any.

      “Machoor!” as we used to say.

  26. Listen. Willard Anthony Watts is a consultant to the Butte County Republican Party, and a speaker at the 2009 Heritage Institute climate conference. The man is paid to do what he does–lie about climate. He doesn’t give a damn what the truth is.

  27. I just added the following comment to the WUWUT post. Perhaps the crowd there has moved to newer posts, but perhaps my comment will draw a reaction.

    “My experience in basic research is pretty much the opposite of Gail’s. Scientists are much more honest that other groups (especially businessmen and politicians) because their careers and jobs depend on honesty. Many of my best publications report results different from expection and contrary to the main theory at the time. Perhaps it is different in applied science such as pharmacueticals and other areas where employers pressure scientists for favorable results. On the other hand, scientists in basic research have every incentive to overcome prevailing theory–that’s how one makes a reputation. So, I completely disagree with the premise that scientists in a field such as climate science have incentives to be dishonest. The reality is qute the opposite.

    • …(especially businessmen and politicians)…

      You could probably usefully add tabloid journalists to that list.

    • Horatio Algeranon

      There is no doubt that there is intense pressure on scientists who work for large corporations to toe the corporate (profitable) line: “smoking is safe”, “the drug is safe”, “the food is safe”, “the pesticide is safe”, “the car is safe”, “the plane is safe”, “the emissions are safe”, “the drone is safe” (to civilians).

      In such an environment, the honest scientist who is in a position of making safety decisions that negatively affect the company’s bottom line is at a distinct disadvantage over one who is willing to sign off on questionable practices or simply look the other way.

      The situation is not unique to scientists, of course. In the corporate world, those who point out unethical and/or outright fraudulent business practices are all too often either shown the door or moved to a position where they can’t “cause problems”.

      Bank fraud investigator William Black has studied this phenomenon in great detail — based largely on his experiences with the S&L scandal — and calls such corporate behavior “Control fraud” in which the honest folks are effectively pushed out of the picture so that those at the top can perpetuate the fraud.

      It is indeed unfortunate that anyone (including scientists who tend to have very high ethical standards with regard to truth, especially in their own research) would find him or herself in the situation where they have to decide between their integrity and their job.

      But there is no doubt that it happens and probably not all that infrequently (even with regulations, which are absolutely necessary if one does not the wish the phenomenon to become the norm)

      That is not an excuse to paint all scientists with the same broad “dishonest” brush, but it at least explains where folks like Gail Combs may be coming from.

  28. RetractionWatch on June 11, 2012, mentions a Journal of Climate paper that was placed on hold, for reanalysis (with expected re-submission by the end of July). And sums up the recent history:

    “The authors of a study of Australasian temperature over the past millenium have put the print publication of an online-first study on hold after errors were identified in the records they used.”…

    “Despite the often contentious debates that erupt over climate change science we’ve seen only one other retraction in the field since we launched in August 2010, when Edward Wegman was forced to retract a paper for plagiarism”

    What is “ad hominem”? Whatever, isn’t what Watts’ WUWT’s doing here even lower …not just saying that climate scientists are x,y, and z; but offering as false proof the failings of scientists in another field (bio-medical).

    • …but offering as false proof the failings of scientists in another field…

      Not “to the person” but “to anybody?”

      Three years of latin forty years ago fails to penetrate tangled synapses and layers of plaque. Ablative? Dative? A monkish latin-english translator suggests “ut quislibet.”

    • There actually has been another retraction, one due to error. It was a sea level rise paper in which the authors made some mistakes that were pointed out by Rahmstorff and Vermeer, IIRC.

    • You’re right, but that has been their approach for a long time. “Because scientist X came up with a result we don’t like, and scientist Y is alleged to have done something improper, scientist X must have done something proper.” The complete absence of connection between X and Y, not least that they’re in entirely unrelated fields, is no barrier. Nor is the fact that there’s no evidence at all that X has actually done anything incorrect. Beyond, that is, the fact that WUWT didn’t like the conclusion X reached.

      On the converse, however, there’s no amount of evidence that will persuade them that someone who reached a conclusion they like is wrong. Including (not necessarily WUWT, I don’t read there often, but I’ve seen it elsewhere and by, I think, some of the same names) that after the person they’re quoting acknowledges that what he said was wrong, they still won’t stop quoting it.

      In both veins, I’ll advertise a little my post from yesterday — http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2012/07/logical-fallacies-and-scientific-method.html

  29. Rattus Norvegicus

    And Watts strikes again, this time for David Karoly wearing a shirt with a famous lyric from a Dylan song, which also provided inspiration for the name of “The Weather Underground” (which coincidentally provided inspiration for the punny name of a well known weather site). There is no depravity to which these people will not sink.


    • John Brookes says:
      July 11, 2012 at 4:05 am

      Is there some reason why Steve McIntyre can’t both spot errors and promulgate misinformation?

      REPLY: Is there some reason why Karoly thanks a person for their scientific expertise, then claims they have none? – Anthony

      I’m curious… where in his letter to McIntyre did David Karoly thank him for his “scientific expertise”?

      Or could it be that Anthony Watts is once again being loose with the truth?

      • BTW, I tried to back up this WWWT thread, but BackupURL is down, and Webcite was blocked by my protection because it’s hosting ‘Blackhole Exploit Kit’.

        Is there a disturbance in the Force?

      • I just saved it offline for posterity; no problemo’s.

    • Will we see Roger Pielke Sr complain about Watts’ professional discourtesy?

      Tune in next week for another episode of “when hell freezes over, then perhaps”.

    • i liked this comment:

      “What have “scientists” given us?… The atomic bomb; penicillin by a complete accident in the lab and not much else. Merely a few refinements to lay inventors ideas. I would suggest by the historical record that other than the ability to pontificate about pointless “discoveries” like the Higgs boson, scientists are pretty much an expensive waste of space.” http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/11/david-karoly-leader-of-the-climate-underground/#comment-1029765

      yeah, what has science ever done for us?

      • On the plus side, by becoming so blatantly antiscience, these guys will find themselves with the same level of respect as creationists in a few years. I only hope it is because people stop respecting them rather than starting to respect the creationists.

      • Robert Murphy

        Reminds me of Ben Stein (who thinks that global warming is false because “only God controls the weather”) saying that science leads to death camps:

        “When we just saw that man, I think it was Mr. Myers [biologist P.Z. Myers], talking about how great scientists were, I was thinking to myself the last time any of my relatives saw scientists telling them what to do they were telling them to go to the showers to get gassed … that was horrifying beyond words, and that’s where science – in my opinion, this is just an opinion – that’s where science leads you…Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place, and science leads you to killing people.”

        That doesn’t stop them from simultaneously trying to put a scientific veneer on their own claims when it suits them, but it is telling of their real feelings.

      • Gavin's Pussycat

        The atomic bomb worked. Even produced roughly the yield that scientists promised. What did Watts ever produce that actually worked?

      • ” I was thinking to myself the last time any of my relatives saw scientists telling them what to do they were telling them to go to the showers to get gassed”

        Stein’s an idiot. I’m sorry, but he is. There were not scientists telling anyone to go into the gas chambers. There were soldiers, bureaucrats, and one evil medical doctor. Mengele may have thought he was a scientist, but to say that because of that, all scientists are like Mengele, is a fallacy of composition of epic proportions.

  30. I note that a few days before the WUWT post that prompted this post at Open Mind, Watts did a critique of a Chris Mooney post at DeSmogBlog. Over half the words written by Watts constituted an ad hominem attack of inane insults. And the rest of it was also well garnished with insulting assertions.
    Chris “the Kid” Mooney discusses it here.

  31. Wow, Anthony posted an awful ad hominem attack today in his “Friday Funny.” Suffice it to say, it’s not very funny.

  32. Rattus Norvegicus

    And once again Tony shows that he doesn’t know what an ad hom is:


    In this case attacking a regular poster around here (and other places) for being a goth (at least I think that is what this is called, or he might be a fan of Insane Clown Posse). This is about the most basic form of attack — an attack because of their appearance.

    • Susan Anderson

      Wow. Politeness does seem to be a one-way street, or at least a superhighway compared to a narrow trail. Death and torture threats and all sorts of milder verbal abuse for climate scientists, as well as dishonesty and misconstruction, and legal attacks on the best climate scientists, the slightest deviation from extreme courtesy expected from the scientists toward their amateur magic thinking politics and profit the other way.

      Also, we have another naming of somebody with a screen name. Not polite at all. I assume the dress up was for a reason, halloween or some such.

    • Rattus.

      That effort at WWWT is indeed a cesspit of blatant ad hominem nonsense, even though numerous coliforms there try to rationalise it otherwise.

      The real punchline though is that Watts’ aim is waaayyy off the mark, and he’s apparently fingered the wrong person:


      It’s one thing to throw it, and another to completely smear oneself with it.

      • Oh, and I really hope that one or more of them apparates here to accuse me of ad hominem

  33. I posted what I thought was a reasonable comment pointing out to Anthony that expecting somebody to visit his blog to correct or confirm Anthony’s guesses about that person’s identity was a little uneven.

    However, I have now come to the conclusion that visiting WUWT, even just to gape at the spectacle of the stupidity on display is just adding to the click count and so I shan’t indulge again. It’s a bit like watching Police, Camera, Action on the telly, entertaining but for all the wrong reasons.