Bob Carter Does his Business

A certain blogger decided to inform us all that Bob Carter does the Business, referring to the this presentation to the Sydney Mining Club. Others have praised Carter’s presentation at the Heartland conference. There’s a lot of similarity between two presentations. And what, you wonder, does Bob Carter have to say about global warming?

For one thing, Carter goes to some length to claim that the surface temperature record (according to institutions like NASA GISS) is unreliable. In fact he implies that it’s downright useless. Yet he also states that the satellite record is reliable (and he uses the version from UAH). Which makes me wonder — if the satellite record is so reliable but the surface record is so useless, why do they agree so closely?

One also wonders — why is it that when the influence of exogenous factors (like el Nino, volcanic eruptions, the solar cycle) is accounted for, the match is even better, not just between NASA GISS and UAH satellite data, but among all five best-known global temperature data sets?

It looks like Carter’s characterization of the surface temperature record is just fake criticism from a fake skeptic.

Carter also repeats his common claim that we’ve seen cooling over the last decade. Which makes me wonder — has he actually looked at the data? Because both the surface temperature record from NASA GISS and the satellite data from UAH show positive trend rates up to the present for all start years from 1990 through 2004 — no matter how you define “the last decade,” it hasn’t shown global cooling; Carter’s claim is a fake trend from a fake skeptic.

Carter makes much of the satellite record, taking advantage of the fact that when he gave his presentation to the Sydney Mining Club the most recent data point was March 2011, a low point due to the la Nina:

He doesn’t just focus on that one point. He focuses on three:

Two can play at that game — I can pick three points too:

I’ve got to credit Carter for his ability to plumb the depths of fakery — it’s hard to imagine a more fake portrayal of the data than Carter’s 3 dots. All he has shown is that because the data show noise in addition to trend, it’s easy to find an extra-high point early and an extra-low point late, put big red dots on them, and imply that there’s been no real change. It’s called “cherry picking,” and it’s yet another fake trend from a fake skeptic. We should pity those who lap it up, because being an idiot is not enough to make you to fall for this — you have to be a complete idiot.

Carter does pay lip service to the idea of a trend. But he disdains the trend for the entire data set — in fact he seems to disdain trends altogether — instead showing these two straight lines, one ending at 1997, the other beginning at 1999:

He then tells a fable about the 1998 el Nino causing some kind of “shift” in the fundamental state of the climate system, after which it “settled in” to a different basic temperature level. There’s a name for his kind of theory.

More to the point, the two lines he draws aren’t trend lines. He just drew two flat lines to give the impression of no change. There’s a name for that too.

Here are actual trend lines up to 1997, and after 1999:

Incidentally that post-1999 trend line is even steeper than the trend line through the entire data set:

In case you suspect that the reason for the uptrend since 1999 is that I’ve included data after March 2011, I’ll add the trend line using just data from 1999 through March 2011 (in blue):

Carter’s flat lines are nothing but fake lines from a fake skeptic.

Having insulted the surface temperature record and tormented the satellite data, Carter moves on to the radiosonde record from HadAT2. But he didn’t bother to go get the data. Instead he shows this graph, which leaves out the last 9 years:

It’s a reproduction of this graph from Thorne et al. (2005, JGR, 110, D18105):

This data set is for the 500 hPa level of the atmosphere (about 5.5 km altitude). Carter again plays with dots to imply there’s been no warming, starting with two dots in his Sydney Mining Club presentation:

In his heartland presentation he used three dots, and claimed that there’s been no global warming for 52 years, since 1958.

I can play with dots too. I can also go get the actual data:

I can even play with smoothing functions and show how fake Carter’s claim of “no global warming for 52 years” is:

The most surprising thing about Bob Carter’s presentations, both at the Sydney Mining Club and at the Heartland conference, is that his chicanery is so amateurish. He’s so transparent that you really have to bury your head in the sand (or perhaps somewhere else) not to see right through it.

120 responses to “Bob Carter Does his Business

  1. Broken link for third from last graph.
    >>>> starting with two dots in his Sydney Mining Club presentation:

  2. Ya know, perhaps it would be worthwhile taking a look at the presentations made to get funding for or sell stock in actual mining operations.

    Do you suppose they would reveal similar misstatements, equally invisible to the mining industry people?

    Or do they _know_ he’s lying and not care in this context, but recognize lies and avoid being taken advantage of when they’re actually doing business deals?

  3. W Scott Lincoln

    Unfortunately, some people have their heads buried so far into the sand, or other places, that they really do eat this stuff right up. Even people you would expect to be smart people, like degreed scientists working at the NWS.

  4. These guys, Carter, Monkton, Plimer etc seem to be filling a niche market, giving confidence to the corporate/mining world that there is some sort of credibility in actively blocking/doing nothing to lower CO2 emissions.
    For so long the Fossil fuel industry has been very powerful and the old adage of ‘ultimate power corrupts ultimately’ has come to fruition, leading to the blatant corruption of Science to support their position. They wouldn’t care if Carter etc said that Canaries crapping candle sticks causes Global warming, or not, as the case may be, just as long as it means they don’t have to change.

  5. Hmm, there’s been ‘no warming for 52 years’ and ‘cooling for the last decade?’

    Sounds like an update to my article on “When Did Global Warming Stop” is in order. I didn’t think the Babel of claims of ‘global warming cessation’ could get any more ridiculous, but perhaps I was wrong about that!

  6. Bob’s been lying along the same lines for a very long time. Two years ago he was claiming that “since 1940 the earth has warmed for nineteen years and cooled for forty-nine, the overall result being that global average temperature is now about the same as it was in 1940” (discussed here). He has an amazing ability to lie without shame.

  7. Tanimo
    Thanks for the link to my blog,
    However I think that you misrepresent what Carter is saying about the temperature record.
    While it is fair enough to accept that modern data collection is orders of magnitude more accurate and wide-ranging than the thermometer records of climate you can’t escape the fact thermometer records are only as good as those recording the information and they are only valid for the relatively small number of places where they have been taken, Go back further before thermometers and the climate data gets less reliable again. which then means that we have to rely on proxies and anecdotal reports that are orders of magnitude less accurate again than the sparse thermometers.

    • Timothy (likes zebras)

      Mr Hall, you present an argument that sounds reasonable. What tamino did is apply a method common in science of testing reasonable sounding arguments by looking at the data – see the first two plots in this post.

      What those plots show is that, despite all the sampling and measurement problems that exist with using temperature observations made by thermometers at points on the Earth’s surface, there is remarkably close agreement with very different measurements made by the satellites.

      What this means is that the data contradicts your argument, to the extent that it does not support your conclusion that “they are only valid for the relatively small number of places where they have been taken”.

      Do you accept the comparison that tamino has made?

    • Iain Hall claims he thinks that Tamino “misrepresent[s] what Carter is saying about the temperature record.”

      Really? On what basis? Do you really consider that Bob Carter’s ‘analysis’ of the UAH temperature record was correct?

      When Bob Carter stated in his address with respect to the UAH record, (Slide 6 of the address you posted on your Sandpit blog) that:

      1. “I am going to make a statement as a scientist about temperature” … “I am going to say is that the temperature in 2011 is the same as the temperature in 1996, is the same as the temperature in 1979. There has been no warming since 1979.”
      2. “There was no temperature increase from 1979 to 1995” and
      “there was no change between … 1999 through to today”

      In what way does Tamino ‘misrepresent’ the blatant dishonesty of those statements?

      You see, you don’t continue to explain why you think that that is a misrepresentation: you simply go on to try to make out that the temperature data becomes less reliable the further back in time we go. In so doing, it seems to me, you are attempting to do two things: firstly, to change the subject entirely and secondly, to imply that the temperature record that Bob Carter was falsely representing was so inaccurate that it doesn’t really matter.

      Change the subject. Imply that the data is too inaccurate to bother. The classic response of someone who doesn’t have clue.

    • I clicked on this bloke’s website – Dueling Banjos music should be playing to complete the Deliverance theme.

      Deep deep North…where men are men and the roos are nervous!

      • As a bluegrass guitarist, I have to protest this ceaseless discrimination against banj’r players. Granted, they can only count to 5, but are you altogether certain you could master using the Keith/Scruggs tuner at hoedown speeds?

    • Seriously – before you engage with this one – read this:

      • Is that the same Iain Hall who derided demonstrators for a missing possessive apostrophe, thereby implying some vague linkage to the quality of their logic or their political bent or something, but in the very same post made multiple grammatical errors including … misuse of the apostrophe?

        And that was before people started analysing his “logic”.

      • Hahahahahahahaha! Good grief, the things people spend their one and only life doing. I see a closet full of plaid polyester leisure suits.

    • Kevin Stanley

      Iain Hall,
      You repeatedly use the term “orders of magnitude” to characterize the differences in uncertainty between various ways of measuring temperature, but without numbers (and preferably references that support the validity of your numbers), that really doesn’t mean much.

      The difference between .001 inches and .1 inches can be characterized that way, and the difference between one mile and 1000 miles can be characterized that way. But the difference in distance in the first case is minute as compared to the second.

      So, if your argument is that proxy records are *inadequate* to make useful conclusions about the pre-measurement climate record, back that up with some calculations that show why the published literature is wrong in the way error is constrained. If your argument is that thermometer records are *inadequate* to draw the conclusions seen in the literature, again…show why you think so, using a level of rigor accounts for the existing published science.

      And, as another commenter has already said regarding the surface instrument record and the satellite instrument record, you would also need to explain why these different records are useless for drawing conclusions in spite of the fact that when they overlap, they are in good agreement.

      Until you add some actual analysis to your words, they boil down to a vague statement that the conclusions of scientific research are somewhat counter-intuitive to you. And so what? The idea that a photon acts like a particle when there’s one slit in a barrier and like a wave when there are two slits seems counter-intuitive to me. Did I just overturn that area of physics?

    • Iain Hall,
      Well, fortunately, the planet is oversampled as far as the numbers of stations to get good global trends–and it is so going back to the beginning of the previous century. What you apparently fail to understand–and what predators like Carter count on–is that data need be only sufficient to establish the physics. They more than exceed that standard.

    • Iain Hall,

      Why are you completely ignoring the point of Tamino’s post and trying to change the subject? Are Bob Carter’s trend lines on the UAH record valid or not? If you think so, perhaps you could explain why? Otherwise, why are you here?

    • Hi Iain,

      Are you aware to the fact that global or hemispheric temp series do take into account the amount and distribution of weather stations? And that is reflected into the uncertainty ranges? And that different institutions, using different methods, reach similar results? (including sattellites for that matter?)

      Can you please ellaborate on the argument that “we have to rely on proxies”? Are you implying that they are useless? Are you aware of the vast literature that studies (and backs up) the correlation of all those physical, measureble parameters and temperature? Do you think it would be necessary to get to know it better before dismissing it?

  8. Daniel Bengtsson

    I’ll just write a few words about the second slide of the presentation. It’s a slide you didn’t mention titled “CONTEXT – is the late 20th C temperature unusual?”.

    A “skeptic” friend sent me that slide some years ago and I ended up writing the researcher behind the results, Alan Mix. This is what he had to say about Carters use of the results:

    “Reasonable people can have a variety of opinions about climate change, but I can not see how this figure is at all relevant to the issue of current climate change. […] [Bob] is a smart and reasonable person, but I disagree with his conclusions in this case, and in particular the use of my data to make those conclusions.”

    “Of course there has been climate change in the past — natural variability is real. But that doesn’t say anything about whether or not there is anthropogenic climate change (now and in the future) or what its impacts will be. That plot had data points every 4-5 thousand years, over about 5 million years. The point on the right side of the figure, called ‘modern’ [actually says NOW] is only modern in the context of the sample interval and resolution of the study; it probably approximates the past 4-8 thousand years, effectively post-glacial time (i.e., the Holocene). But that also is probably irrelevant to the argument.”

    “The issue is not that there was or was not climate change in the past. It is about the RATE of climate change, which in the modern situation is happening on decade to century scales.”

    Carter’s NOW apparently stretches over the Iron age, through Jesus’ life and towards the industrial era – but this is all old news, I know.

  9. Mr. Hall,

    Do you understand the concept of “sampling?” Do you understand why it’s valid?

    Please read through an introductory statistics book and work the problems.

  10. I like the way Carter uses those fat red circles on his graphs.

    It’s like a visual in-joke. They’re cherries.

  11. Robert Murphy

    I’ve seen the graph with the two flat lines on either side of ’98 before, here:
    Now *that* is a website that will melt your brain. It claims that *all* of the warming of the last 30 years occurred in ’98. I wonder if Carter nicked it from this site.

    • That claim has appeared at Greenfyre’s too. This “step function” “disproves” GHG warming which requires a gradual rise, apparently.

      • Yeah the “step” argument is weak. If you lay a staircase flat on the ground, you will see an oscillation between peaks and valleys. If you incline it to 45 degrees, you will see… steps!

    • Yeah, I’ve ‘received’ this claim in the form of a verbal description from a frequent antagonist. (That guy is so dense he thinks that any warming that occurs below the baseline doesn’t count–even though he says he knows that baselines are essentially arbitrary.)

      To debunk the ‘flat lines’ meme I ran the periods in question on woodfortrees–only to be told that linear trend lines weren’t accurate, like moving averages are. Dr. Spencer, you see, only uses moving averages. . .

      Oops, should I have issued a beverage/keyboard alert?

  12. Wow, Iain Hall still has his head on his shoulders. That must’ve been a very relaxing weekend, Mr T. :)

  13. I believe the flat lines in Carter’s graph are perhaps meant to represent the cerebral activity of his audience members.

  14. UAH temperatures have gone straight up over the past month and are already matching the record levels set in 2010. 2012 looks like it is going to be very hot, just like Hansen predicted.

    • Channnel 5 shows July 2011 breaking thru July 2010. I don’t know if that will hold or not.

      But it looks to me like the strong La Nina pop has totally pooped out.

  15. Tamino. You wrote:
    “We should pity those who lap it up, because being an idiot is not enough to make you to fall for this — you have to be a complete idiot.”

    I think we need to redefine the mental state of pathological sceptics. It is insulting to call them idiots, complete or otherwise, and don’t they whinge and whine when we do?

    We need to show them more respect. Genuine idiots are simply not capable of properly understanding anything, whereas pathological sceptics clearly have functioning brains and use them to go to extraordinary lengths not to trust in the science and to come up with labyrinthine alternatives, which are superficially convincing to the ignorant and prejudiced.

    These people can be far more accurately defined as negatively intelligent and it’s about time we stopped insulting them and started describing them instead!

    • Negative intelligence. I like this idea. From, Murphy’s law: Cumulative intelligence on the planet is constant and the fact that the population is growing, I’d bet on this, cause people might just don’t die that fast ;)

    • Susan Anderson

      Yes, what they do is serious. Seriously dangerous and worthy of not misunderestimating.

  16. Kevin Stanley

    Nick Palmer:
    I like it! I think we can refine it further. Someone incapable of analyzing the argument, but who instead simply bases their faith in the argument on the degree to which the conclusion of the argument matches their pre-existing beliefs, may indeed be an idiot. Or they may just be intellectually lazy in this case. Either way, little mental horsepower is exerted.

    If the intellectual resources aren’t available, that is morally neutral. The person may be unintelligent, but it seems pointlessly cruel to insult them for it. (Indeed, it seems the only useful time to call someone an idiot is probably if you know they aren’t and hope the accusation will shock them into rising to the occasion)

    If they are available but not brought to bear, IMO that is a problem of priorities, which can indicate a life so full of more urgent things that understanding climate science can’t compete–also morally neutral on the face of it, but it’s morally problematic if they choose to defer to charlatans rather than publishing scientists–or a freely made choice to not think it through. So an appropriate label for these would address the fact that they’ve been taken in…perhaps “sucker” in the first case and “willfully ignorant” in the second.

    But then, there are those who apply ample intellectual resources in the service of creating, or memorizing and repeating, complex rationales to obfuscate the evidence. These people display the “negative intelligence” you mention. And I believe they are divisible into those who consciously believe their own crap–which I would call “denialists”–and those who don’t. Those who display negative intelligence and know better…those are the people with the highest level of moral culpability. A low-impact person of this type I would probably call a “climate troll.” A high-impact person of this type I would probably call a “psychopathic enemy of humanity.”

    But that’s just me.

  17. Here are the RATPAC data from 1958 though the end of 2010:

    Note that, in these sonde data at least and for this time window, the 850-300 mb layer is warming at a faster rate (+0.16 C/decade) than the NCDC surface data (+0.13 C/decade).

    I am astounded at the blatant level of deception and lying in Carter’s presentation. Quite criminal really.

    Tamino thanks for yet another thorough debunking.

  18. I grant that Carter’s ‘methodology’ is so transparently bogus that only a person filled with negative intelligence will fail to see the bogusness. But it still can’t hold a candle to Pielke Sr.’sFLAT!!!!!” technique. Or, for that matter, Monckton’s ‘different gradients so no correlation!’ technique.

    (And using Ron Rychlak’s analytical technique, I was able to make the global financial crisis disappear. Take that, lefties! Bwahahahaha!)


  19. There are times in the scorching hot deserts, even the hottest of the hottest ones, when temperatures are much lower then it is at the North Pole right now (approx. +5 degreesC). Therefore the Arctic is equally hot as a desert, or those very hot deserts are actually as cold as the Arctic. Whatever, your choice.

    Anyway. See, I’m an Professor saientist too, or an engineer with at least 30 years experience. Believe me, Me, MEEE!

  20. Jeffrey Davis

    I believe naked mole rats rely on urine and feces smells to identify intruders from those who belong. To do this requires that the members of the pack continually refresh their senses with the smell of the pack’s urine and feces.

    It explains so much

  21. > Ian Hall …
    > thermometer records are … only valid for the relatively small number
    > of places where they have been taken

    Because, uh, those isobar thingies on temperature charts are just pictures, not suggesting any correlation between temperatures at different locations, right?

    You want eye roll with that?

  22. Compiling data is specialised business, if the data comes from a respectable institution then one has to take it that it is the best available. If data does not fit someone’s hypothesis (not to mention theory) it is hard luck. Don’t blame data, look for the reason?
    I use data as available, looking into correlations with the ‘natural causes’ and in the process get attacked from both sides across the climate blogers ‘Greenland-Scotland ridge’. Here is an example equally disliked by both sides:

    • Ooh, an off-topic meme spammer.

      — frank

    • Vukcevic,

      You have already said over at RealClimate that you can’t explain the derivation of key elements of the graphs you tout because you’re seeking to publish formally.

      Given that this is the case, why are you continuing to present graphs that are meaningless because you refuse to fully explain them? The correct thing to do when awaiting publication is go away and come back when you have published and are properly able to explain yourself.

  23. This Carter Guy is such a fool…
    I just wasted my time watching his presentation and – omg – it is so stupid. At slide 4 he shows a global temperature graph (GISTEMP/UAH) from Will Steffen, professor at the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University, that shows the year 2010 to be the hottest on record. Now, Carter claims, that this is not true, as the graph is dated at November 2010, so Steffen could not have known the temperature of that year.

    But now, the idiocy:
    If you look at the graph in Carter’s own slides, it says clearly, that is shows the average global temperature over the 12-month period from ****September to August****. So, of course, in November 2010 you can tell the temperature for Sep 2009 to Aug 2010, as this is in the past. He could have seen this also by looking at the label of the last point. It does not say “2010” it says “2009/2010”, so it would suggest, that the 12-month period used in the graph is not the same as a year from January to December.

    Every time i watch those pseudo sceptics presentations, i am stunned about how dumb those people can be.

    [Response: In his Heartland presentation he complains about the use of a September-August average. So I guess he finally noticed — albeit, rather late.]

  24. “put big red dots on them, and imply that there’s been no real change. It’s called “cherry picking,””

    “put big red dots on them”

    He even made them look like cherries!

  25. I just wonder: How could someone like Carter became a university professor. I mean, hey, every half-educated reasonable person can spot those errors. I would be so ashamed of myself in front of my colleagues, if I would tell such plain lies and make such stupid claims.
    And even if Carter would have waited for the end of 2010, the graph would not look any different, as the one with the Sep-Aug mean from Will Steffen.
    And everybody can easily check this:

    For the so called “skeptics”: If you are really skeptical, you should live up to your standards and skeptically examine presentations like that of Carter. You can find multiple and servere errors on nearly every slide. But nobody of the “skeptics” gets worked up about that. But if they find 2 or 3 minor errors in a 3000-pages report like the IPCC AR4, they call it “fraud”… I wonder: How do you “skeptics” then call something like Bob Carters Presentation?

    • Kevin Stanley

      Yes, the lack of sincere skepticism is a major red flag. How do you characterize someone who–when looking at Mann–learns (or maybe “learns”) enough about principal component analysis to argue somewhat coherently (if wrongly) about centering/non-centering…but then looks at stuff like this from Carter, or any number of things on Watt’s blog, and sees nothing in need of “auditing?”

  26. I just wonder: How could someone like Carter became a university professor.

    Hmm…thinking back on a couple of mine, I conclude there must be a back door track of some kind.

    My freshman history prof. confidently assured us (in 1966) that manual labor and infectious diseases would both disappear from the planet by the year 2000. He had equally startling opinions on just about any subject you could name. He was a complete loon, yet a tenured guy at a major state uni.

    And then there’s Judith Curry…

    • Here’s a few more professors (professing to know about climate change) that shows the back door must be pretty large (someone must be handing out professorships on street corners):

      Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor
      Antonino Zichichi, emeritus professor of nuclear physics
      George V. Chilingar, Professor of Civil and Petroleum Engineering
      Ian Clark,Pubs hydrogeologist, professor, Department of Earth Sciences
      Chris de Freitas, Associate Professor, School of Geography
      David Douglass, solid-state physicist, professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Don Easterbrook, emeritus professor of geology
      William M. Gray, Professor Emeritus
      David Legates, associate professor of geography
      Tad Murty, oceanographer; adjunct professor, Departments of Civil Engineering and Earth Sciences,
      Tim Patterson, paleoclimatologist and Professor of Geology
      Ian Plimer, Professor emeritus of Mining Geology
      Fred Singer, Professor emeritus of Environmental Sciences
      Philip Stott, professor emeritus of biogeography
      Jan Veizer, environmental geochemist, Professor Emeritus
      Syun-Ichi Akasofu, retired professor of geophysics a
      Robert C. Balling, Jr., a professor of geography
      John Christy, professor of atmospheric science
      David Deming, geology professor

      • John Lonergan

        Lazarus Long says:

        “Expertise in one field does not carry over into other fields. But experts often think so. The narrower their field of knowledge the more likely they are to think so.”

        Notebooks of Lazarus Long
        Robert Heinlen

  27. Spencer David

    I listened to the first half of Bob Carter’s presentation before giving up. Whatever scientific credentials he once had, he is now just a debater searching for points rather than the truth. I found his slide 10 the most interesting. After having “demonstrated” that the temperature for the last 10 years has been constant, he shows a graph with temperature decreasing by about 0.2 degrees. The reference is to Liljegren (2008) which is non peer reviewed blog written by a mechanical engineer.

    For slide 2, Bob Carter the geologist compares the current temperature with that over the past 6 million years and finds that a 10 degree C rise would not be unusual and, by implication, not dangerous to life as we know it. He ignores the damage to our society that would result from such an increase in temperature.

    Bob Carter’s parable of the black swan is interesting in demonstrating his thought process. In his mind, any paper, blog or data interpretation which agrees with his view on climate change becomes a “fact” which invalidates all the “hypotheses” of the scientific community. Unfortunately Bob has lost his ability to seriously review and objectively evaluate the science of climate change.

  28. Nice post Tamino. Would you mind if we re-post it on Skeptical Science as part of our ‘Carter Confusion’ series?

    [Response: Free free.]

  29. Rob Honeycutt

    Well, at least in these examples Carter is diagrams that actually go with his citations. I was researching one of his slides from a talk that appears on youtube and the citation at the bottom of the slide had nothing to do with AT ALL with the chart he was presenting. And when I read the actual paper it completely contradicted his assertion.

    Carter has written and published peer reviewed papers before. He knows he is lying through his teeth. But what Carter also knows is this is a gravy train he’s hitched his wagon to. This is a case where it pays to lie. It’s the same with Spencer, Michaels, Lindzen, Soon and others. Five years ago or so they may have had touch of cognitive dissonance going but now they are actively and knowingly lying.

    • “Five years ago or so they may have had touch of cognitive dissonance going but now they are actively and knowingly lying.”

      I’m not so sure they are that evil. What I imagine, being as kind as I can be, is that they consider themselves to be more like defence attorneys whose legal duty is to be as sceptical as possible about any evidence in order to give their client the best chance of being acquitted.

      In law, a criminal charge has to be proved “beyond reasonable doubt” but that does not mean that, while a trial is progressing, the attorneys strictly confine themselves to only expressing reasonable doubt about any evidence – they attack it with whatever rhetoric, misdirection or polemic they can muster. They consider their highest duty is to prevent the conviction of an innocent person and they know that sometimes their rhetorical skills will result in the acquittal of the guilty.

      Now doesn’t that sound like denialists and pathological sceptics?…

      • I also wouldn’t count out true psychological “denial” for many. The human mind has an impressive capacity to delude itself when believing the truth would irreparably damage it’s worldview. My question always is, what is that worldview that is at risk? For many it’s free market fundamentalist beliefs. This quote from Roy Spencer is interesting, in that I don’t think it rules out the “defense attorney” mindset, or the “psychological denial” mindset:

        “I view my job a little like a legislator, supported by the taxpayer, to protect the interests of the taxpayer and to minimize the role of government.”

        Of course, I would imagine the most effective defense attorneys are capable of deluding themselves during the trial…

      • Rob Honeycutt

        I think they’ve moved from their cognitive dissonance state, one where they were attempting to be skeptical, into one where they rationalize their lying based on the political position.

        I mean, come on, Carter is a PhD and clearly understands that picking three points like that, and completely ignoring the obvious trend, is a flat out lie. How could he NOT understand that?

      • I wonder about this a lot. I think there are clearly some, perhaps Dr.Carter, who lie, with cold, calculating, full knowledge of the lie, perhaps in service of their perceived “greater good” of some political aim. But I’ve never stopped being astounded at how easy it is for denial to allow complete self-delusion as well, and I think this is actually much more common.

  30. The figure on “dis-confirmation bias” in Desmogblog’s recent post captures the skeptic mind set very well:

    You don’t have to have idiocy or negative intelligence (both tempting descriptors in the current context), it’s unfortunately human nature to try finds ways to disbelieve. (The rest of desmogblogs article is interesting too!)

  31. Igor Samoylenko

    Searching the web for “negative intelligence”, I came across this rather good definition for it in this post by Jorn Barger from 1996:

    “the quality that prevails when intelligence is absent”

    He also offers a few other timeless insights on the great medium of “sceptical” science inquiry that is the blogosphere (just substitute “newsgroups” for “blogs”):

    “And what I notice on netnews is that negative intelligence rules almost everywhere– newsgroups are great sucking black-holes of
    negative intelligence, where the greatest bigots have the loudest
    voices, and the greatest say

    in newsgroups, people who try to lay things out evenhandedly get massively squelched by fucking idiots… “

    What is harder to comprehend is that some actual scientists and academics choose to operate at this level and produce arguments that require some seriously negative intelligence to take seriously. If there ever was a competition for the most blatantly bogus argument against AGW ever produced by an actual scientist, Bob Carter will be a major contender for the first prize.

    [Response: Interesting contest. Don’t count out Ian Plimer.]

    • He’s got plenty of other competition too. Archibald, Akasofu, Ball, McLean…come to think of it, most of the ‘scientists’ on IA’s list in the comment above would be in the running.

      • This McLean? Not a climate scientist in any way, surely?

      • Yes, (presumably) that McLean.

        He of McLean, de Freitas and Carter fame, i.e. “remove the trend and hey presto, SOI explains most of the warming trend!”, and when called on it he argued “If the SOI accounts for short-term variation then logically it also accounts for long-term variation.”

        He who predicted 2011 would be the coldest year since about 1956.

        He who currently touts himself as a “PhD student” when he infests comments on climate science threads at theconversation (e.g. starting with June 16’s “Who’s your expert?” article on peer review).

        However I’m not sure that his research subject actually is *science*, since he previously touted some “research” into something like the politics or process of the IPCC or something. I can’t recall whether he’s known to have Carter as a supervisor, or whether it’s merely suspected as they’re both at the same institution.

      • According to NOAA, January thru June, 2011 is the 11th warmest January thru June in the record.

      • So JCH, that must mean we’re starting a cooling trend. LOL. Just like the Great Arctic Sea Ice Recovery.

      • Deech56 – good to see you here.

        Yes, decades of global cooling has decided to kick itself off under a napping sun with a hot 2009, and even hotter 2010. Coolers were ecstatic with November and December of 2010, and openly orgasmic in January, the 17th coldest January! Imagine the trend they giddily expected. And then the month-to- month tallies went from 17th to: 16th, 14th, 14th, 12th, and 11th.

        With a strong La Nina in its sails?

        I did note the ENSO prediction is indicating La Nina could come back again this fall. Wonder what heat records it will allow to be set? La Nina at ~ 390 ppm appears to have lost some of its vigor. We will soon know.

      • McLean demonstrates his robust climate science skills in the first comment on this article at The Conversation. I think we can safely rule out the possibility that his research is in science itself, or at least the possibility that he’ll successfully complete a science-based Ph.D.

        Maybe you can … explain how a warm atmosphere … would be able to heat the oceans. Hint: Warm air and water rise, cool air and water falls.

        Can you also explain your implicit support for the use of the term acidification when you should know perfectly well that the pH of the ocean is around 8.0, which makes it slightly alkaline.

        …In fact we could probably burn all known reserves of coal and gas and the oceans would still be alkaline.

        Numerous papers on the change in pH suggest that marine creatures in tropical regions will find it advantageous to have a lower pH, and that outside the tropics the deterimental effects are small or non-existent (see

      • Thanks, JCH – glad to contribute when I can. Open Mind has perhaps the best commentary among climate blogs.

        What is frustrating here in the US is a pronounced attitude against expertise (the worst one can be called is an “elitist”) except when people with letters after their names put out garbage like the Carter opus. The recent “Tea Party” activity is enough to make one’s head explode. Some day this will make an interesting sociology project.

  32. John McLean consistently deflects or ignores questions about his “PhD” studies on multiple occasions. It’s past time to out him, I believe.

  33. One remark. It is not idiocy. Bob Carter knows exactly what he is doing. He is deliberately concocting and distributing lies (we will not even bother to call it ‘disinformation’) and it is a form of white collar criminality. Calling these Calvinball guys ‘idiots’ viciously underestimates them. Or at least it is a kind of misplaced diplomacy.

    • “Bob Carter knows exactly what he is doing.”

      Carter is not an idiot. He is a deliberate, calculating misinformer and he knows that his audience will lap up his lies because he is telling them what they want to hear, like a kindly old uncle reassuring the children that it’s quite safe to follow the pied piper.
      Frankly, I despise the man. He makes my flesh creep.

    • Rob Honeycutt

      Exactly, cRR. You hit the nail on the head. This is not about stupidity on the part of Carter, or McLean or any of that set. There is no doubt in my mind that they are consciously and deliberately distributing wrong information. I imagine each have their own motivations and rationalizations but they are all knowingly doing it.

  34. So your second graph implies that co2 is not involved, does not cause or contribute to rising temperatures. Do I read that right ?

    [Response: No. You couldn’t be more wrong. It implies that the warming due to greenhouse gases is uninterrupted, it hasn’t stopped, it hasn’t even slowed down.]

    So what about the future 30+ years and the impending solar minimum, do you expect an extended solar minimum to occur ?

    [Response: I don’t know. Perhaps.]

    Do you expect it to have any effect ?

    [Response: Only a minor one, just as the Dalton minimum had a minimal impact. See this.]

    Could the effects be felt up to 2100 ?

    And if a global (or at least of more relevance to me in the UK, a Northern Hemisphere) drop in temperatures is experienced, how deep will that go ?

    [Response: Not very.]

    Yes I’m now a sceptic.

    [Response: I doubt that.]

    Up until last December I was a total believer in AGW.
    But I now think we are in for an extended and deep drop in temperatures.

    I would like to be wrong as I hate the cold and I love the heat. Mediterranean temperatures in the UK ? Yes please.

    [Response: Crop failures worldwide? India and Pakistan start a nuclear war over dwindling water supply? Why should you care?]

    Either way round we should know in the next few years.

    • J Martin,

      You were a “total believer” until one record-breaking cold winter?

      Did you become a “total believer” again after the record-breaking warm April we had this year?

      What sort of “sceptic” are you? One whose views change month-by-month according to the UK weather?

      Wanna bet on the “extended and deep drop”? UK only or world-wide? (Yes, I’m serious.)

      • We had 20cm of snow two winters ago (it almost never snows here, and if it does it has melted within a couple of hours). 20cm meant that my car could not drive up the street, we had panic buying at the local supermarket.

        Last year we had another snowy winter, thankfully less, but it was colder. Again I spent some days at home unable to drive anywhere, I knew from an article in the New Scientist that sunspots had done a mysterious vanishing act and started looking on Google to try to find out when snow free winters would resume.

        Instead, I discovered climate sceptic websites, and I sat and read these every evening for weeks. At first I could not believe it, as I had been so convinced by the press that Global warming was a problem that before I would visit friends and relatives I would look up how high above sea level their houses were and then tell them how far below sea level they would be when the poles melted.

        From my point of view April was not warm, I still had to use my central heating in the mornings and evenings. As far as record breaking goes, Giss and Hadcrut seem to be hedging their bets nowadays;

        The graphs depicted are especially interesting as they seem to contradict those published above. I would be interested in peoples analysis of the comparisons.

        I don’t do bets. Indeed, given the uncertainty of what the Sun is up to and current volcanic rumblings, I would imagine that for everyone all bets are off. The immediate future may turn out to be governed by perhaps larger processes than co2.

      • Chris O'Neill

        J Martin:

        The graphs depicted are especially interesting as they seem to contradict those published above.

        No they don’t. They only depict a fraction of the period covered by the graphs above. Try to pay attention to the time-scales shown on different graphs.

        The immediate future may turn out to be governed by perhaps larger processes than co2.

        The immediate future is always governed by larger processes than CO2. The effect of one year’s rise in CO2 (0.02 deg C) is not particularly large, is it? Especially when an El Nino/La Nina can temporarily raise/lower the global temperature by 0.2 deg C.

      • J Martin,

        Yes, we’ve (I live in the UK too) had some snow in recent winters after many years of snow being a rarity in most of Britain. That’s weather, not climate, and yet this has made you into a “sceptic”?

        Yes, the sun has been quiet recently. We are used to the sunspot cycle being about 11 years, but cycle 24 has been very reluctant to take off. Despite that, we have not seen a return to the temperatures of the past, except in isolated times and places.

        Did you really tell your friends how far below sea level they would be? How did they react? Where in the press did you read all this scary stuff?

        April not warm? It was obvious to anyone that it was even warmer than April 2007, and in fact the mean, min, and max were all the highest in the CET record. Your heating still came on? So what, it was April!

        But anyway, why do you imagine that UK temps represent the whole world?

        I suggest you avoid sites like those of Steven Goddard and get your science from people who do the science and actually understand it.

      • I don’t do bets.

        Of course not. And I think we all know why …

    • Science isn’t something you can believe in. Science doesn’t care what you believe. Science is simply the tool we use to hack away at the universe to understand it better.

      “Mediterranean temperatures in the UK ? Yes please.” – This is just selfish. It’s the same individual-centred attitude that led to the tragedy of the commons that we call global warming.

      How hard is it to understand that instant gratification isn’t always the best thing for us in the long run? I mean – you’re smart enough not to use heroin. Are you smart enough not to smoke? To limit your carbon footprint?

      • Selfish ? Perhaps.

        Though if it did get warmer I would need my central heating and tumble drier less often.

        I think that wasting oil driving thirsty cars is also selfish. We should be saving as much as we can for future generations. I drive a fuel efficient in a manner that car that gets 55 mile to the gallon. My fridge died recently and my new one uses 30% less electricity. My TV is very old and sometimes the picture and sound flicker and become unwatchable. When I get a new one it will also no doubt use less electricity than the old one.

        Science. What science. The one that the IPCC uses that totally ignores cloud cover, and ocean cycles.

    • OK, now let me get this straight. You abandoned belief in one of the most well established models in Earth science because of one cold winter in one location?

      And even if it were turning cold due to decreased solar activity, how would that negate the greenhouse effect?

      Dude, I think your problem goes a lot deeper than scientific ignorance.

      As to the decreased solar activity, the last Solar Minimum was the deepest and most prolonged in about a century. This Solar Max, so far, though, doesn’t look particularly weak–GCR fluxes are about normal. This argues for a relatively short, weak minimum or at worst a Dalton-type minimum, definitely not a Maunder minimum. My guess–we probably won’t even notice except that my satellites will start complaining about slightly higher upset rates.

      Well, so much for the “cooler heads” theory the denialists tout

      • Belief. Belief is a problem. Too many of the high priests of global warming continue to give people grounds for disbelief.


        [Response: I don’t allow slander of honorable climate scientists here. It reflects badly on you that you were so easily suckered by the slander of others.]

        Dalton, Maunder, sooner or later one of these minimums must lead to a down that doesn’t go back up and we slide into a full blown glaciation. We are about due it seems.

    • Well, what do we have but another spammer of off-topic bullshit!

      J Martin thinks there’s nothing wrong with Bob Carter’s “flat” trendline because it’s cold in the UK. How dumb will a person have to be not to see that this sort of ‘logic’ is absolute nonsense?

      — frank

      • Yeah. Started off as almost reasonable, then a couple of comments later we get “high priests”. Could there be a more obvious giveaway?

    • J Martin, I also live in the UK. I haven’t needed my heating on once since mid-March. We had 3 days of heavy snow in Feb 2009, some snow for a few weeks in the 2009-2010 winter, and then we had that cold spell last winter which, unlike January 1963, did not see the sea off our shores freeze at any time. Pretty much all of our winters for longer than the past decade have been extremely mild and have been getting milder.

      Just as Dr. David Viner predicted.

      By the way, who is Steven Goddard?

    • Ray Ladbury

      J. Martin, If you spent a tenth as much time actually reading climate science as youdid reading the mental meanderings of an idiot (Steven Goddard), you’d actually understand what is going on.

      Did it ever occur to you that maybe, just maybe, the folks who study this stuff in their day jobs might understand it better than some ignorant food tube on a blog?

  35. “Either way round we should know in the next few years.”

    We know now. The science keeps getting stronger, the planet keeps getting warmer, the ice keeps melting, spring keeps getting earlier, fall keeps getting later, the ocean keeps getting more acidic.

    Stop making it harder to keep it from getting worse.

  36. Jeffrey Davis

    I suspect J Martin “next few years” is a close relative of Thomas Friedman’s “next 6 months”.

  37. Carter is indeed an amateur. If he was to do a proper trendline analysis, it would look like this or this.

  38. Steven Goddard?
    If you are relying on him as a primary source for your sceptism you are in serious trouble.
    In more than one way the man does not play with a full deck of cards.
    If you read these “sceptic” websites for weeks, did you miss his claims of CO2 snow in Antarctica?
    How about his triple point of water fiasco?
    He got basic high school level science wrong and even after being shown to be obviously wrong, refused to back down and quickly brought himself down to a level of bullheaded stupidity.
    Even Watt shut him down.

  39. Bob Carter has the sort of down to Earth charisma that will convince more people than not.

    To win you need to persuade the people. But people are more influenced by their perception of scientists (the man) than by the science itself.

    When the time comes to vote it’s peoples perceptions that count, not the science.

    People can’t / won’t understand conflicting scientific arguments, they will make their decisions (cast their votes) based on their perceptions of the people in the public eye.

    In that regard, Bob Carter comes across very well, as does Lord Monckton. In support of the AGW argument you currently have no one who can compete with these two on the charisma front. It’s what wins elections in both the UK and the USA, no doubt elsewhere as well.

    At the end of the day all arguments for or against co2 are academic. Some countries may reduce co2, but for others it’s too big an ask. World co2 output will continue to climb, regardless of Western World carbon taxes. So I suggest everyone sit back and open a bottle of wine, and wait and see if the sun is going to complicate things.

    [Response: Evidently you don’t think very highly of your fellow citizens.

    You can fool some of the people all of the time…]

    • It is depressing, isn’t it?
      Actually, I can (barely) take the ignorance, the blind hate, the lack of concern about the world… but the concern trolling, that’s just insufferable.

    • R. Gates:

      Bob Carter has the sort of down to Earth charisma that will convince more people than not.

      In other words, according to Martin, it’s OK for Bob Carter to lie because people won’t notice his lies. Therefore they’re not lies. Or something.

      “Negative intelligence” indeed — as shown by people who willingly twist themselves into rhetorical knots just to avoid seeing the blatantly obvious.

      — frank

    • They “come across well” because they know their audience, which is made up of the most credulous and unsceptical people around.

      Now, how about addressing the topic of this thread? Please explain to us how Carter’s trend lines were derived. All the data are easily available and you can make it even easier by using

    • “Bob Carter has the sort of down to Earth charisma that will convince more people than not. … people are more influenced by their perception of scientists (the man) than by the science itself.”

      That is why people like Bob Carter are such a menace.
      In a society addicted to celebrity culture in which a large proportion of the population is scientifically illiterate, charlatans like Bob Carter can flourish.
      But what has that got to do with scientific reality?

    • In that regard, Bob Carter comes across very well, as does Lord Monckton. In support of the AGW argument you currently have no one who can compete with these two on the charisma front

      Actually, we do. Richard Alley would be the obvious example.

    • J Martin:
      “To win you need to persuade the people. But people are more influenced by their perception of scientists (the man) than by the science itself. ”


      This is a real physical process and the physics don’t give a flying ‘rubber duck’ about whether people believe in it or not. The process will continue and those who are claiming it isn’t happening will look even more stupid than they do at present.

    • You can fool some of the people all of the time…

      Coincidentally, Monckton said the same thing in Australia recently after Wendy Carlisle pointed out that some people were attending, for the second time, his public snake-oil selling. It can only be concluded that Monckton explicitly admits that he is fooling his audiences…

      The comment is at 13 minutes 10 seconds here.

  40. Most depressing of all is that the numbers of those lapping up the kind of nonsense that Bob Carter is putting seems to be increasing,..especially among the certain political rank and file elected officials. This can only lead to further confusion among policymakers when decisions need to be made regarding what, if anything, to do about anthropogenic climate change. I am frequently shocked when speaking to seemingly otherwise well informed individuals about how much misinformation has seeped into their belief system that they now take to be true. Unfortunately for all involved, the only way to change wrong-headed thinking once it gets so engrained is through physical proof of those wrong paradigms. If certain projections are to believed, mother nature should have no problem supplying that proof in the next few years…

  41. Well Frank it looks like you got your answer.
    J Martin is dumb enough to “think” that charisma is more important than honesty.

    • Tom G :- “Honesty”


      [Response: We are not interested in your brand of dishonesty, based on quoting dishonesty from others.]

      • [edit]

        [Response: It’s clear you’re getting your information from the most disreputable sources possible. Too bad for you.]

  42. Tamino:
    In your 1st two graphs UAH anomolies are very close to GISS.
    On the third graph the anomoly from UAH is not close to the 1st two graphs.

    Are you using a different time frame for anomolies?

    I see that you are referring to 5.3 anomoly.

    I am confused as to the difference in the graphs.

    Thank you.

    [Response: The first and second graphs are annual averages, while the 3rd is monthly data, which is part of the reason for their apparent difference.

    Also, in the first graph the UAH data has been set to the same baseline as the GISS data. The impact of using a different baseline is to shift the graph up or down, but not to change its shape. It’s essential to set data sets to the same baseline in order to compare them properly.

    Finally, the 2nd graph isn’t of raw data. It’s temperature data *after* the impact of known factors has been removed. These include volcanic eruptions, the el Nino southern oscillation, and the solar cycle. When the temperature impact of these known factors is cleared out of the way, what’s left is the global warming signal — and its uninterrupted continuation is crystal clear. You can find details here.]

  43. Sorry to bring up Godwin’s Law but J Martin seems to be someone who would have been impressed and influenced by Hitler or Mussolini – men who had “the sort of down to Earth charisma that will convince more people than not”, and who had oodles on the “charisma front”.
    Yes, close your eyes, ears and mouths and implicitly believe in anyone who “comes across very well”, especially if they say things you just need to believe in.

  44. The denialists’ strategy actually resembles that of Michelle Bachman–the “not-even-wrong” Minnesota Congress Critter who may be the next President of the US. On Wait-Wait, Don’t Tell Me, one of the panelists said of Bachman, “She doesn’t back down. She doubles down.” No one ever went broke betting on the stupidity of the American People.

  45. But my fearless prediction is that if the GOP bet on Michelle Bachman for Prez, they’ll regret it.

    I know, I’m an optimist.

    • On Bachmann, I said over at Prof. Bickmore’s blog:

      After seeing from Sarah Palin’s FOI’d e-mails how she was doing her governor business with her Yahoo e-mail account and her BlackBerry, I’m starting to wonder if a Bachmann presidency for the US might be a good idea.

      If, like Palin, she’s too dumb to even understand the forces that protect her own country, she may start doing things like writing nuclear launch codes on post-it stickers, and then … well, let’s just a say a miracle happens, and lulz ensue.

      The transition to national sanity won’t be neat and tidy, but I’m not sure there’s a better way.

      So on the topic of charisma… yeah, charisma can make people believe that up is down, but all the charisma in the world won’t save one from the laws of physics.

      Maybe we should take the discussion on Bachmann to another thread.

      — frank

      • LoL, Bachmann, Turner, Overdrive.: You Ain’t Seen nothing Yet

        The rest of the world shudders at such luminary comments as “I hope higher unemployment will help my campaign”. USA = Brain-drained. Not 18 months till the next elections.

      • Sekerob:

        Hmm, how long more before the whole US national security apparatus from the FBI to the CIA becomes staffed by complete maroons because most of the intelligent and thinking people have left in utter disgust? The lulz, the lulz…

        — frank

    • Funny, I said the same thing in 1980, when Reagan was the Republican lunatic fringe–remember voodoo economics? And then I said the same thing about Dubya in 2000.

      And whoever gets the nod will be running against a black man in the most racist country on Earth AND in the midst of a recession. I don’t like our odds.

  46. “And whoever gets the nod will be running against a black man in the most racist country”

    I could name one country that’s worse …

    (and a whole slew that are better)