Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Halloween climate skeptic explosion

Judith Curry's blog exploded on Halloween. It was caused by Dr. Curry having a conversation with Dr. Muller of the BEST climate/temperature project, and reporting on her impressions on the conversation.

Herewith my own personal summary of the affair at current (and noting that there is not a bowl big enough to hold all the popcorn necessary to watch THIS show):

1. Muller/BEST goes preliminarily public with their results, ostensibly indicating that the basic surface temperature records from other groups are correct.

2. Muller writes a Wall Street Journal op-ed stating the basics, that it appears his work has established that the surface temperature records are basically correct. He shows a graph of increasing temperatures over many decades. Climate change skeptics everywhere are apoplectic; Marc Morano at ClimateDepot has a severe attack of dyspepsia. Anthony Watts is very disappointed in Dr. Muller for going public with a result that shows his work and investment of years to be shameful and shamful. Watts searches for reasons to disavow his previous pledge to accept the BEST results, whatever they might be.

3. Judith Curry and others point out that Muller's graph doesn't show that the first decade of the 20th century, if a trend is to be plotted from peak to peak, doesn't show a warming trend (even though the compendium of warm years in the decade make it the warmest ever, indicating the warming is still occurring.)

4. Curry is widely touted, at least by climate skeptic-friendly journalists, as definitely criticizing the Muller/BEST results and showing that they aren't worth the disks they are recorded on.

5. Then Curry has a sit-down with Muller and tends to recant, crediting that BEST may have done a good job, had some reasons re the IPCC process to get the word out, and she feels that Muller is dedicated to getting it right.

6. Climate skeptics globally attack, beg, cajole, plead, and otherwise comment on Curry's blog that she's wrong; Muller is a liar, fake, charlatan, flim-flam artist, con man, two-timing weasel, no good down-hearted hound dog; please see reason and kick the guy's ass; Anthony Watts is God and Steve McIntyre is his prophet; Muller should have done what good scientists do and wait for peer review even though skeptics can tout erroneous and misguided back-of-the-envelope calculations as True Writ and get them echoed by climate skeptic blogs around the world; Al Gore is still fat; MARS IS STILL WARMING, BY JOVE! ; the BEST results can't be right because global warming isn't happening; a climate skeptic can either say it isn't warming at all or that man isn't primarily causing it and be right either way; or just "please see it our way again".

What is really astonishing is the level of corrosive vitriol directed at Dr. Curry just because she said some reasonable things. The number of people convinced and offended that she's been seduced is amazing. Well, I guess if you think a pretty girl is going to marry you you're pretty
happy, and then when she leaves you at the altar and takes off with a more handsome guy, you're likely to be really, really, really angry. (Hey, I would be.) And that's how it is with a lot of these folks now.

Finally, my summary regarding the ongoing drama of Judith Curry's life:

When you dance with the devil, it's hard not to get burned.

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