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Ten of the Worst Climate Research Papers: A Note from Cohenite September 18, 2008

Posted by honestclimate in Discussions.
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Ten of the Worst Climate Research Papers: A Note from Cohenite

By Cohenite

From the Jennifer Marohasy blog, September 18, 2008

As a layman reading the literature and arguments in support of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) three defining characteristics of those arguments have become apparent.

The first is the idea that the science is settled and that there is a consensus in favor of this science. This is wrong and the Oreskes thesis has been repudiated.

Secondly, the pro-AGW literature uses terms of apocalyptic consequence; we read about tipping points, rapid sea rises and extreme weather. Because of this, pro-AGW statements often take on a ghoulish, vulture-like quality with every bad climate event being hailed as proof of AGW. But again, there is no compelling evidence that the climate is becoming more extreme or worse than it has been.

The third and most striking characteristic are the computers, the General Circulation Models (GCMs), which are the basis of AGW science. They have informed the msm to the extent that nearly every report confirming AGW (are there any other kind?) begins with ‘computer modeling has shown’…etc.

The result of the dominance of GCM’s has seen a growth in what Aynsley Kellow, Professor and Head, School of Government, University of Tasmania, calls climate virtual reality where there is a persistent conflict between GCM evidence and empirical data.

What stands out for me in this debate is the clash between real data and AGW data and the repeated examples where data has been manipulated, adjusted, discarded or subject to arcane statistical methodology so it conforms with the GCM simulations.

All of the 10 papers, statements and articles I have selected as the worst of the pro-AGW support literature exhibit the above 3 qualities. Some of them have iconic status and others, while more obscure, present such glaring examples of this matrix science, or climate virtual reality, that they cannot be ignored.

1.Dr James Hansen’s 1988 Statement to the US Senate.


Hansen is the public face of AGW science. This statement establishes all 3 of the defining characteristics. He says “the earth is warmer in 1988 than at any time in the history of instrumental measurements.” Why then does GISS adjust their US data to stop the ‘30’s being the warmest decade? He says the greenhouse effect is proven; why then does IPCC have to invent the enhanced greenhouse? He takes pride in his “computer climate simulations”. Money for jam for Koutsoyiannis.

2. Dr James Hansen’s 2008 Anniversary speech before the US Congress.


After 20 years of climate zilch Hansen ups the apocalypse ante; tipping points are now “ominous”, AGW is a “time bomb”, and there is a need to “preserve our planet, and creation.” The public face of AGW is now Moses. Amidst the blatant untruths there is a resonant irony; “The fossil fuel industry maintains its stranglehold…via demagoguery.” Is Hansen the copper or the kettle?

3. Michael Mann et al (MBH): Northern Hemisphere Temperatures During the Past Millennium: Inferences, Uncertainties and Limitations. AGU GRL 1999


The Hockey stick is the figurehead of the good ship AGW. If anyone says that it is not essential for AGW to prove that 20thC temperatures are higher than any other time in recent history they are dreaming. MBH do so using tree-rings and esoteric statistical analysis (Principle Component Analysis); they ignore discrepancies with instrument data and obfuscate about their sources. McIntyre eats them for breakfast.

4. Eugene R. Wahl and Caspar M. Ammann: Robustness of Mann, Bradley, Hughes; Reconstruction of Northern hemisphere surface temperatures: Examination of criticisms based on the nature and processing of proxy climate evidence.


Before the Hockey stick could be used in AR4 it needed to be rehabilitated after McIntyre’s, and others’, demolition. Wahl et al said they had a new standard for Reduction of Error verification, i.e. zero=skill. McIntyre wanted proof. Wahl procrastinated until AR4 was published and then said the proof was that the new verification had been referred to in their paper. Fidus Achates writ large.

5. Mann et al (part 2): Proxy-based reconstructions of hemispheric and global surface temperature variations over the past two millennia.


Rehabilitated, Mann threw out the tree-rings and used an even more esoteric form of statistical analysis (PCA) to produce data so robust it could withstand minimal correlation with instrument records and 2 confirming dates over a millennium in some of the proxy series. McIntyre couldn’t believe it, but Tamino, in praising Mann’s use of whatever form of PCA he used, is taken to task by Ian Jolliffe, the world’s leading expert on the method, whatever it is. Jolliffe is nonplussed and declares, “This is just plain wrong.”

6. Spencer Weart: A Saturated Gassy Argument.


This is the user friendly version of AGW’s semi-infinite atmospheric model; this model ‘shows’ that vertical layers of CO2 trap and delay the rise of surface emitted IR. If it was right there would be a troposphere hotspot/fingerprint as unequivocally predicted in AR4 by FIG 9.1(c). The satellite and other data collectors show there is none.

7. Robert J. Allen, Steven C. Sherwood: Warming maximum in the tropical upper atmosphere deduced from thermal winds. Nature Geoscience 25 May 2008


Concerned that the instruments showed no troposphere hotspot, Allen & Sherwood repudiated the instrument data and developed a windshear model which showed if there was windshear there would be warming. Matrix science. Resonant irony; the instruments which were not good enough for temperature were used to establish windshear and model predicted temperature.

8. Rolf Philipona et al: Radiative forcing-measured at Earth’s surface- corroborate the increasing greenhouse effect. Geophysical Research Letters, Vol 31 2004

Anthropogenic greenhouse forcing and strong water vapor feedback increase in Europe. Geophysical Research Letters, Vol 32 2005



2 papers from Philipona who deals with increasing downward longwave (DLR). If the semi-infinite model is correct, as well as a troposphere hotspot, there will be increased clear-sky LDR. This is a crucial point but Philipona’s studies are flawed by statistical method, inadequate study period, selective use of insolation and temperature data and extrapolation from regionalized Stefan-Boltzman.

9. AR4, Chapter 2; Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and Radiative Forcing; Executive Summary; pp131-132.


The science is settled. The standard of scientific understanding in the Executive Summary ranges from “very high” to “very low”; the great majority of climate indices have “medium-low” to “very low” levels of scientific understanding; yet the Summary concludes that “humans have exerted a substantial warming influence on climate.” Diagnosis: scientific schizophrenia.

10. Keenlyside N S, Latif M, Jungclaus J, Kornblueh L, Roeckner E: Advancing decadal-scale climate prediction in the North Atlantic sector. Nature 453, 84-88 May 2008


Both sides of the debate claimed this paper as proving/disproving AGW. The paper asserts that natural, contrary climate patterns can “temporarily offset the projected anthropogenic warming.” To this layman that has a Claytons feel about it, but the kicker is Lucia’s 2001 and onwards temperature analysis; Lucia removed the ENSO and found a decline in post-2001 temperature trend. If there was an underlying warming it would have shown. How can anthropogenic warming be “temporarily offset” when it isn’t there?

These papers and articles and statements are the worst because they exhibit all three defining characteristics of AGW science. Some are indefensible, others don’t make sense.


To read the ten best climate research papers according to Cohenite, click here .



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