Climatologist slams RealClimate.org for ‘erroneously communicating the reality of the how climate system is actually behaving’


By: - Climate DepotJune 30, 2009 4:16 PM

The global warming promoting website RealClimate.org, is under fire yet again from a prominent scientist for presenting incorrect climate information. Climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. publicly rebuked the website in a June 30, 2009 article for “erroneously communicating the reality of the how the climate system is actually behaving.” Pielke, the former Colorado State Climatologist and currently a senior scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder, countered Real Climate’s claim that warming was “progressing faster than expected” with the latest data on sea level rise, ocean heat content and Arctic ice.

In his article titled “Real Climate’s Misinformation”, Pielke also chastised readers of Real Climate for blindly accepting the incorrect climate claims promoted on the site.

“Media and policymakers who blindly accept these claims are either naive or are deliberately slanting the science to promote their particular advocacy position,” Pielke Sr. wrote.

Realclimate.org, a website which much of the mainstream media has relied on for climate science developments, has come under increasing criticism and scrutiny from scientists. Real Climate’s lead blogger and NASA scientist Gavin Schmidt was harshly criticized for some of his scientific claims in January 2009. Atmospheric scientist Dr. Hendrik Tennekes, a prominent scientist from the Netherlands, wrote a scathing denunciation of Schmidt in which he said he was “appalled” by Schmidt’s “lack of knowledge” and added, “Back to graduate school, Gavin!”

The latest scientific woes by RealClimate.org were rebutted point by point by Pielke on June 20, 2009.

Real Climate claimed:

“Our regular readers will hardly be surprised by the key findings from physical climate science, most of which we have already discussed here. Some aspects of climate change are progressing faster than was expected a few years ago – such as rising sea levels, the increase of heat stored in the ocean and the shrinking Arctic sea ice.”

Pielke responded:

“First, what is ‘physical climate science’? How is this different from ‘climate science’. In the past, this terminology has been used when authors ignore the biological components of the climate system,” Pielke wrote.

Pielke continued: “More importantly, however, the author of the weblog makes the statement that the following climate metrics ‘are progressing faster than was expected a few years ago’”:

1. Real Climate Claim: “rising sea levels”

Pielke’s Response: “NOT TRUE; e.g. see the University of Colorado at Boulder Sea Level Change analysis. Sea level has actually flattened since 2006.”

2. Real Climate Claim: “the increase of heat stored in the ocean”

Pielke’s “Response: NOT TRUE; see
Update On A Comparison Of Upper Ocean Heat Content Changes With The GISS Model Predictions.
Their has been no statistically significant warming of the upper ocean since 2003.”

3. Real Climate Claim: “shrinking Arctic sea ice”

Pielke’s Response: “NOT TRUE; see the Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Anomaly from the University of Illinois Cyrosphere Today website. Since 2008, the anomalies have actually decreased.”

Pielke Concluded: “These climate metrics might again start following the predictions of the models. However, until and unless they do, the authors of the Copenhagen Congress Synthesis Report and the author of the Real Climate weblog are erroneously communicating the reality of the how the climate system is actually behaving.

Media and policymakers who blindly accept these claims are either naive or are deliberately slanting the science to promote their particular advocacy position.”

Climate Depot Exclusive Report: A Long History of Accuracy Woes and Activism for RealClimate.org

Atmospheric scientist Dr. Hendrik Tennekes, a prominent scientist from the Netherlands, wrote a scathing denunciation of Schmidt in which he said he was “appalled” by Schmidt’s “lack of knowledge” and added, “Back to graduate school, Gavin!”

“Roger Pielke, Sr. has graciously invited me to add my perspective to his discussion with Gavin Schmidt at Real Climate. If this were not such a serious matter, I would have been amused by Gavin’s lack of knowledge of the differences between weather models and climate models. As it stands, I am appalled. Back to graduate school, Gavin!” Tennekes wrote on January 29, 2009. Tennekes, is an scientific pioneer in the development of numerical weather prediction and former director of research at The Netherlands’ Royal National Meteorological Institute, and an internationally recognized expert in atmospheric boundary layer processes. Tennekes is also featured in U.S. Senate Minority Report Update: More Than 700 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims “Gavin Schmidt is not the only meteorologist with an inadequate grasp of the role of the oceans in the climate system. In my weblog of June 24, 2008, I addressed the limited perception that at least one other climate modeler appears to have,” Tennekes wrote. “From my perspective it is not a little bit alarming that the current generation of climate models cannot simulate such fundamental phenomena as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. I will not trust any climate model until and unless it can accurately represent the PDO and other slow features of the world ocean circulation. Even then, I would remain skeptical about the potential predictive skill of such a model many tens of years into the future,” Tennekes added.

Atmospheric Physicist James A. Peden, formerly of the Space Research and Coordination Center in Pittsburgh, also critiqued RealClimate.org on June 24, 2008. Peden wrote, “’Real Climate’ is a staged and contracted production, which wasn’t created by ‘scientists,’ it was actually created by Environmental Media Services, a company which specializes in spreading environmental junk science on behalf of numerous clients who stand to financially benefit from scare tactics through environmental fear mongering.”

Meteorologist Joe D’Aleo also launched a sharply worded critique of RealClimate.org in January 2009 titled “Response to Gavin Schmidt – Global Data Base Issues Are Real.” “To Gavin [Schmidt] and the other alarmists, it appears, a piece that is fair and balanced can make no mention of any other opinion except that carbon dioxide is causing global warming and action is needed now and will deliver gain and no pain, something the one sided media coverage has gotten them used to over the years,” D’Aleo wrote on January 13, 2009. D’Aleo served as the first Director of Meteorology at The Weather Channel and served as chairman of the American Meteorological Society’s Committee on Weather Analysis and Forecasting.

Israeli Astrophysicist Nir Shaviv has also been critical. “The aim of RealClimate.org is not to engage a sincere scientific debate. Their aim is to post a reply full of a straw man so their supporters can claim that your point ‘has been refuted by real scientists at RealClimate.org,’” Shaviv’s website reported. Shaviv, who calls the website “Wishfulclimate.org,” noted that the “writers (at RealClimaet.org) try again and again to concoct what appears to be deep critiques against skeptic arguments, but end up doing a very shallow job. All in the name of saving the world. How gallant of them.”

More Real Scientists Rebuke Real Climate:

‘Scientist adjusts data — presto, Antarctic cooling disappears’ – December 21, 2008
Excerpt: The analysis concluded, “Looks like [study author] Steig ‘got rid of’ Antarctic cooling the same way [Michael] Mann got rid of medieval warming. Why not just look at the station data instead of ‘adjusting’ it (graph above)? It shows a 50-year cooling trend,” the analysis concluded.

Pielke Jr.: ‘Gavin Schmidt admits to stealing a scientific idea from his arch-nemesis, Steve McIntyre’ – February 4, 2009Excerpt: This is not a hypothetical example, but a caricature of real goings on with our friends over at Real Climate … Due to an inadvertent release of information, NASA’s Gavin Schmidt (a “real scientist” of the Real Climate blog) admits to stealing a scientific idea from his arch-nemesis, Steve McIntyre (not a “real scientist” of the Climate Audit blog) and then representing it as his own idea, and getting credit for it. In his explanation why this is OK, Gavin explains that he did some work on his own after getting the idea from Steve’s blog, and so it was OK to take full credit for the idea. [...] Gavin’s outing is remarkable because it shows him not only stealing an idea, but stealing from someone who he and his colleagues routinely criticize as being wrong, corrupt, and a fraud. Does anyone wonder why skepticism flourishes? When evaluations of expertise hinge on trust, stealing someone’s ideas and taking credit for them does not help.

Gavin Schmidt’s Antics Prompts Laughter From Scientist ‘“How am I supposed to get any work done when I am laughing so hard?” – Feb. 2009Excerpt: Reaction By Climate researcher Dr. Craig Loehle, formerly of the department of Energy Laboratories and currently with the National Council for Air and Stream Improvements, who has published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers.

Is Gavin Schmidt The Best Thing Ever Happened To AGW Skeptics?’

Gavin’s “Mystery Man” Revealed – by Climate Audit’s Steve McIntyre on February 4th, 2009 –Gavin Schmidt demands Pielke Jr. Pull Critical Blog

Real Climate’s Schmidt ‘anti-science exposed’ ‘Using an image of Lake Powell to indicate anything about climate change is perverse’ – June 4, 2009Excerpt: As with so many other products generated by the AGW industry, Schmidt’s book Climate Change: Picturing the Science is part of an ongoing effort to frighten the credulous. Its messages include: weather will kill you; our moment on Earth is unique; and climate did not used to change. Had you wanted to fulfill the responsibilities of an objective and hard-hitting journalist, you might have asked Schmidt about the image of Lake Powell on his book’s cover. [...] Were you aware, may I ask, of the controversial nature of the damming of the Colorado River that led to Lake Powell? Environmentalists were and are appalled by this particular dam. It has changed an important piece of the American natural landscape. [...] Group-think has affected many societies negatively, and it has not disappeared during our own time. The fact that neither Mr. Schmidt’s editor, nor his publisher, nor you, nor the photographer, nor Mr. Schmidt himself would stop to reflect on the oddity of this cover is enough to give one pause.

Schmidt issues ‘Correction and apology’ for incorrectly claiming permafrost melt was cause of collapse – June 2, 2009Excerpt: the cause of the collapse was the 1964 Earthquake rather than permafrost melt. We take complete responsibility for the mix-up in captioning and the erroneous attribution and we’d like to fully apologize.

AP reporter Borenstein calls out ‘Real Climate’ activists’ Mann and Schmidt for ‘misrepresenting interviews he did with each of them’- June 15, 2009

Real Climate touted Steig et al ‘Antarctica is warming’ study ‘falsified’ – May 29, 2009
Excerpt: After reading this latest statistical analysis, I think it is fair to conclude that the paper’s premise has been falsified. [...] It is my view that all Steig and Michael Mann have done with their application of RegEm to the station data is to smear the temperature around much like an artist would smear red and white paint on a pallete board to get a new color “pink” and then paint the entire continent with it. It is a lot like “spin art” you see at the county fair.

Scientists, Data Challenge Real Climate Touted Antarctic ‘Warming’ Study – ‘It is hard to make data where none exist’ – January 21, 2009

The Truth about RealClimate.org – July 6, 2009
Excerpt: Essentially the site exists to promote global warming alarm-ism and attack anyone who does not agree with their declaration of doomsday (proven of course by their own computer climate models) and the need for government intervention against the life supporting, atmospheric trace gas, carbon dioxide. Standard operating procedure is to post “rebuttals” to everything they disagree with and then declare victory, making sure to censor comments challenging their position. It doesn’t matter if they actual rebutted any of the science or facts just so long as they provide the existence of a criticism. This gives their fanboys “ammunition” to further promote alarmist propaganda across the Internet (and of course declare victory). Their resident propagandist William Connolley’s job is to edit dissent and smear skeptical scientists on Wikipedia. In the world of global warming alarmist “science” pretending you win is apparently all that matters because in real debates they lose. The truth is that RealClimate.org is an environmentalist shill site directly connected to an eco-activist group, Environmental Media Services and Al Gore but they don’t want you to know that.

Schmidt Admits Defeat in Climate Debate! Tough New York City crowd reverses view on man-made warming and converts to skepticism following debate featuring RealClimate.org’s Schmidt– March 2007

RealClimate.org’s Michael Mann incorrectly Cites Mt. Kilimanjaro as evidence of man-made global warming – Providence Journal – September 25, 2008

Reality Check: Mann’s using years old Mt. Kilimanjaro talking points. Mann’s “facts” on Kilimanjaro are outdated.

2008: Studies and scientists debunk Mann’s ‘new hockey stick’ – Comprehensive report exposing Mann’s research

UK Spectator: ‘Hysterical’ Real Climate’s Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick ‘most discredited study in history of Science – February 7, 2009 – By Melanie Phillips

Pielke Jr.: Details RealClimate.org’s & Others Engage in ‘Character Assassination’ of Skeptical Scientists’

Real Climate ‘has clearly aligned itself squarely with one political position on climate change’ – January 14, 2005Excerpt: The site’s focus has been exclusively on attacking those who invoke science as the basis for their opposition to action on climate change, folks such as George Will, Senator James Inhofe, Michael Crichton, McIntyre and McKitrick, Fox News, and Myron Ebell. Whether intended or not, the site has clearly aligned itself squarely with one political position on climate change.

Real Climate’s Schmidt attempts to ‘explain why skeptics are simplistic’ – June 1, 2009

Not again! Antarctic ‘warming’ author Steig claims Steve McIntyre has accused him of ‘thinly-veiled accusations of scientific fraud’ – June 3, 2009

Perhaps a Complex? Real Climate’s Steig claimed Morano ‘accuses him of scientific fraud’- Morano Responds – January 29, 2009

History of Real Cilmate’s activism and funding – Newsbusters.org – June 28, 2008

UN IPCC Scientist Richard Courtney Rips Real Climate Touted Antarctic Study – January 29, 2009
Excerpt: I am not surprised at Steig’s behaviour that attempts to deflect attention from his paper and its content. I have written a letter to Nature complaining that Steig’s paper contains a flaw so severe that Steig’s paper should not have been published, and I suspect that others have written complaints to Nature concerning other errors in that paper, too.