Archive for September, 2011

General Circulation Models – Another Failure (by a factor of 10, possibly 100)

2011/09/30 1 comment

UPDATE: I guess it’s GENERAL CIRCULATION Models¬†(not “Global Climate Models”) and never again will I trust a journalist (when did I say that already… ūüėČ ) –

From MarsDaily (links added by me):

New analysis of data sent back by the SPICAM spectrometer on board ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft has revealed for the first time that the planet’s atmosphere is supersaturated with water vapour.

[…]¬†descriptions of the vertical distribution of water vapour – a key factor in the study of Mars’ hydrological cycle – has generally been based upon global climate models. This gap in the data has now been addressed by the SPICAM (Spectroscopy for Investigation of Characteristics of the Atmosphere of Mars) imaging spectrometer on Mars Express.

[…]¬†Surprising new results [published in this week’s Science], based on SPICAM data obtained during the northern spring and summer, indicate that the vertical distribution of water vapour in the Martian atmosphere is very different from previous assumptions.

[…]¬†Until now, it was generally assumed that such supersaturation cannot exist in the cold Martian atmosphere: any water vapour in excess of saturation was expected to be converted immediately into ice. However, the SPICAM data have revealed that supersaturation occurs frequently in the middle atmosphere – at altitudes of up to 50 km above the surface – during the aphelion season, the period when Mars is near its farthest point from the Sun.

Extremely high levels of supersaturation were found on Mars, up to 10 times greater than those found on Earth. Clearly, there is much more water vapour in the upper Martian atmosphere than anyone ever imagined. It seems that previous models have greatly underestimated the quantities of water vapour at heights of 20-50 km, with as much as 10 to 100 times more water than expected at this altitude.¬†[…]

Fracking BBC

2011/09/29 2 comments

guest post by Rupert Wyndham -about the BBC World Service “On the Fracking Frontline“:

Amongst an infinity of others, this programme is just one more example of a policy of systemic bias within the BBC. It might be tempting to add ‘in relation to so-called environmental reportage’. Upon reflection, of course, that is not true. BBC partiality and prejudice is evident across the entire spectrum of its journalistic output. In fact, the notion that BBC ‘journalists’ should report in such a way as to avoid any suggestion of insinuating personal opinion is now as moribund as the Corporation’s founding father himself or, indeed, as the Corporation’s own notional Editorial Standards.

It is quite evident that news reporting/commentary is no longer a matter of providing dispassionate and, as far as possible, carefully verified, accounts of matters of current concern. Rather, BBC news coverage is effectively little different from any other form of ‘reality television’. ‘Journalists’, laughably so termed, are no longer content to provide principally facts for listeners/viewers to absorb and interpret for themselves. On the contrary, instead they consider it encumbent upon themselves to pontificate. They do so, moreover, often with an arrogant disregard for the basic courtesies of civilised exchange. Indeed, impertinent interruption of interviewees now constitutes a mark of supposed independent thought and a tough interrogatory style. Presentational techniques display a uniformity, which denote the hallmarks of institutional in-house training. With few exceptions – and they, by and large, from an older generation – exaggerated gesticulation and extravagant body language are deployed to convey an aura of authority for output that, in truth, is merely glib. Radio has its own counterpart techniques for achieving the same objectives – frequently repeated interruption being especially favoured. The adoption of an endemic ‘corporate speak’ reinforces the perception of shallowness, not to mention of professional indolence. Of course, we now know that much of this froth amounts to little more than rehashes of press releases issued by leftist pressure groups and vested interests – such as organs of pseudo-environmentalism, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Worldwide Fund for Nature, The National Trust, by way of example.

This programme was no exception. Thus, with excruciating inevitability, we had trotted out for the millionth time the fashionable mot juste of the moment, ‘iconic’, in this case to describe Woodstock. What, pray, is ‘iconic’ about Woodstock? How, might one now go on to ask, did the BBC ever survive the preceding eight or nine decades with only rare and selective recourse to what has now been rendered a facile and hackneyed choice of adjective?

But, though irritating, this type of derivative, copycat reporting is but a symptom of a far deeper and more insidious underlying malaise marked, in particular, by a wilful rejection of objectivity. Repudiation in favour of what? Why, to be sure, in favour of ’emotional truth’, to borrow the specious and fatuous terminology offered by editors of The Times Comprehensive World Atlas. In short, mere assertion is no longer to be challenged. Demonstrable evidence of a contra-indicative character is to be simply ignored or wilfully misrepresented. Data are to be cynically manipulated within computers programmed to deliver predetermined outcomes. Such outcomes are to be so ordered that any and all observable phenomena in the real world are to be construed as confirmation of a contrived and perverted orthodoxy. Indeed, computer modelling is always to trump actual observation. And it is to this garbage that the BBC lends the weight of its authority – paid for, of course, by the license fee payer. Truth is to be the preserve of a consensus.

So it is with this programme. So-called ‘climate change’ attributable to CO2, human generated in particular, was not to be treated as an unproven assertion but as established fact, to be marshalled to inform programme content with as much certainty as blood circulation informs medical diagnosis. That scientific practitioners in thousands, many of immense achievement and distinction, regard climate change science as a fraudulent contrivance is a fact simply to be ignored, as is the associated chicanery attendant upon it.

Underlying institutional prejudice was carefully re-inforced by repeated references to ‘carbon’, notwithstanding its questionable contextual relevance. The shameless appeal to ’emotional truth’ was also carefully structured in such a way as to create a putative link between emissions of CO2 (in the programme maker’s eyes, a pollutant) with other wholly unrelated – and, for a change, possibly even genuine instances of pollution as, for example, in China and Hungary. It is noteable that One Planet made (and, one suspects, makes) little of massive pollution created in China, but brought about solely as a consequence of shrill Western pseudo-environmentalist demand of battery operated vehicles. But then, of course, the welfare of third world citizens and their living environments are to be regarded as expendable on the altar of AGW religiosity.

Like most BBC science/eco coverage, this programme was/is meretricious and hypocritical.

Clouds cool…in three simple steps…

2011/09/28 8 comments

Just posted at WUWT

1. Clouds happen in the troposphere (well, apart from some special kinds of clouds)
2. Clouds reflect radiation back to space
3. Radiative (“feedback”) effects are negligible in the troposphere (read raypierre’s book if you don’t believe that)

Hence radiative effects have little or no roles to play wrt clouds, apart from reflection back to space.

Therefore clouds can only cool. Empirically this can be shown in days when the sky is overcast apart from where the sun is. Were clouds to warm the surface, an “oven” effect would soon establish itself. Of course it never happens with any kind of tropospheric cloud: if it did it would violate the finding that radiative effects are negligible in the troposphere.

Therefore clouds can only cool.

Categories: AGW, Omniclimate Tags:

My “Wonko The Sane” Moment

2011/09/27 6 comments

Wonko the Sane laughed. It was a light easy laugh, and sounded like one he had used a lot before and was happy with. “Ah yes,” he said, “that’s to do with the day I finally realized that the world had gone totally mad and built the Asylum to put it in, poor thing, and hoped it would get better.”
Douglas Adams, “So Long and thanks for all the fish

That’s exactly my feeling in reading the enthusiastic reception at Judith Curry’s blog post of the biggest piece of quackery ever to disgrace climate science: “Personality type differences between Ph.D. climate researchers and the general public: implications for effective communication“.

Otherwise intelligent people have joined in the futile attempt of getting themselves described by four letters, and not even starting with “f”. It’s all due to the fascination with the Myers-Briggs personality inventory, a fictional item that sounds like a modern-day American replacement for astrology (here’s some ideas on how to debunk it – OTOH if you need to see it debunked, there’s not much hope).

So far only one other commenter has shown any skepticism. One last hope.

Categories: Omniclimate, Skepticism Tags:

Remember…No Climate Change Until July 5, 2005 ((c) Phil Jones)

2011/09/26 3 comments

A well-known but never too quoted, revealing statement by Phil Jones no less:

From: Phil Jones To: John Christy
Subject: This and that
Date: Tue Jul 5 15:51:55 2005

[…] As you know, I’m not political. If anything, I would like to see the climate change happen, so the science could be proved right, regardless of the consequences. This isn’t being political, it is being selfish. […]

I shall almost refrain from pointing out that Jones’ selfishness means hoping for millions of people suffering for “climate change”, just so that he’ll be shown right (it’s more infantilism than selfishness, really). The obvious and important point instead is that Jones himself declares that until 2005 there had been no “climate change”, not of the kind expected by his science at least.

So changes in temperature anomalies, in hurricanes, pine beetles, whatever else, according to Jones none of that qualifies as “climate change”.

The climate, in fact, has not changed. At least until 2005. And if “climate” is weather averaged over 30 years, we can kick climate change to 2035…

They’re At War – 1 – The Belief Of The Unpleasant

2011/09/22 6 comments

WUWT wonders why warmists are almost invariably and incredibly rude, constantly choosing to appear as unpleasant as possible

But, hasn’t it always been that way since the very beginning of the issue? The combination of perceived moral high ground mixed with the educated liberal mindset, combined with a dash of anonymity, in my opinion, leads AGW proponents to revert to tribal mannerisms in dealing with others whom they perceive as inferior in intellect and creed.

On the plus side, this very behavior, which seems to be omnipresent in AGW proponent circles, (though skeptics have a few bad examples too) is part of the reason why skeptics are winning the war of public opinion.

There is one important bit missing in the above. It’s not just perceived moral high ground mixed with the educated liberal mindset, combined with a dash of anonymity: there is also a strong war-like mentality, since the Cooks and dana1981s and taminos of the world are literally (in their view) protecting the planet against us evil skeptics.

When one believes to be at war, a war for survival no less, then there is little time for niceties and considerations about the feelings of fellow human beings. And just as well, the first casualty of war is truth and that’s why there isn’t much of it alive at Skeptical Science, or RealClimate, or Tamino, etc etc.

Do Climate Forcings Exist? Map And Territory In Climate Science

2011/09/22 2 comments

Some interesting ideas that are surfacing at Judith Curry’s “Cloud wars” blog post, leading to the conclusion that¬†there might as well be no such a thing as a “pure” climate forcing.

A “pure” climate forcing (i.e. one that occurs only as a forcing to the climate system, not also as a feedback) is of course an independent input to the system. IOW it is an independent variable that will provide its “push” in a specific direction whatever the value of all other variables.

It sounds obvious (maybe not to the average Climate Believer) that a great deal of so-called forcings aren’t: clouds of course (both a forcing and a feedback, perhaps on different timescales); but also CO2 emissions (as noted by commenter Eric Ollivet), water vapor, and pretty much anything that happens in the atmosphere.

One is left with the influence of other planets, of volcanoes, and of course of the Sun. But are those true and “pure” forcings, really?

For example, who’s going to demonstrate that the atmosphere will respond predictably and progressively if the Sun input to it varies, and everything else remains equal?¬†For all we know, the Sun could be a positive forcing up to a point, then negative, then positive again, or simply positive but by different amounts following a complex multi-step function that moves up and down, all according to the atmosphere’s initial status.

Actually, we can be pretty sure of all that complication, thanks to the Mpemba effect (and the Leidenfrost effect).


Every reduction and simplification seems poised to destroy our ability to understand the climate itself. We might be ending up trying to apply statistics and/or computer models simply to distract us from the underlying truth: perhaps, in climate science, the only good map IS the territory. And the only hope to understand the climate, is by considering it whole.

THAT “Skeptical Science” Joke

2011/09/21 4 comments

Skeptical Science is like a collection of Aristotelian commentaries at the times of Galileo: for all intents and purposes, a sad and stale joke.

Therefore recently, inspired by its longstanding and approved abbreviation (SS) plus puerile antics against Roger Pielke Sr, I couldn’t help venturing into parallels with Heinrich Himmler’s Nazi organization (the “Protection Squadron“, just like Cook et al feel it their duty to protect science from evil skeptics).

Of course, those were and still are jokes. As I said elsewhere, if your website is abbreviated CCCP don’t get upset if Stalin gets a few mentions…

—- As an aside, there is an unnerving possibility. The site name is “Skeptical Science” and is apparently meaningless as not directly related to its content (in Cook’s world, there is no such a thing as skeptical science – imagine a pro-Tibet site named “List of the Chinese Government’s Human Rights Defence Efforts“). It the name has been chosen for sarcastic effect, little or no sarcasm is actually present in the site. So it might as well be that SS was originally devised so that one could have later labelled all skeptics and skeptical scientists as “SS members”, with the underlying Nazi joke in full force… —-

Anyway, irony pervades our lives and I just experienced it in a sublime way. There I was tonight commenting at Bishop Hill’s blog post about Skeptical Science’s thwarted attempt at rewriting history:

I do not think Rattus or Mark S have dared to open the Wayback Machine link, showing how the SS team didn’t just “update” a blog post.

Having rewritten the “argument”, SS could have removed the old comments; or leave them with a note saying they had become out-of-date; or a different note specifying that the new version of the page addressed the issue highlighted by the commenter, eg AnthonySG1’s.

Instead, the SS team decided to rewrite history (the Ahnenerbe would have been proud). SS opted for tampering with the contribution of commenters such as AnthonySG1 and PaulM (members of us skeptical and therefore inferior race), transforming them into total trolls in a way that that shows not a jot of attempt of respecting fellow human beings.

Why would the SS do that? Total disregard for skeptical visitors of course means SS is completely focused on indoctrinating the believing masses, and especially the scientifically-illiterate journalists visiting the site. Therefore the SS “narrative” has to be linear, clean to the point of being spotless, with not a single error or omission, and not a meaningful point by any skeptic in a million years.

All together now…Wenn alle untreu werden, so bleiben wir doch treu…

Where is the German-language bit from? I thought, let’s conclude the comment along the Himmler joke, perhaps by quoting the SS (Nazi) anthem. And an amazing finding ensued:

Wenn alle untreu werden, so bleiben wir doch treu…

If all become untrue, true we remain..


Couldn’t have been more appropriate. If all of catastrophic AGW will become untrue and rejected by most scientists, SS (Climate) will remain there unchanged, I am sure.

ps please refrain from mentioning¬†Godwin’s Law. The Nazi reference is¬†appropriate…

Times Atlas: Suicide By Wikipedia? – UPDATED

2011/09/20 22 comments

UPDATED: Sort of a confirmation for the below as Hanlon at the Daily Mail has posted an article where HarperCollins, the publishers of the Times Atlas Greenland fiasco, try to argue that they only depicted white the areas with ice>500m thick.

Strange things are always afoot, in matters of climate.

Incredibly, and despite having been shown the wrongness of their ways from multiple¬†and even warmist sources, a spokesperson from the ¬£150-a-piece Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World still maintains their debunked “AtlasGate” Greenland map is correct:

‚ÄúBut a spokeswoman for Times Atlas defended the 15% figure and the new map. ‚ÄúWe are the best there is. We are confident of the data we have used and of the cartography. We use data supplied by the US Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado.‚ÄĚ

As the story unfolds, I would like to point to something about the new map that is strange indeed: the level of detail. See for example this comparison from Real Science:

There are two possible interpretations for that: either some people at the Times Atlas have decided to reinvent the world adding fantasy features to a previously fully white map; or, much more likely, they have used some other, existing map of Greenland, embellishing to conform to the Times Atlas style.

In fact, and intriguingly, and twice embarrassingly, there exists one map that strongly resembles the Times Atlas’ “15%” Greenland (see also the Greenland Physical Map from And the embarrassing bits are: it’s one map used on Wikipedia. Worse, it’s supposed to be only showing ice sheet thickness, not “cover” as claimed (it doesn’t highlight the areas where the ice is less than 10m/30ft thick).

Look for example at the outline of Eastern sides of Kong Christian IX Land and Kong Christian X Land, the nearest to Iceland (brown on the Times Atlas to the left, green on Wikipedia to the right).

Look now at the Times Atlas’ Greenland map of 1999 (below, to the left) and the fact that their 2011 map (center) is so much alike the Wikipedia Greenland ice-sheet thickness (right) becomes even more evident.

So the following series of events is consistent with the observations:

  1. Times Atlas personnel read or listen from somewhere that the Greenland ice sheet is melting
  2. They open the Wikipedia page on the Greenland ice sheet
  3. As if by magic…that page contains a map of Greenland
  4. Times Atlas personnel convert that map to the Times Atlas high-quality standard

Now where’s the evidence for it? Where is it indeed, as Michael Corleone would have asked.


This doesn’t look like a good way to enhance the reputation of a publication like the Times Atlas. As usual, it’s the stubborness of their response the real problem, perhaps even more than the original error. One is left wondering how many more mistakes have been made (perhaps them too, miraculously similar to maps posted on Wikipedia), mistakes simply too small to immediately notice. And the publishers and editor will never admit one anyway.

Revkin: The Gore-a-thon Was Good, Actually It Was Bad

2011/09/15 6 comments

I just posted this comment about the Gore-a-thon at Andy Revkin’s Dot Earth “Seeking Reality on Climate” entry:

Apologies for being even slower than usual Andy but…could you please explain exactly what “usefulness” these soon-to-be-forgotten 24 hours have had?

I can see you criticize the Gore-athon’s polarizing stance, oversimplification, mix-up of science and policy, and finally silence about “fossil fuels”. Unless of course the first few praising paragraphs are there simply to make your life simpler, by making sure nobody can accuse you of Gore-bashing.

Climate Risk Management Lessons From A Most Strange Quake Trial

2011/09/15 2 comments

As if to underline how its bias on climate change ruins its reporting on the topic, Nature magazine has come up this week with an incredibly good couple of articles about the upcoming L’Aquila trial against the “experts” who (allegedly!!) failed to predict the 2009 quake (or actually, who didn’t communicate risks properly to the population).

In the following, some memorable quotes (and lest we forget, again from Nature: “Researchers failing to make raw data public“, with “The findings come amid a growing push for sharing raw research data ‚ÄĒ both to facilitate further research and to better prevent fraud or error“).

First of all, from “Scientists on trial: At fault?“:

Prosecutors and the families of victims alike say that the trial has nothing to do with the ability to predict earthquakes, and everything to do with the failure of government-appointed scientists serving on an advisory panel to adequately evaluate, and then communicate, the potential risk to the local population. The charges, detailed in a 224-page document filed by Picuti, allege that members of the National Commission for Forecasting and Predicting Great Risks, who held a special meeting in L’Aquila the week before the earthquake, provided “incomplete, imprecise, and contradictory information” to a public that had been unnerved by months of persistent, low-level tremors. Picuti says that the commission was more interested in pacifying the local population than in giving clear advice about earthquake preparedness.

In other words, the trial is about establishing who is at fault if and when bad decisions are taken because politics trumps science.

Selvaggi, one of the indicted scientists, says that the charges serve as a “dangerous” warning to researchers, who may find themselves in legal trouble because of the way that non-scientists such as public officials or journalists translate their risk analyses for public consumption.

This means that scientists can’t ignore it when their findings are manipulated in the media.

Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and chair of the International Commission on Earthquake Forecasting (ICEF) […]: “The public expects authoritative, transparently available information […] and we need to say what we know in an explicit way.”

“Authoritative, transparently available information” indeed. Then about a “risk commission” meeting a few days before the L’Aquila earthquake:

the scientific message conveyed at the meeting was anything but reassuring, according to Selvaggi […] But there was minimal discussion of the vulnerability of local buildings, say prosecutors, or of what specific advice should be given to residents about what to do in the event of a major quake. […] Even Boschi now says that “the point of the meeting was to calm the population. We [scientists] didn’t understand that until later on.”

So there’s where (allegedly) public policy took precedence over science.

The suggestion that repeated tremors were favourable because they ‘unload’, or discharge, seismic stress and reduce the probability of a major quake seems to be scientifically incorrect […] “It was repeated almost like a mantra: the more tremors, the less danger.” “That phrase,” in the opinion of one L’Aquila resident, “was deadly for a lot of people here.”

That is where the “high-school physics” models went wrong, so to speak.

“That night, all the old people in L’Aquila, after the first shock, went outside and stayed outside for the rest of the night,” Vittorini says. “Those of us who are used to using the Internet, television, science ‚ÄĒ we stayed inside.”

In other words, to trust the scientists blinding is not a good move.

As for the statement that seems to have resonated most with the residents of L’Aquila ‚ÄĒ De Bernardinis’s claim that during seismic swarms, repeated tremors were “favourable” ‚ÄĒ Dinacci says of his client: “He’s not a seismologist, he’s a hydraulic engineer,” and that he had only relayed what the scientists had told him.

The parallels with Pachauri are striking…

As Vittorini told Picuti after the earthquake, the messages from the commission meeting “may have in some way deprived us of the fear of earthquakes. The science, on this occasion, was dramatically superficial, and it betrayed the culture of prudence and good sense that our parents taught us on the basis of experience and of the wisdom of the previous generations.”

Presumably, if seismology is “dramatically superficial”, climatology is not that far out either from that decision.

The trial is so important, Nature has a column dedicated to it under “Check your legal position before advising others”:

What is to be done? It is always difficult to convey scientific uncertainty without giving the impression that nothing useful is known, but overstating scientific certainties can be more dangerous.

“overstating scientific certainties can be more dangerous”. Indeed. Well, at least there is now two Nature articles making the point.

Arctic Sea Ice: As You Like It…

2011/09/12 2 comments

Peter Sinclair yells “Sea Ice Extent Low Record Smashed. Still no Bottom Yet.” on Sep 9. And “Arctic sea ice has melted to a level not recorded since satellite observations started in 1972“, says the Guardian on Sep. 11, imitated by Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

Is that for real? Check the collection at WUWT. Yes, says the University of Bremen. No, according to AMSR-E. Maybe, according to NSIDC (it’s a tie). No, according to the DMI. No, according to Arctic ROOS. Maybe, according to NOAA (another tie). No, according to Cryosphere Today (anomaly of -1.797, a far cry from the Sep 2007 anomaly of less than -2.5 million sq. km).

Steven Goddard goes as far as to say, “Arctic Sea Ice Continues To Recover“.

Funny thing, they are all right, since each graph doesn’t necessarily measure what the other graphs do

So one can pick-and-choose whatever convenient to report. Confusion reigns, but I guess such a flexible piece of news is vert welcome by journalists the world over. In the meanwhile the absurdity of focusing on a day-by-day Arctic melt account in the context of multi-decadal climate change, gets completely lost.

It’s The ATMOsphere, Stupid

2011/09/08 1 comment

[UPDATE: a warm welcome to Reddit users and especially to “it_rained_all_night” – as long as there’s climate integralists such as him/her, there’s hope – exactly because their hate is of course incapable of doing much in the real world]

A great post by Science of Doom confirms what I discovered by myself some time ago, is repeated by textbooks such as raypierre’s¬†(pp 299-300) and is generally (I hope, but I wouldn’t bet on it!) known by climate experts, even if it’s completely misunderstood by 99.999% of warmists, especially of the obnoxious journalactivist/Romm/Gore/McKibben/BBC variety.

  1. CO2 warming does not directly happen in the troposphere. There is no such a thing as a CO2 blanket around us, and no increase in temperature underneath a CO2 cloud. And no, you can’t build a CO2 oven.
  2. CO2 molecules don’t go around inundating us with IR radiation. Actually, they do, but in the troposphere where we only can live, the bottom 12km or so of the atmosphere, their actions are totally negligible in the face of convection.
  3. The surface warming action of CO2 is strictly limited to the height of the troposphere, that is, it’s variations on that height that can (at least in theory) warm the surface.
  4. Discussions about the “greenhouse effect” therefore have only meaning if related to the ATMOSPHERE as a whole, not just the troposphere.

Or in a less colloquial way…

Since by removing GHGs (H2O excluded) the adiabatic lapse rate doesn’t change, we can definitely assume that GHGs have little to do with the adiabatic lapse rate.

Since the only meaningful way to compute a planetary surface temperature when there is an atmosphere, is by starting at the tropopause and then go down to the surface using the adiabatic lapse rate (as going the other way around could lead to physical impossibilities such as negative temperatures in K), we can definitely assume that the only possible contribution of GHGs to a planet-with-atmosphere’s surface temperature is in modifying the height of the tropopause.

The consequence of the above is that the one clear, smoking-gun proof of GH-led global warming/climate change would be found in a general change in the height of the tropopause.

Last time I tried discussing this quasi-trivial points, some bright mind has come back discussing radiative effects in the troposphere.

Categories: AGW, Omniclimate

Supermodels Against Climate Change

2011/09/07 13 comments

Wolfgang! Wolfgang! What Have You Done?!

2011/09/05 10 comments

Here’s some commented text from paper 1 at pages 1 and 2 of issue 1 of Remote Sensing, Feb 20, 2009…yes, of course an editorial by brown-nosed¬†Professor-with-little-to-teach Doctor-with-nowhere-to-guide-to Wolfgang Wagner, introducing the new journal with “A Better Understanding of Our Earth through Remote Sensing” (PDF):

We are so accustomed to seeing satellite pictures of the earth that it seems as if there is nothing left to be discovered. […] Yet, does this truly mean¬†that all the secrets of the earth have now been disclosed? Can we extract all the information we need from existing earth observation data?

No we can’t. Why? Because of people like you, Wolfgang, trying to remove credibility from those that do use “existing earth observation data” and spending their time sending apologies to the ones who pretend “there is nothing left to be discovered“.

[…] we have now more open questions and needs for environmental monitoring capabilities than ever before […]

No we don’t. See above. How did you dare mention “open questions” a few months before Copenhagen?

[…] What is the mass balance of glaciers and how strongly does their melting contribute to sea level rise? Are sea surface temperatures rising and will we experience more hurricanes and tropical storms as a result of that? Can we measure subtle changes in sea surface salinity and how do they affect ocean circulation?[…]

Say what? So, in 2009 you did ask questions like a climate skeptic. Wow. Impressive.

[…] These and many more question can only be answered by combining remote sensing and geophysical modeling capabilities in a process-oriented framework.

Process-oriented, uh? As in, by establishing processes that do not depend on the whims and egos of the people involved. What a dream. Too bad it died around 30 months later, when your “framework” stopped caring about the “process“.

The scope of the new journal Remote Sensing is to publish regular research papers, reviews, letters and communications covering all aspects of the remote sensing process, from instrument design and signal processing to the retrieval of geophysical parameters and their application in geosciences. Remote sensing is understood in broad terms, encompassing a wide range of sensors that acquire data about the Earth and its environment, and other physical objects and processes […]

Now this is important. You know, following your resignation people have started saying the nastiest things about Remote Sensing, a minor journal of no interest for climate science. People who? People like the person you apologised to, dear Wolfgang.

[…] Remote sensing is a highly interdisciplinary field where electrical engineers, physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, and surveyors meet with their colleagues from photogrammetry, GIS, and the various geosciences[…]

They meet, alright, then what? You try to ostracize some of them, uh? Do they have to listen to a recording of all RealClimate posts in Vogon language?

Is that what a meeting of minds should be about?

[…] Due to the confounding influence of other natural parameters it may for example not be possible to achieve an unambiguous interpretation of the remotely sensed data. The limited number of independent measurements may also mean that an exact solution is unattainable or at least impracticable […]

So if you KNEW all of this in Feb 2009, what made you throw it away in Sep 2011? On which date exactly did your mind lose coherence (or you evil cousin took over)?

[…] The scientific challenge is to develop retrieval algorithms that describe the physical measurement process in sufficient detail, yet be simple enough in order to allow a robust inversion of the remotely sensed signals […]

Are you sure your newly-found friend Gleick would agree? Actually, do YOU agree with that statement and if so how can you, now?

[…] My personal wish is that Remote Sensing will stimulate the exchange of scientists from around the world […]

And yet, when you have seen your wish granted you ran away. What have you done, Wolfgang? Do you realize, from yesterday onwards, each and every paper published on Remote Sensing will be greeted by a question: “What does Kevin Trenberth think about it?”.

It’ll be better and more sincere for MDPI to add a little note to every contribution: “I’m Kevin Trenberth and I approve this paper“.


ps in his introductory editorial, Wolfgang mentions “climate change” twice, “global carbon balance” once. Of the seven rhetorical questions he poses, six can be traced to climate change. I don’t know what one should think, but the importance of “climate change” for Wolfgang and Remote Sensing is self-evident.

The Dismantling Of Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wagner

2011/09/05 12 comments

This being a blog of “unusual takes”, there won’t be much discussion about the self-immolation of a journal’s Editor for a paper that couldn’t be retracted. I also presume the average reader won’t need links to WUWT or Real-Science or the Bish’s blog to know about the aforementioned self-immolation.

The irony of History being impossible to exhaust, however, some public details about Prof Dr Wolfgang Wagner (“Wolfgang” in the rest of this post) do leave mouths open in bewilderment and amusement. For example clean-shaven Wolfgang declared in July 2010 that he was trying to get “a Lead role in the European Space Agency’s Climate Change initiative” in order to “see how soil moisture changes over a long time“. The declaration came during a Living Planet Symposium organized by ESA in Bergen, Norway, five days with “over 1,000 scientists” discussing the “latest findings”. Focus of the Symposium? Environment and climate. And among the members of the Scientific Committee of the Symposium? Wolfgang!

So he mustn’t have been your average climate-change-debate-unaware Editor, our Wolfgang, really.

A few months earlier in 2009 the same Wolfgang was also happily celebrating his being the “Editor-in-Chief of the new Open Access Journal “Remote Sensing”. Why? Oh, the irony!!!:

Remote Sensing journal is an Open Access journal and an online journal, with the Editorial Office located in Basel. It maintains a rapid editorial procedure and a rigorous peer-review system. Because it is an open access journal, papers published will receive very high publicity. The Remote Sensing Editorial team consists of trained scientists (Publisher: Dr. Shu-Kun Lin, PhD in Organic Chemistry from the ETH Z√ľrich, and the Production Editor: Dr. Derek McPhee, California, USA)

Yes, that’s what he wrote: PAPERS PUBLISHED [ON “REMOTE SENSING”] WILL RECEIVE H-I-G-H P-U-B-L-I-C-I-T-Y. Well it sounds silly to protest against that same publicity in your resignation letter, doesn’t it Wolfgang?

Of course it doesn’t stop there. On 3 April 2011, Wolfgang was busy welcoming people to a workshop “WACMOS feedback to science community and water cycle¬†roadmap in a changing climate“. Theme number 2 of 4? “Clouds“. Yeah, right…meanwhile in Feb 2010, the very Institute directed by Wolfgang since 2006 announced the establishment of the “International Soil Moisture Network“. With a key weak point, unfortunately:

The success of the International Soil Moisture Network will be based on the voluntary contributions of scientists and networks from around the world. With this announcement we call upon the scientific community to support this worthwhile initiative. We hope that many more networks are willing to contribute.

One has to wonder if there was any hint of reduction in voluntary contributions, or just a sudden lack of willingness to contribute, unless Wolfgang killed his Remote Sensing position? After all, the news appeared alongside the announcement of a new Chairman of the GEWEX Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment Scientific Steering Group (some Kevin E. Trenberth).

Some “Kevin”, wonder there’s been apologies. Alas, they weren’t enough to stop Remote Sensing from getting trivialized by the same Kevin, as noted by Pielke Sr.

Sic transit gloria Wolfgangi. And good luck with whomever will ever publish a singe paper with Wolfgang as editor.

ps yes, it is much easier to respect somebody when they don’t throw to the wolves a good chunk of their work, in this case, a whole new Journal.

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