A woman in the eye of the political storm over climate change

Posted: September 27, 2014 by oldbrew in alarmism, climate, Forecasting, Uncertainty

Georgia Institute of Technology professor Judith Curry [image credit: Wikipedia]

Georgia Institute of Technology professor Judith Curry [image credit: Wikipedia]

Someone the current US President might do well to listen to before voicing opinions on climate matters is profiled here.

E & E News reports: Judith Curry thinks climate scientists view her as their “biggest threat.”

“I do not pay obeisance to the consensus and I think for myself, and they don’t like that,” said Curry, a professor at the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

“Biggest threat” might be hyperbole, but she certainly is a persistent thorn in the side of the climate community. Google her name, and the descriptors that come up are climate skeptic, climate heretic, climate misinformer, climate change denier.

She hates those labels — “I object to anybody using that term [climate skeptic] about anybody” — but they are a result of Curry’s views on human-caused global warming. Global temperatures have risen since the 1950s, a fact Curry does not dispute. But she believes the warming was caused predominantly by natural factors, with a smaller contribution from human activity.

Full report: SCIENCE: A woman in the eye of the political storm over climate change — Friday, September 26, 2014 — www.eenews.net.

  1. Jaime says:

    “They ate a three-course meal, heavy cutlery clinking, as Curry presented on climate change science.”

    I’m glad somebody else noticed that. Really, really impolite and disrespectful.

    Making such a big deal about her sponsors. As the article points out:

    “Curry explained in an interview that she would be happy to speak at greener venues, but that she doesn’t get invited. “I’m demonized by green groups,” she said. “I don’t invite myself to give these talks; people call me up and invite me.””

    Sheer hypocrisy from those who subsist on generous taxpayer funded handouts and payments from Green industry (who subsist on generous taxpayer funded handouts!). We all have to keep the wolf from the door and Curry probably has to work a lot harder to find sponsors than those spouting the AGW consensus.

    “Since 1951, global temperatures have been rising due to human activities — greenhouse gas emissions, aerosol emissions, land-use changes. This much is known and acknowledged by Curry and all scientists.

    But Curry thinks natural factors could be causing the warming.”

    Idiot. The author obviously fails to grasp the significance of attribution and Judith’s stance on that subject.

  2. “Nicholas Lewis and Judith Curry: The implications for climate sensitivity of AR5 forcing and heat uptake estimates. Climate Dynamics, September 2014”

    In this paper Lewis and Curry take to task the IPCC estimates of “Climate Sensitivity to CO2”, yet she has no references except the IPCC that there is “any” climate sensitivity to atmospheric CO2.

  3. I give Prof Curry credit for defying the pressure from academics (with little engineering knowledge) in similar facilities as her own. She has been at least honest that climate, the atmosphere, oceans and life (from bacteria, through plants and animals to humans) is complex.
    However, she needs to talk to chemical engineers at her own GIT and better at MIT. She needs to read up about the work of Prof Hoyt Hottel. The supposed climate sensitivity is in fact zero because the only effect of CO2 is to make plants grow. Vegetation has an effect on land surface moisture both in holding moisture and giving it off. I do not go along completely with this http://www.bioticregulation.ru/pump/pump.php but there is considerable measured evidence that rainfall and above surface moisture is associated with vegetation.
    From Hottel’s work it can be calculated that the radiation absorption of the present trace amount of CO2 is so small that it can not be measured. The present and past standstills of temperature with increasing CO2 concentrations is a clear indication of the negligible absorption. Further, an understanding of thermodynamics will make it clear that cold CO2 high in the atmosphere can not heat a warmer surface. Finally, there is considerable evidence on a daily, seasonal and cycles of 60 years and 1000 years that temperature leads the CO2 concentration. This could be taken as an negative sensitivity but that is not a physical attribute. The sensitivity (as defined by IPCC ie temperature increase by doubling of CO2) is zero and the temperature is affected by other factors such as clouds, and solar insolation.

  4. oldbrew says:

    It’s good to know there are at least a few people in academia prepared to take the climate bull by the horns, so to speak, by posing difficult questions and not allowing assertions to have a free ride.

  5. Paul Vaughan says:

    The lukewarmists (including Curry) are asking us to accept planning based on interpolation between empirical truth & modeling fantasy. In that sense they’re no worse than anyone else doing marketing & politics, where the consumer is used to knowing there’s no good choice, only a choice of least bad. We’re going to be steered in dreamy directions by dreamy leaders. That is a given. We can’t stop it. Sensible people adapt to bad leadership out of necessity. The thing that concerns me more is the censorship of 1+1=2, which Curry actively encourages on her blog (as does Watts at wuwt). The politics really doesn’t concern me. Politics will be corrupted no matter what. If you replace the people in power, you’ll just get a different type of corruption. The solution to that is easy: just adapt to the changing system. I have no problem with Curry’s politics. Resilience is a good idea. The problem I have with Curry is and has always been her stubborn refusal to acknowledge 1+1=2 and her support of people who actively and aggressively go to extremes to shut down anyone daring to say 1+1=2. Why sacrifice so much face appearing to be so threatened by a true statement when truth doesn’t even matter in politics??? (I don’t think they’ve thought this through carefully enough. They seem to think that censorship is necessary.) Even a half-witted negotiator can see the common ground. It’s not a zero-sum game. What matters to group A is not what matters to group B. (They haven’t stopped to realize this. Maybe when relentlessly spinning so hard, clear thought isn’t even possible….)

  6. ren says:

    Powerful eruption of a volcano in Japan.

  7. ren says:

    “Bardarbunga sits about seven miles under the Dyngjujökull glacier, which is more than 800 miles west, and across the Atlantic, from Norway. But as Vibeke Thyness at the Norwegian Medical Institute told Norway’s public broadcasting radio station, NRK, weather, along with a very active few weeks at the volcano, have likely combined to push the sulfur into Norway’s air space.

    “This is quite a large spill,” Thyness tells NRK. She explained that high pressure over Scotland, along with wind and only a little rain, has made it possible for the fumes to travel so far. While Thyness said the fumes themselves aren’t something that will endanger the public in Norway, the Iceland Review said residents in eastern Iceland have complained about sore throats, stinging eyes and headaches.”

  8. oldbrew says:

    Report: ‘Since 1951, global temperatures have been rising due to human activities — greenhouse gas emissions, aerosol emissions, land-use changes. This much is known and acknowledged by Curry and all scientists.’

    Slight problem – not true for about the last 15-18 years, so what should ‘all scientists’ now think? Judith Curry stirs the pot a bit here:

    ‘Attempts to modify the climate through reducing CO2 emissions may turn out to be futile’


  9. The climate sensitivity to CO2 is insignificant otherwise the correct value for the sensitivity constant would have been nailed down long ago.

    While people like Lindzen and Curry claim the sensitivity constant is low they still act as if the Arrhenius (1896) equation has some meaning:

    ΔT = 5.43 log2 (395/280) = 2.7 K

    Using the sensitivity constant calculated by Arrhenius, the warming since 1850 should have been 2.7 K.

    The concentration of CO2 correlates closely with temperature thanks to Henry’s law rather than Arrhenius’ false hypothesis:

  10. oldbrew says:

    gallopingcamel says: September 28, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Note for casual readers re Henry’s law:

    ‘An everyday example of Henry’s law is given by carbonated soft drinks. Before the bottle or can of carbonated drink is opened, the gas above the drink is almost pure carbon dioxide at a pressure slightly higher than atmospheric pressure. The drink itself contains dissolved carbon dioxide. When the bottle or can is opened, some of this gas escapes, giving the characteristic hiss. Because the partial pressure of carbon dioxide above the liquid is now lower, some of the dissolved carbon dioxide comes out of solution as bubbles. If a glass of the drink is left in the open, the concentration of carbon dioxide in solution will come into equilibrium with the carbon dioxide in the air, and the drink will go “flat”.’


  11. hunter says:

    The good news is that Dr. Curry is not writing her papers as sole author. She has co-authors. And apparently the list of co-authors is growing.
    A great rule of thumb is that it is nearly always a good bet to bet against apocalypse.

  12. oldbrew says:

    Here’s another new paper:

    ‘Two contrasting views of multidecadal climate variability in the 20th century’
    – Sergey Kravtsov, Marcia Wyatt, Judith Curry, and Anastasios Tsonis

    Judith Curry says: ‘Our new stadium wave paper is now published.’


    JC comments: ‘The big unresolved question remains as to the effect of multidecadal internal variability on our estimates of climate sensitivity and 20th century attribution of warming.’

  13. Doug Proctor says:

    The author – and the warmist objectors – fail to see that their own antagonism towards Curry demonstrates the weakness of their own position, i.e. the determination via the IPCC reports that human-derived, fossil fuel CO2 is the >70% cause of recent global warming. If her views did not have sufficient backup, if the claims of IPCC certainty were not so obviously untenable, Currry and other skeptics would be immaterial.

    Nobody doubts what they experience as clear and testable, but they do doubt their own experience as being a safe way to determine the truth about the world: we see all the time what we thought was going on wasn’t, and that other explanations turn out to be the correct ones even though the ones we grabbed were sufficient.

    Curry speaks to two things: that fierceness of claims of high certainty is the first sign that things are different from what is claimed, and that the IPCC evidence is more circumstantial than admitted. The anger and spite of her attackers is socially recognized proof that she is exposing weaknesses that the others do not want exposed because they want the proposed solutions regardless of the validity of the reasons they state.

    It is the sense of underlying agenda that make many uneasy and then uncooperative. Nobody wants to be manipulated into doing anything, even if, were it explained openly, we would agree with the end result. The warmists keep saying that it doesn’t matter if the truth is different, as long as we like the end result. The skeptics say it does, in part because we DON’T have absolute certainty about the outcome of anything, and particularly for things that are supposed to be for our true benefit according to those – the elite – who will not share the burden of change.

  14. @Paul Vaughn,
    “We’re going to be steered in dreamy directions by dreamy leaders. That is a given. We can’t stop it. Sensible people adapt to bad leadership out of necessity.”

    That statement seems to suggest that nothing can be done. To adopt that philosophy is to become a slave wearing invisible chains.

    Remember Edmund Burke:
    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

    “Leaders” around the world want to increase their control over the governed and what better pretext than a noble cause that can only be undertaken by governments working together (the Kyoto protocol on steroids). Clearly that idea died in 2009 but the next task is to undo all the dumb energy policies that were based on it. Replacing windmill and solar power with “Fracking Gas” and “Generation IV” nukes would be a good start.

    In spite of the billions spent on the new Lysenkoism of “Carbon Mitigation”, Mother Nature and unpaid bloggers like us are close to causing this expensive fraud to collapse in disgrace. What will the last straw be? A national blackout in Germany triggered by a lack of wind and sunshine? A sharp dip in global temperature so people start talking about a new “Ice Age” as they did in the mid 1970s?

    The Warmists are getting nervous given the widespread failure of their predictions. The hypocrite Al Gore looks pathetic rather than scary given the lack of warming and hurricanes since his “An Inconvenient Truth” came out. Arctic ice has the same extent in 2014 as in 2008 so polar ice is not a “Fond Memory” as Big Al predicted.

  15. Gary says:

    What an utterly incompetent piece of reporting. Ignoring the gossipy aspects, the author gets a number of facts wrong such as saying tree rings are added to the bark and tell about the weather. It also misrepresents Dr. Curry’s stand on various aspects of climate science. About the only thing it got right was that she is opposed by the usual suspects.

  16. catweazle666 says:

    Professor Curry is one of the few climate scientists who don’t reinforce the maxim that “climate scientist” is an oxymoron.

    More power to her elbow!

  17. gallopingcamel says:

    More power to your elbow too!

  18. Paul Vaughan says:

    gallopingcamel, There’s nothing any climate commentator can do that won’t be dwarfed by nature in the long run. Nature is the master of puppets, jerking climate commentators around like yo-yos with each ENSO swing. The best we can do is insist on being able to say 1+1=2 without being effectively censored by hosts who tolerate aggressive thought policing. Judy could have a simple sensible policy that says something like: “Systematically targeted persistent harassment will not be tolerated.”

  19. @Paul Vaughn,
    I can’t disagree with any of that.

    In the USA we have plenty of Evil Bastards trying to take away our freedoms but then I saw this:

    Surely the writer is exaggerating. Can the British have declined so much since WWII that they allow their freedom of speech to be tampered with?

  20. oldbrew says:

    Prof Curry challenges the IPCC on climate sensitivity in the Wall Street Journal: