2011-01-13 21:36:18Monckton strikes again
James Wight


Monckton's newest "paper" is "Alarming Warming? Reality Trumps Dire Predictions". In it he makes the following claims:

  • There have been four cold winters. (Is he perchance exhibiting a Northern Hemisphere bias?) 
  • Implies that global warming is only a "prediction", by the IPCC alone. (Don't mention all the empirical evidence! Don't mention all the National Academies of Science! Which reminds me, I must get around to updating the "no consensus" rebuttal.)
  • Climate scientists are in it for the gold.
  • Snowstorms in Britain and US.
  • Last month was the coldest in the 350-year Central England temperature record.
  • Cancun conference was cold.
  • Hansen is a "hard-Left political agitator"! So GISTEMP can't be trusted! (I find this ironic as Hansen has campaigned for less government control over what he can say to the public, and he is also in favour of nuclear power. It's a particularly nasty tactic that contrarians use: associate datasets with individual scientists and attack them personally.)
  • The past decade only appears to have warmed when you average it over several decades. (Actually a five-year moving average shows warming in the past decade.)
  • GISTEMP is biased by urban heat island effect.
  • GISS tampers with temperature data. In particular they adjusted a single station in Santa Rosa, California.
  • Hansen's 1988 predictions were too high. (Of course Monckton doesn't explain that this suggests climate sensitivity is around 3degC.)
  • Hansen's 1988 testimony was scheduled to coincide with a heatwave.
  • June 2008 was colder than June 1988.
  • The IPCC's approach is based on Hansen's, so it can't be trusted either. (Again, no mention of the downward revision of climate sensitivity, which makes all the difference.)
  • Early 20th-century US warming was rewritten.
  • Satellite measurements are fantastic and don't have any of the uncertainties that plague most science. It's a complete coincidence that Monckton thinks they support his argument.
  • Monckton shows a bunch of graphs claiming to compare observations with IPCC predictions.
  • Cold northern winters can't be caused by global warming because the IPCC said cold extremes would decrease "almost everywhere".
  • From the past decade, Monckton extrapolates linearly to 2100 to claim the IPCC are wrong. (Even though his own graphs make it clear the IPCC didn't predict linear warming!)
  • Future CO2 concentrations should be correlated with CO2 emissions. (Never mind that CO2 remains in the atmosphere for centuries to millennia.)
  • Because CO2 effect is logrithmic, an exponential increase in CO2 should mean a linear increase in CO2 forcing.
  • The IPCC estimates a climate sensitivity of 3.26degC. (Actually what they say is it's likely between 2 and 4.5 degrees, very likely greater than 1.5degC but with an unknown upper limit. They don't get as specific as two decimal points!)
  • The temperature response in 2100 is less than that predicted by the IPCC's estimate of climate sensitivity. (Because climate change will stop in 2100, obviously.)
  • The IPCC overestimates the residence time of CO2.
  • All the warming periods in the instrumental record were at slower rates than predicted for the 21st century. (Duh!)
  • Global warming has been happening for more than 300 years.
One interesting thing about Monckton is that he never backs away from drawing the logical conclusion of his arguments, that scientists are tampering with data. Many other contrarians use a lot of innuendo which gives the same impression, but Monckton explicitly states his conspiracy theories.
2011-01-14 03:57:28not more Monckton!
Dana Nuccitelli
Geez, if Monckton keeps this up we may need to do Monckton Myths on a daily basis all year!
2011-01-14 10:40:01Rethinking daily posts
John Cook


I'm starting to rethink whether we should do this on a daily basis or maybe one new Monckton Myth every other day or so. For two reasons.

Firstly, it might get a bit monotonous - all Monckton, all the time. So we should break up the Monckton Mash with other stuff.

Secondly, seeing that Monckton has already churned out another load of hogwash, this ties in with another line of thought I've been having of late. Over the last year, I've been coming to the realisation that this is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. The denial disinformation campaign is not going to go away without a huge, bare knuckle brawl. They will fight harder and harder as we get closer to climate legislation. A few years ago, I thought Skeptical Science would be obselete and irrelevant by now. Obviously, that is not the case and now I'm trying to steel myself for a long, drawn out campaign. I'm mindful of burning out and trying to get a balanced, sustainable lifestyle.

So long story short, the Monckton Myth series should not be specifically about Monckton vs Steketee or about the Steketee rebuttal. It should be about Monckton and his disinformation. So we can quote from Steketee. We can quote from this latest paper. Take any of the latest Monckton disinformation, pick the worst bits and use it to highlight his techniques of misleading.

2011-01-14 11:01:01hey John
Robert Way

Hey John,

remember though, this isn't the marathon you think it will be. Congressional hearings and stuff, it is time to be vigorous. We have to be prepared like you said for rapid deployment. I know it is hard and taxing but we are making headway. Dr. Pederson's email was a great example of that. SKS has grown so much in the last year that it is getting busy but we have to be ready to be there if we are needed because this is one of the best if not the best site out there. The hardcore skeptics will never learn but the ones on the fence can do so.

PS I think my post could double as the advanced rebuttal to the 1998 one.


Cheers John.
2011-01-14 11:39:30Monckton and marathons
John Cook


Don't get me wrong, Robert, it's not like I plan to put my feet up this year. The Skeptical Science Plans for 2011 shows just what a potentially crazy year we have planned, and already there are a few other ideas not included in that thread like the Monckton Myths and collaborating with Peter Sinclair/Climate Crock of the Week (a few minutes ago, I had the idea that we could extend this collaboration to other media - Peter's video, SkS blogs and The Climate Show's podcasts perhaps).

What I'm saying is we need to think long-term. Specifically in this case, Monckton Myths is not about the Steketee article specifically - it's about Moncton's disinformation in general. So we can cover his disinformation in the Steketee article but then cover this latest paper. If there's some of his older material that he keeps bringing up, hit that too.

And everytime he uses it on WUWT, highlight that fact to make Anthony Watts embarrassed that he's allowing rubbish on his blog - similar to him becoming so embarrassed about Steve Goddard's blatant errors that he kicked him off the blog.

So can I suggest that instead of your blog post headed Myth #2,3,4 - perhaps it should be just #2. Eg - we're not literally lining up our myths to his Steketee points. 

2011-01-14 11:43:22Skeptical Science Temperature Index
John Cook

While it's a cute title and all, I would suggest not using that title. This is a fantastic graph and I would like to think it get used on other blogs - I will certainly encourage the network of climate bloggers to use it. So having the title "Skeptical Science" could actually be baggage it doesn't need. Instead, I think we should call it literally what it is. Either your "All Series Temperature Index" or something sexier... hmm, I can't think of anything better than "All Series Temperature Index" actually. :-)

Do you want me to upload the spreadsheet you sent me? Or will there be an updated version?

2011-01-14 11:56:48Agreed
Robert Way

Hey John.
I agree with you regarding the Skeptical Science Temperature Index thing. I just thought I would be a little tongue in cheek:P Originally I had something like All series temperature index but I need a sexier name for sure. I can email you an updated version of the spreadsheet. Another question is how do I make the post look nicer and what do you think of it overall? Umm any way to make it a little more artistic?

Also I will change it to myth 2 and anything else you suggest just let me know.


How about Ten Series Temperature Index (oh sexy ... haha)
2011-01-14 12:35:25All Series Temperature Index
John Cook


What would be cool is if the words could spell a clever acronym.

YETI - Yearly Encompassing Temperature Index

Okay, that sucks, I'm just thinking out aloud here :-)

2011-01-14 15:02:52Moncktons
Dana Nuccitelli
Seems to me like we could still do a roughly daily Monckton myth debunking while also mixing in other posts to break it up.  Like you say John, there's no reason we have to limit SkS to one post per day.
2011-01-14 15:10:01More than one post per day
John Cook


If we have other posts, then yes, sounds great.

So I will post the #1 Monckton myth first thing tomorrow. Then the general rule is we don't post the next Monckton post until at least 1 or 2 other blog posts get posted. So if we manage to get other posts done the same day or early the next day, then sure, we can post Monckton Myths on consecutive days.

We don't need to synchronise watches or anything - as long as there is at least an hour or two breathing space between blog post, that's good enough for me.

2011-01-14 16:04:40Maybe we should use Roman numerals
James Wight


Ie. Monckton Myth I, II, III…

That way they could still be numbered but the numbers wouldn’t have to correspond to Monckton’s points.

2011-01-14 20:11:36
Rob Painting

John, the All Series Temp Index - it would be great if the acronym was HEAT, or something similar. Hmmmm...........


2011-01-14 22:46:10
Rob Painting
Homogenized Earth All Temperatures Series - yeah a stretch I know, but I do like the acronym.
2011-01-15 00:44:08
Ari Jokimäki


Monckton HEAT series

(HEAT = Huge Errors And Trash)