Revisionist History and the CRU East Anglia stolen emails - the Baliunas example

One of the more egregious examples of the public relations spin on the East Anglia hacked email story involves a six-year-old research paper authored by Sallie Baliunas, an American astrophysicist affiliated with at least nine oil-industry-funded organizations.

In the stolen East Anglia emails, there is a conversation between scientists about and her paper, which argues that the current global warming trend is not unique and that an even more dramatic episode occurred centuries.

The conversation contained in the email is being made to appear like it was an attempt by climate scientists to “muzzle” the Baliunas research paper. Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), claimed last week that the exchange between academics amounts to a case of “scientific fascism.”

Sensenbrennner and others neglect to mention that the scientists who wanted to “get rid of the offending editor,” were not trying to muzzle anything other than a piece of poor research underwritten by the American Petroleum Institute–an oil lobbying group that spends more than $3 Million per year representing the interests of the fossil fuel industry.

The Baliunas paper so badly misrepresented the science that Climate Research editor Hans Von Storch resigned in frustration because his publisher refused to run an editorial refuting the article.

The editorial condemned the Baliunas paper’s for its “severe methodological flaws.” In the end 3 members of the editorial board at the journal resigned over the controversy.


Unless Sensenbrenner is trained in climate science (and he is not), it is clear from his comments that he has no idea what he is talking about. His comments demonstrate either scientific illiteracy on his part or his political motivatations. Probably both. Scientists who are trained in the field and know the field in which they are commenting have every right to dismiss the findings of others they find flawed. The science will stand or fall on its merits. Sensenbrenner knows nothing of the merits and is unqualified to comment on it as he did.

Science is a Meritocracy, not a democracy. Scientists have every right, even a duty, to make judgements on research.

The editor who let through the Balinas paper could not have had it peer reviewed by 3 referees who knew the subject. Because 12 of her 13 references denied saying in their papers what she said they said. A common source of referees is the cited works. But any reviewer would compare her claims with what the authors actually said, and ask for corrections or recommend the paper not be published.

But the paper did get published, and the chief editor planned to run an editorial refuting the paper. The publisher, a commercial outfit rather than a scientific society, refused to let the editorial run. So the scientists advised each other that the publication was unreliable.

I saw an event where an innocuous but whacky paper got published in a journal of a scientific society. There was a BIG FLAP because the paper slipped through the cracks in the journals review process. Procedures were tightened, at the insistence of society officers, including threats regarding the trustworthiness of the journal.

To use an analogy, I heard of a case where a doctor refused to follow protocol, risking the life of an infant in jeopardy. Other doctors intervened, the infant survived, and the hospital termination priviledges of the bad doctor. Mean old fascist hospital!

The smearing of scientists working to preserve the standards of professional journals threatens the integrity of science as a whole.

You cant even get the authorship correct. The paper’s primary author is Willie Soon and NOT Baliunas. Baliunas is the secondary author. Therefore it is protocol to refer to the paper as Soon and Baliunas.

Let’s hope the research in your crappy book is better than that for this thread.

Baliunas’ reputation suffers a bit less because she’s the second author on that worthless piece of rubbish.

I’ve read the paper – if an undergraduate student at any decent university had turned in a term paper like that, that student would be well on his/her way to academic probation.

If you can’t identify at least a couple of whopper blunders in the paper’s methodology, then it should be back to high-school for you!

And here are several big problems that jump out:

1) Soon/Balunias arbitrarily characterize periods of dryness and wetness as “warm anomalies” during the MWP. There is no justification for these assumptions anywhere in their paper.

2) They arbitrarily characterize periods of dryness and wetness as *cool anomalies* during the LIA. There’s no justification for this anywhere in their paper (and no attempt to address the obvious contradiction with (1) above).

3) During the 500-year-long MWP, they tally up short-duration “warm anomalies” without demonstrating any “synchronicity” amongst the anomalies. If the planet were truly unusually warm, that these “warm anomalies” would tend to occur simultaneously. Otherwise, they would simply represent heat energy “sloshing around” the planet rather than a planet-wide *increase* in heat energy. Note that most of the “warm anomalies” identified by Soon/Baliunas were limited temporally *and* geographically. Tallying them up without determining that they were in any way synchronous/simultaneous will tell you *nothing* about the temperature of the planet as a whole.

4) They compare “warm anomalies” during the 500-year-long MWP with “warm anomalies” during the single century that comprises the 20-th century without taking into account the 5-fold difference in the length of the time periods. It’s like saying that because you can identify hotter (short term) intervals during a 500-year time period than during a 100-year time period, the average temperature of the 500-year time period must exceed that of the 100-year time-period. The problem with this logic should be obvious.

5) Only during the last 2 decades or so of the 20th century have temperatures exceeded natural variability by a statistically significant amount. But Soon/Baliunas look at climate events of minimum duration of 50 years. A 50-year period length will “average away” the much of the warmth observed during the last two decades of the 20th century. The IPCC itself did not claim an identifiable human signal in the climate until 1995. The Soon/Baliunas methodology effectively dilutes the warmest final decades of the 20th-century with several, much cooler, previous decades.

Was anyone else here confused by my description of the problems with the Soon/Balunias paper? Was I unclear anywhere?

A little feedback will help me determine whether the communication problem here lies with me or with JR Wakefield.

Your number 5 is a glib statement that has no scientific backup. Where is the statistical evidence that the current warming is a statistically significant increase over natural temperature variation. It is not statistically different. Your statement is basically a lie.

Is that the Hockey Stick that the IPCC won’t use in their reports any more? Is that the hockey stick where they hid the decline in the proxies at the end of the series because it did not cooperate with the instrumental record? Is that the hockey stick that can have a divergence problem at the end of the time series but nowhere else in that time series? Is that the hockey stick that still uses stripbark bristlecone data against the advice of the NAS and Wegman reports? Is that the hockey stick that continues to use inverted paleo temperature data. And finally is that the hockey stick that uses instrumental data latched onto the end (minus the decline) of the proxy data to give us that wonderful hockey stick blade?

You seem to cling to one dead and gone paleoclimatic study that tried to single handedly kill the MWP instead of consider the literally hundreds of studies that show that the MWP was warmer than now. You would rather believe in a consensus of one than in a far more overwhelming consensus.

“the Hockey Stick that the IPCC won’t use”

Like the graph in Fig. 3.1 in AR 4 WG1 here?

Sorry, the localized MWP in Europe does not seem to be relevant. If it was warmer in Europe then, so what? We know the current warming is a result of human activities now.

Sorry sport but the figure you quote is not Mann’s Hockey Stick graph. So get your facts straight. The MBH graph which was figured prominently in the TAR report was removed from the AR4 report and is relegated to a single line graph in amongst a series of other paleoclimate studies. The chapter you should be looking at is Chapter 6 on Paleoclimate.

As for the MWP being localised to Europe, that is rubbish. There are dozens and dozens of peer-reviewed papers that show it to be a global event including papers from South Africa and New Zealand.

You really need to stop believing in your own BS and do some objective reading.

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Büntgen, U., J. Esper, D. Frank, K. Nicolussi, and M. Schmidhalter, 2005: A 1052-year tree-ring proxy for Alpine summer temperatures. Climate Dynamics, 25, 141-153.
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Fleitmann, D., S. J. Burns, U. Neff, M. Mudelsee, A. Mangini, and A. Matter, 2004: Palaeoclimatic interpretation of high-resolution oxygen isotope profiles derived from annually laminated speleothems from Southern Oman. Quaternary Science Reviews, 23, 935-945.
Goosse, H., H. Renssen, A. Timmermann, and R. S. Bradley, 2005: Internal and forced climate variability during the last millennium: a model-data comparison using ensemble simulations. Quaternary Science Reviews, 24, 1345-1360.
Goto, S., H. Hamamoto, and M. Yamano, 2005: Climatic and environmental changes at southeastern coast of Lake Biwa over past 3000 years, inferred from borehole temperature data. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 152, 314-325.
Gupta, A. K., M. Das, and D. M. Anderson, 2005: Solar influence on the Indian summer monsoon during the Holocene. Geophysical Research Letters, 32.
Hassan, F. A., 1981: Historical Nile floods and their implications for climatic change. Science, 212, 1142-1145.
Hemer, M. A. and P. T. Harris, 2003: Sediment core from beneath the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, suggests mid-Holocene ice-shelf retreat. Geology, 31.
Holmgren, K., P. D. Tyson, A. Moberg, and O. Svanered, 2001: A preliminary 3000-year regional temperature reconstruction for South Africa. South African Journal of Science, 97, 49.
Holmgren, K., J. A. Lee-Thorp, G. R. J. Cooper, K. Lundblad, T. C. Partridge, L. Scott, R. Sithaldeen, A. S. Talma, and P. D. Tyson, 2003: Persistent millennial-scale climatic variability over the past 25,000 years in Southern Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews, 22, 2311-2326.
Holmgren, K., W. Karlen, S. E. Lauritzen, J. A. Lee-Thorp, T. C. Partridge, S. Piketh, P. Repinski, C. Stevenson, O. Svanered, and P. D. Tyson, 1999: A 3000-year high-resolution stalagmitebased record of palaeoclimate for northeastern South Africa. The Holocene, 9, 295-309.
Huffman, T. N., 1996: Archaeological evidence for climatic change during the last 2000 years in southern Africa. Quaternary International, 33, 60.
Hunt, B., 2006: The Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age and simulated climatic variability. Climate Dynamics, 27, 677-694.
Kalugin, I., V. Selegei, E. Goldberg, and G. Seret, 2005: Rhythmic fine-grained sediment deposition in Lake Teletskoye, Altai, Siberia, in relation to regional climate change. Quaternary International, 136, 5-13.
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Linderholm, H. W. and A. Bräuning, 2006: Comparison of high-resolution climate proxies from the Tibetan Plateau and Scandinavia during the last millennium. Quaternary International, 154-155, 141-148.
Mackay, A. W., D. B. Ryves, R. W. Battarbee, R. J. Flower, D. Jewson, P. Rioual, and M. Sturm, 2005: 1000 years of climate variability in central Asia: assessing the evidence using Lake Baikal (Russia) diatom assemblages and the application of a diatom-inferred model of snow cover on the lake. Global and Planetary Change, 46, 281-297.
Mauquoy, D., M. Blaauw, B. v. Geel, A. Borromei, M. Quattrocchio, F. M. Chambers, G. Possnert, xf, and ran, 2004: Late Holocene climatic changes in Tierra del Fuego based on multiproxy analyses of peat deposits. Quaternary Research, 61, 148-158.
Millar, C. I., J. C. King, R. D. Westfall, H. A. Alden, and D. L. Delany, 2006: Late Holocene forest dynamics, volcanism, and climate change at Whitewing Mountain and San Joaquin Ridge, Mono County, Sierra Nevada, CA, USA. Quaternary Research, 66, 273-287.
Ngomanda, A., A. Chepstow-Lusty, M. Makaya, P. Schevin, J. Maley, M. Fontugne, R. Oslisly, N. Rabenkogo, and D. Jolly, 2005: Vegetation changes during the past 1300 years in western equatorial Africa: a high-resolution pollen record from Lake Kamalété, Lopé Reserve, Central Gabon. The Holocene, 15, 1021-1031.
Noon, P. E., M. J. Leng, and V. J. Jones, 2003: Oxygen-isotope (δ18O) evidence of Holocene hydrological changes at Signy Island, maritime Antarctica. The Holocene, 13, 251-263.
Polissar, P. J., M. B. Abbott, A. P. Wolfe, M. Bezada, V. Rull, and R. S. Bradley, 2006: Solar modulation of Little Ice Age climate in the tropical Andes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103, 8937-8942
Porter, S. C. and Z. Weijian, 2006: Synchronism of Holocene East Asian monsoon variations and North Atlantic drift-ice tracers. Quaternary Research, 65, 443-449.
Qiang, M., F. Chen, J. Zhang, S. Gao, and A. Zhou, 2005: Climatic changes documented by stable isotopes of sedimentary carbonate in Lake Sugan, northeastern Tibetan Plateau of China, since 2 kaBP. Chinese Science Bulletin, 50.
Rein, B., A. Lückge, L. Reinhardt, F. Sirocko, A. Wolf, and W.-C. Dullo, 2005: El Niño variability off Peru during the last 20,000 years. Paleoceanography, 20.
Russell, J. M. and T. C. Johnson, 2005: A high-resolution geochemical record from Lake Edward, Uganda Congo and the timing and causes of tropical African drought during the late Holocene. Quaternary Science Reviews, 24, 1375-1389.
Thompson, L. G., M.-T. E., M. E. Davis, P.-N. Lin, K. Henderson, and T. A. Mashiotta, 2003: Tropical glacier and ice core evidence of climate change on annual to millennial time scales. Climatic Change, 59, 137-155.
Turney, C. S. M. and J. G. Palmer, 2007: Does the El Niño–Southern Oscillation control the interhemispheric radiocarbon offset? Quaternary Research, 67, 174-180.
Tyson, P. D., W. Karlen, K. Holmgren, and G. A. Heiss, 2000: The Little Ice Age and medieval warming in South Africa. South African Journal of Science, 96, 126.
Yoshioka, T., J.-Y. Lee, H. A. Takahashi, and S. J. Kang, 2001: Paleoenvironment in Dae-Am San high moor in the Korean Peninsula. Radiocarbon, 43, 555-559.
Zhangdong, J., S. Ji, W. Sumin, and Z. Eniou, 2002: The Medieval Warm Period in the Daihai Area. Hupo Kexue, 14.

You go and look at them and summarise them yourself. This blog would not allow me the space to do that anyway.

You are really on a loser here my friend. I suggest you cut your losses and run.

Richard, you argued upthread for a global MWP which was warmer
than current temperatures.

Lonnie Thompson’s 2003 glacier paper agrees with Mann’s 1999 and Jone’s 1999 reconstructions, not you.

The Bertrand et al (2002) paper models Northern Hemisphere
temperatures and is consistent with the hockey stick you criticised earlier - a small upward trend during MWP, less than 20th century warming.

Booth et al (2006) shows an MWP comparable to 20th century temps.
But the 20th century is warmer, from figure 6.

Buntgen et al (2005) shows an MWP. But the 20th century is warmer;
current temperatures are the warmest in 1000 years.

Castellano (2005) shows a period of highly variable volcanic
activity over 1100-1500AD. The authors suggest that it may represent
a Southern Hemisphere warming - which is not synchronous with Northern
Hemisphere warming.

Cook (1992) shows a weak ‘MWP’ in the 12th century. But the period
1965-1989 was the warmest in the record. The instrumental record shows
warming since 1989.

Cook (1995) shows Northern Hemisphere medieval warming. The 20th
century is warmer.

The volume of ‘Climatic Change’ (26, 1994) the Davis study appears
in has a good review by Hughes and Diaz (pp.109-142):

> In this review a number of lines of evidence are considered,
> (including climate sensitive tree rings, documentary sources, and
> montane glaciers) in order to evaluate whether it is reasonable to
> conclude that climate in medieval times was, indeed, warmer than the
> climate of more recent times. Our review indicates that
> for some areas of the globe (for example, Scandinavia,
> China, the Sierra Nevada in California, the Canadian Rockies
> and Tasmania), temperatures, particularly in summer, appear
> to have been higher during some parts of this period than
> those that were to prevail until the most recent decades of
> the twentieth century. These warmer regional episodes were not
> strongly synchronous. Evidence from other regions (for example,
> the Southeast United States, southern Europe along the
> Mediterranean, and parts of South America) indicates that the
> climate during that time was little different to that of
> later times, or that warming, if it occurred, was recorded at a
> later time than has been assumed. Taken together, the
> available evidence does not support a global Medieval Warm
> Period, although more support for such a phenomenon could
> be drawn from high-elevation records than from low-elevation records.

Fleitmann (2004) shows a warm, wet MWP comparable to temps after 1960.

Goosse (2005) shows model runs of Northern Hemisphere temps. It doesn’t
conflict with the ‘hockey stick’.

Goto (2005) shows an MWP comparable to the mid-20th century.

Hassan (1981) shows an apparent anti-correlation:
> Analysis of Nile flood stages from A.D. 640 to 1921
> reveals major episodes of low Nile discharge during the
> years 930 to 1070 and 1180 to 1350 and major episodes of
> high Nile floods during 1070 to 1180 and 1350 to 1470.

> There is also apparently a correlation between low Nile
> discharge and cold climate in Europe.

Holmgren (2001, 2003): temperature series based on stalagmites from
the Makapansgat Valley, South Africa - medieval warming, not as intense
as that described by Tyson (2000).

Hunt (2006): Climate model, results don’t conflict with the ‘hockey stick’.

Li (2006): warm period from ~460-1480AD, not as warm as present.

Linderholm (2006): no MWP climate signal from trees from Tibetan
plateau and Scandinavia.

Mackay (2005): distinct MWP 880-~1180AD. Comparable to mid 20th century.

Macquoy (2004): doesn’t conflict with hockey stick.

Polissar (2006): glacial advances from 1100 onward…

Noon (2003): doesn’t conflict with hockey stick.

Rein (2005): weak El Nino during MWP.

Russell (2005): drought ~1100-1200, otherwise monsoonal like today.

Papers from your list which might justify part of your argument:
* Adhikari (2001) shows a distinct MWP comparable to the
most recent warming.

* Barron (2007) shows temperatures in the MWP comparable to the
late 20th century.

* Chu (2002) shows a drought episode from 880-1260AD from the lake sediments. Temperature comparable to the 20th century.

* Cook (2004) shows a severe drought in the western U.S. AD900-1300,
a little warmer and much drier than now.

* Davis (1994) shows increased rain and temperatures in the SW U.S.

* Gupta (2005) shows a correlation between solar output and monsoon
intensity, with increased solar output during the MWP.

* Huffman (1996): warm, wet MWP (900-1290AD) associated with
population growth in Central and Southern Africa (modern-day Zimbabwe).

* Kalugin (2005): Climate from 1240-1480 warmer and more humid than
today (wouldn’t take much in Siberia…!)

* Khim (2002): MWP comparable to the late 20th century.

* Kitagawa (1995): MWP comparable to late 20th century.

* Millar (2006): minimum temps during MWP 3 degrees warmer than now.

* Ngomanda (2005): more intense dry conditions ~800-1500AD.
Comparable to 20th century warming.

* Qiang (2005): comparable to 20th century warming.

* Tyson (2000):
> The climate of the interior of South Africa was around 1°C
> cooler in the Little Ice Age and may have been over 3 C
> higher than at present during the extremes of the medieval
> warm period. It was variable throughout the millennium, but
> considerably more so during the warming of the eleventh to
> thirteenth centuries…
> At that time, the positive temperature anomaly in
> annual daily maximum temperature about the 1961-1990 mean
> may have been as much as 3-4C.

* Yoshioka (2001) MWP signal in delta-13C profile in sediment.
Comparable to 20th century warming.

* Zhandong (2002), based on rubidium/strontium ratios and calcium
carbonate/organic carbon levels in sediment - a warm MWP near Lake
Dahai in Mongolia.

I couldn’t get a hold of Hemer (2003).

It is clear that Wakefield is pushing above his weight, resenting all the time that others are not in his weight class. When he is presented with concrete points about a paper he deemed ‘sensible’ he asks for papers to back these up. And of course if he would be given these he would ask for papers to back up the arguments in the first batch. It is sheer obstructionism.

This term paper mantra that I see in numerous arguments by warmists is basically BS. The paper would not have been published if it had no merit despite the compliant outrage it generated amongst some of the pro-AGW editorial board of the journal.

It is a worthless piece of rubbish only in your mind because it shows Mann to be a complete idiot and statistical amateur because they documented that the MWP was warmer than the current warm period which it was (from multiple sources of evidence from paleoclimatic proxies).

The IPCC reports seem to be some sort of Bible to you. They aren’t. I read them particularly AR4. The IPCC reports are deficient in many ways as certain peer-reviewed literature that is perceived to be in violation with AGW theory (get that. THEORY) are not included. Therefore it is necessary to read beyond the IPCC reports as the gatekeepers of those reports were the now somewhat discredited climategate scientists and ensured that a balanced outlook was not presented.

I’ve seen the “just a theory” meme before. It generally comes from creationists. It definately comes from scientific illiterates. Gravity is “just a theory”, too. Now, jump up and float away, Richard!

And please list for us the peer-reviewed literature that is not included. Just 5 examples from mainstream journals (we can’t count Energy & Environment as a peer-reviewed mainstream journal, it is a social policy journal with a political stance).

gravity is just a theory because it can’t be independently produced or explained.

Newton figured it was a force - something like magnetism

Einstein says nuts to that - it’s a warping of space time around physical objects or something … possibly a particle is involved …we’ll call the particle graviton (because Henry doesn’t seem like such a good name for a particle)

interesting stuff but not entirely satisfying. Is there really such a thing as a graviton? What makes it work …fairy dust I suppose. What’s fairy dust made out of? …I have a theory about that.

Science is the process of being consistenly wrong, until you are proven so. Atomic theory has changed dramatically over the years and will continue to do so as we gain and refine more knowledge. The climate systems is something we currently have very little understanding thereof and any theories and prediciton have to be taken with a grain of salt. The consistently WRONG predictions out of the IPCC climate models exemplify the fact that we certainly do not have full understanding of the climate system.

Arhenniuses greenhouse effect has scientific merit and has stood the test of time. What has absolutely no merit are the pillars of global warming alarmism, The runaway positive feedback loop that the global warming religion subscribes to and the “tipping point” both of which have very little scientific evidence to stand on.

At this point in time and especially in light of the fact that the leaked e-mails reveal corruption of peer review, data manipulation and researchers behaving like political activists not scientists it really is tough to give much scientific credence the AGW alarmis at all. It iwll suck in those with vested political and social interests but for the rest of us their is nothing there.

This is a typical argument of people who have no rational response. Associate the person with a discredited group (even though they do not belong to that group) and then imply that association is real.

Pathetic really.

I have a list of citations further below in this thread. You count how many of them appear in the IPCC reports on Paleoclimate.

Oh. Bye the way. The word is definitely.