Incompetent Climatologists: Dr. Nir Shaviv Nails It

Written by PSI Staff

This week all hell is breaking loose in the crazy world of climate science blogging! Dr. Roy Spencer is Rattled, Willis Eschenbach is wilting and Anthony Watts has no clue. But as this latest spat among ‘climate experts’ hots up it takes an outsider from the ‘hard’ sciences to call it right. Climate research is being done by incompetents, says award-winning astrophysicist, Nir Shaviv (pictured).

Nir Shaviv Calling out Climatologists

Let’s take a snapshot of what Dr. Shaviv refers to. Leading skeptic climatologist, Dr Roy Spencer (University of Alabama, Huntsville) is currently trouncing Willis ‘Citizen Scientist’ Eschenbach‘s pet theory that localized emergent phenomena (eg thunderstorms) regulate temperature and that ‘forcing’ has little to do with it. Spencer counters that feedbacks only make sense over entire atmospheric circulation systems.

In his tirade, Dr Spencer appears to be calling Willis’s ideas either unoriginal or a plagiarism of Ramanathan and Collins (1991). Also, Spencer appears to be saying that ‘citizen scientists’ should first study for a PhD and only when fully accredited as an expert should they speak up (aka ‘Argument to Authority’). What a palava!

It all reads very much like déjà vu to those of us at Principia Scientific International. It’s a repeat of Spencer’s hatchet job attacks on our experts from the ‘hard’ sciences who have called him and others out for their junk climatology. Then, as now, Spencer appears not to have read the work he is criticising before dismissing it out of hand, which is intellectually dishonest to say the least.

But squabling over pet theories? If it’s going to be done then do it properly. The real challenge is to get Spencer to face up to fellow ‘professional’ Richard Lindzen (MIT climatologist) so each can openly debate the other on their mutually contradictory pet ‘greenhouse gas’ theories. As PSI has shown, Lindzen insists that ‘greenhouse gases’ add heat from the ‘top down’ while Spencer says the absolute opposite, claiming the surface heats the atmosphere. Junk science anyone?  That Spencer and Lindzen avoid debating each other is a clue. Would these people cut it if they had to ply their ‘skills’ among first rate physicists, analytical chemists, mathematicians, etc.? Expect to see a lot more climate science ‘road kill’ on the information superhighway.

The plain truth is that an attack on Eschenbach is an attack on “the world’s most popular climate blog” WUWT. Site owner, Anthony Watts thinks the sun shines from Eschenbach’s posterior. It is all as much proof of a false consensus among skeptics who defend the so-called greenhouse gas theory (“lukewarmists”) as the illusion of solidarity among ‘consensus’ climate alarmists. WUWT readers have been posting bemused comments on Eschenbach’s rambling article. They are looking for ulterior motives such as “Maybe you’re [Willis] getting too close to an area Dr. Roy or one of his grads is researching.”

Others are incensed that “Dr Spencer appears to be calling Willis either unoriginal or a plagiarist. As Carl Sagan was wont to say “Extraordinary claims..””

But at Principia Scientific International (PSI) we know that the level of competence among earth scientists, when required to perform higher level physics or mathematical analysis, is proven to be low. Spencer has already been shown by us to have poor understanding, not only of established scientific facts, (outer space is not “cold”) but also of what others have empirically proven. In his diatribe against Eschenbach Spencer comes across as a hypocrite for accusing Eschenbach of not doing his homework before making scientific pronouncements. But PSI saw this same flaw in Spencer’s modus operandi when he claimed he had studied our science before dismissing it with his challenge to us to “put up or shut up” – Spencer demanding we provide our own alternative model for an earth energy budget. We more than met his challenge here.

But if Spencer had first studied our science before dismissing it and posting his challenge, he would have seen that we have for years hung our hats on our own alternative model  already in existence – which we cited several times in published peer-reviewed work that we referred him to.  But the fact that we had ‘only’ scientists who aren’t climatologists performing our peer-review makes it ‘invalid’ to these self-appointed experts from climate science.

As it stands, PSI’s analyses proves there is no need to factor in any supposed “greenhouse gas effect” to account for the solar energy entering and leaving earth’s system. But what do 300+ applied scientists, engineers, mathematicians, physicist, etc. know? 

Dodging our replies to him Spencer resorted to implicit appeals to his own authority as a “professional.” But the “professional” even fails on some of the most basic scientiific fundamentals e.g. such as Roy believing cold things can make warmer things even hotter! As physicist Professor Karl Erdman and (separately) Chemical Engineer Dr. Pierre Latour have shown, Spencer’s ‘Yes, Virginia’ blog post on that issue was as much an embarrassment to Roy’s credibility as Eschenbach’s “greenhouse gas steel shells” was to Willis. But as we have seen, Spencer will dishonestly mischaracterize true experts such as Erdman and Latour as “citizen scientists” when in fact, to any rational observer, they and others at PSI are exemplary professional scientists. The sore spot is that climatologists (mostly earth scientists) get irked when experts from the ‘hard’  sciences (well used to testing their skills in the ‘real world’ rather than academia) point out the failings of armchair climate ‘experts’ who try and fail to apply such hard science.

As climatologist, Dr Tim Ball repeatedly points out:  we should all remember that climatology is a generalist discipline populated by non-specialists struggling to comprehend the inumerable specialized scientific dsciplines applicable when analyzing our planet’s complex and chaotic system. As such. an honest climate researcher should consult those specialists on matters where the climate researcher is untrained/unqualified. This was probably the most salient point made by Lord Oxburgh in his 2010 (‘Climategate’) Report to the UK Parliament when criticizing British climatologists for their poor statistical analyses.

To summarize, PSI welcomes more open debate from all walks of science to weed out the wheat from the chaff. Moreover, it gives Joe Public the chance to see what really passes for scientific discourse. What is for certain is that how government-funded ‘research’ actually gets done is now very much under the microscope more than ever before. The climate controversy has triggered a rupturing of the ‘old ways;’  the illusion of a dignified (but private) scientific establishment that unduly accords scientists prestige when none had been earned is no longer tenable.

The lamentable truth is precisely as award-winning Israeli Astrophysicist Dr. Nir Shaviv points out:

After perhaps billions of dollars invested in climate research over more than three decades, our ability to answer the most important question in climate has not improved a single bit!’ — ‘One reason for the lack of improved understanding could be incompetence of the people in the field’

Sure, in the new Internet Age of open scientific debate egoes will get bruised, but there should be no problem for honest inquiring minds thrashing out these contentious points, for the greater good us of all.


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    You may find this interesting,

    [url=]Who is Willis Eschenbach?[/url]

    As of 2012 Mr. Eschenbach has been employed as a House Carpenter.

    He is not a “computer modeler”, he is not an “engineer” and he is certainly not a “scientist” (despite all ridiculous claims to the contrary).

    “A final question, one asked on Judith Curry’s blog a year ago by a real scientist, Willis Eschenbach…”

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