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Daily Mail Launches Dirty Attack To Smear John Christy

December 1, 2017

By Paul Homewood


A quite one-sided and scurrilous piece from the Daily Mail, which attempts to rubbish the latest paper from Christy and McNider.




John Christy’s paper, “Satellite Bulk Tropospheric Temperatures as a Metric for Climate Sensitivity”, is hardly controversial in itself. It claims that, based on satellite measurements, the rate of atmospheric warming has not accelerated since 1994. (Note – they are not saying that temperatures have stopped rising.)

To reach their conclusions, they have taken out the effect of the two major volcanic eruptions of El Chichon in 1982, and Pinatubo in 1991. They have also adjusted for ENSO changes.

Neither of these adjustments are in any way controversial or illegitimate, and other scientists have also attempted to calculate their effect previously. Of course, the exact calculations can be properly debated. Nevertheless, it is inarguable that both volcanic eruptions had a significant cooling effect on the Earth’s climate. Given that they both occurred in the early part of the satellite record, they have, as a result, artificially increased the overall warming trend.

Below is the Christy chart:



As I mentioned, others have carried out similar analysis, for instance Santer at al, in 2014, who came to similar conclusions:

Despite continued growth in atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases, global mean surface and tropospheric temperatures have shown slower warming since 1998 than previously.

And published this graph, which bears uncanny resemblance to the Christy one:




So why all the fuss?

Quite simply, Christy shows that with the effect of volcanoes taken out, the global temperature trend from 1979 to 2017 falls from 0.155C/decade to 0.096C/decade.

In turn, this means that climate models used in IPCC AR5 show more than double the real underlying warming.


So cue the orchestrated attempts to rubbish the Christy paper. These are direct quotes from the Mail article:

1) In the past, however, scientists have slammed Christy’s research for containing numerous flaws and biases; the researcher has even previously claimed that the atmosphere is cooling.

In an article for The Guardian earlier this year, thermal sciences and climate expert Dr John Abraham pointed out that the researcher has had to make numerous changes to his studies after other experts noted major errors.

Critics of Roy Spencer and John Christy frequently wheel out these sort of ad hom attacks, when they can’t argue with the facts.

There were undoubtedly many problems with satellite measurements in the early days, as it was very much a learning exercise then. Many of the problems revolved around the inaccurate data that the satellites themselves were sending back.

In 2006, NOAA commissioned a study into look into the historical discrepancies between surface and satellite datasets, with Tom Wigley as Lead Author. It concluded:

Previously reported discrepancies between the amount of warming near the surface and higher in the atmosphere have been used to challenge the reliability of climate models and the reality of humaninduced global warming. Specifically, surface data showed substantial global-average warming, while early versions of satellite and radiosonde data showed little or no warming above the surface. This significant discrepancy no longer exists because errors in the satellite and radiosonde data have been identified and corrected. New data sets have also been developed that do not show such discrepancies.

For recent decades, all current atmospheric data sets now show global-average warming that is similar to the surface warming.



2) This time around, Abraham told that the team is only accounting for one component of Earth’s climate while neglecting other important factors, including the oceans, ice melt data, and temperatures at the ground level.

There are a number of reasons why this statement is grossly misleading.

a) As recently as last year, the Met Office stated:

Changes in temperature observed in surface data records are corroborated by measurements of temperatures below the surface of the ocean, by records of temperatures in the troposphere recorded by satellites and weather balloons, in independent records of air temperatures measured over the oceans and by records of sea-surface temperatures measured by satellites.

Satellite measurements cannot simply be dismissed out of hand.

b) In 2007, the IPCC were also very clear on the matter:

For global observations since the late 1950s, the most recent versions of all available data sets show that the troposphere has warmed at a slightly greater rate than the surface, while the stratosphere has cooled markedly since 1979. This is in accord with physical expectations and most model results, which demonstrate the role of increasing greenhouse gases in tropospheric warming

In short, both actual observations and theory expect atmospheric temperatures to closely follow surface ones.


3) And, Abraham says they’ve manipulated the raw measurements to decrease warming by about 38 percent.

He has published a paper in a third-rate journal, possibly because he couldn’t get his results into a more rigorously reviewed journal. His work reportedly shows that by manipulating actual temperature measurements, the rate of warming has been decreased.

As already stated, Christy’s analysis is perfectly legitimate, and simply follows similar work by Ben Santer amongst others.

Abraham’s accusation of “manipulation” is pejorative, with connotations of cheating.

As for dismissing it as a third-rate journal, I am sure the publishers would disagree.

And by “rigorously reviewed”, I take it he means the sort of pal-review which has passed through many climate papers down the years, which have subsequently been quickly debunked by independent experts.


4) Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, explained that satellite observations, while good at measuring large temperature differences in the context of weather forecasts, are ‘not reliable for small decadal trends’ (i.e 0.1 degree C per decade)

‘Bottom line,’ Tans wrote in an email to, ‘do not trust satellite records for long term temperature trends.’

It is hard to know where to start with this fatuous statement.

As already mentioned, both the IPCC and Met Office have confirmed the relevance and accuracy of satellite data.

As for measuring small decadal trends, surely Tans must know that NOAA’s own surface dataset has annual margins of error of 0.15C, and therefore cannot offer the precision he is looking for either.

And NOAA are so confident of the satellite data, including their own NESDIS database, that they include it every year in their annual joint conference with NASA, which presents the latest climate data. Note how closely NESDIS tracks the UAH data.





Furthermore, NOAA’s own radiosonde data also tracks UAH closely.




5) Responding to the new study, Tans said that both atmospheric and ocean observations have shown greenhouse gases have risen since 1850s, and this is ‘entirely due to human activities.’

Greenhouse gases are known to trap heat in the atmosphere and the oceans. And, Tans says these effects will linger for thousands of years.

‘The relatively large spread of modeling predictions has zero impact on the conclusion, based on solid observations and established understanding of physics and chemistry that climate change is caused by human actions and that we are just seeing the beginnings of it,’

John Christy certainly does not deny the effect of GHGs, and neither do most sceptical climate scientists.

The purpose of Christy’s paper is to quantify and discuss just how much of an effect they might have, something that is highly relevant when public policy is based on the outcome.

To his shame, Tans’ comments do nothing to contribute to this important debate.


It is hard not to conclude that this whole predictable attack has been highly orchestrated.

It is after all hard to believe that the Daily Mail would even know Abrahams or Tans to ask for comments in the first place.

I sense the hand of someone like Bob Ward or Richard Black here.

  1. December 1, 2017 6:43 pm

    Paul. I think you have a wrong double negative. “It is hard not to conclude that this whole predictable attack has not been highly orchestrated” should be “It is hard not to conclude that this whole predictable attack has been highly orchestrated”.

    The Daily Mail, like the Grauniad and the BBC, is not renowned for any accurate science reporting.

    • December 1, 2017 10:03 pm

      Thanks Phil

      Corrected now, rather a triple negative in fact!

  2. chrism56 permalink
    December 1, 2017 7:05 pm

    As there are very true journalists left, it would be interesting to find who is the ghostwriter of the smear. The fact that they knew exactly which scientist would put the boot in indicates that they come from within the team.
    The more interesting item is what were they doing at the Daily Mail? Wasn’t the Guardian articles reaching their intended target and at the Telegraph,, they risked being nuked by Mr Booker?

    • Gerry, England permalink
      December 2, 2017 1:17 pm

      The Guardian preaches to a shrinking band of readers according to it sales figures and annual losses. The Telegraph has mutated into the home of utter crap as Paul shows in their renewable energy propaganda and their Brexit output is drivel as well. So the blob need to use another medium for their global warming lies so where better then the Daily Mail. I doubt the Mail on Sunday would have printed as they give space to Rose and Booker on occasion. And yes, journalism is pretty much dead so if present a near finished piece to them they will jump at filling the space with no effort.

  3. December 1, 2017 7:12 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  4. jim permalink
    December 1, 2017 7:15 pm

    The problem is that although Christy’s numbers look more realistic , they are still the output of ‘models’. Satellites don’t measure temperatures, they measure radiance. And then the rest is modeled including trying to take effect of clouds etc. So although his numbers cover the whole globe within a range of the atmosphere, there is nothing ‘real’ about them, anymore than the output of any other model.
    Unfortunately this leaves the door open for all sorts of comments from the warmunists. Its a sort of inverse of the criticism of the warmunists models. Now right-minded people may believe Christy has it ‘better’ than the other lot, but its just a bun fight about model inputs and outputs.
    Paul, I think the key is your statement
    ‘John Christy certainly does not deny the effect of GHGs, and neither do most sceptical climate scientists.’
    As long as there are luke-warm sceptics saying this, the door will be open for the warmunists to say whatever they want, influence politicians etc, and support the extreme ‘solutions’ to a non-existent problem.
    As a physicist I do not see any scientific evidence for any radiance warming effect of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere. GHG’s need convection , the earth does not have a glass roof.
    Unless this idiocy is lanced at the heart , this will continue.
    I despair of the human race if we allow a few to use ‘computers’ to change our societies in such a malicious manner.

    • December 1, 2017 10:09 pm

      The GHE effect is NOT backradiation caused LWR warming. It is retardation of LWR cooling because of the backradiation. Less LWR per unit time/volume escapes to space. Less cooling means that some of the daylight SWR warming remains until the resulting rise in temperature caused bynlost cooling increases LWR enough to offset the retardation. This must be so based on the lab physics. What is not known with any certainty is what the secondary water vapor and cloud feedbacks do to this primary effect. Christy’s paper shows the net positive feedback effect must be much less than in the models. Model median ECS 3.2, while best energy budget observational estimates are 1.5-1.7, about half. That is why he has been so viciously and wrongly attacked. More support for too high model sensitivity.

      • jim permalink
        December 2, 2017 3:26 am

        Yes, less cooling produces more heat which produces more cooling. So status quo. There are no feedbacks. GHG radiation is net zero. Convection is the cause of real actual greenhouse heating because of roofs.

  5. December 1, 2017 7:40 pm

    ‘Greenhouse gases are known to trap heat in the atmosphere and the oceans’

    This old chestnut again. Trace gases can’t ‘trap’ anything, especially heat, otherwise the oceans would have boiled dry millions of years ago.

    Remember CO2 is 0.04% of the atmosphere and radiates in ALL directions. Some trap that is 🤣

  6. CheshireRed permalink
    December 1, 2017 7:41 pm

    You know it’s a hit-piece when one side attacks it for all they’re worth rather than offering a neutral, objective assessment. The protection above all else of one’s career, grant funding and professional reputation does that to people.

  7. hanserren permalink
    December 1, 2017 9:16 pm

    See also
    Douglass, D.H. and B.D Clader, 2002, Climate sensitivity of the earth to solar irradiance, Geophys. Res Lett. vol 29, no. 16, 10.1029/2002GL015345
    With a similar result

    • December 2, 2017 11:58 am

      Wow! Douglass and Clader estimated 0.065 K per decade, which is only 0.65 K per century.

      • December 2, 2017 12:03 pm

        hanserren’s graphic below the Douglas and Clader paper seems to be incorrect in showing the rate of warming about 10 times too high.

  8. December 1, 2017 9:40 pm

    “Notorious Climate Skeptic”, “controversial”, it reads like a BBC news item about Trump or about a Brexiteer, but the US spelling of “Sceptic” and the general tone suggests a non-UK origin. Together with the attack on Susan Crockford it suggests a major ramping up of the witch hunt against dissenters, and somebody else is likely to be the target of a new documentary film about Bill Nye (the “science” guy).

    There are many hints around that “Climate Communication” is now a thing with huge funding, maybe this is a sign of what is to come.

  9. Sheri permalink
    December 1, 2017 9:43 pm

    Let’s see. Climate researchers wanted satellites because they were more accurate and had global coverage. The satellites did not give the “correct” answer, so they were called inaccurate and thrown out. Climate researchers wanted ocean buoys to more accurately measure ocean temperatures and those worthless pieces of technology also gave the wrong answer, so back to using ships and getting the answer desired. As far as I can see, there’s no reason to fund any more research. Just let them totally fabricate all numbers and save a fortune. Undesirable outcomes are just tossed anyway. Save money—make up the numbers and get the outcome “science” knows is right. Who needs data anyway?

  10. martinbrumby permalink
    December 1, 2017 11:16 pm

    If that third rate drip John Abraham is a noted “Climate Expert”, then I am a Prima Ballerina.

    And if the surface temperature record, complete with a gazillion “adjustments”, is to be preferred to the satellite record, then MAD Magazine is great literature.

    And ALL the legacy media are unfit to line the budgie’s cage.

  11. Bitter&twisted permalink
    December 2, 2017 10:08 am

    All these frenzied attacks mean just one thing.
    The Green Blob is panicking.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      December 2, 2017 1:23 pm

      And let us hope that this is the beginning of the end for their scam. Facts were always going to catch them out in the end since as King Knut demonstrated, you can’t stop reality.

  12. Bitter&twisted permalink
    December 2, 2017 10:11 am

    John Abraham is not a climate “scientist”, rather he is an engineer with an interest in renewable energy.
    So no conflict of interest.

  13. mikewaite permalink
    December 2, 2017 12:00 pm

    If you were the chief financial officer of a major retail chain eg M&S or Debenhams and were worried about the effect of online trading on long term shop sales, you would look at the sales figures over the past 5 or 10 years. But during that period there would be temporary and random events that increase or depress sales, like royal weddings or heatwaves or a very cold winter and obviously you would try to factor those random events out in order to find the long term trend and therefore plan strategy accordingly . You would not expect your fellow board members to snarl and scream at you , or write to the daily mail saying how evil and stupid you are .
    But that is exactly what the great and the good in the climate science community are doing at this attempt to find out the long term trend in temperature , so often obscured by temporary heating or cooling events . The attempts may not be as accurate as they could be , but at least it is a start in a very sensible direction and hopefully more researchers will continue this work.

  14. Athelstan permalink
    December 2, 2017 12:04 pm

    The Mail occasionally prints the odd article by Chris Booker and J Delingpole thus, they rather play middle for diddle insofar as ‘the great green scam’ is referenced.

    “John Christy certainly does not deny the effect of GHGs, and neither do most sceptical climate scientists.”

    Indeed but all atmospheric gases are to some extent GHG’s and by far the most potent of these is Hydrogen diOxygen and then a long way back CH4 – H₂O – it’s a little bu88er so it is. What is at the nub, is the egregious mythologizing, is that the minimal, a puny amount of man made CO₂ is somehow causing an alteration in the planets overall Temperature equilibrium and is, a quite preposterous supposition.

    I laugh long at the gruan and today at this piece in the daily fail. With, experts arguing the toss over a set of statistics which are in no way straightforward nor are they easily verifiable and thus are subject to subjective interpretation, he says she says and so what one might conclude.

    Man made warming is a politically sourced chimera designed to be used as a cosh to beat up the uncaring and thus [propagandized] heedless, inattentive gormless? taxpayers into coughing up vast sums to feed #tthe green agenda. To augment the ‘reputations’ “more milk and lots of honey tomorrow!”……..of a virtue signalling rump of ridiculous politicians who cannot, will not be reasoned with, ‘advised’ by some dubious set of prestidigitators and cranks like Mann et al, and a corporate, insurance, banking, automobile manufacturers it’s a long list crony claque in cahoots with and making a bomb dead set on regressing (named sustainability) the nation (UK) back to the dark ages.

    Cheap and plentiful energy, its the only thing which works, cut off the supply and we are done for, we witness it, despite of the blizzard of panglossian hollow promises: the prospects are not bright to bleak.

    • jim permalink
      December 2, 2017 1:09 pm

      Spot on

  15. rapscallion permalink
    December 2, 2017 3:07 pm

    Interestingly, when you look at the comments in the DM piece, you can see that people aren’t falling for it.

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