Daily Mail Launches Dirty Attack To Smear John Christy

A quite one-sided and scurrilous piece from the Daily Mail, which attempts to rubbish the latest paper from Christy and McNider. (Learn more about the column’s author here.)



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 is 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 an 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 in 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 hominem 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 human-induced 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 Dailymail.com 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 was 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 degrees C per decade)

‘Bottom line,’ Tans wrote in an email to Dailymail.com, ‘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 is 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 the 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.

See Homewood’s investigation into the Who Writes The Mail’s Green Crap?.

Read more at Not a lot of People Know That

Comments (3)

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover


    Another Smear the Skeptics campaign by the liberal Birdcage Liners Parrots Toilets and Fish Wraps lead by the New York Pravda(Times)and the other leftists rags

  • Avatar



    creations: Global Warming “PAUSE”, “HIATUS”…that never were.

    In the late 1990’s,
    skeptics Dr.s Christy and Spencer
    declared confidently to a Heartland Institute crowd,
    that GLOBAL WARMING will cease to exist around 2000
    as earth’s natural cycle returns to a gradual cooling into our next glaciation
    ….Ice Age.
    (has that started yet?)
    (I hope I didn’t miss it!)
    And then those two SKEPTICS released thousands of press releases
    announcing a “GLOBAL WARMING PAUSE”
    (((in private describing it, not as a literal pause/stop …but really a slowing in the warming process)))
    WITH that came hundreds of PAID interviews, 100’s of PAID articles and
    lots of notoriety etc.!
    then those two DENIERS released thousands MORE press releases announcing a
    “Global Warming Hiatus”…
    (in private, again, describing it, not as a literal pause/stop
    …but really a slowing in the warming process)
    WITH that came hundreds MORE PAID Interviews, 100’s of PAID articles etc.
    and then there was a “GLOBAL COOLING”
    . same ol’, same ol’.
    ((( Feel free to follow the money from THOSE interviews to THEIR Pockets)))
    Then came all kinds of conflicting evidence from OTHER satellite systems
    Then came all kinds of conflicting evidence from NOAA & NASA 2000+
    digital ground stations, and thousands of weather balloons.
    news media drew millions of data from over 30,000 “privately” owned & operated
    DIGITAL WEATHER GROUND STATIONS .. outside every CITY & TOWN around the world.
    and those Digital Stations Agreed with NOAA & NASA
    ….down to the thousandth of a degree.
    ….Guess What ?
    ….there is global warming !
    …..IT’s unanimous!
    “formulaic ERRORS”
    accounted for much of the
    ” cooling ” they reported
    ” Less Warming ” they reported in ALL of those PRESS RELEASES !

    “….In fact, for those who live in reality, as opposed to in denial,
    satellite data, ground-based weather stations, sea-based buoys, Air line temperature measures, and even weather balloons all reveal a steady long-term Warming trend.

    Let’s start with the UAH data,
    which show a stunning 1.5°F (0.83°C) warming in February 2016
    compared to the historical (1981–2010) average for the lower troposphere
    (the lowest part of the atmosphere):
    The lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly, via UAH scientist
    Dr.s Christy & Roy Spencer.
    How amazing is this temperature jump?
    First off,
    remember that the 1981–2010 baseline used by the UAH is itself some 0.8°F
    (0.45°C) hotter than pre-industrial levels
    —so you can add that to all of the numbers here.
    February was more than half a degree Fahrenheit
    —?0.52°F (0.29°C)
    —?warmer than January, which itself was “the warmest January in satellite record.”

    it was so hot last month that
    Dr. Roy Spencer of the UAH reports,

    “Incredibly, land areas outside the tropics in the Northern Hemisphere
    were a ‘whopping’ 1.46 degrees C above average, 0.5 degrees
    above any previous monthly anomaly.”

    This is a 2.6°F warming above the 1981–2010 average
    —topping the previous anomaly by 0.9°F.

    Lower atmospheric warming over land outside of the tropics
    (vs. the 1981–2020 average)
    via UAH scientist Roy Spencer.

    it was so hot last month that Spencer
    —one of country’s leading climate science deniers
    —told the Washington Post:

    “I’ve always cautioned fellow skeptics that it’s dangerous to claim no warming. ”
    “There has been warming. ”
    “The question is how much warming there’s been and how does that compare
    to what’s expected and what’s predicted.”

    Now we know there has been a lot of warming,
    it’s consistent with what scientists predicted,

    most worrisome of all, scientists now predict it will keep speeding up!
    Maybe we should start listening to them.
    The UAH’s Spencer and Dr. John Christy?
    —?both leading deniers?
    —?reported just last month that the UAH data shows a

    “Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978 [of] +0.12 C [0.22F] per decade.”

    NO PAUSE !


    sure as hell,

    “my UAH cohort & boss John Christy, who does the detailed matching
    between satellites, is pretty convinced that the RSS data is
    undergoing spurious cooling because RSS is still using the old NOAA-15
    satellite which has a decaying orbit…”
    ” HE DID IT !
    I never touched the cookie jar, mommy ! ! “

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover


    Rakooi please save all your Hot Air to keep you warm this winter its going to be a hold one Just ask Santa to bring you a extra load of coal by acting like a pinhead

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