The Dirty Art of Character Assassination

By Keith Kloor | December 4, 2013 5:19 pm

In a 2010 editorial, the journal Nature told embattled climate scientists to wise up and “acknowledge that they are in street fight” with their nastiest detractors. At the time, this seemed like a reasonable admonition, since climate scientists were indeed under siege following an illicit disclosure of emails that put the climate science community in an unfavorable light. In truth, climate scientists were already grappling with how to deal with their harshest critics.

It’s probably safe to say that a few of these scientists are (understandably) embittered by this experience and that several have come to mirror their antagonists. You often see them trading rhetorical blows and insults on Twitter and in climate blogs. It’s quite a spectacle. At some point, you have to wonder if the endless sparring will exhaust all the combatants and perhaps run its course. For the sake of climate science, that can’t happen soon enough.

Meanwhile, the poisonous debate has grown worse, with self-appointed soldiers of the warring sides seeing enemies at every turn. Some of these climate soldiers are always on the lookout, like snipers, eager to take out (or at least undermine) a perceived foe. A case in point happened on Twitter today, when climate blogger Dana Nuccitelli fired this missive:

This was news to me, as I’m pretty familiar with Roger’s work. So I clicked on Dana’s supporting link. It’s to an op-ed by six leading tornado experts, including Harold Brooks, who responded:

At this point, I asked Dana to clarify which tornado experts claim Roger is “misleading the American public”? He didn’t respond. What he did do is move the goalposts. But even that was incorrect, as Brooks quickly pointed out.

What happened next was astonishing: Rather than apologize, Dana twisted himself into semantic knots in an effort to show that Roger was in the wrong. I tried asking several more times:

I’ll let you know if I hear back.

Meanwhile, when chortling climate skeptics jumped into the Twitter fracas, Brooks let them know that he’d also been “misused by the denial side often enough before.”

So goes another day in the climate wars.

  • Dana Nuccitelli


    As I noted, my initial Tweet (shown in your post) was imprecise. The article didn’t mention Pielke by name. What I should have said (had I figured out a way to fit it into 140 characters) was that the article criticized the same behavior Pielke has exhibited. Which is true. The article says,

    “The honest “truth” is that no one knows what effect global warming is having on tornado intensity. Tornado records are not accurate enough to tell whether tornado intensity has changed over time.”

    Pielke told US Congress:
    “Tornadoes have not increased in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since 1950”

    As Markowski et al. note in their Op Ed, we can’t say that (at least about intensity). Moreover, you may not like this phrase, but the crux of the article is “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” The data aren’t good enough to determine if there’s a human influence on hurricanes, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a human influence.
    Now granted, Pielke’s comments weren’t as inaccurate as Muller’s, who was the focus of the Op Ed. But they were nevertheless inaccurate.
    I’m willing to admit my initial Tweet was poorly worded. Pielke has refused to admit his Congressional testimony was inaccurate. Perhaps your criticisms are misdirected.

    • Maurizio Morabito

      You’re just lucky English law doesn’t apply, because “ARE misleadING” sounds very much like a libellous statement over here (as it suggests malicious intent).

      Now do yourself a favor and shut up for a week.

      • Dana Nuccitelli

        Just curious, are insulting and abusive comments like this allowed?

        • Maurizio Morabito

          I’m willing to admit my initial comment was poorly worded.

          Shut up for a month. Please.

        • Thomas Fuller

          Have you then apologized to Pielke?

        • Keith Kloor

          No, but I only check the blog intermittently. That said, given your sliming of Roger today, it’s a little rich that you’re complaining.

          • Dana Nuccitelli

            I guess I’m wasting my time here. I make a mistake on Twitter, admit it, and I’m guilty of “character assassination” and “sliming” Pielke makes a mistake in Congressional testimony (and refuses to admit it) and you don’t give a rat’s behind, you just continue to kiss his butt and allow his denier posse to abuse me. Who cares if our policymakers are directly misled, right? A comment on Twitter is much worse.

            So much for honest brokers.

          • Leopard Basement

            “Who cares if our policymakers are directly misled, right?”

            Well it seems not you apparently when you reply to questions about President Obama overstating your own work by saying:

            “It’s not precisely correct but it didn’t concern me.”

          • Thomas Fuller

            Mr. Nuccitelli, if you cannot characterize Pielke’s research how can you say so categorically that he made a mistake in testimony before Congress?

            I give a rat’s behind about issues such as this. Actually a lot more. I have seen you work. You are a propagandist promoting climate alarmism and attacking anyone who doesn’t climb on board.

            What you are doing is vile–principally because climate change is real and we will see its effects in later decades, including the extreme weather that you are fantasizing occurs now. Because you are discrediting real science with your Red scares, you are allowing the public to turn away from this issue and continue sleepwalking towards a difficult future.

            You are the problem, not Pielke.

          • Keith Kloor

            Stop playing the victim card. It’s unbecoming. If you want play with sharp elbows, the way you do, you know well what to expect.

            As it happens, I don’t even remember the last time I wrote about Roger, and I care just as much about foul play as I do about policymakers being misled.

          • Dana Nuccitelli

            “Stop playing the victim card”

            Are you talking to Pielke or me?

            I’m just kidding. I know you’d never speak ill of your buddy. But that’s a pretty hilarious comment. I can only assume you don’t realize how tribally you’re behaving.

          • Matthew Slyfield

            1st rule of holels: When you find yourself in one, stop digging.

          • Keith Kloor

            Now you’re projecting. So far, the substance of your comments to me are unrelated to your exchange with him, which is the topic of the post. It’s pretty revealing that you’re reduced to making assumptions about my relationship with Roger.

            But for the record, I’ve never, ever gotten so much as a Christmas card from Roger– no gratitude for all the ass-kissing!

          • ConcernedScientist

            Well, Pielke did manage to make the very first post :) Now you know very well that you do not have to receive a Christmas card in order to have shown favor or to be enticed to show favor.

            Now I know you were being facetious when you claim to have received no gratitude form Pielke for “ass-kissing”, but many a true word is said in jest.

          • Mike Mangan

            “ConcernedScientist.” Heh. Shouldn’t that read “SockPuppet” Dana?

          • hunterson

            My thoughts as well.

          • Poptech

            Mr. Kloor, Dana attacked Dr. Tol the same way, when Dr. Tol educated Dana on statistics a few months back.

          • chadke

            Surely using the words “denier posse” is not an example of tribal behaviour.

          • Carrick

            “I can only assume you don’t realize how tribally you’re behaving.”

            As self-referential a statement as I’ve ever seen. This is shameful behavior on your part Dana.

          • Roger Pielke Jr.

            Keith, You need not worry, no policy makers were misled in the production of my testimony, it is supported by peer reviewed research and consistent with IPCC.

          • chadke

            Seriously, complaining about policymakers being misled? You and your alarmist posse have been doing that for decades now.

          • Poptech

            I’ve never heard of this “denier posse” but there is documented evidence of the “crusher crew” which involves your good friends at skeptical science.

          • hunterson

            AGW hypesters make a good living off of misinforming policy makers, journalsits and everyone else you can get hold of with your climate kookiness. Your bs is costing people in America billions in high insurance premiums. Your bs is slowing down the Keystone pipeline, a safe, clean and energy efficient way to move desperately needed oil. Your bs is killing hundreds of thousands of birds and bats a year with useless windmills.

      • Keith Kloor

        Tone it down, or I’ll have to moderate you.

    • Martin

      That is exceptionally and unnecessarily picky, and I can see why it’s been viewed poorly.

      I get that the difference between “There is no evidence that Tornados have…” and “Tornados have…” is very important – and often the source of argument.

      But given we do have *some* data so the unqualified statement *can* be stated to some degrees of confidence and reliability. What those degrees are is interesting, but not giving them in public statements is hardly ‘misleading’ unless they are very high, in which case a lot of climate warners are misleading.

      • Solomon-Adonis P. Botictic

        Whether the tornados have increased in frequency or have intensified does not hold water. What is evident is that the entire planet is experiencing tsunami (Japan, Aceh Indonesia, Bangladesh, etc.), earthquake (Japan, Australia, Bohol Philippines, etc.), flooding (Tacloban City Philippines, etc.) after hundreds of years of not seeing such kind of catastrophes. Both carbon emissions and natural causes should be faulted for this, not only industrial activity, but the UN and the scientific community are fighting over consulting rights and offense (attack) and defense (damage control) funding in the climate change issue. Let’s stop this. When people are dying, is it still ethical to engage in puny debates like kindergarten or pre-school kids? There ought to be a better way to make a living.

        • Thomas Fuller

          Solomon, your statement about the entire planet not experiencing such catastrophes for hundreds of years is really, really wrong. These types of catastrophes have occurred regularly as well as recently.

          • Carrick

            He forgot plagues of locusts. And of course ignored that many more deaths are preventable—were there access to clean water and vaccines and people had jobs that didn’t pay $2/day.

          • Solomon-Adonis P Botictic

            indeed deaths are preventable. you are perfectly right about that. and about better jobs and wages you mentioned, having that would be part of the solution

          • Solomon-Adonis P Botictic

            sorry about the slip Thomas, you are correct. my post simply is on the issue about the direction the scientific community is taking as the article above does not miss to point out

        • hunterson

          You win the stupid post award.
          1) you imply tsunamis are from AGW. That is crazy.
          2) You do not seem to know that tsunamis of equal destructive power have hit the world since plate tectonics began.
          3) People have always been dying from somehting, and it is insulting and dishonest to claim we must not dispute AGW since people are dying. Not one death ahs been attributed honestly to CO2, except for industrial accidents in containers, and at that lake in Africa where the village was low enough to be smothered in volcanic CO2.

          • Solomon-Adonis P Botictic

            thank you for the award and let me give it back to you. i have never ever argued for AGW and i don’t even want to discuss AGW, there was never an intention on that in the post and i merely made the post in the spirit of why discover mag came up with the article in the first place. i salute you for successfully sidelining the issue i tried to raise in my post and that with such superlative level of mediocrity you can still look at yourself in the mirror if ever.

          • hunterson

            OK, you win the stupid and slow award for waiting five months.

    • Graham Strouts

      Aren’t you confusing two different issues? Pielke is correct to say ” “Tornadoes have not increased in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since 1950” -that’s not about human influence, just about frequency etc.. We don’t know if there is human influence, but Pielke doesnt disagree as far as I can see.

      • Roger Pielke Jr.

        This is correct. Ours was not an attribution study, not least because there is nothing to attribute under a conventional IPCC detection and attribution framework.

        Dana either has not read our paper or he is willfully misrepresenting it.

      • Dana Nuccitelli

        Markowski et al.:

        “The honest “truth” is that no one knows what effect global warming is
        having on tornado intensity. Tornado records are not accurate enough to
        tell whether tornado intensity has changed over time.”

        Either Pielke is wrong or the tornado experts are.

        • Thomas Fuller

          And you declare yourself not competent to judge which, but continue to slime Pielke nonetheless.

        • Scott Scarborough

          OK, let me assure you that tornadoes have changed over time. Even the weight of the platinum Kilogram world standard in Paris France has changed over time (goggle it if you don’t believe me). So what? We don’t know if the tornado severity or frequency has gone up or down, within the error bars of the measurement. Obviously joe-sixpack is not going to notice a change in tornadoes if our best measurements can’t detect it. That is the take home message for the public. If you think you have noticed something, you are wrong, it is only your subjective impression.

        • Scott Scarborough

          Not a true statement about Pielke since the tornado “experts” statement is a tautology. Any measurement ever before made by mankind that detects no difference over time is not accurate enough to detect that difference over time. Every real physical quantity changes over time, even the mass of a solid piece of platinum. That does not mean that your measurement will detect that change. All measurements have an accuracy. Does that fact make Pielke’s statement misleading? I don’t think so. You are simply trying to say that no measurement can disprove what you believe because no measurement is perfect (that accusation applies to the tornado “experts” too).

        • Rog Tallbloke

          It’s great Dana is strongly supporting uncertainty caveats here. I look forward to him applying this principle in his other pronouncements henceforth.

      • AldivosTarril

        > “Pielke doesnt disagree as far as I can see.”

        Real scientists:

        “Tornado records are not accurate enough to tell whether tornado intensity has changed over time.”

        Pielke is either a liar or a fool. Maybe both.

        • hunterson

          Yet tornado records are at least as good as temperature records on a global basis, better than polar ice records, and many other areas where AGW koks claim certitude. Circular reasoning- heck any reasoning at all- is not really the place where our AGW obsessed friends should argue.

          • AldivosTarril

            No, they are not. Read the article.

    • Thomas Fuller

      If you cannot say something accurately due to space limitations, perhaps you should remain silent.

      • ConcernedScientist

        That is the excuse that Pielke tried to use for his misleading choice of words in his testimony to congress 😉

        • Thomas Fuller

          There was a significant increase in tornado occurrence during two periods in the last 33 years – in the early 1980s when National Weather Service (NWS) warning verification began, and in 1990 when the WSR-88D became operational.

          The increase in reported tornado frequency during the early 1990s corresponds to the operational implementation of Doppler weather radars. Other non meteorological factors that must be considered when looking at the increase in reported tornado frequency over the past 33 years are the advent of cellular telephones; the development of spotter networks by NWS offices, local emergency management officials, and local media; and population shifts. The growing “hobby” of tornado chasing has also contributed to the increasing number of reported tornadoes.

    • Scott Scarborough

      So if tornadoes are 300 times more prevalent today than in 1950 we would have no way of knowing? Obviously we would be able to measure that. Would we be able to measure an increase (or decrease) of 0.002% ? Obviously not. What ever the error bars of our measurements are, any change is within them. So Roger was “imprecise.” He should have said: “Within our ability to measure it, tornadoes have not increased in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since 1950.” I think that qualification is rather obvious and the audience was well aware that Roger is not a sooth-sayer or medium and his statement was simply about the measurements that we have available to us, as precise or imprecise as they are.

    • PhilJourdan

      No Dana, it was not imprecise. It was plainly a lie.

  • Roger Pielke Jr.

    Dana continues to embarrass himself and the community that he purports to represent.

    I co-authored a 2013 peer-reviewed paper which indeed concluded that “Tornadoes have not increased in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since 1950.”

    See it here:

    Dana may not like those conclusions. He may disagree with them. That is fine, happens all the time in science. Rather than trying to accuse me of “misleading the public” by claiming falsely that other experts had made that accusation, he might instead try to explain where our analysis of tornado data is mistaken in its analysis or conclusions. I am happy to hear his arguments, were he to actually make any. The idea that a climate blogger can somehow dictate what an academic can and can’t say about their own research gives a window into some of the deep pathologies in the climate debate.

    I did state in my Congressional testimony that “The inability to detect and attribute changes in hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and drought does not mean that human-caused climate change is not real or of concern.” Dana is picking the wrong fight — wrong topic and wrong person.

    I will continue to discuss our published research, and will do so accurately and faithfully to what we conclude in the peer reviewed literature. I’d ask Dana to follow the same standards.

    • Dana Nuccitelli

      You’re shifting the goalposts again, Roger. I didn’t say anything about your research. I’m not in a position to say if it’s wrong or right. Your statements to Congress, which I quoted in my comment, are not consistent with your research. You left out the critical caveats that the data aren’t sound enough to make conclusive statements – instead you made those conclusive statements to our policymakers. That is exactly the type of behavior criticized by Markowski et al. in their Op-Ed, as I quoted in my comment.

      And really, can’t you make your arguments without claiming I’m ’embarrasing myself’? Let others make that kind of judgment for themselves, if you believe your arguments are sound. I suspect your abusive comments are due to the fact you know you’re in the wrong, and are trying to distract from the fact that you refuse to admit your errors.

      Why don’t you just admit your Congressional testimony was misleading in the manner criticized by Markowski et al.? We all make mistakes. I’m willing to admit my initial Tweet was imprecise, because while the Op-Ed criticized comments similar to yours, they didn’t name you specifically. That was my mistake.

      • Thomas Fuller

        Nucitelli: (non-existent experts say) “Pielke is misleading the public.”

        Nucitelli: “I didn’t say anything about your research. I’m not in a position to say if it’s wrong or right.”

      • Maurizio Morabito

        Read what Dana wrote about Roger (and Lomborg) on Sep 18, including accusations of ineptitude, incompetence and lack of honesty:


        Dana Nuccitelli says:

        Thanks for posting this. I’m putting together a list of contrarians making this bogus argument to rub it in their faces in 10 days when the IPCC report comes out and proves them wrong (which it will). Pielke Jr. made a similarly inept argument today (only plotting the multi-model mean and ignoring the envelope of model runs and uncertainty range).

        So much for these two being ‘honest brokers’ or, you know, competent at interpreting data.


        • PhilJourdan

          Interesting the Nuccitelli says the IPCC report will prove him right. If so, he should be able to reference the peer reviewed literature that does so since the IPCC does no research or science, it merely compiles what is available.

          So Nuccitelli has no clue what the IPCC does?

          • mtc7

            The IPCC AR5, WG1 reports says this in Chapter 2 on atmospheric observations:

            “In summary, there is low confidence in observed trends in small-scale severe weather phenomena such as hail and thunderstorms because of historical data inhomogeneities and inadequacies in monitoring systems”

      • Roger Pielke Jr.

        Dana, this will be my last reply to you as you continue to lie and misrepresent.

        The following statement is indeed 100% consistent with our peer-reviewed research, despite your claims to the contrary: “Tornadoes have not increased in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since 1950.”

        Our paper (linked above) states, based on a careful examination of multiple datasets using multiple methods: “we can definitively state that there is no evidence of increasing normalized tornado damage or incidence on climatic time scales.”

        You can argue that scientists have accused me of misleading the public and you can claim that my testimony is inconsistent with my research. In both cases the evidence shows you to be not simply wrong, by misleading and even lying.

        I do appreciate your willingness to dig in your heels and continue this display. I agree with you that those paying attention will be fully empowered to reach fair conclusions.

        Thanks again for the exchange. Very educational, and not just for me.

        • Dana Nuccitelli

          Markowski et al.:

          “Tornado records are not accurate enough to tell whether tornado intensity has changed over time.”

          Pielke Congressional testimony:
          “Tornadoes have not increased in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since 1950”

          Someone is wrong. If you want to argue Markowski et al. are wrong, then do it. But don’t try to hide behind what you said in your paper, because that’s not the issue at hand. The issue is the above quote from your Congressional testimony.

          And I agree, this has been very educational. Though I didn’t learn much about you that I didn’t already know.

          • Scott Scarborough

            Tornado records can never be accurate enough to tell whether tornado intensity has changed over time if the records show no change over time. Any measurement with error bars can always have a change within the error bars. What you have quoted above is a tautology.

          • jh

            “Tornado records are not accurate enough to tell whether tornado intensity has changed over time.”

            Is this a research conclusion or just an opinion? That’s not at all clear from your comment.

            Even if it is a research conclusion, it doesn’t mean that Roger’s conclusions are incorrect.

            I often see claims that the data are insufficient so we can’t tell if there’s any trend or not. If the data are insufficient, then surely the researcher can outline what’s required for “sufficient” data, can’t they?

            It’s also interesting that the IPCC makes this claim on, for example, floods. It’s an interesting claim, since apparently there is more than enough data to distinguish trends of rising temperature, but insufficient data to distinguish trends in flooding. That’s strange, because historical accounts of storm and flood damage are quite abundant compared to historical temperature records.

            Last but not least, if there is no trend, there is no trend, regardless of how much data is used. What constitutes “sufficient” data is a judgement call. The existence of a trend or lack thereof is a fact.

          • hunterson

            The secret to holes is to stop digging.

      • alqpr

        No-one but you can tell if you feel embarrassed yourself. But I can say that it embarrasses *me* to read your childishly evasive responses. What you said was not “imprecise” but rather precisely *false*.

      • DGStuart

        Looks like you are a liar, pure and simple.

      • hunterson

        Is your work at your oil company of similar ethical standards as your work on climate?

  • Rog Tallbloke

    So, we know that Tornados haven’t increased in frequency, and Roger’s research (take note of that word Dana) finds they haven’t been doing more damage either. Moving from those obs to saying they haven’t increased in intensity is not too great a stretch IMO.

    So Dana owes Roger an apology. Especially considering he bigs up papers and grey lit which make all sorts of poorly supported claims about extreme weather getting worse.

    Go on Dana, tell Roger you’re sorry for blaggarding him.

  • Thomas Fuller

    At the most macro of levels, the thrust of Pielke’s research findings are not being contested. If there is a climate change signal in the phenomena Pielke has studied, it is either or both too slight or too recent to discern.

    At the general level of climate discussions Pielke’s findings clearly are an effective (if not conclusive) counter argument to those claiming that Xtreme Weather is already upon us. As even the IPCC does not claim this (but rather echoes the ‘too slight, too recent to discern’ position), Nuccitelli’s blasts (which are, as Keith points out) not unusual, can be taken as political agitprop against someone he perceives as an enemy.

    At the specific level of Pielke’s findings, they have not been effectively disputed in the literature that I have seen. What has happened is that other research has focused on phenomena not covered by Pielke and saying ‘That’s where the Xtreme Weather is!’

    As for Pielke’s comment on this thread, Pielke is clearly wrong. Nuccitelli and the community he purports to represent are impervious to embarrassment–witness the acceptance of slipshod science that favors their side, such as Lewandowsky, Prall, Anderegg et al, etc., and their blithe embrace of criminal behavior by Peter Gleick simply because he’s on the side of the angels.

    Nuccitelli’s just a hitman and it’s important to recognize that in this dispute he has won despite being wrong on the facts and sleazy in his approach. Every published slam against Pielke (in this case–there are dozens of other targets) becomes a reference point that he can use himself to say (a la Joe Romm) that Pielke has been debunked.

    These garbage tactics work, so they don’t stop. They trashed Pielke’s father–mercilessly, wrongly and just as sleazily. Why would they spare his son?

  • Maurizio Morabito

    August 2012. In a blog post at SkS, Dana describes Roger’s behavior as “misdirection, bait and switch and knocking down strawmen”, while “turning blind eye to Christy’s grossly misleading testimony”. He piles it up with “Roger Pielke Jr. has also joined Christy’s obfuscation on extreme weather”, “Pielke Jr. misrepresents”, “Pielke conveniently neglects”. His post co-writer talks of ” we know of at least one example in which Roger Pielke Jr. (to use his own words) “completely and unambiguously misrepresented IPCC findings” when attacking Field.” and “Given Pielke’s history and this latest shameful example”

    Ironically Dana’s text included the statement: “when accusing someone of “misleading US Congress” as Pielke Jr. has accused Field of doing, one should really be sure that the accusation is accuate [sic]”.

    Finally in the comments Roger mentions a previous tweet by Dana: “@RogerPielkeJr Easy to run away after you’ve been proven wrong and then hurl insults from your dark corner, isn’t it? Like father like son.”

  • Leopard Basement

    It is interesting to observe that Mr Nuccitelli has a consistent standard here when he uses the word “imprecise” in regard to tweets.

    Take the situation when President Obama tweeted to his 30 million plus followers this glowing testimony to the power of Mr Nuccitelli’s own work:

    “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous. Read more: [Link to article on Cooks paper]”

    It is important to note that Dana Nucciteli’s paper actually did nothing that remotely approached showing a hightened level of concern about “danger” like this among 97% of climate scientist, and also the stated purpose of Cook et el paper was:

    “An accurate perception of the degree of scientific consensus is an essential element to public support for climate policy (Ding et al 2011).”

    When Mr Nuccitelli was recently questioned about this overstated tweet from President Obamaon his Guardian blog he replied:

    “It’s not precisely correct but it didn’t concern me. That’s a relatively minor mistake and they got it right in a second Tweet soon thereafter. The positive that the presidential Twitter account was tweeting about climate and the expert consensus far outweighed the negative of slightly imprecise language.”

    (BTW I don’t remember the “second Tweet soon thereafter” does anyone else? 😉 )

    So when President Obama grossly overstates the power of his paper to the “American public” and more, and in way that can only help promote his own work above its rightful position in the peer review, Dana Nuccitelli just shrugs and says it doesn’t “concern me”.

    But when he talks about the specific conclusions of rival peer reviewed work in a subject he has no expertise in he simply picks the one he doesn’t like and paints the author declaring his own conclusion as “misleading the American public”

    This is pure propaganda masquerading as science.

    I can almost become detached and just stand back in admiration that Mr Nuccitelli blithely does this knowing he gets willing support for this behaviour.


  • ConcernedScientist

    Keith Kloor,

    It is true that the Markowski et al. Op Ed did not single out Pielke or mention him by name. Dana should have been more clear on that and he has admitted as much. The Markowski et al. article, however, could very well have been about Pielke. Because contrary to what Pielke told congress, the Markowski et al. op-ed states that several issues with the data prevent us making definitive statements about trends in tornado activity and intensity.

    Officially, lying is “stating a deliberate untruth”. So either you and Pielke know for a fact that Dana is “lying”, or you are lying when you and Pielke accuse Dana of “lying”. All that needed to be said was that Dana erred and that the op-ed did not call Pielke out. Simple. That is how a mature adult would have dealt with it– but no, instead Pielke has a tantrum and starts making childish accusations about Dana “lying” and now you hop on board stomping your feet about “character assassination” while having no evidence to support your claims that Dana stated a deliberate untruth. You do not even realize that you are doing exactly what you are incorrectly accusing Dana of. In your rush to try score points you are blind to reality.

    Now using Pielke’s own logic when it comes to what he considers to be a “lie”, one can only deduce that Pielke was lying to congress. Muller can plead ignorance, but Pielke doesn’t have that benefit because he claims to be well informed on tornado activity.

    The facts show (in black and white) that Pielke Junior was at best being deceitful did when he testified to congress. To claim that he was not telling a deliberate untruth (aka lying) Pielke would have to try and claim that he had forgotten what he had written in his papers and what the literature says (caveats and all), but today he had no problem quoting from one of his papers. Either way, it is crystal clear what Pielke chose to tell congress and what he chose to omit, and doing so constitutes a lie according to the official definition.

    The fact is that Pielke’s work and that of others does not support his claims that tornado frequency and intensity have been decreasing. The data just do not permit one to make such a confident and definitive statement. Pielke knows that, but he still did so.

    You guys can’t bring yourself to admit that inconvenient truth, so here you are yet playing this childish game of trying to score cheap points against people who have the audacity to call Pielke’s deceit. Well, the the circus on your blog is not going to distract discerning people from the fact that Pielke deceived congress, fully knowing that he was not telling the truth and the whole truth.

    The one here who should be hugely embarrassed is Pielke, and the people twisting and contorting to defend him lying to (deceiving) congress. It is shameful. But that is fine, you all just lose what tiny bit of credibility you might have thought you had.

    Do you and Pielke at least agree with Markowski et al. that Muller was wrong?

    I expect much spinning, contorting and other debating tactics to ensue following my post, but all of that is so much more work than simply admitting the fact that what Pielke wrote to congress about tornado frequency decreasing was false.

    • Keith Kloor

      Let me put it to you this way: If the equivalent of Dana, someone with a with a high-profile blog at a mainstream newspaper– said of me on Twitter: ” science journalists say that Kloor is misinforming his readers,” I’d be pretty offended. I would consider that impugning of my professional reputation. This is a definitive statement. I would expect the accuser to back it up with some proof. What science journalists are saying that?!

      So when Dana tweeted that tornado experts say that Roger is misleading the public, I asked him to tell me which experts said this. He never responded. I asked him again. No response.

      Meanwhile, I see on twitter that one of the authors of the tornado article that Dana was pointing to as proof of his statement is saying that they were only talking about Muller–and that Roger’s work never even came up during the writing of the article.

      Faced with this, Dana says his wording of the tweet was “imprecise” and then switches the discussion to Roger’s congressional testimony. Of course, no tornado experts are ever offered up by Dana to back up his “imprecise” tweet.

      The amazing thing about this episode is that Dana and many others on his side routinely decry these kinds of tactics (rightfully so) when they are used to malign climate scientists. But it’s okay for Dana to malign someone like Roger to score a political point on Twitter. Then when Dana is called out for uttering something patently untrue and unsubstantiated, he weasels away with the “imprecise” excuse.


      • Thomas Fuller

        No, shameful.

      • ConcernedScientist

        Keith Kloor,

        Goodness me, I feel like I have stumbled into a schoolyard. Do you not see how childish your and Pielke’s behaviour is?

        Unlike Pielke, Dana has manned up admitted that he made a mistake by being unclear. There is and was no reason to accuse Dana of “lying”, Pielke doing so straight out of the gate *is* shameful and childish. Pielke loves to try and pay the victim when someone challenges him, but he has no problem calling others liars in public without considering how his claims might inpugn his target’s integrity. If Pielke wants a person to apologize, it is also not wise to accuse the person of being a liar.

        But arguing about “character assassination” nicely deflects the attention away from the inconvenient truth. Namely that Pielke has, despite facts to the contrary, admitted no error about his testimony. And I suspect he never will. While the op ed was about Muller, it could have very well been about Pielke, because Pielke has in fact misled congress and anyone who read or heard:

        Pielke “Tornadoes have not increased in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since 1950.”

        That is where Pielke messed up, and he can’t plead ignorance. The first two *definitive* claims are demonstrably false and are not, again contrary to Pielke’s claim, supported by the literature or by Markowski et al’s op ed.

        Like Dana notes, either you have to accept that Markowski et al. are wrong or that Pielke is wrong. You, however, seem to think that Markowski et al. are wrong because you continue to ignore Pielke’s misleading testimony being an example of him misleading the public, when the points made in Markowski et al’s op ed also apply to Pielke’s public claims on tornado frequency and intensity.

        So I ask you again, do you agree with the points made in Markowski et al. op ed?

        • Thomas Fuller

          What’s childish is first, Nuccitelli’s abandonment of the thread once confronted with his abysmal behavior and your mud throwing attempts to defend the departed bad boy.

          Gee, why would Pielke accuse Nuccitelli of lying? Just because he deliberately wrote something that is not true? How stern the judgments here.

          Get real.

          • ConcernedScientist

            Yes, let’s ‘get real’.

            The reality is that Pielke actually left this thread before Dana did.

            The reality is that Dana admitted to erring by not being clear in his initial tweet.

            The reality is that Pielke was the one who had a conniption and started the childish name calling when he called Dana a liar numerous times in public (talk about real character assassination by Pielke).

            The reality is that either Pielke made an egregious and gross mistake, or deliberately wrote something that he knew to be untrue, when he wrote he wrote that infamous sentence about tornado intensity and frequency declining.

            Either way, the reality is that Pielke has in fact misled the public when claiming
            unequivocally (and with no caveats) to congress that tornado frequency
            and intensity have declined since 1950.

            The reality is that, as shown by Dana, Pielke’s testimony is at odds with the issues about raised by Markowski et al.

          • DMalcolmCarson

            Why do you keep saying that Pielke said that “tornado frequency and intensity have declined since 1950”?

          • Thomas Fuller

            Pielke has posted repeatedly long after Nuccitelli fled the scene of his crime.

            Why wouldn’t Pielke call Nuccitelli a liar? Nuccitelli lied. He knew what he wrote to be untrue and wrote it anyways.

            You show no evidence at all for your bald assertion that Pielke made a gross and egregious mistake. Neither has anyone else regarding this topic and what Pielke included in his testimony to Congress.

            I don’t think ‘reality’ means what you seem to think it means.

          • hunterson

            You are acting a lot like Dana- deceptively.

        • Latimer Alder

          Nothing at all ‘unclear’ or ‘imprecise’ about Nuccitelli’s remarks.

          They were a direct and knowing lie about what others had said about RP.

          Case closed. Bad impression of Nuccitelli’s integrity and honesty confirmed in spades.

        • hunterson


          You are acting more like someone caught fibbing and trying to distract from that than a serious person.

      • Maurizio Morabito

        Even more amazing the fact that Roger has never once doubted AGW at all -and yet he’s been repeatedly treated by Dana and companions like Inhofe’s Evil Cousin, or Exxon’s response to Rosemary’s Baby, and with ever increasing bile thrown at him.

  • DMAllen

    Under the Live Science included picture (go to the Op-Ed article) is the following, “Twister central: The United States is home to roughly 85 percent of the world’s tornadoes, but even by U.S. standards this tornado season has been tragically active.”
    Huh? Is that an accurate description of this year’s tornado activity?

    • hunterson

      No, it is more deception by climate kooks.

  • DMAllen

    Keith writes, “…Dana and many others on his side routinely decry these kinds of tactics (rightfully so) when they are used to malign climate scientists.” Maybe I don’t read the “right” skeptical blogs, WUWT, or lukewarmer blogs, Blackboard and Climate, Etc., but I have seen very little similar sliming of climate scientists by the skeptics or lukewarmers with the exception of Michael Mann whose tweets resemble Nuccitelli’s. Are climate scientists actually being slimed in the Nuccitelli manner? By whom? I think all parties who drag climate science into the mud need calling out. With friends like Nuccitelli, the IPCC/skeptical science blog side don’t need enemies.

  • Paul Shipley

    Keith I love reading your blog as it stirs up so many groups. I look forward to your words. We need more people like you to point out how silly and insular some people are.

  • BarryWoods

    Dr Warren Peacre ( a social scientist at Nottingham University) looked at the Hiroshima framing back in August, and found it problematic. John Cook, Dana Nuccitelli and Dr Adam Corner joined in, in the comments.

    Dr Paul Matthews (or is it Prof, also at Nottingham, but a mathematician) made this comment, about earlier reactions to Skeptical Science’s Hiroshima bomb framing…

    Paul Matthews –
    “As far as I can see, it started with an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, which incorrectly attributed it to ‘climate scientists’, when in fact it came from Mr Cook.

    Here’s a selection of tweets about it from climate scientists, that can be added to the opinion of Victor above.

    Andreas Schmittner ‏@ASchmittner These are the sort of catastrophic messages I don’t like. Just don’t compare climate change to A-bombs, will you? Its not!

    Doug McNeall ‏@dougmcneall Comparing climate change to A-bombs like this is utterly meaningless.

    O. Bothe ‏@geschichtenpost Dear scientists, we don’t have to use big scary metaphors “to market” research, really, that’s not necessary (and reduces trust? oops.)

    O. Bothe ‏@geschichtenpost framing as A-bombs is much too emotionally loaded

    As I think I have said before, cheerleaders like Dana and John damage the credibility of climate science and give fuel to the sceptics.” – Paul Matthews

  • Paul Vincelli

    Maybe it is time for some much-needed human affirmation. Putting aside this particular episode, my impression is that Dana does excellent work in making peer-reviewed science on climate change accessible to the public, and that Roger makes important contributions to the peer-reviewed, publicly available science literature on this topic. Thank you both for the important work you do.

    • hunterson

      If by “accessible” you mean “he deceives people on a regular basis”, then you are spot on.

    • _Jim

      “human affirmation”? As opposed to equine or avian affirmation?

      Google returns some interesting references on this subject BTW:

  • Buddy199

    Simmer down, eggheads, or we’ll take away your pocket protectors.

  • JonFrum

    So how did a hacker revealing what climate scientists write when no one is looking create ‘nasty’ detractors? Is the truth inherently nasty? Or is it just when the truth is on your opponent’s side?
    This isn’t difficult. If you can’t deal with your ‘harshest critics’ by telling the truth, that’s a ‘you’ problem. I have yet to hear of a naughty ‘denier’ planning to get a journal editor fired, or secretly block the publication of their opponent’s scientific papers.
    The difference between Dana and Keith is subtle indeed.

  • Tom Scharf

    If you guys haven’t figured out the super sophisticated talking points Nutthead and his ilk are using, let me make it perfectly obvious:

    If there is no discernible trend in an extreme event, then this means we don’t have enough information to find one.

    This is obviously false, a trend is a trend, and a flat trend is just that, flat.

    This reminds me of the response creationists use to science filling in a missing link in the fossil record: They say: Now there are two missing links!!!

  • harrywr2

    This is just the logical end to Alinsky tactics.

    Eventually, a ‘useful tool’ /’True believer’ takes up the battle sword…armed not with a grain of facts and a truckload of ‘beliefs’.

    The war is effectively over at this stage, the true General’s have all either surrendered or taken their victory laps.

    The ‘climate war’ in the US ended with the passage of the energy acts of 2005 and 2007. Those acts provided generous incentives to demonstrate at scale every conceivable CO2 emissions reduction strategy.

    As a result the US leads the world in CO2 emissions reduction despite having no legally binding goals.

    In the mean time…the rapid temperature rise of the 1990’s has somehow mysteriously moderated into something called ‘the pause’.

    It all reminds me of Reagan Campaign’s ‘bear in the woods’ advertisement.

    Whether or not the bear existed, we should prepare.

    In the real the US built the tools to fight the evil Soviet Empire, the evil Soviet Empire collapsed.

    We’ve demonstrated a lot of emissions reduction approaches in the last 7 or 8 years…some of it worked out about how it was expected, some ended up dismal failure…natural gas fracking ended up being successful beyond any ones wildest imagination. We still have another few years before the full scorecard of all the approaches is known.

    In the US at least…we are further down the emissions reduction road then anyone expected at a lot less financial pain then anyone expected.

  • Poptech

    Where and when has Brooks been misused by the “denial side” (no idea what that is)?

  • J M

    Nuccitelli and Abraham’s blog in the Guardian is full of claims and interpretations that are not supported by IPCC reports. It’s always worse than anybody thought. Nuccitelli is just being consistent.

  • hunterson

    Dana is an interesting guy: He profits directly from work he does in big oil, yet seems to make the most splash by misrepresenting things about climate. It raises questions about integrity that are fascinating to consider.

    • _Jim

      He almost fits the role of “disinformation specialist” at that rate … or one who “works” both sides of the street profiting from the arbitrage between the two sides.

  • Leonard Weinstein

    You seem to be trying to be fair and objective. I came into the climate debate initially as accepting the problem of AGW and possible CAGW. After reading and analyzing the large literature base, I concluded that the problem was small to non-existent, and the shrill claims of coming problems were not based on facts. I read blogs on both sides of the issue, and clearly observed that supporters of the CAGW had the support of most of the MSM, governments, and even the heads of most scientific societies, but they were being mislead. Those who initially seemed to mainly want facts and supporting evidence (skeptics, as all true scientists should be) were called names, denied right to publish in many cases, lost contracts and even some jobs due to their stand as skeptics. They were called names and worse. It was mainly after the one sided abuse that they started to become more strident and in some cases negative critics. The dump of nasty e-mails showing the nasty nature and lies of supporters is not matched by comparable skeptic behavior (obviously with some exceptions, mainly by bystanders). In general, the skeptics have not been nearly as nasty as supporters of CAGW. Equating both sides of the issue and calling skeptics (even lukewarmers such as Roger) as equally nasty is a misplaced position.

  • AldivosTarril

    It’s amusing watching you science deniers trying to make yourself in to victims.

    Dana made an accurate observation – Pielke has made claims that are not supported by science and is therefore misleading anyone who is fool enough to listen to him. But that is why Pielke Jr. is a favorite amongst the science deniers.

    • _Jim


      • AldivosTarril

        Every national science academy of every major industrialised country on the planet confirms recent climate change is due to human activity as per the IPCC. No scientific body of national or international standing offers a dissenting opinion.

        But Jim and the other science deniers know better….

        • hunterson

          But the IPCC itself states the evidence is weak and that a climate crisis is unlikely. Don’t let your head explode. ciao

          • AldivosTarril

            Funny how the denier gang are filled with pathetic trolls.

          • hunterson

            says an actual troll, what a hoot.

        • Lisa_Belise

          Opinions are not facts. Right? Or were you trying to appeal to authority….which shows flawed logic.

          I could likewise say that “every national science academy…” seems to be in “Natural Climate Change Denial”. Maybe if you’re lucky, Sciencensus will win out and the world will start taking orders from the experts.

          • AldivosTarril


            Every national science academy of every major industrialised country on the planet confirms recent climate change is due to human activity as per the IPCC. No scientific body of national or international standing offers a dissenting opinion.

            Why do you think you know better?

        • _Jim

          Excuse me? You can tell all that from a two-character post? Phrenology much?

          BTW, how exactly does one “deny science” – is it anything like denying logic (CAGW practitioners do this with regularity – ever debated one?) or denying “subject x” on the grounds of insufficient familiarity (CAGW believers do this too, with regularity)?

          Or is it this “questioning of authority” (and by extension, the questioning of authority figures) which galls you? Appeal to authority in arguments or debate much?

          Furthermore, let it be known that AldivosTarril is henceforth both an idiot and a savant, demonstrating this by judging other human beings beliefs and capabilities based on two-character posts …

          • AldivosTarril

            Ranting incoherently in order to avoid responding to the fact that there is no credible scientific doubt about global warming is just another indicator that you are are a science denier.

          • _Jim

            More Phrenology. Thanks for playing. (Some ppl don’t ‘live’ on the internet like you may do.)

            Such assumptions also show a decided lack of breadth on your part in querying another poster with an opposing viewpoint further, but rather jumping right into ad-homs, labels and attacks. For that you DO deserve the title “idiot savant”.

            Please, do go back now to your government, authoritarian job where examining the evidence and questioning authority is NOT part of any daily routine. Rationality not being your strong suit, your time *is* better spent NOT thinking and simply kow-towing to your superiors wishes and demands.

            Have a good day, drone.

          • hunterson

            I wold say that for Aldivos, the strong emphasis is on the first part of that term.

          • AldivosTarril

            Every national science academy of every major industrialised country on the planet confirms recent climate change is due to human activity as per the IPCC. No scientific body of national or international standing offers a dissenting opinion.

            13,950 peer reviewed climate papers published from 1991 to 2012. 24 reject global warming. That’s 99.83% consensus.

            Why do you think you know better? Answer: delusion and determined ignorance.

            > “your government, authoritarian job”

            You never have to scratch a denier hard to see the wingnut libertard hiding beneath.

    • hunterson

      So his peer reviewed papers and the simple facts of flat trends are not enough. He is not even wrong. And those who agree with him are ‘science deniers’. Look to the the mirror for the denier, my friend

      • AldivosTarril

        Real scientists say there is not enough data. But Pielke (not a real scientist) and other scientific illiterates think they know better.

        The mirror is for you, my clueless friend.

        • hunterson

          So, there is not enough information to state that the flat evidence based trend in tornados is actually flat, but there is enough model and proxy based claims to conclude that we are in a clilmate crisis.
          Thanks for the laugh.

          • AldivosTarril

            Correct. Not enough evidence to support Pielke’s claims.

          • hunterson

            No, exactly what Pielke claims: it is flat. Nor enough to declare a climate crisis.

          • AldivosTarril

            Pielke is not an expert. The experts say there is not enough data to determine a pattern or trend.

            So, why do you believe someone with no expertise? It’s because you *like* what he says. This is another form of science denial.

          • hunterson

            For you climate clowns, the only people whose opinions matter are those who agree. It does not take someone who has been an approved climate scammer to notice that the trend line of tornadoes is flat. Thanks for playing, kook. You lost.

          • AldivosTarril

            Every national science academy of every major industrialised country on the planet confirms recent climate change is due to human activity as per the IPCC. No scientific body of national or international standing offers a dissenting opinion.

            Why do you think you know better?

          • PhilJourdan

            Incorrect. He merely stated what the data showed.

          • AldivosTarril

            Incorrect. He made a statement not supported by the data.

          • PhilJourdan

            No, the data supports his statement.

            Even your hero is abandoning you.

          • AldivosTarril

            “”no one knows what effect global warming is having on tornado intensity. Tornado records are not accurate enough to tell whether tornado intensity has changed over time.”

            Do you have trouble reading or comprehending?

          • PhilJourdan

            Do you? I know what he said. I know what the paper said. The same thing.

            Perhaps you are blinded by your ignorance of science? There are no deniers, just skeptics, warmists, and alarmists – the latter are clueless about science.

          • AldivosTarril

            So you accept what the experts say? Or do you deny that as well?

          • PhilJourdan

            I do not accept anything blindly. If the results of testing can be replicated, I accept that. If they cannot, then no, I do not believe in Cold Fusion.

            Do you?

          • AldivosTarril

            So you now admit you were wrong because the experts tell us that:

            “no one knows what effect global warming is having on tornado intensity. Tornado records are not accurate enough to tell whether tornado intensity has changed over time.”

          • PhilJourdan

            I admitted no such thing. Give it up already. Everyone, including the team, admits Nuccy and you are wrong.

            Sucks to be you.

        • Matt B

          There are plenty of “real scientists” who say there is not enough evidence to support evolution:

          So, should Richard Dawkins apologize for “misleading anyone who is fool enough to listen to him”?

          • AldivosTarril

            Every national science academy of every major industrialised country on the planet confirms recent climate change is due to human activity as per the IPCC. No scientific body of national or international standing offers a dissenting opinion.

            But you think this is somehow equivalent to deluded creationists? Think harder.

          • Matt B

            OK let’s play the think harder game. Here we have Muller using the data from NOAA (the guys who have the data) to say that “The number of severe tornadoes has gone down. That is not a scientific hypothesis, but a scientific conclusion based on observation”.

            So, Muller takes scientifically gathered information from scientists and reaches a conclusion as a scientist. This is a perfectly valid position to take given the data available today.

            Then we have 6 experts saying that the NOAA data is not consistent enough over time to reach a conclusion on the number of severe tornadoes. They believe that the proxy-based evidence of wind speed (damage) used in the past does not correlate with more modern direct measurement of wind speed, and so comparison of past tornado activity to today is not possible. This also is a perfectly valid position to take; others take exactly the same position to other types of data, like say the historical temperature record.

            So, why would either side in this dispute be guilty of “misleading” the public? Muller’s “scientific conclusion” is perfectly defensible; after all in this case NOAA could stand in for the “Every national science academy of every major industrialised country on the planet” as the voice of authority for data on tornado strength. The position of tornado experts who say there is not enough certainty to judge this have a perfectly defensible position as well. Why do words like “misleading” have to be used? At the end the original NOAA data may be perfectly correct. All data interpretation is subject to review & revision, including the data used by “Every national science academy of every major industrialised country on
            the planet confirms recent climate change is due to human activity as
            per the IPCC”.

            We go with what we have today & move forward, None of this is black or white and those that paint these discussions in those terms do all a disservice.

          • AldivosTarril

            The reason you reference Muller who has no expertise in the subject is because you *like* what he says. It’s known as confirmation bias and is used by science deniers all the time.

            Unlike deluded science deniers, intelligent people go to tornado experts to find out about tornadoes.

            The experts are clear: the data is not good enough to determine a trend or pattern.

            “The honest “truth” is that no one knows what effect global warming is having on tornado intensity. Tornado records are not accurate enough to tell whether tornado intensity has changed over time.”

          • Matt B

            Whoa up there Aldivos with the “:you like” and “you reference” action…….I reference Muller because it was his comment that elicited the response of the tornado experts. And as far as “liking” what he says, how the heck do I know whether his statement is correct or not (because that issue truly is really with the correctness of published NOAA data, not with Muller’s interpretation of said data)? And how do I (or you) know if the “experts” are correct or not? My point is that each side has valid points and time will tell who is right, but claims that either side is “:misleading” the public is overblown, attributes partisanship where there may not be any, and doesn’t help move the conversation forward.
            Since the “tornado experts” likely have the ear of NOAA (and Brooks works for them), the normal path that science will take is that the “past tornados were stronger that recorded” argument will be pressed and when that line of reasoning wins, NOAA will issue an adjustment to the historical record to show this, or else just pull the questionable data from the record. Until NOAA does that I can see no reason why Muller can’t use NOAA data in his presentation. Experts remain free to disagree with this data of course but certainly Muller can’t be faulted for using data that is published from the field’s leading authority.

          • AldivosTarril

            Blah blah. Muller is not an expert. Why are you using a non-expert to try and make a case? I’ve already explained why.

            > the “tornado experts”

            The fact you scare quote as though they might not be tornado experts simply reveals a lot about your bias and denial.

            “The honest “truth” is that no one knows what effect global warming is having on tornado intensity. Tornado records are not accurate enough to tell whether tornado intensity has changed over time.”

            But Muller, you and a bunch of other science deniers think they know better.

          • Matt B

            So……Muller takes the numbers from the creators and keepers of tornado data and does a simple data analysis. Are you saying that he can’t do that as a Cal Berkeley Professor? If not him, then who?
            And how was Muller to know that he wasn’t allowed to do this? After he states his conclusion about the data he is later told by others that the data was no good; how was he to know that? And if the data is no good, why does NOAA still have it out there? Isn’t the real gripe with the data and not Muller?

          • AldivosTarril

            “no one knows what effect global warming is having on tornado intensity. Tornado records are not accurate enough to tell whether tornado intensity has changed over time.”

            But you choose to believe Muller, a non-expert. You do this because of your bias and science denial.

    • Thomas Fuller

      Yes. I admit it. I deny there is a climate. It is all a figment of our collective imaginations.

  • ConcernedScientist

    Keith Kloor,

    For the third time now, could you please answer the question. Do you agree with the points made in the Markowski et al. op ed? Thank you.

    • Keith Kloor

      Goodness me, I thought it was obvious to you by now that I’m not interested in discussing the Markowski paper. That’s not what the post is about. I’m not interested in going down a rabbit hole with you (or anyone else) on Dana’s parsing/dissembling or whatever his real intent was.

      Perhaps you should try this line of inquiry with William Connolley over at the Wotts up with that blog thread.

      • ConcernedScientist

        As you know, or should know, it is the Markowski et al. op ed that initiated all of this. It was the Markowski et al. op ed that reminded Dana of previous examples (note the plural) of Pielke misleading the public about tornado activity. Furthermore, your position on the Markowski et al’s op ed speaks to your challenge to find experts who disagree with Pielke’s public claims on tornados. So your continued attempts to evade answering what is a really simple and relevant question are rather silly.

        Perhaps I have been too oblique. Let me ask the question another way. Do you disagree with Markowski and Brooks when they say in the NYT today,

        “However, a primary reason that the intensity of tornadoes has appeared to decline is that reporting has not been consistent over the period spanned by tornado records.”?

        • Keith Kloor

          For the final time, I will say again that I’m not interested in playing these games with you. When I write a blog post about what climate science says about tornados, I’ll be happy to engage you on whatever Muller wrote and whatever Dana meant or should have said, or could have said differently, and so on.

          Meanwhile, you can go down that rabbit hole by yourself.

          • ConcernedScientist

            Keith, I am appealing to your standing as an objective, impartial and ethical journalist who is interested in the pursuit of truth. This is not a game.

            The basis of your post is that Dana was engaging in character assassination when he said that Pielke was misleading the public on tornadoes.

            But the facts show that Dana was correct in saying that Pielke has misled the
            public about tornadoes, because Pielke’s claims are inconsistent with (in disagreement with) what the tornado experts say. That is Pielke’s unequivocal claim that tornadoes are decreasing in intensity and frequency is demonstrably false. So Dana’s characterization was accurate.

            Don’t take my word for it, this is what Brooks said when asked if he would have made the same claims as Pielke did when testifying to congress:

            “No. I’d testify no evidence for incr./decr. tornado freq./intensity since ’54. Likely incr variability in occurrence recently.

          • Keith Kloor

            Who are you kidding with this appeal to my “standing”? Please, just stop.

            “But the facts show that Dana was correct in saying that Pielke has misled the
            public about tornadoes…”

            No, they don’t. But that is what Dana has been arguing in vain over at the WottsUpWithThatBlog.

            You have to play a game of twister to reach that conclusion the way you and he are doing it.

            Like I said, I think you should take this up with William Connolley over in that thread. He disagrees with yours (and Dana’s) take on this, and he is is someone who has much more stature in those circles than me. I’m sure it would interest you much more to know why he disagrees with you.

          • ConcernedScientist

            OK then. You are clearly not amendable to reason and accepting the facts as stated by Drs. Brooks and Markowski. All I am asking you to do is apply some critical thinking and impartiality regarding Dr. Pielke’s misleading assertions.

            Your integrity suffers when you choose to ignore the facts and truth, like the statements made by Drs. Brooks and Markowski. That you are willing to sacrifice your journalistic integrity rather than admit that Dr. Pielke has misled the public about tornadoes betrays your bias.

            It is laughable, that instead of listening to Drs. Brooks and Markowski, the real experts, you are trying to appeal to Connolley’s “authority” on this because he happens to agree with your opinion. Connolley is no more a tornado expert than you are.

            For all your hang wringing in a post about the supposed “character assassination” of Dr. Pielke, it is ironic that you Keith have permitted
            people on your blog to engage in character assassination and ad hominem attacks on Nuccitelli.

            If you want some really good examples of repeated character assassination then I would highly recommend you have a close read of Dr. Pielke’s blog.

          • kkloor

            Well, there you go. I guess this will affect my “standing as an objective, impartial and ethical journalist,” right?

          • ConcernedScientist

            You said that you would get back to your readers when you found a tornado expert that disagreed with Dr. Pielke. Please then keep your word and post an update with Dr. Brooks’s statement in which he disagrees with and contradicts Pielke’s claims.

            “No. I’d testify no evidence for incr./decr. tornado freq./intensity since ’54. Likely incr variability in occurrence recently.”

            Yes, this episode sure will affect your standing, but you clearly don’t seem to care. Your loss.

          • hunterson

            Brooks can claim that tornados are getting more frequent all he wants, but he has that pesky lack of facts to support his assertion to deal with.

          • ConcernedScientist

            Read again what brooks said. Brooks never said what you claim. The person who does not have the data to back up his assertions is Pielke.

          • hunterson

            The irony of someone like you in denying the reality of this situation is deliscious.

          • Thomas Fuller

            Ah, yes. If Keith the freelance journalist does not pronounce on the accuracy of a scientific paper and resultant claims from different sides, it is Keith who will bear the brunt of further political attacks from anonymous cowards like our ‘concerned scientist.’

          • Thomas Fuller

            I can imagine that you wish amenable was similar to amendable…

    • hunterson

      CS…er Dana, rather. You said what you said.

  • Martin Lewis

    You will never, ever see Al Gore debate an actual scientist on global warming. It’s not about science anymore, it’s a religion. That’s why they have to go after non-believers !


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Collide-a-Scape is an archived Discover blog. Keep up with Keith's current work at

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.


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