Jerry North, Go Back To Grade School

On June 4th of this year, Steve McIntyre informed us that Texas A&M professor Gerald North complained that Climate Audit dared to mention him in an unfavorable light:

Hi All,
I would appreciate your leaving me out of your blogs.
Jerry North

Steve’s response, in brief, was that:

If he wanted me to not mention him, a good starting point would be to stop saying stupid things. Unfortunately, since Climategate, he’s done exactly the opposite.

One would have hoped that he would have eventually learned his lesson. Well, nearly two weeks later, and he is now saying things which are even stupider. WUWT has a commentary on a story from A&M which is filled with nonsense. It is very disturbing, however, that a distinguished scientist like Dr North seems to think he can just make false statements about what is going on with the climate system-it’s either that or he is ignorant, in which case he is making shit up. In particular, the claim that:

Texas temperatures are going up pretty much like the earth’s temperatures are…Last summer was a really hot summer, and while I say that is a fluctuation, it does probably indicate things that we might expect in the next 20 or 30 years.

From which the authors of the article clearly derive:

Global climate changes are having equal effect on Texas‘ climate, which is part of the reason for the increased temperatures over the summers.

The only problem is that Dr North’s claims are just wrong! According to NCDC, the trend in Texas annual average temperatures 1895-2009 is 0.00 degrees Fahrenheit per decade, and the change in summer temperatures is -0.02 per decade. And the “extraordinary” last summer? There have been thirteen warmer summers! That would mean that the “extraordinary” summer wouldn’t even be in the five percent probability or less required to reject the hypothesis that it is different from the “normal” summer! How is that “extraordinary”?

Sorry, Jerry, but you are either a liar or ignorant, and an ignorant person who speaks as if he has wisdom…well that’s at least as bad as a liar.

EDIT: I was actually waiting to see if anyone would criticize me for this post before adding this, but apparently my blog is less popular than I thought. You may have seen at WUWT that Dr North sent an email that claimed that the impression their article left was wrong. In some respect, there was a confusion arising from the original story, which was being dissected at WUWT-the interviewer who got North and Dessler’s statements did not differentiate between what North and Dessler were talking about (projections for the future/versus the observed record) I was not confused about this at any point and it is unrelated to the text of this post. While North believes that his “hate mail” is driven by confusion, and thinks that he was not in error per se, it is clear that, having selected the statements directly attributed to him, not the comments I knew were from Dessler or the errors I knew were the reporter’s (because I could tell from context in case you are wondering), I still find that North made statements which are either lies (deliberate falsehoods) or stupid (easily shown to be wrong statements that one would think a distinguished scientist could check before making). Note that in the quotes attributed directly to him he makes the claim that Texas is warming just as the rest of the Earth which can only be a reference to the observed record, as it is present tense. He makes the claim (and here there can be no ambiguity as to whether the interviewer somehow changed his tense, which I suppose you could argue for on the former point, this journalist didn’t seem to be very good anyway) that the summer of 2009 was extraodrinary. Given that it isn’t even in the top ten summers, North was ludicrously wrong on this point. I think I am giving the Dr’s character the benefit of the doubt in suggesting that he needs to learn some very basic things over again, like checking to make sure a claim you are making is really true before making it. If he feels like he is smarter than a 5th grader, he should let me know and I’ll change it to “go back to Sunday school and learn not to lie”.


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