On my blogroll, to the side, you will see the names of 14 climate websites that I go to more or less regularly. I try to see both side of the debate, and in particular I like to know what papers have been published; there is no doubt that the Internet is far and away the best device for informing me. A reader a year or so ago suggested that I didn’t read widely enough, so I enlarged the blogroll accordingly.
I thought it might be useful to summarise their value, to me at any rate, and doing so might help others. It has to be said that websites are set up because those concerned have a point of view they wish to express, or at least a purpose that makes sense to them. It costs money set them up, and a lot of time and energy in managing them, let alone writing for them. So you would expect a tendency, a point of view. As a former teacher, I am interested in educating myself and others, and as I have said before, I am an old-fashioned logical positivist who thinks that facts are important and good argument no less so.
So here are my comments on the list, in the order in which the sites appear on the blogroll. You can get to each of them there. In brackets appears my summary of their position in the ‘climate change’ debate.
Bishop Hill is the website of Andrew Montford, who wrote The Hockey Stick Illusion, which I have read and thought very good indeed. He favours commentary on what is happening (recently, the floods in the UK). It is sensible and temperate. (Dissident)
Climate Audit is the home of Steve McIntyre, who along with Ross McKitrick, did the demolition on Michael Mann’s ‘hockey stick’ graph. He is interested above all in the statistical analysis of climate data of all kinds. (Dissident)
Climate etc. My favourite of them all, set up by Professor Judith Curry of Georgia Tech in Atlanta. It attracts decent debate from both sides, and you learn a lot by following the debates. She brings in lots of papers that are of immediate interest, and not just scientific ones. (Dissident)
Deltoid is run by Tim Lambert at UNSW in Sydney; his background is information technology. He is argumentative and strongly opinionated, and I see the website mostly as a chat show on line in which the host cuts down those whose opinions he doesn’t like. (Orthodox)
Jennifer Marohasy is an Australian biologist with a special interest in the Murray-Darling river system. She brings forward papers to discuss from time to time, comments on what is happening, writes well, and is an activist for her river cause. (Dissident)
Jo Nova is an Australian science-writer, whose little monograph The Skeptic’s Handbook is a good quick read. Jo Nova is a fine, deadly analyst of loose talk and sloppy argument. She had demolished the England paper before I had even written my own post about it (mind you, I had other things to write about first). (Dissident)
Rabett Run is managed by a pseudonymous chemistry academic at Howard University in the US; there is no ‘Eli Rabett’. His site is breezy, often informative and always argumentative. He engages on other sites like Climate etc and WUWT. (Orthodox)
Real Climate is the orthodox counter to Climate Audit, and describes itself as ‘commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists’. The working scientists include Michael Mann, and the most prominent is Gavin Schmidt of GISS, whom I mentioned the other day. It offers the principal serious defence of the orthodoxy, but there are often leads to important papers and useful commentary. Disagreement is not encouraged in the comments section. (Orthodox)
Roger Pielke Jnr is an academic at the University of Boulder, Colorado whose interest is in the economic effects (real and imagined) of ‘climate change’. He doesn’t write all the time, but whatever he writes is always interesting and well-produced. He visited Australia a year or so ago, and I often refer to his work — see here, for example. (Dissident)
Skeptical Science I can find little to say that is good about this mis-named website, managed by John Cook, who has some kind of connection with the University of Queensland. It is a querulously defensive site, protecting the orthodoxy from criticism, insofar as it can. It is quite sure that AGW is Revealed Truth, and recognises no papers unless they are supportive of the orthodoxy. It describes itself as ‘explaining climate change science & rebutting global warming misinformation’, and much of it is devoted to debunking supposed sceptical ‘myths’. Anyone who knows a little about the issues will quickly cry out ‘Hang on! It’s not as simple as all that’. But for the SkS crowd it really is all that simple. (Orthodox)
Tamino is the website of Grant Foster, who is a staunch defender of the orthodoxy and someone who likes data analysis. He is worth reading, but you need to remember (at least I think so) that often his ingenious arguments have a way of missing the point at issue. (Orthodox)
The Blackboard is the website of Lucia Liljegren, an able statistician who likes to play around with climate data, and is (at least to my mind) scrupulously fair. I have to say that I am often lost in the statistical theory, which can be way above my head. (Neutral to dissident)
The Reference Frame is the website of Lubos Motl, a Czech physicist, who once devoted a post to showing how threadbare was SkS‘s dismissal of the so-called sceptical myths about global warming. He is interesting also in that he is outside the Anglophone discussion system I am used to. (Dissident)
Watts Up With That has been voted three times as the most widely used climate website. It is published sometimes hourly, and it brings into view a great range of material, academic papers, government reports, cartoons, commentary and guest posts. It is an indispensable source of new work. It does have a fan club devoted more to ridiculing the orthodox than to serious discussions of the papers, but then that can be true on many sites. It is thoroughly worth its place on top of the ladder, even if I learn more from Judy Curry. (Dissident)
Well, there you are. My 14 are slightly tilted towards the dissident side, but those are more fun, and less constipated about The Truth. And I learn much more from them than I do from the orthodox, who, on the whole, are only interested in my learning if I accept what they say without demur.