The cloudiness of Chris Bretherton’s ‘intellectual honesty’

University of Washington climate researcher Chris Bretherton has a lot of nerve for participating in yesterday’s New York Times hit piece on MIT’s Dick Lindzen.

NYTimes character assassin Justin Gillis’ front-page hit piece on Dick Lindzen reported:

Dr. Lindzen is “feeding upon an audience that wants to hear a certain message, and wants to hear it put forth by people with enough scientific reputation that it can be sustained for a while, even if it’s wrong science,” said Christopher S. Bretherton, an atmospheric researcher at the University of Washington. “I don’t think it’s intellectually honest at all.”

It’s not all clear, however, that Bretherton has any room to question anyone’s “intellectual honesty” when it comes to cloud research.

While Lindzen is undertaking honest study on the role of clouds in climate — and being attacked for it by Bretherton — Bretherton seems to have milked taxpayers to do the same thing (at least the “study” part).

About 10 years ago or so, Bretherton pitched the National Science Foundation to form a Climate Process Team (CPT) to research clouds/climate, even highlighting the great uncertainty in cloud understanding:

… For instance, current versions of two of the most well-known US climate models, the AM2.7 from GFDL and the NCAR CCSM2, have climate sensitivities of 5 K and 1.5 K, respectively, which are at opposite ends of the spectrum of predictions from climate models…[See image below. Click to enlarge]

Bretherton proposed to profit greatly from this proposal [See image below. Click to enlarge.]

NSF did indeed fund a CPT project — so far to the tune of about $390 million — though its not clear how much of this Bretherton received.

So Chris, is it “intellectually honest” to sell cloud uncertainties and unknowns to the National Science Foundation and then attack another researcher for doing un-taxpayer funded work on the same issue?

And since you already seem to “know” that increasing carbon dioxide levels will lead to positive or “bad” cloud feedback only, should you and the other CPT profiteers return your grants to taxpayers?

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