07 September 2008

Khilyuk and Chilingar

This is about the weird experience that motivated this blog. The main story is quickly told, but there are lots of interesting spin-offs, that I will address in later posts.

In 2006, Khilyuk and Chilingar published a climate change sceptical paper in Environmental Geology (Khilyuk, L.F. and Chilingar, G.V., 2006. On global forces of nature driving the Earth’s climate. Are humans involved? Environ. Geol., 50: 899-910). I found this article, because Environmental Geology (EG) sometimes has papers about groundwater that may be useful for me. As I read it, I was shocked about the complete nonsense that it contained - at least in my humble opinion. EG is not a top journal, but supposedly a serious, reviewed, scientific journal. How could they publish an article full of - at best - extremely unconventional theories?

I thought that such a questionable publication on an important issue in the reviewed literature could not go undisputed. As I figured that the top climate scientists would hardly note this paper in a journal that is not known for climate science, I felt compelled to write a comment (or rebuttal, as they call it in EG) myself. This was published in print in 2007 (Aeschbach-Hertig, W., 2007. Rebuttal of "On global forces of nature driving the Earth's climate. Are humans involved?" by L. F. Khilyuk and G. V. Chilingar, Environ. Geol. 52: 1007-1009). A bit to my surprise, no reply to my comment was published at that time. Judged by how quickly my manuscript got published online, it seems that the authors of the original article had not been invited to write a reply, or had declined to do so.

Even so, I received quite a bit of response to my article in the form of e-mails and reprint requests (much more than I usually get for more important papers). Perhaps most noticeable was a reprint request by the famous climate sceptic Fred Singer. The whole debate was also noticed by a few people in the blogsphere. Nexus 6 pointed out that the climate sceptics scene had happily adopted the paper of Khilyuk and Chilingar as further proof of their case, and presented my rebuttal to show that they were misled. Deltoid also cited my paper as a "devastating rebuttal". The rebuttal is mentioned in the Real Climate Wiki. And even the climate sceptic blogger Lubos Motl had to admit: "Unfortunately, I would agree with many points of the rebuttal...". So far, so good.

A few weeks ago I noticed that a reply to my rebuttal had finally been published in EG (Chilingar, G. V., O. G. Sorokhtin, L. F. Khilyuk, 2008. Response to W. Aeschbach-Hertig rebuttal of ‘‘On global forces of nature driving the Earth’s climate. Are humans involved?’’ by L. F. Khilyuk and G. V. Chilingar. Environ. Geol. 54:1567–1572). Of course, I read it with great interest. It turned out that it wasn't really a response to my critique, except for a few sentences bashing me as holding a sacred climate belief and so on. Most of it was just another presentation of their funny "adiabatic theory of greenhouse effect". More nonsense, it seemed to me, but I was not inclined to write another rebuttal.

Not until I received an e-mail by the blogger Eli Rabett, pointing out the new paper and asking if I planned to respond. I checked out his Rabett Run blog, and found that he already had a nice critique of the new Chilingar paper. So no need for me to add anything. But, following the links in the blog, I was amazed to learn that Chilingar and colleagues had actually published the same questionable paper already before in Energy Sources (Chilingar, G.V., L.F. Khilyuk and O.G. Sorokhtin, 2008. Cooling of atmosphere due to CO2 emission, Energy Sources Part A 30: 1-9). Thanks to Eli Rabett for pointing out this recycling fraud!

Too much is too much! This little twist really was the last straw that prompted me to start this blog. I will research the issue more thoroughly, and I plan to take appropriate steps. I will let you know what happens...


  1. Singer asked you for a copy? That's rather strange inasmuch as he sits on the editorial board of the very same journal that published the original "Dreck".

  2. Yes, quite funny indeed. In detail: Singer copied a mail to me, which he addressed to a certain Timo Haemeranta, who apparently told him about the whole thing. In the mail he wrote:

    "For the record:
    Even though I am listed as an editor of Envir Geology, I did not review the K&C paper.
    For some reason, the publisher has stopped sending me the journal about a year ago. So I had missed K&C and this critique."

    A few days later he sent another short mail asking for my rebuttal, which he "seemed to have lost". So I sent it to him.

  3. You are a professional scientist. You do good science, but you are an amateur when it comes to selling ideas to the public.

    The guys that are doing this “dreck”, are not doing science, they are selling confusion to the public. They are paid professionals doing things they do very well. Stop thinking that they are trying to do science.

    Consider a profession soccer team. In the science arena, you can beat them without breaking a sweat. However, on the soccer field, you do not stand a chance. Professionals are good at what they do.

    The dreck peddlers are very good at pretending to do science, when in fact they are selling something else entirely. We are “winning the science,” and losing the sale to the public. The problem is that we need to win the sale to the public, if Earth is going to take actions that will allow our current culture to survive.

  4. You, my friend, are a sadly uninformed person. First, I must ask you, what scientific background to you have to question this paper? The first thing you say is that you do research in Environmental Geology for you work in groundwater. I'm sure you know lots about groundwater, but it is a highly presumptuous for you to assume that your knowledge applies to atmospheric science.

    Now, when you talk about their "funny little adiabatic theory" remember this: your 'global warming' is just a theory, as is atomic theory and many other scientific principles taken for granted.

    Finally, if you want to talk about fraud. You sit on the same side of the argument on the IPCC (which I can understand, it's scary to oppose them, seeing as two European scientists lost their jobs for presenting their research to the contrary, but I digress). The IPCC has done some really spectacular fraud to support their "science". You may or may not have heard of the Medieval Warm Period. I'll assume you have not. All you need to know about it, was that during this period, temperatures were significantly higher than current temperatures. In 1996, the IPCC published a report that contained a graph showing the Medieval Warm Period, and consequently, that current temperatures really aren't that exceptional. Five years later, they abolished the Medieval Warm Period. They re-released their graph, showing no Medieval Warm Period. Despite being called on this by several respected scientists, they have yet to revise the graph, or issue an apology for this clearly biased 'science'. Because, let's face it, if they admit that they were wrong, then there goes 'global warming'. Significant scientific evidence says that it's not happening. You just have to look through the web of lies spun by fraudulent scientists backed by corrupt politicians money.

  5. To claim the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than today is to narrowly focus on a few regions that showed unusual warmth. However, when we look at the broader picture, we see that the Medieval Warm Period was a regional phenomenon with other regions showing strong cooling. Globally, temperatures during the Medieval Period were less than today.

    Not only that, but even if it was, it is entirely irrelevant. Simply because it was equally warm at a point in the past (which, like I said, it wasn't) in no way proves that we aren't causing it this time. They are two entirely separate scenarios.

    1. "Globally, temperatures during the Medieval Period were less than today." yes I suppose you could say that if you ignore the science papers that say otherwise ... Why do you continue to parrot the same nonsense -please try to undertsand that a lack of evidence is never evidence of lack

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  19. Mr.Khilyuk was my algebra II and precalculus high school teacher in 2003-2005 , very knowledgable man, he knew and explained math really well, very professional, I attended UCLA and he is still the best instructor I ever had. His reasoning on the subject of global warming make sense to me, I have yet to read yours.