Sunday, March 28, 2010

Too bad to be believed

Stephan Lewandowsky beats the drum about peer review and Foster, et al. Folks, our friends need a press release, so Eli has borrowed a word here and there.

Climate Scientists Respond to False Claims

Climate scientists continue to respond to badly flawed, politically driven, papers by those who deny the strong evidence for humans affecting climate in ways that portend major future disruptions.

Such papers have confused the public debate, but increasingly scientists are stepping up to provide strong refutations. Last year, John McLean, Chris de Freitas and Bob Carter, published a paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research using a mathematical procedure that eliminates long term trends to claim that there is no long term trend in global temperatures.

The Journal of Geophysical Research is publishing a devastating rebuttal by a team of nine of the world's leading climate scientists from Japan, the UK, the US, and New Zealand, Foster, et al. This rebuttal uncovers numerous errors and, most crucially, it unambiguously shows that the paper by McLean and colleagues permitted no conclusions about global warming, let alone the lack thereof.

Although the original paper's authors loudly proclaimed to the media that their work shows that "no scientific justification exists for emissions regulation" and that it "leaves little room for any warming driven by human emissions", these claims have now been shown to be wishful thinking at best, and mendacious propaganda at worst.

As the Journal of Geophysical Research's editor wrote about the response "while I appreciate the value of "taking the high road", I do not object to emphatic statements that conclusions are incorrect. Strong language is needed sometimes when errors must be corrected."

Comment on Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature" by J. D. McLean, C. R. de Freitas, and R. M. Carter

G. Foster, J. D. Annan, P. D. Jones, M. E. Mann, B. Mullan, J. Renwick, J. Salinger, G. A. Schmidt, and K. E. Trenberth
------------------------------------------

So, where do we send this?

PS: For an insight into the disjunction between science and the press, and how to play the game, take a look at the post from which the image came, and the comments

25 comments:

Magnus Westerstrand said...

Ask the Grist ppl. http://www.grist.org/about

Donald Oats said...

Does this mean that MFC09 just got its number of citations increased to "1"?

Gawd, I hope not ;-D

Horatio Algeranon said...

Horatio would add a couple things.

First, the word "faulty", which was removed from the abstract of the "comment' by Foster et al at the behest of one of the reviewers.

Well, Eli, you got your own reviewers here and this one (Reviewer #3) says put "faulty" back in! (Verdammt!)

Last year, John McLean, Chris de Freitas and Bob Carter, published a faulty paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research using a faulty mathematical procedure that eliminates long term trends to claim that there is no long term trend in global temperatures due to greenhouse gases

Horatio Algeranon said...

Eli,

Just to show that this reviewer (#3) is not unreasonable, feel free to substitute in one (or more) of the synonyms for "faulty":

"adulterated, amiss, awry, bad, below par, blamable, blemished, botched, broken, cracked, damaged, debased, defective, deficient, distorted, erroneous, fallacious, fallible, false, flawed, frail, impaired, imperfect, imprecise, inaccurate, inadequate, incomplete, inexact, injured, insufficient, invalid, lame, leaky, lemon, maimed, malformed, malfunctioning, marred, out of order, rank, sick, tainted, unfit, unreliable, unretentive, unsound, warped, weak, wrong"

PS
As an impartial reviewer, Horatio is partial to "botched, cracked, lame, malformed, unsound and (just plain) wrong", but Horatio trusts Eli to use his own good judgment to decide which to use.

apsmith said...

Well, http://www.prnewswire.com/ seems to be a standard place, but it may cost money to submit something there...

Magnus Westerstrand said...

submitting it is one thing... having the right connections to get it spread far and wide is something ells.

Do we need "assassin-scientists" for this kinda work? More generally the fact that it does not pay of for scientists to engage fair and balanced in media really is a problem...

Horatio Algeranon said...

it does not pay of for scientists to engage fair and balanced in media..."

Even if Eli's "press release" actually gets printed in the MSM, chances are it will be represented as simply one version of a "he said/she said" story -- "balanced" with the claims of Carter et al (eg, that they were "censored" by the reviewers when they were not allowed to reply to the refereed "comment" on their original paper)

Scientists really can't win.

James Lovelock may have it right: maybe humans are just too stupid to prevent climate change...(far) more concerned about things like "balance"...and OJ...and Britney...and American Idol...and Tiger Woods (sorry these are all "American" references, but Horatio is not familiar with the stupid things people in other countries obsess about)

Anonymous said...

At least send one to Inhofe so he can’t say he didn’t know.

Meanwhile: EurekAlert! (?)
(Seriously; I’ve read much worse there…)

Arch Stanton

PS - Not a very impressive gravesite - nothing to write home about.

Pete Ridley said...

Eli, my comment has noithing to do with the topic but I need some help with regard to the size of gas molecules and adsorption of atmospheric gases. I understand that you are a specialist in this area so can you give me a link or two to relevant sites/papers?

Regards, Pete Ridley

Magnus Westerstrand said...

Noo Scientists can not win alone... but with some shape up in media and PR we might...

Steve Bloom said...

Various of the authors, albeit not the first author, work for institutions with press offices, so I would think it would be trivial to get a release out. Is it possible that JGR has dibs, though, and isn't putting something out since it would be a little embarrassing?

EliRabett said...

Pete, could you help Eli by detailing a bit more what you want to know about adsorption, in particular what systems you are thinking about? The answer may be disappointing there, because it depends strongly on the surface.

As to molecular size what you are really asking is what is the range of the interaction between pairs of molecules and that depends on the molecules. Approximate answers are gettable, exact ones require time consuming calculations and/or measurements.

Anyhow there is a good post in this, hopefully tomorrow.

Marco said...

Eli, search for "Pete Ridley" on Chris Colose's blog, and you'll get an idea of why he needs the info: he actualy thinks Jaworowski is right.

Adrian said...

Pete Ridley (on his own blog) is also touting the 'disappearing island in Bay of Bengal' nonsense as an example of "pure propaganda pushed relentlessly" by the UN IPCC report!
His article contains some nice factual information about why this episode has little, if anything, to do with global warming, but his suggestion that this is some bad science campaign and thus damages the IPCC report puts him in 'the league of disingenuity' with WUWT.
Can't find fault with the science? That's ok, just pretend that something else is science and then attack that.

airport fence said...

before we really believe in some information given, we really have to examine the source..as well as the percentage of its possibility

JM said...

Why can't the denialists attract any intelligent people who can make strong arguments for their position?

Oh, right.

Anonymous said...

Well, I suppose QUOTE someone has to help UNQUOTE.

Google?

Some pertinent information on CO2, CH4 and solid H2O can be found here.

And sites such as WebElements, CrystalMaker and CCDC's Element data and radii page provide background info, caveats and data compiliations.

Such compilations are usually based on the primary literature, such as Slater (Journal of Chemical Physics, 1964, 39, 3199), Bondi (Journal of Physical Chemistry, 1964, 68, 441), etc.

Cymraeg llygoden

Anonymous said...

Doh! That first link went awry somehow. It should have read as follows:

Some pertinent information on CO2, CH4 and solid H2O can be found here.

Cymraeg llygoden

Hank Roberts said...

> Climate Scientists Respond to
> False Claims


Bzzzt! Use a different "R" word.
Rebut! Refute!

Pete Ridley said...

Eli, thanks for your polite response (unlike some who comment here and elsewhere). I'll take it up on your new thread "How Big Is hat Molecule ... "

Best regards, Pete R

Pete Ridley said...

Eli, I see that the refutation of the McLean, et al paper “Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature” (Note 1) by Foster et al. (published on 23rd July 2009) to which you linked (Note 2) was drafted on 27th October 2009 but corrections to the original paper were published on 16th Oct. Do you know if the corrections take into consideration any of the points challenged by Foster et al?

I get the impression that McLean et al. tried unsuccessfully to get the AGU to publish their response to the criticisms of Foster et al. In their article “Censorship at AGU: scientists denied the right of reply” (Note 3) they conclude QUOTE: We are left with the unanswered question as to whether this situation has arisen from editorial ineptitude at the JGR, or whether the journal, in avoiding publishing our reply, was responding to coercive pressure from influential supporters of the speculative hypothesis of dangerous human-induced climate change. UNQUOTE.

Others, although agreeing that some of the statistical manipulations used by McLean et al. are inappropriate, do appear to support the view that natural global climate processes and drivers account for most of the claimed global temperature changes during the past 100+ years. One of these is Dr. David Stockwell (Note 4) in his article (Note 5) at “Niche Modeling”. He also provides a link to a very interesting article (Note 6) “Reproducing Global Temperature Anomalies With Natural Forcings” by Bob Tisdale

Please excuse me for shooting off at a tangent here but am I correct in thinking that Foster is known as Tamino? In his criticism (Note 7) of the original paper Tamino makes the point that QUOTE: In their figure 7, they represent GTTA by splicing together two different data sets. Up to the end of 1979 they use RATPAC-A data…. From 1980 to 2010, they use UAH TLT data instead. Not only is it problematic (not completely invalid, but problematic) to splice together different data sets, if you’re going to do so you need to account for the fact that they might have a different zero point. UNQUOTE. I don’t see a similar criticism in his comments only a year earlier in “Brand New Hockey Sticks” (Note 8) covering QUOTE: Mann et al. 2008, Proxy-based reconstructions of hemispheric and global surface temperature variations over the past two millennia UNQUOTE. I could find no mention of the splicing of proxies to dubious “global” temperature measurements which have been subjected to dubious statistical manipulations. Maybe I read it too quickly ans=d missed it but being a sceptic I suspect that it was more to do with Mann’s paper providing support for The (signiciant human-made global climate change) Hypotjesis.

NOTES:
1) see http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/InfluenceSoOscillation.pdf
2) see http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frsgc/research/d5/jdannan/comment_on_mclean.pdf
3) see http://icecap.us/images/uploads/McLeanetalSPPIpaper2Z-March24.pdf
4) see http://landshape.org/enm/about-the-author/
5) see http://landshape.org/enm/influence-of-the-southern-oscillation-on-tropospheric-temperature/
6) see http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/01/reproducing-global-temperature.html
7) see ; http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/08/04/influence-of-the-southern-oscillation-on-tropospheric-temperature/
8) see http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/09/07/brand-new-hockey-sticks/


Regards, Pete Ridley

Pete Ridley said...

The opening link provided in this article to Stephan Lewandowsky’s “The peer reviewed literature has spoken” (Note 1) in which Lewandowski expresses confidence QUOTE: .. that peer review .. exercises quality control but not censorship UNQUOTE in the peer review process. He also claims that QUOTE: Because in science, a decision against publication is (almost) always quality control and (almost) never censorship UNQUOTE. The evidence from those leaked EUA CRU files (Climategate) and all of the other IPCC-gates that have followed suggest that “almost” is appropriate for the numerous different scientific disciplines involved in understanding those horrendously complicated global climate processes and drivers. The change within the scientific community (and amongst voters) since Climategate in November 2009 does seem to support Lewandowsky’s QUOTE: Peer reviewed science is fallible but self-correcting UNQUOTE. It is just such a shame that it took the leaking of CRU files to kick it into motion regarding The (significant human-made global climate change) Hypothesis. As a consequence public confidence in the pronouncements of individual scientists and scientific bodies in fields beyond the catastrophic human-made global climate change field has been shattered.

Open, honest and professional enquiries that are independent of the kind of political influence inherent in the UK’s Commons Science and Technology Committee enquiry are needed, but it appears unlikely that those set up by the UEA and IPCC will suffice (Note 2).

Lewandowski gives the impression that he QUOTE: .. is a perfect example of the .. UNQUOTE arrogance of some who live in the world of academia compared with the humility of some who line in the real word. He uses McLean as an example of how the QUOTE: .. fallible but self-correcting .. UNQUOTE peer review process even allows the publication of papers by non- academics with only one peer-reviewed paper to their name. What he chooses to overlook is that co-authors Chris de Freitas (Note 3) and Bob Carter (Note 4) are well-respected academics within relevant scientific disciples (cherry-picking?).

In my previous comment I referred to the attempt by McLean et al. to get their response to the rebuttal by Foster (Tamino?) et al. published in the Journal of Geophysical Research. Lewandowski provides a link to Sceptical Science’s “A peer-reviewed response to McLean's El Nino paper” (Note 5). Many helpful comments appear there and the last one (#50) provides two links (Notes 6 & 7), the first to the McLean et al. response to the rebuttal by Foster (Tamino?) et. al. along with commentary on the Journal of Geophysical Research’s refusal to publish. This refusal was allegedly on the basis that it did not pass peer review. Professor Carter, Associate Professor de Freitas and Dr. McLean, complained that the real reason was censorship. Many sceptics would agree with “censorship”, as can be seen in the comments on the other link (Note 7) which provides some balance to the debate.

NOTES:
1) see http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2858332.htm
2) see http://globalpoliticalshenanigans.blogspot.com/2010/03/can-there-be-independent-investigation.html
3) see http://www.sges.auckland.ac.nz/about_us/our_people/defreitas_chris/index.shtm
4) see http://members.iinet.net.au/~glrmc/
5) see http://www.skepticalscience.com/peer-reviewed-response-to-McLean-El-Nino-paper.html
6) see http://icecap.us/images/uploads/McLeanetalSPPIpaper2Z-March24.pdf
7) see http://icecap.us/index.php/go/joes-blog

Regards, Pete Ridley

Pete Ridley said...

Having read several of the articles written by Lewandowsky I decided to check up on his expertise in the field of global climate change. I was surprised to find a small, staunch environmentalist UK organisation, the Green World Trust (Note 1) that was sceptical of the “consensus”. One GWF article (Note 2) indicates that it accepts Professor Zbigniev Jaworowski’s views about reconstructing ancient atmospheric CO2 concentrations from air “trapped” in ice cores. Another article links to the list of submissions to the UK’s Science & Technology Committee political enquiry (Note 3) arising from “Climategate” revelations. QUOTE:
Memorandum .. by the Royal Statistical Society ..
1. the UK's only .. learned society devoted to .. statistics .. one of the most influential and prestigious statistical societies in the world. ..
9. .. the basic case for publication of data includes that science progresses as an ongoing debate .. the quality of that debate is best served by ensuring that all parties have access to the facts. .. peer review cannot guarantee that what is published is 'correct'. The best guarantor of scientific quality is that others are able to examine in detail the arguments that have been used ... It is important that experiments and calculations can be repeated to verify their conclusions. If data, or the methods used, are withheld, it is impossible to do this UNQUOTE.

I see this as contrary to Professor Lewandowsky’s opinion that QUOTE: Peer reviewed science is fallible but self-correcting UNQUOTE regarding the reviewing of papers on global climate change. Much of the correction that takes place in this field comes from beyond the formal peer review process. Problems arise from the dearth professional statisticians involved in both preparation and review processes. This opinion is supported by the findings of the Wegman report into the suspect statistical manipulations used in producing the “hockey stick”. On this, Dr. Edward Wegman, chair of the Committee On Applied And Theoretical Statistics for the NAS, says (Note 4) QUOTE: .. the paleoclimate community; even though they rely heavily on statistical methods .. do not seem to be interacting with the statistical community. .. the sharing of research materials, data and results was haphazardly and grudgingly done. .. there was too much reliance on peer review, which was not necessarily independent. .. Dr. Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis UNQUOTE.

Taking these opinions of expert statisticians into consideration, where does Professor Stephan Lewandowsky expertise fit in? I could find only one Lewandowski at the University of Western Australia (Note 5) QUOTE: Prof Stephan Lewandowsky School Psychology Position Australian Professorial Fellow .. There has been no research or expertise at UWA submitted for this staff member UNQUOTE. Further search found a Lewandowsky associated with the UK’s University of Warwick through Professor Gordon D. A. Brown (Note 5) with QUOTE: .. research interests in the computational and mathematical modelling of human timing and memory; categorisation, identification, and word recognition; and the interface between economic psychology, cognitive science, and psychophysics.. UNQUOTE. I also found numerous research papers on psychology involving Stephan Lewandowsky but can find nothing in the field of global climate processes and drivers.

If this is the same Professor Stephan Lewandowsky then I am surprised that he is quoted so widely in articles relating to global climate change.

Pete Ridley said...

NOTES:
1) see http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Forum/forum.htm
2) see http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Science/Scientific/CO2-ice-HS.htm
3) see http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/contents.htm
4) see http://republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/108/home/07142006_Wegman_fact_sheet.pdf
5) see http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/psych/research/gbrown/

Best regards, Pete Ridley

Pete Ridley said...

In my comment time-stamped 1:44 PM I made reference to Dr. David Stockwell and that he would QUOTE: appear to support the view that natural global climate processes and drivers account for most of the claimed global temperature changes during the past 100+ years. UNQUOTE. Today a contributor to Australian Senator Steve Fielding’s “Is global warming man-made? Is global warming dangerous?” thread at comment # 477 provided a link (Note 1) to “The Resilient Earth” blog “Climate Science's Dirtiest Secret” thread (Note 2). This thread says QUOTE: It has long been recognized that statistical acumen has been lacking among mainstream climate scientists. This dirty little secret was first publicly disclosed during Congressional hearings regarding the 2006 Wegman Report. Even newer analyses have revealed that many of the predictions made by the IPCC reports and other global warming boosters are wrong, often because inappropriate statistical techniques were applied. UNQUOTE.

The article discusses the use of inappropriate statistical methods by climate researchers then goes on to discuss the findings presented in a 2007 paper “On the Trend, Detrending, and Variability of Nonlinear and Nonstationary Time Series” by Zhaohua Wu et al. using EMD to illustrate the determination of the intrinsic trend and natural variability in climate data. The data used were the annual global surface temperature anomalies from the Climate Research Unit, University of East Anglia. QUOTE: They found that the linear trend gives a warming value of 0.005°C per year. The multidecadal trend .. showed no warming in the mid-19th century and is ≈0.008°C per year currently. The rates of change were higher during the 1860s, 1930s, and 1980s, which were separated by periods of temperature decreases. UNQUOTE.

It links to another article “Econometrics vs Climate Science” (Note 3) saying QUOTE: What physical mechanism is responsible for the dominant 65 year trend is not known, but the cointegration analysis paper we previously examined says that is not greenhouse gas levels—CO2 is not driving Earth's temperature change UNQUOTE. There is a further link in the “Econometrics vs Climate Science” article to a 2009 paper “Structural break models of climatic regime-shifts: claims and forecasts” by Dr. David Stockwell and Anthony Cox (Note 4). You may recall that I made reference to Dr. Stockwell in my comment time-stamped 1:44 PM.

Have you any comments to make on the alternative statistical methods used by these specialists and their conclusions complared with those of the climate scientists who contributed to the IPCC’s AR4?

It is interesting that this link lists two papers, that by Stockwell and Cox, preceded by their “Comment on "Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature" by J. D. McLean, C. R. de Freitas, and R. M. Carter” – the subject of this thread.

NOTES:
1) see http://www.stevefielding.com.au/forums/viewthread/795/P465/
2) see http://theresilientearth.com/?q=content/climate-sciences-dirtiest-secret
3) see http://theresilientearth.com/?q=content/econometrics-vs-climate-science
4) see http://arxiv.org/find/physics/1/au:+Stockwell_D/0/1/0/all/0/1

Best regards, Pete Ridley