Saturday, June 11, 2011

WINO's Lament

Eli is injecting a new term into the discussion of lukewarmerism, WINO, sort of like RINO, Rabett in Name Only, but terribly appropriate, as we shall see from Lindzen's Lament, featured over at Bishop Hill.

We here at Rabett Run are familiar with the latest horror papers, Lindzen and Choi II, featured in our video of Andrew Dessler's disputation with Dick Lindzen, who constantly whined about Dessler not referring to his new, as yet and still unpublished V2. Lindzen, as a member of the National Academy of Sciences, can submit papers, for which he has gathered referee's reports from two appropriate scientists of his choosing. He chose Will Happer and Ming-Dah Chou, boththe first a member of the NAS, the second well read bellow, but, [corrections in italic] both being not exactly appropriate. As the editor of PNAS wrote to Lindzen

The two reviews provided by Lindzen and Choi do not qualify against any of those criteria. Both scientists are formally eligible for refereeing according to the PNAS rules, but one of them (WH) is certainly not an expert for the topic in question and the other one (MDC) has published extensively on the very subject together with Lindzen. So, in a sense, he is reviewing his own work. I therefore recommend we ask for additional reviews. The final outcome could well be positive, and the process would then considerably strengthen the position of the authors.

The Editorial Board has recommended additional referees to evaluate the paper. Drs. Susan Solomon, Kevin Trenberth, Gavin Schmidt, James G. Anderson and Veerabhadran Ramanathan were suggested as possible reviewers to offer an opinion on the work. The Board will seek the comments of at least one of these reviewers unless you have any specific objections to our contacting these experts.
Now Dick considers this a libel on both (Chou, as the bunnies may remember was a co-author on the Adaptive Iris paper, and Happer, whatever his qualifications does a very different sort of spectroscopy) FWIW, but the paper was sent out for review and roundly rejected. Bishop Hill has posted the Acrobat versions of the manuscript, the reviews as well as Lindzen and Choi's response. The evaluations from four referees were unanimously negative: Not of sufficient quality and the conclusions were not justified. Three of the four though that the procedures were not well enough described. A common thread is that, as one of the reviewers said about one of the assumptions:
They do not bother to prove it or test the validity of this assumption. Again this is an assertion, without any testable justification.
Or as Nick Stokes put it about another paper disproving the greenhouse effect, proof of the assertion is left as an exercise for the reader.

Eli assumes that Andy Dessler, James Annan and several others may wish to practice extended mole whacking in the comments below.


Rattus Norvegicus said...

Another common thread in the reviews is that LC II did not answer any of the criticisms of LC I. Since this was a paper extending the "results" of LC I, it seems that it was incumbent on them to show that they had addressed these criticisms or to show that they were invalid.

I think that we need to bring a new concept into play here: the "Trojan Paper". This is a weak paper submitted to a major journal solely for the purpose of getting rejected. This allows the authors to claim bias on the part of editors and reviewers, make a big to-do about it and claim that "the Team" is preventing them from getting published.

David B. Benson said...

Consider the mole whacked.

Pinko Punko said...

I think PNAS has improved significantly over the last 10 years in terms of mainstreaming their review process, and thus it is interesting to see random jackhats discussion how things work at PNAS when they haven't the faintest clue. I think the journal was respectful to Lindzen in their language and treatment, while he clearly befouled the spirit of the rules. So good old Lubos quotes chapter and verse from the rulebook and finds a felony.

Joel said...

"the other one (MDC) has published extensively on the very subject together with Lindzen. So, in a sense, he is reviewing his own work"

For some reason, and I am not completely sure what it might be, I am reminded of the Wegman report?

Anonymous said...

Are you sure Chou is a NAS member? Can't find him and it is not in his CV:

J Bowers said...

Anonymous, it says:

"1972-1974 NAS-NRC Research Associate, NASA/Goddard Institute for Space Studies"

Does that qualify him?

J Bowers said...

Rattus -- I think that we need to bring a new concept into play here: the "Trojan Paper".

Definitely a keeper. A list of them could be made.

Anonymous said...

As a lay person, I am bemused by Lindzen's persistence in down-playing the risks of CO2 emissions and warming.

Lindzen seems so at odds with the preponderance of evidence from other sources regarding sensitivity and his last effort was so susceptible to jiggery-pokery that I find it hard to take anything he has to say as anything but a another ploy to rejoin the not very funny comedians at the Heartland.

scaredy mouse

Pinko Punko said...

Anonymous- the reviewers need not be NAS members.

guthrie said...

Judith Curry has jumped on the bandwagon as well, as you might expect.

The funny thing is that the denialists moan and rant about how if getting someone you've published with to vet papers means all their favourite anti-scientists would never get anything published. Even Curry agrees.
But none of them put forwards specific examples of real climatologists getting their papers reviewed by their friends. You'd think they could dig up some examples to prove their point, but no, it's all unsubstantiated allegates and "as you know bob, they get their papers through on the nod".

Anonymous said...

Actually, I do believe climate sensibility over the tropical seas is less, much less than it is globally. For a doubling of [CO2] it might be only a degree, maybe 1.5° C, while the global average would be more like 3° C or a little over. So Lindzen and Choi may have kind of a point. I hope they will write a follow-up study with findings on the tropical landmasses (omitted but comprising 22% of their area of study) and, of course, the rest of the globe north and south of 20° latitude.

cRR Kampen (posted as Anonymous - my Google account will not be eaten)

Brian Schmidt said...

Lindzen sez this of PNAS procedure:

"Note that members of the NAS are permitted to communicate up to 4 papers per year. The members are responsible for obtaining two reviews of their own papers and to report the reviews and their responses to the reviews. Note, as well, that rejection of such contributions by the Board of PNAS is a rare event, involving approximately 2% of all contributions."

Sounds like PNAS needs to tighten procedures, and Lindzen's self-selection of yessirs seems like a problem with this fairly weak form of peer review. Falling in the 2% (if accurate) rejection pot just suggests how terrible his paper was.

Anonymous said...

FYI, cRRK, there are very good reasons to believe that although heat transport out of the tropics accelerates (only a "negative feedback" if one makes the mistake of treating the tropics in isolation, as you seem to want to do), the main negative feedback for the globe (other than the obvious Planck feedback) occurs via enhanced cloud formation in the mid-lats. Lindzen well knows this, but of course it's impossible to distort into something that will stop warming. But that aside, Lindzen's failure over something like 25 years to address the question of how the planet manages to warm or for that matter cool from it's present state (e.g. in the recent glacial cycles) with his supposed negative feedback in operation makes him a laughingstock of Brobdingnagian proportions.

Steve Bloom

Anonymous said...

But Brian, their procedures do seem to catch the problems. Characterizing evidence that the process works as evidence that it might not be working is almost, um, Lindzenesque. :)

Steve Bloom

Anonymous said...

Trojan paper, like it.

Failure rate of papers written by 'skeptics' is much, much higher than Trojan condoms though...."skeptics" really need to tighten up the QC.

Sad to see the truly desperate 'skeptics' trying to spin this in their favour....they are in denial me thinks.

Pinko Punko said...


Steve is correct- the ability to contribute is the last vestige of what was the great honor bestowed on National Academy Members. The thought would be that these scientists have earned some amount of leeway/honor system. To keep PNAS competitive, this has been wittled down to 4 Contributions a year (Communications no longer allowed, wherein members would pass along papers of their colleagues with their stamp of approval. In lieu of Communications, members may serve as pre-arranged editors, where all reviews are still handled through the editorial office and in the light of day). The fact than Lindzen has been rejected here shows how badly he tried to circumvent the honor system by pushing the spirit of the rules.

Interesting data on the three previous types of submission to PNAS.

PNAS had a big controversy in 2009 about shady review from members, so they have tightened even further.

ccpo said...

"Note, as well, that rejection of such contributions by the Board of PNAS is a rare event, involving approximately 2% of all contributions."

Anyone got an extra petard Lindzen could borrow? He's surely used his stash of them by now.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I wanted to treat the globe, not the tropics in isolation like Lindzen/Choi did (see the comments by 'Reviewer #1'). I suggested this rather diplomatically, or obliquely if you prefer.

cRR Kampen.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Happer has zero credibility with me because he gave testimony in the Senate and didn't put in any footnotes. Later, his Senate Testimony was posted on denialists sites and footnotes had been added by the SPPI. Some of the footnotes cite Lord Monckton.

Dr. Happer wasn't mad about someone else cooking up footnotes after the fact. His own site directed readers to this changed Senate Testimony.

I have all the details here:

I am not a scientist, but I'm not totally stupid.


J Bowers said...

If only Happer weren't Chairman of the Marshall Institute, I'd think he didn't have a dog in the fight.

Hank Roberts said...

A useful reference:

Anonymous said...

And here is the blockbuster quote

"Since when is a negative feedback that reduces the response by 40% considered enormous, but a positive feedback that is purported to increase the response by 300% is considered plausible?"

ho ho ho, coal in the stockings.

Anonymous said...

cRRK, without treating the tropics in isolation all of Linden's stuff evaporates into pixie dust. You seemed to be arguing otherwise.

Steve Bloom

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

Oh no, Happer is chairman of the George Marshall institute, what a conflict of interest. Gavin Schmidt runs an alarmist blog on the public dollar and has 0 objectivity but thats "A" okay.

Anonymous said...


Wow nice reference. John Abraham is the equivalent to Lord Monckton on your side. Epic fail. Happer knows more than him about climate on one hand.

EliRabett said...

Now Eli, not being Lubos, would think it fine if Bill Happer reviewed a bunch of string theory papers, which is the issue here.

J Bowers said...

"Happer knows more than him about climate on one hand."

I really wouldn't be so sure about that. Happer's one and only paper on climate - 'Petitioning for a revised statement on climate change'. When asked by Congress for his opinion on climate sensitivity to doubling of CO2, he responds with an "educated guess" of 1C.

How did that ozone do, by the way? Looks like all those tax-deductible dollars are consistently backing the wrong horse.

Brian Schmidt said...

Steve/Pinko: good point, PNAS stopped this bad paper. A 2% rejection rate suggests that others get through though, esp if we make the assumption that Lindzen's not the only one to get wobbly on selection of independent reviewers.

Pinko Punko said...

Electing members to the national academy is a non-zero filter. Also, considering the members are supposed to solicit reviews- if the reviews are negative, it is likely that the member will improve the paper or send elsewhere- minimally, some reviewers comments are likely accommodated prior to submission and that the review will be updated as the paper is. So the 2% rate is a little bit biased as it can't be seen to represent the initial round of review. The paper must reach the bar of having some sort of positive reviews.

Hank Roberts said...

I usually ignore the 'Anonymous' but

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Additional comments from the inimitable (for his bile) Stevie Mac:


Brian Dodge said...

"Happer knows more than him about climate on one hand. "

Is Happer still claiming that there is not warming but global cooling? When he made the 2009 statement "Over the past ten years there has been no global warming, and in fact a slight cooling" it was a lie. There's not any period starting more than two years before now that shows a negative trend to today, despite declining solar output.

He's also on record claiming that "“At least 90% of greenhouse warming is due to water vapor and clouds." This is patently false - the top 1/4 of the atmosphere has less than 1/1000th of the water vapor at sea level(dew point vs adiabatic lapse rate), but 1/4 of the CO2(well mixed always gas).

I use the words"false" and "lie" advisedly, crediting him with knowing the physics behind global warming but not telling the truth, as opposed to being ignorantly mistaken a la Monckton.