As is all over the blogs, Wolfgang Wagner has resigned as Editor of Remote Sensing, not so much because publishing Spencer and Braswell was a mistake in and of itself, but because of the way that Remote Sensing having accepted and published that provocation has been exploited. Wagner pulls no punches.
Peer-reviewed journals are a pillar of modern science. Their aim is to achieve highest scientific standards by carrying out a rigorous peer review that is, as a minimum requirement, supposed to be able to identify fundamental methodological errors or false claims. Unfortunately, as many climate researchers and engaged observers of the climate change debate pointed out in various internet discussion fora, the paper by Spencer and Braswell  that was recently published in Remote Sensing is most likely problematic in both aspects and should therefore not have been published.This is actually a rather important answer to a question that John Nielsen Gammon posed to Roger Pielke Sr. about mole whacking
After having become aware of the situation, and studying the various pro and contra arguments, I agree with the critics of the paper. Therefore, I would like to take the responsibility for this editorial decision and, as a result, step down as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Remote Sensing. With this step I would also like to personally protest against how the authors and like-minded climate sceptics have much exaggerated the paper’s conclusions in public statements, e.g., in a press release of The University of Alabama in Huntsville from 27 July 2011 , the main author’s personal homepage , the story “New NASA data blow gaping hole in global warming alarmism” published by Forbes , and the story “Does NASA data show global warming lost in space?” published by Fox News , to name just a few. Unfortunately, their campaign apparently was very successful as witnessed by the over 56,000 downloads of the full paper within only one month after its publication.
But trying to refute all scientific insights into the global warming phenomenon just based on the comparison of one particular observational satellite data set with model predictions is strictly impossible. Aside from ignoring all the other observational data sets (such as the rapidly shrinking sea ice extent and changes in the flora and fauna) and contrasting theoretical studies, such a simple conclusion simply cannot be drawn considering the complexity of the involved models and satellite measurements.
Unfortunately mole whacking has become a vital part of broader impacts and outreach for climate scientists and must be recognized, acknowledged and rewarded. Dr. Wagner has earned much respect for himself and for Remote Sensing. It will be necessary to publish strong refutations of the Spencer and Braswell papers and strongly link them to the paper asap. Andy?
“Spencer’s paper”: It didn’t take my colleague Andrew Dessler long to work out a demonstration that Spencer’s new paper is wrong. Many of his colleagues have counselled against publishing this demonstration, arguing that the time wasted refuting yet another in a series of incorrect papers by the same author would be better spent advancing our knowledge about the climate system and that at some point it’s better just to ignore incorrect papers. I personally agree with you that an incorrect paper should be publicly refuted in the scientific literature, but I can see how it would get annoying to be working on one public refutation after another.
Well, the Guardian says that Andrew Dessler's paper will be coming out next week in GRL.
UPDATE: This is like crack to bloggers:
Big City Lib
Only in it for the Gold
Our Changing Climate