Sunday, September 04, 2011

Wagner apologized

At the top of an article by Kevin Trenberth, John Abraham, and Peter Gleick which Roger Pielke Sr is throwing a 9.0 Godwin on is this little tidbit from Kenneth Trenberth

As we noted on when the paper was published, the hype surrounding Spencer's and Braswell's paper was impressive; unfortunately the paper itself was not. Remote Sensing is a fine journal for geographers, but it does not deal much with atmospheric and climate science, and it is evident that this paper did not get an adequate peer review. It should have received an honest vetting.

Friday that truth became apparent. Kevin Trenberth received a personal note of apology from both the editor-in-chief and the publisher of Remote Sensing. Wagner took this unusual and admirable step after becoming aware of the paper's serious flaws. By resigning publicly in an editorial posted online, Wagner hopes that at least some of this damage can be undone.

Oh yes, they have a little list


J Bowers said...

If none of the three reviewers flagged that Trenberth's and/or other papers should be discussed, but Wagner almost immediately saw why they should have been just by having a look on the internetz, of all places, I think I get a sense of why someone felt they needed to piss on the parade.

David B. Benson said...

Do the Koch bros. pay well?

J Bowers said...

I guess that depends if you're on the shop floor making Lycra or not.

Anonymous said...


Is this a candidate for the list?


JCH said...

Why did they apologize? The blogs seem to think to get the apology, Trenberth left horse heads in their beds.

Anonymous said...

And right alongside that Science Daily story cited by Obscurity, we find among the "Related Stories," "New Study Increases Concerns About Climate Model Reliability", by the usual suspects, Spencer, Christy, and Douglass. These erstwhile Galileos are accumulating quite a record of errors. Such is the price of misunderstood genius.

Taylor B

EliRabett said...

Because at root S^B is an attack on Trenberths energy balance models and was sold as such

TSI said...


Why did RS (publisher) and Wagner (ex Editor-in-Chief) apologize to Trenberth? Mainly because of the broken review process at RS, I guess, and because of their negligence in checking up on the suggested referees.

The upshot being that a paper was let through, which simply ignored the recent countervailing arguments in the literature (by Trenberth, among others). That's why, AND because RS and MDPI wants to maintain/save a serious reputation.

ourchangingclimate said...

I find the personal apology to Trenberth odd and unneccesary.

Even though Spencer and Braswell lacked essential references as well as counter-arguments to already published rebuttals I don’t find that per se a reason to apologize to Trenberth. Wagner’s resignation is as it were an apology to the scientific community for a) inadequate peer review and b) allowing his journal being abused for political ends.

Neither means to me that an apology to a specific person is needed. For forgetting to add one citation to his list? Nah.

Moreover, this personal apology plays right into the hands of the conspiratorial mindsets of course. That alone should have been enough (though a very pragmatic/strategic) reason not to apologize to Trenberth in person.


J Bowers said...

Hold on, where did this overblown discussion point of the apology actually begin?

Anonymous said...


I'm not entirely sure why Wagner apologized-- it may have simply been a spontaneous decision, and really why the heck do we all care so much that they did? the apology is not the main issue here. But consider this. SB11 cited Lindzen and Choi 2011, a rehash of LC09 which was soundly refuted by Trenberth et al. (2010).....and consider what SB11 is saying in their conclusions re ENSO, and what their press release said and what Spencer has written on his blog on this subject on his blog. It is suggesting that Trenberth et al. and their cohorts are part of some conspiracy and wrong. Pretty juvenile stuff from Roy-- I'd be embarrassed to be associated with him, and so clearly is remote Sensing and Wagner in particular.



EliRabett said...

The relationship and errors in LC11 and SB11 is incestuous. Both papers share the same falacies and both are attack on Trenberth's ideas as clearly shown by the driven discussion amongst the rejectionists (see Eli has a word for that).

Martin Vermeer said...

Bart, I very much disagree. Consider the imaginary case of a paper that builds its central result on results by an earlier paper, without citing or acknowledging it. Most scientists would frown on this; reviewers would demand it corrected, and conscientious authors would hurry to correct it if accidental. Also, most colleagues would understand if the author of the earlier paper were peeved, which she might or might not be, but certainly has a right to be. In this situation I think an apology would be entirely natural.

The current situation is similar but "inside-out": the newer paper builds on ignoring an earlier paper. I'll leave the conclusion as an exercise for the reader.

As for what "plays right into the hands of the conspiratorial mindsets", perhaps you should allow your agenda to be set instead by the sane, reachable part of your audience.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Conspiratorial mindsets indeed. In which Kevin Trenberth becomes Wolfgang Wagner's slave master because Trenberth is chairman of the GEWEX SSG and Wagner is associated with the International Soil Moisture Network which is a project affiliated with GEWEX (although not the SSG).

Not only that, but since he develops models for extracting data from the signals gathered by satellites, that makes him a "modeler"! Because of this his is under the control of the evil international cabal of climate modelers.

Good comedy writing over there by Less Johnson.

Grypo said...

Of course, Les' theory establishes one thing -- a possible reason that Wagner sent Trenberth a personal apology -- they might actually know each other. Perhaps just a courtesy of a professional relationship. The conspiracy actually hurts the narrative of an all powerful IPCC author forcing a lowly no-name editor to resign and grovel an apology. So that leaves us withe the indisputable fact that Wagner's IN-ON-IT!!

J Bowers said...

David B. Benson -- "Do the Koch bros. pay well?"

Looks like the Brothers Koch supporters do, for kickbacks. One of the Brothers sez...

"...I pledge to all of you who've stepped forward and are partnering with us that we are absolutely going to do our utmost to invest this money wisely and get the best possible payoff for you in the future of our country."
-- Charles Koch at the latest (not so) secret gathering for his 300 rich pals.