Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lies and lying liars

MT posted a letter from a graduate student in Canada, describing how the Harper government is destroying important environmental programs.

Over the past several months we have seen major cuts to Environment Canada that have left it without any real scientific or research power. These cuts include the Environment Canada lab I presently do research at under Dr. Brad Bass of Environment Canada’s Adaptations and Impacts Research Section (AIRS). Almost the entire Section – which focuses on measuring impacts and responding to climate change across Canada – has been cut, alongside many other departments. Dr. Bass and many other Environment Canada scientists have had their jobs cut and we’ve seen in recent days rather strong political intervention from above in what EC scientists can and cannot mention to the public, whether it’s research critical of present policy or even just discussion of the cuts.

We have seen many prominent scientific jobs cut, research funding slashed, and our ability to effectively do environmental assessment and management largely neutralized (see here, here and here). Our scientists have been muzzled, and their ability to go to press has become tightly managed by a new “media relations office” put forth by the Harper Government.
and eh, vola, the "media relations office" showed up in a reply from Mark Johnson, Spokesperson, Environment Canada who wrote. .

This piece is misinformed. No science programs were eliminated in the preparation of EC’s plans for the 2011/12 fiscal year.

The environment remains a priority for the Government of Canada. EC received funding in the 2011 budget for work in a number of important areas of science, including climate change and adaptation, protecting the environment and health from chemicals and improving water quality in the Great Lakes.

We will continue to ensure that Canadians have access to this data in order to support work on adaptation by specific communities and economic sectors.

EC is very proud of its strong science foundation and actively encourages its scientists to publish their work and to make their data publically available. This will continue.

Now Eli merely pointed out that

"No science programs were eliminated"

Some were cut pretty close to zero eh?

Doug went a step further and noted that there was a bit of inventiveness in Mr. Johnson

Insufficiently subtle, Mr. Johnson, your spin is tripping over its feet. Read carefully; you'll see that nowhere did the student refer to program elimination but instead mentioned specific cuts. Go slower, read more carefully

Indeed, as Ian Forrester linked to Nature

In a year that saw the first genuine 'ozone hole' appear in the Northern Hemisphere, atmospheric scientists say they are shocked to learn that Environment Canada, the country's environment agency, has decided to drastically reduce its ozone science and monitoring programme. . . .

The Canadian observation network comprises 17 stations — from London, Ontario, in the south to Alert in the high Arctic — which use several techniques to measure ozone (see 'The ozone network'). But atmospheric scientists and research institutes around the world, including Canada, Britain, Switzerland and Germany, have been told, informally, that the network will be shut down as early as this coming winter. This will be the end of in situ ozone measurements, including those made by balloons launched at least once a week from 11 of the stations. "This is devastating for the whole field," says Tom Duck, who conducts atmospheric research at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Environment Canada's ozone and radiation research group will also be substantially reduced as a result of staff cuts driven by financial constraints. A spokesman for the agency refused to confirm the cuts, saying merely that all government-funded programmes are currently being reviewed.

Guess who :) that spokesbeast was.

Staehelin adds that the Canadian agency has said it will no longer host the Toronto-based World Ozone and Ultraviolet Radiation Data Centre, an archive of data collected over several decades and used intensively by atmospheric scientists around the world. "It appears that the management at Environment Canada was not fully aware of the consequences of its decision," says Staehelin. Last month, the agency notified its staff that a total of about 300 jobs will be cut.
Mr. Johnson is whistleblower hunting lately looking for who talked to Nature. Maybe he can qualify for a job with Morano.

What's too far said he

Wegman chutzpah update. Andrew Gelman is seriously annoyed.

More to the point Wiley Computational Statistics has become the journal of last resort unless they change the editorial bored.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

McCracken Fisks Happer @ Climate Science Watch

Mike McCracken takes the full fisk to William Happer at Climate Science Watch (summary here, full response here). Motivation?

The paper is so misleading that, in my view, it merits a paragraph-by-paragraph response. Indeed, being an alumnus of Princeton University and having devoted my career to study of climate change science, preparing a response almost seemed an obligation.
However, allow Eli to provide shorter versions to some of Will's questions as Dr. McCracken does on a paragraph by paragraph basis with cites.

1. Is the climate change community really off on a “climate crusade”?

You appear to be confusing climate science with Marc Morano.

2. Is CO2 a pollutant or a vital molecule for life on Earth—or both?

Is poop a pollutant or a vital agricultural material?

3. On what basis is EPA moving to regulate CO2?

Law, see Court, Supreme: rulings of

4. Isn’t CO2 a nutrient for plants?


5. Don’t we really want to have a higher CO2 concentration?


6. Wasn’t the CO2 level actually nearly too low?


7. Won’t more CO2 be beneficial?


8. How high can the CO2 level be without impacting human health?

350, maybe 450, except for anorexics who will have a short, happy time.

Details at McCracken or Skeptical Science or Coby one or two at Rabett Run.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Eli Goes Goddard or Where Tamino Dare Not Tread.

Tamino is playing mole whacker with Steve Goddard's latest, so in the tradition of Andrew Gelman's worst graph in the world contest (sort of a Bulwer-Lytton for Excel users) Eli came up with an entry and he even based it on the latest at Open Mind, altering a graph of disasters declared by FEMA, by adding a line for GISSTEMP, also suitably altered.

We have a whiner.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

More truth

Eli is up to his ears and that is pretty high, but to keep the meme moving Doonesbury has a good take, almost as good as Bill Clinton's

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Google

In case anyone is wondering what is going on with the google today

Celery Eater is the one on the left at the google

Friday, September 23, 2011

French nuclear power pricing, and solar power pricing

Via Romm:
Pro-nuclear power France still has escalating costs for nuclear power. It's not American litigation driving these costs.

Also via Romm:

My opinion is that we should maintain and relicense most nuclear power plants (that's cheap), but nukes don't have an expanded role absent massive Republican governmental subsidies, with an unhelpful loan subsidy assist from Obama. A lot safer than coal, though.

UPDATE: probably should add that widely distributed wind power and grid charging off of power stored in plug-in car batteries could handle much of the night time load.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tag, Your Blog Is It

Pass it on. From MT, who got it from Think Progress.

Also watch the first follow on.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why the DOJ Don't Love Eric May

Hank (Eli prefers it when he uses his Egyptian name, Ankh) found the answer to why the Department of Justice refused the recommendation of Eric May to bring a criminal referral against Charles Monnett. Turns out that our Inspector Clouseau has a track record.

His technical incompetence maneuvered the DOJ into bringing a case which came to a rather embarrassing end against the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District,

David Overvold, the district's lawyer, Lyman McConnell and two irrigation district employees — John Baker and Shelby Cecil — were named in a 10-count indictment handed up in December 2008 by a federal grand jury in Reno. Cecil since has died.
Turns out that Mr. Cecil had lung cancer, and Eric the Idiot showed up at his house unannounced in very IC manner. Cecil opened the door and reached for his oxygen tank. May thought he was reaching for a gun and rushed him. Just what a terminally ill man needs to get better.
Federal prosecutors accuse them of carrying out a scheme from 2000-05 to alter water delivery data to earn special "efficiency credits" that would entitle the district to more water and reduce a court-ordered water debt owed to the Pyramid Lake Paiute tribe.
Ethon's new food group, Eric, was the technically challenged investigator who talked the Feds into bringing the case, and most of the information is buried under seal from the grand jury proceeding. However, the case being concluded, perhaps that (hi there Brian and Jeff) can be breached.

Overvold's lawyer, Craig Denny, had some not so nice things to say about Eric
Denney, a former federal prosecutor in Reno, has charged that May improperly coached and influenced witnesses, and altered witness statements, tainting grand jury proceedings and robbing Overvold of his right to due process.
The outcome was pretty much an egg-on-the-face outcome for the DOJ
The Truckee-Carson Irrigation District (TCID), based in Fallon, Nevada announced today that the Honorable James C. Mahan, Judge of the Federal District Court for the District of Nevada, has approved the dismissal with prejudice of all charges against the Truckee Carson Irrigation District (TCID), Lyman McConnell, and John Baker in a federal indictment that was issued by the Grand Jury on December 3, 2008

McConnell and Baker agreed not to seek reimbursement of their attorneys’ fees and expenses in defending themselves against the charges if the government’s position was found to be vexatious, frivolous, or in bad faith. They also agreed not to file any claims against the government or its agents arising from the investigation and prosecution of the case.

David Overvold, TCID’s former Project Manager, who was represented by Craig Denney of Downey Brand, retired from his position at TCID, and has agreed to enter into a pretrial diversion program, while continuing to assert his innocence. After the pretrial diversion is completed in 18 months, the United States will also dismiss the indictment with prejudice against Mr. Overvold. Shelby Cecil, the former TCID Water Master, who was represented by Donald Evans, had charges against him dismissed on February 13, 2009, after he passed away.
and the reasons for the dismissal were classic
“There were some significant concerns raised by these motions,” TCID defense counsel Michael Van Zandt said, “that undermined the government’s theory of the charges and demonstrated that the charges in fact were not well-founded. For example, TCID filed a motion that asserted that a political subdivision of a state, such as an irrigation district in the State of Nevada, is not legally capable of committing a crime. This is a long established view based on the fact that a governmental entity is not able to form the specific intent to defraud, only a real live person can do that.” As to the misconduct allegations, Mr. Van Zandt stated that he cannot give specific information, but indicated that it involved the manner in which the case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Interior Office of the Inspector General under the supervision of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento.

“If a person who was knowledgeable about the operation of an irrigation district with over 600 miles of canals, laterals and drains and some 70 water meter measuring devices had been involved in the investigation, this case would never have been filed in the first place,” Van Zandt stated. “Running an irrigation district on the scale of the Newlands Project, with over 3000 water right owners, receiving over 13,000 water deliveries in a single year, takes a lot of knowledge and experience to understand what is going on and how the deliveries are measured and reported,” Mr. Schank said. “You just can’t pick up a chart or report and understand everything that was involved with that water delivery without having the necessary background, and without investigating all of the circumstances behind a water delivery,” Schank added.

Kate Rutan, the Interim Project Manager for TCID had this to say: “I witnessed an honest man give up his dreams to build something worthwhile because of this indictment. I witnessed a kind, gentle, very ill man die with the accusation that he had committed a federal crime punishable by 20 years in jail hanging over his head. I witnessed an organization of honest hardworking people brought to their knees financially because of this indictment.”
The Trial of Charles Monnett is deja vu all over again

In America, it's liberal-leftist to say the rich should pay the same percent taxes as the middle class

That is all.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Eight percent increase in belief in climate change in the US

Up to 83%, and the Stanford analyst thinks the Republican presidential denialism may be part of it:

As Americans watch Republicans debate the issue, they are forced to mull over what they think about global warming, said Jon Krosnick, a political science professor at Stanford University.

And what they think is also influenced by reports this year that global temperatures in 2010 were tied with 2005 to be the warmest year since the 1880s.

"That is exactly the kind of situation that will provoke the public to think about the issue in a way that they haven't before," Krosnick said about news reports on the Republicans denying climate change science.

I sure hope he's right. The debates were skewed with 1.5 candidates arguing for sanity and the rest denialists, playing to a skewed-conservative audience. If that still helped climate realism, then bring on the national campaign. The increasing recognition of Republican leadership being anti-science is probably sinking in somewhat.

I wonder though if it's more just the particular time, right after record heat and weather disasters. The previous poll was done in early June rather than the end of summer heat. Or maybe fading memories of the made-up nonsense over the stolen climate emails.

Anyway, modest progress for realism.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

So what would have been the major headlines if violent crime rose 12%

The important good news even if it gets ho-hum coverage is that violent crime is down yet again, this time by 12% last year, down 70% from the 1993 high point. Contrary to the article and its unnamed experts, I don't think the experts are necessarily surprised that crime went down in the short-term in a bad economy (longer term impacts to society from the economy are less hopeful tho). What is surprising is that it went down that much, as the article's one expert says.

Regression to the mean suggests stabilization or increase would be more likely than this large decrease. Maybe someday we'll have some certainty on why it's happening. The whole lead-reduction/crime-reduction thing seems really strong, but not definite. The "more porn, less rape" theory also seems to have some support although not as much. "More abortion, less crime" is also interesting and the least supported in my nonexpert opinion (but can be tested overseas).

Anyway, it's nice to have some good domestic news along with the good news from the Arab world.

A tangent: I recently watched Predator 2 after being told it was good (my review: meh). Filmed in 1990 and set in 1997, it took the then-upward crime trajectory and sent it forward to an ungovernable future. Interestingly bad prediction.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Nicotine is Not Addictive

Brought to you by Fred Seitz and his playmates at the George Marshall Institute

DOUBT from The Climate Reality Project on Vimeo.

Whacking the Moles in their Holes

Objection has been raised about whacking moles after they have emerged from their holes and are wandering about, Trenberth, Fasullo and Abraham take up where Dessler left off and whack the blind in Remote Sensing

Issues in Establishing Climate Sensitivity in Recent Studies
Kevin E. Trenberth, John T. Fasullo and John P. Abraham
Remote Sens. 2011, 3(9), 2051-2056; doi:10.3390/rs3092051

Abstract: Numerous attempts have been made to constrain climate sensitivity with observations [1-10] (with [6] as LC09, [8] as SB11). While all of these attempts contain various caveats and sources of uncertainty, some efforts have been shown to contain major errors and are demonstrably incorrect. For example, multiple studies [11-13] separately addressed weaknesses in LC09 [6]. The work of Trenberth et al. [13], for instance, demonstrated a basic lack of robustness in the LC09 method that fundamentally undermined their results. Minor changes in that study’s subjective assumptions yielded major changes in its main conclusions. Moreover, Trenberth et al. [13] criticized the interpretation of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) as an analogue for exploring the forced response of the climate system. In addition, as many cloud variations on monthly time scales result from internal atmospheric variability, such as the Madden-Julian Oscillation, cloud variability is not a deterministic response to surface temperatures. Nevertheless, many of the problems in LC09 [6] have been perpetuated, and Dessler [10] has pointed out similar issues with two more recent such attempts [7,8]. Here we briefly summarize more generally some of the pitfalls and issues involved in developing observational constraints on climate feedbacks.
It's open source, so have at it, but the take home is that a) the earth radiation budget data is to be treated as radioactive (e.g. with extreme caution). Data for the last ten years might be trusted b) Add in natural variability and you have the prototypical trap for the unwary. c) Roy Spencer and his sidekick Braswell were exceedingly unwary.

This is hilarious given the "press" that the uncertainty monster and her friends have given to Spencer and Braswell, because as Trenberth, Fasullo and Abraham point out, the SBers did not address these issues and
Addressing these questions in even a cursory manner would have avoided some of the study's major mistakes. Moreover, the description of their method was incomplete making it impossible to fully reproduce their analysis. Such reproducibility and openness should be a benchmark of any serious study.
Eli senses a certain schadenfreude there, but never mind. TFA look at the CERES EBAF data, and come to the conclusion, much as Dessler had, that the tale it tells is that ENSO is dominant in the TOA response over a decade, and that models that handle ENSO better, do better in matching the result. They extend Trenberth and Fasullo's Real Climate commentary on SB. As a matter of fact, you can pretty much use the RC commentary as the preprint. TFA look at ten year chunks of the 20th century data to eliminate the long term trend and show that contrary to SB, the analysis of ten years of the CERES data is NOT a probe of climate sensitivity, but a probe of ENSO sensitivity.

TFA show that models with good ENSO sensitivity (see middle graph above) do a reasonable job of reproducing the decadal variation, certainly within the limits of natural variability as shown in the figure above from the paper which also appeared at RC.

They add a number of points that Dessler (who took first official turn at bat by a few days) made, that the ocean in SB is a puddle, not an ocean, that the ocean heat capacity that Dessler SB (thanks to the pink editors) used is delusional, etc. anyhow, the paper is only three pages long and easy to read, so RTFR.

This trend, of mole whacking first in reputable blogs and then refining slightly for publication is, as they say, the new thing.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Yes, We Have Some Dead Polar Bear Pictures

Or at least the Alaska Dispatch does, discovered by PEER after looking through the computer files returned by Inspector Clouseau May to Charles M and featured in this splendid bit of repartee from the first interview

ERIC MAY: And just how did you know they were dead?
CHARLES MONNETT: Oh, it was really obvious. . .
It goes downhill from there
ERIC MAY: Okay. Any photos taken of it?
CHARLES MONNETT: Well, you‟ve seen the photos. Uh, Jeff, um, when he first was learning how to use the camera, he snapped several, um, very disappointing. We call them the “Pillsbury Doughbear photographs,” because you can see a shape that's consistent, you know, what looks like something you‟d cut out of a Christmas cookie or something.
CHARLES MONNETT: Very rounded, um, and that‟s all we have.
ERIC MAY: Did you take a – attempt to make – take photos of each individual –
ERIC MAY: – on each observation?
CHARLES MONNETT: No, I, I – again, it‟s – we‟re, we‟re flying at a long distance from our base. We‟re trying to complete a different mission and, um, our protocol is not to break unless there‟s a, a very important reason. And I, I think we probably circled on the one that we photographed. That‟s pretty clear. But I know some of them, we didn‟t circle on. We just kept going. We, we identified them, um, you know, flying by. The water would be calm, and you‟d be able to see them for a way. And, and they were pretty obvious. You could see their heads and legs and – even at 1,500 feet.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Eli takes this break from the Trial of Charles M

to bring you the climate reality project. Thanks to Tamino for reminding us and to Tim for reminding Eli that there is an embed

And Neven has a few words from our sponsors, without whom none of this would be necessary

David Brown, DOI IG Special Agent in Charge of Untruth, or the Trial of Charles M

At the end of the last interview of the Department of Interior's IG Office with Charles Monnett, David Brown, the Special Agent in Charge pin dances with Monnett's lawyer, Jeff Ruch from PEER:

Jeff Ruch: All right. The second thing, I guess, I was unclear of is, you said you were going to -- it was going to become obvious what the charges were with respect to the University of Alberta contract. I still don't know what the criminal --

David Brown: I think I said what it was -- it would be obvious what this is about.

Jeff Ruch: Oh.

David Brown: I never said anything about charges.

Jeff Ruch: So, what is the criminal offense? Why would there have been a criminal referral?

David Brown: Why would there have been a criminal referral concerning the contract issues?

Jeff Ruch: Yes. As your notice stated. Why would you have done that if there was no crime?

David Brown: Well, that's -- you know, that's your opinion as to --

Jeff Ruch: And I ask -- I'm not expressing an opinion. I'm asking what is the criminal offense that would have justified referral?

David Brown: Well, potentially there's lots of criminal offenses when you're dealing with contract issues. There's false statements. There are potential bribery issues. There's false claim issues. So, you know, depending how the fact patterns are is what the -- what a potential crime could be.

Jeff Ruch: And what was the referral based on in this case?

David Brown: I think I -- you asked me that in the beginning, if I was going to provide you with that information and I said no.

Jeff Ruch: Well, actually, you said the opposite. You said it was going to become obvious from the questions, and it didn't become obvious from the questions.

David Brown: That isn't -- that wasn't my understanding of your question. My understanding of your question was, you know, what's this about, what are the issues involving the contract about. I think we -- it's perfectly clear through the questioning from Rich Larrabee as to what our concerns were with that contract. What -- my communications with the US Attorney's Office and the Department of Justice is not -- I'm not going to divulge that.
And Charles M sums it up
Charles Monnett: Well, I'm just surprised you think this is so important that you have created as much chaos in, you know, the marine mammal research program. You really have done a lot of damage.

David Brown: Is there anything else? We can conclude?

Peer on IG Persuit of Dead Polar Bear

Peer has posted the transcript from the 8/9 Kafka play

The IG originally begin looking into a short 2006 article by marine ecologist Dr. Charles Monnett and a colleague on sightings of drowned polar bears following a storm. This year, the IG expanded its inquiry to include alleged irregularities identified by its agents in his creation of a joint U.S.-Canadian study of polar bear movement across international boundaries, including a supposed tie between publication of the polar bear paper and award of the study. However, documents assembled by PEER reveal –
  • The Canadian study was set up months before drowned polar bears were first observed, making any charge of a quid pro quo between the two unsupportable;
  • Dr. Monnett did not receive any appointment with legal acquisition responsibility until after the Canadian contract was signed; and
  • All of Dr. Monnett’s communications with Canadian researchers were encouraged by his own chain-of-command and procurement officials.
Rabett Run has already (like a month ago) posted most of this information, but there are some goodies, for example a letter from the chief editor of Polar Biology stating unequivocally that Andrew Derocher was NOT a reviewer of the Gleason and Monnett paper
From: Polar Biology Chief Editor Date: August 12, 2011 1:57:37 AM MDT To: Andrew Derocher
Subject: Re: Publication in Polar Biology

Dear Andrew, You're right, all this fuss seems to be a bit "bizarre" and - from an outsider's perspective - somewhat overacted. I've got news from Rolf now, and I can assure you that you were NOT among the peer reviewers of Monnett's manuscript.
A lot of people, Lubos the Lame, being one that came to Eli's attention, owe Drs. Derocher and Monnett an apologies. Bets are being taken whether they get one.

Monnett was NOT the COTR (Contracting Officer's Technical Representative) when the contract with the University of Alberta was being negotiated, but
A. Dr. Monnett did not become a COTR until AFTER study contract was executed. During the August 9th IG interview, Dr. Monnett stated that he served as the Contracting Officers Technical Representative (COTR) for the University of Alberta study. This is correct but it was not until he was reinstated from administrative leave and had a chance to study his e-mails from this period six years ago that he found that his COTR appointment was not made until September 24, 2005 – after the final contract had been signed (see Attachment II).

Thus, during the contract approval process, which is the focus of the IG inquiry, Dr. Monnett had no responsibilities with respect to the Federal Acquisition Regulations. During this period, his role was to serve as the designated Point of Contact between the Alaska Region, and the Procurement Operations Branch and the University of Alberta.
Thus Dr. Monnett was NOT barred from looking at Dr. Derocher's proposal, indeed that was part of his responsibilities.

UPDATE: In the comments, Deech, who has experience in government contracting adds
Point of clarification: the COTR appointment is always made after contract award. Prior to award (and therefore, during negotiation), the Program official has the title "Project Officer." Between submission and award, the POC is usually the Contracting Officer (or Specialist) and the PO advises the CO on the responses to the review panel's questions and appropriateness of the budget. Of course he would have to be reading the submitted proposal, and in this instance, he would have worked with any potential Offeror as part of his market research prior to posting the solicitation.

This case may have been unusual, but it looks like Monnett acted with full knowledge of his highers up and the Contracting Office. What comes through in the transcript is the difficulty in fitting a research project to the FAR. It sounds like they were trying to get a quality study and save the government some money.
The real scandal here is that the IG, and it's representative Bozo, Eric May, HAD THIS INFORMATION MANY MONTHS AGO!! when he seized Monnett's computers.
The proposed University of Alberta study was reviewed by the OCS Scientific Committee in April 2004 and recommended for approval. Final approval was given and funds were allocated for procurement at the beginning of FY-2005. The study was only possible because the Canadians provided more than $800,000 towards the cost of the $2,000,000 study.
The original intra-agency funding mechanism was abandoned
because when the study was conceived it was expected to be an “partnership” rather than a contract since, among other reasons, the University and CWS would provide nearly $1 million funds toward the objectives. Due to difficulties with creating such agreements that span international boundaries, the MMS Contracting Officer (CO) for the study, Jane Carlson, recommended the study be prepared as a sole-source procurement.
Ah Eli has a name for the to be named later original Contracting Officer and the second one, Debra Bridge, appointed after the original CO retired 1/2005. She wrote to Monnett asking for a copy of the proposal, and he replied that he did not have it. She was not surprised
From: Bridge, Debra
Sent: Thursday, March 03, 2005 4:43 AM
To: Monnett, Charles Subject:
RE: Sole Source Justification - Polar Bears

I’m happy to take on this “baggage” and will move it forward ASAP. Yes, the CO is supposed to obtain the proposal but many times this is already done by the time we get the procurement package (funny how that happens!). Anyway, I’ll move it forward just as quickly as possible. I’ll send you a copy of the FBO announcement as an FYI. My intent is to get it posted today. Anything else, let me know. Thanks. Debbie
An investigation of Eric May is needed HE HAD ALL THIS MONTHS AGO.

Monnett was TOLD to work with Derocher on the proposal by his superior James Kendall
From: Kendall, James []
Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 9:38 AM
To: Monnett, Charles Cc: Benner, Lee; Carlson, Jane; Cimato, James M; Cowles, Cleveland; Wallace, Barbara; Hargrove, Michael Subject:
FW: Importance: High

Hi Chuck:
As you discussed yesterday with Jim Cimato, Lee Benner is out for the rest of the year. However, to help keep this on schedule, I reviewed the dSOW myself this A.M. and added just a couple of edits:

1) I included Chief ESB as a recipient of the quarterly reports – I really do need my staff up to speed on all our studies efforts. Often our fire drills do not allow enough time to coordinate with the Regional Programs.

2) I beefed up the verbiage regarding “Draft peer-reviewed journal article”. We recently had a very, very public “flare-up” regarding the perception that MMS has to give permission to scientists to publish ------- then, it was misconstrued as “censorship.” See my suggested verbiage.

Also, do you want to require the Contractor to have a website for the project?????

Finally, while I do want Lee to look over the dSOW, I understand that since this will conducted by the Canadian Wildlife Service and/or U.Alberta (please clarify) in Canada, a Fed Bis-Ops announcement, etc. is not necessary. As such, Jane Carlson (the CO-Eli) has informed us that it is OK for you to send the draft SOW to them so they can start thinking about how to prepare their proposal.

I’ll have Lee look at it as soon as she gets back (around January 10th); any comments she has can be incorporated into the Final SOW that will be officially sent to through the procurement process to the Canadians.
Cheers, jjk
Who is this Eric May? Who made the original complaint? Inquiring auditors want to know (BTW, Monnett has the right to see the original complaint once the investigation is concluded).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

John McPhee, pre-1960 geology, and the climate consensus

A previous post refers to my semi-fruitless quest for a precedent of science in any field being as incredibly 100% wrong as the denialists claim is the case for climate. Commenters there suggested geology before plate tectonics as the best shot. Someone mentioned McPhee's Assembling California for context examining the history of the science of plate tectonics, a book I've had sitting around and unread.

Off to the races!
[Wary of multiple theories by some geologists for what made mountains rise,] many more geologists would not venture further than than to say (indisputably) that "earth forces" or "orogenic forces" had lifted the geosynclines, and that these forces were "not well understood".

[regarding different California mountain geosynclines thrust on top of each other,] "that was the Golconda Thrust. No one knew how this 'orogeny' happened."

[on one side of a mountain range geosyncline] there were shallow-water sediments followed by deep-water material, but there was no other side. "That was never explained".

"the geosynclinal cycle was said to be about two hundred million years. In the Overthrust Belt in Montana, forty thousand feet of Precambrian sediment had been thrust over Cretaceous sediment. As students, we wondered why all that Precambrian was still there. What had the source geosyncline been doing sitting there for a billion years when the cycle was two hundred million? There was no answer."

Halls's idea [orogeny not from tectonics] was not preposterous. It was incomplete. There was, after all, marine rock in mountains. Between the geosyncline and the mountains, though, something was missing, and what was missing was plate tectonics.
(text excerpts pages 38-40).

I think the picture isn't of a scientific field that's confident in a wrong paradigm, but one that has many acknowledged, open questions and hadn't yet accepted a solution that was proven with the subsequent accumulation of evidence. This isn't a matter of overconfidence, the claim made by denialists against climatology.

There's also the issue of whether European geologists were more open to tectonics than Americans prior to 1960, something I don't know anything about.

Granted, this is a pop-sci book, but McPhee's pretty good, so I'll see what else he has to say on this subject.

UPDATE: some great comments below. Read them! In particular, I did wheel reinventing from a 2008 comment at Deltoid:
[tectonics is] a good illustration of one flavor of paradigm shift, in this case, where plausible hypotheses were identified early, but evidence just didn't get strong enough for a long time, but when new kinds of evidence popped up, the discipline pretty much changed views in a decade.

But indeed, the evidence for AGW is (by now) immensely stronger than the evidence for continental drift in 1920. After all, Arrhenius was talking about Greenhouse Effect over 100 years ago, and that wasn't accepted instantly either :-)

And also this:
For a proper comparison in your search for "a precedent of science in any field being as incredibly 100% wrong as the denialists claim is the case for climate.", you really need to consider the supposed "wrong-headed" theory in the light of the existing evidence base. In other words we want a theory that is "bone-headed" in the context of the knowledge-base pertaining at the time.

So Newtonian dynamics isn't a teribly good example since it was a theory that was entirely consistent with the existing evidence base).

The Veal and the Bunnies

It's that time of year and the young bunnies and veal are starting to ask for letters of recommendation for all sorts of things, especially for those seeking to go on to medical and graduate school, but wait, that is not all, even the youngest ones need letters for summer programs. So Eli has a slide he shows in his General Chemistry Lecture about now, and here it is.

The letter you don't want

I am writing on behalf of Steve Student. I understand that Steve is applying for entry to the Southern North Dakota Medical School at Hoople. Of the 164 students in the class he received the sixth highest grade. I can see this in my marking book. This is quite good. It was a really hard course

I remember talking with Steve a few times and he impressed me as a well mannered and well spoken young man. I think.

In any case, I am sure he will do well at your school and am happy to recommend him to you.
The letter you do want

I am writing on behalf of Steve Student. Steve has been working in my lab for about a year. He has taken on major responsibilities for development of our project and has demonstrated a remarkable capability to work equally well with abstract concepts as well as practical devices.

Steve is absolutely tops--I am sure there is no better applicant. I’ve worked with many students in my laboratory and Steve is by far the best. He is an excellent student, as evidenced by his grades and a very quick learner in the lab. He works independently, without prodding, but is not at all reluctant to seek assistance when needed. But, of course, just as in the fable of the tortoise and the hare, talent alone is insufficient, hard work and persistence are required as well and Steve is a very persistent and very hard worker.

By the way, I’m enclosing the final revision of the paper that Steve, you and I are publishing in Science next week.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

So Where is This Going

Joe Romm reposts from Scott Mandia

Climate researchers are in need of immediate legal assistance to prevent their private correspondence from being exposed to Chris Horner and the American Tradition Institute who are using Freedom of Information (FOI) to harass researchers. (For context please see: and The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has recently stated: “the sharing of research data is vastly different from unreasonable, excessive Freedom of Information Act requests for personal information and voluminous data that are then used to harass and intimidate scientists.” The complete AAAS statement is available at

A donation button has been set up at So far we have collected almost $2000 of the $10,000 needed to file the legal papers. This fundraising will be an ongoing effort so the $10,000 is our immediate short-term goal. A gift of $25, $100, or more will go a long way to ensure that our top scientists can continue their important work without the constant harassment designed to slow them down.
and Eli notices this
Former University Environmental Sciences Prof. Michael Mann began legal procedures last Friday to intervene on the attempt of the American Tradition Institute to acquire documents of his research on global warming. . . .

Mann, who now teaches at Pennsylvania State University, is challenging a protective order which requires the University to disclose information relating to Mann’s research to ATI, a conservative think tank. The only people who would then be able to access the research would be ATI and the presiding judge, according to a press release by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“I clearly have the right to make sure that my interests are represented in any matters involving the release of my private emails,” Mann said in an email. “Apparently Mr. [Chris] Horner [director of litigation at ATI] wishes that were somehow not the case — which is really a statement about him, and his ethics and integrity, more than anything else.”

The union believes Mann’s research should not be disclosed to ATI to ensure scientific integrity.

“Dr. Mann is protecting scientists’ ability to communicate with one another without fear of harassment,” said Michael Halpern, program manager for the union’s Scientific Integrity Program. “ATI should not be given special privileges. It’s inappropriate for any outside group to have access to emails about student grades, research development and other privileged information.”

And then there is this

Lawyers for Mr. Mann, however, argue the professor was not provided a copy of the protective order until after it was entered into the court, and that he wanted to intervene but lacked the money to do so.

But “recently, through a fundraising effort by the scientific community,” Mr. Mann was able to retain counsel, they wrote.

Indeed, Mr. Mann has been widely cleared of academic misconduct, including, most recently, by the U.S. National Science Foundation Office of the Inspector General.

ATI disagrees. It might be tempting for Michael Mann to offer the schoolyard challenge to Chris Horner, you show me yours, and I'll show you mine. Given the right legal grounds discovery might be interesting.

No thanks to Bart

Little Bethany asked Eli why carrots are orange, why, said Eli, that's because the Dutch took knarly yellow, white and purple proto-carrots and made them orange to honor their King (maybe, maybe not, but she's a kid and it's a wonderful day)

Why are carrots orange? - Carrots are orange because they absorb certain wavelengths of light more efficiently than others. Beta-carotene is the main pigment and is mainly absorbs in the 400-500nm region of the visible spectrum with a peak absorption at about 450nm. Carotenoids are one of the most important groups of natural pigments. They cause the yellow/orange colours of many fruit and vegetables. Though beta-carotene is most abundant in carrots it is also found in pumpkins, apricots and nectarines. Dark green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli are another good source. In these the orange colour is masked by the green colour of chlorophyll. This can be seen in leaves; in autumn, when the leaves die, the chlorophyll breaks down, and the yellow/red colours of the more stable carotenoids can be seen.

The most likely theory, in the opinion of the Carrot Museum, is that of Heywood 1983 - After the comparison of several arguments of various highly speculative theories regarding the origin of the western orange carrot, he postulated its selection was from a genepool involving yellow rooted eastern carrots, cultivated white-rooted derivatives of wild carrot (Daucus carota subspecies carota, grown as medicinal plants since classical times) and wild unselected populations of adjacent Daucus Carota subspecies in Europe and the Mediterranean. (V H Heywood - Relationship and Evolution in the Daucus Carota Complex - 1983)

Banga 1963 considers that the purple carrot spread into the Mediterranean in the 10th century where it is thought a yellow mutant appeared. The purple and yellow carrots both gradually spread into Europe in subsequent centuries. It is considered that the white carrot is also a mutant of yellow varieties.

Nevertheless cultivation of carrot in ancient times is still much disputed, mainly because daucus carota inter-crosses freely with other carota types, producing many and varied variations,

One theory proposes that orange was a characteristic of western carrots selected in Southern Europe or Asia Minor. A hybridisation theory supposes crosses between cultivated and wild germaplasm may have played a part in the enhanced pigment types. (Small 1978) Another states that orange-rooted carrots occurred in the Mediterranean, around Turkey, where cultivated carrot diversity was particularly prominent. (Mackevic 1932).

Another theory, (Banga) which has subsequently been discounted, is that, on the basis of the appearance in European oil paintings of the 16th and 17th centuries is it considered that the Dutch selected and fixed orange varieties from yellow, developing its colour from gradual selections of yellow carrots. The orange cultivars "late horn" and "half long horn" originated in the Netherlands during the seventeenth century. (Banga and Simon). Oddly white roots began to appear in pictures about the same time, perhaps implying that there had been little attempt by western Europeans to domesticate the wild, white rooted carrot until Moorish invaders came along with their coloured roots.

A tale, probably apocryphal, has it that the orange carrot was bred in the Netherlands in the sixteenth century to honour William of Orange. Though the development and stabilisation of the orange carrot root does appear to date from around that period in the Netherlands, it is unlikely that honouring William of Orange had anything to do with it! Some astute historian managed to install the myth that the work an unexpected mutation was developed especially to thank King William I as a tribute to independence from Spain. Dr T Fernie (Herbal Simples1875) reported - "The Dutch Government had no love for the House of Orange: and many a grave burgomaster went so far as to banish from his garden the Orange lily, and Marigold; also the sale of Oranges and Carrots was prohibited in the markets on account of their aristocratic colour."

It has been argued that the depiction of orange carrots in art works of the period proves that this was their first appearance. Art works alone are not considered to be good enough evidence as the colours used are not always true to type, and artists use colour effects in arranging their subjects. So in paintings, the differences between yellow and orange roots could be due to artistic features rather than to differences between cultivars. One can probably say with certainty that orange varieties were grown in the Netherlands at this time but this does not prove their origin in that locality. (Brandenberg) Also, well before this time, there are clearly visible orange rooted carrots appearing in an ad 512 manuscript, an 11th century document, 14th century scripts and wall paintings in Italy in 1517. (see below)
Tastes great!:)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Everyone in the country with a concealed carry permit will be packing tomorrow

Here's hoping not a single person in the country is an idiot on September 11. Probably not an easy day to be a practicing Sikh. My apologies to those who are. And of course, here's hoping nothing happens at all, although it would be unlikely that car bombs can kill more people than highways.

And FWIW, I agree with Deltoid's assessment some years back - gun control seems to have little effect positively or negatively on gun violence.

UDATE: looks like we made it.

Rolling Thirteens

From Bill McKibben via Class M

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

15% estate tax with $100,000 exclusion?

I often disagree with the conservative/libertarian/lukewarmist Tigerhawk blogger, but not always (and it's good that he doesn't take himself too seriously). He had this reaction to Romney's proposal to end the estate tax:

Sure. But also eliminate the step-up in basis at death. (My own view is that the best estate tax would be one with a very low exemption -- say, $100,000 -- but also a tax rate so low that people would not go to a lot of trouble to avoid it. I suspect that a 15% rate with a $100,000 exemption would both generate more revenue and redirect estate planners and lawyers to more productive work.)
I think he might be right, especially if you also include that elimination of step up in basis for purposes of calculating capital gains. I googled around and couldn't find stats on average estates at death, but I doubt it's $100,000 (especially including people with no net estate). Even someone with $200,000 would only be effectively taxed at 7.5%. The current rate is 35% and exempts the first $3.5 million. (UPDATE: actually the exemption is $5 million through 2012. It's then caught up in the Bush tax cut issue - unclear what will happen post 2012.)

Tigerhawk misses that his own proposal might even be more progressive than the current system, assuming it does bring in more money. Most of the money would come from people with estates well over $200k, maybe over $500k. These people are far wealthier than the average American. The obvious downside is while it may be more progressive overall, it catches the moderately wealthy at the expense of giving a huge windfall to the superwealthy.

So of course it's not the ideal estate tax system, which would exempt $50k, start at a rate of 15% and gradually ratchet up to 60-90% at $5m (depending on how effective evasion is), but maybe it's worth considering.

UPDATE: See L's comment below, that an on-paper capital loss from the immediate sale of estate capital items (and due to step up, there should always be a capital loss) can be set against an inheritor's capital gains. You get free money and a tax break on your own taxes. I'd like to get that verified, but it seems plausible and amazing.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

GRL doi:10.1029/2011GL049236 Andy Dessler does not like Spencer and Braswell very much

UPDATE: Video (Thnx to Sou)

Andrew Dessler has a new, recently awaited take (open preprint) on Spencer and Braswell 2011 and Lindzen and Choi 2011. Skeptical Science goes over the cherry picking in SB. Basically, the former looked only at the models that were not very sensitive to El Nino and found them wanting in a comparison where El Nino dominated, and both made interesting choices of data. Skeptical Science goes through this in detail. You gotta get up early in the morning to beat them Aussies. UPDATE: Gavin has a measured take on the blowup @ Real Climate, more meta than not.

Eli is more interested in the setup. Dessler notices that when both LC and SB write an equation for the change in the ocean surface temperature on a short term basis, ∆Tsas a function of the heating of the climate system by the ocean, ∆Focean and the change in the TOA flux due to clouds,

C dTs/dt=∆Rcloud+∆Focean−λ∆Ts

they bundle the feedbacks into λ, but this defines the clouds and oceans as the source of ∆Ts not as the result. SB specifically separate cloud forcing from response, AKA, they assume what they wish to prove which is not such a bad tactic if you want to show that the something you assumed is wrong, e.g. induce a contradiction, but it does not work as well in the other direction. However, are the oceans part of the climate system which SB and LC are modeling? If so the ∆Focean forcing term is driving changes in the temperature of the oceans, but if the ocean is part of the climate system then the ocean respond to changes in the system, i.e. this model confuses forcings and feeedbacks. Dessler puts it this way
The formulation of Eq. 1 is potentially problematic because the climate system is defined to include the ocean, yet one of the heating terms is flow of energy to/from the ocean (∆Focean). This leads to the contradictory situation where heating of their ocean, yet one of the heating terms is flow of energy to/from climate system by the ocean (∆Focean > 0) causes an increase of energy in the ocean (C(dTs/dt) > 0), apparently violating energy conservation. While it may be possible to define the terms so that Eq. 1 conserves energy, LC11 and SB11 do not provide enough information to show that they have actually done so.
One possible out is to claim that neither the oceans nor clouds are forced on a monthly time scale (which kinda says El Nino is external to the system, all flail down) or to jigger the constants C and λ which provides the freedom to pick the ratios of ∆Rcloud and ∆Focean

The issue of the specific heat is indicative. The standard value is ~168 W-month m-2K-1 which both LC and Dessler use (also see for example Schwartz). This is for a depth of ~100 m, but SB use 3 W-month m-2K-1 for a depth of 25 m. If you simply scale this it is equivalent to 12 W-month m-2K-1, still way low. However, this shallow ocean would respond faster to any changes in the system as SB discuss as justification for choosing such a low value, making the assumption of decoupling from the system even worse.

Still, Andy is a nice guy
However, to comprehensively evaluate the arguments of LC11 and SB11, I simply note this potential problem and assume in the rest of the paper that Eq. 1 is correct.
Which is where Skeptical Science comes in.

Eli? Eli is fond of conservation of energy.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Eli predicts that Roy's Tuesday is not going to be much better than his Friday

and you can quote him on that

In the meantime to warm the bunnies up a reprise of Dessler smokes Lindzen (foul habit that), which given that Spencer and Braswell 2011 is an illegitimate offspring of Lindzen and Choi whenever, will be a great warm up for Andy Dessler's GRL to appear tomorrow

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Disagreeing with Chris Mooney on handling the need for closure

I'll follow the now-universal practice of recopying comments I left elsewhere, in this case at Chris Mooney's Intersection site. I think in the climate communication field we have not done enough to highlight how skeptics/denialists/lukewarmists rely on multiple massive coincidences to explain why climate change is behaving as mainstream science has predicted since CO2 was identified as a greenhouse gas in the 19th Century. The non-scientist public doesn't generally like reliance on coincidence.

Chris wrote about how anti-evolutionists show a strong need for closure and intolerance of ambiguity. I suggested in the comments that at least in the field of climate communication, we have an advantage over denialists when appealing to fence-sitters with a desire for closure. Chris disagreed. Perhaps Chris may have just needed closure on the idea that we have little we can do with people who need closure.

Anyway, my final comment in that thread:

1. On evolution/creationism, I agree that closure favors denial for those who believe in the inerrant Bible. Evolution isn’t compatible with the Bible being literally true.

2. Climate theory doesn’t have the same trouble with Christianity (edit: Christian literalists). A few climate denialists have tried to use Christian determinist arguments, but they’re pretty weak even from that perspective.

3. On climate, if you accept that temps are warming, as many denialists (and more important, the fence sitters) do, then you have uncertainty and ambiguity. What explains the increase?

4. Climate realists have a theory that eliminates ambiguity – it’s warming because we’re messing up and warming the planet. This theory, btw, is compatible with a Christian frame of humans as immoral screwups who do a bad job as stewards of God’s creation.

5. Denialists who accept warming don’t really have an explanation – they have to rely on coincidence. It’s just coincidence, they say, that we happen to be in a time when temps are rising as part of a natural cycle. It’s just coincidence that Tyndall, Fourier, and Arrhenius more or less predicted what would happen long before it became politicized. It’s just coincidence that Hansen said in 1988 that temps would keep rising, and they’ve risen at the rate he predicted.

6. Some denialists resort to lies to deny their need to argue based on coincidences, but that opens them up to vulnerability when trying to persuade fence-sitters.

7. If denialists fall in the set that deny warming at all, then they have another group of coincidences that they have to explain away (edit: relating to multiple sets of ground/ocean/satellite obs).

8. I agree that some with a strong need for closure and who have already strongly settled on a denialist frame will be very difficult to bring around, but it’s not the committed denialists that we’re concerned about.

9. People who haven’t yet thought much about climate issues are the target. Some of them will have strong need for closure. We have a better story for them by pointing out the other side’s reliance on coincidences.

10. I can be proven wrong. I don’t know this psychological field. If it’s shown that people with a strong need for closure are also strongly tolerant of explanation via coincidence, then I’m wrong.

11. I suspect the opposite is true, that many people are intolerant of explanation through coincidence. It’s kind of an intuitive Occam’s Razor – it’s not science, but it’s not wrong, either. We should use it more – we have an explanation, denialists have coincidences. We have a solution, denialists want to sit there. Who do you trust?

Making Sausage and Editing Scientific Journals

Eli gets mail
Dear all:

A bit of a ramble from someone mid-career who spent ten years as an editor then chief editor of a scientific journal. For various reasons, I've decided to be anonymous below, although nothing I'm saying is very controversial.

Remote Sensing is a very young journal (in the general scheme of journals and their history) with just a bit over two years of articles. It has a large editorial board of almost 50 scientists, some who I recognize as very well known in the broad remote sensing community, others who have recently started their careers. Because it is fairly young, it is not yet indexed in the Thompson's web of knowledge for its 'impact factor', which is a measure of the impact of a journal and often taken by scientists as a standing of how good a journal is relevant to others that are similar [there are MANY remote sensing journals].

The first few years of a journal are always difficult. There are so many thousands of journals, how does one convince people to publish in 'your' journal. One way of course is to have a strong body of scientists on the editorial board that are internationally well recognized. Different journals though vary in how they handle papers. I was chief editor for a scientific journal for five years (editor before that), with many fewer editors on our editorial board (started off with just 9-10 of us, then grew to about 20) and the responsibilities there were each editor chose the reviewers of papers, based on author recommendations and the knowledge of the editor of people in the field. Choosing reviewers is definitely a very hard job. Often one needs to contact 10-15 people to get 2-3 'real' reviews, where the reviewers seem credible, knowledgeable, and actually critique the work appropriately.

A 'good' and experienced editor will look at suggestions of reviewers by authors, and then check to see if the reviewers seem to be in bed or have other close ties with the author. This is not difficult to do--check to see if they've published with them before, or other close ties. But, an editor might be handling 10-20 papers in a year (although with a large editorial board, this number might be reduced) and so sometimes one might cut corners after the 10th "sorry, am overburdened with commitments to my time, cannot review this paper for you" and go back to the reviewers that the author suggested [I have not done this, but a 'new' editor, who has not been given proper mentorship in 'how' to be an editor, might do so]. I had one paper, that happened to be controversial, that I approached over 30 reviewers before getting three to agree, of which only two of the reviews that came back were 'real'.

In the case of the journal I was working with, we let the editors make the decision based on the reviewers' comments as how to proceed with the paper (minor changes, major changes, rejection--rare and could be contested). As chief editor, I kept an eye on things, but did not check 'every' paper as to what was happening. Other journals have more of a vetting system, whereby every decision of an editor needs to then be confirmed by an executive editor. And, remember, none of us are being paid for these roles. These are volunteers, who do it in addition to our normal scientific duties (academic and/or research scientists). I personally enjoy the whole reviewing process, and was careful to make sure that no paper was turned away or rejected only because it was controversial--even controversial ideas had to be given a very solid reviewing, sometimes going the extra step to ensure that reviewers were told to put aside any biases.

The journal I worked on was fairly broad, and like "remote sensing" might attract papers from a wide variety of disciplines. I would imagine that for remote sensing, they could get a whole variety of papers, anything that uses remote sensing. As chief editor, I did ask that editors NOT take any papers for overseeing they were uncomfortable with. They needed to have the expertise to oversee the paper. When papers came in that were outside the 20 editors' direct expertise, so long as they were in the broad remits of the journal, I would oversee the peer-review process, and then do a very careful job of finding and choosing reviewers by consulting with colleagues who might have more knowledge in that particular area. These were often very time consuming papers, as they were often controversial. And yes, we received papers on climate change related topics, where we really tried to be careful in the whole process, and make sure the reviewers were giving 'real' reviews and not just rubber stamps "publish as is".

I don't know how the editorial system worked at Remote Sensing, and how much charge the founding editor in chief had (Wolfgang Wagner) in actually approving every paper/examining reviews for papers assigned to other editors, etc. He did take responsibility, which I know I would have in his place also. As a new journal, one would be caught between trying to attract a sufficient number of papers to justify the journal's existence, and making sure the papers are of high quality so that they are well cited (which would then play into the ultimate impact factor, which is determined by a couple years statistics of how many papers the journal publishes and how many people in other articles cite those papers).

A mid-career scientist and past chief editor of a nameless but decent
scientific journal<

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

Roy Spencer and the Galileo Godwin Meltdown

Has there ever been a better Galileo Godwin meltdown than Roy Spencer's.

We have a new INTERNET tradition here folks. Claiming to be Galileo persecuted by the Nazis is a first (or maybe a second, it's a big net out there.

The bunnies stand in awe. Horatio versifies.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Honor and Respect

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 [1] that was recently published in Remote Sensing is most likely problematic in both aspects and should therefore not have been published.

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 [2], the main author’s personal homepage [3], the story “New NASA data blow gaping hole in global warming alarmism” published by Forbes [4], and the story “Does NASA data show global warming lost in space?” published by Fox News [5], 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.
This is actually a rather important answer to a question that John Nielsen Gammon posed to Roger Pielke Sr. about mole whacking

“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.

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?

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
Climate Abyss
Climate Progress
Only in it for the Gold
Our Changing Climate
Quark Soup

More please