Friday, May 16, 2014

Even the Editors Are As Mad As Hell at Bengtsson

The Editors of Environmental Review Letters are as mad as hell and ain't gonna take it anymore from Lennart Bengtsson, the GWPF and the Times of London.  The Times, of course, interviewed Lennart Bengtsson right after he resigned from the GWPF advisory board.  In support of his persecution complex, Lennart dropped a small bomb about how a paper of his had been rejected by ERL because, according to the Times, "Research which heaped doubt on the rate of global warming was deliberately suppressed by scientists because it was “less than helpful” to their cause, it was claimed last night."

The IOP and the ERL editors have gone nuclear, releasing the entire referee's report, quite a long one, with the agreement of the referee.  Go read the whole piece, Eli will only copy the conclusion (btw there are strong reasons to believe that the referee was not from North America)
Summarising, the simplistic comparison of ranges from AR4, AR5, and Otto et al, combined with the statement they they are inconsistent is less then helpful, actually it is harmful as it opens the door for oversimplified claims of "errors" and worse from the climate sceptics media side. 
One cannot and should not simply interpret the IPCCs ranges for AR4 or 5 as confidence intervals or pdfs and hence they are not directly comparable to observation based intervals (as e.g. in Otto et al). 
In the same way that one cannot expect a nice fit between observational studies and the CMIP5 models. 
A careful, constructive, and comprehensive analysis of what these ranges mean, and how they come to be different, and what underlying problems these comparisons bring would indeed be a valuable contribution to the debate. 
I have rated the potential impact in the field as high, but I have to emphasise that this would be a strongly negative impact, as it does not clarify anything but puts up the (false) claim of some big inconsistency, where no consistency was to be expected in the first place. 
And I can't see an honest attempt of constructive explanation in the manuscript. 
Thus I would strongly advise rejecting the manuscript in its current form.
Even Mom Rabett would get the point.and the Times may be consulting solicitors.


Louise said...

As I said over at ATTP, millions of people will have seen the Times front page - it's even on the BBC News website as part of their 'in the papers today' section. How many people will read the IOP statements?

Seeds of doubt planted, fertilised, grown full and ripe for harvest. Mission accomplished.

Magnus Westerstrand said...

Isn't the times supposed to be a serious newspaper?

willard said...

Manual pingback:

BBD said...

@ Magnus Westerstrand

It is an organ of the right. It is owned by News International - Rupert Murdoch.

guthrie said...

Magnus - I can't actually recall when the Times was last a serious newspaper. ANd it's probably been deteriorating.

Murdoch's takeover was dogged by controvery, back in 1981, but it probably wasn't clear then (because the establishment etc were useless at due diligence and didn't care about australia) just how much of a money lover and dumber down Murdoch was.

Anonymous said...

Hi I'm Dutch. The referee almost has to be Dutch, because he's using an expression which I would describe as a form of "Dunglish".

He writes (emphasis mine):

"The comparison between observation based estimates of ECS and TCR (which would have been far more interesting and less impacted by the large uncertainty about the heat content change relative to the 19th century) and model based estimates is comparing apples and pears (...)"

Which, as far as I know comes from the Dutch saying: "Appels met Peren vergelijken."

We say apples and pears whereas the English say apples and oranges.

If the Germans, the French or others have the same exact peculiarity, then I'm wrong. For now, I guessing the reviewer is Dutch.

Cheers, Mike.

Lars Karlsson said...

Hi Dutch person,
We have the same expression in Swedish.

Monty said...

Guess you've seen this?

Anders Martinsson said... reports that Bengtsson et al tried to get the article publicized (unchanged) as a perspective article after it was rejected. Odd.