Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The best of the worst

UPDATE: A new classic, commented on everywhere

McLean, J. D., C. R. de Freitas, and R. M. Carter (2009), Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature, J. Geophys. Res., 114, D14104, doi:10.1029/2008JD011637.

With comments at Open Mind, Real Climate, James Empty Blog, In It For the Gold, Deltoid, More Grumbine Science and just about the entire Rabett Run Blogroll. An instant classic of denial and self regard.

John Mashey asks
Maybe the Rabett has this list stuffed in his burrow:

is there a nice list somewhere of truly awful climate papers published in otherwise-plausible-looking journals? (I.e., not E&E, or JSE, or things like that.)

The main use of this is to know where peer review seems to be failing.
But friend Cohenite already delivered and Eli blogged on it. Still, there is a fair amount of E&E in there, so here are Eli's top four.

Thomas Palm adds (see comments)

5. "Thermal pollution causes global warming" Bo Nordell, Global and Planetary Change 38 (2003) 305–312.

and another under review
4. G. V. Chilingar, L. F. Khilyuk, O. G. Sorokhtin. Cooling of Atmosphere Due to CO2 Emission, Energy Sources, Part A: Recovery, Utilization, and Environmental Effects, 30(1), 1 - 9 (2008). Actually anything by this trio. Brings incoherence to new heights.

3. Christopher Essex, Ross McKitrick, Bjorne Andresen; Does a Global Temperature Exist? Journal of Non-EquilibriumThermodynamics, 32(1) 1-27.

2. Ferenc Misckolczi; Greenhouse effect in semi-transparent planetary Atmospheres. Quarterly Journal of the Hungarian Meteorological 111(1), January–March 2007, 1–40.
Cohenite's favorite and a hot contender

1. Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf Tscheushner, Falsification Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of PhysicsInternational Journal of Modern Physics B, 23(3), 275-364 (2009). Get close and feel the spittle

Comments? Additions?.


John Mashey said...


SO, has there been any word from IJMPB? Inquiring minds...

John Mashey said...

Good that you got cohenite's post when you did, as there has been a recent change of state for Jennifer M.

Thomas Palm said...

This paper tends to be forgotten, even by the most nutty AGW-deniers, but it nevertheless is extremely bad:
"Thermal pollution causes global warming" Bo Nordell, Global and Planetary Change 38 (2003) 305–312.

Checking papers that cite this one I came across this one that is rather amusing too:

Hank Roberts said...

Is this the same Ian Plimer?

sylas said...

Yes... same Plimer. He's got a long standing association with Australian skeptics, and has been well known in certain circles for his vociferous attacks on creationism, and the book "Telling Lies for God".

For all that, I have never been happy with how Plimer engaged this subject. There were much better researched books around. I've never been tempted to join Australian skeptics either; I don't think they have done very well living up to the ideals of skepticism. And I'm on record for this, from well before Plimer took up AGW in public.

If you want to see some other more prominent people with reservations about Plimer's standard of work in anti-creationism, google Plimer with "Jim Lippard" or "Jeffrey Shallit".

The shoddy standard of his AGW work confirms my low opinion and drops it to rock bottom.

Here, for example, is Jeffrey Shallit's review of the 1994 Plimer attack on creationism: "Telling Lies for God". Shallit, by the way, was the rebuttal expert witness for Dembski at the Dover Intelligent Design trial, and was never called because Dembski pulled out. That story is a hoot as well.

Extract from the review:

"Plimer's new book is a shoddily-written polemic that, in places, verges on the hysterical.

Creationist arguments are nearly always completely bogus (sometimes they are only partially bogus). But rather than address the arguments scientifically, Plimer often chooses to attack straw men of his own devising. ...

The low standards and shoddy work in his AGW attack is not something new for Plimer. It's his modus operandi even when science is on his side.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jen has left this message on her home page: My second three-year contract with the Melbourne-based Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) ended with the financial year and is not being renewed. I learnt a lot during the six years - especially early on with Andrew McIntyre teaching me how to write opinion (without reference to endnotes or footnotes)

she left out the words and facts at the end i.e., without reference to endnotes, footnotes and facts

Arthur said...

Eli - has anybody done an analysis of the problems with your #3? Essex sent me a copy of his paper and seemed offended when I pointed out some obvious problems with the lack of error analysis in their figures etc.

Arthur said...

Ah, I see Joel Shore looked at the figures and questioned them as I did here - though I would point out that the only reason their figures look like that is they picked (coincidentally?) a collection of stations for which the warmest and coolest had cooling trends, despite the warming trend of the simple average. And this would surely be clear in any legitimate robustness analysis - but of course there are no error bars on their graphs. When you take temperatures to the 125th power the error-bars on that trend are going to be huge...

Arthur said...

Eli and John ask for others, hmmm.

Monckton did claim his "Physics and Society" article was peer reviewed - but that probably shouldn't count since the newsletter never made the claim (and protested afterwards).

There was Schwartz's "time constant" paper:
Heat capacity, time constant, and sensitivity of Earth's climate system. Schwartz S. E. J. Geophys. Res. , D24S05 (2007).

which used a clearly over-simplified model to draw invalid conclusions... but perhaps not as obviously wrong as any of the above.

And there's this one:
Spencer, R.W., and W.D. Braswell "Potential biases in cloud feedback diagnosis: A simple model demonstration", J. Climate, vol. 21, p. 5624 (2008)

Again abusing an oversimplified model. What is it with contrarians and models? And what is it with journals letting such stuff through? Ah well...

Magnus said...

I have had the "honour" of teaching with Bo Nordell... comments of his work is always welcome...


bluegrue said...

smokey on WUWT posted a long list of allegedly "Peer-Reviewed papers falsifying AGW".

Most of it is E&E, but there are some more. I've harvested the journals and most of the times included the authors of the papers. Please see smokey's list for details.

Climate Research (RRSB, Idso)
Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology
AAPG Bulletin (American Association of Petroleum Geologists)
Journal of Scientific Exploration
Progress in Physical Geography (Soon/Baliunas)
Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union (Singer)
Physical Geography (Soon, Willie)
Environmental Geology (Chilingar)
Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences: Engineering
Journal of Geophysical Research (McKitrick/Michaels)

There are a few maybes, where one would need to check the papers:
Journal of Climate (Christy)
Paleontological Journal (Boucot)
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (Lindzen)

It's funny at times, what smokey seems to consider "refuting AGW":

Topics in Catalysis (Lai et al. propose using methane hydrate as "a relatively environmentally benign, clean fuel" to reduce AGW)

and also
J. D. Annan, J. C. Hargreaves, because of "Can we believe in high climate sensitivity?" (arguing for 2.5°C climate sensitivity seems to be denying AGW nowadays)

Arthur said...

Oh yeah, how could I forget Scafetta and West and their amazing statistics abuse:

Nicola Scafetta and Bruce J. West, “Estimated solar contribution to the global surface warming using the ACRIM TSI satellite composite,” Geophys. Res. Lett., 32(24), doi:10.1029/2005GL023849 (2005)

Nicola Scafetta and Bruce J. West , “Phenomenological solar signature in 400 years of reconstructed Northern Hemisphere temperature record,” Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, doi:10.1029/2006GL027142. (2006).

Nicola Scafetta, and Bruce J. West, “Phenomenological reconstructions of the solar signature in the NH surface temperature records since 1600.” J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S03, doi:10.1029/2007JD008437 (2007)

Can AGU be forgiven for publishing these? Ignore all other forcings, cherry-pick a solar forcing reconstruction that trends upwards, assume extreme sensitivity to that forcing is somehow justifiable, and claim the resulting correlation is causal! I'm surprised denialists haven't trumpeted these papers more - but perhaps because Scafetta and West couldn't get more than 50% of 20th century warming to be solar even with all that nonsense...

SUPER PC said...


Magnus said...

Now ad this... it's just so frustrating!


378 Int. J. Global Warming, Vol. 1, Nos. 1/2/3, 2009

Global energy accumulation and net heat emission

John Mashey said...

Thanks to all. I'm working on some categorizations of various kinds of anti-science and pseudo-science, and data helps.

Also, along a related line, as I just suggested over at RC, I think about issues with scientific publishing in the Internet era and whether or not we can do better.

Hence, I not only ask "what are the best of the worst", but "and which have them have been refuted *in the journal* that published them, how long did it take, and what was the mechanism (letter? full article? blog-like attachment?)

Anonymous said...

There were the Danish solar connection papers, debunked here:


BTW John Mashey, I really think you should go for peer-reviewed with what you are doing. Where? No idea. But it is valuable..


John Mashey said...

We'll see.
More likely, it might get to be part of a book I'm contemplating, although there are many topics to be done first.

Anonymous said...

Then there was Douglass et al., discussed here:


And then Courtillot & friends, discussed here:


A Von Storch et al. paper discussed here:


This is what I remembered and dug up from RC. They are not all equally bad.

Book would be great.


Anonymous said...

...and then I stumbled over a guy called Rhodes Fairbridge, who could illustrate "going emeritus". The theory is outlined here:


Jupiter and Saturn modulating the Sun and controlling our climate. No, it's not astrology :-)

h/t manacker, probably unintentionally.