Sinclair vs Watts: An Update

(Read the original story on this issue if you haven’t already.)

The DeSmogBlog Youtube channel has uploaded the original video. I’m not sure if Peter Sinclair is aware of this, but somehow I think he won’t mind much. Mr Watts, however, will probably throw another fit.

I will consider the issue a true victory for Sinclair when he re-uploads the video on his account. But for now, at least people will be able to watch the video behind all this controversy.

Advertisements

34 thoughts on “Sinclair vs Watts: An Update

    • Ah, very intelligent of him. I don’t know enough about statistical methodology to address how relevant his objections to the NCDC report are (although he did claim that they never cited his work or used his name, when they clearly did, perhaps it’s a second version?).

      So let’s do what we usually do when the information is over our non-scientist heads – assess the credibility of the source. Watts claims that the US surface temperature record is unreliable….what are the chances that everyone at NASA and NOAA either failed to foresee these objections/refuse to acknowledge them because they go against a predetermined conclusion/are too incompetent to adjust the surface temperature data sufficiently?

      And let’s not forget surface observations in the rest of the world, satellites showing warming, the atmospheric fingerprints of GHG-induced warming, and biological and physical events which indicate warming even if we totally disregard the GISS data.

      I’d love the input of someone educated in these areas of statistics (Tamino? Michael Tobis? Any of the ScienceBlogs fellows?) regarding just how valid Watts’ objections to the NCDC rebuttal are.

  1. CS, I look at this stuff from all sides, believers, skeptics and balanced sites every day, and do not remember seeing much except from Watts when the NOAA memo was made public by Watts. But his having a reaction was to be expected. His efforts were being questioned.

    Your comment re: NOAA and NASA and anticipating the station quality issue are actually quite wrong. I remember the early days when Watts and Pielke, Sr were discussing the Stephenson Screens and their affect on temps and how a change in paint standards made a significant change in readings.

    From there they went into a siting discussion after Watts had visited several of his local stations in regard to his painting experiment, and found siting might be a bigger problem with temp readings than even his paint experiments/findings. That’s how the whole site survey got started.

    NOAA and NASA were totally unaware of the siting issues and actually late in 2008 Watts visited at their request IIRC NCDC Hdqtrs, the portion of NOAA responsible for the sites, and briefed them on the preliminary survey findings. From Watts description they appeared appreciative of a civilian effort that they could not logistically and budgetarily do themselves.

    As to your comment re: a statistical approach to confirming Watts’ comments re: the NOAA homogenization approach. The only statistician I have seen look at the approach is Steve McEntyre, renowned for breaking the hockey stick statistical approach used by Mann. I looked through Lucia’s site, Rank Exploits/The Blackboard, for the past two months to see if she had commented on the approach, but did not find anything obvious. IIRC Real Climate did an article on the NOAA memo, but don’t remember Tamino doing anything with it.

    Further more, I’m not so sure that the NOAA homogenization approach is a statistical approach as much as it is a data Processing approach for validating and smoothing the raw data and an attempt to remove UHI impacts.

    Did NOAA use that approach on both sets of station data? Dunno, their memo says they used the same NOAA methods on the data sets.

    Anyway, this whole thing seems to be much to do about little, and just another food fight. As so many have been this year. Let’s hope this one is over.

  2. I’m neither Tamino nor mt, and I wouldn’t consider myself ‘educated’ in these areas (I know a few things and have read the literature on the subject, though I’m no climatologist; you might want to pester Chris Colose as well), but an introduction to the types of adjustments done is available here.

    Basically, homogeneity means “urban stations with questionable siting are adjusted based on the nearest rural stations, to account for the acknowledged Urban Heat Island effect”. Watts’ defense of his attack is that NCDC is comparing the adjusted datasets instead of the raw ones, when everyone knows (and NOAA openly acknowledges) there are errors in the raw ones (that’s why there’s some adjustments in the first place! It’s not like Hansen uses the unadjusted, error-filled data when he constructs the official GISS record!).

    Or, to use an analogy, Watts’ argument boils down to saying that cookies taste bad because flour tastes bad and thus flour ruins the cookie so stop eating now. While flour might taste bad on its own, you aren’t eating flour, you’re eating a cookie.

  3. The issue seems to be about whether he knew how Youtube works or not.

    One could assume he was naive and did what he said in his response.

    Or one could assume that he knew what he was doing.

    • I like to moderate all comments because, on a blog like this, comments about how I’m a quasi-religious alarmist are to be expected.

      I also like making sure that I read all of what people have to say.

  4. Brian – the homogeniety issue – oh my goodness! Of course they have to use the adjusted sets! The whole point of Surface Stations is to explain how temperature readings have to be adjusted (so that’s what we’re doing). Or to explain how temperature readings should be thrown out (hence the cookie quote of yours. Fantastic!) NOAA is not trying to prove that stations have no quality issues. They’re just seeing a warming trend even when those are accounted for.

    Another great quote I’ve heard was something along the lines of, “Climate change deniers are attacking the hockey stick without realizing that there are five other hockey players on the ice.”

    CoRev – I’m sure that NOAA and NASA are continually expanding their knowledge of how to best adjust temperature data, and Watts could be a help. My “anticipating station quality issues” was more their realizing that yes, of course, the environment the station was in would impact the readings, and mathematically adjusting the temperatures accordingly. You can see how this is done at GISS here: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/ I don’t expect them to be perfect at the adjustment right away….but of course they realize that adjustment needs to be done. That’s all I meant.

    A few more random thoughts….maybe Watts is campaigning for something different than I originally thought….I thought he was campaigning for better adjustment of temperature data (in which case, stop complaining and lend NOAA a hand!), but maybe he simply wants new temperature stations in better environments? That would just take a lot of money, but as we see in Sinclair’s video, it’s starting.

    Also, it seems on Watts’ latest post that he wanted Sinclair to have his written permission to use data or images from his Heartland report. Is that actually required? I mean, Sinclair made it very clear that the report was by Watts, he wasn’t trying to pass it off as his own or anything. By law, do you need the author’s written permission to refer to their work, or is just citing it okay?

    If Watts is right about the permission laws, the videos I’m working on at my summer job are going to take a lot more work and a lot of emailing with NASA and the IPCC before I can post them!

  5. Kate, et. al., I think the Watts/UTube issue is way out of hand because the AGW issue has taken on a religious versus a scientific foundation.

    Watts started out doing a science experiment (impacts of changing paint standards on the Stephenson screens) that grew into a survey effort to determine the conformance of the existing USHCN stations to the published siting standard.

    It isn’t a scientific threat nor an attack on the AGW theory. It is an attempt to gather a set of information to adjust locations’ data.

    Once written his report, which would never have been otherwise written, will be available for the Climatological community to apply against the existing and future data.

    BTW, it didn’t cost the US tax payer anything for this science.

  6. i “Also, it seems on Watts’ latest post that he wanted Sinclair to have his written permission to use data or images from his Heartland report. Is that actually required?”

    Not from what I’ve read from the ones who know. Watts was able to pull the video from u tube because of the fact that that’s what u tube does without evidence of copyright infringment, It’s just a policy that’s all. No copyright has been broken from what I understand. It’s Watts trying to remove damaging evidence, that’s all

    Watts analysis on his heat island effect was supposed to be posted when he had 75% of the temps stations analyzed. He’s over 80% now with no report. Maybe he’s found no difference to the temp trend? You can be sure that if there was it would be posted but for some reson it’s not there.

    Let’s see if he ever posts anything on his site or if it just goes away, time will tell

  7. CoRev, why does it seem to you that AGW is religious? Personally, I try to evaluate my sources and filter my information on an entirely scientific scale. I constantly question my beliefs about climate change – the hallmark of science, whereas religion is something that cannot be questioned. My beliefs are based on peer-reviewed science and statements from professional scientific organizations, not on religious fundamentalism.

    Climate change holds vast social and political implications, however, and that is why issues like Watts vs Sinclair are so volatile. Climate change activists feel hostile towards people like Watts because they feel that the future of their species is being compromised or not taken seriously.

    As we can see from Watts’ blog, he fiercely defends the extreme minority of scientific opinion, a group which has been unable to support their opinions in the traditional peer-review process. There is nothing wrong with holding an alternative explanation, but he is voicing these concerns to the public, who lack the training to properly assess his scientific arguments, rather than directly to the scientists whose work he is refuting. As you can see from this post – https://climatesight.org/2009/05/24/normal-scientific-practice/ – it would be much better for the advancement of science and knowledge if he spent his time with the scientists.

    There’s a reason peer-review exists. The current scientific method exists because it works. Only the best and strongest evidence floats to the top. And I’m very willing to pay tax dollars to support such a system, rather than trust the analysis of amateur volunteers.

    As it is, his blog may give a distorted picture of climate science to the average Internet surfer, who lacks extensive scientific training and background knowledge regarding the state of agreement over AGW. It’s much harder to dismiss a well-written editorial aimed at the average person than a technical peer-review report that they can’t even understand.

    I’m not saying Anthony Watts shouldn’t continue with his blog. Whether or not I agree with him, he should be able to say whatever he wants.

    What I am saying is that the public in general needs to learn about credibility and the scientific method so they don’t hold the comments of a random YouTuber on an equal playing field to the official statements of the NAS. When we have the proper knowledge and expertise, we should assess the arguments rather than the arguer. But when we only have an amateur knowledge of the topic at hand, we need to start looking at credibility. It’s far too easy for someone to fool us with a well-written lie or misinterpretation otherwise.

    That, in essence, is what my blog is about.

  8. Kate asked: “CoRev, why does it seem to you that AGW is religious? ” Sorry, but I’m not going down that road. It’s just too emotional and a fools path.

    Let me ask this question to make you think. Why is DeSmog a better source than Watts Up With That? Or Roy Spencer’s and/or Dr Pielke Sr and Jr’s blogs??

    What is happening is that the internet technology has started to impact the “Peer Review” process. Preliminary versions of possible papers are published in the open for a potential wider review and test of the premise. Some papers that are considered excellent then go forward through the formal peer review process. I think you will see some papers from Watts, McEntyre, Abernathy, etc. soon to be or already submitted. What comes out, if anything?????

    • DeSmogBlog is no more credible than WUWT. But they certainly have an easier time citing their work (as they’re not trying to disprove 100+ years of physics) so their arguments can be easily validated by more credible sources.

  9. “I’m not saying Anthony Watts shouldn’t continue with his blog. Whether or not I agree with him, he should be able to say whatever he wants.”

    Yes free speech is is a pillar of democracy and needs to be preserved as our other freedoms

    “It’s far too easy for someone to fool us with a well-written lie or misinterpretation otherwise”

    And this is where “free speach” gets into a grey area. At what point does promoting lies and missrepresentations violate Free speach?

    In our own contry promoting lies about the holocaust is a crime and rightly so. My point is when does this agenda driven misrepresentation cross the line and just where is this line?

    Now there’s a debate all of its own. Perhaps the youth of today will have to draw it when they are of age to be in power and global warming makes it’s presence obvious to them.

    And how will the older generations respond?

  10. 12volt, I frequently get into arguments on this very subject. It comes down to a problem with how the public sees the relationship between science and free speech.

    I’ll be blunt: Science isn’t free speech and cannot be defended using the same tools.

    In true free speech, anything is permitted. This is specifically designed to allow criticism and protect against censorship (see, for instance, the US First Amendment or the Fair Use section of copyright law – this is the segment that allows Sinclair to use the Heartland graphic in his video without express permission from Watts, btw). These claims can be baseless or untrue, which is indeed important when one is considering fiction or satire, but they cause problems in other areas.

    One of these areas is logical discussion. Once you step in the grounds of logic, you impose the logical rules on the argument. It’s no longer truly “free” speech – it’s ‘free speech’ (in the ‘no censorship’ sense) that critically has a mechanism for determining validity (i.e. the laws of logic). This means that, while you can still say anything, statements that fail logical precepts are considered invalid and hold as much weight as babbling.

    Science falls in the same domain as logical discussion, as it’s bound by logical rules. However, logic allows for nonphysical precepts (i.e. Given: if it rains on any given day then it will rain the following day, Given: it will rain today, Conclusion: it will rain forever – logically valid, physically impossible). This means science has an extra mechanism for determining the validity of statements – physical empirical evidence.

    Because science demands free speech (to question old theories and assumptions), we tend to think it can be defended on the same grounds. However, that leaves off the entire logical/empirical aspects of science. Lies and misrepresentations do not violate ‘free speech’ but do violate logical and scientific discourse, and as such they should be discounted.

    (The problem with an issue like climate change, though, is that it’s as much sociopolitical and economic as it is scientific, and in the political arena, appeals to emotion (especially fear) are incredibly overeffective compared to reasoned argument. This means a scientifically invalid statement may still have strong policy implications – which is why it’s important to point out that those who promulgate these myths are dishonest.)

  11. Nicely put, Kate.

    Brian’s link to Tamino pretty much nails the homogenization issue. All I’ll add is that homogenization isn’t just for UHI bias, but for bias of any sort (e.g. from sensor error).

    Re quality control of station ratings, it’s facially legitimate to want to go through the ratings (which were originally established by the volunteers who did the site surveys) and make sure there are no mistakes. The problem is that real-world consistency in the ratings is impossible. For example, taking the case of an air conditioner 15 feet from the sensor, is the exhaust directly aimed at the sensor? How much is the unit in use, and at what times of day and/or year? How heavy-duty is the unit, and does its exhaust get close enough to the sensor to actually affect it? Assigning a rating based on the AC unit’s presence without having these answers is competely arbitrary. The one datum that might really be useful, the installation date of the unit, is very unlikely to be available.

    The same logic applies to pretty much all of the potential biasing factors. We can tell that there might be a bias, but we don’t actually know its magnitude or whether it exists at all. This underlines the point that the station ratings can’t be used as Watts does.

    I think Watts is also confused about what sort of bias is there to be found. In the real world, what we should expect is an overall bias as with the Tucson station that’s pretty much #1 in the Watts parade of horribles (Watts post here; refutation by Atmoz here). Listening to him, what Watts seems to expect, at least in part, is the sort of bias that would result from e.g. having an AC exhaust blowing directly on a sensor during the middle of each day such that the maximum temperature would be substantially increased.

    So now Watts is going to “correct” the ratings and do a comparison of “good” vs. “bad” stations without any homogenization. I think we know exactly where this book-cooking exercise is headed.

  12. “I think you will see some papers from Watts, McEntyre, Abernathy, etc. soon to be or already submitted. What comes out, if anything?????”

    There is no such thing as Public peer review. If Watts ever tried to submit anything like he has posted it would get all the due respect it deserves in the hamster cage. It would never make it to publication because it’s rubbish as far as any scientist is concerned (and they know). People like Watts are not interested in changing the scientific position on AGW. There are no solid aguments and no one paper can disprove it.

    The name of the game is to confuse the public on the science to delay action on curbing emissions. With a confused public less pressure is exerted on the politcal leaders and with no political pressure governments stay with the status quo.

    What some do however is Publish a paper on say enso variations on world climate then go to the media and lie about this effect being the cause of warming instead of co2, Not very scientific or unbiased off them was it

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/07/ahh_mclean_youve_done_it_again.php

  13. Kate said: “DeSmogBlog is no more credible than WUWT. But they certainly have an easier time citing their work (as they’re not trying to disprove 100+ years of physics) so their arguments can be easily validated by more credible sources.”

    I seldom see a science article on DeSmog Blog.

    12Volt, I’m not a firm believer in the absolute value of Per Review. There have been too many poorly written, poorly researched, and just bad papers that have passed these reviews. IIRC the number of science papers that are proven to be wrong (wholly or partially) is in the 70 or 80 percentile.

    You might want to read David Stockwell’s comments: http://landshape.org/enm/errors-adding-up/
    It might be meaningful to go deeper than the original article by following his links. David is also an example of how science is and can be done in the open environment as opposed to total reliance on Peer Review.

    I have no strong opinion just showing him as an example.

    • Faulty articles certainly do slip through peer review (where did you get that 70-80% by the way?), but how could getting rid of peer review allow fewer faulty articles to be published?

      It may not be perfect but it’s the best we’ve got.

      Or perhaps you want a larger, more open peer-review committee? Check out what the IPCC is doing – anyone can review.

      Very true about DeSmogBlog, they are more of a politics/news/journalism source (I don’t read them too often). However, if the topic at hand is not of scientific nature, expertise and authority is less important, as opposed to simply evaluating potential biases.

  14. I seldom see a science article on DeSmog Blog.

    It doesn’t pretend to be a science site. It’s a PR site, and it focuses on PR tactics (like, say, the ACCCE’s (coal lobby) hiring of a lobby group known for posing as grassroots organizations which then forged letters from the NAACP opposing the Waxman-Markey bill).

    This is different from seeing an article on Watts’ site that claims to be good analysis when he didn’t know the first thing about temperature anomalies – this is when bad analysis pretends to be good, and is plenty of reason to question the site’s credibility. For instance, consider exhibit A, exhibit B, exhibit C, exhibit D, exhibit E and exhibit F, just as a starter. (Do check them all out. Watts replied by blocking commenters and editing posts without citation. For the record, I consider the site I linked to be more credible because I can replicate all of the math shown there on my own and verify it with my colleagues in the department of mathematics and statistical sciences – in other words, I can transparently and independently confirm that he is correct and Watts is wrong. That goes a long way in credibility disputes, and is far more than I can say about some of the more technical issues in climate science.)

    As for Peer Review, no one says it’s enough to have a peer reviewed paper. There are, as you say, problems (consider Climate Research, which had half of its editorial board resign after it published the terrible Soon & Baliunas paper. I should note that one of the editors that did NOT resign was de Freitas, one of the co-authors of the misleading MacLean paper that 12volt linked to.). Also, papers tend to have a “shelf life” regarding when they’re still unchallenged – it takes time to do proper refutation research that peer review cannot catch (and of course, can’t be expected to catch, since peer review is done with a small subset of the population of scientists as a whole). Thus, it’s usually recommended that you wait a year or two with any given paper to see if it’s been shown to be invalid/incomplete or not, and if it’s still being cited as influential. (By the way, shown to be invalid/incomplete is NOT the same thing as “proven wrong”. For example, Darwin’s theory of evolution cannot explain certain phenomena (i.e. genetic drift), so technically it’s incomplete, but that isn’t the same as “wrong”.)

    It’s easier to say that Peer Review is a Necessary, but not Sufficient, Condition for Good Research. Note the distinction.

  15. CoRev said
    August 5, 2009 @ 11:53 am

    “12Volt, I’m not a firm believer in the absolute value of Per Review. There have been too many poorly written, poorly researched, and just bad papers that have passed these reviews. IIRC the number of science papers that are proven to be wrong (wholly or partially) is in the 70 or 80 percentile.”

    Take the zero’s off and I think you’ll be a lot closer

    Peer review isn’t just about the editors checking the paper before publishing, that’s just the first step. Once published the real “peer review” is done by the scientists that read the journal, check the data and try to reproduce the same results,observations ect…. A lot of faulty papers that make it to publishing rarely get by this. It may take some time but eventually it’s corrected

    Brian D said
    August 4, 2009 @ 11:25 am

    Good point

    Does a line still need to be drawn between lies and fact? I still think so

    Should the need for free speach over rule the basic principals of right and wrong? and in the case of global warming the purpose behind the misrepresentation or outright lies shouldn’t be able to hide behind free speach when it is distorting the basic concept of why it was enshrined in the first place.

    It’s a can of worms to open up I’ll admit but to just leave things the way they are leaves the public open to proaganda of the worst kind

  16. Folks, I did not say Peer Review was bad or dying or anything. What i said was it is MY OPINION that we are seeing articles being presented on the internet as a test of a premise/theory and associated with an early draft to see what kind of support/comments it garners. It appears to me to be a new preliminary step to get an improved paper to a scientific journal.

    Dunno, you may see it otherwise.

  17. As a publishing academic, the early internet release of pre-peer-reviewed papers is just the modern version of the despicable practice of science-by-press-release. The same trick has been done in the past (look up the cold fusion fiasco, for instance, where they press-released their ‘breakthrough’ before peer review showed it to be bogus), and all it serves to do is damage the reputation of science by building up hype on untested theories.

    There are examples of post-peer-review press hyping that are just as bad (for instance, the fallout over Darwinius masillae (Ida), which was a significant find but severely overhyped), as well. Not to speak out against science communication, but the emphasis should be on correctness and honesty.

    By the way, something that non-scientists often don’t seem to understand about scientists (particularly if the critique of scientists is “they’re only in it for the grant money”) is the entire reward structure of science. Our only product – ideas – is freely given away into the public domain, and all we ask in return is credit in the form of citations. Even the biggest breakthroughs (i.e. relativity) don’t make their creators as wealthy as, say, an inventor’s would – all they get is the increase in reputation. Thus, things that tarnish the reputation of science as a whole are as bad as someone stealing a payroll, and should be treated as such.

    (Consider reading Merton for more information; though he’s a sociologist, his work on the reward structure of science is both insightful and clearly expressed.)

    In brief, releasing an un-reviewed paper through the internets doesn’t do much to improve the quality of science as a whole, especially since it risks damaging science itself. This says nothing of the potential for blatantly incorrect papers bypassing peer review and serving as food for the cranks.

  18. It didn’t take long for the peer review process to catch up to McLean, de Freitas and Carter and their paper published here http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2008JD011637.shtml

    The rubuttal, authored by no less than 9 scientist directly related to climatology G. Foster, J. D. Annan, P. D. Jones, M. E. Mann, B. Mullan, J. Renwick, J. Salinger, G. A. Schmidt, and K. E. Trenberth. can be found here

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/FosteretalJGR09.pdf

    Points out the flaws and inconsitancies in the original paper and why they lead to an incorrect conclusion. An exerpt from the Abstract;

    “The suggestion in their conclusions that ENSO may be a major contributor to recent trends in global temperature is not supported by their analysis or any physical theory presented in that paper, especially as the analysis method itself eliminates the influence of trends on the purported correlations.”

    And again from their conclusion; “The analysis of MFC09 grossly overstates the influence of ENSO, primarily by filtering out any signal on decadal and longer time scales. Their method of analysis is a priori incapable of addressing the question of causes of long-term climate change. In fact, the general rise in temperatures over the 2nd half of the 20th century is very likely predominantly due to anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases [IPCC, 2007].”

    The peer review process at work.

    With thanks from climate progress where I found the rebuttal

    http://climateprogress.org/2009/08/06/journal-of-geophysical-jgr-denier-paper-enso-pacific-ocean-rebuttal/#more-9895

    • I knew it was only a matter of time before that happened! The rebuttal seems to basically state that they used inappropriate statistics to reach the conclusion they did….but I can’t understand a word of why :) What is this “filtering”?

  19. I must urge due caution on discussing that response the way we are.

    First, it has only been SUBMITTED. The usual process for publication looks something like:
    Submission
    Editorial Review
    [Possible revisions and resubmission/re-review]
    Peer-Review
    [Possible revisions and resubmission/re-review]
    Acceptance
    Publication
    This article is, admittedly, certain to pass editorial review (which looks to see if the concept is worth publishing; rebuttals almost certainly pass this), but it hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed and hasn’t yet been published.

    Recall what I wrote above on science-by-press-release? Having a public copy of the paper this early is a demand of the news cycle, not the science cycle Caution, caution.

    (All that said, it’s just a “comment”, which usually makes very few changes on the way through the review process and is likely to be speedily published, so I’m less leery than I would be if this were a massive revolutionary paper. Still.)

    Oh, and while I’m at it, Foster isn’t a climate researcher, he’s a statistician specializing in time series analyses (a critical field, but mathematicians and scientists aren’t to be confused). Annan, Jones, Mann, Salinger, and Schmidt I know research climate, though (and possibly the others; I haven’t searched their names yet).

    .

    .

    .

    Kate, there are good descriptions of what “filtering” is on Tamino’s blog, but it takes a while to find them all. In a nutshell, a filter is a mathematical system that you pass raw data through to produce a result that’s easier to work with. A common example in time series analysis (i.e. analyzing temperature data) would be smoothing filters, which take noisy data series and smooth out the jitters: the Savitzky-Golay filter is perhaps the most cited one today.

    All that in mind, you’ve probably used a much simpler filter yourself. Ever done a moving average (for instance, replotting data so that each point is the average of the five (say) points around it)? That’s a simple filter that removes short-term noise; controlling the size of the window (that is, how many points on either side you consider) alters how much stuff gets filtered out. For instance, if I use a window size of zero, nothing gets filtered out and the data’s really noisy. If I choose a window size of ten, the data gets smoother by removing influences on shorter scales than about ten years. (For instance, if you do this on a sine wave with a window longer than the wave’s period, you’ll get a more or less straight line.) This is a basic overview of a very basic filter, but it illustrates the point.

    One problem with the McLean, de Freitas, and Carter paper is that their choice of filtering, in essence, filters longer-term influences out, preventing them from looking at anything that influences climate on periods of a decade or longer. If you think about it, greenhouse warming is very long term, but ENSO (El Nino etc.) has a cycle that shuffles at around 7 years or so — it’s no surprise their filter choice makes ENSO look like a big influence.

    Does that help?

  20. Brian D said
    August 7, 2009 @ 12:14 pm

    Oh, and while I’m at it, Foster isn’t a climate researcher, he’s a statistician specializing in time series analyses (a critical field, but mathematicians and scientists aren’t to be confused). Annan, Jones, Mann, Salinger, and Schmidt I know research climate, though (and possibly the others; I haven’t searched their names yet).

    Yes but his background lends weight in MecLean et al’s faulty statisicle analisis and where the errors are. Given the people involved in this letter and the weight they carry I have no doubt it will be published soon and given the uproar over the Mclean report and how it managed to get by the editorial process in the first place I have no problem with it’s early release.

    Now if it had been new research that was being hyped sure lets exersise caution but in this particular case responding to mclean et al needed to be done before the denial echo chamber created more damage

  21. By the way Brian do you know who the editors were that passed McLeans paper through in the first place?

    From what I’ve read this wasn’t just a mistaken review but something a little more devious

  22. Oh, I never meant to diminish Foster’s role or impact at all – I just wanted to clear up the mislabeling.

    As for who edited McLean et al, no, normally that’s held close to the vest. I haven’t read anything devious about this particular instance of peer-review, but see my link above for the curious tie with de Freitas and Climate Research.

  23. Brian D said
    August 8, 2009 @ 6:42 pm

    “Oh, I never meant to diminish Foster’s role or impact at all – I just wanted to clear up the mislabeling.”

    Fair enough, I Misinterpreted your comment and your above link shows whats suspected to have happened this time ( McLean et al) as well. I had read another post somewhere out there which had given names of known contrarians but turned out to be erronious. No one knows yet (and they may never be known) who editored that paper but the rules governing submissions to AGU allow for Authors to submit sugestions for editorial review. This process alows for a certain amount of “gaming” to get into the system (as evidenced by your link) and unscrupulous “scientists” have taken advantage of it. Carters comments to the press trumpeting the papers “proof” that enso variations are the cause of this warming trend shows either total incompetence or maybe some sort af agenda involved

    I think there may well be some sort of fallout at AGU over this process but I’m no expert at this. It’s noteworthy though that the editors of JDR felt inclined to post a comment at Taminos blog (although I can’t confirm it was them) which reads

    “A message on behalf of the editors of JGR Atmospheres: as editors, we do not discuss the details of the peer review process and we will also not do that in this case. We will say that despite all the hard efforts made by reviewers and editors, the peer review process is not perfect. Occasionally, papers that contain errors or controversial statements without adequate discussion do get accepted for publication. In these cases, JGR Atmospheres encourages the scientific community to submit comments and discuss these papers in the peer-reviewed literature.”

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/ 2009/ 07/ 24/ old-news/ #comment-33870

    Say Brian you wouldn’t have a blog of your own would you? Somthing like DC?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.