@samanthaclemens This is pretty detailed response so I'm breaking out the twitlonger. I appreciate it rambles on at 12,000 characters but I expect you need some beach reading.

I am more than willing to concede Roy Spencer hypes his findings in the mold of Hansen. But he has never been accused of doctoring the work itself, and wasn't in this case.

The full editorial by the editor of Remote Sensing defends the peer review process used in publishing the paper.

"Their reviews had an apparently good technical standard and suggested one “major revision”, one “minor revision” and one “accept as is”"

Then Wolfgang says that opinions posted in web forums and blogs swayed his opinion of the validity of the work. That isn't how peer review works. Science journals publish back and forth between the authors and critics, they grant the author the forum to rebut and if needed after peer reviewed rebuttals show the paper false, they retract the paper.

His resignation is bizarre, given the publisher has determined not to retract the paper ( http://bit.ly/qyBReX ) never sought the authors' comment on the accusations, never followed the traditional course of science journal back-and-forth. Why?

Web forums are not peer reviewed. Bloggers don't subject their findings to others. The only thing close to a scientific rebuttal of the study I could find was this http://bit.ly/qct79V which again isn't peer reviewed and appears to cherry pick findings and make rather subjective cases for what the author perceives as Spencer et al's 'mistakes'. The author might be right ..

(though reading it it appears his argument isn't that Spencer is wrong in saying that the models don't match the actual temp data, but that some models match a little better than others, which begs a whole entire set of questions that I will get to in a minute. I believe the author of the blog post is wrong or at least equally guilty as Spencer (if the charge is accurate) in picking models to represent his opinion. He uses subjective terms to say the models are essentially close enough, but the variation between models and the temp data is still striking)

...but if the author is correct than traditionally he'd submit his reasoning to the editor, the editor would solicit Spencer's answer to the rebuttal and publish both until the argument was won or more science was produced to affirm one side or other or move the theory along. That is how peer review science works. It is a quest to truth.

As Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. writes ( http://bit.ly/oMapuK ) "By resigning as Editor, rather than soliciting a Comment/Reply exchange between Spencer and Braswell and the critics of their paper, he has achieved the opposite of his stated goal to have “different opinions … heard and openly discussed”"

The entire affair reeks of 'You'll never work in this town again' and CYA.

Phil Jones wrote in one of the Climate-Gate emails:
“The peer review system is the safeguard science has adopted to stop bad science being published.” Which is true.

He also said:

"Kevin and I will keep them [skeptics] out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!” – Phil Jones 8/7/2004"

And they proceeded to do just that. For example the Eric Steig scandal (he is a member of the climate-gate crew, worked on the debunked hockey stick and helped set up Real Climate web site) where scientists disputed his Nature paper on Antarctic warming and attempted to get a paper peer reviewed and published to show why. Once they found a home one of the 'peer's selected to review it was Stieg himself. (remember the peer process is supposed to be anonymous and his presence in undermining the process was to be kept secret)

If the science is sound, why corrupt the peer review process that is "the safeguard science has adopted?"

Mann, one of the primary reviewers of climate science papers discussed how to destroy a journal that had published papers with contrary views, telling his colleagues that he believed it had been “hijacked by a few skeptics on the editorial board” who had “staged a coup”.

“Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal.” Mann wrote.

In another of the emails, Tom Wigley, climate scientist at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), says that the journal in question, Climate Research, “encourages the publication of crap science ‘in order to stimulate debate’”. Wigley noted that the publisher of the journal should be told that it is being “perceived” as a vehicle of “misinformation”, adding that the word “perceived” should be emphasized because:

"[W]hether it is true or not is not what the publishers care about– it is how the journal is seen by the community that counts...I think we could get a large group of highly credentialed scientists to sign such a letter—50+ people. Note that I am copying this view only to Mike Hulme and Phil Jones. Mike’s idea to get the editorial board members to resign will probably not work—we must get rid of von Storch too, otherwise the holes will eventually fill up with people (skeptics) like Legates, Balling, Lindzen, Michaels, Singer, etc. I have heard that the publishers are not happy with von Storch, so the above approach might remove that hurdle too."

When the Soon and Baliunas paper came out, prior to examining the paper for any scientific errors Jones and Mann leaped on the journal and the temerity of publishing a work that undermined Mann's thesis (nearest they came was disqualifying it for not using the flawed "multiproxy averaging" that 'hid the decline' and set of the most fireworks from the Climate-gate story)

Jones: "I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor. A Climatic Research Unit person is on the editorial board, but papers get dealt with by the editor assigned by Hans von Storch."

Mann: "So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering Climate Research as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board…"

Again, this was before considering the actual contents of the paper. That isn't science, it is bullying.

The issue of peer review corruption is present in the CERN/CLOUD experiment and paper. Political forces delayed the project for a decade. There was an effort to kill the theory in the crib, once it was released in Nature, the most damning to warmists data was withheld from the dead-tree publication and only published on the web site. Why? Unless the process is deeply politicized and flawed....

Given this history, and the abrupt departure from traditional peer process and falling on his sword by the editor of Remote Sensing, it makes one wonder about the climate, no pun intended, of the peer review system in regards to AGW.

There is supposedly a rushed, "peer review" paper due out this week to rebut Spencer's. It may be fantastic and well researched and rebut all his claims with robust and sound science. It is however an insanely quick turn around and again seems outside the normal peer process to produce and review one so quickly.


About the question begged earlier.., why are there so many models, models admitted by the blogger who questioned the Spencer paper and by the IPCC, that vary greatly in their ability to match the actual temp data?

Do any AOGCMs satisfy all the observations? Are all or any, for example, able to reproduce El Ninos and La Ninas, or PDOs and AMOs? How about the spatial and temporal distribution of precipitation for any given year? In fact, according to both the IPCC and the US Climate Change Science Program, they don’t. Consider, for example, the following excerpts:

“Nevertheless, models still show significant errors. Although these are generally greater at smaller scales, important large scale problems also remain. For example, deficiencies remain in the simulation of tropical precipitation, the El Niño-Southern Oscillation and the Madden-Julian Oscillation (an observed variation in tropical winds and rainfall with a time scale of 30 to 90 days).” (IPCC, AR4WG1: 601)

“Climate model simulation of precipitation has improved over time but is still problematic. Correlation between models and observations is 50 to 60% for seasonal means on scales of a few hundred kilometers.” (CCSP 2008:3).

Why so many models? Why aren't they being refined down to a small handful that satisfy all observations?

If there are multiple models and Spencer's paper "On the Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedbacks from Variations in Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance." attempts to show the flaws in multiple models used by the IPCC, and by their own admission there are gaping flaws, then where is the problem? The problem is in the conclusion, the conclusion that the warming industrial complex needs quashed.

This isn't science it is politics. And even if Spencer is 100% wrong, it doesn't justify how this went down. Objective people can and should agree.


On a totally different note, but one I wanted to touch on in our earlier exchanges. The 'consensus' canard. Emails leaked in Climate-gate dealt with the rush prior to the 97 IPCC and Kyoto summit to release a petition on man made global warming. This is the document cited in the 'majority of scientists' argument.

October 9, 1997: email 0876437553 from Joe Alcamo, Director of the Center for Environmental Systems Research in Germany:

"Distribution for Endorsements—

I am very strongly in favor of as wide and rapid a distribution as possible for endorsements. I think the only thing that counts is numbers. The media is going to say “1000 scientists signed” or “1500 signed”. No one is going to check if it is 600 with PhDs versus 2000 without. They will mention the prominent ones, but that is a different story.

Conclusion—Forget the screening, forget asking them about their last publication (most will ignore you). Get those names!"

November 12, 1997: email 0879365369 by Richard Tol expresses what most rational and objective people SHOULD think in hearing that kind of rush to science-by-petition:

"I am always worried about this sort of thing. Even if you have 1000 signatures, and appear to have a strong backup, how many of those asked did not sign? ...I think that the text of the Statement conveys the message that it is a scientific defense for the European Union’s (policy) position. There is not any."

And yet that is how that petition and future petitions have been used. As 'scientific' proof that Caps, exchanges, taxes, Green subsidies etc are needed.

November 25, 1997: email 0880476729 from Tom Wigley to those gathering the signatures puts it best:

"I was very disturbed by your recent letter, and your attempt to get others to endorse it. Not only do I disagree with the content of this letter, but I also believe that you have severely distorted the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “view” when you say that “the latest IPCC assessment makes a convincing economic case for immediate control of emissions.” …When scientists color the science with their own personal views or make categorical statements without presenting the evidence for such statements, they have a clear responsibility to state that that is what they are doing. You have failed to do so. Indeed, what you are doing is, in my view, a form of dishonesty more subtle but no less egregious than the statements made by the greenhouse skeptics …. I find this extremely disturbing."

Every 'consensus' document since has either stated that the climate is changing and man may play a role in that change, which a majority of skeptics also accept, or have been blanket AGW is real, we are doomed and now you need to adopt policy A, B, C. Those former aren't scientific opinions, they are political and as such, for the purposes of appealing to authority in 'proving' AGW should be discounted entirely.

Because the first type of petition is useless in separating the opinions of a majority of one side from a majority of another and the second are just political policy wish lists, the entire argument fails. It starts as a fallacy and ends as such.

A majority of peer reviewed papers published in the last 10 years are politically neutral AND neutral as to the role of man in climate change. Only a minority of recent papers support the theory of man as a primary driver. The science isn't there, the policy prescriptions are onerous and quite probably unnecessary. Better focus would be to examine the multiple causes for climate change, refining predictive models and attempting to deal with how we respond to an ever changing, out of our hands climate. Adaptation, etc...

We are not well served if the answer is fixed, "Man did it" and all science then is geared to affirming that theory. We aren't served well if any and all science produced that varies from this thesis are rejected instantly and demonized by the press. This is how the Vatican operated in the 17th century, not how modern science should.

You asked what it would take for me to accept the theory of AGW as valid, it would take having the politics totally removed, a rebuilding of the temp data history by people not invested in proving their theory but only interested in the facts. It would take an honest and robust peer review process and it would take the models refining down to a small handful that actually are predictive. It would take the theory itself being 'falsifiable' by those who support it.

I don't think, given the severity of the issue, if true, that I am asking very much. It is all the average skeptic is asking. Prove it on a level playing field with un-cooked data and impartial refs.

Until that happens I remain a skeptic

I don't expect any of this to change your belief in AGW, but I would hope it presents the thinking behind most skeptics doubts, an insight you might not be exposed to. I would also hope it angers you that those on your side of the debate have been stacking the deck, giving 'deniers' ammo and clouding the science with politics and thus hurting the 'cause'.

thanks for your time! Enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend.

Further recomended reading:


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