Talk to the Hand
Posted by Jeff Condon on March 27, 2010
By email, I received anonymous notice of a complaint against GRL which seems to indicate Climategate style business as usual at their office. This is with respect to a paper submitted in July09, well prior to climategate, a rebuttal by Foster (Tamino) and crew, and a rejected reply by the original authors. I would love to slam the team one more time, because they are what they are, however in this case they don’t appear to be wrong in their critique of the paper. Of course correctness doesn’t excuse the incestuous behavior which seems to continue at GRL in the post Climategate world. The boys really, aren’t listening to us in any way at all.
An article at Icecap covers most of the points. Authors denied the right of reply.
There are several links in the discussion but the crux is, publish a paper which shows much of global warming can be explained by ocean currents, angry taminoesque critique published as a reply and authors attempted defense rejected. What makes it interesting is that some of the behind the scenes discussion of this paper was shown in climategate emails.
First the authors have a summary of events in this pdf. McLeanetalSPPIpaper2Z-March24
Here are some emails and comments on the first page of the above pdf link.
“Having now read the paper [McLean et al., 2009] in a moment of peace and quiet, there
are a few things to bear in mind. The authors of the original will have a right of reply, so
need to ensure that they don’t have anything to come back on.”
Phil Jones to Jim Salinger, July 28, 2009
Below is a critique of the tone, most of us know Tamino is a ja…… already so this isn’t surprising.
“But as it is written, the current paper [Foster et al. draft critique] almost stoops to the
level of “blog diatribe”. The current paper does not read like a peer-reviewed journal
article. The tone is sometimes dramatic and sometimes accusatory. It is inconsistent with
the language one normally encounters in the objectively-based, peer-reviewed literature.”
Anonymous referee of the Foster et al. critique, September 28, 2009
And some hint of the behind the scenes discussions which led to the critique being accepted.
“Incidentally I gave a copy [of the Foster et al. critique] to Mike McPhaden and discussed
it with him last week when we were together at the OceanObs’09 conference. Mike is
President of AGU. Basically this is an acceptance with a couple of suggestions for extras,
and some suggestions for toning down the rhetoric. I had already tried that a bit. My
reaction is that the main thing is to expedite this.”
Kevin Trenberth to Grant Foster, September 28, 2009
In order to understand the whole situation, you actually need to read the papers and critiques. Since the critique is above, I looked for and was lucky to be able to find the paper on line here. InfluenceSoOscillation as copied from this link http://icecap.us/images/uploads/McLeanetalSPPIpaper2Z-March24.pdf.
The Foster critique can be shown in the following graphs from the original paper.
The authors compare the derivative of the values from the top pane to determine the influence of the ENSO on global temps, the problem is that they only explained the short term variance and not the long term trend. By taking a derivative, you remove the slope component from the data. This is admitted to fully in the rebuttal portion by the authors although they state that their argument about being able to describe long trends stands.
The original paper states this:
We have shown here that ENSO and the 1976 Great Pacific Climate Shift can account for a large part of the overall warming and the temperature variation in tropical regions.
From derivative (trendless) based comparisons of temperature. An excerpt from the authors response to Foster (Fea10) is below:
Fea10 state that the method of derivatives that we employed would minimize long-term trends. We
completely agree, and wish to stress that we used derivatives only to ascertain the existence of the
relatively consistent time-lag that exists between changes in the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
and later changes in the global average lower tropospheric temperature anomaly (GTTA). Having
demonstrated that a lagged relationship exists between changes in the Troup SOI and the lower
tropospheric temperatures (LTT) data from satellite microwave sensing units (MSU LTT), we then
investigated whether this was a chance artefact of the data by testing (successfully) for a
corresponding relationship between the Troup SOI and radiosonde data (RATPAC-A LTT), and the
Troup SOI and Tropical MSU LTT.
I just can’t figure out how their paper has anything to do with long term trends. From my perspective, they seem to have overconcluded a bit. I think it would have been a fine paper with a lot to say about the effects of southern oscillation on global tropospheric temperature but little was demonstrated WRT long term trend. I also don’t see where Tamino’s critique proved there isn’t a linkage and really don’t understand why GRL couldn’t publish the authors reply.
Maybe I’m missing something.