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Because the world needs another opinion

Redefining Peer Review — Editor Resigns

Posted by Jeff Id on September 2, 2011

UPDATE:  Roger Pielke Sr.  has his own take on the issue here.   An excerpt from his take is quite similar to my own.  A single paper referenced with no specifics regarding the critique, my red bold below.

My Comment:  Wagner is not an expert on the subject of the Spencer and Braswell paper, so he must have relied on input from individuals who were critical of their paper. He cites one reference (in addition to weblogs)

Trenberth, K.E., Fasullo, J.T., O’Dell, C., Wong, T. Relationships between tropical sea surface temperature and top-of-atmosphere radiation. Geophys. Res. Lett. 2010, 37, L03702

but presents no specific scientific information as to how that paper refutes Spencer and Braswell. Moreover, if there is a fundamental flaw in their work, than publishing a Comment in Remote Sensing would have resolved the issue. That is how science is supposed to work. As it is, Wagner has further politicized climate science.

——————————————————-

Jeff Id

Wolfgang Wagner, editor of Roy Spencers climate non-sensitivity paper has resigned. The editorial explaining his decision is hereWUWT has a discussion here, Bart Verheggen discusses it here, and Roy Spencer has his take.   I’m not concerned about others yet but this is more than a small resignation considering that there isn’t any published evidence refuting the paper to my knowledge, there isn’t even a good blog post refuting it, yet its conclusions which were approved only this year, are SO poisonous that the editor needed to resign. AR5 couldn’t have any influence on this could it?

I would urge readers to review the resignation letter as we should discuss this for a while and it holds several important keys to what is going on.

So why, after a more careful study of the pro and contra arguments, have I changed my initial view? The problem is that comparable studies published by other authors have already been refuted in open discussions and to some extend also in the literature (cf. [7]), a fact which was ignored by Spencer and Braswell in their paper and, unfortunately, not picked up by the reviewers. In other words, the problem I see with the paper by Spencer and Braswell is not that it declared a minority view (which was later unfortunately much exaggerated by the public media) but that it essentially ignored the scientific arguments of its opponents. This latter point was missed in the review process, explaining why I perceive this paper to be fundamentally flawed and therefore wrongly accepted by the journal.

The argument is that the new paper didn’t address the critiques of reference #7 which happens to be:

7. Trenberth, K.E., Fasullo, J.T., O’Dell, C., Wong, T. Relationships between tropical sea surface temperature and top-of-atmosphere radiation. Geophys. Res. Lett. 2010, 37, L03702.

Now Wagner doesn’t say which particular critiques are the critical ones, but since it is a Trenberth article there are a few other clues as to what these unaddressed problems are.  First there is this post by Trenberth at Real Climate, where political science often trumps reason.  Considering that ugly post, we know how the consensus operates after climategate and shouldn’t forget the infamous Dr. Phil Jones email —

Phil Jones (8/7/2004): “The other paper by MM is just garbage – as you knew. De Freitas again. Pielke is also losing all credibility as well by replying to the mad Finn as well – frequently as I see it. I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

Kevin of course being Trenberth himself.  Now the believer crowd will see it as a cheap shot but Trenberth deserves this when he is centrally involved in an editors resignation.  He may be correctly involved, but he has been caught over the line of reason in the past.  The point here is, that for a senior editor to resign over an issue of disagreement indicates what is likely a huge amount of behind the scenes pressure on the editors to prevent publication.  Even if the paper is truly horribly flawed, a resignation!!???  Come on.  Why not wait for the retractions and publish those?

Trenberths 2010 paper is here.

Spencers recent 2011 paper is here.

I have no solid opinion on the matter other than people have already made up their minds from what is clearly very noisy data.  I have begun requesting some of the background information from those involved. I am, however, thoroughly unimpressed by the RC blog post on the matter which concludes everything the IPCC seemingly wants without true foundation.  Feel free to correct me on this.

Trenberth at RC:

Even so, the Spencer interpretation has no merit. The interannual global temperature variations were not radiatively forced, as claimed for the 2000s, and therefore cannot be used to say anything about climate sensitivity. Clouds are not a forcing of the climate system (except for the small portion related to human related aerosol effects, which have a small effect on clouds). Clouds mainly occur because of weather systems (e.g., warm air rises and produces convection, and so on); they do not cause the weather systems. Clouds may provide feedbacks on the weather systems. Spencer has made this error of confounding forcing and feedback before and it leads to a misinterpretation of his results.

Imagine the certainty he must have.  This is far from the beginning on this matter as flux observations continue to come in.   The post could be called the chicken and  the egg (causality), the politics of belief, the carbon curtain and etc….∞.


184 Responses to “Redefining Peer Review — Editor Resigns”

  1. Theo Goodwin said

    Typical Trenberth, totally dogmatic. Trenberth does not have a clue what role clouds play in anything. The proof of that is that he, like all other Warmista, have no physical hypotheses that can be used to explain or predict cloud behavior in Earth’s atmosphere. If he had the physical hypotheses he would have proudly published them long ago. All he is doing is rehearsing his assumptions for his computer model.

  2. Jeff,
    Wagner is not a climate scientist, and Remote Sensing is not a climate journal. It is really stretching it to think that Trenberth can force Wagner’s resignation.

    Trenberth is not centrally involved. Wagner is citing his paper as one that the reviewers should have mentioned. The implication of his letter is clearly that they did not to so because of a sceptic bias. And how did it happen that the whole panel shared that bias? He calls that “inadvertent” but the word clearly suggests to me that he thinks it was arranged. And that is why he’s resigning.

    It doesn’t particularly matter whether you think the paper has been refuted. Wagner thinks it is unsound. And it’s his resignation.

  3. omnologos said

    This is a good interpretation. They couldn’t wait for a formal retraction because of the risk of having to mention Spencer’s in AR5, in case the retraction process would fail or take too long. See in fact Gleick’s usual brain-dead self claiming that Spencer’s has now been refuted somehow by Wagner’s resignation.

    Now, now…who’s going to be so idiotic as to believe anything from AR5 anyway?

  4. Kenneth Fritsch said

    Sounds much more like Wagner resigned as a political statement. As Nick Stokes notes he is not a climate scientist, and that could explain the lack of details in his explanation for resigning now. Probably more an inclination to the politics of the science which I think most observers would agree has become more and more political.

  5. MikeN said

    It took more than 3 months of back and forth e-mails to publish a response to Soon & Baliunas, in EOS. This involved Phil Jones, Michael Mann, Scott Rutherford, Tom Wigley, Jonathan Overpeck, and others.

    I’m wondering who all was involved here.

  6. Jeff Id said

    Nick,

    ‘trenberth is not centrally involved”?

    Whell, I suppose we’ll have to disagree again. Which papers were referenced, who pointed it out at RC prior to the resignation, who likely sent emails.

    “It doesn’t particularly matter whether you think the paper has been refuted. ”

    It might, because if I agree with Trenberth, I will make my case. If I don’t I will do the same. You may realize that about this blog. In either case, my opinion matters because it will be documented and critiqued or agreed with openly. Witness the power of the dark side…hahaha.

    I’m kidding of course. Lighten up man. It’s a couple of papers a guy who inexplicably resigns with a VERY unsatisfactory rationale and some questions about involvement of the climate brownshirts.

  7. Anonymous said

    Thanks Jeff, this is truly bizarre, especially when Trenberth, the whole team really, appear to be wrong about the potential forcing of the “unforced” variations. The changes may not be forced due to CO2, but a change in albedo is definitely a change in the radiative balance which I believe can be considered a changing in forcing. Is this another case where semantics is kicking butt?

  8. Anonymous said

    The point here is, that for a senior editor to resign over an issue of disagreement indicates what is likely a huge amount of behind the scenes pressure on the editors to prevent publication.

    Keep looking under your bed, Jeff. It’s all a big plot to get those “skeptics,” and if you keep looking long enough you’ll find co-conspirators everywhere.

    So now it’s an editor, who approved a paper by one of the most revered “skeptical” scientists initially, but now is so a-feared of those big, bad, eco-Nazis that he has reversed from his courageous stance of initially publishing the paper to turn tail and completely humiliate himself by publicly acknowledging he made a professional error of very significant proportions. man, they must have put him through some waterboarding or something.

    Obviously, he’s lying through his teeth about his motivations for his resignation. Obviously, he’s lying through his teeth about his revised analysis of the paper. And you can see right through it – can’t you?

  9. Joshua said

    Sorry – I switched browsers. #8 was from me. I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was trolling anonymously.

  10. steve fitzpatrick said

    Nick Stokes #2,

    You are as predicable as sunrise….. and a lot less interesting.

    Get a grip Nick. He is under a lot of pressure from the climate minions.. evil trolls that they are.

  11. troyca said

    Not sure if anyone has done this already, but I’d whipped up an R script of the SB11 model if any of you R guys are interested:

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/9160367/Climate/9-2_SB11Model.R

    It seems to do a pretty good job of reproducing figures four and one in the paper.

    I was originally planning on doing some sensitivity tests because of the accusations of model tuning, but I’m not sure if I’ll have time. Hope someone finds some use for it.

  12. FergalR said

    Trenberth’s original RC post against S&B cited ECHAM as replicating ENSO very well. It doesn’t:

    http://i53.tinypic.com/f2ubvb.jpg

    from: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/JCLI3827.1

    I’ve looked at a few of the GCMs that model ENSO. They don’t. The French one is particularly hilarious.

  13. mick said

    Trenbert keeps such a straight face when he says the models work when the dataset is made less precise.

    Imagine you have 100 data points that contradict an hypothesis. Now imagine that if you divide them into 10 sets, average the set value and then chart 10 data points. Then voila! The hypothesis is now supported.

    This is somehow both lazy and mendacious. Lazy because it depends on people not reading close and mendacious because it is raunchy manipulation.

  14. steve fitzpatrick said

    Lemme see… disinterested third parties evaluate a paper. Seems OK, so thy approve it for publication. The climate devils throw a hissy-fit and pressure the poor editor that allowed the publication to fall on his sword. He can’t take the pressure and resigns.

    Humm… sounds like a familiar story…… the profoundly corrupt cabal of main stream climate science doing its dirty work. This is a political battle they can’t win, and every effort like this one only seals their political fate more quickly and completely. Bad people doing bad things to innocents. Shame on them.

  15. #10 “He is under a lot of pressure from the climate minions.”
    Evidence?
    And how could they exert that pressure? With what threat? Not to submit papers to RS?

  16. timetochooseagain said

    Trenberth’s “rebuttal” post on RC is what is known as a “just so” story:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-so_story

    (I confess to being an unashamed fan of Rudyard Kipling)

    Roy was presenting evidence that in fact, temperature variations on these timescales are partly radiatively forced. Trenberth is saying “No the aren’t, because they aren’t!”

    Andrew Dessler’s paper prompted Roy to publish his most recent paper (Trenberth’s was meant as a “rebuttal” of Lindzen and Choi 2009, to which Lindzen and Choi 2011 is intended as a response) he (Dessler) was saying “The temperature variations over this period were due to ENSO, and ENSO is not thought to be radiatively forced, so therefore it isn’t, and the temperature variations aren’t. Roy the presented evidence that in fact radiative forcing is responsible for some of the temperature variations associated with those ENSO events, refuting the earlier arguments. Trenberth is ignoring that, and saying, “ENSO isn’t radiatively forced, because it isn’t.” A “Just-so Story”-That ENSO isn’t radiatively forced is “just so” and therefore Trenberth and Dessler justify regressing the anomalies blindly on each other with no regard to forcing contaminating the signal in the direction of positive feedback, because it is “just so” that forcing isn’t contaminating the signal.

    So Trenberth asserts that clouds cannot act as climate forcings, accept to the extent that they are enhanced by human activity from aerosols, in which case they are vital to keep the models from warming too much. But clouds can’t vary naturally, except as a result of temperature changes! And this is the case because…it is the case. Do I even need to say it?

  17. MikeN said

    >With what threat? Not to submit papers to RS?

    Well we have seen in the ClimateGate e-mails that this was suggested with regards to Climate Research(Phil Jones), and Phil Trans B(Briffa).

  18. ‘Twas a new journal after all so the vaguest threat against its reputation would have sufficed.

  19. Re: MikeN (Sep 2 21:07),
    Mike, the point is that Spencer’s was probably the first climate paper ever to be submitted to Remote Sensing.

    And I suspect they will not be disappointed if there are no more.

  20. Robert E. Phelan said

    Kenneth Fritsch said September 2, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    I agree that the resignation was a political act, but I’m reading that editorial as a sort of “I didn’t commit suicide, I was murdered!” sort of statement, and Wagner plants a clue to the identity of the guilty party in his document. The back story on this has to be dynamite, and the sheer bizarreness of this sequence of events is gauranteed to have people demanding answers that make sense. Editors don’t resign over a poorly accepted article. They might, however, in the face of threat and intimidation.

  21. Re: timetochooseagain (Sep 2 21:00),
    Trenberth is right. Spencer’s logic is screwy. Climate sensitivity is defined as response of temperature to radiative forcing. That is defined as
    “Radiative forcing is the change in the net, downward minus upward, irradiance (expressed in W m–2) at the tropopause due to a change in an external driver of climate change, such as, for example, a change in the concentration of carbon dioxide or the output of the Sun”

    You have to nominate an external driver. That’s the point of the definition of sensitivity – you nominate the forcing, and the ratio gives the system response. That’s why “external”.

    So you can’t infer forcing from response data, as S&B claimed to have done. You have to identify it independently.

  22. Nicanuck said

    Did Trenberth say that clouds are not a forcing? Ouch. Lets see if I can understand what the big scientist said. The most globally abundant green house molecule, with a significant green house forcing, when puffed into big clouds is not really a forcing unless seeded by anthropogenic origin. So the clouds are sorta, kinda just there because of climate and don’t actually cause climate, unless there is an anthropogenic cause to the cloud. What does Kevin think of the CLOUD experiment which hints that there are naturally modulated variation to condensation nuclei? Has Mr Trenberth been to a desert, sat in a boat in the tropics or stood ontop of a mountain. Has he actually, really, physically, experienced climate? Does he actually experience or put it another way – measure – anything? Or has he just modelled it?
    When I was a kid modelling involved turning small bits of plastic into bad versions of aircraft. Then usually looked something like the plane they were supposed to be a model of, only they were no way near as complex and they never worked like the real thing. I thought they were great but with hindsight my models were total crap. Sound familiar?.

  23. steve fitzpatrick said

    Nick Stokes,

    I guess I am not surprised that you are so naive (or so purposefully blind) as to imagine this poor fellow has not come under a lot of pressure from MSCS. Yes, climate science will (of course) close ranks on the non-believers, as they always do. No, it will not mean that they increase their influence, since each such escapade only makes the politics of the situation less tenable for them…. the blatant politics only discredits climate science. Defund the IPCC by half? Sounds reasonable to me; could (and should) happen real soon. You should count on it.

  24. M. Simon said

    Nick,

    The real reason he resigned was to spend more time with his family.

    =====

    you can’t infer forcing from response data

    That is the way engineers do it. What method do Real Scientists™ prefer? Using made up data? I suppose it is easier to get the Correct Results™ that way. Real Scientists™ Correct Results™. What more could you ask for?

    Uh. Nick. Suppose you are looking for a driver? What you then do is look for changes that are not accounted for and see if you can figure the cause. Something about the orbit of Mercury comes to mind.

  25. Thanks, Jeff, for the information.

    This shows that “Big Brother” is firmly entrenched and unwilling to let go:

    http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/1984/

    Fortunately for skeptics, Big Brother and BB’s consensus “scientists” are blessed with the same dazzling brilliance of bureaucrats worldwide.

    Hang in there!
    Oliver K. Manuel

  26. DocMartyn said

    Nick Stokes said

    “Radiative forcing is the change in the net, downward minus upward, irradiance (expressed in W m–2) at the tropopause due to a change in an external driver of climate change, such as, for example, a change in the concentration of carbon dioxide or the output of the Sun”

    Well screw me sideways, so you mean all those ‘globally averaged albedo of about 0.3 for the earth’s surface’
    Bender et al. (2006) 22 views of the global albedo – comparison between 20 GCMs
    and two satellites. Tellus 58A 3a0–330, is all bollocks.
    Changing cloud cover, by density, altitude, geographically or temporally, doesn’t change ‘forcings’.
    You have a first class mind Nick, you have missed you calling, should have been a climate scientist.

  27. Carrick said

    Nick:

    So you can’t infer forcing from response data, as S&B claimed to have done. You have to identify it independently.

    Suddenly everybody is an expert on inferring sensitivity from nonlinear systems with feedback.

  28. Re: steve fitzpatrick (Sep 2 22:35),
    Steve,
    I asked you for evidence. It seems you have none, but are happy to build conspiracy theories.

    OK, what about plausibility? What control do you imagine the IPCC, Trenberth etc can exercise over Dr Wagner and the Remote Sensing journal?

  29. timetochooseagain said

    21-And here we come to the real sticking point don’t we, Nick, that makes you believe “Trenberth is right”. He is right because radiative forcing is defined as external, essentially. The definition excludes internal variability from being radiatively forced. I know this, Roy knows this, and that is fundamentally a problem…because saying that a forcing must arise external to the system doesn’t make it so. Essentially what you are saying is that clouds etc. can only either change as a result of A) a temperature change or B) Some external influence. You choose to claim that this is just true by definition. This is the very essence of a “Just-so Story”.

    I mean serious Nick, you are telling me that clouds, being as complex as they are, can only vary either due to “external forcing” or due to a temperature change. Yeah, no, I don’t think that is at all reasonable. You’re telling me a change in clouds cannot arise for no particular reason? Clouds would just be constant if temperature was unchanging and no external influence causes them to change.

    Oh, I see, you just DEFINE this to be the case! Well it must be so then, because…It’s Just So.

    But you make another error. Roy has never claimed to have isolated the forcing, he has claimed that sometimes there is no contamination from forcing. The rest of the time we don’t know what the forcing is, but it is there, whether you insist that it must be external or not. We know it is there because it shows up as a pattern in the data, de-correlating it and making isolating the feedback very difficult and implicitly biases estimates of sensitivity upwards. Conflation of forcing and feedback is what everyone else has been doing. Roy is trying to overcome these difficulties. To claim, as Trenberth does, that conflating forcing with feedback causes one to underestimate feedback is absurd. The forcing fluxes causing temperature changes will be opposite in sign to feedback (a climate retain (losing) more energy will warm (cool) causing it to compensate by emitting more (less) energy to space) the sum of these tends toward zero (at equilibrium it actually reaches zero, but it doesn’t need much time to be biased toward zero) which corresponds to infinite climate sensitivity. If we don’t KNOW the forcing, just regressing the way Trenberth does (and Dessler) is guaranteed to overestimate positive feedback if any unaccounted for forcing is present. It is actually a simple fact of the way the equations work that if you knew the feedback you could know the forcing. This is regardless of what the IPCC chooses to define forcing as, because flux is just Forcing + Feedback. So if we knew the feedback we could tell pretty quickly whether it was in fact true that the only things that cause flux variations besides feedback are Man and the Sun. I am confident if that is ever done, we will find out that it is NOT the case that those are the only two things in forcing. Chaotic and other variations will be present, too. If you isolate instances of temperature change not caused by any radiative forcing, you could isolate the feedback. Roy has not claimed to have determined exactly how to isolate such changes in practice, but he is trying to minimize the contamination of the data by such. It is Trenberth who just handwaves that since ENSO must be internal, and not radiatively forced, it must be the case that no significant forcing effect is present. He can’t really explain why the data are de-correlated if it is all feedback, no forcing, so he just says that the radiation data are crap or something.

  30. This is theatre of the absurd. Wagner is resigning over a paper based on solid observations which may be right or wrong. Nobody has come up with anything approaching a reasoned falsification.

    On the other hand, where are the battalions of editors resigning over the discredited papers published by the Hockey Team that should never have been published if they had not corrupted the peer review process?

  31. TomRude said

    You’ve got to love it: they block publication in main climate journals then they deride if anything is published in another fringe journal…
    Let’s recall how O’Donnell was dealt with before, during and after. Did we see all the MSM reporting on O’Donnell? Nope. Nothing. Silence.
    When Steig et al. was out, the very same day or so the entire global MSM was on cue.
    When the Seth Borenstein of this world peddle Team efforts, I have not read any disclaimer from the authors…
    Clearly Roy’s peper hit where it hurts otherwise a comment would have sufficed…

  32. Re: timetochooseagain (Sep 2 23:40),
    TTCA,
    No, it’s not a statement about what can cause clouds to vary. It’s a statement about what factors you consider in defining climate sensitivity.

    Think of a classic electrical black box. You can apply a voltage change and there will be a change in current. You define an impedance (sensitivity). And yes, Carrick, the response may be non-linear. There’s still an impedance.

    Now there may be other things going on inside the black box that you can’t control which vary the current. That confuses the measurement, but doesn’t change the concept of input impedance, which is how the system responds to an external voltage change.

  33. M. Simon said

    And I suspect they will not be disappointed if there are no more.

    The gravy train is not to be trifled with.

  34. M. Simon said

    That confuses the measurement, but doesn’t change the concept of input impedance, which is how the system responds to an external voltage change.

    Well yes. But if the impedance is chaotic there is not a lot you can tell about the system without LOTS of observation. Detailed observation. Accurate observation. Because prediction of the next state is highly dependent on initial conditions. And previous conditions (the system has memory), which are largely unknown. .

  35. Sera said

    Wolfgang Wagner is still an editor at HESS…

    http://www.hydrology-and-earth-system-sciences.net/general_information/editorial_board.html

    so he still has a job doing what he does best, I guess.

  36. Re: steve fitzpatrick (Sep 2 22:35),
    If you want a fact-based reason for the resignation, it’s right there in the text

    “The managing editor of Remote Sensing selected three senior scientists from renowned US universities, each of them having an impressive publication record.”

    The managing editor, Mr Elvis Wang, is an MPDI office man, and in overall control. He doesn’t seem to be a scientist. Having him choose the referees seems highly unusual. And then it turns out that they are all sceptics, and didn’t pick up the other literature. And the paper blew up. That’s a pretty standard case for resigning.

  37. Chuckles said

    Timetochoose,

    Yes the infamous ‘proof by definition’ again, always much in favour in bureaucratic circles.

    At Roy Spencer’s site, Eli R makes two comments that I think are instructive –

    ‘FWIW, Wagner objected to two things.

    First that Spencer and Braswell did not deal with objections to their previous work and the ideas they set forth. OK, that’s a technical, but the red flag was how Dr. Spencer and his allies exploited and exaggerated the publication in the general public.’

    and

    ‘Most of you are missing the point. The reason Eli, Chris, Barry, the Weasel and others have come here is that there remains residual respect for Roy Spencer, and a lot of unhappiness with the stuff he is emitting, esp. the leveraging in the popular press.’

    And in Wagner’s resignation letter he said –

    ‘With this step I would also like to personally protest against how the authors and like-minded climate sceptics have much exaggerated the paper’s conclusions in public statements, e.g., in a press release of The University of Alabama in Huntsville from 27 July 2011 [2], the main author’s personal homepage [3], the story “New NASA data blow gaping hole in global warming alarmism”’

    Seems that this is driving the whole train-crash? If so, the further publicity generated seems like the usual spectacular ‘own-goal’?

  38. Adi said

    Makasih infonya ya.

  39. Come to think, if a self-declarer total climate ignoramus of an editor figures out a paper is “bad” from discussions over the internet then yes, we ALL are climate sensitivity experts.

  40. Alan Wilkinson said

    I have looked at Spencer’s website and fail to see where he has exaggerated the implications of his paper. Can anyone show me?

  41. Nick Stokes: “Wagner thinks it [Spenser, et al] is unsound.”

    But hwat is the “thinking?” Implication, innuendo – Hell, yeah. BUT WHAT IS THE THINKING.

    Until this is answered, everything is so much speculation.

    Meanwhile, the grand geste lives on, like an Operatic exit. Why this doesn’t just stun you into its dumb grandiosity, I simply can’t fathom.

    It is worthy of…Madonna dissed over her new Wallis Simpson biopic at the Venice Film Fest!

  42. Actually, I thought science was supposed to be this way, the arguing, the publishing, the back stabbing in emails. And of course, trumpeting from your own web page, you know like RC. And I don’t know why JeffID and the others think Trenbeth would do something like try to intimidate an editor, I mean does he have a record of such? /sarcasm

    Quote: “”it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”” seems most appropraite to me today, for the editor that resigned. Unless it is this one for Jones, Trenbeth, and RC: “”For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds; Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.”

  43. [...] Jeff Id: Redefining Peer Review — Editor Resigns [...]

  44. AMac said

    A few points.

    Nick Stokes is incorrect — “Remote Sensing” does have numerous articles about the applications of remote sensing to climate issues. No surprise. So S&B11 isn’t an outlier in that sense. Link to September issue via a comment at Lucia’s.

    Trenberth et al.’s 2010 GRL paper [ref. 7] was a rebuttal of Lindzen & Choi (2009). There were two major criticisms. First, that time-series modelers must add in the effects of Mt. Pinatubo. Second, that it’s invalid to discuss correlations of tropical sea-surface temperatures with top-of-atmosphere temperatures, alone. Non-tropical temperatures also have to be considered, since there is much energy transfer between the tropics and sub-tropics.

    The Pinatubo issue doesn’t seem to me to be applicable to S&B11 (or at least to the results presented in its two figures). The tropical SST/TOA issue is relevant. S&B refers to it in a disclaimer, without reference to the literature.

    (Trenberth et al (2010) makes no reference to any work by Spencer or Braswell.)

    Wagner talks about certain web discussions that invalidated S&B’s main conclusions. But he doesn’t identify them. So readers can’t know the merits of their arguments, and of any counterpoints. Though if the Trenberth post at RealClimate is the discussion in question, I assume that dissenting views were attenuated or eliminated by that site’s typical aggressive moderation policies.

  45. Jeff Id said

    I like how Trenberth at RC makes this sort of declaration:

    Even so, the Spencer interpretation has no merit. The interannual global temperature variations were not radiatively forced, as claimed for the 2000s, and therefore cannot be used to say anything about climate sensitivity. Clouds are not a forcing of the climate system (except for the small portion related to human related aerosol effects, which have a small effect on clouds). Clouds mainly occur because of weather systems (e.g., warm air rises and produces convection, and so on); they do not cause the weather systems. Clouds may provide feedbacks on the weather systems. Spencer has made this error of confounding forcing and feedback before and it leads to a misinterpretation of his results.

    Clouds do nothing to climate —- except for the part that humans cause. ROTFL

    No way they can affect climate except by man’s influence. Certainly he is one of the brightest of our time! The whole point of Spencers paper was that it from the data, clouds seem to react to the temperature of earth in a manner which indicates lower sensitivity, and cloud cover is an important factor which when quantified correctly indicates that the earth responds to heating. Trenberth is probably doing penance still making up for his missing heat email by prayer to Gaia. His whole argument at RC seems to be a declaration of faith.

    This is what Spencers paper says

    We believe that the low correlations associated with previous feedback diagnoses with satellite data are themselves prima facie evidence of
    the presence of radiative forcing in the data.

    Think about that, the fact that the earth has poor correlation to radiative output means that something is messing with the system. If there is a cloud feedback you would expect some lagged response in the temperature because all forcings have the ocean surface mass to contend with.

    In the real climate system, it is likely there is almost always a time-varying radiative forcing
    present, as various internally-generated changes in clouds and water vapor oscillate between positive
    and negative values faster than the resulting temperature changes can restore the system to radiative
    equilibrium.

    After reading and re-reading the paper, I have a lot of difficulty seeing how Trenberth’s blog article of faith or previous paper has anything to add to Spencer’s work.

  46. Joshua said

    Trenberth says:

    Clouds may provide feedbacks on the weather systems.

    Jeff paraphrases:

    Clouds do nothing to climate —- except for the part that humans cause. ROTFL

    Anyone else see a problem here?

  47. Jeff Id said

    Ah Joshua, I know you are not technical but you have made the classic rookie error of mixing climate and weather.

    “The interannual global temperature variations were not radiatively forced,”

  48. Joshua said

    Jeff –

    Trenberth said that clouds do not force climate. He did not say that feedbacks of any particular sort “do nothing to climate.” He does not say that feedbacks are unrelated to climate sensitivity.

  49. Alan D McIntire said

    That quote, “Clouds may provide feedbacks on the weather systems. Spencer has made this error of confounding forcing and feedback before and it leads to a misinterpretation of his results. ” was a real red flag waving at us bulls.

    I figure that temperature affects clouds, but clouds also affect temperature. I immediately thought of Lotka’s predator prey model, where in an oscillating system, the number of prey affects the growth of the predator population- more prey supports more predators. As predators increase in numbers, the prey population starts to fall, which in turn reduces the predator population, etc. Depending on the figures used, you can get oscillations rather than convergence to a constant number of predators and prey.
    See

    http://home.comcast.net/~sharov/PopEcol/lec10/fullmod.html

    I see the predator prey model has also occurred to climatologists

    http://www.dailycamera.com/science-environment/ci_18648011

    “NOAA: Predator-prey model explains how rain can feast on clouds
    Model is a simpler way to view cloud-rain interactions, say Boulder and Israel researchers
    By Laura Snider Camera Staff Writer
    Posted: 08/09/2011 05:18:15 PM MDT

    Hungry rains devour clouds in a pattern that’s similar to the way foxes prey on rabbits, according to a new study by a Boulder researcher.

    When rabbit populations flourish, the number of foxes also begins to increase. The boom in foxes eventually causes a decline in the number of rabbits, which in turn, results in a decrease in the fox population. This oscillation in predator-prey numbers — with the predator’s peak lagging slightly behind the prey’s peak — is described by a mathematical equation known as the Lotka-Volterra model.

    In study published last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Graham Feingold, a researcher at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, and Ilan Koren, of the Wiezmann Institute of Science in Israel, showed that the relationship between cloud formation and rain can also be described using the simple predator-prey population model. ”

    I suppose with the comparison between Spencer-Braswell and Feingold-Koren, Feingold and Koren will also now be written off as climate “deniers”.

  50. Joshua said

    From Dessler:

    Forcings are imposed changes to, the climate, while feedbacks are processes that respond to changes in, the climate and amplify or ameliorate them.

    Since I’m a rookie, Jeff, perhaps you could explain how amplification and amelioration of climate equates to “do[ing] nothing to climate?”

  51. Jeff Id said

    You are getting warmer Joshua. The declaration of what is an imposed change vs what is a response change by even someone as powerful as Trenberth does not matter much to the god of physics.

  52. Joshua said

    You are getting warmer Joshua. The declaration of what is an imposed change vs what is a response change by even someone as powerful as Trenberth does not matter much to the god of physics.

    That’s a separate issue from your inaccurate paraphrase, Jeff. Trenberth did not say that feedbacks (e.g., clouds) do not affect climate. It makes it easier for us rookies to understand what’s going on when people don’t mischaracterize the arguments of others.

    That you and he (and Spencer) might disagree about whether clouds force> climate is another issue. As one lacking expertise in the technical issues – I am not in a position to judge. But I do know what a straw man is when I see one.

  53. Jeff Id said

    “But I do know what a straw man is when I see one.”

    Apparently not.

  54. gallopingcamel said

    Jeff,
    You quote Trenberth as follows:

    “….Clouds are not a forcing of the climate system (except for the small portion related to human related aerosol effects, which have a small effect on clouds)…”

    Clearly Kevin should bone up on Kirkby’s recent paper on nucleation caused by energetic particles. This lends credence to the possibility that cosmic rays can provide a climate forcing by modulating the cloud cover.

    Even the Hockey Team acknowledges that a 1% change in cloud cover would wipe out the forcing produced by a doubling in the carbon dioxide concentration.

  55. Joshua said

    OK, Jeff. Here’s how I see it, FWIW.

    You could have just said, “You’re right. My paraphrase was inaccurate – Trenberth did not say that clouds “do nothing” to climate, but I disagree with Trenberth’s opinion as to whether clouds can force climate changes, or in fact the way that he distinguishes between forcings and feedbacks.” or something along those lines.

    Instead, you try to say that my observation was based on a lack of understanding the difference between climate and weather (another inaccuracy), and then simply refuse to accept responsibility for your inaccurate paraphrase.

    I will repeat – unless you are arguing that Trenberth disagrees with Dressler’s statement, then your statement that Trenberth thinks that that clouds “do nothing” to climate shows a clear misunderstanding of Trenberth’s perspective. Amelioration and amplification do not equate to “do nothing.”

    That you would continue to defend the position that Trenberth thinks that clouds “do nothing to climate” is perplexing.

    Or, maybe not?

  56. Alan D McIntire said

    In the above arguments about clouds being a forcing or feedback, you’re not addressing what Spencer and Braswell actually SAID:

    http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/3/8/1603/pdf

    Abstract:” The sensitivity of the climate system to an imposed radiative imbalance remains
    the largest source of uncertainty in projections of future anthropogenic climate change.
    Here we present further evidence that this uncertainty from an observational perspective is
    largely due to the masking of the radiative feedback signal by internal radiative forcing,
    probably due to natural cloud variations”

    They didn’t say temperature is determined by random variations in clouds, which is what CAGWers seem to be attacking. They stated that cloud feedbacks are being ignored by climate modelers. The models get high sensitivity for feedback by assuming NO delays in negative feedback from clouds. Sort of like my
    predator-prey post at #49. If predators and prey oscillate just slightly out of phase with each other, you’ll get a positive correlation between predators and prey, or temperature and clouds. You might jump to the erroneous conclusion that there’s a positive correlation between prey and predators- the more wolves you get, the more sheep you’ll get or the warmer you get the more clouds you get. In fact, results are the opposite. The more wolves you have the fewer sheep you’ll get, the more clouds you have the less warming you’ll get.

  57. Jeff Id said

    Joshua,

    “Trenberth did not say that clouds “do nothing” to climate,”

    You don’t understand that climatology has drawn a line in the sand for climate vs weather. Trenberth did say that clouds affect climate, but only by humans. He then said clouds affect weather, which you have confused with ‘climate’. It IS a rookie mistake and it does again show your lack of technical skill with the subject but it doesn’t show a lack of ability.

    I’m sorry Joshua, I realize it isn’t clear when you have just started studying but the statement here:

    “The interannual global temperature variations were not radiatively forced, as claimed for the 2000s, and therefore cannot be used to say anything about climate sensitivity. Clouds are not a forcing of the climate system”

    He says, clouds are not the cause of climate (long term trend).

    Now if you want to say Trenberth understands that clouds affect weather (short term, localized), I am in full agreement, but that is not the point of the paper, the discussion or anything else here. What is kind of funny, is that your misunderstanding of the terms of art is making the argument that many of us make to climatology in general. When does weather become climate? In other words, when does expected variance become a real trend?

  58. stan said

    Nick Stokes re: comment #36,

    “And the paper blew up. That’s a pretty standard case for resigning.”

    C’mon man. For Wales?

    So how exactly is it that this paper came to “blow up”? Given that you contend this is a “standard case for resigning”, there must be a lot of examples of resignations after such blowups. I’m sure we are all interested in your list of these numerous examples, but first let’s just focus on the blowup. How do we know that the paper blew up? Because people at RC said so? Blog posts? I had no idea that it was standard in science for a paper to be deemed “blown up” if certain blogs criticized it. Standard, huh. Who knew?

    So, in ‘standard’ situations like this, can you tell us how many editors have resigned because RC (or any other ‘science’ blog) declared a paper to be blown up?

    Pielke, Sr. says that this is very unusual. Lots of others seem to think the whole process borders on bizarre. And you want to try to make believe that this is just a standard case for resigning. Really?

    For Wales?!

  59. Jeff Id said

    Alan,

    I don’t think Spencer Braswell says models ignore the feedback, what they say is that the net feedback is overestimated in relation to observation. I do find the lag argument compelling also where they point out that any feedback analysis on a zero timescale for temp makes no sense and the lack of correlation on a zero timescale indicates that there is clearly a lagged response.

  60. timetochooseagain said

    32-“No, it’s not a statement about what can cause clouds to vary. It’s a statement about what factors you consider in defining climate sensitivity.”

    In this context, since you are defending Trenberth, it is clear that you are now making a distinction without a difference. You are saying one need only consider the external effects on the components of the system. Trenberth is saying one need only consider clouds as forcings if something causes them to change, such as aerosols, but other than that they are fixed in the absence of temperature change.

    “Think of a classic electrical black box. You can apply a voltage change and there will be a change in current. You define an impedance (sensitivity).”

    I don’t think an electrical black box is a very good analogy. Unless of course the components within the box are dynamic and in constant flux. But I’ve never seen an electric circuit made of fluid, with components that undergo phase transitions and in motion varying chaotically. But then again I am far from an expert on electrical stuff. I did much better with Mechanics in Physics anyway. I’ll try, nevertheless, to improve the analogy. I know some about DC circuits, and your analogy seems to assume an AC circuit, but I think it would be pretty trivial to figure out how to translate this stuff. We have a “circuit” that constantly has some voltage applied to it (the sun) we have resistors (please excuse possibly incorrect terminology) that care about the direction in which the current of electricity is going (in versus out, as WV and greenhouse gases act on the OLR, not the SW) What we are interested in knowing is, when we change the resistance of a particular component (CO2, say) what impact this has on the electrical current: All other things being equal it would just be a matter of the change in the one resistor. In our hypothetical system, however, the resistance of the other resistors depends on the electrical current itself (feedback) can be changed directly (“external forcing”) and also probably varies chaotically for no reason at all. So when we want to know the dependence of resistance changes on the current, one needs to be aware of the fact that changes in resistance also change the current themselves. Now, if we know how much we “forced” the other factors to change, and we “know” the chaotic variations don’t exist, we could indeed account for the forcing and find the feedback. But you don’t know there are no chaotic variations of the resistance not caused by changes in current, you are just assuming they don’t exist. So guess what you find, a biased estimate of the feedback.

  61. Joshua said

    The interannual global temperature variations were not radiatively forced, as claimed for the 2000s, and therefore cannot be used to say anything about climate sensitivity. Clouds are not a forcing of the climate system”

    That is in reference to a specific claim. Notice the use of the definite article. You are generalizing about his statements to incorrectly portray his belief as one that feedbacks (he identified clouds as a feedback) have “do nothing to climate.” This is in direct contrast to the statements he has made and it is indirect contrast to the statements of someone who clearly agrees with him in perspective (Dessler).

    His argument is clearly that clouds, as a feedback, are distinguished from forcings on climate – not that they have “do nothing to climate” and only affect weather. You are deliberately mischaracterizing his statements, to build a straw man that is easily knocked down.

    You’re seriously contending that Trenberth disagrees with this statement by Dessler?:

    Forcings are imposed changes to, the climate, while feedbacks are processes that respond to changes in, the climate and amplify or ameliorate them.

    The only way you can persist with your perspective is by arguing that Trenberth thinks that the above statement by Dessler is wrong – or, by actually arguing that amelioration and amplification of changes in climate = “do nothing to climate.”

    Anyway, Jeff. It’s clear that your mind is made up, and that you will continue to assert that my perspective on your mischaracterization of Trenberth is based on my misunderstanding of the difference between climate and weather.

    Maybe I should link some of the comments I’ve made over at WUWT that criticize Anthony for his posts about recent snowpack in the Sierra’s for exactly the reason of confusion between climate and weather?

    The question about when weather becomes a trend, as well as the technical questions regarding determination of what is or isn’t a forcing or a feedback, are other matters. I don’t need to have a particular conclusion on those matters to recognize a strawman when I see one, or a refusal to be accountable for a mischaracterization.

  62. Phil Jones should be brought up on charges for gratuitous, and incorrect, use of the phrase “as well.”

  63. Kenneth Fritsch said

    Below is a link and an excerpt from Wagner’s comments on resigning. In my view, they speak for themselves and point to the political implications. I suspect Wagner originally thought the paper was publishable and to be followed by refutation – and more importantly not attracting so much attention. Evidently it is that attention from skeptics to which Wagner reacted.

    I would also classify Wagner’s reaction to the paper and his reaction to others reactions to the paper as a gross over reaction. I wonder what Wagner might think of Mann et al. (2008) if he read it and could understand the implications of its methodology. In that paper you have some pretty main stream scientists and their peer reviewers not evidently concerned a bit about chopping off the Schweingruber series at 1960 and replacing it with other mysterious data going forward and then using that manipulated data and a series that used temperature measurements as part of an argument that you could not obtain the success rate of correlations of proxies with the instrumental temperature record by chance. It might depend on what blogs Wagner reads to get his science. I think Wagner suffers from the same malady as some other consensus thinkers on AGW and that is that given the hard science of GHGs produced by man on temperature increases and that glaciers are retreating that everything else coming out of climate science must true.

    Also read closely the last part of Wagner’s excerpt here. I think there are further implications of consensus climate science using satellite data and the politics of that relationship.

    http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/3/9/2002/pdf

    ” Unfortunately, as many climate researchers and engaged observers of the climate change debate pointed out in various internet discussion fora, the paper by Spencer and Braswell [1] that was recently published in Remote Sensing is most likely problematic in both aspects and should therefore not have been published.

    After having become aware of the situation, and studying the various pro and contra arguments, I agree with the critics of the paper. Therefore, I would like to take the responsibility for this editorial decision and, as a result, step down as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Remote Sensing.

    OPEN ACCESS
    With this step I would also like to personally protest against how the authors and like-minded climate sceptics have much exaggerated the paper’s conclusions in public statements, e.g., in a press release of The University of Alabama in Huntsville from 27 July 2011 [2], the main author’s personal homepage [3], the story “New NASA data blow gaping hole in global warming alarmism” published by Forbes [4], and the story “Does NASA data show global warming lost in space?” published by Fox News [5], to name just a few. Unfortunately, their campaign apparently was very successful as witnessed by the over 56,000 downloads of the full paper within only one month after its publication. But trying to refute all scientific insights into the global warming phenomenon just based on the comparison of one particular observational satellite data set with model predictions is strictly impossible. Aside from ignoring all the other observational data sets (such as the rapidly shrinking sea ice extent and changes in the flora and fauna) and contrasting theoretical studies, such a simple conclusion simply cannot be drawn considering the complexity of the involved models and satellite measurements. The political views of the authors and the thematic goal of their study did, of course, alone not disqualify the paper from entering the review process in the journal Remote Sensing. As I stated in my editorial at the launch of this new open access journal [6] one of the premier goals of remote sensing as a discipline is to better understand physical and biological processes on our planet Earth. The use of satellite data to check the functionality of all sorts of geophysical models is therefore a very important part of our work. But it should not be done in isolation by the remote sensing scientists. Interdisciplinary cooperation with modelers is required in order to develop a joint understanding of where and why models deviate from satellite data. Only through this close cooperation the complex aspects involved in the satellite retrievals and the modeling processes can be properly taken into account.”

  64. Jeff Id said

    Joshua,

    You have yourself all mixed around again. Trenberth says clouds are not a forcing, others say they are. Mathematically, how different are they?

    You don’t know is my guess and you have assumed that others don’t — again. I’m seeing a pattern here Joshua.

    Things affect clouds, aerosols are one. A long term change in ‘feedback’ under Desslers definition makes a ‘forcing’ I guess. Trenberth makes the statement that temps in the 2000 decade were not forced radiatively, where is the evidence for that? Did he use his climatological crystal ball or did he receive a phone call from Gaia?

    Kirkby at CERN says it could be. He might be right and it drives climatology nuts in the meantime.

  65. Joshua said

    You have yourself all mixed around again. Trenberth says clouds are not a forcing, others say they are. Mathematically, how different are they?

    Jeff – I am not able to debate these technical matters. I am simply pointing out that you mischaracterized Trenberth. Disagreeing with Trenberth about whether clouds are a forcing of feedback is a different question than stating that Trenberth said that clouds “do nothing to climate.” Whether he sees them as a forcing or as a feedback is not germane to his evaluation as to whether they “do nothing to climate” – but to the degree to which they do something about climate.

    As for the CERN Cloud study – FWIW, from the perspective of someone who has zero expertise in the technical questions (probably not worth anything to you but I like to explore the topic despite my lack of background), it does seem that an absolute determination that clouds are not a forcing is up for question. In fact, in reading the RealClimate response to the CERN Cloud study, it seems that even they acknowledge that potentially, clouds, indirectly as a manifestation of cosmic radiation, may be a “forcing” as opposed to a feedback (although the question would then be is a forcing that is forced by something else really a forcing, or is it a feedback to a forcing?) In fact, reading their 2006 response, they seem to have made that acknowledgement quite a while back. So it does seem that even from a pro-AGW perspective, Trenberth’s comment may be an overstatement.

    However, it should be pointed out that the magnitude of that potential forcing, and whether it could be considered to be significant to any degree, is still very much open to question (despite widespread hype from the “skeptics” that the CERN Cloud study invalidates the theory of AGW). The authors of the CERN Cloud study were quite explicit on that point – and the similar conclusion argued at RealClimate seemed quite compelling to me.

    But all of that is really moot here, as Trenberth’s statement was specific in it’s focus. I’m not equipped to debate Trenberth’s evidence for his conclusions in re the question of temps in the 2000 decade being radiatively forced due to clouds. But I am equipped to see a straw man when I see one. And to see a refusal to acknowledge a mischaracterization when it is pointed out.

    Now rip away at my temerity for wandering into questions of science.

  66. Jeff Id said

    “I am simply pointing out that you mischaracterized Trenberth.”

    Joshua, IMO you are wrong but it is confusing and technical so I don’t blame you. Regarding CERN, I agree with you.

  67. Bruce said

    The CERN study may not invalidate AGW yet, but it may explain decadal changes in sunshine that do make CO2 look like a trivial player in climate.

    http://i55.tinypic.com/34qk01z.jpg

    http://i51.tinypic.com/eb3pmb.jpg

  68. tallbloke said

    Jeff, thanks for posting this, it needs discussion far and wide. We had a sub-thread debate on this issue at Climate Etc, starting here:
    http://judithcurry.com/2011/09/02/update-on-the-spencer-braswell-paper/#comment-107596

  69. stan said

    http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=4311

    “In one of the most asinine, self-promoting, sniveling, absurd, nakedly political moves Wolfgang Wagner has resigned, with trumpets blazing, his editorship of Remote Sensing.

    Why? Because the journal under his command dared follow its editorial guidelines, and follow them properly.”

    I wish he’d tell us what he really thinks.

  70. Roger Knights said

    Nick Stokes said
    September 2, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    #10 “He is under a lot of pressure from the climate minions.”
    Evidence?
    And how could they exert that pressure? With what threat?

    Subscriptions not taken up or canceled, plus continual snide bad-mouthing of his journal.

  71. M. Simon said

    Chaotic Electrical circuits:

    http://math.arizona.edu/~ura-reports/004/bergevin.chris/

    More detail and better math:

    http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu/pubs/paper245.htm

    ===
    http://www.fortunecity.com/emachines/e11/86/circsync.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chua%27s_circuit

    Application – Encryption:

    http://physics.ucsd.edu/neurophysics/courses/physics_173_273/AimoneLarsonChaos.pdf

  72. bbeeman@yahoo.com said

    ” Think of a classic electrical black box. You can apply a voltage change and there will be a change in current. ”

    I think the world is still waiting for the CO2 input to affect the output of the black box. If you are measuring temp as an output, CO2 is not the driver. Assumptions of an overall positive feedback due to CO2 are baseless.

  73. Stan, #58
    You and others are saying that editors don’t usually resign because a bad paper got through. I agree.

    Wagner feels let down by the referees. I’ve emphasised that the key fact here is that they were chosen, not by him or his delegate, but by management. That’s very unusual, and people who like to speculate (not me, I hasten to add) might like to wonder how it happened.

    If management simply took the choice out of his hands, then that is a standard case for resigning. As Lucia said, he should have done so immediately.

    But we don’t know that. It may have been more cooperative. After all, he says the referees looked good on paper. But either way, the fact that it should have been his choice of referees and wasn’t makes resignation more likely. If he abdicated the choice, and then it went bad, maybe he’s taking responsiblity for that.

  74. Roger #70
    “Subscriptions not taken up or canceled”
    There are no subscriptions. The journal is freely available on the internet.

  75. #60 TTCA
    “I don’t think an electrical black box is a very good analogy. Unless of course the components within the box are dynamic and in constant flux. But I’ve never seen an electric circuit made of fluid,”

    The thing about a black box is that you don’t know what’s inside. It could be anything. That’s why you focus on its external behaviour.

    The point about sticking to the definition of forcing is that the notions of forcing and sensitivity go together. You can’t have one without the other. So if you include Spencer’s notion of internal forcing, you’ll simply end up with a different definition of sensitivity. If you can pin it down at all. And different numbers, but that won’t mean anything.

  76. #44 Amac
    Remote Sensing is a journal about technology. So yes, they have articles about application to climate matters.

    What they don’t usually do is publish new results in climate science. Especially papers that are hyped on Fox News as game changers. It’s clear from Wagner’s letter that this was a new experience for them.

  77. Eric Anderson said

    Nick @73:

    Good for you to now acknowledge that editors don’t usually resign because a bad paper got through (although you’re still pushing the fallback idea that there is nevertheless nothing unusual here in the resignation, which is a hoot). Also, we heard the idea that the paper was probably the first climate paper ever submitted to the journal, which turned out to be inaccurate speculation. Then we have the silly attempt to justify at all costs Trenberth’s silly statement that “Clouds are not a forcing of the climate,” based on semantic definitions, which is precisely part of Spencer’s point — the standard approach of how these things are dealt with in climate science is screwed up.

    Substantive issues score on this thread alone: Nick 0 for 3. Why do you enjoy undermining your own credibility by the continual effort to justify the Team clowns at all costs?

  78. timetochooseagain said

    75-This is getting pretty ridiculous. “The thing about a black box is that you don’t know what’s inside. It could be anything. That’s why you focus on its external behaviour.”

    I have already pointed out that this is a pretty bad analogy for the climate system. The thing about a black box is, it’s contents are typically fixed, even though they are unknown. This is not true of the climate components. And that is why this analogy cannot work.

    “The point about sticking to the definition of forcing is that the notions of forcing and sensitivity go together. You can’t have one without the other. So if you include Spencer’s notion of internal forcing, you’ll simply end up with a different definition of sensitivity. If you can pin it down at all. And different numbers, but that won’t mean anything.”

    The definition of sensitivity is the same regardless of what the origin of forcing is. It is the amount of temperature change necessary to balance an energy imbalance due to a non-feedback change in the energy budget. It doesn’t matter if the reason for the imbalance is something external to the system or not, as long as it is not the result of a change in the temperature. Regardless of whether the IPCC says so or not, the actual definition comes from the equations for energy balance. Saying the imbalance must come from “outside the black box” doesn’t make it so. And the numbers will be the same because the mathematical/physical definitions are the same. It is only the wording used by the IPCC which perpetuates the mistake that causes you to think otherwise.

  79. troyca said

    @75 Nick,

    Consider the hypothetical scenario where winds associated with El Nino blow clouds in a specific region from over an area of low surface albedo to one of high surface albedo, thus creating a downward positive flux anomaly of X over what we would expect otherwise. Now, at the same time a global temperature increase, dT, has occured due to El Nino, causing a radiative feedback response of Y.

    What we are trying to determine is the radiative response to the temperature increase, or Y/dT. But we only have the TOA flux measurement, which, since X and Y are in opposite directions, will be equal to TOA = Y – X. So obviously the (Y-X)/dT will be an underestimate, depending on the size of X.

    Now, you can label X whatever you want, as it may be driven by ENSO. But X is not a response to the *temperature increase* of ENSO (which is what we care about WRT CO2 sensitivity), and causes an underestimate of the actual response to temperature if it is unknown or ignored.

    Is it possible to determine that X exists based on Spencer’s method? I confess I’m not sure, it will take more looking into.

  80. diogenes said

    I demand to see a fist fight between you and the braindead stoat…after all he issued the challenge – “if you are hard enough” (jeez, what an arse! – this is his version of science)

  81. #71 Simon it is good to see confirmation of a theorem that flux can be solved electronically. The original work was done by a friend of mine in Hawaii where they used resistors and currents to produce an analog of wells. They could model drawdown, recharge, and poteniometric surfaces.

    It did not apply well to partials IIRC. A particular problem for climate models.

  82. timetochooseagain said

    Basically, we have

    TOA= F + f

    f=kT (feedback)

    Temperature is a time dependent function which is itself determined by F, forcing, such that, at equilibrium, the TOA=0, because T=F/-k, however, the imbalance (TOA=/=0) is not restored instantly, so the relationship between TOA and T won’t be zero in the short term. If you don’t know F, your estimate will still be biased toward zero. if F=0, the the TOA will be purely feedback on temperature changes and as such be =kT. None of this says that “F” must be “external”, ONLY that it be a change in the energy balance that is independent of T. Now, Nick and Trenberth are saying that changes in F are due only to things like solar brightness and anthropogenic influences. F doesn’t change of it’s own accord. If Man=c and Sun=c, then F=c. Unless one proposes some specific thing to cause F to change, Nick says it does not matter. So in the absence of any known thing causing a change in F, it is assumed that TOA=f.

    Again, the equations don’t require F to be due to anything. That is an additional, ad hoc rule imposed on the analysis by Climate Science™, NOT by the physics.

  83. #77 Eric, I don’t think you’re an unbiased scorer.

    But It’s not true that I don’t think there’s anything unusual about the resignation. Of course resignations are unusual. What I do think is that it’s most unusual for referees to be chosen by the management. I do wonder how that came about.

    But given that, yes, a resignation by the scientific editor is on the cards. Especially if things then go wrong.

  84. diogenes said

    an editor resigns rather than inist on withdrawing the paper or issuing a retraction or a rebuffal or a contradiction? the resignation is just a cheap pulbicity stunt – and I wonder where Wagner will end up next – selling sleek cars for Schmidt and co?

  85. anonymous said

    Re: Nick Stokes #76 (Sep 3 18:06),

    > Remote Sensing is a journal about technology. So yes, they have articles about application to climate matters. What they don’t usually do is publish new results in climate science.

    Nick, your assertion is incorrect. As I stated in #44, there are numerous papers on remote sensing issues applied to climate science. These papers have new results. Some focus on climate science issues. To see this, readers can click over to the journal’s website and judge for themselves. Here is a direct link to the recent Special Issue on Remote Sensing in Climate Monitoring and Analysis. Emphasis added.

    > Especially papers that are hyped on Fox News as game changers.

    So whenever somebody hypes a paper, a journal editor must resign. Good thing that that’s a rare event in climate science.

  86. AMac said

    Anonymous #85 is AMac.

  87. #85 OK, their emphasis is on the technology, but one can say that they report relevant results. I originally raised this point to rebut the claim that climate scientists might have exerted pressure by threatening to boycott. The usual suspects do not publish there, so such a threat would be empty.

    I did not say or imply that “So whenever somebody hypes a paper, a journal editor must resign.” I simply said that this was a new situation for them. In fact, I don’t think it is an appropriate cause for resignation. And I think that to understand why he did resign, one needs to look at the odd circumstances where W feels let down by referees that he didn’t select.

  88. M. Simon said

    Nick,

    You remind me of those pre-1905 physicists confronting a post 1905 world. The whole thing got so bad that there was a book by 100 physicists in Germany refuting the post 1905 science. Einstein was dismissive. “It only takes one”. No fan of consensus he.

    “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” – Max Planck

    Predicting the path of a poorly understood and poorly documented chaotic system is a fools errand. If you can prove such a determination is possible you would be worthy of the Field Medal.

    BTW since climate is understood and modeled so well could you tell me what are the likely trips that would send us to the Ice Age Strange Attractor? Something solar? Variations in cosmic ray flux? Something else?

    Too much heat is bad. But I hear there are hot weather crops. Could you point out to me the crops that do well under ice? I’m not familiar with any.

  89. Alan Wilkinson said

    I don’t remember the Editor of Nature resigning after he hyped the Steig Antarctica paper (front page graphic) that later turned out to be just an artifact of bad geographical statistics.

  90. Carrick said

    Nick:

    But given that, yes, a resignation by the scientific editor is on the cards. Especially if things then go wrong.

    This argument would have a glimmering hope of being logical, if you could point to a single example where a pro-AGW over-hypered and heavily politicized article resulted in the resignation of the editor in chief.

    As things stand, with the way you’re trying to spin this, severe trauma to your madula amblagata is likely result.

  91. Carrick, again I said #87:
    “I did not say or imply that “So whenever somebody hypes a paper, a journal editor must resign.” … In fact, I don’t think it is an appropriate cause for resignation.”

    Can you point to an example where a contentious pro-AGW article was reviewed by referees chosen by the Managing Editor, people who the scientific editor did not know?

  92. tallbloke said

    Nick: “What I do think is that it’s most unusual for referees to be chosen by the management. I do wonder how that came about”

    A possible scenario:

    Wagner to his Managing editor: This paper is a hot potato, and I’m not sure what to do about selecting the recommended reviewers or finding alternative reviewers. I’m worried about the fallout from the Team.

    Wang: Relax, I’ll take the responsibility.

  93. Mark T said

    Uh, it’s medulla oblongata. ;) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medulla_oblongata

    Mark

  94. #90, #92
    I dug in a bit more, and found that DPMI’s policies are, to my mind, quite odd. But ME’s deciding the referees are not unusual as DPMI. They say:
    “The Editorial Offices will organize peer-review and collect at least two review reports per manuscript, ask the authors for adequate revision (peer-review again whenever necessary), before requesting the decision of an external editor (usually the Editor-in-Chief of a journal or the Guest Editor of a special issue).”

    So the E-i-C routinely gets handed a fait accompli and is asked to approve, or not.

    Seems to put them in an impossible position if it turns out the review process, done by the ‘Offices’, gave them inadequate or misleading information. I’m not surprised Wagner wanted out.

    I tried to find out more about Mr Elvis Wang, who selected the referees, and on this account, oversaw the revisions process. I did find this acknowledgement:
    “Finally, Elvis Wang at the MDPI editorial office is greatly acknowledged for his meticulous editing that improved the readability of this document.”

    So where is Mr Wang likely to get ideas for climate scientists to act as reviewer? Well, every author is asked to provide a list of five suggested referees. Looks like that could be all the information he has.

  95. Peter Wilson said

    Wagner states in his resignation letter “But, as the case presents itself now, the editorial team unintentionally selected three reviewers who probably share some climate sceptic notions of the authors”. Nick Stokes @36 further advises us that “The managing editor, Mr Elvis Wang, is an MPDI office man, and in overall control. He doesn’t seem to be a scientist. Having him choose the referees seems highly unusual. And then it turns out that they are all sceptics, and didn’t pick up the other literature.”

    Assume this is true. Apart from the obvious comment that reviewers sharing the alarmist views of authors has never presented any apparent problem, the proposition that, by random chance an uninformed “office man” may have selected 3 sceptics strongly contradicts the widely circulated claim that 97% of climate scientists agree with CAGW. Surely finding 3 sceptical scientists( and no alarmists) in a random (or any) sample of 3 should be next to impossible, if only 3% of qualified scientists are “sceptics”.

    The inconsistencies just mount up, don’t they?

  96. Mark T said

    Ideology is fraught with inconsistency. Indeed, it would be referred to as “principles” were it not for inconsistency. Even Nick’s statement is inconsistent with the facts. “It turns out they are all sceptics” is not a fact in play, it is merely Wagner’s supposition and even his supposition was only that they were likely sympathetic to skeptic views. Of course, one has to wonder which scientists in the world, you know, the ones that actually do science, are not skeptics? Yet another inconsistency…

    Mark

  97. #95
    Peter,
    It depends on what source he’s using. It seems to me that all he has is the list of five suggestions from Spencer. And the chance that that contains three or more sceptics is probably high.

    And #96, Wagner would have been told, hopefully, who the reviewers were. They may be well known people.

  98. Mark T said

    “It seems to me”
    In other words, you don’t know and you’re simply guessing, but in your world, that rises to the level of absolute proof of its factuality.

    “Wagner would have been told, hopefully, who the reviewers were. They may be well known people.”
    Which he would have known before hand and thus would have been able to circumvent.

    You are pathetic.

    Mark

  99. stan said

    Nick,

    Wagner must be a very, very poor writer. Even worse than was exposed by the drivel he actually wrote. If he resigned because he was outraged that he didn’t get to choose the reviewers, he should have said so. Since he didn’t say so, I conclude that your speculation is more hope than fact.

    Wagner gave his reasons, poor as they were. He quit, he says, because the paper was wrong. He quit because RC said it was wrong. He quit because he was upset that the paper got so much attention. He says the review process was correct. His only problem is that he now thinks the paper is wrong.

    You should read what he wrote. It’s ridiculous in a number of particulars, but it doesn’t say what you maintain.

  100. AMac said

    IIRC, Dr Wagner was the founding editor of this journal. If so: if he resigned because he felt victimized by the peer-review procedure, he knows who to blame.

    By the way, note that I’m not certain that Dr Wagner was indeed the founding editor. So I’m presenting this as a hypothetical, rather than as an established fact. I think that aids the reader. Nick Stokes, do you agree?

  101. steve fitzpatrick said

    Nick,

    Talk about conspiracy theories. You start searching for some “denier background” as soon as someone (anyone!) directly or indirectly involved with climate science does something you don’t agree with. In this case, you seem to be casting about for evidence against the Managing Editor. Seems to me that Dr. Wagner went into the position knowing exactly how the editorial process operated, I find it odd now that he suddenly finds it intolerable. I find it also odd that he chooses to resign long after he was aware of the paper’s content and that it would in fact be published.

    As to you other comments, especially with regard to how main stream CAGW scientists could apply pressure: maybe his past fellowship at NASA GISS (where he surely had some contact with the climate minions) meant people he knows called him on the phone and complained. But honestly Nick, what planet are you living on? Did you ever take the time to actually read the UEA email messages? There was a concerted behind-the-scenes effort to make sure “objectionable” papers were never published, including discussions of how best to pressure journal editors. There was a concerted behind-the-scenes effort to make sure any “objectionable” paper would be immediately refuted…. even side-by-side in the same journal issue. The pattern continues Nick. These are people doing deceptive things; politics masquerading as science. It is shameful that you endlessly support such activities. I suspect only political actions will be effective against those who choose political tactics to achieve their goals. If Mr. Obama is not re-elected, and Republicans continue to control the US House of Representatives, I think you can count on changes in how climate science is funded. The changes are long since warranted.

  102. Bruce said

    Nick, the obvious answer is that the reviewers were deemed sKKKeptics AFTER they approved the paper, not BEFORE.

    As I pointed out to you on Judith Currys site, many job descriptions for Managing Editors of journals include the role of managing the peer review process.

  103. DocMartyn said

    “timetochooseagain
    I have already pointed out that this is a pretty bad analogy for the climate system”

    I would disagree, Nick connecting his electrode and then electrocuting the cat is one solution to Schrödinger’s wave equation.

  104. HaroldW said

    AMac (#100):
    If it helps any, your hypothetical is correct: Dr. Wagner was the founding editor of Remote Sensing.

    From http://www.mdpi.com/journal/remotesensing/editors/

    Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wagner *
    * Founding Editor-in-Chief and Editor-in-Chief up to 2 September 2011

  105. Steve #97,
    At least we know the Managing Editor was centrally involved – you have totally invented a role for Trenberth. Indeed the role is set out in the Journal/DPMI pages. The Office (Mr Wang) does all the things we normally expect scientific editors to do – recruit referees, supervise their interaction with authors etc. When all that is done, the results is presented to a prominent scientist, with title of Editor-in-Chief. to sign off on. That’s what the DPMI page says.

    I do not believe that Mr Wang was engaging in any kind of climate politics. I simply point out that he appears to be an office manager/editor, and the only source of information about referees that we know he would have had access to is the list of five suggestions which the Journal requires authors to provide. This is all laid out in the Journal processes.

    This means that the E-i-C has a much reduced hands-on role, which is fine when things go smoothly, but leaves him very exposed when they don’t, as Prof Wagner found. Yes – it’s the deal. Why did he sudenly find it unsatisfactory? Well, I thiunk the answer is obvious – it went bad. Should he have resigned sooner, or not originally accepted the position? In hindsight, yes. But you folk are inventing very stretched stories to explain why he resigned at all.

    I make no claims about the referees being skeptics – Prof Wagner did that. And he knows who they are.

    As to Climategate, all you have there is some people grumbling about skeptic papers appearing, and some boastful stuff about their editorial role at the AR4 (not a journal), mostly from Jones. There’s no evidence there that any campaign was actually mounted against an editor. Jones rumblings about the AR4 did not correspond with the outcome. To stretch from this record of total non-achievement to suppose that they can somehow monster scientists who have nothing to do with the IPCC is absurd.

  106. Jeff Id said

    “There’s no evidence there that any campaign was actually mounted against an editor.”

    Bullshit.

  107. steve fitzpatrick said

    Nick Stokes #105,

    you have totally invented a role for Trenberth

    No, actually you have invented some kind of role for him. I never said anything about Trenberth. Although I admit he is a profoundly evil and destructive person. I would be surprised if he didn’t have a personal role in pressuring this editor to resign.

    You see Nick, there is in reality a cabal trying to enforce their left-wing view on the world on everyone else. Will the world put up with this crap? Only if people like you manage to convince people to believe the lies about the world coming to an end due to GHG warming. You will fail Nick.

    The difference between your view of the world and mine is simple to understand: you imagine main stream climate scientists to be angelic saviors of the Earth. I see them for what they are: a bunch of left wing evangelical nutcases, trying to change the “world order”. I hope (for your sake) that you are not also a part of the nutty left wing cabal. If you are, then it speaks very poorly about your intelligence my friend.

  108. steve fitzpatrick said

    NIck Stoke,
    I said about Kevin Trenberth “I admit he is a profoundly evil and destructive person”. That is incorrect. The correct statement is: “I admit he appears to be a profoundly evil and destructive person.”

  109. Jeff, #106
    OK, what’s the evidence from Climategate? Which campaign are you referring to?

  110. Nick, #109.

    The deep, dark roots of Climategate grew undetected for almost four decades – demanding lockstep, consensus agreement with those who controlled federal research funds and undercutting the basic principles of science in many different disciplines, e.g.,

    astronomy, astrophysics, climatology, cosmology, nuclear and particle physics.

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10640850/20110722_Climategate_Roots.pdf

  111. AMac said

    Nick Stokes @ 105 —

    You’re Racehorsing. More carefully than last time, but still.

    I do not believe that Mr Wang was engaging in any kind of climate politics. I simply point out that he appears to be an office manager/editor, and the only source of information about referees that we know he would have had access to is the list of five suggestions which the Journal requires authors to provide. This is all laid out in the Journal processes.

    Let’s look at the second phrase of the central sentence. “the only source of information about referees that we know he would have had access to is the list of five suggestions which the Journal requires authors to provide.”

    Yes, the source of information about referees for which we have detailed information at this moment is the list of five suggestions. Your grammar implies that — somehow — foolishly — the Founding Editor in Chief (whoever he might have been) burdened the journal by limiting the choice of referees to the authors’ five suggestions.

    Stated explicitly, that’s just silly. I expect that — like every other peer-reviewed journal — Remote Sensing uses the authors’ suggestions as supplements. The Editor-in-Chief and the Editor in charge of this particular manuscript will have their own nominees.

    Do you have any evidence that Managing Editor Wang picked the three reviewers from Spencer’s list of five?

    .

    I didn’t think so.

  112. Let’s get back to the ‘statement of fundamentals’ by Trenberth:

    “Even so, the Spencer interpretation has no merit. The interannual global temperature variations were not radiatively forced, as claimed for the 2000s, and therefore cannot be used to say anything about climate sensitivity. Clouds are not a forcing of the climate system (except for the small portion related to human related aerosol effects, which have a small effect on clouds). Clouds mainly occur because of weather systems (e.g., warm air rises and produces convection, and so on); they do not cause the weather systems. Clouds may provide feedbacks on the weather systems. Spencer has made this error of confounding forcing and feedback before and it leads to a misinterpretation of his results.”

    I hope I am not the only one to find this statement to be stunning in its assumption of a personal ‘godhead-style’ rectitude and originator of, as yet totally unproven, dogma.

    Quite apart from the contentiousness of the line “The interannual global temperature variations were not radiatively forced, as claimed for the 2000s, and therefore cannot be used to say anything about climate sensitivity” the real core of Trenberth’s statement appears to me to be:

    “Clouds are not a forcing of the climate system (except for the small portion related to human related aerosol effects, which have a small effect on clouds).”

    If this were true, then what are we to make of the billions of tonnes of dimethyl sulfide emitted annually by the blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) of the oceans as they respond to various levels of insolation, wind-driven vertical mixing of dust-derived nutrients, various ranges of SST etc., etc.?

    What then are we to make of the billions of tonnes of other biogenic organic compounds, also implicated in the rate of nucleation of low level clouds emitted by both oceanic cyanobacterial and land-based living organic biomass? It is a fact that the world’s living biomass emits an aerosol load to the atmosphere which the most recent literature indicates at least matches the total of current anthropogenic emissions.

    Trenberth is basically saying that the world’s photosynthetic biomass cannot possible be a feedback in the global cloud system – even though, hypocritically, he allows a feedback role for ‘anthropogenic aerosols’ (and presumably sulfur-containing volcanic aerosols).

    In this blinkered view he flies fully in the face of the mainstream literature on biogenic aerosols. Period.

    I am stunned that Trenberth thinks he can establish a scientific orthodoxy which, in effect, utterly denies any climate feedback role for a living biomass which has been on this planet or at least 3.5 Gy and was responsible for giving us a high oxygen and low CO2 atmosphere and a largely oxidizing ocean.

    Personally, I think this statement by Trenberth reveals him, metaphorically, in all his kingly glory – if only to use a (Wagnerian?) metaphor which matches the extreme and unfounded bias of his world view and those of this, no doubt, transiently ‘resigned’, weak-kneed editor Wolfgang Wagner.

    Clearly, they think this is an all out war.

    It’s certainly not just about good science.

  113. Amac #111
    No, that section does not even mention the E-i-C. But you haven’t been following. I’ll state the quote again from the DPMI page:
    “The Editorial Offices will organize peer-review and collect at least two review reports per manuscript, ask the authors for adequate revision (peer-review again whenever necessary), before requesting the decision of an external editor (usually the Editor-in-Chief of a journal or the Guest Editor of a special issue).”
    The E-i-C doesn’t have nominees; his decision isn’t requested until the whole to-and-fro with referees is over and the paper has been amended (or not). He’s “external”. The Managing Editor does that. And he doesn’t seem to be a scientist. He’s from the Offices. And he has a list of five nominees from the author.

  114. Steve #112
    You’re completely missing what Trenberth is saying. These aren’t forcings.
    “as they respond to …”
    Exactly
    “Trenberth is basically saying that the world’s photosynthetic biomass cannot possible be a feedback…”
    He’s saying it isn’t a forcing

  115. Bruce said

    Wagner: “the editorial team unintentionally selected three reviewers who probably share some climate sceptic notions of the authors”

    Stokes: “And the chance that that contains three or more sceptics is probably high”

    Wagner didn’t say they were skeptics Nick. You said it. Wagner said “probably share some climate sceptic notions”. That opens up many possibilities.

    You should quit hunting witches …

  116. RomanM said

    #114: Nick says:

    “Trenberth is basically saying that the world’s photosynthetic biomass cannot possible be a feedback…”

    He’s saying it isn’t a forcing

    Trenberth (in the head post) says (bold mine):

    Clouds are not a forcing of the climate system (except for the small portion related to human related aerosol effects, which have a small effect on clouds).

    I’m having trouble with this one. So humans CAN create forcings, but the rest of the world cannot.

  117. steve fitzpatrick said

    N onsensical
    I rritatiting
    C allous
    K nownothing

    Nobody believes you Nick.

  118. Jeff Id said

    Roman’s got it perfectly. If clouds ‘can’ be a forcing, how is it impossible or misunderstood that they are a forcing?

    I mean it could be wrong, but it isn’t wrong by definition as the duma has stated.

  119. steve fitzpatrick said

    Jeff,

    but it isn’t wrong by definition as the duma has stated

    I think your search for a rational explanation is misplaced. It is politics, pure and simple.

  120. Bruce #115
    “Wagner didn’t say they were skeptics “
    I was responding to Peter Wilson #95 who said:
    “the proposition that, by random chance an uninformed “office man” may have selected 3 sceptics…”

  121. Nick Stokes #114

    “Steve #112
    You’re completely missing what Trenberth is saying. These aren’t forcings.
    “as they respond to …”
    Exactly
    “Trenberth is basically saying that the world’s photosynthetic biomass cannot possible be a feedback…”
    He’s saying it isn’t a forcing”

    No, I disagree. You are wrong. Look more closely and you will find dodgy semantics (as usual). If anything this is what Spencer is on about.

    So when does a feedback become a forcing?

    When you can’t assume the system is globally homogeneous.

    When a consistent regional feedback e.g. Arctic albedo at the end of the ice age, e.g. tropical, e.g. SH versus NH is strong enough to feed back spatially into the rest of the system.

    When Trenberth says “Clouds are not a forcing of the climate system (except for the small portion related to human related aerosol effects, which have a small effect on clouds).” he is clearly saying that human related aerosol effects can be a LOW GRADE grade FORCING.

    Therefore, by definition, he cannot infer that biogenic aerosol effects cannot also be forcing (low grade or otherwise) and NEITHER can you.

    Human-originated aerosols are mostly relatively localized regionally, confined to the NH and largely associated with anthropogenic regional CO2 emissions, hence their forcings (sometimes detectable e.g. bomber activity in WWII, Beijing weather etc) are generally low grade.

    Most anthropogenic CO2 emissions occur in the NH and thus the CO2 level in the NH invariably exceeds the CO2 level in the SH by a % or two.

    However, the lag of the SH CO2 level below the global mean level is increasing, not decreasing – indicating increasing cyanobacterial productivity, as I showed some years ago on Niche Modeling using the satellite data. Sea ice may be declining in the Arctic, it is not in the Antarctic. Antarctica has a Drake Channel, the Arctic does not.

    The difference with both oceanic and continental biogenic aerosol production is that it is extremely widespread and in the case of DMS particularly strong over the Southern Ocean which, although covering only 6% of the world’s surface contributes 62% of the global DMS flux.

    Try searching on the term ‘CLAW-type negative feedback’.

    Read E.g. Levasseur, M. If Gaia could talk. Nature Geoscience. Vo. 4. June 2011. 351 – 352

    And, finally remember that cloud cover over the Southern Ocean is poorly reproduced by GCMs – that is why, for the last 3 years there has been special program underway to try to get them right.

  122. Roman, Jeff #116,
    It comes back to that black box analogy. Climate sensitivity (input impedance) is defined as the temperature (current) response (ratio) to external forcing (voltage applied at the input port).

    With climate the box doesn’t have black walls. But you have to distinguish between what you consider external forcing, and what belongs inside the box for sensitivity definition purposes. Trenberth is doing that.

  123. timetochooseagain said

    Ugh. Someone tell me were a distinction between external influences and internal dynamics actually appears in the energy equations. Don’t reference someone’s interpretation of the equations. Don’t obfuscate by making reference to the unrelated type of system that is an electric circuit. Show me where it is written in the laws of physics that a change in energy flux at the TOA must either be imposed or a response to a temperature change, it cannot arise from the fact that the system is chaotic. Show me what in the equations requires this! In effect what you are saying is, as long as I can put it in an imaginary box, I can assume it doesn’t matter, because I define it not to. Really?

  124. This over at Real Climate:

    Further to my earlier post: If you want to study the behaviour of a “system” you might start by defining its boundaries. Then any external influence is a Forcing on that system while its internal behaviours are the Feedbacks resulting from that external Forcing. The choice of the “system” is arbitrary, in the sense that it’s whatever you choose to study. So one man’s Feedback is another man’s Forcing. To say that Spencer confounds the two looks to me unreasonably dismissive.

    [Response: I agree that the boundaries of a modelled system define what is forcing (external) and what is feedback (internal), but Spencer's idea of 'internal radiative forcing' is nonsense even by your definition. Furthermore, the system we are talking about almost exclusively is already well-defined, and so there isn't that much ambiguity. Only if you have a forcing that specifically affects clouds by means of some aspect of their physics that is already within the system will you have a specific forcing from clouds (in this sense). For instance, indirect aerosol effects (via increased SO2 pollution, or cosmic ray modulation of ionisation) count as forcings, but the response of clouds to dynamical changes, circulation, temperature or humidity do not. - gavin]

    Ignoring the glib stuff about ‘well-defined” and “isn’t much ambiguity” you can certainly see what Gavin Schmidt says about aerosols and forcings.

    Rising CO2 and other associated effects such as SST rises, increased wind transferring more dust from continent to ocean (noting oceanic wind speeds are increasing), produces increased biogenic sulfur pollution of the lower atmosphere, especially in the right places for increased cloud (gyres etc).

    Hence an increase in global photosynthetic biomass with rising CO2 (known), increasing biogenic aerosol production (known), is a forcing.

    It is all very well rabbiting on about (black) boxes if you can’t be bothered checking inside the box now and then to make sure that is, well, the same…..for sensitivity purposes……

    I find it very curious that the AGW crowd seem to think that apart from the trend in CO2 mankind is producing, the box must otherwise remain trendlessly the same…..for sensitivity purposes…..

    I guess that explains why AGW scepticism is so common in geology.

  125. Jeff Id said

    TTCA, thanks much and Steve Short also.

    We’re all saying the same thing. The point is that claims that clouds are or are not forcing of a climate signal are unrealistic. We don’t really know.

    We don’t know.

    dunno.

    Does anyone else here know?

    Does god know?

    Even Gavin, doesn’t really know so I wonder who would tell God.

    Why wouldn’t the pro’s be more interested in finding out is a darned good question? I mean, that is the best part of science, learning something that we all admit we don’t know. Except for they already know so assuredly and with such obvious convictions that an editor had to quit.

    It must be a problem with communication.

    When so many can’t see the obvious problem with Spencers paper that without prompting caused an editor to quit his job, we must all be just too damned stupid. Oh well, I guess I’ll go back to my day job, that’s easy enough.

  126. Jeff Id said

    “Climate sensitivity (input impedance) is defined as the temperature (current) response (ratio) to external forcing (voltage applied at the input port).”

    I don’t like your black box at all. Temp is current (energy flow)? Forcing is voltage (static energy content)?

    Forcing is power in, temp is voltage, greenhouse is resistance, oceans are capacitance, sensitivity is the temperature response to forcing (flow) and I’m not sure what effect causes ‘impedance’. I’m sure it is there because it always is, but impedance in the climate system is probably small.

  127. RomanM said

    #122

    Nonsense, Nick.

    Trenberth’s statement is AGW-ideology driven nit-picking which you refuse to address with your “black-box” bafflegab. It forms the basis for the criticism of the Spencer paper. it is exactly the same argument that you parroted regarding the biomass photosynthesis.

    Your arguments have been no better regarding the Managing Editor with your insinuations regarding his abilities at his work. I would presume that this would not be the first paper (or the several hundredth that he has handled in the editorial process. It would also be quite reasonable that his choice of reviewers would have extended beyond the simplistic choice from the five “suggested” individuals on more than one occasion.

    Nick, the climate science review process has been seriously compromised and is in sore need of repair. An honest person should realise this and join the call for its repair.

  128. Nick, If you think that “Trenberth is not centrally involved” then why is Trenberth’s the only paper cited by Wagner and why do Trenberth&friends say:

    “Kevin Trenberth received a personal note of apology from both the editor-in-chief and the publisher of Remote Sensing.
    http://wwwp.dailyclimate.org/tdc-newsroom/2011/09/spencer-faulty-science

    Or are you going to hide behind the adjective “centrally” and reply that we don’t know for sure if someone else might have been even more centrally involved? In that case, Wagner must have made multiple personal apologies. But all that means is that he is even more of a grovelling, terrified coward than he already has made himself out to be. As for your claim, what we know is that Trenberth was sufficiently involved to have received personal apologies from Wagner and from the publisher of RS.

    Can you imagine the content of those conversations in a way that does not make you feel ill? Why the hell would any journal editor apologize to an uninvolved third party for publishing a paper that passed their peer review process? No matter how much you might disagree with a paper you read, would you, Nick Stokes, ever dream of contacting the editor and demanding an apology? To do so would be arrogance on the level of psychopathy.

    Ask yourself: not just why did Wagner resign, but why did he apologize to Trenberth? Give us a plausible sequence of events that leads to that outcome, in which Trenberth is not centrally involved.

    Also, Wagner does not say he is resigning because he disagrees with RS management practices regarding referee selection, he is saying he is resigning because of the publication of S&B, even though he can’t point to any flaws in the process and he has not received any rebuttal papers and his own journal doesn’t plan to retract the paper.

    His reasons for resigning simply don’t stand up. There is prima facie evidence that Trenberth communicated with him over this paper, which implies backroom pressure, rather than open debate. You’re not that obtuse, Nick, c’mon. This is an ugly, ugly incident. Pick other things to defend: stay well clear of this horror show.

  129. OzJuggler said

    Ah yes, the difference between forcing and feedback. It may seem like an arbitrary difference in words only, but it is not.
    In mainstream climate science the difference between forcing and feedback is quite clear and unambiguous.
    “Forcing” is whatever pays the Team’s bills, “feedback” is everything else.
    See, easy.

  130. timetochooseagain said

    125-If God knows, he sure isn’t sharing!

    All I know is that I here a lot of people claiming a priori knowledge a physical system, that they really can’t know. Sneaky assumptions hiding in the form of “definitions”. Pointing out the logical fallacies, earns you dirty looks or confused muttering about how you simply cannot be correct. By definition you see.

    Of course, I probably don’t surprise anyone if I reject a priori knowledge, if they’ve figured out I am kind of pseudo-Objectivist.

    Anyway, it seems to me that how one defines the boundaries of the system is one thing, but what one allows to happen within those boundaries is another thing entirely. In the sense that mass does not significantly flow in or out of the Earth system, it is “closed” and has “well defined boundaries”. It takes quite the leap to then say that such a system is essentially fixed in the absence of direct external influence. In order for Spencer’s idea to be “nonsense” it would have to be the case that the components of the climate system would be fixed in the absence of either something making them change, or a temperature change. Again, I’ve seen no attempt to defend this logical absurdity. Just to appeal to it as somehow “obvious”. True to begin with. But given everything we know about the Earth system, it is hardly unreasonable to suggest it might not actually be that obvious, or indeed true at all.

    Heh, I really need to cut down on the ranting.

  131. AMac said

    Re: Nick Stokes (Sep 4 18:27),

    Your comment #113 is more channeling of Racehorse Haynes. A sensible read of the linked Remote Sensing Instructions for Authors doesn’t remotely support your arguments. Pun intended.

    Say what you will. It’s your credibility at stake, not mine.

  132. stan said

    – Ummm, in real life Is Trenberth as big an ******* as it seems?

    — Nick, Richard Rich got Wales. What are you getting?

  133. stan said

    And how stupid is it, from a PR perspective, for Trenberth to mention his receipt of the personal apology in his opinion piece? Unbelievable.

  134. Keith W. said

    Nick, here are the instructions concerning the 5 referees from the Remote Sensing instructions to Authors

    http://www.mdpi.com/journal/remotesensing/instructions#referees

    “Authors should suggest at least 5 potential referees with the appropriate technical expertise, although the Editor will not necessarily approach them. Please provide as detailed contact information as possible about the proposed referees (address, homepage address, phone and fax numbers and e-mail address). At least two of the suggested referees must be from a different country than the authors. Additionally, at least two suggested referees must be from a western country (USA, Canada, Japan, Australia or western European country). To identify potential referees, you may check the Editorial Board of our journal and suggest board members with appropriate research interests. In addition, we suggest searching for related papers in Google Scholar and proposing their authors as possible reviewers. Another possibility is to propose authors that you frequently cited in your paper.”

  135. TTCA,
    No, of course it isn’t in the laws of physics. Neither is the input voltage written into the laws governing electrical circuits.

    Lots of things can make temperature change, on all sorts of scales. A forcing is a sustained and identifiable change of input energy flux. We’re interested in human inputs, obviously, because notionally we could control them. But things like major volcanoes work in the same way. You can identify the energy input (this is the key) and determine the response.

    That’s why it is muddled to go looking for internal forcings. If you can’t identify it separately (ie without reference to the output) then the concept of sensitivity doesn’t work.

  136. Amac #131,
    The bit that I quoted to you comes from the page you linked. It clearly sets out the MDPI deal. The Offices process the papers, argue with referees, collect the publication fee etc. Then the Editor-in-Chief is sent the outcome, and it goes out under his name and reputation.

    Prof Wagner isn’t going to do that any more.

  137. Stan, your refrain reminds me of Lord Lundy –
    …my language fails,
    Go out and govern New South Wales.

    But I’m in Victoria.

  138. “If you can’t identify it separately (ie without reference to the output) then the concept of sensitivity doesn’t work”

    So what you are arguing is that if an imbalance arises for no particular reason, the equations for energy balance cease to apply. Nonsense. Nothing about the laws of physics changes just because the change doesn’t have a specific cause. I am not going to buy some purely artificial distinction on the basis handwaving about electric circuits.

    Well anyway, whether the variations are “caused” or not, all that is necessary is that a forcing component is present that isn’t accounted for, in order for the feedback estimate to be biased toward high sensitivity. It would be pretty damn easy for there to me an unknown forcing present in the data.

  139. Should be “to be” not “to me”…stupid tiny digital keyboard…

  140. Ross #128,
    The complete omission of Trenberth’s paper from Spencer’s RS paper and (presumably) the referee reports obviously had a big effect on Wagner. I don’t know why he took it to the length of an apology, but he’s right. Whether or not you accept Trenberth’s paper as a refutation, it’s clearly recent, high-profile, and a negative for Spencer that needs to be answered. Wagner is right to be angry that he was not made aware of it.

    Still, the fact that T’s paper was cited does not make him involved, any more than you are involved in, say, the troubles of Wegman. Nor does the receipt of an apology, or indeed, the fact that T wrote a critical article in RC. None of these are in any way blameworthy. And there’s no evidence that T demanded an apology. He may well have written a letter criticising the paper to RS. I’ve no reason to think he did, and I’d be rather surprised – he regards it as a peripheral journal. But again, writing indignant letters to editors is hardly unprecedented. I think there may have been a few from a town near you.

    As I’ve said, I think the reasons for the resignation are clear. W may not have been completely explicit – resignations famously aren’t. But the deal with MDPI is unconscionable. The E-i-C has to take responsibility for a process he doesn’t control, and here it landed him in an impossible position. I would never have taken that deal, and I don’t think MDPI will succeed with this model.

    I don’t see ugliness here. I think that involves a conspiracy view that I’m surprised to see you sign on to. An editor was embarrased by publication of a paper that was widely criticised. That in itself doesn’t merit resignation, but the fact that he feels let down by a refereeing system where he has to take responsibility for the action of others (and he clearly does refer to this) is an appropriate cause.

  141. #138
    “So what you are arguing is that if an imbalance arises for no particular reason, the equations for energy balance cease to apply. “

    To me.. or not to me?

    OK, I’ll assume it’s to me. I’m not saying the equations of energy balance cease to apply. If you don’t like electrics, think balance sheets. Accountants try to identify real profit and real income, separating out a myriad of other money exchanges. This doesn’t involve tinkering with the laws of arithmetic. It’s just trying to model a firm as an entity with inputs and outputs that you can eventually identify externally.

  142. 6.7 The Direct Radiative Forcing of Tropospheric Aerosols
    Anthropogenic aerosols scatter and absorb short-wave and long- wave radiation, thereby perturbing
    the energy budget of the Earth/atmosphere system and exerting a direct radiative forcing. This
    section concentrates on estimates of the global mean direct effect of anthropogenic tropospheric
    aerosols and is necessarily dependent upon global models. Field campaigns which provide essential
    input parameters for the models, and satellite observational studies of the direct effect of
    tropospheric aerosols, which provide useful validation data for the models, are considered in
    detail in Chapter 5.

    6.8 The Indirect Radiative Forcing of Tropospheric Aerosols
    6.8.1 Introduction
    Aerosols serve as cloud condensation and ice nuclei, thereby
    modifying the microphysics, the radiative properties, and the
    lifetime of clouds. The physics and chemistry of the indirect
    effect of aerosols is discussed in detail in Chapter 5. Only
    aspects directly relevant to quantifying the indirect radiative
    forcing by aerosols are presented here. The aerosol indirect
    effect is usually split into two effects: the first indirect effect,
    whereby an increase in aerosols causes an increase in droplet
    concentration and a decrease in droplet size for fixed liquid
    water content (Twomey, 1974), and the second indirect effect,
    whereby the reduction in cloud droplet size affects the precipitation
    efficiency, tending to increase the liquid water content,
    the cloud lifetime (Albrecht, 1989), and the cloud thickness
    (Pincus and Baker, 1994). Until recently, the first indirect
    effect has received much more attention than the second. IPCC
    (1994) and the SAR only considered the first indirect effect.
    Shine et al. (1996) retained a range of radiative forcing from 0
    to −1.5 Wm−2 with no best estimate, although a value of −0.8
    Wm−2 was used for the year 1990 in the IS92a scenario
    (Kattenberg et al., 1996). Here we review and discuss the
    various estimates for the globally averaged aerosol indirect
    forcing available in the literature. Because of the inherent
    complexity of the aerosol indirect effect, GCM studies dealing
    with its quantification necessarily include an important level of
    simplification. While this represents a legitimate approach, it
    should be clear that the GCM estimates of the aerosol indirect
    effect are very uncertain. Section 6.8.2 investigates the indirect
    radiative forcing due to sulphate aerosols, on which most
    efforts have concentrated, while other aerosol types are treated
    in Section 6.8.3. Section 6.8.4 is devoted to alternative
    approaches, while Section 6.8.6 describes the aerosol indirect
    effects on ice clouds.

    TAR Chapter 6 Ramaswamy et al.

    Clearly, biogenic aerosols are just as capable of taking part in direct and indirect radiative forcing as are anthropogenic aerosols

    The question then arises, does direct and indirect forcing by non-anthropogenic but biogenic aerosols constitute a separate forcing or one which should be subtracted from or added to the forcing due to GHG such as CO2 and water vapour?

    And are they just a mere feedback as someone here would have it?

    The distinction is moot, given the remarkable range of indirect negative forcings (of the 1st type) e.g. as shown in the famous Figure 6.6. of TAR Chapter 6.

    Hence the complete relevance of the title (and content) of the new Spencer paper – and of course the irrelevance of Stokes’ hair splitting.

  143. Nick asked: Jeff, #106
    OK, what’s the evidence from Climategate? Which campaign are you referring to?

    From one at CA

    From: Keith Briffa
    To: Edward Cook
    Subject: Re: Review- confidential REALLY URGENT
    Date: Wed Jun 4 13:42:54 2003

    I am really sorry but I have to nag about that review – Confidentially I now need a hard and if required extensive case for rejecting – to support Dave Stahle’s and really as soon as you can. Please
    Keith

    Hi Keith,
    Okay, today. Promise! Now something to ask from you. Actually somewhat important too. I got a paper to review (submitted to the Journal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Sciences), written by a Korean guy and someone from Berkeley, that claims that the method of reconstruction that we use in dendroclimatology (reverse regression) is wrong, biased, lousy, horrible, etc. They use your Tornetrask recon as the main whipping boy. I have a file that you gave me in 1993 that comes from your 1992 paper. Below is part of that file. Is this the right one? Also, is it possible to resurrect the column headings? I would like to play with it in an effort to refute their claims. If published as is, this paper could really do some damage. It is also an ugly paper to review because it is rather mathematical, with a lot of Box-Jenkins stuff in it. It won’t be easy to dismiss out of hand as the math appears to be correct theoretically, but it suffers from the classic problem of pointing out theoretical deficiencies, without showing that their improved inverse regression method is actually better in a practical sense. So they do lots of monte carlo stuff that shows the superiority of their method and the deficiencies of our way of doing things, but NEVER actually show how their method would change the Tornetrask reconstruction from what you produced. Your assistance here is greatly appreciated. Otherwise, I will let Tornetrask sink into the melting permafrost of northern Sweden (just kidding of course).
    Cheers,
    Ed

    Hi Big Boy
    You just caught me as I was about to slope off after a brutal day …[chitchat]… This attack sounds like the last straw- from what you say it is a waste of time my looking at it but send a copy anyway. [more chitchat]
    Keith
    Update: it looks like this paper is http://nber-nsf09.ucdavis.edu/program/papers/auffhammer.pdf . On a quick look, it is a professional and interesting paper – far better than standard Team fare. It was not cited in AR4. Six years later, it has still not been published in the peerreviewedlitchurchur. Breathtaking. Cook is at Lamont-Doherty in the U.S.

    Jones to Mann Mar 31, 2004
    On Mar 31, 2004 Jones wrote to to Mann as follows:

    Recently rejected two papers (one for JGR and for GRL) from people saying CRU has it wrong over Siberia. Went to town in both reviews, hopefully successfully. If either appears I will be very surprised, but you never know with GRL.

    Others are available Nick.

  144. Steve Short, don’t forget terpenes from conifers that provide nucleation and oxone potential.

  145. Joshua said

    Give us a plausible sequence of events that leads to that outcome, in which Trenberth is not centrally involved.

    So, just to be clear, here’s what you think is a “plausible” explanation?

    An editor-in-chief, who later it turns out is deathly afraid of Trenberth’s wrath, and who is willing to turn proper scientific publishing process in its head to apologize for offending Trenberth, approves the publishing of an article by Spencer, one of the most well-known “skeptical” scientists?

    If he were so cavalier as you suggest about subverting ethical publishing practices,and so afraid of Trenberth’s disapproval, why wouldn’t he have simply decided not to publish the article in the first place, or resigned in protest if he was somehow overridden in the process of determining to publish the paper (how would an editor-in-chief be overridden in the decision to publish a paper in the first place?

    But all that means is that he is even more of a grovelling, terrified coward than he already has made himself out to be

    What does it say about someone’s view of analytical processes if they are willing to make such a statement — calling someone a “groveling, terrified coward,” on the basis of no direct evidence as to their character or motivations? What kind of a scientists considers pure speculation to be sufficient evidence to draw hard and fast conclusions.

    I am continuously shocked to find people who feel it is well within their rights to make pronouncements about the quality of others’ science, and at the same time make it abundantly evident that they are perfectly willing to draw conclusions without a valid process of evaluating the evidence on which their conclusions are based.

  146. This being the internet era, it’s easy to find more details about Wagner away from speculation. Enjoy.

    And yes, Trenberth is never too far away.

  147. Joshua said

    re #146

    I already read that. So what does it tell us? It tells us that if the conclusions about Wagner’s character and motivation were true – then he would simply have not published Spencer’s article in the first place (or resigned sooner if he had been overridden in the publication process to begin with). It tells us that some thousands of post by “skeptics” in the blogosphere – based on speculation as to why Wagner was “shocked” about the reaction to Spencer’s paper, represent a tendency among some people to draw conclusions without having validated evidence.

  148. TimTheToolMan said

    Nick writes “The complete omission of Trenberth’s paper from Spencer’s RS paper and (presumably) the referee reports obviously had a big effect on Wagner. I don’t know why he took it to the length of an apology, but he’s right. ”

    But surely the obvious person to apologise to and whose reference was “most missed” was Dessler not Trenberth?

  149. Joshua – it’s hard to exchange any opinion if you bounce from one point to another. You’ve asked for example reasons why Wagner would be “deathly afraid of Trenberth’s wrath”. I offered one. And such a fear would explain why he chose resignation rather than a retraction that might have been impossible to achieve.

    Wagner portrays himself as a climate virgin in the resignation letter, and he isn’t. He complains about the excessive publicity for a paper, after marketing Remote Sensing as a “high publicity” journal. Mentions “discussions in internet fora” and nothing else apart from a Trenberth paper when his whole work is based on remote sensing, and on understanding clouds (they’re a nuisance for remote soil moisture measurements, so they need to be properly…modelled).

    Etc etc. How can all this be used to complain about the people that say out loud there is something very fishy in Wagner’s editorial suicide?

  150. Joshua said

    Maurizio –

    You’ve asked for example reasons why Wagner would be “deathly afraid of Trenberth’s wrath”

    Actually, I didn’t ask for evidence as to why Wagner would be afraid of Trenberth’s wrath – and I certainly didn’t ask for more speculation based on circumstantial evidence (which is what you provided).

    We can speculate all we want about Wagner’s fear of Trenbeth’s wrath, and circumstantially tie all kinds of evidence together to support such speculation – but I am making a simple and obvious point with respect to that speculation; if he were so afraid of Trenberth’s wrath, then why did he publish the article in the first place? Showing that he was not a “climate virgin” only serves to strengthen my point about the implausibility of conclusions based on speculation about Wagner’s fear of Trenbeth.

    My basic point has been the same from my first comment on this thread (#8): the conspiratorial speculation I’ve seen on this issue – speculation passed off as highly certain conclusions – raises serious questions about how people view the process of drawing conclusions based on data.

  151. Nick #140,
    First, to reiterate, the idea that Wagner resigned because he does not like how RS is managed is without foundation. Wagner does not say that, and if that was the issue then he would have had ample reason before now and he would have said something about it. Wagner’s sole focus is the S&B paper. You are speculating on the procedural aspect.

    You say “Nor does the receipt of an apology, or indeed, the fact that T wrote a critical article in RC. None of these are in any way blameworthy. And there’s no evidence that T demanded an apology.”

    You initially claimed that Trenberth was not centrally involved–do you still maintain this? If there was just a single apology you could say there was no evidence, but two people apologized to Trenberth. It stretches credulity to say he was not centrally involved, yet the resignation revolves around his own grievance and both the editor and publisher apologized to him.

    Now you say there’s no evidence he demanded an apology. What’s the relevance of that? he evidently communicated his displeasure forcefully enough to induce the response. Who cares about the specific wording?

    You say: “The complete omission of Trenberth’s paper from Spencer’s RS paper and (presumably) the referee reports obviously had a big effect on Wagner. I don’t know why he took it to the length of an apology, but he’s right. Whether or not you accept Trenberth’s paper as a refutation, it’s clearly recent, high-profile, and a negative for Spencer that needs to be answered. Wagner is right to be angry that he was not made aware of it.”

    *Something* had a big effect on Wagner, but the omission of a reference was not it. More likely it was being on the receiving end of a lot of harassment from big names. By his own admission the referees did their jobs. If the paper did not contain a paragraph responding to T’s material, and the Editor later decided it should have, then he should invite T to send in a letter. Under no circumstances would an apology to T be appropriate, assuming this is a scientific journal and not a set of birthday party invitations.

    There is a recent (CITES 2011) Thorne et al. review of the troposphere mismatch between models and observations. The conclusion of that paper rests on Santer et al 2009 that concludes models and obs are not significantly different in the tropics. Thorne did not cite MMH 2010, which is “clearly recent, high profile, and a negative” for Thorne. On your reasoning, the Editor should be angry that the authors and reviewers did not bring the paper to his attention and it would be reasonable for the editor to apologize to me and resign.

  152. stan said

    Joshua (150), That’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever read.

    Nick (140), if RealClimate said snow comes up out of the ground, you’d agree. I don’t think you sold it. I think you gave it away.

  153. Today Change Is Definitely In The Air!

    NASA videos of the Sun – from its quietest period in years to the activity marking the beginning of solar cycle 24:

    http://www.irishweatheronline.com/news/space/solar/nasa-to-provide-new-observations-about-solar-flares-that-can-impact-earth/36026.html/

    Will provide observations needed to determine the validity of:

    a.) The Standard Solar Model (SSM) of Sun
    b.) Model of CO2 Global Warming (AGW)

    Many fields of science – astronomy, astrophysics, climatology, cosmology, nuclear, particle, planetary and solar sciences – have been seriously compromised [1] since it was decided on 1971 [2] that Earth’s heat source is a steady H-fusion reactor (SSM model) that cannot cause climate change (AGW model).

    1. “Neutron Repulsion”, The APEIRON Journal, in press (2011)

    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1102.1499v1

    2. “Deep Roots of Climategate” (2011)

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10640850/20110722_Climategate_Roots.pdf

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  154. steve fitzpatrick said

    Joshua,

    Looks like a duck, walks like a duck, swims like a duck, flies like a duck, quacks like a duck…. Humm, should people not draw inferences about reality based on observations?

  155. Joshua said

    re #154:

    I have no problems with speculation, per se. I have problems with speculation that fails to pass simple tests of plausibility. Please explain why Wagner approved the publication of the article if he was so afraid of Trenberth’s wrath? Are you saying that Wagner was unaware of the article being published? Do you have any evidence for that? Are you saying that he was unaware that publishing an article by Spencer would be controversial? Do you have any evidence for that – particularly given that now Judith Curry is posting about “links” between Trenberth and Wagner prior to the article being published?

    I also have a problem when people state conclusions when the evidence is nothing other than mere speculation and circumstantial evidence. Infer all you want, but acknowledge that it is inference. Take a look at Ross’s statement again:

    . But all that means is that he is even more of a grovelling, terrified coward than he already has made himself out to be.

    This is a statement of fact. Ross is saying that he knows for a fact that Wagner is a “groveling, terrified coward.” This is someone who is held up by “skeptics” as being a model for reasoned analysis. He publicly slandered Wagner based on nothing other than circumstantial evidence and speculation.

    If this were an isolated instance, then it could just be chalked up to hyperbole – and I am not implying here that Ross has been similarly sloppy and facile in his reasoning in the past as I haven’t studies his comments enough to pass judgement. But the facile and sloppy reasoning we see evidenced in his comment in this thread is, unfortunately, all to common on both sides of the climate debate. Unless people on both sides take a step back, and act with more care, and stop making conclusions without sufficient evidence, and maintain diligence in clarifying what is mere speculation and what are conclusions they are drawing based on validated evidence, we will see nothing other than a continuation of the jr. high school cafeteria food fight that is so abundantly on display.

  156. timetochooseagain said

    141-Perhaps you could make an analogy that actually makes sense, instead of now switching from circuits to accounting.

    But you know, I kind of think it would be pretty stupid of any business not to care about the particular expenses it has, and their specific origins. In your analogy, they only care about money in and money out, and are totally ignorant of why they lost money at some point.

  157. Wagner founded a new Journal, set up the proper peer-review process, and thought that was it. Spencer and Broswell came along, followed all the rules, got onto the Journal.

    It was only THEN that the Wrath of Kev befell upon little Wolfgang. Hence the resignation as a last-resort attempt at placating the Trenberth god. And in the resignation, a defence of Wolfgang’s peer-review process.

  158. Joshua said

    re: #157

    Wagner founded a new Journal, set up the proper peer-review process, and thought that was it. Spencer and Broswell came along, followed all the rules, got onto the Journal.

    So if I understand you correctly, you’re basing your speculation on a sequence of events whereby Wagner was unaware that the journal was publishing a paper by Spencer until after he signed on and saw the article at their website?

    Otherwise, if he needs to placate the Trenberth god, why wouldn’t he have: (1) prevented the article from being published or, (2) if he had no control over whether the article would be published or not, resign prior to its publication?

    And please note – there was no conditional language in your post. That would indicate that you are drawing conclusions on the basis of nothing other than circumstantial (and unvalidated) evidence and speculation.

  159. Jeff Id said

    Nick,Although your circuit black box is completely mangled so I can’t even read it, I’ll try this point which I think you’ll agree. In climate science these terms are of art so that there is no clear engineering-like forcing/feedback boundary. “A forcing is a sustained and identifiable change of input energy flux.” Isn’t perfectly accurate.

    In the case of CO2 “forcing”, we have a change in resistance to flow (feedback gain as ocean surface temp is really the output) and no input energy flux (input power) is changed. A forcing created by clouds is a long term adjustment of the gain as well as input energy, more/less nucleation sites or non-linear formation of clouds in response to temps (gain) and albedo (input energy flux).

    Therefore we have a situation where long term changes in feedback or even non-linear feedback, can create a forcing. The blanket statements about what IS a forcing and what is absolutely just a feedback in climate science are about as clear as mud to me. If CS actually followed your definition, CO2 trends would not be a forcing and everything could be cleared up.
    ——————-

    Ross makes a good corollary to a blocked model mean rebuttal to the Santer08 debacle which was subsequently published instead in a statistics journal with different methods that is perhaps being ignored with a passion. It would be a shame if climate science would ever recognize any problems in the models. I don’t know why you won’t admit that there are too many coincidences to ignore, but there has been a lot of denial written in this thread.

  160. steve fitzpatrick said

    Joshua,

    Of course, absent clarification from those involved (or a “released/stolen” batch of related email messages), there will never be anything more than inferences to be drawn.

    But I note (and hope you also note) this rather odd turn of events did not take place in a vacuum… there is in fact lots of documentary evidence that well known climate scientists have in the recent past tried to pressure editors and publishers over the publication of an “objectionable” paper related to climate science. It is not the first time that a published paper questioning some aspect of main stream climate science has led to resignations of those involved in the publishing process. Questionable papers get published in every field. Failure to sight one or more relevant earlier papers is extremely common. These things don’t lead to editors falling on their swords. I wonder if you honestly think Wagner’s resignation over a single paper (which had properly passed a review process that is clearly laid out, and which Wagner for sure understood) has parallels in other fields. If so, then I have never heard of them.

    Certainly Trenberth’s considerable influence in climate science, combined with his displeasure at this paper being published, could plausibly have had very bad future consequences for Wagner; I think only the truly naive could imagine otherwise. I would not go so far as Ross in my critique of Wagner, but I do think Wagner has made himself appear to have very poor judgement. It seems most likely that his resignation, long after the paper was approved, combined with the silly apologies to Trenberth, simply means he buckled under the pressure brought to bear on him since the paper was approved. Wagner may already have been under some pressure because he allowed publication of Christy et al last year in the same journal (showing IPCC climate models do not accurately predict tropospheric warming).

    The most charitable alternative I can see is that Wagner may have some mental health issues…. and I don’t think that is the case (and honestly hope that is not the case!).

    The most reasonable explanation for Wagner’s odd actions is that politics continues to play a huge (and IMO, wholly inappropriate) role in climate science. The only solutions to political problems come via politics. I don’t think climate scientists really understand what they are getting into with these kinds of escapades.

  161. #158 So if I understand you correctly

    You don’t. I am describing the straightforward process set up by a young Editor of a young Journal, by which a paper that passed peer-review was deemed good for publication. That was what science was for everybody of my and Wagner’s generation.

    So Wagner was perfectly aware that the journal was publishing a properly peer-reviewed paper by Spencer and Broswell. Of course he was.

    Unfortunately though, Wagner was unaware at the time that proper peer-review isn’t deemed enough by Dear Kev, who wants full control and censorship rights on anything by Spencer, to the point of asking for and receiving an apology if such a rule is broken.

    Wagner is fully aware of that now, and so are many other Editors.

  162. #143 John
    My statement was
    “There’s no evidence there that any campaign was actually mounted against an editor.”
    I can’t see any evidence in what you’ve quoted.

  163. Ross #151,
    “the idea that Wagner resigned because he does not like how RS is managed is without foundation”
    No, it’s not without foundation. Wagner said:
    “The managing editor of Remote Sensing selected three senior scientists from renowned US universities, each of them having an impressive publication record.”
    Now at one level, that seems like a straight statement of fact. But a C-i-E would normally just say the Journal selected. The fact that he fingers the Managing Editor (implying it wasn’t the C-i-E)) is clearly significant. And he says
    “But, as the case presents itself now, the editorial team unintentionally selected three reviewers who probably share some climate sceptic notions of the authors.”
    Now one does not “unintentionally select”. I think he’s referring (mentioning team) to the fact that it wasn’t his intention.

    “This latter point was missed in the review process,” sure sounds like a complaint about the procedure. In fact, in the next sentence he says
    “This regrettably brought me to the decision to resign”.
    So the reason is explicitly procedural.

    You said “By his own admission the referees did their jobs.” No.

    “You initially claimed that Trenberth was not centrally involved–do you still maintain this?” I maintain that no evidence has been produced. It’s early morning here, and I haven’t seen that second apology. In fact, I don’t think anyone has seen the first – all we know is that W said something that T regards as an apology. But as to harassment, this relies on the proposition that Trenberth has some special ability to cause damage to Wagner. No-one has plausibly explained that. It seems to me that he has just engaged in trenchant criticism (mainly of Spencer), of a kind not unknown here. Spencer himself has also strongly criticised other climate scientists.

    As to MMH and what constitutes a high-profile paper – well, journals are businesses, and their reference point is the readership. If they would expect a paper to be responded to, then it’s the editors job to see that it is. In fact, one of the standard questions where referees have to fill out forms, is whether the paper adequately cites the literature (I wonder if RS asked that question). So the test of “high profile” is whether the readership would expect a response to that paper. Not whether MMH is high profile here. We don’t know that CITES was not informed. CITES editors may have known and judged that they would not expect it.

  164. Re: Jeff Id (Sep 5 12:20),
    Well, black boxes are not things you’re supposed to be able to read :). Another analogy is calculating ROI. The concept and implementation are both clear for a large publicly listed firm, say. But for a one-person business operated out of a garage the implementation isn’t so clear, though the concept still applies. There are many transactions – some costs may be investment, some part investment etc. What about that course you took? etc.

    Again, the concepts are coupled. You need to make the distinction about what constitutes investment in order the work out ROI. ROI is the factor that measures (predicts) the response (R) to (I). Like T to forcing.

    Back to forcing. You change something – you get a response. Quantify the change. It’s also something like an exogenous factor in economics.

    Of course, cloud variation can affect inward and outward radiation. But that observation is of no use afterwards. It’s only useful if you can (potentially) say in advance what the change is, and use the climate sensitivity to predict the response. Because ultimately, you want to know how the system responds to changes that you can control. But you can’t build that (controllability) into the system, because it is another whole can of worms (even brings in politics). But you can speak of changes that you can identify, and specify, in advance of the response. Eg a volcano.

  165. Joshua said

    re: #160

    Thanks for your response, Steve.

    First, I’d like to note the nature of your grammar/syntax – which uses conditional and appropriately qualified language to describe the situation. When speculation is expressed in such a manner, I think it is entirely appropriate. The language you used in your post is markedly distinct from that used in Ross’s post above, and notably absent in much of the “climate debate” discourse on both sides of the fence – in particular in much of what I’ve read about Wagner’s resignation as written by “skeptics.”

    Of course, absent clarification from those involved (or a “released/stolen” batch of related email messages), there will never be anything more than inferences to be drawn.

    So let’s debate the plausibility of different inferences, and not confuse them with conclusions that are based on verifiable evidence.

    But I note (and hope you also note) this rather odd turn of events did not take place in a vacuum…

    Of course. However, the context here, IMO, cannot be uniformly characterized between white hats and black hats – and I trust that you’ll agree with me there.

    there is in fact lots of documentary evidence that well known climate scientists have in the recent past tried to pressure editors and publishers over the publication of an “objectionable” paper related to climate science. It is not the first time that a published paper questioning some aspect of main stream climate science has led to resignations of those involved in the publishing process. Questionable papers get published in every field. Failure to sight one or more relevant earlier papers is extremely common. These things don’t lead to editors falling on their swords. I wonder if you honestly think Wagner’s resignation over a single paper (which had properly passed a review process that is clearly laid out, and which Wagner for sure understood) has parallels in other fields. If so, then I have never heard of them.

    I think that there is more to Wagner’s resignation than what he covered in his resignation letter. To resign with the explanation he gave seems like a jump, to me. However, I see many reasons to doubt the plausibility of some of the speculation I have been reading. I think that Nick’s speculation seems more plausible than speculation that Wagner was afraid of Trenberth’s wrath – for the reasons I’ve listed above. I have yet to see someone explain why, if Wagner and Trenberth were “linked” prior to the publication of Spencer’s paper, and he was so afraid of a disapproving Trenberth, he would have allowed the paper to be published in the first place. Now as I understand it, it is implausible to believe that the paper was published without the consent or knowledge of the editor-in-chief, but even if it had been, it seems that if he is so afraid of upsetting Trenberth, he would have resigned as soon as the paper was published. This has become even more evident to me as I just learned that Remote Sensing had previously published a paper by Christy. If Trenberth were wielding power to force Wagner to do as he dictated, then certainly after publishing Christy’s paper, Wagner would have either prevented Spencer’s paper from getting published or resigned if it was published over his objections.

    Yes – it is true that the “climategate” emails show an effort on the part of some climate scientists to prevent work that they deem to be poor in quality from being published. I think that those behavior revealed a very unfortunate tribalistic attitude (which I must point out I don’t feel to be particularly characteristic of either side in the climate debate). But the fact that tribalism played out in the situation as revealed in the climategate emails does not directly change the plausibility, or lack thereof, in the speculation about the cause-and-effect, and/or sequence of events in the Spencer paper/Wagner resignation scenario.

    Certainly Trenberth’s considerable influence in climate science, combined with his displeasure at this paper being published, could plausibly have had very bad future consequences for Wagner; I think only the truly naive could imagine otherwise.

    Some effects? Sure. But gauging just how much influence Trenberth could bring to play requires a higher standard of evidence than mere speculation. As Nick Stokes has pointed out – the climate scientists who are being accused of inappropriately wielding influence would have not be publishing in Remote Sensing anyway – so threats to not publish there would have no impact. Further, my assumption is that the impact factor for that journal is relatively low. If so, then not many prestigious scientists would be seeking out Remote Sensing as a venue for publishing any of their most significant research anyway. So if the speculation is that Wagner resigned because of pressure from Trenberth, the question becomes how much pressure would Trenberth be able to actually apply – particularly in responding to Wagner’s failure to resign after he had already published a paper by both Spencer and Christy. Whatever pressure Trenberth might apply would already be there as a result of Wagner approving the publishing of the two papers. Why would Wagner risk incurring Trenberth’s wrath by publishing the papers first, only to then turn around and publicly resign out of fear from Trenberth’s wrath?

    I would not go so far as Ross in my critique of Wagner, but I do think Wagner has made himself appear to have very poor judgement.

    Again, I will note the marked difference in your language and the language that Ross used. If Ross had used the langauge that you used, I would not have objected to his post as an example of facile reasoning based only on circumstantial evidence and pure speculation.

    Another point – please note the following excerpt from Gerald North’s Congressional testimony regarding the Wegman report:

    “I was also somewhat taken aback by the tone of the Wegman Report, which seems overly accusatory towards Dr. Mann and his colleagues, rather than being a neutral, impartial assessment of the techniques used in his research.

    Now should I, based on speculation and circumstantial evidence, assume that anyone on the “skeptical” side of the debate reflects an overly accusatory tone, rather than neutral and impartial assessments? This seems tantamount to me to what some “skeptics” are doing in the Wegman situation.

  166. Joshua said

    Sorry – at the end….. “what some skeptics are doing in the Wagner situation.”

    And sorry for the messed up blockquote tags.

  167. Jeff Id said

    Black boxes are supposed to make sense. Are you looking for a more or less clear one. Electronics is typically a good analogy for climate as analog(ue) computers ruled early diff eq. If we were looking at a business, I would apply temperature to the accumulation of cash rather than the return of cash on an investment. Forces which made people pay earlier might be CO2 related causing cash to build up yet no net change in flow. In other words, the net cashflow is the same yet the bank balance increases. Clouds accelerate outbound payments and delay receipts – lower cash on hand.

    I can see though that again, you have attached temp to a flow -return on investment – rather than a static content – cash balance. You are a smart guy, what am I missing.

    Nope, I think I just got it. The circuit analogies actually have mathematical corollaries which fit the true equations, you are more simply looking at correlations and not the actual function of the components. You were looking at cause to response only rather than components and their mathematical function. Tell me if I’m wrong.

    “But that observation is of no use afterwards. It’s only useful if you can (potentially) say in advance what the change is, and use the climate sensitivity to predict the response.”

    If you expect there may be some reason for change, it would be interesting to know the direction of causality also right? We know clouds affect temperature.

    Simple question: What is the direction of causality according to the Spencer paper?

    Difficult question: If that direction is correct, is the signal/noise sufficient to understand anything about sensitivity?

  168. diogenes said

    as I get it, temperature is a measure of something at a point of time – so it equates to a balance, such as cash or debt. The accountant in me insists that when you use financial analogies, you get them right.

  169. Re: diogenes (Sep 5 17:23),
    Climate sensitivity relates a driving flux to the static temperature, so that’s where it originates. The underlying cause is the S-B law, which then relates T to a flux. OK, in economic terms T is like a price (measure at a point in time) which determines fluxes.

  170. diogenes said

    well if T is akin to price, then it does not belong in a finacial analysis. Price times quantity can equate to revenue or cost. So in your black box, what equates to revenue/cost?

  171. timetochooseagain said

    Speaking of economic terms, I am rather reminded of the daily news cycle that tries to explain very single blip in the stock market as externally caused by some world events.

    Totally ignoring the micro-economics of individual decision making, naturally, as modern “economics” is want to do. In the absence of any world events to shock it the stock market should surely remain fixed, right? Heh, yeah, I don’t think so.

  172. diogenes said

    Time

    show me something of “modern” economics (your term) that does not distinguish between micro and macro effects. Just curious and eager to prevent laziness on your or my part.

  173. omnologos said

    Joshua (#165) – you’re totally missing the arrow of time (in fact you haven’t replied to my #161 yet). There is little to speculate to imagine a situation where:

    1. Wagner is not afraid of Trenberth. He has no reasons to. He has published Christy already.
    2. Wagner lets Spencer get published.
    3. Trenberth applies “pressure” on Wagner, who suddenly realizes who Spencer is for Trenberth. Hint: he is not Christy.
    4. Wagner gets scared by Trenberth’s reaction, apologizes personally, tries to defend his Journal’s peer-review process and leaves.

  174. omnologos said

    It’s even simpler…Christy (and Spencer) got published on Remote Sensing’s special issue “Remote Sensing in Climate Monitoring and Analysis”. With Guest Editor Dr. Richard Müller of the German Meteorological Service CM-SAF.

    So there would have been no point in pressuring Wagner for Christy’s paper, as the special issue’s control was almost totally out of his hands. So later on for all he knew, Spencer (co-author of Christy’s) was as good as any.

  175. timetochooseagain said

    172-Every Keynesian is obsessed with focusing on understanding “aggregates”, or the economy as a whole. It is highly divorced from the actual micro stuff. Keynesians and their more moderate Monetarist counterparts have represented “mainstream” economics for some time. They use simple equations that treat the whole of consumer spending as some simple deterministic function. The people are described in their behavior solely by their “propensity to save” or to consume. No concern over why they come to the decisions to consume or to save. No difference or distinction is made between their specific decisions and the overall tendency of the people to spend or save. I took a macro course. I wondered throughout, “where the heck is the actual reasoning?”

    But I’m not really eager to get too deeply into this here, as it would derail our current discussion. Besides, Kenneth would be the better person to talk to about the disagreements between Austrians and the “mainstream” of economics.

  176. diogenes said

    OK Time

    Thanks for clarifying that you have no real knowledge of the area. It saves a lot of time.

  177. diogenes said

    and meanwhile, let’s forget the timetochoose gambit, and ask what is on the balance sheet in this black box? T times something is in the income statement, I guess.

  178. timetochooseagain said

    Jeez, looks like I seem to have made someone mad.

    There is a difference between being an idiot and not feeling like get off topic.

    So it looks like we got derailed anyway.

  179. [...] marcel op 6 september 2011%Ross McKitrick zegt altijd duidelijk waar het op staat. Op de website The Air Vent reageerde hij op Nick Stokes,die Trenberth in de luwte probeert te houden. McKitrick legt uit [...]

  180. kim said

    I think I’ve never heard so loud
    The quiet message in a cloud.
    ==========================

  181. [...] that the proper response to this is in the peer review literature, not by an editor resignation. Ross McKitrick says over at the Hot Air Vent (Bishop Hill) that Wagner is a “grovelling, terrified [...]

  182. diogenes said

    ttca…apologies…but something about Nick’s black box brought out the mad pedant in me…nothing to do with you. I have 0observed that Nick often acts like this…the passive-aggressive resistor.

  183. Find great Pec Workouts!…

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    [...]Redefining Peer Review — Editor Resigns « the Air Vent[...]…

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