the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Blog Review

Posted by Jeff Id on September 21, 2011

From the Drum, a commentary on the expanding phenomena of blog review.

Peer review is dead, long live blog review

In January 2009, Nature splashed its front cover with the results of a new study titled ‘Warming of the Antarctic ice-sheet surface since the 1957 International Geophysical Year’.

The article was accompanied by a glowing editorial from Nature and was widely reported on in the media.

A very short time after the paper was published, a number of factual errors were found in the paper, along with significant issues with the methodology used to obtain the surprising results. The errors and the methodological problems were reported and discussed by climate change blogs Watts Up With That, The Air Vent, Climate Audit and Real Climate.

Imagine if at this stage Nature’s editor in chief looked at the reported blog commentary and decided the journal had published a paper, which while it had gone through the normal peer review processes, based on some of the blog commentary, was basically fundamentally flawed and should not have been published.

click on the title above for the rest of the article.  This is also covered at WUWT.

Steig original.



20 Responses to “Blog Review”

  1. But here’s someone who got it DEAD RIGHT!

    As poor Obama struggles with poor polling, persistent high unemployment, possibly a primary challenge within his own party and a stagnant economy saddled with massive deficits and debts, one area where he can claim success is his prediction he would slow sea level rise.

    In similar fashion to baseball legend Babe Ruth calling his home run during the fifth inning of Game 3 of the 1932 World Series, Obama called it successfully on sea level rise! You betcha!

    Obama declared on June 8, 2008 during his St. Paul victory speech for the Democratic Party nomination that his presidency will be “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

    It’s now official. Earlier this month, the European Space Agency’s Envisat monitoring, global sea level revealed a “two year long decline [in sea level] was continuing, at a rate of 5mm per year.”

    In August 2011, NASA announced that global sea level was dropping and was “a quarter of an inch lower than last summer.” See: NASA: ‘Global sea level this summer is a quarter of an inch lower than last summer’

    Surprisingly, despite Obama only saying he would “slow” the rise of the oceans, his presidency has presided over what some scientists are terming an “historic decline” (i.e. one that’s, uh, impossible to hide).

    Obama appears to have underestimated his powers.

    More impressive is the fact that just six months into his presidency, sea level started its historic reversal. In July 2009, sea level was already showing a “slowdown and was “still flattening.”

    So now I’m waiting breathlessly (i.e. winding back my CO2 emissions), for this amazing President to explain to me how this latest two year decline in sea level, which can only result from a contraction of the world’s oceans (noting the ice caps and glaciers are still melting and polar bears are still , uh, declining) fits in with Kevin’s 10 year loss of heat into the deep ocean.

    If he can pull that one off then I reckon it just has to be….President for Life!

  2. So here’s the global mean sea level data from December 2003:

    Very easy to plot in Excel etc. Looks pretty clear cut to me.

    Sea level rose about 1 cm (only) from late 2003 to mid 2009 and now it has gone down about the same amount over the last 2 years We are now back where we were in late 2003 (in terms of global mean sea level). In theory we should now be 1.5 cm higher than where we were in late 2003.

    So if Kevin Trenberth et al. is correct (in his modeling) and for the last 10 years the so-called ‘missing heat’ (which even he admits has ‘gone missing’) has been hiding down in the deep ocean (below 700 m) AND the polar ice caps and continental glaciers have also continued to melt, where is the evidence of thermal expansion of the deep ocean (much less all the melt water)?

    To have your cake and eat it too, first you have to produce the cake. Sorry, no cake and no cigar for Kevin.

    No cigars for his crappy ‘peer reviewers’ either.

  3. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: Steve Short (Sep 21 23:08),

    Because the thermal expansion coefficient of sea water decreases with temperature, it’s barely possible, I think, to have the heat content go up while sea level falls. But to do that, the upper layer would have to cool a lot. I don’t think that’s happening.

  4. DeWitt Payne said

    The logical conclusion, then, is that El Nino’s cause increased loss of heat to space.

  5. Must mean that 2010 was the doozy of all El Ninos!

  6. Anonymous said

    Damn, Obama is right up there with Gore… not sure which is better, inventing the Internet or healing the planet, however. 😉


  7. HaroldW said

    Of course, if Obama takes credit for the sea level drop, logically one should hold him responsible for the flooding believed to account for the “missing water.” Wouldn’t do him a lot of good in the Midwest.

  8. Matthew W said

    There were no errors in in facts or methodology (according to those that support the study).

  9. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: Steve Short (Sep 21 23:08),

    That link is broken.

  10. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: Steve Short (Sep 21 23:08),

    In the ftp directory, there are 12 global series in txt format. Half of those are not GIA adjusted. That leaves 6. So which is which?

  11. Hi DeWitt

    You are right. The link to the actual file is broken. It was working fine for me and friends a few days ago.

    So try this:

    and then download this particular file:


  12. Oops sorry:


  13. steve fitzpatrick said

    Too bad Jeff, the wrong graphic made it to the cover of Nature.

    No, wait a minute, the right graphic would never have been of any interest at Nature…. no doom in that graphic.

    Sad commentary on the state of climate science, and their many political minions.

  14. Jeff Id said

    It is a known fact that for the left, red ink costs less.

  15. I’m impressed by Ryan’s overlay.

  16. Ericspittthedummy said

    They both look the same to me!! I cannot see what all the fuss is about?

  17. #15 Nick I made it my windows wallpaper I was so impressed with it. On a big screen it looks great.

  18. M. Simon said

    I had a hand in the invention of the world’s first BBS. Does that count for anything?

    I designed the I/O board (not specifically for that) and consulted with Randy and Ward on some hardware/software fixes.

  19. steveta_uk said

    JP (#17) – that’s what I find so puzzling. The Steig graphic simply doesn’t have the esthetic appeal, the color balance is all wrong, it’s just nasty – the replacement is so pretty in comparison that it just has to be right – so surely Nature would want that better one as a cover?

  20. page488 said

    RE: #1: So, now in addition to the “Gore Effect,” we have the “Obama Effect.” Cooowol!

    I remember how much work Jeff and others put into this when the paper first came out. Congrats, folks.

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