Category Archive 'Spencer-Braswell 2011 Paper'

04 Sep 2011

Another Paper Featuring Conclusions Unfavorable to AGW Assassinated

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Domenico Fetti, Flight to Egypt, circa 1621-1623, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
During the flight to Egypt, the Holy Family passes the bodies of two of the innocents massacred by Herod

Those of us who remember the Climategate scandal of 2009, when Russian Intelligence released damaging emails exchanged between Phil Jones, head of the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Center and other principal figures like Penn State’s Michael Mann, will recall Jones promising Mann on July 8, 2004, that he and Kevin Trenberth (of the US National Center for Atmospheric Research) would keep dissenting papers out of the next IPCC report by hook or by crook:

“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!”

A year earlier one of Phil Jones’ emails addressed to a wider group of colleagues promised a boycott of the Journal Climate Research, guilty of publishing an important paper by Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics injurious to the cause of Warmism, if the editor responsible was not replaced.

March 11, 2003 —
“I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor.”

The Soon-Baliunas paper is described by Wikipedia as having “reviewed 240 previously published papers and tried to find evidence for temperature anomalies in the last thousand years such as the Medieval warm period and the Little Ice Age. It concluded that ‘Across the world, many records reveal that the 20th century is probably not the warmest or a uniquely extreme climatic period of the last millennium.’ ”

The upshot of the 2003 Climate Research publication of a paper challenging the Warmist Industry consensus was a successful crackdown by Phil Jones and his allies.

Climate Research’s chief editor, Hans von Storch, was persuaded to torpedo the offending paper in the same journal which had published it: The review process had failed. An unworthy paper had been published which did not adequately taken into account opposing arguments. The editorial policy of board editor Chris de Frietas responsible for its publication was insufficiently rigorous.

Storch then announced in the same editorial that he intended to impose a new regime giving himself final say on any paper’s publication. The publisher refused to accept the proposed dictatorship, and Storch and four other editors subsequently resigned in a thorough bloodbath.

Universal denials were issued concerning reports that Messrs. Jones, Mann, and Trenberth had been responsible for all this. Storch publicly denied that the fix had been put in. It was just a case of “a bad paper.”

Well, what do you know? Here we are in 2011, and it’s déjà vu all over again.

This time the paper is by Roy Spencer and William D. Braswell and is titled On the Misdiagnosis of Climate Feedbacks from Variations in Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance. The paper appeared in Remote Sensing in July.

Fox News identified the new paper’s significance in the world of climate science:

Has a central tenant of global warming just collapsed?

Climate change forecasts have for years predicted that carbon dioxide would trap heat on Earth, and increases in the gas would lead to a planet-wide rise in temperatures, with devastating consequences for the environment.

But long-term data from NASA satellites seems to contradict the predictions dramatically, according to a new study.

“There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans,” said Dr. Roy Spencer, a research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. science team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer — basically a big thermometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite.

“The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show,” he said. The planet isn’t heating up, in other words.

But, what do you know? Instead of another important paper challenging one Anthropogenic Global Warming’s central tenets, we have another case of the editor of the same journal in which the dissenting paper appeared, reversing course, denouncing the recently published paper, and resigning!

Warmist Peter Gleick reports triumphantly in Forbes:

The staggering news today is that the editor of the journal that published the paper has just resigned, with a blistering editorial calling the Spencer and Braswell paper “fundamentally flawed,” with both “fundamental methodological errors” and “false claims.” That editor, Professor Wolfgang Wagner of the Vienna University of Technology in Austria, is a leading international expert in the field of remote sensing. In announcing his resignation, Professor Wagner says “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.”

In his editorial resignation, Professor Wagner says the paper was reviewed by scientific experts that in hindsight had a predetermined bias in their views on climate that led them to miss the serious scientific flaws in the paper, including “ignoring all other observational data sets,” inappropriate influence from the “political views of the authors,” and the fact that comparable studies had already been refuted by the scientific community but were ignored by the authors. He summarizes:

    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. This regrettably brought me to the decision to resign as Editor-in-Chief―to make clear that the journal Remote Sensing takes the review process very seriously.

Isn’t it amazing? For the second time in under a decade, some feckless scientific journal has published a paper offering conclusions deeply injurious to AGW, and again, in otherwise unprecedented reversals, the journal’s editor has attacked his own journal’s paper ex post facto for alleged lack of rigor and for purportedly failing to do justice to its opponent’s arguments, and resigned.

Presumably, we can look forward momentarily to the next development: the denials by Wolfgang Wagner that Messrs. Jones, Mann, and Trenberth, and the other principals of the Catastrophist Industry had anything to do with any of this.

I would say it is remarkable that, even after their exposure in 2009, the Global Warming gangsters still have the chutzpah, along with the remaining prestige and power, to successfully arrange the strangling in the cradle of significant dissenting publications, smearing their adversaries with accusations of bad science and lack of rigor.

Also posted at the Conservatory.


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