American Meteorological Society disappears withdraws Gergis et al paper on proxy temperature reconstruction after post peer review finds fatal flaws

UPDATE: It appears the paper has been withdrawn and credit acknowledgement given to Steve McIntyre, see below:

There was yet another recent “hockey stick” being foisted on the public. Gergis et al.

It says:

The average reconstructed temperature anomaly in Australasia during A.D. 1238–1267, the warmest 30-year pre-instrumental period, is 0.09°C (±0.19°C) below 1961–1990 levels.

Basically, another “ah-ha, man is at fault” pitch.

At Climate Audit, the paper was examined in more detail, and alarm bells went off. Concern centered around the 27 proxy data sets used in the study. Now, after Steve McIntyre found some major faults, it seems this paper has gone missing from the AMS website without explanation. All that remains is the Google cache thumbnail image, not even the cached web page. See below:

Here is the original URL:

http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00649.1

Here’s a backup copy: http://static.stuff.co.nz/files/melbourne.pdf

To read about how the takedown came about, I suggest this excellent summary from Bishop Hill as the technical details are rather thick: Another Hockey Stick broken

The problems with the paper in a nutshell:

  1. upside down proxy data again
  2. preselection of data, ignoring the whole set in many cases
  3. though they tried to justify preselection, the paper’s methodology doesn’t hold up (circular reasoning)
  4. inability to replicate given the data and methods used

In Gergis defense, they provided full *some documentation and data at the outset, unlike some other hockey stick purveyors we know. This allowed the work to be checked independently. This is how science is supposed to work, and apparently it has.

(*Added: apparently Gergis refused some additional data Steve McIntyre requested, the documentation of this on his CA website)

It appears from my perspective that this is a failure of peer review at the AMS.

UPDATE: Further proof that the paper has truly been taken down, and this isn’t a web glitch.

1. The DOI link is also broken over at Real Climate in their article: Fresh hockey sticks from the Southern Hemisphere

References

  1.  J. Gergis, R. Neukom, S.J. Phipps, A.J.E. Gallant, and D.J. Karoly, “Evidence of unusual late 20th century warming from an Australasian temperature reconstruction spanning the last millennium”, Journal of Climate, 2012, pp. 120518103842003-. DOI.

2. On the AMS search page: http://journals.ametsoc.org/action/doSearch

I put in both the author name and the DOI, and got nada:

Search Results
Search Query: Authors: gergis

Your search did not match any articles.

Search Query: PubIdSpan: JCLI-D-11-00649.1

Your search did not match any articles.

============================================================

UPDATE2: Steve McIntyre reports the paper has been put “on hold”  http://climateaudit.org/2012/06/08/gergis-et-al-put-on-hold/

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137 thoughts on “American Meteorological Society disappears withdraws Gergis et al paper on proxy temperature reconstruction after post peer review finds fatal flaws

  1. Hmmmm. Caught again by an outsider. What an embarrassment, these people call themselves scientists.

  2. Just posted on Climateaudit –
    “David Karoly, the senior author, who had been copied on Gergis’ surly email and who is also known as one of the originators of the “death threat” story, wrote today:
    Dear Stephen,
    I am contacting you on behalf of all the authors of the Gergis et al (2012) study ‘Evidence of unusual late 20th century warming from an Australasian temperature reconstruction spanning the last millennium’
    An issue has been identified in the processing of the data used in the study, which may affect the results. While the paper states that “both proxy climate and instrumental data were linearly detrended over the 1921–1990 period”, we discovered on Tuesday 5 June that the records used in the final analysis were not detrended for proxy selection, making this statement incorrect. Although this is an unfortunate data processing issue, it is likely to have implications for the results reported in the study. The journal has been contacted and the publication of the study has been put on hold.
    This is a normal part of science. The testing of scientific studies through independent analysis of data and methods strengthens the conclusions. In this study, an issue has been identified and the results are being re-checked.
    We would be grateful if you would post the notice below on your ClimateAudit web site.
    We would like to thank you and the participants at the ClimateAudit blog for your scrutiny of our study, which also identified this data processing issue.
    Thanks, David Karoly
    Print publication of scientific study put on hold
    An issue has been identified in the processing of the data used in the study, “Evidence of unusual late 20th century warming from an Australasian temperature reconstruction spanning the last millennium” by Joelle Gergis, Raphael Neukom, Stephen Phipps, Ailie Gallant and David Karoly, accepted for publication in the Journal of Climate.
    We are currently reviewing the data and results.”

    Interesting!!

  3. Hey, Steve McIntyre just got thanked and acknowledged by name. “Progress in Climate”.

    REPLY: “Progress in Climate” is distinctly different than “Climate Progress” Joe Romm probably won’t be able to bring himself to report this or even correct his article:

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/06/01/492343/yet-more-studies-back-hockey-stick-recent-global-warming-is-unprecedented-in-magnitude-and-speed-and-cause/

    Be sure to let him know in comments, I’m banned there. – Anthony

  4. What gives me the [SNIP: Think of the sensibilities of non-Australians! -REP] as an Australian, I payed for this rubbish “science” thru my hard earned taxes !

  5. Why are those temp reconstructions too blurry hiding all annual/decadal
    and dual -decadal temperature changes? We have to get into detail at least
    showing decadal temp changes….. Are those guys incapable to provide decadal
    values?
    JS

  6. Anthony: I’m not so sure you can say they provided “the full documentation and dataset at the outset,” can you? She snottily refused Steve McI’s request for data on proxies that were not used.

  7. LOL! The paper’s figure 1: no coral from the great barrier reef used. I think if I was trying to determine past temps down under I wouldn’t leave out such a vast and long lived proxy source.

  8. The problem is they forget to add Manns Secret Hot Sauce…. :P

    Are you tired of bland trends and boring flat lines? Do your proxies have a case of the chills? Why not spice things up a bit with Mann’s Super Ultra Hot -n- Spicy Sauce! Put some pizzaaz in your data! Give your stick a sizzling uptick! And best of all, results are guaranteed, or your grant money back!

    Mann…. That’s Hot!!

  9. When the hypothesis is presented with the complete data it can then be peer reviewed and either given a proof or rejected – When they give the base data the hypothesis always fails. PAID FOR SERVICE GRANT SCIENCE. This is just QUID PRO QUO like Public service UNIONS these Government agency or University GRANTS are given to those that produce the desired results.

    What happened to the scientific ethics?

  10. “The compilation of this database represents years of our research effort based on the development of our professional networks. We risk damaging our work relationships by releasing other people’s records against their wishes. Clearly this is something that we are not prepared to do.”

    Algorithmic cherry picking was Mann’s answer to his originally broken hockey stick. It wasn’t brazen fraud any more that way, just soft and speculative but with a sharp graphic design which then “confirmed and supported” his original showboat. It didn’t have to convince skeptics in order to keep green bubble cash flowing into his delicious party. His method of cherry picking was to take an utter mess of tree ring data and toss everything that didn’t match the thermometer record of the last century. Since the data was so noisy everything before this matched period averaged out to no trend at all. That isn’t science.

  11. The disappearance of such an obvious fraud so soon after its trial run
    is a sign that Warmistas can indeed by shamed into retreat.

    No wonder they operate so much in secret,
    altering IPCC summaries into 180-deg mis-statements,
    pal-reviewing shrill alarmist propaganda & tinkertoy computerizationizing,
    while permanently blocking measurement-based science
    just because it doesn’t fit Alarmism’s ever-busy Procrustean Bed.

    Viva La Exposure!

  12. Steve McIntyre may not be part of the orthodoxy, but he is a true scientist. Karoly has communicated with him
    and a potentially flawed paper has been taken down for further checking

    I take great heart from this. Maybe science isn’t broken after all

    • Would you not agree that it is the responsibility of the paper creator [scientist] to verify all base data sets for accuracy before using them to present a conclusion for peer review? My instructors would have issued me a giant “F” and that is what they should get.

  13. Kudos where due. Karoly properly credits McIntyre (though not, sadly, “JeanS”) and I give credit to Karoly for doing the right thing.

  14. suggest that folks write to the journal and the publications commission of the AMS.

    demand that code and data be provided and CHECKED before publication.

    • Interesting Mann has a problem with others taking money from fossil fuel people but he has no problem taking money from E=GREEN and lives off government grants. Can he explain QUID PRO QUO SETTLED SCIENCE?

  15. EternalOptimist says:
    June 8, 2012 at 2:34 pm
    “Steve McIntyre may not be part of the orthodoxy, but he is a true scientist.”

    I’ll say. If I were a climatologist planning to publish a proxy based reconstruction I’d WANT him to be one of the reviewers.

  16. Hehe. First a snarky “It’s called research”. Then it’s “We would like to thank you and the participants at the ClimateAudit blog for your scrutiny of our study”.

    Reminds me of a spokesman for Arthur Anderson during Enron, Worldcom, etc on the radio ten years ago: “It isn’t our job to check the figures.”

    Thanks Steve, Anthony and the REAL peer reviewers. Makes you wonder what complete rubbish would be accepted without your keen senses. I mean, RealClimate might start cheerleading for this sort of cr*p!

  17. I wonder if the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) who ran with this hard, including an interview with Karoly himself, will retract? Oh look….unicorns!!

  18. Steve McIntyre (along with help from Jean S) is to be congratulated on a thorough examination of the paper. For the lay-person, the correlation tests are complex. There are two, simpler, problems with the reconstruction which give are sufficient to reject it as quality science.

    1. Geography
    The study is a

    temperature reconstruction for the combined land and oceanic region of Australasia (0°S-50°S, 110°E-180°E)

    So why are Palmyra Atoll coral proxy (>1300 miles km NE), 2 Rarotonga coral proxies (1250 miles east) or 2 Vostok Ice Station proxies (>1900 miles S) included?. 5/27 are well outside the area.

    http://manicbeancounter.com/2012/06/06/mid-pacific-coral-temperature-proxies-from-gergis-et-al-2012/

    2. Proxy Correspondence
    Fiji (<150km across) and Rarotonga (<10km across) both have two coral proxies. The temperature proxies, if any good, should give similar results. They are massively different.

    http://manicbeancounter.com/2012/06/05/palmyra-atoll-coral-proxy-in-gergis-et-al-2012/

    3. Unrepresentative proxies
    By far the biggest land mass in Australasia and Oceania is the sub-continent of Australia covering 2,900,000 sq miles. There were a couple of coral proxies off the coast of Western Australia, but nothing on the mainland. The only proxies more than 250 miles from the coast are at Vostok, Antarctica, holder of the the world record for lowest temperature ever recorded. It is hardly representative if the Outback.

  19. Steve will probably be a little surprised that he’s an “energy industry consultant” according to Mann!

  20. It’s not correct to say that they credited Climate Audit. They say that they first discovered the error themselves on June 5 prior to the commentary at Climate Audit, which they merely acknowledge as having “also” discovered the problem that they had already discovered. It is very much like the Mystery Man incident.

    REPLY: I’ve made an edit in the Update: subheadline to reflect this. – Anthony

  21. I put it to you (the WUWT “crowd) that this is by far the biggest documented defeat for the AGW team. It surpasses climategate because it is now likely to be certain that Mann et al will be seen as attempted misrepresentation/fraud as well. I would say that the whole hardcore team will go down with this. I am prone to think that ceratin members wi;; not be affected too much Schmidt, Karoli etc.who are actually able to admit mistakes or at least admit that there hiding them LOL!

  22. CAGW Fraudsters everywhere tremble at the sound of the name “Steven McIntyre”. Steve McIntyre and Jean S are to be congratulated on their thorough examination of the Paper.
    Gergis et al must be shell-shocked and suffering post traumatic symptoms.

  23. Congratulations to Steve McIntyre and crew @ Climate Audit.

    Will this embarrassment to AMS and Gergis et al change the way the so-called ‘science’ and review process is carried out? I hope so. The past schemes have been exposed and a lot of eyes are now watching. It is a fool’s errand to try to continue the business as usual BS that has been so prevalent in the past.

    I have little respect for Gergis as she refused to communicate with Steve McIntyre as noted in her reply to him; quote “We will not be entertaining any further correspondence on the matter.” The paper was only pulled because the evidence was overwhelming that it was flawed. Gergis et al simply got caught and chose the limit the damage. A wise move there. I look forward to watching their damage control in action.

    McIntyre should be paid for his true scientific work. He is teaching these so-called ‘scientists’ science. They should have learned in their university studies. But then one only needs to view the academics in the field of climate science to understand the underlying problem .

  24. Hey this isn’t supposed to be how peer reviewed scientific method works. A paper is supposed to be sitting around in some dusty journal for 3 to 5 years before anyone reads it or decides to try to duplicate the results. How are these beginning scientists supposed to meet tenure publishing criteria if their efforts keep getting skewered by amateurs before the ink is dry or before the ‘way back’ machine manages to catelog the online article?

    I’m overwhelmed by the number of potential serious catastrophies that could happen because of such things! If, as published in peer reviewed literature, it is true that over 40% of peer reviewed literature is found to be seriously flawed within 5 years of publication, what is going to happen to all the junior tenure track faculty publishing this erroneous claptrap if it starts being proven false immediately after publication? Universities may no longer be able to replace retiring and dying faculty with permanent new faculty, creating gypsies out of younger wannabes. unfortunately, I have mixed feelings on the peer reviewed paper mentioned above. I feel it is probably correct, but if so, there’s about a 40% chance that it too is in serious error, leaving a barely 60% liklihood that it is in fact correct and that’s hardly a 1-sigma (standard deviation) confidence – and here it was only a few months ago that a few particle researchers found out their higg’s boson discovered with better than a two-sigma s.d. turns out to be an unlikely fluke rather than a big cash prize at the next nobel algore-a-thon.
    /sarc-off

    A big tip of the hat to Steve M. for his timely efforts.

    if western civilization survives, the debt owed to Steve for exposing this clap-trap is going to rival the size of the current US national debt.

  25. From Sean’s linked MM article June 7, 2012 :

    “Hilliard compounds the problem by citing attacks against our work by two Canadian climate change deniers (Fraser Institute-funded economist Ross McKitrick and energy industry”consultant Stephen McIntyre) without noting that several independent studies have established fatal flaws in their claims.”

    Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Climate+change+deniers+blinded+political+ideology/6748053/story.html#ixzz1xFDLGO2f

    Doesn’t he realise these aren’t attacks but just “a normal part of science” from esteemed blog colleagues?

  26. That a 3 year study of 950.000 australian dollars got peer reviewed (!), published in AMS and was allready used in the FOD for AR5 makes one think. Doesn’t it.

  27. Spencer-Braswell 2011 was never found to have the errors this paper does and we witnessed an editor resigning and the paper being rejected etc. Where is Trenberth? Where is the fast track rebuttal paper? Nice job Steve McIntyre!

  28. clipe says:
    June 8, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Preliminary Advanced Version

    Grrr…Preliminary “Accepted” Version

  29. Steve McIntyre says: June 8, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    [...] It is very much like the Mystery Man incident.

    One begins to wonder if perhaps they have instant access to an “excuses ‘r us” wiki, the contents of which are templates that can be recycled for any public acknowledgments of error they might eventually conclude they need to make.

  30. u.k.(us) says:
    June 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    When Steve McIntyre talks, people listen.
    ========================================
    “people listen”

    They have no option, facts and logic plainly presentated leave dissenting voices nowhere to go.

  31. Congratulations Steve McIntyre/Jean S, well caught.

    Sean says:
    June 8, 2012 at 2:50 pm
    Steve McIntyre, Michael Mann is bad mouthing you again and claiming that all is good with his “independently verified” hockey stick:

    http://www.montrealgazette.com/technology/Climate+change+deniers+blinded+political+ideology/6748053/story.html

    ==========
    From which: “Hilliard compounds the problem by citing attacks against our work by two Canadian climate change deniers (Fraser Institute-funded economist Ross McKitrick and energy industry consultant Stephen McIntyre) without noting that several independent studies have established fatal flaws in their claims.”

    Perhaps a formal complaint to NASA in an open letter?

    http://www.globalwarmingclassroom.info/Lesson1_graphs.htm

    “Finally, two Canadian scientists found out the data set used by Mann, and analyzed Mann’s statistical approach. They determined that Mann and his team used incorrect statistics to come up with the curve. In fact, it was so bad that the same curve was created even if they inputted a completely random data set. The curve was a function of the statistics used, and had nothing to do with reality. When the Canadian scientists applied the correct statistics, out popped the Little Ice Age and Medieval Climate Optimum (see above). Worse, a scandal at Great Britain’s Climate Research Unit in the late fall of 2009 revealed that the data used in the graph after 1960 was from a totally different and completely corrupted data set. Even if the second data set was not corrupted, combining two radically different data sets (apples and oranges) into one graph negates its scientific validity. Although the Hockey Stick Curve was thoroughly discredited, it continued to be used in publications and media reports for years, and was a main component of Al Gore’s video The Inconvenient Truth. Perhaps the most alarming aspect of this episode is that even after having his error exposed, Dr. Michael Mann is still a principal scientist in the IPCC and receives millions of dollars from the US government. Tragically, this kind of slipshod research has also been discovered coming out of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Since the finding that NASA’s temperature data was in error in 2007, other errors are being reported.”

    Would have been better had the two Canadian scientists been named..

    By the way, typo alert: (*Added: apparently Gergis refused some additional data Steve McIntyre requested, he [has] documentation of this on his website)

  32. Before doing a victory dance, it might be worthwhile to wait and see what the corrected results show.

    While there are problems with the methodology, these issues might not be material to the results.

  33. Meanwhile back at the RC ranch:
    My initial impression is that Gergis et al.s’ results will not wind up changing much, if at all.–eric
    ____________________

  34. Russ R. says (June 8, 2012 at 4:35 pm)

    The Team are probably trying to Mannhandle the data as we speak.

  35. ACCORDING TO TO STEVE:
    Steve McIntyre says:
    June 8, 2012 at 3:27 pm
    It’s not correct to say that they credited Climate Audit. They say that they first discovered the error themselves on June 5 prior to the commentary at Climate Audit, which they merely acknowledge as having “also” discovered the problem that they had already discovered. It is very much like the Mystery Man incident.

    THIS MEANS ‘CYA’ for them, AND ‘MUDDYING THE WATERS’ FOR WHAT REALLY HAPPENED. How convenient!

  36. Another egregious travesty bites the dust.

    The half-life of a hockey stick in the open literature is decreasing…

    …this is what happens when people check what you do.

  37. Regarding the latest piece of wah-wah editorilizing by Michael Mann:

    the National Academy of Sciences, has reaffirmed our conclusions (see e.g. Science Panel Backs Study on Warming Climate, New York Times, June 22, 2006), confirming that modern temperatures are likely higher than they’ve been in more than a thousand years.

    What the NRC study actually found:

    ‘High Confidence’ That Planet Is Warmest in 400 Years;
    Less Confidence in Temperature Reconstructions Prior to 1600

    http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=11676

    I guess the Mann just can’t help himself.

    Such a loose use of the term “likely” by such a careful scientiist.

  38. Ya know, if these type of paper writers would read WUWT they wouldn’t be constantly making the same mistakes over and over…
    Oh, and thank goodness for Steve McIntyre.

  39. What heroes Mcintyre, Mckitrick, Watts and now Jean S. These people should all be given a million $ each at least.
    Let’s hope that all of the sceptical blogs are waiting with baseball bats when the final AR5 rears it’s head. If it can be pulled apart quickly it would save the world wasting trillions $ on this fraud of CAGW mitigation.

  40. Gergis will fall on her sword and announce that the MWP was regional and apologize for implying it occurred in the Southern Hemisphere too.

    The AGW cult members I regularly argue with INSIST the MWP and LIA were regional and could therefore be dismissed. They were freaking out over the exstence of an MWP in this paper and graph showing up on “mainstream ” science sites.

    They didn’t retract the paper because it was wrong, they retracted it because it demolished the narrative of the MWP being irrelevant and regional.

  41. I will add my Congratulations to Steve McIntyre/Jean S, Thank You your efforts are very much appreciated and with luck, history will show your true worth.

  42. I always wonder why these climate criminals are so reluctant to give Steve McIntyre all of the data he requests. Is it because they don’t want him to try to replicate their ‘results’? If so then is it really science?

    Jokes aside they know they have been had. The Ponzi Scheme is going down.

  43. Help me out understanding this; my doctorate is in the law, not physics or math. The quoted part of the summary says, “The average reconstructed temperature anomaly in Australasia during A.D. 1238–1267, the warmest 30-year pre-instrumental period, is 0.09°C (±0.19°C) below 1961–1990 levels.” Now, when I went to school and studied math and that stuff, when the margin for error is larger than your result, that equals a meaningless result; has that changed?? Nine-hundredths of a degree Celsius, plus or minus nineteen-hundredths of a degree Celsius means (to my feeble understanding) that the average reconstructed temperature anomaly in Australasia … blah, blah … is between minus one tenth of a degree Celsius and plus twenty-eight-hundredths of a degree Celsius and we don’t know where the real average is, between those two numbers? Either the average temp was .28 degrees C below or was .10 degrees C above the 1961-1990 levels; or some number inbetween those two. Is that right? Then the temperature anomaly is useless to establish that average temps were above or below the 1961 – 1990 averages, because the range of possible anomaly results ranges from above to below. What am I missing here??

  44. Following some recent criticism, there is no solar system study by Copernicus in existence.

  45. Ike;
    What am I missing here??>>>

    Nothing!
    BTW, if you apply that same logic to pretty much ANY of the climate reconstructions out there, you wind up with that exact same conclusion. The error range DWARFS the very things they are supposedly measuring. In no other field of science is such a ridiculous practice ever considered, let alone used to justify major changes to the world economy. Would be a good thing if more lawyers such as yourself would ask the same questions and then apply your skills (as lawyers) to dealing with the matter. What you have discovered through your own reasoning and questioning is only scratching the surface of what the “team” has passed off as science.

  46. Russ R. says:
    June 8, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Before doing a victory dance, it might be worthwhile to wait and see what the corrected results show.

    While there are problems with the methodology, these issues might not be material to the results.

    If they had “material results” all along, why did they go to such extreme measures to get the results they wanted?

    I don’t think we’ll see a corrected revision of this paper–should it be done correctly, it would likely be another refutation of Mann’s sacred cow.

    Can’t have that now, can we?

  47. Well spotted Ike.
    Perhaps all that could be said is that there is no discernible difference between the data sets. I haven’t looked at them so don’t know.

    The claim of….“The average reconstructed temperature anomaly in Australasia during A.D. 1238–1267, the warmest 30-year pre-instrumental period, is 0.09°C (±0.19°C) below 1961–1990 levels.” is patently ridiculous.

    The suggestion of a mean of 0.09 and a standard deviation of 0.19 is meaningless. The mean is below the detection limit of the analytical method used [ whatever it was, perhaps just wishful thinking].

  48. So what happens if thier corrections lead to a graph with no stick, do they still have to publish the results? Or would they just withdraw the paper completely?

  49. A new defense for Gergis and friends:

    Claim that Peter Gleick went “rogue” against the climate science community and forged the paper to embarrass them, because Gleick is now secretly in the pay of major fossil fuel interests.

    Hey, if they have to sacrifice someone from the hockey team why not sacrifice a marginal third stringer already known to do that sort of thing??

  50. Just some guy: If that happens, the paper will disappear. If they published a paper that shows a warm period around 1200ish then a cold period in the 1700ish time frame and 1200ish warmer than current in the SOUTHERN hemisphere, they would fear for their lives (skeptics wouldn’t be able to be blamed either – not that we ever were – we argue facts, warmists MUST destroy the opposition).

    Now if all of their data were available for inspection (including that which they rejected) and their processes and statistical methods were available and found by statistical experts to be above reproach and their results held, I would be interested in hearing what they say. Unfortunately the IF part of the IF->THEN statement will never happen so I am not too worried about having to reassess my thoughts on global warming, but should they actually pass the IF part, I will look carefully at their conclusion to adapt my thinking.

  51. Just some guy says:
    June 8, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    So what happens if thier corrections lead to a graph with no stick, do they still have to publish the results? Or would they just withdraw the paper completely?

    ===================

    You make a valid point.

  52. davidmhoffer says:
    June 8, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Ike; [@ 5:49]
    What am I missing here??>>>

    Nothing!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Well, I don’t know about that. One might add that all the world-changing schemes to address AGW via CO2 reductions (if I’ve understood the reports) would reduce future world temperature by an amount that to the nearest whole number is zero. Wait! Oh, that’s actually nothing, isn’t it. Okay, then. Back to the room.

  53. When the standard deviation exceeds the anomaly there is no statistically significant difference from the baseline. There is still a level of confidence that can be provided given that there is a calculated difference. The level of confidence that the difference is real is low, very, very low.

    That’s all. It is not complicated.

  54. Another collectable Climate Science sneer from Joelle Gergis:
    We will not be entertaining any further correspondence on the matter.
    in response to Steve’s request for data.

  55. I would regard David Karoly’s letter to Steve McIntyre a step forward, and similar steps overdue from Mann, Rahmstorf and many others.

    Climate literature is littered with bad science and the poor quality of IPCC reports is just one consequence. More than a decade old bad science is still circulated just because the persons responsible or in charge at the journals do not retract.

    I also hope, the paper will be republished, even if the Hockey Stick disappears (what I expect to happen, as this happened with all other former Hockey Sticks after a Climate Audit.).

  56. Just some guy says:
    June 8, 2012 at 6:48 pm
    So what happens if thier corrections lead to a graph with no stick, do they still have to publish the results? Or would they just withdraw the paper completely?
    ============================================================
    Depends on how much they adhere to epoxology.

  57. just some guy says:

    June 8, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    The problem is they forget to add Manns Secret Hot Sauce…. :P

    Are you tired of bland trends and boring flat lines? Do your proxies have a case of the chills? Why not spice things up a bit with Mann’s Super Ultra Hot -n- Spicy Sauce! Put some pizzaaz in your data! Give your stick a sizzling uptick! And best of all, results are guaranteed, or your grant money back!

    Mann…. That’s Hot!!
    ======================================================================

    Hahahaha……. Golden Guffaw Award for the week goes to you mate….. That was a good laugh. Thnx. :-)

  58. Manfred, that last point you make is a good one, and it _should_ be published regardless as it is still, having been done correctly, the reconstruction of the southern hemisphere temperature record. This is not something that should only be published if it suggests unprecedented warming. From a climate change perspective we want to know where current temperatures stand historically regardless of the conclusion.

  59. I do not “regard David Karoly’s letter to Steve McIntyre a step forward” because it just substitutes politeness for honesty. Please, “Stephen”, accept our kind words in lieu of the credit that you deserve! Yeah, right. Shameful behaviour by the me-too-ing Aussies.

  60. Now this begins to look as science. A fair exchange over open data and method. More of that kind, please!

  61. Is there anyone out there who’d be prepared to bet that this paper will reappear:

    a) with only the detrending problem corrected
    b) no other changes to data or methods (and therefore no hockey stick)
    c) under the same credited authorship?

    No, I didn’t think so.

  62. Manfred: “I also hope, the paper will be republished, even if the Hockey Stick disappears“.

    Seconded. [Thirded? since DavidA has already seconded.]

    Here is a golden opportunity for Gergis to achieve fame and fortune. After the paper is corrected and re-published, it becomes ground-breaking science – the paper that establishes that the MWP was global, the paper that overturned Mann’s hockey-stick, the paper that overturned the IPCC report, the paper that saved the world’s economies. Gergis will be the name spoken of with awe throughout scientific circles, while Steve MacIntyre will get a mention in the footnotes if he’s lucky. Science working as it’s supposed to work.

  63. to measure temperature accurately, you need a thermometer of some kind….these proxy studies are mostly bullshit

  64. I think what it shows is the oh-so-small capabilities of statistics among the climate, or climate related scientists these days.
    All assuming they did not intentionally “fudge” with the data (which I really think they did not).

  65. Mike Jonas;
    the paper that establishes that the MWP was global, the paper that overturned Mann’s hockey-stick, the paper that overturned the IPCC report,>>>>>>>>>>>>

    There’s dozens of papers that already do that. Scroll through these. Some are million year time scales but there are dozens of reconstructions on the 1000 year scale from all kinds of different proxies and from all over the world that all show the MWP and the LIA.

    http://www.c3headlines.com/temperature-charts-historical-proxies.html

  66. So there is no date correlation between between the finding of data processing errors in this paper by Climate Audit and by the authors themselves on June 5th.

    I wonder if Gergis et al get the irony of that.

  67. REPLY: “Progress in Climate” is distinctly different than “Climate Progress” Joe Romm probably won’t be able to bring himself to report this or even correct his article:
    (link snipped to save electrons)
    Be sure to let him know in comments, I’m banned there. – Anthony

    Evidently, comments are closed to anyone without the Secret Handshake. However, I *did* utilize the Hot Tip box to post the following:

    Gergis et al has been redacted due to several flaws in the work. You might want to update your 1 June post, in the interest of accuracy — “Yet another hockey stick broken” might be a good title…

    Cheers

    Got screenshots of the tip and the nice Thank You from the monitorbot, but I’m guessing I shouldn’t hold my breath waiting for CP to update the post…

  68. Anthony

    It was Jean S, a regular contributor both here and at Steve’s who discovered the detrending problem and , i think, Steve found the usual proxy selection fiddle.

  69. Would I be too cynical to suggest that…
    1) Yes, they discovered the error themselves.
    2) No, it wasn’t on the 5th of June but prior to even submission to the journal.
    3) They went ahead anyway hoping that Steve McIntyre wouldn’t get to it too quickly.

    DaveE.

  70. John Bills says:
    June 8, 2012 at 3:56 pm
    ///////////////////////////////////////////
    As you rightly infer, it is a damning indictment of both the quality of the science and of the quality of peer review. If it was not for pal review, the errors ought to have beem picked up prioer to publication and the paper either corrected or rejected.

    This affiar is an endorsement of the need to provide all code and data sets whenever a paper is published, it is also an endorsement of the effectiveness of independent review by ‘amateur’ scientists and demonstrates the value of their independent input and review.

    Well done Steve.

  71. Sorry Ignore above link, I’ll just repost GrantB comment:-

    ‘We would like to put the record staight on some recent misrepresentations in the climate denial community regarding our research (yes research!) and our recent paper in the Journal of Climate.

    * Our paper has received wide acclamation in the Australian and world media. The Guardian reports that our study “of tree rings, corals and ice cores finds unnatural spike in temperatures that lines up with manmade climate change” as conclusive scientific evidence that “Australasia has hottest 60 years in a millennium”.

    * Radio Australia reports our research concludes that the “Last five decades warmest in Australia’s history”. This was very much against our expectations, but as scientists we were obliged to report it.

    * One of us has backed up this research with a video clip and further details on a blog. The link to the blog is currently broken and we will restore it as soon as possible.

    * Our paper has five authors. Each one of us has extensively reviewed the data and methodology used in the paper. The paper has passed peer review by three referees in the Journal of Climate and peer review in Climate Science has long been recognised as the the gold standard in scientific publications.

    * Our paper will be cited in the upcoming AR5 and is already being seen as seminal. However in a final check we discovered a minor error in our methodology which although it doesn’t matter will be corrected before inclusion in AR5. We understand that a denial blog also picked up this error some time after we did. Small potatoes and no big deal.

    * Although we are based in Melbourne we do as a group own property in Sydney. If any of your readers are interested in purchasing a large spanning-arch bridge we will be happy to consider offers.

    Thankyou

    The Climate Science Team
    The University of Melbourne’

  72. What have this peer reviewers done? I can’t believe, that they really read that paper without finding that big mistake.

  73. “From a climate change perspective we want to know where current temperatures stand historically regardless of the conclusion.”

    It is impossible to that.

  74. Luther Wu says: June 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm Meanwhile back at the RC ranch:
    “My initial impression is that Gergis et al.s’ results will not wind up changing much, if at all.–eric”

    Well, -eric, we’re not going to lose sleep over that. Wrong is wrong is wrong.
    The emphasis so far has been on the statistics. What of other errors? Some have pointed out that this “Australasian” reconstruction leaves out the mainland of Australia almost completely; others have noted the absence of coral proxy work from the greatest coral accumulation on the World, the Great Barrier Reef. Others have noted that for a Southern Hemisphere reconstruction, some of the sites are in the Northern Hemisphere, some with incorrect coordinates given by the authors.
    Related to the latter point and proximity to the Equator, Gergis et al use temperatures to calibrate over the months Sept to Feb – see first line of abstract. At the Equator, the sun is directly overhead 3 times a year. Within the tropics, two times a year. At the Tropics, once a year. So, in the Tropics, there is a geometric effect on what is summer. As Willis Eschenbach has pointed out http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/09/jason-and-the-argo-notes/ surface sea temperatures recorded by Argo floats show that the ocean temperatures in the Tropics top out at about 31 deg C and that the diurnal range near the Equator is tiny http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/07/further-evidence-for-my-thunderstorm-thermostat-hypothesis/ . Surely coral proxies would benefit from a hefty change in temperatures to show useful growth differences during life cycles.
    It would be interesting to hear why a Sept-Feb time scale was chosen because in some locations it is illogical. It would also be interesting to know why the reviewers did not pick up this silliness. And more.

  75. As a professional auditor, I am beginning to have very little confidence in the peer review process involving studies relating to catastrophic man-made global warming. This Gergis paper is a fine example why. From the very beginning, the results of the Gergis paper were suspicious. What stuns me is it took an outsider to expose it… but where are the peer reviewers of the Gergis paper? They should be exposed and held to account.

    Honestly, the scientific community must find a more effective, transparent and trustworthy process for the reviewing of scientific studies. For goodness sake, we now have the internet, Surely a formal scientific site could be set up to which studies could be submitted and published on the internet. That way, a study could be subjected to as much scrutiny and feed back as is possible within a predetermined cut-off period, and be ultimately assessed by a team of experts in the field before the paper could then be finally published in its final format.

  76. Jean S,

    Thank you for your comment at CA which initially made public the error in Gergis et al 2012. And I thank Steve McIntyre for having his wonderfully open venue where such critical analysis as yours can be looked at by anyone interested in a more balanced scientific view than the problematic so-called ‘consensus’ climate science of RC.

    John

  77. No doubt a lot of confirmation bias came into play. When the answer that was found was what the authors and reviewers expected they put very little effort into verification.

  78. A search of “Gergis” in Twitter has this near the top,

    伊藤公紀 ‏@Itoh_Kiminori
    Watt氏ブログより。最近また、20世紀の気温を過大評価する「ホッケースティック(HS)曲線」の論文が発表されたが、「データを逆さまに使用」などの欠陥を指摘され、米国気象学会が論文撤回。HS曲線が好きな環境事務次官はぜひ再考を。http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/06/08/american-meteorological-society-disappears-gergis-et-al-paper-on-proxy-temperature-reconstruction-after-post-peer-review-finds-fatal-flaws/#more-65267

    My Japanese is a little rusty but Google translates it as,

    @ Itoh_Kiminori Osamu Ito Blog from Mr. Watt. Also recently been published papers of the 20th century to overestimate the temperature curve “(HS) hockey stick”, is pointed out the defects, such as “upside down use the data”, American Meteorological Society withdrawal papers. What is your favorite environment vice minister to reconsider the curve means HS.

    A big hello to our Japanese readers ;-)

  79. So, for Dr Gergis we can add to “committed environmentalist, far leftist, surly and rude correspondent”, “with egg on her [self-SNIP] face.
    It would be un-gallant of me to comment on a lady’s(?) looks.

  80. Just another reason I am NOT a member, even though I am a meteorologist for 25yrs now. I cannot support this ilk. Sure they do a lot of good things, but I still won’t support them with an annual fee. Nope!

  81. They seem incapable of learning that the good old days of getting away with publishing any old crap are over; everything gets checked nowadays. These are great days.

    Pointman

  82. “My initial impression is that Gergis et al.s’ results will not wind up changing much, if at all.–eric”

    There’s quite an advantage when one works in a field where “the right answer” is known before the work is done.

  83. Mervin we run 3 peer reviewed journals on the internet we demand that all unadjusted/untouched raw data be provided as a basic condition for evaluation

  84. Geoff Sherrington: Steigs paper is another fraud anyway extrapolating all data from the SH peninsula over the whole continent I would not even mention him here he doesn’t deserve to be, just like Gergis and Mann and Briffa etc. Yamal. These people should not be considered as scientists anymore

  85. Usually, so long as the conclusion is politically correct the numeracy of science isn’t that important. Has that changed? Are we now insisting on the Inconvenient Whole Truth?

  86. In the business world — whether the errors were due to fraud, incompetence or worse — it would be enough to curtain a company and the quality of every piece of product they had shipped over the prior years would be suspect.

  87. With so many hockey-stick-looking graphy things coming out, sooner or later we’ll assume there must be some truth to them (somewhere). They can’t ALL be wrong. Or so they hope?

    Yeah, that’s the ticket!

  88. Climate scientists should be taken to the International War Crimes Tribunal for the way they “torture” their data. /sarc

  89. Regarding the “we discovered the mistake before Climate Audit” claim, there is one scenario where that could be true, and that is that they knew all along that what they were doing was not kosher. There is no bound on cynicism in Climate Science.

  90. I just love it when someone trots out the “seminal” word as being descriptive of their research. These days, it means that we, the consuming public, have just been ____ed.

  91. Pamela Gray says:
    June 9, 2012 at 9:56 am

    – – – – – – – – –

    Pamela Gray,

    Not THAT kind of seminal, me thinks. ; )

    John

  92. Although there is an attempt to refer to the article as “on hold”, Anthony correctly refers to it as “withdrawn”.

    Paul Mathews points this out over at Climate Audit.

    http://climateaudit.org/2012/06/08/gergis-et-al-put-on-hold/#comment-337172

    I posted this response, but it immediately went into moderation, which in my experience, means “bye-bye, so long”. So here’s my comment:

    Paul, now that you mention it, I’ve never heard of an “on hold” category for the scientific publishing process. I was inclined to let them have their “on hold”, but your comment prompted me to do some googling. AMS does not seem to have any published guidelines with regard to “in press” withdrawals/holds, bue Elsevier has an extensive set of policies:

    •Article Withdrawal: Only used for Articles in Press which represent early versions of articles and sometimes contain errors, or may have been accidentally submitted twice. Occasionally, but less frequently, the articles may represent infringements of professional ethical codes, such as multiple submission, bogus claims of authorship, plagiarism, fraudulent use of data or the like.
    •Article Retraction: Infringements of professional ethical codes, such as multiple submission, bogus claims of authorship, plagiarism, fraudulent use of data or the like.
    •Article Removal: Legal limitations upon the publisher, copyright holder or author(s).
    •Article Replacement: Identification of false or inaccurate data that, if acted upon, would pose a serious health risk.

    http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/intro.cws_home/article_withdrawal

    Which of those would apply I guess would depend on the ultimate outcome of this thing.

    AGU has a retraction/withdrawal policy, but nothing about “on hold”.

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/authors/policies/retraction_policy.shtml

    Maybe “on hold” will have to be created as a special category exclusive to climate papers. I wonder if the IPCC can alter their policy in time…

  93. Looks like it did clear over at CA.

    Guess I’m guilty of “multiple submissions”.

    Please put my comment “on hold”. :)

  94. Here let’s give the Leftists a new meme to work with–e.g., the devastation from CO2 is heading to hearth like a comet on a collision course and there’s nothing that will save us except Schwarzenegger and schoolteachers. God save us from businessmen and capitalism.

  95. My thanks to davidmhoffer and GregK and Crispin in Waterloo.
    @Crispin in Waterloo: You write: “When the standard deviation exceeds the anomaly there is no statistically significant difference from the baseline. There is still a level of confidence that can be provided given that there is a calculated difference. The level of confidence that the difference is real is low, very, very low.” What level of confidence can be given when the measured quantity is smaller than the measuring device? Suppose I claimed that I had cut a piece of lumber to within 1/128th of an inch of the desired measurement, but mention that I used a tape measure which has as its smallest mark 1/16th of an inch? (I use those numbers because I think they are approximately the same difference as those in the quoted part of the summary; if they’re not, then take them as a simple contra-factual example, please.) Not even with the sharper eyes I had fifty years ago could I distinguish 1/128th of an inch using a ruler whose smallest division is 1/16th of an inch. To my simple-minded understanding of the world and measurement, there simply is no possibility, let alone any probability however low, that we can know more than that the actual number is between -.10 and +.28 and we have no way to tell where it lies between those numbers. If the number is not intended as an expression of actual measurements, but rather is a calculation, then that makes the matter worse, not better, as I understand simple arithmetic, because multiplication – an event that necessarily occurs somewhere in this wonderful process of determining an average – magnifies the error. You see my point? The answer – whether the result of calculation or of measurement – is both unknown and unknowable from the data or calculated results provided. Therefore, there is no probability that the difference is real, when as in this case, the range of possible answers extends from above to below the claimed answer. Am I not stating this clearly? Or has science progressed beyond the point where “Your presented numbers are nonsense” is not a permitted result?? I do truly appreciate what you said, but it makes no sense to me, for the reason(s) I set out above, and I apologize if you take personal offense at something I’ve written as no offense is intended, but I am puzzled by your response.

  96. But who were the reviewers who slipped up in their basic professional duties of care.
    Unless and until they are identified, one will be alway suspicious of whether it not it was the Mates Review system at work . ie MR not PR…..and no more so than In Australia

    There would have been a lot hanging on the printing and releasing of this paper…and they have produced a consumate stuff up. Not a good look

  97. Ike says:June 9, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    @Crispin in Waterloo said: “When the standard deviation exceeds the anomaly there is no statistically significant difference from the baseline. There is still a level of confidence that can be provided given that there is a calculated difference. The level of confidence that the difference is real is low, very, very low.”

    @Ike said: “Therefore, there is no probability that the difference is real, when as in this case, the range of possible answers extends from above to below the claimed answer. Am I not stating this clearly? Or has science progressed beyond the point where “Your presented numbers are nonsense” is not a permitted result?? ”

    Ike, I’m pretty sure you and Crispin are saying exactly the same thing.

  98. Steve McIntyre says:
    June 8, 2012 at 3:27 pm
    It’s not correct to say that they credited Climate Audit. They say that they first discovered the error themselves on June 5 prior to the commentary at Climate Audit,
    ============
    Oz is after all 14 hours ahead of Canada, so by reading Canadian Blogs, they are able to discover all sorts of things as much as 14 hours sooner than anyone in Canada.

  99. It is a normal part of science that the errors always trend the same direction.

    Apparently.

  100. profitup10 says:
    June 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    What happened to the scientific ethics?

    Scientific ethics lives and survives only where the funding sources are ‘blinded’ or disinterested. But since infinite money isn’t available, choices get made, and inevitably favorites are picked.

    I’m beginning to think that the only way to prevent this kind of consensual lock-up is to explicitly establish funding, as a significant % of the total, for ‘dissident’ or ‘rogue’ science in any field where controversy exists. That would heighten the chances of catching groupthink disasters like Climate Science at an early stage, before they ran roughshod over public policy and academia — to the great detriment of society.

  101. GregK says:

    The claim of….“The average reconstructed temperature anomaly in Australasia during A.D. 1238–1267, the warmest 30-year pre-instrumental period, is 0.09°C (±0.19°C) below 1961–1990 levels.” is patently ridiculous.

    You’d be hard pushed, even with modern instruments, to measure temperatures with that kind of accuracy. That’s before doing any kind of data processing, which would tend to decrease the level of accuracy.

    The suggestion of a mean of 0.09 and a standard deviation of 0.19 is meaningless. The mean is below the detection limit of the analytical method used

    You see this frequently in “climate science” including ocean pH and sea level. It’s as though these people have never heard of the term “significant figures”. Combined with an apparent inability to consider the accuracy and precision of their measuring methods.

    No doubt someone else could take the (same) data and come up with something like 0°C (±2.5°C)

  102. Ike says:

    June 9, 2012 at 7:28 pm The answer – whether the result of calculation or of measurement – is both unknown and unknowable from the data or calculated results provided. Therefore, there is no probability that the difference is real, when as in this case, the range of possible answers extends from above to below the claimed answer.

    THere may be a probability the difference is real, but it is unknowable from the methodology, both physical and analytic. As many have mentioned, this issue constantly dogs climate science, and most life sciences in general. Inability to measure to the necessary resolution, inability to account for and identify confounding variables, lack of understanding of the totality of variability inherent in the subject, renders most of this “science” worthless. This is a common issue with the study of chaotic and complex systems, many of which are also self-determinant, by physicists, mathematicians and chemists. They simply don’t have the knowledge base necessary to ask the right questions about the hypotheses they’re trying to resolve. In no way will a graduate astrophysicist, organic chemist, fluid engineer or any other traditional discipline produce scientists capable of addressing “climate change” or any number of broadly described “environmental” disciplines with the science that they graduated with. Understanding climate will have to be multi-disciplinary, with the most rigorous application of scientific methodology and principle that we can muster.

    We are limited in so many ways as to our ability to conduct any kind of multi-variate analysis on the scale necessary to deduce climate, that we are decades away, if not generations, from any form of conclusions about the operation of the earth’s dynamic systems, much less policy decisions.

    The current approaches produce nothing but “anthropogenic global warming” (ie, “hot air”), and contribute almost nothing to the science, only confusion. Presently active scientists need to understand that their individual contribution will, inevitably, be miniscule to the bigger questions, but also understand that their work must also be of the very highest quality, if it is to have any contribution at all. To do otherwise, for systems of the scale of climate, is to simply waste the money and lives of their contemporaries.

  103. Steig et al (2009) got a scary cover in “Nature” before being refuted.

    Gergis et al (2012) was on the verge of being embraced as gospel by the IPCC’s AR5

    The “climate science community” needs and can benefit from the “auditors”!!

    Unless of course their purpose is not really science but propaganda and political activism.

  104. Thank you, markx; I re-read what I had written and what Crispin in Waterloo wrote and I see that you’re correct. He’s just more polite than I. *smile* Thank to all who wrote in reply to my comments; you’ve helped my understanding of the material considerably. Lawyers who are neither members of a government nor attorneys for a government agency have little or no chance of altering the apparently poisonous relationship between climate research funding by governments and the resulting papers and claims. Politics, in its modern form of unlimited scope untrammelled by reason or conscience or constitutional law, is the eight-hundred-pound guerrila with a machinegun of modern life: nothing can happen without the approval of those who control the governments. Of course, due to institutionalized ignorance and other unavoidable characteristics of political institutions, nothing that is effective or productive can happen with the approval of those who control the governments. *sigh* The answer ought to be less government intrusion and more freedom, but that seems a pipe dream at best, as I look around the world and consider what I see, based on 50 years of adult education, training and experience. Our fathers defeated the Nazis and Imperial Japan, the Soviet collapsed of its own incompetence and now it seems in America that we are dominated by people who seek the destruction of Western culture, replacing it with … nothing. Nihilism made flesh, as it were.

  105. Richdo says:
    June 8, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I’ll say. If I were a climatologist planning to publish a proxy based reconstruction I’d WANT him to be one of the reviewers.

    No you wouldn’t. Because then you’d have to find another line of work, having confirmed that proxies aren’t up to the task.

  106. Gavin at RealClimate says that when all is cleared up, he believes the Southern Hockey Stick will prevail. It sounds like a faith-based assessment, or is it a triumph of hope?

  107. In their attribution part Gergis et al. did NOT compare model runs with and without human influences. They compared forced runs with unforced runs. That is, with an imaginary Earth without volcanoes, sealed off from any solar or orbital influences, simulated for a 10,000 year period detached from any specific date in history. The only variation in their so called natural run comes from the internal pseudo-randomness of the computer program. They then announce their discovery that the real world has more variation.

    This is clear from the paper itself and the briefing powerpoint: “When we applied natural (volcanic events, solar activity) and human forcings (greenhouse gases) (blue), the model now reproduces the late 20th century warming. This demonstrates that the warming cannot be explained by natural variability alone.”

    It’s a screaming non-sequitur: natural AND human forcings reproduce the late 20th century warming, THUS the warming cannot be explained by natural variability alone. They didn’t even look (or show) whether it can or not, even inside the computer. The comparison left out such periods as MWP and LIA.

    Incidentally, the very model they use happens to underestimate natural variability in the very area they’re studying.

    The model also underestimates the magnitude of the relative warmth associated with the Mediaeval Climate Anomaly, and fails to reproduce the apparent La Nina-like pattern of temperature changes over the Pacific Basin.

    It’s unfortunate that the main conclusion rests on a computer program that its developer describes as “non-physical”:

    Flux adjustments are applied within Mk3L. While flux adjustments are non-physical, an unrealistic control climate and excessive drift are arguably also non-physical

    Apparently programming a physical model just didn’t work out so they had to pick the smaller non-physicalness.

    More generally, it’s interesting how comparison between observations and a computer program is conclusive enough to reject the natural variability null hypothesis and blame the human, but if you want to assess the validity of the said computer program, the same comparison becomes non-conclusive. You can’t falsify a climate model.

    The model used here was CSIRO Mk3L based on two earlier CSIRO models that have been included in IPCC AR reports. The main developer S. J. Phipps recounts his PhD project in an almost harry-read-me’esque technical report.

    An initial atmosphere model (AGCM) spin-up run revealed a large surface energy imbalance, with the annual-, global-mean atmosphere-ocean heat flux being diagnosed as -8.83 Wm−2 .

    The pristine pre-industrial paradise unexpectedly had an energy imbalance way larger than mankind has supposedly achieved so far.

    What do they do? Someone (pers. comm.) suggested fudging cloud albedo. After reducing convective cloud reflectivity to 59.5% and the rest to 86.5% the imbalance was brought down to an acceptable level. Problem solved!

    For Run C, the net atmosphere-ocean heat flux was reduced in magnitude to -0.17 Wm^-2; based on this consideration, and on the fit to observed values for the shortwave cloud forcing, values for refac1 and refac2 of 0.595 and 0.865 were selected for future use within the model.

    When they base these huge conclusions on observations being “consistent with” models (with human forcings), inconsistency of 59.5% with ERBE measurements in cloud reflectiveness apparently doesn’t count.

    Negative salinities.

    While this modification allows execution to continue in the event that negative salinities arise, it should be noted that it also has the potential to obscure numerical problems within the model.

    The model had an annoying habit of stopping due to floating point errors when ocean salinity went negative. Solution: change the code to allow negative salinities. Water has traditionally contained either a positive amount of salt, or none. It’s nice to see the climate modeling community has moved on from this kind of old-fashioned, boxed thinking.

    Energy conservation. Unforced control runs had 7.3*10^23 J per millennium appearing in the ocean. That’s 730000000000000000000 Joules per year. It was discovered that somewhere in the depths of Fortran, water temperature was forced to -1.8501°C whenever it fell under -1.85°C.

    I haven’t heard of this physical constant of -1.8501°C but it must be a part of gold standard science. After all the previous model using this value was accepted by IPCC.

    Interpolation errors.

    The surface freshwater flux also gives rise to large interpolation errors. Figure D.4 shows the total flux of precipitation minus evaporation, the interpolation error, and the temporal integral of the interpolation error. All quantities have been normalised by the surface area of the ocean. The total interpolation error for the year amounts to a net flux of freshwater into the ocean of 5.6 mm.

    Error of 5.6mm/year in sea level is 20 to 30 times the currently observed rate.

    Figure D.3 shows surface heat flux interpolation errors. Some of the grid boxes have an error of 40*10^12 W per year. So there’s an annual ~40000000000 kW energy appearing from nowhere or disappearing in an area of one grid box.

    About flux corrections.

    In Sections D.3.1 and D.3.2, a number of significant conservation errors are identified. The use of flux adjustments in the coupled model, however, will tend to mask their existence.

    Therefore, any shift in the climate of the coupled model away from its initial state, be it either as a result of drift within a control simulation, or as a result of an imposed change in external forcing, would be expected to lead to a change in the mean interpolation error. In turn, this will represent a source of drift within the model.

    Happily, as Phipps mentions, natural feedbacks tend to dampen these drifts. Except ocean salinity drift, but that’s just salt, not temperature.

    Apparently some work has been done to solve or mitigate some of these problems in the new Mk3L model but I understood they originate from the predecessor models used by IPCC.

    I wonder if scientists outside the modeling community actually know what’s going on there? It seems rather important since attribution of climate change rests on “consistency” between real world and these models. That’s the first letter in “AGW”.

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