Why the BEST papers failed to pass peer review

Red Fail

Red Fail (Photo credit: griffithchris)

Whoa, this is heavy.  Ross McKitrick, who was a peer review referee for the BEST papers with the Journal of Geophysical Research got fed up with Muller’s media blitzing and  tells his story:

excerpts:

In October 2011, despite the papers not being accepted, Richard Muller launched a major international publicity blitz announcing the results of the “BEST” project. I wrote to him and his coauthor Judy Curry objecting to the promotional initiative since the critical comments of people like me were locked up under confidentiality rules, and the papers had not been accepted for publication. Richard stated that he felt there was no alternative since the studies would be picked up by the press anyway. Later, when the journal turned the paper down and asked for major revisions, I sought permission from Richard to release my review. He requested that I post it without indicating I was a reviewer for JGR. Since that was not feasible I simply kept it confidential. 
On July 29 2012 Richard Muller launched another publicity blitz (e.g. here and here) claiming, among other things, that “In our papers we demonstrate that none of these potentially troublesome effects [including those related to urbanization and land surface changes] unduly biased our conclusions.” Their failure to provide a proper demonstration of this point had led me to recommend against publishing their paper. This places me in an awkward position since I made an undertaking to JGR to respect the confidentiality of the peer review process, but I have reason to believe Muller et al.’s analysis does not support the conclusions he is now asserting in the press.

I take the journal peer review process seriously and I dislike being placed in the position of having to break a commitment I made to JGR, but the “BEST” team’s decision to launch another publicity blitz effectively nullifies any right they might have had to confidentiality in this matter. So I am herewith releasing my referee reports.

Read it all here

Some backstory via Andrew Revkin from Elizabeth Muller. Revkin asked:

1) What’s the status of the four papers that were submitted last fall (accepted, in review…etc?)

2) There can be perils when publicity precedes peer review. Are you all confident that the time was right to post the papers, including the new one, ahead of review? Presumably this has to do with Tuesday deadline for IPCC eligibility?

Here’s her reply:

All of the articles have been submitted to journals, and we have received substantial journal peer reviews. None of the reviews have indicated any mistakes in the papers; they have instead been primarily suggestions for additions, further citations of the literature. One review had no complaints about the content of the paper, but suggested delaying the publication until the long background paper, describing our methods in detail, was actually published.

In addition to this journal peer review, we have had extensive comments from other scientists based on the more traditional method of peer review: circulation of preprints to other scientists. It is worthwhile remembering that the tradition in science, going back pre World War II, has been to circulate “preprints” of articles that had not yet been accepted by a journal for publication. This was truly “peer” review, and it was very helpful in uncovering errors and assumptions. We have engaged extensively in such peer review. Of course, rather than sending the preprints to all the major science libraries (as was done in the past), we now post them online. Others make use of arXiv. This has proven so effective that in some fields (e.g. string theory) the journalistic review process is avoided altogether, and papers are not submitted to journals. We are not going to that extreme, but rather are taking advantage of the traditional method.

We note that others in the climate community have used this traditional approach with great effectiveness. Jim Hansen, for example, frequently puts his papers online even before they are submitted to journals. Jim has found this method to be very useful and effective, as have we. As Jim is one of the most prominent members of the climate community, and has been doing this for so long, we are surprised that some journalists and scientists think we are departing from the current tradition.

The journal publication process takes time. This fact is especially true when new methods of analysis are introduced. We will be posting revised versions of 3 of the 4 papers previously posted later today (the 4th paper has not changed significantly). The core content of the papers is still the same, though the organization and detail has changed a fair amount.

The new paper, which we informally call the “Results” paper, has also undergone journal peer review (and none of the review required changing our results). We are posting it online today as a preprint, because we also want to invite comments and suggestions from the larger scientific community.

I believe the findings in our papers are too important to wait for the year or longer that it could take to complete the journal review process. We believe in traditional peer review; we welcome feedback the public and any scientists who are interested in taking the time to make thoughtful comments. Indeed, with the first 4 papers submitted, many of the best comments came from the broader scientific community. Our papers have received scrutiny by dozens of top scientists, not just the two or three that typically are called upon by journalists.

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107 thoughts on “Why the BEST papers failed to pass peer review

  1. He’s made his headlines but isn’t making too many friends.

    Mike Mann posting on Facebook:

    My view is that Muller’s efforts to promote himself by belittling the collective efforts of the entire atmospheric/climate research community over several decades, though, really does the scientific community a disservice. Its great that he’s reaffirmed what we already knew. But for him to pretend that we couldn’t trust this entire scientific field until Richard Muller put his personal stamp of approval on their conclusions is, in my view, a very dangerously misguided philosophical take on how science works. It seems, in the end–quite sadly–that this is all really about Richard Muller’s self-aggrandizement :(

    The self-aggrandizement comment seems to be spot on, though of course much disagreement exists elsewhere. Really, has the type of simplistic analysis performed by Muller not been done to death already?

  2. The believer side is treating this as a fait accompli. If you ask me this is highly irregular and almost narcissistic in its scope. Astounding. It’s like a Gleick, only it’s attempting to be legitimate SCIENCE.

  3. Its great that he’s reaffirmed what we already knew. But for him to pretend that we couldn’t trust this entire scientific field until Richard Muller put his personal stamp of approval on their conclusions is, in my view, a very dangerously misguided philosophical take on how science works.

    Let the internecine sniping begin…

  4. “Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by 2½ degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years” Professor Muller wrote in an opinion piece for The New York Times.

    Exactly, the warming has been going on since pre-industrialisation (which really kicked off in terms of anthropogenic, CO production post-WW2). In Prof. Muller’s own words, the current climate warming can not be CO2 driven.

  5. Self-aggrandizement? Good grief. How many hundreds of examples would it take to point out Mr.Mann’s self-aggrandizement?

  6. “It is worthwhile remembering that the tradition in science, going back pre World War II, has been to circulate “preprints” of articles that had not yet been accepted by a journal for publication.”

    That’s not really true. This is a time before laser printers or even photocopiers. Manuscripts were submitted as typescripts and carbon copies, and stayed that way until they had been typeset by a journal (after acceptance). Then you could get preprints to circulate.

  7. Well, well, Richard Muller seems to be taking flack from all sides today.

    Note to Dr. Muller – tacking flack does not always mean you are over the target. Mooning an “88” crew can also achieve a similar response.

  8. BEST and Muller being savaged by many – including warmists – here are just a few:

    David Appell:

    Attributing climate is more like figuring out the structure of DNA than it is like figuring out the laws of quantum mechanics — simple curve-fitting (“exponentials, polynomials”) doesn’t cut it. In fact, it makes you look kind of foolish.

    And former BEST author Judith Curry (by way of Revkin):

    Their latest paper on the 250-year record concludes that the best explanation for the observed warming is greenhouse gas emissions. Their analysis is way oversimplistic and not at all convincing in my opinion. There is broad agreement that greenhouse gas emissions have contributed to the warming in the latter half of the 20th century; the big question is how much of this warming can we attribute to greenhouse gas emissions. I don’t think this question can be answered by the simple curve fitting used in this paper, and I don’t see that their paper adds anything to our understanding of the causes of the recent warming.

    Warmist William Connolley – Muller still Rubbish:

    ‘And what they say…appears absurdly naive’

    Michael Mann (h/t Tom Nelson):

    My view is that Muller’s efforts to promote himself by belittling the collective efforts of the entire atmospheric/climate research community over several decades, though, really does the scientific community a disservice …. It seems, in the end–quite sadly–that this is all really about Richard Muller’s self-aggrandizement :(

  9. ‎”My overall impression is that the authors have not actually read all the papers they cite, and have not come to terms with the technical issues involved in the current debate.”

    Oh, it burns!

    From McKitrick’s first referee statements.

  10. Look here at the bottom of JGR – Journal of Geophysical Atmospheres Research’s list of papers in press today (my bold):

    Cornes, R. C., and P. D. Jones
    An Examination of Storm Activity in the Northeast Atlantic Region over the 1851-2003 period using the EMULATE gridded MSLP data series. J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2010JD014865, in press. [Abstract] [PDF] (accepted 7 December 2010)

    Withdrawn
    Preissler, J., F. Wagner, S. Pereira, and J. L. Guerrero-Rascado
    Correction to “Multi-instrumental observation of an exceptionally strong Saharan dust outbreak over Portugal” J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2012JD017645, in press. [Abstract] [PDF] (accepted 16 February 2012; withdrawn 29 February 2012)

    The famous peer review suffers from more maladies.

  11. Mullers activity is simply a grab for market share by dissing all the compettitors. No wonder ‘the crew’ are so antagonistic.

    Muller is after all making money from his climate consultancy business.

  12. Should be interesting to see how the msm and IPCC deal with this.

    Reporting BEST, but not reporting Watts, would clearly show bias. Claiming not to have seen the press release is untenable. Ignoring BEST is untenable given the previous media coverage. Ignoring Watts is untenable.

    If the IPCC use BEST and ignore Watts, we have clear bias. Ignoring both is untenable given previous history and even the use of “grey literature”

    Clever move by Watts, although we all need to stay calm until the paper has passed peer review.

  13. Many thanks to Ross for publising his reviews, a difficult decision but very necessary to counter the major propaganda campaign that Muller has indulged in.

    I have no doubt that Revkin’s observation on the Muller team papers being posted amidst a huge publicity campaign was accurate ie “Presumably this has to do with Tuesday deadline for IPCC eligibility?”

    Nor surely can the Mullers object in any way to the publication of his reviews of their work. After all, Elizabeth Muller is on record as saying –

    “We also believe in full transparency, which is why we are posting our data and programs – even before our results have been formally published in a journal. We would love for other people to get into the data and analysis – the sooner the better. Again, we think the results are important, and they need to be looked at sooner rather than later.”

    And Ross’s reviews are certainly very helpful in this respect.

  14. And Dr. Judith Curry says, in part:

    Their latest paper on the 250 year record concludes that the best explanation for the observed warming is greenhouse gas emissions. In my opinion, their analysis is way over simplistic and not at all convincing . There is broad agreement that greenhouse gas emissions have contributed to the warming in the latter half of the 20th century; the big question is how much of this warming can be attributed to greenhouse gas emissions. I dont think this question can be answered by the simple curve fitting used in this paper, and I don’t see that their paper adds anything to our understanding of the causes of the recent warming.

    http://judithcurry.com/2012/07/29/a-new-release-from-berkeley-earth-surface-temperature/

  15. Jarryd, Muller was never a skeptic,

    http://www.populartechnology.net/2012/06/truth-about-richard-muller.html

    “I was never a skeptic” – Richard Muller, 2011

    “If Al Gore reaches more people and convinces the world that global warming is real, even if he does it through exaggeration and distortion – which he does, but he’s very effective at it – then let him fly any plane he wants.” – Richard Muller, 2008

    “There is a consensus that global warming is real. …it’s going to get much, much worse.” – Richard Muller, 2008

    “Let me be clear. My own reading of the literature and study of paleoclimate suggests strongly that carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuels will prove to be the greatest pollutant of human history. It is likely to have severe and detrimental effects on global climate.” – Richard Muller, 2003

  16. Wow, well done Ross McKitrick, that has to be the right decision at this juncture.

    Michael Mann’s accusations of self-aggrandizement – that’s a bonus indeed. Muller has never taken back his criticisms of the hockey stick, as far as I know.

    This is now as messy as climate science deserves to be shown to be – the find of internecine mess that could lead to final implosion and a rebuild of true science on the ruins. We can only hope.

  17. Elizabeth Muller: “None of the reviews have indicated any mistakes in the papers”.

    Anthony’s reviews: [Actually, Ross's reviews ... -w.]
    “I will recommend that the paper be rejected in its current form.”
    “In the absence of so much elementary material it is difficult even to review this paper.”
    “Meanwhile I cannot recommend this draft for publication.”
    “…their method is, in principle, unable to support the conclusions they draw”
    “…my original recommendation against publication is also unchanged.”

    So either Elizabeth Muller’s statement is deliberately being economical with the truth, or some reviews were not made available to her by the journal. Do we know which?

  18. Re Elizabeth Muller’s comments, e.g.

    “All of the articles have been submitted to journals, and we have received substantial journal peer reviews. None of the reviews have indicated any mistakes in the papers; they have instead been primarily suggestions for additions, further citations of the literature.”

    It seems that not only did they not read (or perhaps comprehend) all the papers they cited, as per Ross M.’s review, it seems they did not read (or perhaps comprehend) his review either.

  19. Mann thinks Muller is into “self-aggrandizement”?

    Well, Mann should know, he’s the current Olympic champion and record holder in that event.

  20. Re: DavidA says:
    July 29, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    “He’s made his headlines but isn’t making too many friends.

    Mike Mann posting on Facebook:

    My view is that Muller’s efforts to promote himself by belittling the collective efforts of the entire atmospheric/climate research community over several decades, though, really does the scientific community a disservice. Its great that he’s reaffirmed what we already knew. But for him to pretend that we couldn’t trust this entire scientific field until Richard Muller put his personal stamp of approval on their conclusions is, in my view, a very dangerously misguided philosophical take on how science works. It seems, in the end–quite sadly–that this is all really about Richard Muller’s self-aggrandizement :(

    The self-aggrandizement comment seems to be spot on, though of course much disagreement exists elsewhere. Really, has the type of simplistic analysis performed by Muller not been done to death already? ”

    —————————————————————————————————–

    Interesting how this gets touted by Leo Hickman in the UK’s newspaper “The Guardian”

    “Prof Michael Mann, the Penn State palaeoclimatologist who has faced hostility from climate sceptics for his famous “hockey stick” graph showing a rapid rise in temperatures during the 20th century, said he welcomed the Best results as they “demonstrated once again what scientists have known with some degree of certainty for nearly two decades”. He added: “I applaud Muller and his colleagues for acting as any good scientists would, following where their analyses led them, without regard for the possible political repercussions. They are certain to be attacked by the professional climate change denial crowd for their findings.” ”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/jul/29/climate-change-sceptics-change-mind

  21. Ross M. – thanks for what must have been a difficult decision … the technical and other insight your comments offer is very worthwhile.

  22. I find the claim that he is a “Koch funded” skeptic to be be particularly aggravating.

    Technically he can claim this since the Koch foundation did provide a small amount of funding for BEST. But the story is told in a way that leaves the strong impression that he was once one of those mythical big-oil paid sceptics for hire and is now turning on his oil industry bosses because his conscience won’t allow him to continue his evil ways any more.

    Effectively this is a disgusting lie constructed by assembling technical truths in a misleading fashion. I cannot respect anyone who engages in such deceptive tactics.

  23. You can lead the Media horse to the water of Natural Climate Variability but it will not drink, as that would wash away the manipulated poison that is Green Garbage Hysteria.

  24. “DavidA says:

    July 29, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    He’s made his headlines but isn’t making too many friends.

    Mike Mann posting on Facebook:”

    If we’re talking self aggrandisment, I think you’ve found an unimpeachable source…..

  25. From a blog piece I did yesterday:

    The logic Muller employs is devastatingly weak. He says the recent warming matches the recent rise in carbon dioxide. But he knows that there have been past warmings, and he knows that they by definition were not caused by human emissions. How he can determine that the past physics that drove past warmings have ceased to be operative? In other words, if the Sun rises 39 billion, 999 million, 999 thousand, 999 times, and on the 40 billionth time the Sun rises I deem that it has done so for a new reason, most sane folks would declare me mad. And they would be right.

    There is no compelling reason to look fearfully at the climate system until it begins to exhibit new behavior, just as there is no compelling reason to ascribe the Sun’s rising to anything new.

    More here

  26. That Mann has a go at Muller is not a big surprise, Muller’s heretical views on the scared hockey stick , which is Mann favourite ‘child ‘ , and Mann’s never forget and never forget approach means there is no love lost between them.
    But there may well come a point in which the needs of ‘the cause ‘ overrule the bitching between them , if Muller is willing to bow down before the ‘one true god and his icons’ I am sure all will be forgiven and ‘the Team’ mobilised in support .
    But if were lucky it will turn into a bitching slapping contest to the benefit and amusement of all.

  27. The irony of Mann sniping at Muller approaches being absurdity.

    I mean, if you can’t even handle support, how the h— can you handle pointed criticism? Yet it is exactly that pointed (and sometimes barbed) criticism that is most condusive to growth.

    Perhaps living in an echo-chamber causes deafness?

  28. Has the endothermic element of the androgenic communities’ repartee been factored into any of the formulations? CO2-laden hot air is certainly contributory, irrespective of its origins.

  29. KnR says: July 30, 2012 at 4:28 am
    That Mann has a go at Muller is not a big surprise, Muller’s heretical views on the scared hockey stick ,

    I’d say the Hockey Stick was terrified, not just scared ;)

    (Apologies in advance)

  30. And how do you explain that an economist would function as a peer reviewer of a publication for Geophysicists (never mind that he also just so happens to run a “climate skeptic” think tank)?

    This story smells…

  31. Muller’s method of comparing temperature change to static population levels, rather than the change in population levels is fundamentally flawed at such a basic level that it cannot be accidental.

    For example, if you compared the change in the speed of your car (on level ground) with how far down the gas pedal was pressed, you would see no correlation between the gas pedal and your car’s speed.

    This is what Muller has done and from this he concludes there is no correlation between temperature and urbanization.

    However, if you compared the change in the car’s speed to the change in the gas pedal, you would find very close correlation. This indicates a possible cause and effect relationship between the gas pedal and the car’s speed.

    Muller has not done this. He did not look at the change in urbanization. He looked at static urbanization and compared this to the change in temperature.

    This is such an obvious flaw that one can only conclude that this was not accidental. Rather that a flawed methodology was knowingly used to try and disprove a connection between population change and climate change.

    Thus leading to Muller’s conclusion that in the absence of any other explanation, the cause must be CO2. The logically fallacy of ignorance. If we can’t find the cause, then whatever we did find must be the cause. This was the same argument that led to the burning of witches. If we can’t find the cause, the cause must be what we can find, our neighbors.

  32. “I believe the findings in our papers are too important to wait for the year or longer that it could take to complete the journal review process.”

    Too important for peer review!!! Priceless. Absolutely priceless.

  33. That was unkind. Quoting Elizabeth Muller after McKitrick is like putting a turd on a steak.

  34. Ross, first I want to thank you for your difficult decision to make the reviews public, and for your ethical actions in both contacting the authors and in waiting until there was no other alternative.

    Second, I want to commend you on the clarity and insight of your review. I can see why the editors wanted you as a reviewer.

    Finally, to everyone that has been jumping on my head because for a year or so I have been repeatedly claiming that Richard Muller is a lying, two-faced weasel, saying that such language was unacceptable, the elegance and gentility of Ross’s language has made me see your point.

    As a result, in the future I will restrict myself to calling Muller a prevaricating, Janus-faced mustelid …

    w.

  35. The Mullers have barely tapped the immense reservoir of contempt they’ve earned.

  36. Willis Eschenbach says:
    July 30, 2012 at 8:53 am
    OK you owe me a new monitor the old one being soaked with a large amount of soda that sprayed out when I laughed “prevaricating, Janus-faced mustelid” I will have to find an occasion to use this at work just so I can watch the confused looks from the higher up educated idiots. Ross well done and well said.

  37. ponfi says:
    July 30, 2012 at 6:40 am

    And how do you explain that an economist would function as a peer reviewer of a publication for Geophysicists (never mind that he also just so happens to run a “climate skeptic” think tank)?

    This story smells…

    Perhaps because Geophysicists doubt their own competence in statistics.

    DaveE.

  38. Re Elizabeth Muller’s comments, e.g.

    “All of the articles have been submitted to journals, and we have received substantial journal peer reviews. None of the reviews have indicated any mistakes in the papers; they have instead been primarily suggestions for additions, further citations of the literature.”

    Either she is a liar or she is illiterate and can not read the reviews. Neither possibilities reflect well on her. It is as if they have some belief, or religion, and any fact that does not agree with it does not exist. They ignore data that they do not like or “homogenize” it to fit their predetermined curve, and they ignore feedback (peer review) that they do not like and “homogenize” it to fit their press release.

    These jokers are not scientists.

  39. ponfi, a troll, posts above: his ad hom attack on the “peer” in “peer review”…

    Ponfi, your post is what smells.

  40. Some of the monthly values in BEST are quite out there.

    How can they use error margins which are not something on the order of +/-5.0C

    Let’s look at the lowest numbers:

    -> -6.3C in December 1788
    -> -5.8C in March 1785
    -> -5.5 in December 1759

    Let’s look at the highest numbers:

    -> +3.3C in May 1780
    -> +3.0C in February 1756
    -> +2.8C in March 1822

    See a pattern. See numbers that would blow our socks off if they happened today.

  41. So, Elizabeth, why did your father not want Ross McKitrick to reveal that he was a reviewer for JRG?
    ==========

  42. McKitrick’s review shows the character of the man. Well written, concise, polite, but most of all, very helpful in proposing techniques that actually might support some of the claims cited! You couldn’t ask for a more thoughtful or helpful review. I wonder why Muller didn’t just try the suggested methods and report back?

  43. A ‘not recommended for publication’ from *one* reviewer does does not necessarily squelch a paper’s publication (nor should it). For one thing the other reviewers may disagree; for another, the authors may respond and the editor may descide the author’s reasoning is better than the reviewer;’s. And finally, the editors may just ask the authors to address the negative reviewer’s points in a revised version of the submission. Any working scientist knows this.

  44. ferd berple says:
    July 30, 2012 at 7:38 am
    Thus leading to Muller’s conclusion that in the absence of any other explanation, the cause must be CO2. The logically fallacy of ignorance. If we can’t find the cause, then whatever we did find must be the cause.

    People were smart enough to call G.S. Callendar out on that one, too — but today he’s one of the patron saints in the CAGW pantheon.

  45. I believe the findings in our papers are too important to wait for the year or longer that it could take to complete the journal review process. We believe in traditional peer review; we welcome feedback the public and any scientists who are interested in taking the time to make thoughtful comments. Indeed, with the first 4 papers submitted, many of the best comments came from the broader scientific community. Our papers have received scrutiny by dozens of top scientists, not just the two or three that typically are called upon by journalists.”

    What really stands out is that the sentence that Anthony highlighted is so completely out of place when you read the next few. It’s the classic ‘blah blah blah but‘ rationalization just using a strange paragraph structure. Really strange.

    It’s clear to me after reading all these blogs for years that an entire book could now be written using nothing except for quotes like the above, cover to cover, which would demonstrate that the AGW scam is nothing more than agenda-driven politics.

    They have thoroughly co-opted the so-called Climate Science community and made fairly successful inroads into the real hard Sciences as well. I know that Ross chooses to disbelieve this larger picture, and bless his pure-Scientific heart for doing so, but nonetheless, it is very true and real damage has been done. I predict a backlash will be coming, perhaps not as soon as I would hope, but at some point logic will prevail and the Sagan-Ehrlich pop-science anti-human death-cult will be nuked into oblivion like they deserve.

    It will still tarnish all ‘Science’ as a pure exercise in reason and logic however, because it should not have been so simple to hijack in the first place. The real enemy is political correctness, which facilitates the suspension of one’s better judgment in favor of getting along with the club or party.

    P.S. Congratulations for the paper Anthony, and thanks for all the hard, thankless work. That thread reached well over 600 comments before I even clicked on it so I saved it for another.

  46. 22acaciaavenue [July 30, 2012 at 12:34 pm]

    Well that last one should be Blade. I would again like to thank WordPress for changing things like forcing logging in, having randomly expiring cookies, etc. Real professional shop you got there.

  47. How does Muller explain the equally sharp rise in temperature in the medieval warm period shown in his paper? Was it man made CO2 also?

  48. Many people here are forgetting that after Climategate, Muller said that there were climate scientists that he would no longer trust, and that he would not even read their papers. That obviously included Mann. So Mann doesn’t care about the results – this is personal for him. When commenters here say ‘even Mann is against him,’ they miss the point entirely.

  49. ” the professional climate change denial crowd for their findings.” ~ Mann

    My Husband wants to know where I am hiding all the money I am getting for being a Professional CCD. (snicker)

  50. As an economist, I am a bit puzzled by this. We post our papers all the time before acceptance. There’s nothing wrong with that. Everybody knows they probably have mistakes— it’s a way to let people know what you’re working on, to get comments, and to claim priority. What’s the use of keeping results secret till they’re 100% finished? It should be “read at your own risk”, with published papers have greater credibility.

  51. “One can guess how McKitrick who really has no clues about the issue got to review the paper.”

    Well yes, did you read how Mosher took McKitrick’s attribution papers apart?

    “What he is doing is the following. he is taking the TOTAL US population for 1979 ( 225 Million) and he is UNIFORMALY spreading those people across the entire country so that every 5 degree lat lon for the us has the SAME population density.”

    So as Mosher points out, this results in Tristan de Cuna and Antarctica having 56 million people. Not the guy to review an attribution paper.

  52. As can be seen in this Grist interview from October 7, 2008, Richard Muller never was a “skeptic”:

    (Q: ) Do you consider yourself an environmentalist?

    (A:) Oh yes. [Laughs.] In fact, back in the early ’80s, I resigned from the Sierra Club over the issue of global warming. At that time, they were opposing nuclear power. What I wrote them in my letter of resignation was that, if you oppose nuclear power, the U.S. will become much more heavily dependent on fossil fuels, and that this is a pollutant to the atmosphere that is very likely to lead to global warming.

    http://grist.org/article/lets-get-physical/

  53. The Mullers are still digging, especially Elizabeth “Backhoe” Muller. This will not end well, which is a good thing!

  54. The self-aggrandizement is one thing, but Muller comes off as such a buffoon. I honestly don’t mean that as an ad hoc slam. He appears to be a gadfly, and only his connection to Lawrence Berkeley keeps the wider audience from seeing him as such.

    One cannot talk about Muller without pointing out his abysmally silly idea of a dark sun – the Nemesis hypothesis – nearby our own Sun. That such a body would screw up the orbital paths of all the planets and asteroids doesn’t seem to stop him from making a fool of himself pushing such a ludicrous idea. If there is a Nemesis, then all the astrophysics having to do with the Solar System would have to be thrown out and redone.

    How Muller gets any respect I don’t know. Perhaps he is now shooting himself in the foot and showing himself to be the equivalent of Immanuel Velikovsky. He is pretty much an embarrassment to science.

    Steve Garcia

  55. erasmuse says: “What’s the use of keeping results secret till they’re 100% finished? It should be “read at your own risk”, with published papers have greater credibility.”

    Except in the case of Muller (and others), the claimed results are intended to provide ammunition for the IPCC to push their destructive political agenda. Muller’s paper is garbage and everyone (even Mann) knows it.

  56. @Bill Tuttle July 30, 2012 at 12:19 pm:
    “People were smart enough to call G.S. Callendar out on that one, too — but today he’s one of the patron saints in the CAGW pantheon.”

    Callendar cherry-picked his data. See:
    Slocum, G., Has the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere changed significantly since the beginning of the twentieth century? Month. Weather Rev., 1955(October): p. 225-231.

    It IS available online. Use Google Scholar to find it.

    Steve Garcia

  57. Muller’s press release – same old…stuff
    McKitrick’s analysis – Priceless – even I could follow his points.

  58. ponfi says:
    July 30, 2012 at 6:40 am
    And how do you explain that an economist would function as a peer reviewer of a publication for Geophysicists (never mind that he also just so happens to run a “climate skeptic” think tank)?

    This story smells…

    Under the “here” link, McKitrick says, in the 2nd item, “our conclusion is that a valid explanatory model of the pattern of climate change over land requires use of both socioeconomic indicators and GCM processes. The failure to include the socioeconomic factors in empirical work may be biasing analysis….” He was an expert on the subject of the impact of non-CO2 changes on the climate, which he said were major, and Muller was claiming they were negligible, so he got sent the paper to review.

  59. Seems a perfectly sound strategy.
    Take some data.
    Sift trough for the data that supports the view (or can be made to seem to do so) and junk the rest.
    Write up a paper under the university heading, make sure you spell “professor” right and send for peer review late. Include some creative charts with it.
    Then publish anywhere.
    Now look at what you have:
    The paper is by a scientist.
    It says what they want it to say and it has been published and it has been been peer reviewed – That the publishers didn’t peer review it and those that peer reviewed it refused to publish is a minor quibble, it is now IPCC gold standard source material.
    .

  60. RE: ponfi: July 30, 2012 at 6:40 am
    And how do you explain that an economist would function as a peer reviewer of a publication for Geophysicists

    The primary explanation is that Muller didn’t stick to geophysics, made ill-supported statements regarding attribution and advocated a policy in his conclusion, which encroaches into the field of economics. A reason J. Curry declined to be a co-author is Muller made attribution statements Curry felt were unjustified.

    Had he stuck to just attempting to improve the resolution of the past 100 year temperature record, you might have a point. Statisticians and mathematicians still need to be reviewers.

    My gut feel is that the BerkleyE process will be an epic failure when finally peer reviewed by people who do Fourier Analysis for a living. Not only does the scalpel and suture not remove UHI, but it can multiply the UHI effect by turning a saw-tooth wave into a straight climbing line. Low frequencies must be retained in the temperature records and the scalpel destroys low frequencies.

    Stephen Rasey,
    B.Sc Geophysical Engineering
    Ph.D. Mineral Economics

  61. Journal peer review is so paper age 20th century .

    Nick Stokes is right . Those preprints in the old days were almost always the typeset proofs from the journal . And the entire motivation for peer review before publication was the substantial cost of preparing a technical paper for paper publication . The Web has disintermediated that into history and the only value of journal publication is branding . And the old brands like Science and Nature have lost much of their cachet due to the corrupt “boys club” character of their review process .

    It’s continually annoying to see the “climate scientology” apologists act as if it were some exalted field rather than just a branch of applied physics which anyone with a strong quantitative education has all the expertise required to appropriately , and severely , evaluate .

  62. I seriously doubt scientists are less eager to get papers in Science or Nature due to some AGW ‘skeptics’ deciding it’s old hat and/or corrupt. That idea bespeaks either unfamiliarity with science and scientists, or wishful thinking. Probably both.

  63. @ SS
    At this point , I’d rather have the WUWT or Heartland imprimatur on these topics than either Science or Nature , or Scientific American , all of which I respected in my youth .

  64. Er….SciAm isn’t a journal original research. It’s a popular science magazine. You know that, right? Are you at all involved in science professionally?

    Anyway. A more interesting question: Why does the headline of this post refer to , ‘BEST papers’, plural, when McKitrick’s whinging is solely about Wickham et al.’s (2011/revised 2012) “Influence of Urban Heating on the Global Temperature Land Average Using Rural Sites Identified from MODIS Classifications”, and the recent press for BEST has been about a different paper entirely: Rhode et al. (2012) “A New Estimate of the Average Earth Surface Land Temperature Spanning 1753 to 2011″. Is WUWT or RM claiming that *this* paper has been rejected?

    And as for AW’s plaintive query #2, “What’s the status of the 4 papers submitted in 2011′, the answer for at least one of them is posted right there on the BEST website:

    “The final paper has been provisionally accepted (pending the acceptance of the paper on the Averaging process) by JGR Atmospheres, and has not changed significantly since October 2011. It is posted again here for convenience:
    “Decadal Variations in the Global Atmospheric Land Temperatures””

  65. Sean says: July 30, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Re Elizabeth Muller’s comments, e.g.

    “All of the articles have been submitted to journals, and we have received substantial journal peer reviews. None of the reviews have indicated any mistakes in the papers; they have instead been primarily suggestions for additions, further citations of the literature.”

    Either she is a liar or she is illiterate and can not read the reviews. Neither possibilities reflect well on her.[...]

    Alternatively, perhaps she took a few leaves out of David Karoly’s book of “revisionist” scholarship … which also does not reflect well on her … or on dear old Dad, whom she seems to have very tightly wrapped around her little green finger!

    But the credibility of les Mullers is certainly not enhanced by Ross McKitrick’s:

    [Update July 30: JGR told me "This paper was rejected and the editor recommended that the author resubmit it as a new paper."]

  66. Poptech, with all due respect for a lot of good work that you’ve done, I’m afraid your “portrait” of Judith Curry does us all a disservice. You wrote this in May 2012 and rather than acknowledging her accomplishments, integrity and openness to those of us of the skeptic persuasion – not to mention her frequent criticisms of the IPCC/UNFCC and her willingness to openly challenge her colleagues when she believes they are wrong – and all you could focus on was dredging up quotes from the very distant past?!

    Shame on you!

    I’ve no idea what your beef is, Poptech. But perhaps its time to get over it!

  67. hro001, How does the truth do anyone a disservice? I am sorry if the truth hurts but her record does not change no matter how much you want to white wash it. Every claim I made is fully cited and sourced.

    Her recent past is directly relevant to her recent attempts at being an “arbiter” of scientific integrity and trust. Especially when this behavior continued,

    Her comment on McIntyre only finding “relatively minor errors” in Mann’s Hockey Stick papers was post-climategate (2009). So was her comment about Climategate scientists, “I don’t think anybody’s come at this with bad motives”. She also continued to use the word “denier” right here at WUWT,

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/24/on-the-credibility-of-climate-research-part-ii-towards-rebuilding-trust/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/28/the-curry-letter-a-word-about-deniers/

    I think her alleged epiphany is a big joke and never trusted her motives anymore than I trusted Muller – and I was right about Muller. The fact that her site has so many people who do not know her real background is disturbing. It is like a bunch of sheep to the slaughter. The ploy works well as she attracts the types that delusionally believe they are more “rational” and “moderate” then everyone else but are still intellectually honest about ridiculous alarmist claims. Why do you think Mosher spends so much time there? This only works so well because so many came into the debate post-Climategate.

    What exact “accomplishments” and “integrity” should I acknowledge? That she was calling skeptics like me “deniers” in front of congress? I will never have any respect for nor trust any scientist who was knee-jerk calling skeptics – “deniers” because they would not accept the scientist’s alarmist positions.

    People can read it and make up their own minds.

  68. Peer review’s INTRACTABLY corrupt.
    I LOUDLY applaud ALL circumvention of it.

    The ONLY thing that matters about Muller & “BEST”:
    100% ignorance &/or deception on natural variability.

    Unacceptable time & resources (including Ross McKitrick’s) are being drained into this unworthy sideshow. The level of interest in this non-story emphasizes that the climate discussion is suffering from a FATAL leadership deficit. We need an INTENSE shake-up at the highest-level ranks of the non-alarmist movement as the current “leadership” is taking us nowhere fast. I suspect high-level infiltration has driven the sabotage.

    Volunteer-research update: I have isolated a non-stationary ~13.44 year pattern in LOD that beats with the nonstationary solar-terrestrial-climate weave pattern [ http://i49.tinypic.com/2jg5tvr.png ] to generate a nonstationary ~62.5 year climate wave. This formerly missing link resolves a framework connecting semi-annual, annual, QBO, & ~1470 year variations. There’s an observational twist on this story that some will find unbearably unpalatable. I suspect that some will be so angered by the observation that they will instantly prescribe hanging without trial. We need to eliminate (the influence of) ignorant &/or deceptive judges without further delay no matter the fallout.

  69. It appears Poptech is the arbiter and guardian of the True Skeptics list. He flits around the blogs — just in the last few days I’ve seen him on Eli’s and Revkin’s — insisting that Muller was NEVER a skeptic, SO THERE. Now apparently neither was Judith Curry, superstar, either.

    Regarding Paul Vaughn’s suspicions of ‘high-level infiltration’ driving the ‘sabotage’, and his volunteer research uncovering a climate science ‘missing link': I *suspect* PV is a crank.

    But it’s all most amusing, do continue. And let me know when Anthony has submitted his paradigm -changing new work to E&E, as I *suspect* that’s the only place that will publish it without serious revision. [you might wish to expand on your reasoning here, so we all can add to what we know , thanks . . kbmod]

  70. JMW says:
    July 31, 2012 at 4:55 am

    It says what they want it to say and it has been published and it has been been peer reviewed – That the publishers didn’t peer review it and those that peer reviewed it refused to publish is a minor quibble, it is now IPCC gold standard source material.

    My new term for it is “peer rejected”. SM and JC, having been released from the confidentiality closet, are making it quite clear why.

  71. Steven Sullivan, I am not “insisting anything”, I actually provide quotes and sources to support my arguments. The quotes speak for themselves,

    “The influence of global warming deniers, consisting of a small group of scientists plus others that are motivated to deny global warming…” – Judith Curry, 2006

    “Gore’s statement in the movie is that we can expect more storms like Katrina in a greenhouse-warmed world. I would agree with this” – Judith Curry, 2006

    “We’re looking at a much worse [Hurricane] risk than people were thinking about a year ago …some places are going to become uninsurable.” – Judith Curry, 2006

    “If Al Gore reaches more people and convinces the world that global warming is real, even if he does it through exaggeration and distortion – which he does, but he’s very effective at it – then let him fly any plane he wants.” – Richard Muller, 2008

    “There is a consensus that global warming is real. …it’s going to get much, much worse.” – Richard Muller, 2008

    “Let me be clear. My own reading of the literature and study of paleoclimate suggests strongly that carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuels will prove to be the greatest pollutant of human history. It is likely to have severe and detrimental effects on global climate.” – Richard Muller, 2003

    Everyone is of course free to make up their own minds, all I can do is provide evidence to support my arguments. I certainly don’t believe either are skeptics, then or now.

  72. Steven Sullivan (August 1, 2012 at 10:05 am) wrote
    “volunteer research [...] I *suspect* PV is a crank.”

    Ignorance &/or deception.
    “eyeballs deep in muddy water”Tool – The Pot

    By dozens of methods the solar-terrestrial-climate weave [ http://i49.tinypic.com/2jg5tvr.png ] is robustly observed with crystal clarity via:
    A. Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum.
    B. Central Limit Theorem.
    C. Thermal Wind Relation.

    The data are here:
    ftp://ftp.iers.org/products/eop/long-term/c04_08/iau2000/eopc04_08_IAU2000.62-now

    You would sound equally sensible suggesting 1 + 1 does not equal 2.

    You can find both patterns (in a more-difficult-to-recognize visual format) in a 1997 NASA JPL publication (that does not address the patterns in writing).

  73. Apparently JC Superstar’s blog-famous testimonials from a couple of years back, about how she USED TO accept the IPCC consensus, but no longer does, have not impressed. Therefore she is NOT of the body! It is the Will of Poptech.

  74. Poptech says August 1, 2012 at 1:21 am

    People can read it and make up their own minds.

    Not when you provide a distinctly cherry-picked half the story. Seems to me that if you really wanted people to make up their own minds (rather than blindly following yours!) then you would have provided a more complete picture.

    But speaking of making up one’s own mind … I don’t know if you’ve seen my “portrait” of Muller (which preceded yours by eight months, give or take a day or so), but you might be interested in it:

    Will the real Richard Muller please stand up

    Then again – since you seem bound and determined to ludicrously equate Muller and Curry – perhaps not.

    Oh, well … never mind!

    P.S. There’s an occasional denizen at Judth Curry’s blog whose only “contributions” consist of rude off-topic derogatory rants against the hostess. Goes by the nym of “cwon”; s/he also refers to her as a “fake skeptic”. Quite incorrectly, I might add – particularly since Dr. Curry has never claimed to be a “skeptic”, and in fact has often made the point that labelling from either side adds nothing to the discussion.

    Would “cwon” be a friend of yours, by any chance?!

  75. hro001, Nothing in my article is cherry picked. Those quotes cannot be interpreted any other way, they are all in the explicity derogatory context she used then in.

    Why are you so scared people will learn about the real Judith Curry who said that world renowned hurricane expert Dr. Gray had “brain fossilization” not the white-wash facade you would like to present?

    http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2006/02/speaking-of-hurricanes-off-season-fireworks/

    Dr. Curry, in an interview at her Georgia Tech office, said Dr. Gray has “brain fossilization.” She added: “Nobody except a few groupies wants to hear what he has to say.”

    Her congressional testimony is a matter of public record,

    http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/climate/pdf/testimony-curry.pdf

    The influence of global warming deniers, consisting of a small group of scientists plus others that are motivated to deny global warming…” – Judith Curry, 2006

    I have no idea who any of her blog groupies are as I only comment on reputable sites like WUWT.

    I am well aware that she is trying desperately to cover up her true motivations and the suckers are taking the bait.

  76. Poptech, what is it about “half the story” that you are having such difficulty understanding?!

    And exactly what do you think you are accomplishing with your one-sided one-man smear campaign?

    Contrary to what you presume, no one is “white-washing” Judith Curry – or her blog. We all have our blind-spots but some of us are capable of changing our views in the light of new information.

    I am well aware that she is trying desperately to cover up her true motivations and the suckers are taking the bait.

    And with this ludicrous assertion you have proven yourself to be the mirror-image of those who presume to know the “true motivations” of any and all who oppose them.

    Have you been taking lessons from Bain, Mooney, Corner & Lewandowsky and their ilk?!

  77. hro001, There is no “other half” to the derogatory statements she made towards skeptics nor the alarmist positions she held and I believe still does.

    Smear? Oh, please. What did I state that was not true? If all of my information was not so convincing you would not be so upset. If any of it could be refuted you would have done so.

    Anyone is free to change their views but I will never trust anyone who behaved like she did towards skeptics. I find people who do naive. Whether you share my position on her or not is irrelevant to my purpose. I simply want to provide this information to people so they can get the other side of the story about her that they likely have not been told. Especially in light of so many getting off guard with Muller twice. All of this information is completely factual, fully cited and sourced.

    I stand by my assertion as I held the same thing with Muller.

  78. Blade says:
    July 30, 2012 at 1:19 pm
    22acaciaavenue [July 30, 2012 at 12:34 pm]

    Well that last one should be Blade. I would again like to thank WordPress for changing things like forcing logging in, having randomly expiring cookies, etc. Real professional shop you got there.

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

    Tested this, it still stole my email forcing me to log into wordpress.

    And I’m not going to get another email account because you can’t sort this out.

  79. Well, Poptech, it’s been rather amusing watching you avoid responding to any of the points I’ve actually made; instead you have used each of your “replies” to insist how right you are (because you said so!) and to escalate your crusade.

    But, that’s OK I get the picture, I really do: you’ve made up your mind regarding Judith Curry and anyone who disagrees with you must be wrong (because you said so).

    Have it your way, as I’m sure you will. The mileage of others may certainly vary; but the view from here, so to speak … now that I know how you construct your “evidence”, I shall be extremely wary before using any of your “portraits” as resource.

  80. hro001, you have not made any points, you just ranted and have yet to refute any of the fully cited and sourced information I provided about her. I personally believe I am right about her and have supplied ten references to support my argument. But no where did I use “because I said so” as an argument for being right. Anyone can check the sources for themselves to see I am telling the truth about what I stated.

    Let me know when you can refute a single factual and fully sourced claim I stated about her. You are the perfect Curry follower, someone who believes they are more “fair”, “rational” and “moderate” than everyone else. I am sure you believe every derogatory statement she previously made must be “balanced” with some PR spin. The point of my article is to irrefutably point out that she was never a skeptic to those who are unaware of her background, not try to avoid hurting her follower’s “feelings”.

  81. [personal attack] the *fact* is that all your quotes are from the period *before* JC superstar started her critiques of the IPCC consensus.

    But by all means do continue infighting with your fellow pseudo-skeptics. It’s most illuminating of your tribe’s mindset.

  82. This thread is still coming in my email and has degenerated into a pointless ad hominem attack of the sort we “scientists” properly berate the “climate scientologists” for .

    Who cares ? Waste of bandwidth .

  83. Paul Vaughan says:
    August 1, 2012 at 7:27 am

    PV, always couched and cryptic, we strongly suspect you are brilliant but can’t quite know for sure. Sometimes a word is worth a thousand pictures. Why don’t you put your cards on the table? If you only get credit for half your research it will be better than being ignored and forgotten. There is nothing that can be expressed mathematically that cannot be lucidly interpreted verbally for a general audience. We are still waiting. –AGF

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