Update on Watts et al. 2012

My sincere thanks to everyone who has provided widespread review of our draft paper. There have been hundreds of suggestions and corrections submitted in comments and in email, and for that I am very grateful.  That sort of input is exactly what we hoped for, and such input can only make the paper better, and so far it has.

Edits are being made based on many of those suggestions. My sincere thanks go to WUWT moderator Bob Phelan for help in collating the online comments to remove duplicates and group comments and corrections by category. Using that, I’m hoping to post up a revised draft, addressing many of those comments and corrections in the next day or two. I had hoped to have an update ready today, but the editing is taking more time than I thought initially.  I will likely create a separate dedicated page for Watts et al 2012 so that it gets separated from the press release, and can be managed better.

An issue has been identified in the processing of the data used in Watts et al. 2012  that was placed online for review.  We thank critics, including Zeke Hausfather and Steve Mosher for bringing that to attention. Particular thanks go to Zeke who has been helpful with emailed suggestions. Thanks also go to Dr. Leif Svalgaard, who has emailed helpful suggestions.

The authors are performing detailed reanalysis of the data for the Watts et al. 2012 paper and will submit a revised paper to a journal as soon as possible, and barring any new issues discovered, that will likely happen before the end of September.

The idea of online pre-peer review, and likely peer review itself, is in my opinion where the future of science publishing lies. I think we’ll all learn useful lessons for that future from this experiment. As the saying goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

My sincerest thanks to everyone for their input and consideration.

Look for future updates, along with some technical discussions as we proceed.

UPDATE:  A work page has been established for Watts et al 2012 for the purpose of managing updates. You can view it here.

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81 thoughts on “Update on Watts et al. 2012

  1. I believe here is where the line has been drawn and from now on newspapers will have to listen.

    In Australia two newspapers have scrapped items by Mr Muller.

  2. If the purpose of peer-review is to ensure and improve the quality of published research, then this sort of pre-peer-review certainly should be the future of academic publishing, Anthony. I wish I shared your optimism that it will be widely embraced. Unfortunately, authors & editors who are less concerned with quality of published research than with promoting an ideological agenda are unlikely to be enthusiastic about a process that would weed out the junk science that is their bread and butter.

    REPLY: When Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg invented the printing press, he broke the monopoly the Catholic Church had on publishing with their army of scribes. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth then too. In a few years, we’ll wonder how we ever managed to do effective review in “the old days”. – Anthony

  3. I don’t understand why so many people are getting upset about Anthony releasing his paper online before submitting it to a journal. We have been doing just that for years in economics. When I get a new version of a working paper completed, I upload it to ssrn.com and often get many helpful comments before I submit the paper to a journal.

  4. Can only agree with Daveburton…for the simple reason that the big brains won’t like mere mortals questioning their work. Egos are involved here so I expect that nothing will actually change in regards to “professional” peer review.

    Regards

    Mailman

  5. Part of the reason this got a large and effective response is the popularity of this website, as well as the topic. Crowd pre-review on more obscure scientific topics on less frequented sites would not fare as well and would not be as effective, though someone should try it to see.

  6. Was the paper submitted to a journal in time for the IPCC deadline, July 31?
    If not, why the rush and holiday-cancelling last week?

  7. You can Bet NATURE, Elsevier Publishing will not be happy with this. It is of course the way to go re publishing. BTW interpreting climate is mainly statistics, plus a knowledge of most basic sciences not to hard. I Think meteorology/forecasting demands a lot more specialized knowledge.

  8. I think You should make a press release about this novel process.
    “Online peer review, the future of science publishing. Now in process ”
    That are maybe the best way to get the original paper noticed in mainstream press.

  9. I completely agree with this form of public sourced editing prior to journal submission and peer review. My first experience with submission left me jaded. We submitted to a journal who’s editor was also experimenting with the same kind of signal and process we were using and sent back a scathing review along with a rejection and suggestion to go elsewhere. So we brought on board another scientist who was experienced in the process we were developing but was not actively researching in this area. He re-worked the paper with us and gave valuable input as to which journal we should submit to next. It worked.

    Accepting that kind of help requires a humble attitude and the willingness to broaden authorship, even though the actual research may have been done by just one of the authors. If the work is important enough, build a team around you that is willing to separate the chaff from the wheat and then be prepared to share both accolades and rebuke (you will get both no matter how good the paper is in the end). You, Anthony, appear to have that attitude. I predict you will get published in a peer-reviewed journal. Not by your first choice of journals (a common experience), but you will get published.

  10. I wonder if in the future they will be talking about limited closed reviews and open unlimited reviews.
    Just think of the vast number of scientists, mathematicians, academics, engineers and others available in open review. Of course some academics will hate it as it removes their stranglehold and control over the dissemination of knowledge (BTW I am an academic and researcher).

  11. “REPLY: When Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg invented the printing press, he broke the monopoly the Catholic Church had on publishing with their army of scribes. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth then too. In a few years, we’ll wonder how we ever managed to do effective review in “the old days”. – Anthony”

    – The printing press example is probably more apropos than I think many might realise. It caused about a century of turmoil and chaos as it upset the established order at the time. It arguably, for that time, broke more things than it fixed. A similar pattern is following – though much more rapidly – with modern ICT and social media technology (described extremely well by the way in Yochai Benkler’s ‘Wealth of Networks’ available for free online (http://www.benkler.org/Benkler_Wealth_Of_Networks.pdf) – I’d highly recommend it as a read). Obstacles to collective action and participation are now being removed and outside the purview of established monopolies and gatekeepers. What was once a service now becomes a bottleneck in trying to maintain its existence. It’s up to all of us to keep up the pressure and put our full weight behind efforts like Anthony’s!

  12. Kudos, Anthony. We need more scientists like you and your co-authors willing to take the hits to make the system work better to yield higher quality final results. And for standing up to the “establishment” that wants to quelch debate so they can dominate the discussion for their own reputations and funding/financial rewards. However, you and your supporters (me included) have a long way to go. Billions in government funding for the “right” climate scientists, plus political and taxing power for dishonest, stupid or gullible politicians, means our opponents will not go gently into the good night! As the web becomes even more pervasive, your method will be adopted more and more.

    Bill

  13. Let’s think who would really not like this concept of Anthony’s having his draft paper reviewed online before submitting it for publication and peer review.

    Well, all those submitting papers to the IPCC for a start, but Hansen and Mann would stand at the very top of the heap. The public shredding of ‘climate science’ practices, data manipulation and unfounded conclusions is not something these people would want to see.

    “Taking one for the team” is an age old expression, meaning doing the right thing by everybody – something the notorious Team would never dream of contemplating.

  14. The alternative to this public vetting is what Mann has done in secret with his “trick”…. scheming with P Jones to gerrymander the paper to serve a political objective… as in HIDE THE DECLINE.

  15. @richard pound

    Seems like a clear admission that cAGW isn’t about science, that story was under “Politics”

  16. If the peer-review process was working as it is supposed to, and the status quo researchers want it to, there would have been no reason for all the climate wars to-date. Climategate would not have occurred, the FOIA challenges wouldn’t have been necessary and the New Zealand lawsuits would not have happened.

    When the printing press products were available to the public, the reason for turmil, chaos and challenges to the Catholic Church flowed from the same reason: the equally peer-reviewed and vetted information process was not working … except for the established order. There was no consideration for “free” information as in these days. The restriction of information to the masses was explicit and public. Today the explicit message is that the masses have a (more than less) right to see the information they want. But it wasn’t practically true.

    Mann, Jones et al have only themselves to blame for what has happened. If they hadn’t been using the status quo for purposes good for them and bad for us, we’d still be submitting to JCR and wandering through the (frustrating) procedures for getting a contrary idea published.

  17. EVERY branch of science has been doing this same thing for decades – instead of the internet, however, we have gone to conferences sponsored by our respecitve professional/academic societies and ‘publish’ abstracts and poster sessions so we can get feedback from our colleagues before sending our research out for consideration by the journals. this is absolutely no differnet. And, btw, our pre-publication ‘publications’ do get assigned citable titles and ‘publication’ date by going through that public vetting in a pre-publication mode.

    GET OVER IT. If it is the way of the future, why postpone it? Let’s get on with our respective discourses in whatever venue/format and stop all of this idiocy.

  18. I have to hand it to you Anthony, Mr Muller, when he threw his chaff up in the air, apparently never thought about where it might land.
    Very cool of you and Professor John Christy to adopt the Muller protocol, in pre-releasing your paper.

    Just imagine if the US CONGRESS, was required to publish the verbatim text of EVERY bill on line 30 days before they were allowed to vote on it, so that the bloggers could find the gremlins first so the elected ones, wouldn’t need their unelected lackeys to spend taxpayer money fixing all the typos, and brain coughs as well.

    Only raises my opinion of Dr Christy, that he as an academic, would embrace this new paradigm.

    Good luck on the paper Anthony, I look forward to having an autographed copy of the final published version.

    George

  19. Anthony:

    I don’t want to “burst you bubble” on you understanding of history, but may I humbly point out that Gutenberg’s Bible was published in GERMAN…or the venacular.

    More so than the general availability, (actually, as I understand it, ANY Catholic church member could access the Latin Vulgate by Saint Jerome). However, the catch was you needed to learn Latin. (A lot of peasants went around quoting Vini-Vinae-Viche…or the like, NOT..!)

    So the SCANDAL was in making the INFORMATION GENERALLY AVAILABLE.

    Can you see the parallel here with regard the “High Priests” of the AWG church???

    Maybe we’ll end up calling you: Martin Luther Gutenberg Watts…

    Max

  20. We tend to think of UHI as creating bad sites. I think that that is not totally correct. The sites are measuring the temperature that they see. The problem is that the readings are only valid for the surrounding area that is of the same makeup. Temps taken in the middle of a city are representative of the city, but only for that area. So if the city comprises .001 percent of the area of a grid cell, then it should be weighted by that amount instead of rejected or “adjusted”.

    Here is my hypothesis based on that. I’ve been thinking about this after reading your paper that, for both the 1/2 and 3/4/5 sites, the NE region is showing the largest trend. If you think about mesoscale siting (city size) as opposed to microsite issue, where might you find a signal of man made warming (not CO2 related)? The industrialized NE would be a prime candidate. This might explain why the sat temps show more warming even after accounting for the 1.1 to 1.4 multiplyer. The sats are seeing the warming from the industrial areas that would be edited out of some of your calculations because they are deemed contaminated by UHI.

  21. Mailman says: “Can only agree with Daveburton…for the simple reason that the big brains won’t like mere mortals…”

    Given, past experience with tenured “big brains” of hallowed halls – What they said.

  22. next time can you create a separate area for attaboys and kudos. When not combined with a critique or at least a highlighting of areas of import and discusion they make the thread to long and hard to follow.

    [Reply: By posting this in Tips&Notes, Anthony will see it. It is impossible for one person to read every comment in every article. This site has too much traffic to for Anthony to read everything. ~dbs, mod.]

  23. Figured out why TOBS adjustments were changing without the metadata showing it. They have been using “inferred” metadata based on these papers by A. DeGaetano.
    DeGaetano 1999

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/1520-0442%281999%29012%3C3443%3AAMTIOT%3E2.0.CO%3B2

    Degaetano 2003

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/1520-0450%282003%29042%3C1823%3AAMFODO%3E2.0.CO%3B2

    Degaetano 2005

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/joc.1183/pdf

    They will use these against your argument about observers not adhering to their reading times. But I don’t think the random nature of that would be picked up through this method. A sustained departure would have the highest likelihood of being caught. And of course the false flags that happen.

    I looked at the Vose et al 2003 paper again. I had mistakenly thought they just used the 7am and 5pm times, but they did use the 500 stations from the Surface Airways Hourly between 1965-2001, to come up with adjustments for every hour. I imagine they are averaged from this time frame. I still wonder, though, if a changing climate and weather patterns will affect these adjustments. There are so many more stations with hourly data available now, even online, that it would be interesting to see if those adjustments are truly robust. I have an airport and even home stations right nearby with available data online, that I could do checks like VOSE et al did. That goes for anyone.

  24. Anthony

    I believe you are right to say that one day all drafts of papers will be put online for criticism. Following this crowd review by some extremely knowledgeable people- and those who may not be ‘experts’ but bring a valuable and different perspective to the party- the paper can then be amended rapidly

    Hopefully a standard of ‘peer review’ acceptable to the science community can then take place -probably online but privately- and then the paper will be uploaded to a suitable site with no paywalls.There will however be much gnashing of teeth by those with a vested interest before that happens, but it seems inevitable.

    tonyb

  25. This is just fantastic because the old-boy guard of oligarchical peer-review practiced by Mann, Hansen, Trenberth, et. al. has got to go. We have far too many pressing human problems, and far too little resources and capital to address them from cliques with narrow political agendas. Crowd sourcing is the ultimate in market economics, because it allows us to wrest every last drop of productivity and truth so we don’t waste the precious human seconds on nonsense like CAGW.

  26. We are in the early phases of seeing in manufacturing – or at least boutique production – what the Web has done for publishing. Granted, it’s a lot easier to turn words into images on a screen than it is to laser a bunch of powdered steel into a sintered body, and WordPress is a whole lot cheaper than Solidworks, but…

  27. Josualdo says:
    August 2, 2012 at 11:48 am

    [Educated] Crowdsourcing at Donna Laframboise’s place thoroughly destroyed the AR4 credibility.

    Well some of us may have not been that well educated — but the shenanigans were still obvious..

  28. I wonder if any particular politician from the past now wishes the internet had not been invented. ;-)

  29. Brian D says:
    August 2, 2012 at 12:30 pm
    Figured out why TOBS adjustments were changing without the metadata showing it. They have been using “inferred” metadata based on these papers by A. DeGaetano.
    DeGaetano 1999

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/1520-0442%281999%29012%3C3443%3AAMTIOT%3E2.0.CO%3B2

    ============
    Quote from the above paper:

    “Furthermore, personal experience has also indicated that some published
    observation times may be in error. To my knowledge, the validity of the published observation times has not been rigorously scrutinized.”

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to find out if the data is any good to begin with?

    Easier to just build a model and adjust what you got, I guess.

    • It gets worse, also from the DeGaetano 1999 paper

      Based on the limited evaluation of isolated areas with
      low classification success in Fig. 8, it appears that existing
      observation time metadata files are marred with
      errors.
      Since these data are used in a range of applications
      from adjusting heating degree day normals to
      standardizing reference climatological time series for
      climate change detection research, the implications of
      erroneous observation time documentation can be far
      reaching.

  30. To Anthony re your reply dated Aug 2 @ 9:51 am re Gutenberg. The Church was glad to see the printing press invented. Gutenberg was a Catholic and the bible he printed was the Catholic version with those 7 1/2 extra books. Until then few could read and no one had a Bible except the very rich. The Church spent much time and many resources getting the Bible to their members but it was mainly read to them in Church. It wasn’t until the 18th century that printing was cheap enough so that many could afford a Bible and literacy levels increased to where Bible reading athome was common. That was also when newspapers and magazines became common. If you go deeper into history you will find the Church wasn’t the ogre you make her out to be.

  31. The idea of online pre-peer review, and likely peer review itself, is in my opinion where the future of science publishing lies. I think we’ll all learn useful lessons for that future from this experiment. As the saying goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    I heartily agree. It can only make your final paper better. Now, as for climate science Pal Review, that’s another question.

  32. Another benefit of “people-review before peer-review” for someone like me is the learning and explanations of terms, acronyms etc. that come up in the comments. For example when “TOBS” started to show up in the comments I didn’t know what people were talking about. I thought it might be some technical or statistical term that’s I’d need to take a course to comprehend. Once I realized it refered to the observers reading their thermomers at different times of day, it was no longter an obscure term. I understood. As I mentioned in one of my comments elsewhere, I’ve dealt with it myself in reporting our rainfall to the NWS. I just didn’t know that’s what it was called.
    A suggestion for the paper when it is posted here, not the submitted version, would be to include a glossary of accronyms and abreviations at the end for those of us that are ignorant of the terminology used.

  33. The accepted practice is to spell out acronymns at first mention in each paper it is used in with the acronym in parenthesis. From then on, you use the acronym in the body of the work. Even well known acronyms should be handled this way.

  34. Only problem I see with thsi approach, Anthony, is it gives The Team plenty of time to launch a counter-offensive and stack the deck against you for publication. Despite the ground-breaking effort in this area to refine and make the surface record significantly more accurate, this info is NOT in their best interests…

  35. Curt Lampkin says:
    August 2, 2012 at 1:25 pm
    To Anthony re your reply dated Aug 2 @ 9:51 am re Gutenberg. The Church was glad to see the printing press invented. Gutenberg was a Catholic and the bible he printed was the Catholic version with those 7 1/2 extra books. Until then few could read and no one had a Bible except the very rich. The Church spent much time and many resources getting the Bible to their members but it was mainly read to them in Church. It wasn’t until the 18th century that printing was cheap enough so that many could afford a Bible and literacy levels increased to where Bible reading athome was common.
    ======================================================================
    I was going to add something to my previous comment then saw this and it seemed to tie in to what I was going to add.
    Aside from the printing press making the Bible more available, it also aided those such as Luther and Tyndale that were translating it into the language the common people spoke. They didn’t have to learn Latin. They just needed to learn to read.
    Presenting draft papers in the manner Watts et al has been presented with all the comments helps those like me understand the concepts behind what may seem like it’s “Latin to me”.

  36. Pamela Gray says:
    August 2, 2012 at 1:36 pm
    The accepted practice is to spell out acronymns at first mention in each paper it is used in with the acronym in parenthesis. From then on, you use the acronym in the body of the work. Even well known acronyms should be handled this way.

    ======================================================
    True. And it’s from the comments that sometimes, for me anyway, the definition of what is spelled out sinks in. (Sinks in a little at least. I can be pretty thick at times.8-)

  37. REPLY: When Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg invented the printing press, he broke the monopoly the Catholic Church had on publishing with their army of scribes. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth then too. In a few years, we’ll wonder how we ever managed to do effective review in “the old days”. – Anthony

    My thoughts exactly. Of course it was printing [Internet] plus translating the Bible into the vernacular [blogs like WUWT] that facilitated the rise of the Protestant Reformation – oh, plus all the 95 Theses naming Catholic corruptions [well.... how about 153 Theses of "bullet-proof" rebuffs to each of the 153 Articles currently on SkSci ] that Luther nailed to the door of Wittenberg church.

  38. tonyb says:
    August 2, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Anthony

    I believe you are right to say that one day all drafts of papers will be put online for criticism. Following this crowd review by some extremely knowledgeable people- and those who may not be ‘experts’ but bring a valuable and different perspective to the party- the paper can then be amended rapidly
    =================================================================
    It’s been a long time taking off, but http://arxiv.org/ is now growing rapidly.

  39. Anthony I hope to see you crowdsource creative but feasible methods for winkling out statistically significant sense in the TOBs confusion. I’d love to see Jeff Condon and others on the case, with suggestions for cunning uses of statistics, for eg:-
    * sampling different station types
    * close look at grade 1-2 stations with frequent temp measurements, estimating effect on results for different TOBs
    * monte carlo simulated runs
    * use of existing TOBs data, notes of gaps, some quantification of fudge factor practices
    * use of interpolations or estimates in records where two or more consecutive max/min are discovered to be identical.
    * etc

    to build up a new paper on TOBs, this time highly and visibly dependent on crowdsourcing, so that as the saying goes

    If life hands you a lemon, make lemonade.

  40. re Gutenberg: Luther cannot have imagined anyone could translate and reproduce his critique so easily. Unlike Luther the amazing Mr Watts has actually invited public discussion. Can Watts et al. evolve and get general approval? Is that even possible?

  41. BarryW says … “Here is my hypothesis based on that. I’ve been thinking about this after reading your paper that, for both the 1/2 and 3/4/5 sites, the NE region is showing the largest trend. If you think about mesoscale siting (city size) as opposed to microsite issue, where might you find a signal of man made warming (not CO2 related)? The industrialized NE would be a prime candidate. ”

    Exactly Barry. We know this. The industrialized NE should show a warming trend. But the rub comes in when dihonest political lackys … errrr … scientist, pass off the warmer temps in the NE to being the result of CO2. Even worse, .. when those temps get figured into a global metric, thus creating a false trend regarding the globe. In realtiy, the data show that the urban areas around the globe have warmed … not the globe itself.

    IMO .. there is no such thing as “Global Climate”. The Climate in the Tropics is NEVER like the Climate in Antarctica. Heat Waves, Cold Spells … only affect the region in which they occurr.

    On that topic … Watts et al., is showing this effect, not only on a UHI level, but on the level of the stations themselves. THIS is real science. … challenging the existing dogma, and comming up with new possibilities.

  42. Following up on Lucy Skywalker, I would love to see a random sample of monthly data for stations with accurate metadata for the TOBS change. I still don’t know if there is a problem, so some examples (obviously not cherry-picked) would help. As for the solution, I can say with certainty that homogenizing good stations with bad ones is not the solution.

  43. Online, open access, crowd sourced peer review isn’t as new as you might think in the atmospheric sciences. It has been happening for more than ten years at the journal “Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics”.

  44. tonyb says: August 2, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    “I believe you are right to say that one day all drafts of papers will be put online for criticism. Following this crowd review by some extremely knowledgeable people- and those who may not be ‘experts’ but bring a valuable and different perspective to the party- the paper can then be amended rapidly.”

    I think commenters here overrate the availability of crowds. Millions of scientific papers are published every year.

  45. Anthony,

    Well done. That said and as an Australian farmer with the input costs of a $23.00 (A) per tonne carbon tax to deal with, it looks like that you are going to have to deal with the entrenched versions of real_climate_scientists acclimatization of mathematics which involves the persecution of normal numbers by severely depressed manufacturers of climatic algorithms.

  46. As a layman, I find it hard to get my head around the TOB adjustment argument. If at midnight tonight the Min. Temp. ends up being 60F, we record that and we reset the thermometer.

    At 12:01 AM the temperature is 60F and that ends up being the Min. Temp for tomorrow — then that’s Min. Temp for tomorrow. That’s not “double counting”, that’s a fact. Each day is a unique, discrete 24 hour day; the temperature at 11:59 PM yesterday is irrelevant to today’s temperature.

    As long as the temperature is recorded and reset at the same time everyday, it matters little what time the reading and reset are done. In the long term, 24 hours is 24 hours.

    To arbitrarily adjust for TOB using some algorithm (model) seems far fetched.

  47. AWESOME!!!!

    I have been waiting for a real confirmation of the actual warming that is going on. Your critical work showing that the warming per decade of only .155C shows that we are experiencing surface temperature warming that will create a catastrophic climate change within the next 50 years.

    To whit: the most recent month of July had midwest average temperatures of 5-10 degrees fahrenheit but it was abnormally cool in alaska so the average warming of north america was only about 1.25 degrees Celsius, on average.

    tell that to a farmer in Oklahoma City today. . .

    Congrats!!!

  48. Anthony, Evan, Stephen, and John: congratulations, great work, and best of luck on your paper. The following paper published in 1991 in Northwest Science might provide some historical background before the thermometer was politicized and monetized: “The Effect of Observation Time and Sampling Frequency on Mean Daily Maximum, Minimum and Average Temperature”, C. L. Hanson, USDA.

    Paper here:

    http://research.wsulibs.wsu.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/2376/1631/v65%20p101%20Hanson.PDF?sequence=1

    Other links:

    https://research.wsulibs.wsu.edu:8443/xmlui/handle/2376/1631?show=full

    http://openagricola.nal.usda.gov/Record/IND92032369

    Re the many comments about Gutenberg’s invention, one of the early applications was printing indulgences. That would be the historic precedent for carbon credits.

  49. Nick Stokes;
    I think commenters here overrate the availability of crowds. Millions of scientific papers are published every year.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    C’mon Nick. It ought to be blindingly obvious that even highly specialized papers with little or no broad public interest would still be exposed to more and better review by a larger number of people than the paltry 3 that is the standard in journals.

    In fact, the time will come went “pre-review” in the fashion we’re seeing here will become the standard as only the shoddiest of work would benefit from the traditional peer review process. Good work would seek out and benefit from pre-review by a widespread and multi-disciplinary audience.

    Can one imagine what would have happened at the infamous “hide the decline” papers been subject to this kind of scrutiny? Mann and Jones would have been outed in hours, perhaps minutes, and no journal, not even Nature, would have published them because to do so would have been completely embarrasing.

    Cling to the past Nick, cling tight.

  50. Exactly this process is behind the rise of linux. The source code is available on the internet for all to see and point out errors and suggest patches. And yes, maybe a snotty-nosed-14-year-old-kid will spot an error that some guy with a string of CS degrees made. It’s not about egos, it’s about making the code the best it can. The same principle applies here. It’s about making the paper the best it can be.

  51. David Hoffer:

    Can one imagine what would have happened at the infamous “hide the decline” papers been subject to this kind of scrutiny? Mann and Jones would have been outed in hours, perhaps minutes, and no journal, not even Nature, would have published them because to do so would have been completely embarrasing.

    Cling to the past Nick, cling tight.

    Quite. I’ve often thought how IPCC-dominated climate science is one of the big hangouts against the vast social changes Tim Berners-Lee released with the world wide web from March 1989 onwards.

    Note that timing too. 88: IPCC born to bring total control of the elite. 89: God’s response.

    Sorry Tim – you know the respect I have for you – but that’s how I see it.

  52. “Paul Matthews says:

    August 2, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Was the paper submitted to a journal in time for the IPCC deadline, July 31?
    If not, why the rush and holiday-cancelling last week?”

    If I was faced with the prospect of watching the little golden Muller Fly buzzing its wings atop a fresh pile of horse puckey for the next 6 months, I’d have rushed too….

  53. Let’s see to what degree the revised version will have taken into consideration the criticism by others of the major flaws in the analysis presented in the manuscript by Watts et al.

    I particularly look forward to see whether the circular reasoning what I see in the main line of the argument where basically it is assumed beforehand what is presented as the main conclusion at the end, is still going to be present in the revised version.

    • @Jan P Perlwitz you might be surprised at what we found already. This is something you folks who never bother to get your hands dirty by leaving the office and looking around would never have caught. We wouldn’t either if it weren’t for the criticisms we have received and looked at.

      Remember this moment the next time you, Gavin, and Jim (turn off the a/c cuz the science ain’t convincing enough) Hansen dismiss such investigations with the papal wave of the hand. Have a nice weekend. – Anthony

  54. Well, Mr. Watts. I guess it is your privilege here, since you own this site, to apply ad hominem or to make libelous accusations against working scientists who write comments here or who don’t, as much as you want, when you don’t like what they have to say, w/o you being in danger to be snipped away by one of the moderators.

    I look forward to finding out, anyhow, whether the circular reasoning from the first draft is going to be eliminated in the revised version, and whether the criticism of the major flaws in the analysis is going to be taken into account then.

    REPLY: Heh, not libelous, Jim Hansen and his sponsor actually did turn the thermostat up in June 1988:

    This transcript excerpt is from PBS series Frontline which aired a special in April 2007. Here he admits his stagecraft in his own words:

    TIMOTHY WIRTH: We called the Weather Bureau and found out what historically was the hottest day of the summer. Well, it was June 6th or June 9th or whatever it was. So we scheduled the hearing that day, and bingo, it was the hottest day on record in Washington, or close to it.

    DEBORAH AMOS: [on camera] Did you also alter the temperature in the hearing room that day?

    TIMOTHY WIRTH: What we did is that we went in the night before and opened all the windows, I will admit, right, so that the air conditioning wasn’t working inside the room. And so when the- when the hearing occurred, there was not only bliss, which is television cameras and double figures, but it was really hot.[Shot of witnesses at hearing]

    Cheap stage tricks from Jim Hansen and his sponsor. You should be proud. If the science was strong enough, they wouldn’t need to pull this crap.

    The only circular reasoning is yours, courtesy of the taxpayers of the USA. The surface network is a mess, and by extension so is GISTEMP.

    As for your snipping concerns, one only needs to read RealClimate. Did you know I’ve been banned from there? I’ve tried to submit comments, they disappear. So quit your whining, you get to commment here.

    – Anthony

  55. Mr. Watts:

    Heh, not libelous, Jim Hansen and his sponsor actually did turn the thermostat up in June 1988:

    Please could you point me to the time stamp in the video clip, where it is said that Jim Hansen was involved in the logistical preparation of the hearing, like deliberately opening the windows the night before to make the room hotter? I can’t find it. I only see the senator speaking what he did and probably whoever was working with him. So, how is your assertion about Hansen not libelous, if this video clip is all you have for your assertion?

    Cheap stage tricks from Jim Hansen and his sponsor. You should be proud. If the science was strong enough, they wouldn’t need to pull this crap.

    What you try to do here is dismissing the published science by applying a non-scientific argument against it. This is a logical fallacy. If you were able to refute the results from Hansen’s scientific papers with scientific arguments you wouldn’t need to rely on this crap.

    The only circular reasoning is yours, courtesy of the taxpayers of the USA.

    Where have I applied circular reasoning, using taxpayer money? Your statement is an assertion by you, which is backed up with nothing.

    The surface network is a mess, and by extension so is GISTEMP.

    Where is your scientific evidence that GISS-TEMP is significantly flawed? Again, just an assertion w/o evidence. Even if your conclusions about the temperature trend in the adjusted USHCNv2 data were correct as stated in your manuscript, it would barely affect the global temperature anomaly in the GISS analyses. For the GISS analyses, the non-adjusted data from the GHCN are used, except for a small subset of adjusted USHCNv2 data. Hansen et al. apply their own adjustment algorithm based on satellite derived night lights. But you know that, since you mention their method at one point, although the reference to the paper where the algorithm is introduced is missing in your manuscript.

    As for the circular reasoning in your manuscript:

    In line 360 to 362, you write:

    In what follows, to the extent that significant differences are found among classes, the well sited stations will be assumed to have more accurate measurements of temperature and temperature trends than poorly sited stations.

    And from this you conclude that the estimated temperature trend is artificially increased (doubled!) in the adjusted USHCNv2 data set due to non-climatic factors since all adjustments that don’t adjust the trend back to the assumed most accurate trend at the “well sited” stations must be wrong. The conclusion just states what has already been pre-determined in the assumption.

  56. Jan P Perlwitz says:
    August 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm
    If you were able to refute the results from Hansen’s scientific papers with scientific arguments you wouldn’t need to rely on this crap.

    =============================================================================
    And just how hot did his scientific papers say we were supposed to be by now?
    Anthony doesn’t need to refute Hansen. Nature did.
    PS How much $$ has he made outside of his salary? Who paid him and why?
    (I only brought that up since “CAGWer’s” are constantly saying that skeptics’ arguments should be dismissed because of where they imply their money is coming from. Where is Hansen’s money actually coming from?)

  57. TYPO: Should be “papers” not “paepers” … But go ahead and leave it. English is my first language. I still screw it up sometimes. Maybe Jan will feel less “piled on” for her/his typoes.

  58. Richard Drake says:
    August 2, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Quite. I’ve often thought how IPCC-dominated climate science is one of the big hangouts against the vast social changes Tim Berners-Lee released with the world wide web from March 1989 onwards.

    Note that timing too. 88: IPCC born to bring total control of the elite. 89: God’s response.

    Sorry Tim – you know the respect I have for you – but that’s how I see it.

    God’s response was to bring rampant porn, child porn web sites, identity theft, and all the rest of the worst of humanity into the fore? Why don’t we stay within the realm of reality.

  59. Jan P Perlwitz says:
    August 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Let’s see to what degree the revised version will have taken into consideration the criticism by others of the major flaws in the analysis presented in the manuscript by Watts et al.

    I particularly look forward to see whether the circular reasoning what I see in the main line of the argument where basically it is assumed beforehand what is presented as the main conclusion at the end, is still going to be present in the revised version.
    _______________________________________________________________

    Hmm, I see a major flaw in your reasoning Mr P. The #1 and #2 sites were identified on the basis of the rating system, not on the basis of their temperature records. You must know that, so I think your arguement is troll like behaviour. Bad form imo from a scientist whos salary is paid by the public.

  60. Ed_B, you wrote:

    Hmm, I see a major flaw in your reasoning Mr P. The #1 and #2 sites were identified on the basis of the rating system, not on the basis of their temperature records.

    I didn’t say that the class 1 and 2 sites were identified on the basis of their temperature records. I say that Watts et al. just assume that the temperature anomaly trends at the class 1 and 2 sites are the most accurate ones, compared to the class 3, 4, and 5 sites, and that the trends estimated using latter sites were wrong. At the end, Watts et al. conclude what they have assumed: the trends at the class 3, 4, 5 classes were overestimated compared to the real world warming signal, and that the CONUS overall trend is also artificially doubled, since, according to Watts et al.’s assumption, there shouldn’t have been any significant adjustment due to biases at the class 1 and 2 sites, and the adjustment at the class 3, 4, 5 sites should have been downward to match the trends at the class 1 and 2 sites, accordingly. Watts et al. conclude what they have postulated in their assumption. Circular reasoning.

    The siting of the stations alone, whether they belong to the class 1 and 2, or to the other classes does not imply by itself that the temperature anomaly trend estimated from the class 1 and 2 stations is more accurate than then trend estimated from the class 3, 4, and 5 stations. If it was implied Watts et al., didn’t need to just postulate that this was the case. It is not implied, because the siting of the stations isn’t the only source of inhomogeneities in the temperature anomaly trends. Watts et al. must show, based on scientific evidence, that the temperature trends in the raw data estimated from the class 1 and 2 stations are more accurate than the trends estimated from the other stations. And if they want to quantify an artificial trend (they assert a doubling), they also must quantify the accuracy of the trends from the raw data at the stations of the different classes. They haven’t done this, and they have not provided the evidence that the trends from the class 1 and 2 stations don’t need any adjustment due to biases. They only have shown in their analysis that the trends in the raw data before homogenization of the data are different between the classes.

    Now, what is the flaw in my reasoning?

    You must know that, so I think your arguement is troll like behaviour. Bad form imo from a scientist whos salary is paid by the public.

    My salary comes from government money. Correct. I just don’t see the link between my salary coming from the public and my freedom to express my personal views in public. Do you think the freedom of scientists to express their personal views in public should be more restricted, compared to the freedom of other people, if the scientists are paid with money coming from the public? Is this what I would have to expect, if the likes of you controlled the government? What if I give a damn about what you think about what I should say and what I shouldn’t?

  61. Dr Perlwitz, there is no ‘circular reasoning’. Watts et al are to be commended on clearly stating their assumptions, a practise not always followed in climate science. The assumption that the well sited stations provide a more accurate measure of temperature trends than the poorly sited ones seems entirely reasonable. In fact it is implicit in the Leroy paper (“Obviously the objective was to select class 1 sites”, “A class 1 site can be considered as a reference site”).
    The main conclusion of the work is that the poor sites have a much higher trend than than the good ones. This does not, as you seem to be claiming, follow from the assumption.
    I can appreciate that you are annoyed by this, but please calm down and try to have a sensible discussion.

  62. I’m laughing at a line in http://rabett.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/the-incidence-of-solipsism-among.html, by a blathering professor “Eli Rabett” who is distainful of many in the climate arena including Anthony Watts but sometimes alarmists.

    In criticizing Richard Muller’s claimed flip from skeptic to believer in CAGW and other behaviour, Rabett says “This ain’t saying that the BEST project was useless, they have developed some interesting methods, and pushed the surface temperature instrumental record back somewhat. It wasn’t that others were unaware of such records, but the level of trust was, let us say, about where Michael Mann stands in Steve McIntyre’s mind.”

    BTW, some support for the notion that Muller was a skeptic may be found in his 2004 “bombshell” article pointing to M&M demolishing Mann’s “hockey stick”, and his 2003 article http://www.technologyreview.com/news/402357/medieval-global-warming/.

    Elsewhere in Rabett’s blather-blog is what seems to be an apt point, that many of the “adjustments” to surface temp data can be classified as “inter-calibration”.

  63. Perlwitz says:

    “My salary comes from government money.”

    What a complete misappropriation of taxpayer funds.

    I believe “waste, fraud and abuse” is the operative term.

  64. Jan P Perlwitz says:
    August 5, 2012 at 2:48 am

    Ed_B, you wrote:

    Hmm, I see a major flaw in your reasoning Mr P. The #1 and #2 sites were identified on the basis of the rating system, not on the basis of their temperature records.

    I didn’t say that the class 1 and 2 sites were identified on the basis of their temperature records. I say that Watts et al. just assume that the temperature anomaly trends at the class 1 and 2 sites are the most accurate ones, compared to the class 3, 4, and 5 sites, and that the trends estimated using latter sites were wrong. . . .

    The reasoning here is beyond shoddy. The sole rationale for 1) establishing standards for station siting, and 2) for grading site quality is to acquire as near an error-free control data set as possible. If the temperature records and thus the estimated trends from the “best” sites are not the most accurate, grading sites and adjusting data would be a massive waste of time from a scientific view. That would leave non-science justifications as the sole grounds for such adjustments. I do hope you really don’t mean that.

  65. Duster said:

    That would leave non-science justifications as the sole grounds for such adjustments. I do hope you [Dr. Perlwitz] really don’t mean that.

    Why should one expect Dr. Perlwitz to do things differently than any other government funded climate scientist?

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