Inspector general's transcript of drowned polar bear researcher being grilled

This fellow, Charles Monnett has been suspended pending an investigation into his polar bear research. You may recall that he single-handedly inspired Al Gore (not that it takes much) into producing this piece of science fiction for his even larger fiction, An Inconvenient Truth. Gore cited Monnett’s research.

Only one problem now, his “research” is collapsing, and as you read the transcript, you’ll see why even the simplest of queries get Monnett flustered. Yet this was peer reviewed published science.

Never Yet Melted writes:

The Inspector General interview transcript (excerpts) had me, for instance, in stitches.

Disclosing as it does the level of rigor of methodology being employed:

ERIC MAY: Well, actually, since you‟re bringing that up, 18 and, and I‟m a little confused of how many dead or drowned polar bears you did observe, because in the manuscript, you indicate three, and in the poster presentation –

CHARLES MONNETT: No.

ERIC MAY: – you mentioned four.

CHARLES MONNETT: No, now you‟re confusing the, um, the estimator with the, uh, the sightings. There were four drowned bears seen.

ERIC MAY: Okay.

CHARLES MONNETT: Three of which were on transects.

ERIC MAY: Okay.

CHARLES MONNETT: And so for the purpose of that little ratio estimator, we only looked at what we were seeing on transects, because that‟s a – you know, we couldn‟t be very rigorous, but the least we could do is look at the random transects. And so we based, uh, our extrapolation to only bears on transects, because we‟re saying that the transects, the, the swaths we flew, represented I think it was 11 percent of the entire habitat that, you know, that could have had dead polar bears in it.

ERIC MAY: Um-hm [yes].

CHARLES MONNETT: And, um, so by limiting it to the transect bears, then, you know, we could do that ratio estimator and say three is to, um, uh, “x” as, uh, 11 is to 100. I mean, it‟s that kind of thing. You, you‟ve, you‟re nodding like you understand.

LYNN GIBSON: Yeah.

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah, that‟s pretty simple, isn‟t confusing. I mean, it‟s –

ERIC MAY: So, so, so you observed four dead polar bears during MMS –

CHARLES MONNETT: One of which was not on transect.

ERIC MAY: Okay, so that‟s what –

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah. …

ERIC MAY: So I highlighted under here, and we‟ve got the four, and that‟s what –

CHARLES MONNETT: Oh, here you go. Yeah. Well, I‟m pretty confident that it was four. I mean, that‟s, um – uh, look, look what is in the paper. I mean, it should have the – probably the same information that, you know –

ERIC MAY: Well, it –

CHARLES MONNETT: There‟s a table in there, but does it – it has the dead ones in it, doesn‟t it?

ERIC MAY: Well, and I think you, you explain, so this is the portion where you‟re talking about the 25 percent survival rate.

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.

ERIC MAY: And you‟re talking about four swimming bears and three drowned or dead polar bears.

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah. Yeah, but that‟s because those are on transects.

ERIC MAY: On part of this 11 percent?

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah, it says that right in here and, 11 and –

ERIC MAY: Right, right, but that‟s what you‟re talking about. …

How to do things with statistics.

3 CHARLES MONNETT: The paragraph in the left-hand column. Um, God, I‟ve got people here who are second-guessing my calculations. Um, well, um, we flew transects. That was our basic methodology. They were partially randomized. And we, uh, we looked at a, a map. I think we probably used GIS to do it, and we said that our survey area, if you bound it, is so big.

ERIC MAY: Um-hm [yes].

CHARLES MONNETT: And then we made some assumptions about our swath width, and I think we assumed we could see a, a bear out to a kilometer with any reliability, which mean you‟re looking down like that. And, uh, sometimes you might see more; sometimes you wouldn‟t. Sometimes you can‟t see a whale out that far, so it depends on the water conditions. And so we just said that, um, if you add up, we had 34 north/south transects provide 11 percent coverage of the 630 kilometer-wide study area, and that was just to get our ratio of coverage. And then the area we really were concerned about was just the area where the bears were, so we could ignore the area at that point and just go with a ratio, because we assume that‟s the same, because these things are pretty, uh, they‟re pretty standardized. They were designed to be standardized, so in each bloc – have you seen the blocs? Have you seen our design? It‟s in here.

ERIC MAY: I took – yeah, in, in your study.

CHARLES MONNETT: It‟s right at the beginning here. Um, every map in here has got it on it. Um, there, those are our blocs. And so, uh, this one would have four pairs. This one would have probably three pairs. I don‟t know, there will be later maps. Um, and there, you can see the flights. Uh, well, yeah, they‟re in here. Um, so we‟re flying these transects, and we‟re assuming we can see a certain percentage or a certain, certain distance. Therefore, we can total up the length and the width and come up with an area. And so we calculated that

our coverage was 11 percent, plus or minus a little bit.

ERIC MAY: Okay. And I believe you rounded up, too. It was 10.8 and you rounded up to 11?

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah. Well, that‟s a nothing. Um, yeah, 10.8. And then we said, um, four dead – four swimming polar bears were encountered on these transects, in addition to three.

ERIC MAY: Three dead polar bears?

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah, three dead.

ERIC MAY: Right.

CHARLES MONNETT: But the four swimming were a week earlier.

ERIC MAY: Okay.

CHARLES MONNETT: And, um, then we said if they accurately reflect 11 percent of the bears present so, in other words, they‟re just distributed randomly, so we looked at 11 percent of the area.

ERIC MAY: In that transect?

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.

ERIC MAY: Right.

CHARLES MONNETT: In, in our, in our area there, um –

ERIC MAY: Right.

CHARLES MONNETT: – and, therefore, we should have seen 11 percent of the bears. Then you just invert that, and you come up with, um, nine times as many. So that‟s where you get the 27, nine times three.

ERIC MAY: Where does the nine come from?

CHARLES MONNETT: Uh, well 11 percent is one-ninth of 100 percent. Nine times 11 is 99 percent. Is that, is that clear? …

LYNN GIBSON: I think what he‟s saying is since there‟s four swimming and three dead, that makes –

ERIC MAY: And three dead.

CHARLES MONNETT: Well, you don‟t count them all together. That doesn‟t have anything to do. You can‟t – that doesn‟t even –

LYNN GIBSON: So you‟re not saying that the seven represent 16 11 percent of the population.

CHARLES MONNETT: They‟re different events.

ERIC MAY: Well, that‟s what you try – we‟re trying to –

LYNN GIBSON: You‟re talking about they‟re separate?

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah, they‟re different events.

ERIC MAY: Right, so explain to us how –

CHARLES MONNETT: On one day – well, let me draw. I, I, I don‟t have confidence that you‟re understanding me here, so let me (inaudible/mixed voices). …

CHARLES MONNETT: It makes me feel more professorial if I write it on the blackboard.

LYNN GIBSON: Okay, go ahead.

CHARLES MONNETT: No, that‟s okay.

ERIC MAY: (Inaudible/mixed voices)

CHARLES MONNETT: If you could see it, I wanted you to see it was why I was going to do it there.

ERIC MAY: (Inaudible/mixed voices)

LYNN GIBSON: We‟re your students today.

CHARLES MONNETT: Uh, well, this has transects on it, doesn‟t it, guys?

LYNN GIBSON: Yes, it does.

CHARLES MONNETT: I mean, look right here. So here‟s our coastline right here, this red thing.

ERIC MAY: Okay, yep.

CHARLES MONNETT: And here‟s our, um, our study area. We go out to whatever it was. I don‟t remember, 70, 71 degrees or something like that. And, um, around each of these things, we survey a tenth of the distance between, basically.

ERIC MAY: Okay.

CHARLES MONNETT: And so if you draw these lines here, and this is – you‟re just going to have to pretend like I did this for all of them. And you calculate the area in here.

LYNN GIBSON: Um-hm [yes].

CHARLES MONNETT: And you total them all, and then you calculate the whole area. This – the area inside here was 11 percent.

LYNN GIBSON: Okay.

CHARLES MONNETT: Okay? Now what we said is that we saw three, three bears in 11 percent.

ERIC MAY: Three dead bears?

CHARLES MONNETT: Three dead, yeah, dead –

ERIC MAY: Right.

CHARLES MONNETT: – in the 11 percent of the habitat. And so you could set up a, um, a ratio here, three is to “x” 25 equals 11 over 100, right? And so you end up with – you can cross-multiply. You know algebra?

ERIC MAY: Um-hm [yes], yeah.

CHARLES MONNETT: You can cross-multiply. Okay, so you end up with 300 equals 11x, and I am sure that that‟s – equals 27, okay?

ERIC MAY: Right, right, got that.

CHARLES MONNETT: And if you stick four in here instead, you end up with –

ERIC MAY: Thirty-six.

CHARLES MONNETT: – whatever that number was, yeah, 36. Now, um, those numbers aren‟t related, except we made the further

assumption, which is implicit to the analysis. Seems obvious to me. We went out there one week, and we saw four swimming on the transect, which we estimated could have been as many as 36.

LYNN GIBSON: Correct.

CHARLES MONNETT: If we correct for the area. And we went out there later, a week to two weeks later, and then we saw the dead ones, the three dead ones in the same area, which could have been 27. And then we said let‟s make the further assumption that – and this, this isn‟t in the paper, but it‟s implicit to this aument –

ERIC MAY: Um-hm [yes].

CHARLES MONNETT: – that right after we saw these bears swimming, this storm came in and caught them offshore, all right? And so if, um, if you assume that the, the, the 36 all were exposed to the storm, and then we went back and we saw tentially 27 of them, that gives you your 25 percent survival rate. Now that‟s, um, statistically, um, irrelevant. I mean, it, it‟s not statistical. It‟s just an argument. It‟s for, it‟s for the sake of discussion. See, right here, “Discussion.”

ERIC MAY: Um-hm [yes].

CHARLES MONNETT: That‟s what you do in discussions is you throw things out, um, for people to think about. And so what we said is, look, uh, we saw four. We saw a whole bunch swimming, but if you want to compare them, then let‟s do this little ratio estimator and correct for the percentage of the area surveyed. And just doing that, then there might have been as many as 27 bears out there that were dead. There might have been as many as 36, plus or minus. There could have been 50. I don‟t know. But the way we were posing it was that it‟s serious, because it‟s not just four. It‟s probably a lot more. And then we said that with the further assumption, you know, that the bears were exposed or, you know, the ones we‟re measuring later that are carcasses out there, it looks like a lot of them, you know, didn‟t survive, so – but it‟s, it‟s discussion, guys. I mean, it‟s not in the results. …

The reliability of the calculations used and the scrupulous oversight of the peer-review process.

ERIC MAY: So combining the three dead polar bears and the four alive bears is a mistake?

CHARLES MONNETT: No, it‟s not a mistake. It‟s just not a, a, a real, uh, rigorous analysis. And a whole bunch of peer reviewers and a journal, you know –

ERIC MAY: Did they go through – I mean, did they do the calculations as you just did with us?

CHARLES MONNETT: Well, I assume they did. That‟s their purpose.

ERIC MAY: Okay. Right, and that‟s – again, that‟s why I was asking peer review.

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.

ERIC MAY: Did they do that with that particular section of your manuscript?

CHARLES MONNETT: Well, I don‟t, I don‟t remember anybody doing the calculations but, um, uh, there weren‟t any huge objections. There weren‟t a – let‟s put it this way, there weren‟t sufficient objections for the journal editor to ask us to take it out.

ERIC MAY: Right. Well, let me, let me read you what – the four bears – and representing what we were just talking about, this section.

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.

ERIC MAY: So just let me, let me read what I have here, okay?

CHARLES MONNETT: Okay.

ERIC MAY: “If four swimming bears, if four bears represent 11 percent of the population of bears swimming before the storm,” –

CHARLES MONNETT: Um-hm [yes].

ERIC MAY: – okay? “Then 36 bears were likely swimming.”

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah, maybe, I mean –

ERIC MAY: Okay, but I mean –

CHARLES MONNETT: No, we didn‟t say “likely.” I think we said “possibly,” or did you say “likely” or –?

ERIC MAY: Well, or this – again, as you just stated earlier, this is Discussion, so –

CHARLES MONNETT: I‟d be surprised if we said “likely,” but mostly we were saying “possibly.”

ERIC MAY: Okay, so let me – let, let me continue, so –

CHARLES MONNETT: Okay.

ERIC MAY: – so you have that. “If three bears represent 11 percent of the population of bears that may have died” –

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.

ERIC MAY: – right?

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.

ERIC MAY: I think those are your words in your manu- – “may have died.”

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.

ERIC MAY: “ – as a result of this storm, then 27 bears were likely drowned.” Okay, so far, so good?

CHARLES MONNETT: Well, if I used “likely.” I don‟t know if I did. …

And, then, the interview really gets humorous. “I mean, the storm had nothing to do with it!”

ERIC MAY: Isn‟t that stretching it a bit, though, saying – making that conclusion that no dead polar bears were observed during these years, and then, all of a sudden, 2003, you guys are – you observe dead polar bears?

CHARLES MONNETT: I don‟t think so.

ERIC MAY: Why?

CHARLES MONNETT: Well, if you ask me, I would know, I mean, what I saw, I mean, if I saw something weird like that.

ERIC MAY: So as a scientist, if another scientist made these conclusions based on the information, you would be okay with that as a peer reviewer?

CHARLES MONNETT: Well, yeah, I would, I mean, if, you know, if they told me that. They keep notes. I mean, they did this – every, everything like we do, so –.

ERIC MAY: And that‟s a, that‟s a – and it‟s a stretch, isn‟t it, though, to make that statement?

CHARLES MONNETT: Well, no, I didn‟t think so. I thought that was perfectly reasonable to ask them, since it isn‟t something – remember, the reason it‟s not in the database is because it, it doesn‟t happen. You know, you don‟t see it, so – and there‟s a reason, uh, why it‟s changed, which is in, in, in a lot of the early years, there was a lot of ice out there, and there just weren‟t opportunities for there to be dead bears. You know, bears don‟t drown when there‟s ice all over the place.

ERIC MAY: Well, so let me elaborate what I just asked you. Wouldn‟t you, wouldn‟t you notate that as a – like maybe a – you know, your statement kind of is stretching it, and you would say, “Well, based on my conversations with individuals during these surveys, although they weren‟t supposed to look for dead polar bears, they did not” – I mean, because you‟re making a very broad statement by, by that, saying that no dead polar bears were observed during those years. …

ERIC MAY: Well, and based on, based on what I just said, in terms of the, you know, your statement, would it not make more sense, too, because there was a major windstorm during this period of time, which you do mention, but you didn‟t talk too much about that as in 2004 regarding these dead polar bears.

CHARLES MONNETT: What do you mean (inaudible/mixed voices)?

ERIC MAY: Well, you‟re saying that from 1987 to 2003, there was no dead polar bears.

CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.

ERIC MAY: Did you discuss the storm conditions during those period, period of years as well? I mean, you‟re extrapolating a lot to make such, you know, scientific findings.

CHARLES MONNETT: You mean, the storms are increasing up there?

ERIC MAY: No, you‟re saying that there was no dead polar bears during those years.

CHARLES MONNETT: Certainly.

ERIC MAY: Yet in 2004, you, you observed four dead polar bears.

CHARLES MONNETT: Right.

ERIC MAY: Yet you didn‟t really elaborate on why you believe those dead polar bears died or drowned.

CHARLES MONNETT: Well, yeah, we did actually. I don‟t know why you‟re saying that. We‟ve got an extensive section in the paper talking about the, uh, you know, the wind speeds and out there, and we looked into that very hard. And, and we, um, we‟re very, very careful in this manuscript to, um, write it so that it, uh, reflects uncertainty, uncertainty about the extent of what happened, the uncertainty of why it happened, the uncertainty of what it meant in a, in a broader context.

We knew three things: That we had seen a bunch of swimming bears and that that was unusual in the context of the whole data stream. We knew we saw some dead bears, which had not been reported before and that we had been assured, you know, was new to the study. And we saw, uh – we experienced, we were there, a, a, uh, high wind event, which was actually not a, a very severe high – and it wasn‟t, you know, one of the really severe high wind events, but it was enough to shut us down, which meant that there were some pretty good waves breaking, you know, out at sea, which, um, is pretty easy to imagine would be, uh, challenging, you know, for a bear swimming. And a good bit of that, there‟s a whole section in the paper that talks about the windstorm.

ERIC MAY: Okay.

CHARLES MONNETT: Um, right here, there‟s a map, you know, of the wind speeds and all that and, uh, you know, it shows that it just fits right in there. Um –

ERIC MAY: When I was relating to th

CHARLES MONNETT: Well, I don‟t know, we, we had complete confidence in it. Um, people worked extensively with, with the database and, and, uh, so we were totally comfortable with the swimming ones, um, which, you know, were rarely seen. And it‟s a small thing I think to assume that a, um – you know, the person managing the survey would know and – ….

And here comes Jeff Ruch of PEER to the rescue.

1 JEFF RUCH: This is Jeff Ruch. We‟ve been at this for an hour and 45 minutes, and I‟m curious, are we going to get to the allegations of scientific misconduct or, uh, have – is that what we‟ve been doing?

LYNN GIBSON: Actually, a lot of the questions that we‟ve been discussing relate to the allegations.

ERIC MAY: Right.

JEFF RUCH: Um, but, uh, Agent May indicated to, um, Paul that he was going to lay out what the allegations are, and we haven‟t heard them yet, or perhaps we don‟t understand them from this line of questioning.

ERIC MAY: Well, the scientif- – well, scientific misconduct, basically, uh, wrong numbers, uh, miscalculations, uh –

JEFF RUCH: Wrong numbers and calculations?

ERIC MAY: Well, what we‟ve been discussing for the last hour.

JEFF RUCH: So this is it?

CHARLES MONNETT: Well, that‟s not scientific misconduct anyway. If anything, it‟s sloppy. I mean, that‟s not – I mean, I mean, the level of criticism that they seem to have leveled here, scientific misconduct, uh, suggests that we did something deliberately to deceive or to, to change it. Um, I sure don‟t see any indication of that in what you‟re asking me about.

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Never Yet Melted continues:

What is downright scary is the way these bozos think that dressing up wildly extravagant theories resting on baseless extrapolations of insignificant anecdotal-level observations with jargon and a few formulae in order to reach preconceived and intensely desired conclusions is perfectly legitimate scientific activity.

If anybody wonders how junk science can become established science and the accepted basis for fabulously costly governmental programs and polices, just look at the work of Dr. Charles Monnett and at PEER.

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RockyRoad

Anthony, you say this was “peer-reviewed” and wonder why it’s such a terrible piece of “science”. Only only has to look at the level his “peers” operated at–his level, to see it didn’t take much to get trash like this published. The surprise is that it got the traction it did (but as you said, Gore isn’t a scientist), and an even bigger surprise it is being investigated now.
From this I’d say the climate for climate research has changed dramatically–perhaps even to a tipping point. The current climate seems to be pessimism of past pronouncements–perhaps even a modicum of skepticism!

gpp

there is word the polar bears seen floating dead in the water were actually shot with a tranquilizer, they ran to the water where they drowned.

Maybe we could apply the Drake equation to figure out how many polar bears drowned?

jason

Please tell me this transcript is a joke? It can’t be for real, if it is then climate science should be toast, kids can do better science.

Beesaman

I can’t believe they are scientists, I just can’t!

“,i>This fellow, Charles Monnett has been suspended pending an investigation into his polar bear research. You may recall that he single-handedly fooled Al Gore (not that it takes much) into producing this piece of science fiction for his even larger fiction, An Inconvenient Truth. Gore cited Monnett’s research.”
Suspended pending and investigation, but found guilty by A. Watts.
REPLY: Mr. Hearnden, please read the transcript before commenting, and don’t put words in my mouth I did not say or write. – Anthony

Ken Hall

They have never been introduced to science 101: the scientific method.
They look at a tiny part of the Arctic, for a tiny bit of time and think it is acceptable to extrapolate and assume the total Polar bear activity from that tiny shred of information?
I look out of my office window and count 10 people walk past on the street below. I extrapolate from this that the population of the town is 100,000 people.
An hour later (when the shops are closed) I count 2 in the same amount of time and extrapolate that climate change has killed 80,000 people in my town.

DJ

Reading this exchange, I’m left with the sense of my insurance company going to a local junkyard and counting the number of wrecked cars in a given area, and using that to extrapolate how many accidents there are in the city…and from that developing my insurance rates.
It looks all too much like Monnett was gathering data that was pre-cherry picked.

PaulH

William Briggs mentions this in his blog:
“In a hilarious exchange with investigator Eric May, Monnett tries to deny that the 25% statistic was a statistic:”
http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=4177

Latitude

peer review agrees with global warming – peer review is the gold standard
peer review disagrees with global warming – who are the morons that let this through

Steeptown

Let me guess the mental age of the participants from the form of the questions and answers – 5. Any other estimates?

MikeinAppalachia

What was a PEER representative doing at this proceeding? Does PEER provide legal services to its members? Is Monnett a member now or at the time of his paper?

Richard111

Yuk! and it wasn’t even a real bear in the video. 🙁

Fred Jensen

Wow, just wow. Tell me again, what grade is this Monnett guy in?

Katherine

Anecdotal. Undocumented. Apparently they hadn’t been keeping a count of sightings of dead polar bears, so the previous years’ numbers prior to those 3 (or was it 4?) dead bears were hearsay. Lying with statistics.

Pamela Gray

Anthony said, “If anybody wonders how junk science can become established science and the accepted basis for fabulously costly governmental programs and polices…”
Hey! I resent that remark. How do you think I continue receiving sacrifices at my cave entrance? The Sun sets when I go to bed. Regularly. Therefore I make the Sun go to bed. When it rises I get up. Therefore I make the Sun rise. I absolutely depend on post-normal Gaia worshiping scientists for my bread and butter and you are trying to shut me down!

REPLY:
Actually, that was from the blog “Never yet melted”, I’ve added a delineator to make that clear – Anthony

AlexS

Surreal.

Bill Parsons

A comma or semicolon might clarify the headline: Inspector general’s transcript of drowned polar bear; researcher being grilled. I was looking for the drowned researcher. I probably need more coffee.

huishi

The sad part is that the general public will never know about this or understand what it means. They have been taught to believe “scientists” and don’t know how many “scientists” are not really worth the name.
This should be read on the nightly newscasts in all the Western countries.

MR F

and how much are these guys paid to “do” climate research? Kindergarten groups could do better!

Doug Proctor

He got all excited about actually seeing an event that have been foretold in the witches’ cauldron that he rushed to press. In his passion and personal involvement with his subject, and in the environment in which he was warmly praised for speaking out against injustice and the delinquency of the Rich, Old White Male, he “jumped the gun”.
Like Conrad Black who did bad things for his own benefit but with the blessings of his Directors, Chuck Monnett has found himself done in by a surfeit of good friends. He is a man of his times and a man who needs no enemies.

PRD

Wow! Just WOW! A “scientist” counts critters from an airplane in a bounded area. States that bears in the bounded study area are immortal for 10 years. Then when global warming and big budget study funding are important bears suddenly start drowning like rats after a little storm squal.
Here is some speculation: Al Gore needs some heart wrenching material for a movie. There happens to be some bleeding heart environmentalist with an airplane and publishing pipelines available. Follow the laundered money.

Don E

How did they know they drowned? Couldn’t the cause of death been something else? Just because a body is found in the water doesn’t mean it drowned.

Steve from Rockwood

“If anything it’s sloppy”. Where do you start when the author of the peer reviewed paper makes that comment?
And how does he get 11% of the area flown? He’s adding up all their flights during the summer!
470,000 sq km divided by 2 km wide lines (1 km on either side) = 235,000 l-km.
In one 6 hr flight at 250 km/hr they would fly about 1,500 l-km or 0.3% of the area.
If their survey area is 650 km long they would fly once to the end and back again.
Luckily the polar bears stop swimming at night, otherwise they might not get counted.
Global warming peer review at its finest.
But I’m a little surprised they’re having an inquisition on this. Why?
I do know where Barack Obama could save a quick $50 million.

I wonder how many other “sensational” “peer reviewed” papers would read like this under real peer review? The transcript was hard to read because of the stumbling of Charles Monnett. You would think he only had a few minutes to read the paper before being grilled.

MikeinAppalachia
Not only is Jeff Ruch a lawyer but according to the transcript there were two other lawyers from PEER present. They must clearly be worried.

Ken Hall says:
July 29, 2011 at 9:27 am
They have never been introduced to science 101: the scientific method.
They look at a tiny part of the Arctic, for a tiny bit of time and think it is acceptable to extrapolate and assume the total Polar bear activity from that tiny shred of information?
I look out of my office window and count 10 people walk past on the street below. I extrapolate from this that the population of the town is 100,000 people.
An hour later (when the shops are closed) I count 2 in the same amount of time and extrapolate that climate change has killed 80,000 people in my town.
=============================================================
Exactly Ken, this is ridiculous. It’s one single observation that they turned into a statistic.

James H

“I can’t believe they are scientists, I just can’t!”
Welcome to post-modern science!

Pamela Gray

Did I read that right? Did he say his own work was sloppy? And by extrapolation (hey, I’m just doing what the researcher did with his observation) the peer review process would have also been sloppy for not catching it? If anything, this is enough to make a reputable journal decide to remove the article from publication.

Jeff Carlson

this man is no scientist no matter what degree’s he has …

I found this exchange and conclusion very amusing:

ERIC MAY: Well, you‟re saying that from 1987 to 2003, there was no dead polar bears.
CHARLES MONNETT: Yeah.
ERIC MAY: Did you discuss the storm conditions during those period, period of years as well? I mean, you‟re extrapolating a lot to make such, you know, scientific findings.
CHARLES MONNETT: You mean, the storms are increasing up there?
ERIC MAY: No, you‟re saying that there was no dead polar bears during those years.
CHARLES MONNETT: Certainly.

Charles Monnett say “There could have been 50. I don‟t know. But the way we were posing it was that it‟s serious, because it‟s not just four. It‟s probably a lot more.”
How the hell am I going to understand this, IF, Monnet does not understand it himself?
Quzz: How many “assumptions” did Chales Monnett make?
Answer: It might have been four or was it five, anyway it was probably a lot more!
And I am having to pay carbon tax because of those jokers!

jorgekafkazar

metryq says: “Maybe we could apply the Drake equation to figure out how many polar bears drowned?”
Perfect comment, metryq! Sums it up nicely.

JDN

As per Jules Berman’s “Machiavelli’s Laboratory” http://www.julesberman.info/integ/machfree.htm#2.5
If you’re going to falsify anything, let it be in the discussion section. Wildly mis-stating your conclusions doesn’t constitute scientific misconduct.

PRD

I take the stumbling as lying. If he were confident in his paper and confident in his results – and more importantly – confident in his uncertainties (honestly this is important), then he would speak with clarity and sincerity.
Yet, I’ve not met a liberal that can be alone in a quiet spot, comfortable in their own mind. They will have the radio on, cell phone stuck to their head, iPad going, something is distracting them from their own thoughts. This guy, Monnett seems like one of those folks.
Interestingly enough, Charles Monet, was the name of the index case of Ebola Hemmoragic Fever in the book, “The Hot Zone”, by Richard Preston (1995)

PS: was this written for a new Monty Python film?

I’ve been thinking lately about the universal power of the default leftist mindset of absolute egalitarianism. Everything is identical, nothing has its own innate characteristics, all behavior is Brownian motion until it’s pushed by a Social Force.
Same thing at work here.
Polar bears are extremely intelligent mammals, and nothing they do is randomly distributed. When they’re in one location, it’s because that location has something they want. Seals to eat, a girl bear in heat.
Monnett automatically and leftishly assumed they would behave like air molecules, and couldn’t see the problem with his assumption.

Doug UK

This is stunningly unbelievable!
And I agree that it is strange that it is being dealt with now with such apparent rigor.
Real science methodology being applied the climatescience? I truly hope so.

And we saw, uh – we experienced, we were there, a, a, uh, high wind event, which was actually not a, a very severe high – and it wasn’t, you know, one of the really severe high wind events, but it was enough to shut us down, which meant that there were some pretty good waves breaking, you know, out at sea, which, um, is pretty easy to imagine would be, uh, challenging, you know, for a bear swimming.

Polar Bears are evolving quickly, just in the last 2000 years or so their dentition has changed, presumably due to their diet rich in seals.
Events like this drowning could be simply part of the selection process, perhaps bears will evolve nose flaps or something else to block wave splashes in their noses. (For example, IIRC, camels have protection to help keep dust out of their noses.)

Tom

Problem 1: Surveys from 1987-2003 did not specifically record dead wildlife (i.e., there was no column labeled “dead bears” with a zero in it.) Rather, there was no notation about dead bears one way or the other, so in 2004 when they spotted 4 dead bears, they asked the guy who ran the survey in the past, whether or not they ever saw dead bears.
Problem 2: The transect method is a reasonable way to estimate the whole from the sample, but they got their samples wrong. The number of swimming bears was not 4 in 11% of the survey area but was actually 4 in the percentage of the survey area that they flew in that one week before the storm. Likewise, there were not 3 dead bears in 11% of the survey area, but 4 dead bears in the percentage of area surveyed in the week after the storm. We don’t know what that was.
Problem 3: The survey procedure was designed to count whales. It is only a scientifically acceptable survey procedure to count bears if the bears occupy the same habitat and range and have the same behavior as the whales.
Problem 4: They don’t know why the bears died. Possibly they drowned in storm while swimming far out at sea. But possibly they were bashed against a rock by a rogue wave 50 feet from shore and were carried out to sea by winds and currents. They could even have been killed by native hunters who were then forced to abandon their kills to seek shelter from the storm.
Problem 5: Whoever peer-reviewed this article missed all these details. Even though Polar Research is a pretty low-ranked journal (impact factor 1.5) these problems are pretty obvious.

Brian H

The error bars on their estimate of drowned bears probably exceed the total population of same.

Jim Steele

The drowning polar bear story hinges on the supposition that bears were starving and swimming out to pack ice (Which are documented to have very low seal numbers). However the research during that time showed very little evidence of this, and in fact revealed the females who hibernate and fast for about 8 months actually improved their body condition.
Desperate for a causal link to sea ice changes Regehr in 2006 wrote: “In contrast, several recently observed mortalities were directly related to sea ice retreat, or appeared related to changes in food availability that may be associated with sea ice retreat. In autumn of 2004, four polar bears were observed to have drowned while attempting to swim between shore and the distant pack ice.” Nice subtle twist. Bear were only observed floating if at all. Now compare his and the USGS’ interpretations to their actually observed status.
BCI is the Body Condtion Index. Body condition accounts for the ratio of weight to length and thus is the best metric for the health of the bear. Reports of difference in weight could be confounded by different numbers of younger bears versus older bears. Also when reporting a bears condition the time of year must be taken into account. Recaptured females have been observed at ~99 kg in November and then increase in weight to over ~400 kg by the next summer after gorging on ringed seal pups in the spring. The spring ice of March through May has barely changed. However in several papers all looking at the same data the condition of the bears has been unchanged. Thwarted by bears that looked healthy, they started to emphasize skull width as the major alarming statistic. Skulls size notoriously changes with location. Likewise the drowning bears became important “evidence” where little else existed.
From: USGS report to support the listing of polar bears titled “ Polar Bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea III: Stature, Mass, and Cub Recruitment in Relationship to Time and Sea Ice Extent Between 1982 and 2006” By Karyn D. Rode1, Steven C. Amstrup2, and Eric V. Regehr 2007
They report the following conditions of the bears during the time of the drowning bears:
“There was no trend in mass of adult females during the study, but mean BCI of females increased over time (P 0.1 for all tests).”
” Ice was not related to the length, skull size, mass or BCI of subadult females (P > 0.1 for all tests). In contrast, the mean mass, BCI, length, and skull size of subadult males increased with increasing ice.).”
“While there was no relationship between the mass and skull size of yearlings and ice, COY mass and skull size were positively related to ice”
They needed drowning bears to make the endangered species argument. Another black-eye for science!

J.Hansford

…..And to think this bloke managed 50 million dollars worth of research projects. Unbelievable.
So…… How much of that 50 million in funding does this sorry excuse for a scientist have to pay back ?
I hope he realizes that the Gore’s of the world get to walk away scott free and rich as sin from any dealings they do…. It’s little people like him that are left holding the can…. and deservedly so.
I think the term for people like him is, ” Useful idiot.”

Jeremy

Why can’t these people be fired? Ghostbusters LIED TO ME!

Dr Ray Stantz: Hey, Dean Yeager! Are you moving us to a better office on campus?
Dean Yeager: No, you’re being moved off campus. The Board of Regents has decided to terminate your grant. You are to vacate these premises immediately.
Dr Ray Stantz: What?
Dr. Peter Venkman: This is preposterous. I demand an explanation.
Dean Yeager: This university will no longer continue any funding for any of your group’s activities.
Dr. Peter Venkman: But the kids love us!
Dean Yeager: Doctor… Venkman. The purpose of science is to serve mankind. You seem to regard science as some kind of dodge… or hustle. Your theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, your methods are sloppy, and your conclusions are highly questionable! You are a poor scientist, Dr. Venkman!
Dr. Peter Venkman: I see.
Dean Yeager: And you have no place in this department, or this university.

Tom

But on the other hand, I’m not sure this kind of sloppiness qualifies as “misconduct” sufficient to suspend his job, which includes overseeing other research programs. I’d really want to see evidence that his oversight of other researchers was sloppy or that his unit had published additional bad research papers. He’s not really responsible for other people over-interpreting his paper.
One curious fact, though; after Gore and the greens got all excited about his paper, he says he stopped listing himself as an author on other work from his unit, to keep a low profile and avoid controversy. I don’t know too many scientists who would give up publication credit to avoid controversy. (Indeed, most warmers love controversial claims as long as they are in favor of more warming.) I wonder if there is something else going on. PEER claims he is being targeted because his research gets in the way of exploiting arctic resources, but that does not ring true today. The Obama administration is not exactly a friend to the oil industry.

In climate parlance, Monnett’s conclusions are robust.

tom s

Sickening bunch of bs by monnett.

has anybody seen any dead (drowned) polar bear since?

maz2

Kill AGW with mockery, ridicule, irony, and satire.
Full script.
Are videos available?
“Who’s on First”
“Abbott: Strange as it may seem, they give ball players nowadays very peculiar names.
Costello: Funny names?
Abbott: Nicknames, nicknames. Now, on the St. Louis team we have Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know is on third–
Costello: That’s what I want to find out. I want you to tell me the names of the fellows on the St. Louis team.
Abbott: I’m telling you. Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know is on third–
Costello: You know the fellows’ names?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: Well, then who’s playing first?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: I mean the fellow’s name on first base.
Abbott: Who.”
http://www.psu.edu/dept/inart10_110/inart10/whos.html

mwhite

“The polar bear is the only bear considered to be a marine mammal. Why?”
http://www.athropolis.com/arctic-facts/fact-polar-bear-swim.htm
1. They’re great swimmers. They’ve been clocked as fast as 6 miles / 10 km per hour, and have been known to swim more than 60 miles / 100 km without a rest.
2. Their massive forepaws are partially webbed, and propel them through the water dog-paddle style. The hind feet and legs are used as rudders.
3. A thick layer of blubber, 3-4 inches/7-10 cm thick, not only keeps the bear warm in icy cold water, but adds to its bouyancy as well.
4. The bear’s fur protects it like a diving-suit. It easily shakes free of water after a swim, and ice doesn’t stick to it.
5. They have excellent underwater vision.
6. The bear’s nostrils close when under water. (If you’ve ever had water up your nose, you’ll know what an advantage that is.)