(With apologies for lifting the Daily Bayonet tag line multiple times below).
“Interconnected” is the theme of this post. It starts of course, with the resignation of Wolfgang Wagner, from the journal called Remote Sensing, over a paper that Mr. Wagner published. Wait, what?
The paper in question was by Spencer and Braswell 2011. This paper is about the clouds being a climate forcing, and using satellite data to show this. Whether this is true or not is immaterial to this discussion.
The Editor-in-Chief resigns, in protest of a paper he published? OK, that grabbed my attention. If he was the E-i-C, why did he did even publish the paper in the first place? Why not retract it?
Resigning seemed a bit over the top, especially considering what Wagner wrote when he took the post over, and what he wrote when he resigned.
Before, from the announcement he was taking over as E-i-C:
“Because it is an open access journal, papers published will receive very high publicity.”
After, from his resignation letter:
“ Unfortunately, their campaign apparently was very successful as witnessed by the over 56,000 downloads of the full paper within only one month after its publication.”
It appears that the reason he was resigning is because he did exactly what he said he would do. Wait, what?
Equally puzzling, is not that peer reviewed science had found SB2011 flawed, but discussion in internet fora. An editor resigned because blogs said his peer-reviewed publication was flawed? Again, from his resignation:
“Unfortunately, as many climate researchers and engaged observers of the climate change debate pointed out in various internet discussion fora, the paper by Spencer and Braswell  that was recently published in Remote Sensing is most likely problematic in both aspects and should therefore not have been published.
After having become aware of the situation, and studying the various pro and contra arguments, I agree with the critics of the paper.”
Mr. Wagner then goes on to say that the review process was flawed. Or it wasn’t. Or maybe it was. Wait, what?
“The managing editor of Remote Sensing selected three senior scientists from renowned US universities, each of them having an impressive publication record. Their reviews had an apparently good technical standard and suggested one “major revision”, one “minor revision” and one “accept as is”. The authors revised their paper according to the comments made by the reviewers and, consequently, the editorial board member who handled this paper accepted the paper (and could in fact not have done otherwise). Therefore, from a purely formal point of view, there were no errors with the review process. But, as the case presents itself now, the editorial team unintentionally selected three reviewers who probably share some climate sceptic notions of the authors.”
For the record, using the standard 97% figure for consensus, the odds are about 1 in 37,000 that 3 sceptics would be unintentionally chosen together. This seems like long odds. But I digress.
Here comes the interconnected parts; I read Maurizio Morabito’s blog, and discovered that Mr. Wagner may have connections to Mr. Trenberth, to whom Mr. Wagner gives the only scientific reference in his letter. There are also suggestions that his apology is directed right at Trenberth, which seems odd, doesn’t it?
David Hoffer speculates that Wagner is upset that SB2011 will interfere with the modeling gravy train, of which Mr. Wagner is part of. This is pure speculation of course, but it is logical. Mr. Wagner hints at this, in his letter:
“ Interdisciplinary cooperation with modelers is required in order to develop a joint understanding of where and why models deviate from satellite data.”
On this side of the story, that is the connection: myself, to Maurizio, to Bishop Hill, to Robert Phelan, and finally to davidhoffer, who apparently started the whole thing, then back to WUWT.
The connection on the other side? Trenberth and Wagner? Well, Wagner is apparently the director of a group that wants to start a Soil Moisture Network. For this, they have asked the help of the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX).
GEWEX in 2010 announced the appointment, by acclamation, of Kevin Trenberth, as its new Chairperson. (page 3 of this newsletter). On Page 4, is the announcement that the Soil Moisture Network (which is the department Wagner runs) is looking for help. Not, coincidentally, on Page 5 is an article on how cloud albedo is overestimated in models, thus it’s worse than we thought.
In the conclusion of this cloud albedo discussion, is some boot licking directed at the new Chairperson.
Thus, the circle of climate is complete.
Cue the banjo’s, and squeal like a pig….
Kudos to the good work done by Maurizio, davidhoffer, Robert Phelan, Bishop Hill and WUWT. I hope Spencer and Braswell’s work holds up, and that they get a chance to engage their critics.
If I missed mentioning someone, it’s only due to the sheer number of comments generated; over 500 on WUWT alone. If I did, my apologies.