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

UPDATE: It appears the paper has been withdrawn and credit acknowledgement given to Steve McIntyre, see below:

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

It says:

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

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

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

Here is the original URL:

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

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

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

The problems with the paper in a nutshell:

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

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

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

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

Search Results

Search Query: Authors: gergis

Your search did not match any articles.

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

Your search did not match any articles.

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

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

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Pat

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

kramer

I see that around the year 1300, it was warmer than today.

Steve McIntyre
johnbuk

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

JonasM

http://climateaudit.org/2012/06/08/gergis-et-al-put-on-hold/
The paper is “On Hold”. Score one for the blogosphere, and science.

Gerald Machnee

Hey, Steve McIntyre just got thanked and acknowledged by name. “Progress in Climate”.
REPLY: “Progress in Climate” is distinctly different than “Climate Progress” Joe Romm probably won’t be able to bring himself to report this or even correct his article:
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/06/01/492343/yet-more-studies-back-hockey-stick-recent-global-warming-is-unprecedented-in-magnitude-and-speed-and-cause/
Be sure to let him know in comments, I’m banned there. – Anthony

Chris in Hervey Bay

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

Arkay
Joachim Seifert

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

Brent Buckner

“Put on hold”
climateaudit.org/2012/06/08/gergis-et-al-put-on-hold/

TomRude

Contrast this episode and its media coverage with the neutrino mistake and appreciate how today’s climate science has become anything but science.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/reuvencohen/2012/06/08/cerns-mea-culpa-einstein-was-right-neutrinos-do-obey-the-speed-light/
Steig, Gavin and the usual suspects at Real Climate get another egg on their face!

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

John West

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

just some guy

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

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

NikFromNYC

“The compilation of this database represents years of our research effort based on the development of our professional networks. We risk damaging our work relationships by releasing other people’s records against their wishes. Clearly this is something that we are not prepared to do.”
Algorithmic cherry picking was Mann’s answer to his originally broken hockey stick. It wasn’t brazen fraud any more that way, just soft and speculative but with a sharp graphic design which then “confirmed and supported” his original showboat. It didn’t have to convince skeptics in order to keep green bubble cash flowing into his delicious party. His method of cherry picking was to take an utter mess of tree ring data and toss everything that didn’t match the thermometer record of the last century. Since the data was so noisy everything before this matched period averaged out to no trend at all. That isn’t science.

The reconstructed temperature data are still available in the NCDC paleoclimatology library…
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/gergis2012/gergis2012.html

Interstellar Bill

The disappearance of such an obvious fraud so soon after its trial run
is a sign that Warmistas can indeed by shamed into retreat.
No wonder they operate so much in secret,
altering IPCC summaries into 180-deg mis-statements,
pal-reviewing shrill alarmist propaganda & tinkertoy computerizationizing,
while permanently blocking measurement-based science
just because it doesn’t fit Alarmism’s ever-busy Procrustean Bed.
Viva La Exposure!

EternalOptimist

Steve McIntyre may not be part of the orthodoxy, but he is a true scientist. Karoly has communicated with him
and a potentially flawed paper has been taken down for further checking
I take great heart from this. Maybe science isn’t broken after all

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

pouncer

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

suggest that folks write to the journal and the publications commission of the AMS.
demand that code and data be provided and CHECKED before publication.

Sean

Steve McIntyre, Michael Mann is bad mouthing you again and claiming that all is good with his “independently verified” hockey stick:
http://www.montrealgazette.com/technology/Climate+change+deniers+blinded+political+ideology/6748053/story.html

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

Hilton Gray

Arse, plate, etc… Steve The Terminator McIntyre takes another scalp!

Richdo

EternalOptimist says:
June 8, 2012 at 2:34 pm
“Steve McIntyre may not be part of the orthodoxy, but he is a true scientist.”
I’ll say. If I were a climatologist planning to publish a proxy based reconstruction I’d WANT him to be one of the reviewers.

cui bono

Hehe. First a snarky “It’s called research”. Then it’s “We would like to thank you and the participants at the ClimateAudit blog for your scrutiny of our study”.
Reminds me of a spokesman for Arthur Anderson during Enron, Worldcom, etc on the radio ten years ago: “It isn’t our job to check the figures.”
Thanks Steve, Anthony and the REAL peer reviewers. Makes you wonder what complete rubbish would be accepted without your keen senses. I mean, RealClimate might start cheerleading for this sort of cr*p!

Rocksalt

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

manicbeancounter

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

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

So why are Palmyra Atoll coral proxy (>1300 miles km NE), 2 Rarotonga coral proxies (1250 miles east) or 2 Vostok Ice Station proxies (>1900 miles S) included?. 5/27 are well outside the area.
http://manicbeancounter.com/2012/06/06/mid-pacific-coral-temperature-proxies-from-gergis-et-al-2012/
2. Proxy Correspondence
Fiji (<150km across) and Rarotonga (<10km across) both have two coral proxies. The temperature proxies, if any good, should give similar results. They are massively different.
http://manicbeancounter.com/2012/06/05/palmyra-atoll-coral-proxy-in-gergis-et-al-2012/
3. Unrepresentative proxies
By far the biggest land mass in Australasia and Oceania is the sub-continent of Australia covering 2,900,000 sq miles. There were a couple of coral proxies off the coast of Western Australia, but nothing on the mainland. The only proxies more than 250 miles from the coast are at Vostok, Antarctica, holder of the the world record for lowest temperature ever recorded. It is hardly representative if the Outback.

Political Junkie

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

clipe
Steve McIntyre

It’s not correct to say that they credited Climate Audit. They say that they first discovered the error themselves on June 5 prior to the commentary at Climate Audit, which they merely acknowledge as having “also” discovered the problem that they had already discovered. It is very much like the Mystery Man incident.
REPLY: I’ve made an edit in the Update: subheadline to reflect this. – Anthony

Andrew Greenfield

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

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

Anoneumouse

absolutely fabulous

eyesonu

Congratulations to Steve McIntyre and crew @ Climate Audit.
Will this embarrassment to AMS and Gergis et al change the way the so-called ‘science’ and review process is carried out? I hope so. The past schemes have been exposed and a lot of eyes are now watching. It is a fool’s errand to try to continue the business as usual BS that has been so prevalent in the past.
I have little respect for Gergis as she refused to communicate with Steve McIntyre as noted in her reply to him; quote “We will not be entertaining any further correspondence on the matter.” The paper was only pulled because the evidence was overwhelming that it was flawed. Gergis et al simply got caught and chose the limit the damage. A wise move there. I look forward to watching their damage control in action.
McIntyre should be paid for his true scientific work. He is teaching these so-called ‘scientists’ science. They should have learned in their university studies. But then one only needs to view the academics in the field of climate science to understand the underlying problem .

cba

Hey this isn’t supposed to be how peer reviewed scientific method works. A paper is supposed to be sitting around in some dusty journal for 3 to 5 years before anyone reads it or decides to try to duplicate the results. How are these beginning scientists supposed to meet tenure publishing criteria if their efforts keep getting skewered by amateurs before the ink is dry or before the ‘way back’ machine manages to catelog the online article?
I’m overwhelmed by the number of potential serious catastrophies that could happen because of such things! If, as published in peer reviewed literature, it is true that over 40% of peer reviewed literature is found to be seriously flawed within 5 years of publication, what is going to happen to all the junior tenure track faculty publishing this erroneous claptrap if it starts being proven false immediately after publication? Universities may no longer be able to replace retiring and dying faculty with permanent new faculty, creating gypsies out of younger wannabes. unfortunately, I have mixed feelings on the peer reviewed paper mentioned above. I feel it is probably correct, but if so, there’s about a 40% chance that it too is in serious error, leaving a barely 60% liklihood that it is in fact correct and that’s hardly a 1-sigma (standard deviation) confidence – and here it was only a few months ago that a few particle researchers found out their higg’s boson discovered with better than a two-sigma s.d. turns out to be an unlikely fluke rather than a big cash prize at the next nobel algore-a-thon.
/sarc-off
A big tip of the hat to Steve M. for his timely efforts.
if western civilization survives, the debt owed to Steve for exposing this clap-trap is going to rival the size of the current US national debt.

slow to follow

From Sean’s linked MM article June 7, 2012 :
“Hilliard compounds the problem by citing attacks against our work by two Canadian climate change deniers (Fraser Institute-funded economist Ross McKitrick and energy industry”consultant Stephen McIntyre) without noting that several independent studies have established fatal flaws in their claims.”
Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Climate+change+deniers+blinded+political+ideology/6748053/story.html#ixzz1xFDLGO2f
Doesn’t he realise these aren’t attacks but just “a normal part of science” from esteemed blog colleagues?

John Bills

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

Eric

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

clipe

clipe says:
June 8, 2012 at 2:17 pm
Preliminary Advanced Version
Grrr…Preliminary “Accepted” Version

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

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

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

u.k.(us)

When Steve McIntyre talks, people listen.

Green Sand

u.k.(us) says:
June 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm
When Steve McIntyre talks, people listen.

========================================
“people listen”
They have no option, facts and logic plainly presentated leave dissenting voices nowhere to go.

Myrrh

Congratulations Steve McIntyre/Jean S, well caught.
Sean says:
June 8, 2012 at 2:50 pm
Steve McIntyre, Michael Mann is bad mouthing you again and claiming that all is good with his “independently verified” hockey stick:
http://www.montrealgazette.com/technology/Climate+change+deniers+blinded+political+ideology/6748053/story.html
==========
From which: “Hilliard compounds the problem by citing attacks against our work by two Canadian climate change deniers (Fraser Institute-funded economist Ross McKitrick and energy industry consultant Stephen McIntyre) without noting that several independent studies have established fatal flaws in their claims.”
Perhaps a formal complaint to NASA in an open letter?
http://www.globalwarmingclassroom.info/Lesson1_graphs.htm
“Finally, two Canadian scientists found out the data set used by Mann, and analyzed Mann’s statistical approach. They determined that Mann and his team used incorrect statistics to come up with the curve. In fact, it was so bad that the same curve was created even if they inputted a completely random data set. The curve was a function of the statistics used, and had nothing to do with reality. When the Canadian scientists applied the correct statistics, out popped the Little Ice Age and Medieval Climate Optimum (see above). Worse, a scandal at Great Britain’s Climate Research Unit in the late fall of 2009 revealed that the data used in the graph after 1960 was from a totally different and completely corrupted data set. Even if the second data set was not corrupted, combining two radically different data sets (apples and oranges) into one graph negates its scientific validity. Although the Hockey Stick Curve was thoroughly discredited, it continued to be used in publications and media reports for years, and was a main component of Al Gore’s video The Inconvenient Truth. Perhaps the most alarming aspect of this episode is that even after having his error exposed, Dr. Michael Mann is still a principal scientist in the IPCC and receives millions of dollars from the US government. Tragically, this kind of slipshod research has also been discovered coming out of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Since the finding that NASA’s temperature data was in error in 2007, other errors are being reported.”
Would have been better had the two Canadian scientists been named..
By the way, typo alert: (*Added: apparently Gergis refused some additional data Steve McIntyre requested, he [has] documentation of this on his website)

Russ R.

Before doing a victory dance, it might be worthwhile to wait and see what the corrected results show.
While there are problems with the methodology, these issues might not be material to the results.

John M

I guess that’s called “re-research”.

Luther Wu

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

cui bono

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

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

orson2

ACCORDING TO TO STEVE:
Steve McIntyre says:
June 8, 2012 at 3:27 pm
It’s not correct to say that they credited Climate Audit. They say that they first discovered the error themselves on June 5 prior to the commentary at Climate Audit, which they merely acknowledge as having “also” discovered the problem that they had already discovered. It is very much like the Mystery Man incident.
THIS MEANS ‘CYA’ for them, AND ‘MUDDYING THE WATERS’ FOR WHAT REALLY HAPPENED. How convenient!

Another egregious travesty bites the dust.
The half-life of a hockey stick in the open literature is decreasing…
…this is what happens when people check what you do.