UPDATE: 1/19/14 2;30 PM PST
There is an update to this post here:
Comments on this thread are now closed, continue there. – Anthony
While a journal is forced to self destruct by external pressure from “team climate science”, history and a new paper show us why due process would have been the right way to approach the issue. The phrase “using a sledgehammer to crack a nut” comes to mind.
This story by Jo Nova is making the rounds today:
While the shutdown of the journal Pattern Recognition in Physics that published a special edition on planetary tidal influence on climate is likely a bit of overkill, rebuttals would have been the right way to handle it rather than the Climategate style strong-arm gang tactics exhibited against journal editors as seen here from James Annan:
Kudos to Copernicus for the rapid and decisive way in which they dealt with this problem. The problems at the journal were was first brought to my attention by ThingsBreak just last night, I emailed various people to express my concerns and the journal (which was already under close scrutiny by the publisher) was closed down within 24h.
…I will say that some of the papers in that special journal edition really aren’t any better than curve fitting exercises. That said, I think they are entitled to the due process afforded any peer reviewed science publication. Certainly, we’ve seen some ridiculous examples of “team science” that should have never been published, such as RealClimate co-founder Eric Steig’s overhyped claim to a warming Antarctica that was dealt with effectively via the rebuttal process.
As many WUWT readers know, while years ago I expressed some interest in planetary tidal force effects on climate, I have long since been convinced that there’s zero planetary effect on climate for two reasons: 1) The gravitational effects at distance are simply too small to exert the forces neccessary, and 2) The methodology employed often results in hindcast curve fitting a theory to data, where the maxim “correlation is not causation” should have been considered before publishing the paper.
While the journal Pattern Recognition in Physics self-destructed rather than deal with rebuttal process (apparently at the direction of higher-ups), this paper just published in the journal Solar Physics shows that journal does in fact take the rebuttal process seriously.
S. Poluianov, I. Usoskin
The present work is a critical revision of the hypothesis of the planetary tidal influence on solar activity published by Abreu et al. (Astron. Astro- phys. 548, A88, 2012; called A12 here). A12 describes the hypothesis that planets can have an impact on the solar tachocline and therefore on solar activity. We checked the procedure and results of A12, namely the algorithm of planetary tidal torque calculation and the wavelet coherence between torque and heliospheric modulation potential. We found that the claimed peaks in long-period range of the torque spectrum are artefacts caused by the calculation algorithm. Also the statistical significance of the results of the wavelet coherence is found to be overestimated by an incorrect choice of the background assumption of red noise. Using a more conservative non-parametric random-phase method, we found that the long-period coherence between planetary torque and heliospheric modulation potential becomes insignificant. Thus we conclude that the considered hypothesis of planetary tidal influence on solar activity is not based on a solid ground.
We analysed the procedure of planetary torque calculations from the paper by Abreu et al. (2012) and found that their results can be be affected by an effect of the aliasing distortion of the torque spectrum. We provided torque calculations with different sampling frequencies and found that the spectral peaks claimed by A12 are likely artefacts of the spectral distortion and do not have physical meaning. Then we repeated the analysis by A12 of the relation between heliospheric modulation potential and the planetary torque. We showed that the results of Abreu et al. (2012) are not statistically significant. Thus, the proposed hypothesis of planetary influence on solar activity is not based on solid empirical evidence.
The final draft of the paper can be read in entirety here: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1401.3547.pdf
(h/t to Dr. Leif Svalgaard for the link)
A rebuttal was also published in Solar Physics simultaneously, but it is entirely behind a paywall, so I can’t elaborate any further than providing a link to it: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11207-014-0473-2
But, unlike Copernicus, that decided to pull the entire journal rather than allow the rebuttal process of science occur, Solar Physics saw no need to self-terminate for having published the rebuttal by Abreu et al. authors, and the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. continues to exist despite publishing the questionable and now shown to be flawed Abreu et al. paper http://www.aanda.org/articles/aa/abs/2012/12/aa19997-12/aa19997-12.html