People send me stuff. In this case I have received an embargoed paper and press release from Nature from another member of the news media who wanted me to look at it.
The new paper is scheduled to be published in Nature and is embargoed until 10AM PDT Sunday morning, July 20th. That said, Bob Tisdale and I have been examining the paper, which oddly includes co-authors Dr. Stephan Lewandowsky and Dr. Naomi Oreskes and is on the topic of ENSO and “the pause” in global warming. I say oddly because neither Lewandowsky or Oreskes concentrates on physical science, but direct their work towards psychology and science history respectively.
Tisdale found a potentially fatal glaring oversight, which I verified, and as a professional courtesy I have notified two people who are listed as authors on the paper. It has been 24 hours, and I have no response from either. Since it is possible that they have not received these emails, I thought it would be useful to post my emails to them here.
It is also possible they are simply ignoring the email. I just don’t know. As we’ve seen previously in attempts at communication with Dr. Lewandowsky, he often turns valid criticisms into puzzles and taunts, so anything could be happening behind the scenes here if they have read my email. It would seem to me that they’d be monitoring their emails ahead of publication to field questions from the many journalists who have been given this press release, so I find it puzzling there has been no response.
Note: for those that would criticize my action as “breaking the embargo” I have not even named the paper title, its DOI, or used any language from the paper itself. If I were an author, and somebody spotted what could be a fatal blunder that made it past peer review, I’d certainly want to know about it before the paper press release occurs. It is about 24 hours to publication, so they still have time to respond, and hopefully this message on WUWT will make it to them.
Here is what I sent (email addresses have been link disabled to prevent them from being spambot harvested):
Sent: Friday, July 18, 2014 9:01 AM
To: james.risbey at csiro.au
Subject: Fw: Questions on Risbey et al. (2014)
Hello Dr. Risbey,
At first I had trouble finding your email, which is why I sent it to Ms.Oreskes first. I dare not send it to professor Lewandowsky, since as we have seen by example, all he does is taunt people who have legitimate questions.
Can you answer the question below?
Thank you for your consideration.
Sent: Friday, July 18, 2014 8:48 AM
To: oreskes at fas.harvard.edu
Subject: Questions on Risbey et al. (2014)
Dear Dr. Oreskes,
As a climate journalist running the most viewed blog on climate, I have been graciously provided an advance copy of the press release and paper Risbey et al. (2014) that is being held under embargo until Sunday, July 20th. I am in the process of helping to co-author a rebuttal to Risbey et al. (2014) I think we’ve spotted a major blunder, but I want to check with a team member first.
One of the key points of Risbey et al. is the claim that the selected 4 “best” climate models could simulate the spatial patterns of the warming and cooling trends in sea surface temperatures during the hiatus period.
But reading and re-reading the paper we cannot determine where it actually identifies the models selected as the “best” 4 and “worst” 4 climate models.
Risbey et al. identifies the 18 originals, but not the other 8 that are “best” or “worst”.
Risbey et al. presented histograms of the modeled and observed trends for the 15-year warming period (1984-1998) before the 15-year hiatus period in cell b of their Figure 1. So, obviously, that period was important. Yet Risbey et al. did not present how well or poorly the 4 “best” models simulated the spatial trends in sea surface temperatures for the important period of 1984-1998.
Is there some identification of the “best” and “worst” referenced in the paper that we have overlooked, or is there a reason for this oversight?
Thank you for your consideration.
UPDATE: as of 10:15AM PDT July 20th, the paper has been published online here:
Well-estimated global surface warming in climate projections selected for ENSO phase
The question of how climate model projections have tracked the actual evolution of global mean surface air temperature is important in establishing the credibility of their projections. Some studies and the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report suggest that the recent 15-year period (1998–2012) provides evidence that models are overestimating current temperature evolution. Such comparisons are not evidence against model trends because they represent only one realization where the decadal natural variability component of the model climate is generally not in phase with observations. We present a more appropriate test of models where only those models with natural variability (represented by El Niño/Southern Oscillation) largely in phase with observations are selected from multi-model ensembles for comparison with observations. These tests show that climate models have provided good estimates of 15-year trends, including for recent periods and for Pacific spatial trend patterns.
of interest is this:
UPDATE2: rebuttal has been posted