cc: "Michael E. Mann" <mannatXYZxyzginia.edu>, Tom Wigley <wigleyatXYZxyzr.edu>, Phil Jones <p.jonesatXYZxyz.ac.uk>, Mike Hulme <m.hulmeatXYZxyz.ac.uk>, Keith Briffa <k.briffaatXYZxyz.ac.uk>, James Hansen <jhansenatXYZxyzs.nasa.gov>, Danny Harvey <harveyatXYZxyzque.geog.utoronto.ca>, Ben Santer <santer1atXYZxyzl.gov>, Kevin Trenberth <trenbertatXYZxyzr.edu>, Robert wilby <rob.wilbyatXYZxyz.ac.uk>, Tom Karl <Thomas.R.KarlatXYZxyza.gov>, Tom Crowley <tcrowleyatXYZxyze.edu>, jto <jtoatXYZxyzrizona.edu>, "simon.shackley" <simon.shackleyatXYZxyzst.ac.uk>, "tim.carter" <tim.carteratXYZxyz.fi>, "p.martens" <p.martensatXYZxyzs.unimaas.nl>, "peter.whetton" <peter.whettonatXYZxyz.csiro.au>, "c.goodess" <c.goodessatXYZxyz.ucar.edu>, "a.minns" <a.minnsatXYZxyz.ac.uk>, Wolfgang Cramer <Wolfgang.CrameratXYZxyz-potsdam.de>, "j.salinger" <j.salingeratXYZxyza.co.nz>, "simon.torok" <simon.torokatXYZxyzro.au>, Scott Rutherford <srutherfordatXYZxyzchutes.geo.uri.edu>, Neville Nicholls <n.nichollsatXYZxyz.gov.au>, Ray Bradley <rbradleyatXYZxyz.umass.edu>, Mike MacCracken <mmaccracatXYZxyzcast.net>, Barrie Pittock <Barrie.PittockatXYZxyzro.au>, Ellen Mosley-Thompson <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "email@example.com" <pachauriatXYZxyzi.res.in>, "Greg.Ayers" <Greg.AyersatXYZxyzro.au>
date: Thu, 24 Apr 2003 22:03:53 -0700 (PDT)
from: Stephen H Schneider <shsatXYZxyznford.edu>
subject: Re: My turn
to: Mark Eakin <Mark.EakinatXYZxyza.gov>
Hello all. If some want to write an editorial in CLimatic Change about the
peer review system in general and use some of these articles as examples,
I would be happy to entertain such a draft. I would put it~--after the
usual editorial review--on as fast a track as I could. If it were strictly
a commentary on Baliunas/Soon polemics, then it would have to be a
COmmentary and they would get a reply--but you might get a counter reply.
Better to make it peripheral to that paper and a think piece motivated by
it so it can stand alone. At least think about it. In case anyone is
interested, Social Historian Paul EDWARDS NOW AT u/mICHIGAN AND i DID
APIECE ON PEER REVIEW USING THE sIETZ /siNGER PHONEY PEER REVIEW EXCUSE
FOR CHARACTER ATTACKS ON ipcc AND Ben Santer. It might be useful for a
backgrounder. I attach it for convenience in case a few of you are
interested in peer review/social construction issues. Cheers, Steve
PS Don't expect much from the Administration, their ignorance and
gullibility are studied.
On Thu, 24 Apr 2003, Mark Eakin wrote:
> At this point the question is what to do about the Soon and Baliunas
> paper. Would Bradley, Mann, Hughes et al. be willing to develop and
> appropriate rebuttal? If so, the question at hand is where it would be
> best to direct such a response. Some options are:
> 1) A rebuttal in Climate Research
> 2) A rebuttal article in a journal of higher reputation
> 3) A letter to OSTP
> The first is a good approach, as it keeps the argument to the level of
> the current publication. The second would be appropriate if the Soon
> and Baliunas paper were gaining attention at a more general level, but
> it is not. Therefore, a rebuttal someplace like Science or Nature would
> probably do the opposite of what is desired here by raising the
> attention to the paper. The best way to take care of getting better
> science out in a widely read journal is the piece that Bradley et al.
> are preparing for Nature. This leaves the idea of a rebuttal in Climate
> Research as the best published approach.
> A letter to OSTP is probably in order here. Since the White House has
> shown interest in this paper, OSTP really does need to receive a
> measured, critical discussion of flaws in Soon and Baliunas' methods. I
> agree with Tom that a noted group from the detection and attribution
> effort such as Mann, Crowley, Briffa, Bradley, Jones and Hughes should
> spearhead such a letter. Many others of us could sign on in support.
> This would provide Dave Halpern with the ammunition he needs to provide
> the White House with the needed documentation that hopefully will
> dismiss this paper for the slipshod work that it is. Such a letter
> could be developed in parallel with a rebuttal article.
> I have not received all of the earlier e-mails, so my apologies if I am
> rehashing parts of the discussion that might have taken place elsewhere.
> Michael E. Mann wrote:
> > Dear Tom et al,
> > Thanks for comments--I see we've built up an impressive distribution
> > list here!
> > This seemed like an appropriate point for me to chime in here. By in
> > large, I agree w/ Tom's comments (and those of Barrie's as well). A
> > number of us have written reviews and overviews of this topic during
> > the past couple years. There has been a lot of significant scientific
> > process in this area (both with regard to empirical "climate
> > reconstruction" and in the area of model/data comparison), including,
> > in fact, detection studies along the lines of what Barrie Pittock
> > asked about in a previous email (see. e.g. Tom Crowley's Science
> > article from 2000). Phil Jones and I are in the process of writing a
> > review article for /Reviews of Geophysics/ which will, among other
> > things, dispel the most severe of the myths that some of these folks
> > are perpetuating regarding past climate change in past centuries. My
> > understanding is that Ray Bradley, Malcolm Hughes, and Henry Diaz are
> > working, independently, on a solicited piece for /Science/ on the
> > "Medieval Warm Period".
> > Many have simply dismissed the Baliunas et al pieces because, from a
> > scientific point of view, they are awful--that is certainly true. For
> > example, Neville has pointed out in a previous email, that the
> > standard they applied for finding "a Medieval Warm Period" was that a
> > particular proxy record exhibit a 50 year interval during the period
> > AD 800-1300 that was anomalously *warm*, *wet*, or *dry* relative to
> > the "20th century" (many of the proxy records don't really even
> > resolve the late 20th century!) could be used to define an "MWP"
> > anywhere one might like to find one. This was the basis for their
> > press release arguing for a "MWP" that was "warmer than the 20th
> > century" (a non-sequitur even from their awful paper!) and for their
> > bashing of IPCC and scientists who contributed to IPCC (which, I
> > understand, has been particularly viscious and ad hominem inside
> > closed rooms in Washington DC where their words don't make it into the
> > public record). This might all seem laughable, it weren't the case
> > that they've gotten the (Bush) White House Office of Science &
> > Technology taking it as a serious matter (fortunately, Dave Halpern is
> > in charge of this project, and he is likely to handle this
> > appropriately, but without some external pressure).
> > So while our careful efforts to debunk the myths perpetuated by these
> > folks may be useful in the FAR, they will be of limited use in
> > fighting the disinformation campaign that is already underway in
> > Washington DC. Here, I tend to concur at least in sprit w/ Jim
> > Salinger, that other approaches may be necessary. I would emphasize
> > that there are indeed, as Tom notes, some unique aspects of this
> > latest assault by the skeptics which are cause for special concern.
> > This latest assault uses a compromised peer-review process as a
> > vehicle for launching a scientific disinformation campaign (often
> > viscious and ad hominem) under the guise of apparently legitimately
> > reviewed science, allowing them to make use of the "Harvard" moniker
> > in the process. Fortunately, the mainstream media never touched the
> > story (mostly it has appeared in papers owned by Murdoch and his
> > crowd, and dubious fringe on-line outlets). Much like a server which
> > has been compromised as a launching point for computer viruses, I fear
> > that "Climate Research" has become a hopelessly compromised vehicle in
> > the skeptics' (can we find a better word?) disinformation campaign,
> > and some of the discussion that I've seen (e.g. a potential threat of
> > mass resignation among the legitimate members of the CR editorial
> > board) seems, in my opinion, to have some potential merit.
> > This should be justified not on the basis of the publication of
> > science we may not like of course, but based on the evidence (e.g. as
> > provided by Tom and Danny Harvey and I'm sure there is much more) that
> > a legitimate peer-review process has not been followed by at least one
> > particular editor. Incidentally, the problems alluded to at GRL are of
> > a different nature--there are simply too many papers, and too few
> > editors w/ appropriate disciplinary expertise, to get many of the
> > papers submitted there properly reviewed. Its simply hit or miss with
> > respect to whom the chosen editor is. While it was easy to make sure
> > that the worst papers, perhaps including certain ones Tom refers to,
> > didn't see the light of the day at /J. Climate/, it was inevitable
> > that such papers might slip through the cracks at e.g. GRL--there is
> > probably little that can be done here, other than making sure that
> > some qualified and responsible climate scientists step up to the plate
> > and take on editorial positions at GRL.
> > best regards,
> > Mike
> > At 11:53 PM 4/23/2003 -0600, Tom Wigley wrote:
> >> Dear friends,
> >> [Apologies to those I have missed who have been part of this email
> >> exchange -- although they may be glad to have been missed]
> >> I think Barrie Pittock has the right idea -- although there are some
> >> unique things about this situation. Barrie says ....
> >> (1) There are lots of bad papers out there
> >> (2) The best response is probably to write a 'rebuttal'
> >> to which I add ....
> >> (3) A published rebuttal will help IPCC authors in the 4AR.
> >> ____________________
> >> Let me give you an example. There was a paper a few years ago by Legates
> >> and Davis in GRL (vol. 24, pp. 2319-1222, 1997) that was nothing more
> >> than a direct
> >> and pointed criticism of some work by Santer and me -- yet neither of us
> >> was asked to review the paper. We complained, and GRL admitted it was
> >> poor judgment on the part of the editor. Eventually (> 2 years later)
> >> we wrote a response (GRL 27, 2973-2976, 2000). However, our response was
> >> more that just a rebuttal, it was an attempt to clarify some issues on
> >> detection. In doing things this way we tried to make it clear that the
> >> original Legates/Davis paper was an example of bad science (more
> >> bluntly, either sophomoric ignorance or deliberate misrepresentation).
> >> Any rebuttal must point out very clearly the flaws in the original
> >> paper. If some new science (or explanations) can be added -- as we did
> >> in the above example -- then this is an advantage.
> >> _____________________________
> >> There is some personal judgment involved in deciding whether to rebut.
> >> Correcting bad science is the first concern. Responding to unfair
> >> personal criticisms is next. Third is the possible misrepresentation of
> >> the results by persons with ideological or political agendas. On the
> >> basis of these I think the Baliunas paper should be rebutted by persons
> >> with appropriate expertise. Names like Mann, Crowley, Briffa, Bradley,
> >> Jones, Hughes come to mind. Are these people willing to spend time on
> >> this?
> >> _______________________________
> >> There are two other examples that I know of where I will probably be
> >> involved in writing a response.
> >> The first is a paper by Douglass and Clader in GRL (vol. 29, no. 16,
> >> 10.1029/2002GL015345, 2002). I refereed a virtually identical paper for
> >> J. Climate, recommending rejection. All the other referees recommended
> >> rejection too. The paper is truly appalling -- but somehow it must have
> >> been poorly reviewed by GRL and slipped through the net. I have no
> >> reason to believe that this was anything more than chance. Nevertheless,
> >> my judgment is that the science is so bad that a response is necessary.
> >> The second is the paper by Michaels et al. that was in Climate Research
> >> (vol. 23, pp. 1�9, 2002). Danny Harvey and I refereed this and said it
> >> should be rejected. We questioned the editor (deFreitas again!) and he
> >> responded saying .....
> >> The MS was reviewed initially by five referees. ... The other three
> >> referees, all reputable atmospheric scientists, agreed it should be
> >> published subject to minor revision. Even then I used a sixth person
> >> to help me decide. I took his advice and that of the three other
> >> referees and sent the MS back for revision. It was later accepted for
> >> publication. The refereeing process was more rigorous than usual.
> >> On the surface this looks to be above board -- although, as referees who
> >> advised rejection it is clear that Danny and I should have been kept in
> >> the loop and seen how our criticisms were responded to.
> >> It is possible that Danny and I might write a response to this paper --
> >> deFreitas has offered us this possibility.
> >> ______________________________
> >> This second case gets to the crux of the matter. I suspect that
> >> deFreitas deliberately chose other referees who are members of the
> >> skeptics camp. I also suspect that he has done this on other occasions.
> >> How to deal with this is unclear, since there are a number of
> >> individuals with bona fide scientific credentials who could be used by
> >> an unscrupulous editor to ensure that 'anti-greenhouse' science can get
> >> through the peer review process (Legates, Balling, Lindzen, Baliunas,
> >> Soon, and so on).
> >> The peer review process is being abused, but proving this would be
> >> difficult.
> >> The best response is, I strongly believe, to rebut the bad science that
> >> does get through.
> >> _______________________________
> >> Jim Salinger raises the more personal issue of deFreitas. He is clearly
> >> giving good science a bad name, but I do not think a barrage of ad
> >> hominem attacks or letters is the best way to counter this.
> >> If Jim wishes to write a letter with multiple authors, I may be willing
> >> to sign it, but I would not write such a letter myself.
> >> In this case, deFreitas is such a poor scientist that he may simply
> >> disappear. I saw some work from his PhD, and it was awful (Pat Michaels'
> >> PhD is at the same level).
> >> ______________________________
> >> Best wishes to all,
> >> Tom.
> > ______________________________________________________________
> > Professor Michael E. Mann
> > Department of Environmental Sciences, Clark Hall
> > University of Virginia
> > Charlottesville, VA 22903
> > _______________________________________________________________________
> > e-mail: mannatXYZxyzginia.edu Phone: (434) 924-7770 FAX: (434) 982-2137
> > http://www.evsc.virginia.edu/faculty/people/mann.shtml
> C. Mark Eakin, Ph.D.
> Chief of NOAA Paleoclimatology Program and
> Director of the World Data Center for Paleoclimatology
> NOAA/National Climatic Data Center
> 325 Broadway E/CC23
> Boulder, CO 80305-3328
> Voice: 303-497-6172 Fax: 303-497-6513
> Internet: mark.eakinatXYZxyza.gov
Stephen H. Schneider, Professor
Dept. of Biological Sciences
Stanford, CA 94305-5020 U.S.A.
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