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Peer review isn’t perfect … and the media doesn’t always help

Peer review is an essential part of science. Journal editors recruit scientists to provide expert opinion on manuscripts submitted by other scientists. Reviewers are expected to identify major errors and…

Don’t believe everything you read in the newspaper about sea level rise. inju/Flickr

Peer review is an essential part of science. Journal editors recruit scientists to provide expert opinion on manuscripts submitted by other scientists. Reviewers are expected to identify major errors and determine if an article presents new and significant science.

And while peer review is essential, it can fail.

Peer review prevents many, but not all, substandard articles from being published. Such failures are usually annoying but inconsequential, as poor quality articles are generally ignored. But when peer review fails on an article with contentious conclusions, this failure can be amplified by bloggers, the media and political campaigns.

Alberto Boretti’s paper on sea level rise near Sydney – which was published in the journal Coastal Engineering in June 2012 – is one such failure.

This week, Coastal Engineering has published a commentary in which we discuss major flaws in Boretti’s paper, some of which would be unacceptable in an undergraduate lab report.

Despite these flaws, Boretti’s conclusions were reported uncritically in the Australian Financial Review, Quadrant Online, The Australian and by Andrew Bolt over the past year.

How did this happen?

Sea level rise

Sea levels are rising in response to climate change and this will have an impact on coastal communities. A 10cm rise in sea levels roughly triples the number of flooding events at a given location.

During the 20th century, sea levels around Australia rose by around 10cm. That rise was not smooth and steady, as sea level rise is influenced by both climate change and natural variability (including the El Niño–Southern Oscillation).

Sea level rise is expected to be faster this century than last century, as a result of climate change. Currently, global sea levels are rising at 3mm a year but this will increase in the coming decades.

Globally sea levels have risen, with accelerations and decelerations due to natural variability and climate change. CSIRO

What went wrong?

Alberto Boretti has fitted curves to tide gauge data downloaded from archives. This is not particularly original and bloggers do this all the time. It only takes minutes to do.

But Boretti’s analysis contains major flaws. He assumes sea level rise accelerates with a constant rate but, as we’ve already mentioned, sea level rise accelerates and decelerates due to natural variability and climate change. Boretti therefore assumes, incorrectly, that observed accelerations during the 20th century will tell us how sea level rise will accelerate this century.

Boretti also ignores the uncertainty in measurements of acceleration; an uncertainty which again stems from natural variability. This means that relatively short (e.g. 20-year) tide gauge and satellite records also provide limited information with which to validate modelled accelerations.

Models summarised by the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) indicate an overall rise of between about 20cm and 80cm over the 21st century. Boretti claims model projections are inconsistent with observed sea level rise near Sydney.

We have checked this, and find there is no statistically significant difference between the accelerations shown by the models and the data for the past 20 years.

Even if these flaws could be ignored, Boretti’s claims don’t match his own analysis. He concludes:

The most likely rise of sea level in the bay of Sydney by 2100 is therefore more likely less than the 50mm measured so far over the last 100 years rather than the metre predicted by some models.

However, Boretti’s fitted curve shows 78mm of sea level rise, not 50mm. There is no supporting evidence for Boretti’s conclusion that sea level rise will be less than 50mm by 2100.

Aberto Boretti claims just 50 mm of sea level rise, but this is inconsistent with his own fit to the data, which gives 78 mm of sea level rise between 1910 and 2010. Two sets of Fort Denison tide gauge data are shown with blue and red dots.

As mentioned, Boretti’s paper on sea levels near Sydney found its home at Elsevier’s Coastal Engineering. Most sea level experts don’t publish in Coastal Engineering, nor do they usually publish in Natural Hazards (Springer) or Ocean & Coastal Management (Elsevier), which have also published articles by Boretti.

Boretti’s other papers have similar flaws, such as erroneous assumptions and no error analyses, so one has to wonder if they were scrupulously reviewed by experts.

Amplification

Boretti’s claims have been used uncritically by bloggers and the NC-20 political campaign in the US. Of course, bloggers and politicians can be both partisan and ignorant of the science, so their use of Boretti’s claims isn’t surprising.

But how did the mainstream media report Boretti’s claims?

On March 19 2012, Andrew Bolt wrote on his blog: “No, our sea levels aren’t accelerating as they claimed”. On April 16 2012, the Australian Financial Review ran a story by Mark Lawson titled “Sea height increases underwhelming”.

What went wrong?

When science reporters discuss new studies and their claims, they usually seek expert commentary. Is the paper as significant as claimed in the press release or by blogs? What are the implications of the study? Are there good reasons to doubt the results?

Australia has significant expertise in the science of sea level rise. However, you won’t find any expert commentary on Boretti’s claims in The Australian Financial Review, Quadrant Online, The Australian or Andrew Bolt’s Blog. (Some articles quote experts on sea level rise, but not on Boretti’s specific claims.)

To make matters worse, Andrew Bolt’s Blog and The Australian’s Cut & Paste juxtaposed Boretti’s bogus claims with the conclusions of more rigorous studies, such as those of CSIRO scientists. In doing so, the journalists created an illusion of controversy, using Boretti’s sloppy pseudoscience to undermine real science.

The faith of the media in Boretti seems particularly strange given his lack of expertise. Sure, he’s an Associate Professor … but with expertise in car engines, not sea levels.

Unfortunately the media’s faith in Alberto Boretti (who has changed his name to Albert Parker) isn’t as strange as it should be. Some journalists have given up critically analysing claims that support their agenda … even if that means relying on pseudo-scientists who turn 78 into 50.

Join the conversation

483 Comments sorted by

  1. James Jenkin

    EFL Teacher Trainer

    We'd expect commentators to jump on 'research' that supports their view.

    However we wouldn't expect dodgy research to get past peer review. How does this happen? That seems to be the more alarming question.

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    1. Bruce Tabor

      Research Scientist at CSIRO

      In reply to James Jenkin

      Journal editors make judgements on reviews' advice, the interests of their audience and - especially low impact journals - the need to make up sufficient content for publication. Controversial or topical work - even of poor quality - may improve citations. Your example is a case in point.

      I've had a recommendation to reject (on statistical grounds) overruled by an editor. Furthermore, rejections may not be motivated primarily by the quality of the work. A referee who has had his/her work attacked may recommend rejection.

      Ultimately the peer review process is best served by publication (somewhere) of all but the most egregious work. The most difficult question is how to get "scientific balance" in the media.

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    2. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Bruce Tabor

      The acceptance of papers that referees have rejected was at the heart of the Climate Research controversy. An introduction to this is provided at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soon_and_Baliunas_controversy

      That introduction contains the following;

      On 19 August 2003, Tom Wigley wrote to a colleague that "I have had papers that I refereed (and soundly rejected), under De Freitas’s editorship, appear later in the journal -- without me seeing any response from the authors. As I have said before to others, his strategy is first to use mainly referees that are in the anti-greenhouse community, and second, if a paper is rejected, to ignore that review and seek another more ‘sympathic’ reviewer. In the second case he can then (with enough reviews) claim that the honest review was an outlier."

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    3. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Ian Enting

      That is true Ian, and quality journals do not usually publish material outside the expertise of their reviewers. This is why there are mostly very specific guidelines for the material accepted by a journal. You won't find much about nuclear physics in a journal such as the well known IOP publication "Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics", for example, nor about either of these topics in the American Journal "Radio Physics". Other journals accept a wider range of topics such The Canadian Journal of Physics, but this has always been a respected journal. However, I can't say that no "bad" papers have ever been published in these Journals, and it is really up to the readership to sort the grain from the chaff.

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    4. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Nicol

      Perhaps if you'd study the AAAS Science paper from last year on overall journal retraction vs publication rates, you'd be able to make your last sentence more helpful?

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    5. trevor prowse

      retired farmer

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      When the Climate Commission wrote the ,"THE CRITICAL DECADE", they used the national tidal centre data showing 7.4 mm/year increase. As has been pointed out , that increase has been affected by the land having water pumped out , thus lowering the land level. The graph from www.jcronline.org---Coastal Education and Research Foundation ---Figure 5 shows no increase above 5.5 mm/yr and the largest increase per year at Fremantle of 4/mm/yr The other interest in this graph is the rate of decrease during1920…

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    6. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to trevor prowse

      The climate comission report http://climatecommission.gov.au/report/the-critical-decade/ provides measures of sea level rise for a range of locations around Australia, along with measures of sea level rise over the past century and projections for future sea level rise. It provides a reasonable summary of sea level rise around Australia, given it is a relatively brief document.

      I cannot comment on the JCR results as the link to the relevant paper is broken. As noted elsewhere, there are significant…

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    1. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Jack Heinemann

      While the Hunter & Brown comment in Coastal Engineering addresses the problems in just one of Boretti’s papers, this actually is part of a wider problem.

      The flaws identified by Hunter & Brown appear in other papers by Boretti/Parker. There are also other issues with Boretti’s papers, including duplication. These are noted in other parts of this discussion.

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    2. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike
      This back story is relevant.
      Tell me, what were the circumstances surrounding the inclusion of the press release from an environmental activist group about the demise of the Himalayan Glaziers in a past IPCC Report. That got past all the esteemed peer reviewers and got published as a peer reviewed paper by the United Nations.
      Any back story to that one?

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    3. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      Ken, I think the glacier mistake was shown to be a one-off accident with no real back story.

      Given the scale of the IPCC reports, it's almost inevitable that the occasional error will slip past the editors. As I understand it, this was one of very few. And its correction didn't have any important impact on the general conclusions of the reports.

      This case is rather different, where it can be shown that Boretti has systematically and repeatedly published completely unacceptable work by any reasonable academic standards. The level of popular reporting of this work also makes the issue particularly important.

      Therefore I can't really see your argument as being any more than a rather weak tu quoque.

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    4. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jack Heinemann

      Jack Heinemann,

      Very well said and I agree with all of your comments.

      Years ago, peer review was mainly to ensure that papers met the criteria of field of interest for a journal, met a "reasonable standard" in presenting new results and correctly referenced appropriate earlier publications on a topic. A reasonable scientific approach and dare I say, reasonable presentation was also of concern.

      Whether the research was entirely "correct" was left to the future review by those interested in the topic. Those who clammer for "peer review" and complain if there are errors in published papers, appear to me as not having confidence in their own ability to sort the grain from the chaff.

      Criticising the personality and perceived intentions of the author is also a more recent development in some areas of science. As far as I can remember, this was not a feature in regard to publications in physics and probably, hopefully, still isn't

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    5. Carol-Anne Croker

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jack Heinemann

      This is not an issue specific to the Sciences and journal publication. We have as much difficulty in finding and validating research articles in many HASS publications but at least publication of a 'undertheorised' or 'partial analysis' can generate academic debate within the respective journals as long as editors are not locked into specific issue-based subsequent volumes and allow a section for running commentary/debate. Much easier for online journals, many of whom still have not been recognised with 'high' rankings in Australia. It takes time but the peer-reviewing process tends to work well in the end.

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  2. Stewart Franks

    Professor School of Engineering at University of Newcastle

    The problem of peer review and uncritical media is not limited this sea level example. Senior Bureau and CSIRO researchers have published multiple articles in top-ranked literature (including GRL) where they confuse cause and effect with regard to temperature and evapotranspiration. Even made it into the IPCC 4AR! ABC reported these studies as 'demonstrating the drying of the MDB' - utter tosh!

    Peer review is a necessary but insufficient step

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    1. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Stewart Franks

      Stewart you are right. If the "academics" and the "smart people' in this area were totally consistent in rooting out a lack of rigour or worse on both sides of this issue we would all be less cynical. The desire to tear apart an paper such as this comes initially from your own engrained bias as a scientist. Why not get critical of the papers your refer to as well that got into the IPCC Report unscathed and go completely ignored by the author of this article?

      The breathless rejection of this paper…

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    2. Phil S

      Physics PhD Student

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      What a copout.

      No one is stopping you from contributing an article to the conversation that discusses the poor science in whatever particular journal article you are unhappy with. I look forward to seeing your reasoned article that explains people on both sides of the climate change debate are full of crap.

      Of course if you are going to pass on my suggestion (which seems likely given that most skeptics seems to run and hide when you try to get them to justify themselves) perhaps you could at least agree with the author of this article that the paper in question is rubbish.

      I mean you did read the bit about how he ignored uncertainties, performed poor fits and make erroneous conclusions that didn't even come from his invalid analysis...I fail 2nd year students for doing things like this, and one wonders how the author of the article in question actually made it through an undergraduate degree in the first place.

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    3. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Phil S

      Philip, I did not criticise the author's critique of this paper. Read my post.

      The only people who get published on this blog are academic staff from universities and that is not me. It then has to run the gauntlet of editorial review from the Conversation people. So an article from me or any questioning skeptic will not happen.

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    4. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Stewart Franks

      Franks’ interpretation remains controversial and disputed by many climate scientists. For example, one study by Franks’ collaboration was the subject of a comment by Cai et al.

      Cai et al. found the following;

      http://www.agu.org/news/press/jhighlight_archives/2010/2010-06-14.shtml

      False sunshine trend explained by nonuniform data

      With climate change an increasingly important scientific and political issue, it is essential to have an accurate picture of the causes of regional climate changes…

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    5. Stewart Franks

      Professor School of Engineering at University of Newcastle

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Hi Michael - you are wrong to say that the interpretation is controversial - higher temperatures result from lower ET, not vice versa - this is a long established principal of Boundary Lay Meteorology and Hydrology. If this is disputed or controversial it is only made so due to ignorance of the known physics.

      Sunshine hour duration data was on average approximetly 1hr more in 2002, than the long term average - this did indeed also contribute to the higher temps.

      The use of SSH data in the…

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    6. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael
      As a matter of interest.
      How many climate change related research papers have you authored?
      I have reviewed your web site and cannot tell from the titles of each.
      Looking forward to your reply

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    7. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      I have coauthored Hunter & Brown.

      While sea level expertise is helpful with understanding the behaviour of sea level rise over the past century, less expertise is required to identify the absence of uncertainties and that 78 is not equal to (or less than) 50.

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    8. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      "It then has to run the gauntlet of editorial review from the Conversation people. So an article from me or any questioning skeptic will not happen."

      Are you suggesting a conspiracy theory here? How original.

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    9. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Well, with at one published paper you can now be part of the Climate Scientists Club.
      Many more published papers I am sure will be in your future.

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    10. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Stewart Franks

      While Lockhart et al. does make it clear that sunshine hours (SSH) isn't the only possible explanation (see below), the idea that SSH *could* play a big role does seem to be a central part of that paper.

      Two things have puzzled me about the Lockhart et al. paper. Why was only half the year studied? Why do the plots end at 1pm, when many of the interesting parameters have not reached their peak values?

      From Lockhart;

      As an alternative explanation, the correlation between temperature and sunshine hours is more statistically significant than the rainfall relationships previously identified. However, despite the improved correlation offered by SSH, this model still represents a gross simplification of the known physical processes of land surface – atmosphere interactions.

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    11. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix MacNeil,

      As a matter of "statistical" significance, there have been NO articles on The Conversation to my knowledge questioning the claims made by the IPCC regarding temperature increases (or not), sea level rising (or falling), increased or decreased incidence of extreme weather. This is "Unlikely" to arise simply because no one has written such an article.

      Thus there is strong empirical evidence that such an article as suggested by Ken Swanson, would not, indeed, be published.

      I…

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    12. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Stewart Franks

      "Peer review is a necessary but insufficient step"

      Agreed. It is the responsibility of the professional, regulatory and academic bodies surrounding any sort of professional practice to ensure that policy is based on sound evidence.

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    13. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to John Nicol

      "Thus there is strong empirical evidence that such an article as suggested by Ken Swanson, would not, indeed, be published".

      em·pir·i·cal
      (m-pîr-kl)
      adj.
      1.
      a. Relying on or derived from observation or experiment.
      b. Verifiable or provable by means of observation or experiment.
      2. Guided by practical experience and not theory, especially in medicine.
      http://www.thefreedictionary.com/empirical

      So, the evidence you have accumulated will prove well-written, well-researched articles challenging the science that supports the theory of anthropogenic global warming, will be deliberately suppressed by The Conversation.

      Please table your data, including examples of such papers and the evidence they have been suppressed. If you cannot do this, it will be reasonable to dismiss your claim as just another conspiracy theory.

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    14. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Jeez, Doug. Do you mean to say that you have evidence to support the oft asserted claim on the Conversation that "big Oil', the Murdoc press, Heartland et al are part of a global conspiracy to keep us addicted to fossil fuels?

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    15. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to John Phillip

      John, I don't believe I have made that claim. Having said that, it would be reasonable to assume that Big Oil wants us to keep burning the stuff. Heartland have acknowledged they have received funding from big oil interests, so one could draw some inference from that, if one wanted to. I have no idea why the Murdoch press is so pro-fossil fuels and anti-global warming science, but surveys of their reporting have shown Murdoch outlets have a marked bias when publishing articles on those topics. Perhaps it is just coincidence?

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    16. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Doug,I wonder what the results would be if those same 'tests' of impartiality were applied to the left leaning media like the SMH and ABC? My point was that the alarmist side of this discussion tends to be just as culpable as the skeptical side in making claims of conspiracies and media bias.

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    17. Roger Davidson

      Student

      In reply to John Nicol

      "Enjoyed the cut and thrust of debate"??

      From what I have observed of you, you like to make a post but never return to debate with those who counter your claims. How is that "enjoying the cut and thrust of debate"?

      You are just making statements then running away.

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    18. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to John Phillip

      "My point was that the alarmist side of this discussion tends to be just as culpable as the skeptical side in making claims of conspiracies and media bias".

      John, there may be truth in what you say, however, the admitted links between Big Oil and AGW-denial outfits like Heartland are well known, as are the studies showing Murdoch bias in favour of articles opposing AGW; on the other hand, the skeptic's claim of a world-wide, multidisciplinary conspiracy of scientists going back to the middle of the 1800's seems to have no evidence to support it.

      So, you may be correct in claiming both sides make such claims, but only one side seems to have the evidence.

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    19. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Doug Hutcheson, Thank you for correcting me. I should have said that the "Strong" evidence "suggests" that such an article would not be published. This is simply that no such article has been published in the years when the Conversation has been running.

      If there is contrary evidence, then you have here an opportunity to make a counter claim.

      After all, the "empirical" evidence evoked by the IPCC is contained in their classical, and oft repeated statement: "We believe that most of the…

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    20. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Roger Davidson

      Roger, I too have been waiting, over a year now, for Nicol to condescend to continue the email discussion he'd asked for about greenhouse warming and ven the magic "16 years of no warming" that actually demonstrate warming.

      Maybe John is just distracted by setting up a bond & trust for his descendents to assuage their climate impacts with, should he be, just perhaps, just a little bit, wrong about climate change, global warming, sea rise, ocean acidification, and human trashing of the natural carbon cycle by a factor of ~30, that he seems happy to support?
      ;]

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    21. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Doug,

      Where is the suggestion that scientists have "conspired" back to the 1800s!! The "conspiracy" suggestion which was quite silly, actually arose out of the equally silly claim that 97% of scientists maintained a "consensus" view of global warming.

      Part of the concern of those whose views opposed the IPCC proposals, was that contacts with well known climatologists provided no evidence apart from claims that "the models" provided the "science". I spent a lot of time earlier when I first…

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    22. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to John Nicol

      John, you cannot be so naïve as to not know that AGW theory has its roots in the discovery of CO₂'s greenhouse gas properties in the mid-1800's. Many who deny AGW start from their incorrect assertion that CO₂ is not a greenhouse gas. I am sure you are not one of them, are you?

      You are also aware of the various studies which have indicated a concensus between about 97% of published papers referring to climate change. Of course, you might believe that the people who did that research are part of…

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    23. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Nicol

      Classic Nicol -- hiding under the IPCC's bureaucratic duster, and model variances.

      Since he is not a scientist, this might be expected, if disappointing, but it seems the only way he can avoid facts far more evident than models of low specific-heat entities, like air (even hot air).

      Yet to hear Nicol on sea rise, thermal expansion of seawater, ocean acidification, ice loss, etc. Y'know, John, the things that don't need hiding in models.
      ;]

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    24. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      The contributions of Big Oil to Heartland are in their accounts, a few tens of thousands of $ some years in the past decade. But, the funds were applied to projects not linked to climate change, either at all or very directly..
      Have a read here :

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/28/the-gleick-tragedy/
      There are 10 or so follow-up articles as more became known. The extent of Heartland's income and spending is detailed therein.

      Of note is that Peter Gleick "chair of the American Geophysical…

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    25. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Stewart Franks

      How does peer review overcome the lack of precaution on evaporimeters that allowed birds to frolic in them and produce false results?

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    26. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Interesting to see Boss Geoff so concerned with a little exposure of our Heartland folks.

      Problem is, as always, the public eye is not what they or American Traditions has ever wanted, given how much they've done against science. But we're handling time up here, bit by bit.

      No tears need shedding down there, Geoff. Continue ooohing & aahhhing over your spiffy photo with Monckton.
      ;]

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    27. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Roger Davidson

      Thank you for your response Roger Davidson. I have unfortunately not been privileged to see many of your comments, as I don't get as much time as I would like for pursuing the conversation.

      However, I would be interested to see which statements I have made which have been "countered" with details of reasons, rather than just telling me I am "wrong". Please let me know. You could start by refuting my comments yourself, with examples, showing where articles which do not support the IPCC have…

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    28. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Doug Hutchinson
      Few if any who seriously consider the Green House Effect (GHE) as being over stated by the IPCC, deny that CO2 is a green house gas (GHG) and certainly no scientists would ever make that suggestion. Arguments as to whether the effect is the same as the main isolating process which dominates for a glass house are totally irrelevant – term “green house gas” is well documented and well understood.

      I might use your own phrase here and suggest that you Doug, cannot be so naive as…

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    29. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Nicol

      Another of Nicol's massive texts to cover the reality that he's no scientist or engineer, by filling this site with hodge-podged terms and assumptions.

      In the first ~90% of Nicol's latest tome, he shows he has no real understanding of atmospheric responses to GHGs. Yet, at least he's lost the naive belief he presented me a couple of years ago about added CO2 not able to increase solar absorption -- or, maybe he hasn't? Hard to tell in all the verbal wiggling, right John?

      At any rate, Nicol's…

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    30. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to John Nicol

      John, you said "Few if any who seriously consider the Green House Effect (GHE) as being over stated by the IPCC, deny that CO2 is a green house gas (GHG) and certainly no scientists would ever make that suggestion". I encounter many who disbelieve that increasing CO₂ will lead to increasing temperature.

      You refer to "CO2 whose main absorption bands are already saturated and cannot be the source of increased warming". I suggest you read http://www.skepticalscience.com/saturated-co2-effect.htm and…

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    31. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      John was presented information on CO2's absorption effects not being "saturated" over a year ago. He ignored it, as he does with any contradiction from science or engineering.

      But, since others here aren't so anti-factual, imagine, at 380ppm, how many other molecules are within some nanometers of each CO2 molecule. And then imagine how quickly each CO2 molecules delivers vibrational energy (from sunlight absorption) to any of the thousands of other molecules nearby. Before that delivery, a…

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    32. fabian sweeney
      fabian sweeney is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired agricultural scientist

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      TO Philip Starkey
      Are Geologists not trained in Science method? or at least try to verify their facts? 'Only people who get published on this blog are academic.." Not so and I am an example. Do you only cherry pick ? Uncrap your facts

      I expect The Conversation can give many more examples.

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  3. Ron Chinchen

    Retired (ex Probation and Parole Officer)

    Surely this issue is one of the reasons that people are losing confidence in science with so many divergent and untested claims are being made about a whole range of issues and in particular global warming.

    In the past peer review was the only means of getting something published and accredited and accepted. Didnt make it right, but peer review had a far better chance of having the answer than items that weren't peer reviewed. Chances were you were going to get the best answer the scientific world…

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    1. Jack Heinemann

      Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at University of Canterbury

      In reply to Ron Chinchen

      If indeed people are losing confidence in science, I doubt that it would be because of defects in peer review alone. Science is often operating in areas of great uncertainty. Conflict between scientists is and should be a normal thing. (Not personal attacks or ad hominem deflection, but legitimate disagreement.)

      There are many other reasons people are suspicious of science, including the strong links with industry and personal vested conflicts of interest, both monetary and non-monetary. Scientists…

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    2. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Jack Heinemann

      Jack.
      Thanks for a very sensible, real world perspective on the context of scientific research and some of the factors that influence it. People on this blog would do well to heed these comments.

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    3. Ron Chinchen

      Retired (ex Probation and Parole Officer)

      In reply to Jack Heinemann

      Jack I wasnt speaking against peer review, I was speaking for it. I was saying that too much 'science' today does not go through that process and people are left with a divergent range of claims from supposedly responsible scientists that are often untested and yes, influenced by parties wanting a particular position to be accepted for the benefit of their particular vested interest.

      Any seeming criticism I had against peer review, was the recognition that we can only make assessments based upon…

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    4. Ron Chinchen

      Retired (ex Probation and Parole Officer)

      In reply to Ron Chinchen

      Sorry guys that second sentence paragraph 2 came out senseless. It was meant to read 'But there are always those who, without sufficient evidence to back their claims, propose theories that later become proven. But at the time they are often derided for the proposed theory which seems to go accepted proposals, when the evidence is not there to back up their claims. In other words inspired guesses based upon what they already know but not sufficient evidence at the time to prove it.'

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    5. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Ron Chinchen

      Part of the issue Ron is highlighting is pseudo-science is sometimes presented on equal footing with science or is presented as “science”. To be blunt, this issue would be largely avoided if journalists avoided false balance and if they sought out expert commentary on science/pseudo-scientific claims.

      ABC's Media Watch discussed this issue in the context of the AVN, and the transcript is online at
      http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s3601416.htm

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    6. Jack Heinemann

      Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at University of Canterbury

      In reply to Ron Chinchen

      "People dont know what to believe because most only know that a 'scientist' said something and therefore it must be right. Peer review is being bypassed in material being presented to the public as fact."

      I agree, but I extend the range of people from the general public to also include other scientists, officials in our ministries and agencies, politicians and journalists. We are all susceptible to taking arguments from those we deem to be experts and rejecting arguments from those we perceive as not being experts or being conflicted. Peer review can be most rigorously applied to data (especially quantitative data) but is less well applied to interpretation of data. Presenting an interpretation as fact because it went through peer review is overstating the value of peer review.

      I'm not arguing for an end to peer review, but its limits need to be recognised.

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    7. Jack Heinemann

      Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at University of Canterbury

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      And in principle I agree with you Michael. But we do risk getting into a circle here when we look to what may be an overly simple solution to the perceived problem that the 'wrong' view is getting too much attention.
      Who chooses the experts remains the problem when you seek balance or seek only 'experts'. If the criteria for being an expert is publishing in peer reviewed journals, then Boretti remains a legitimate choice. Interestingly, many who do have expertise are then disqualified, such as most scientists working in the private sector. So an extension of this argument is to potentially impugn all the studies on drug safety, food safety, nanotech safety etc because the data is not coming from peer reviewed authors and peer reviewed studies.

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    8. Jack Heinemann

      Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at University of Canterbury

      In reply to Ron Chinchen

      I really like this point, Ron. Were some/all of these people right but for the wrong reasons for by lucky guesses? I don't know the answer myself on these examples, but I would bet this happens quite a lot. And I wonder how many advances come from these hunches and whether we undervalue the premature conclusion from the 'prepared mind'. My point is that we need to allow this kind of discourse even in areas of science in which we think the stakes of it being taken as 'fact' are high.
      I think I remember an anecdote along those lines about Max Delbruck, the "father of molecular biology". He was a physicist and held with suspicion by biologists who thought that he did not have the background and training to be relevant to biology. When asked what made him qualified to be a biologist, he reportedly replied: "Ignorance". The idea being that he did not have the same set of biases held by 'biologists' and was his naive but prepared mind was open to discovery.

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    9. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael
      It would also be avoided if the media reported more of the discussion from both sides such as is going on between you and Stewart Franks today. This seldom happens in the media because of journalistic bias on one side or the other. Given what I have seen in the discussion between the two of you today, the Conversation really should invite Stewart Franks to contribute an article on the subject to keep the debate going. I am almost certain that this will not happen in this forum because of its well known AGW alarmist positioning.

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    10. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Jack Heinemann

      Hooray!

      Thank goodness, a research scientist who speaks frankly.

      Keep it up Jack.

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    11. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Jack Heinemann

      One of the puzzling things about the coverage of Boretti's paper by the media is journalists often did identify publications or quotes by relevant experts (e.g., John Church). They just didn't provide expert commentary by those experts on Boretti's claims.

      Clearly one can debate how to identify experts. Clearly there are a variety of criteria and publications isn't the only criterion that should be used. The media has a mixed record of identifying relevant experts from academia and the private sector. Again, what is interesting here is they didn't ask for commentary from those experts (even when they did identify them).

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    12. Jack Heinemann

      Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at University of Canterbury

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      @Mike Hansen

      I don't know Dorey. Was it science or was it interpretation of science? But in any case, all sides game the system. We all choose journals based on some strategy to get published. The point I'm making is that those who wish to have dictatorial power in choosing the science to be seen are flawed too. We all are. Reverting to easy metrics is not the answer to science conflict.
      As a community we have to do what is being done here. Discuss why we agree or disagree and present the evidence. That is what Michael and John have done.
      But if we try to make blanket criteria about what science should be seen by the public, then we the public have the right to question the criteria, who believes that they can make it and so on.

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    13. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Jack Heinemann

      Jack, might not part of the solution when journalists aim for 'balance' by simply presenting a representative from each of two 'sides' in a debate be to provide, as far as reasonably possible, some indication of the general weight of opinion among competent/publishing researchers in the field?

      You could almost certainly find someone with quite impressive qualifications to argue almost any nonsense. You could also probably find some kind of journal with a superficially impressive title to publish…

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    14. Toby James

      retired physicist

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Ah, Felix. " the general weight of opinion among competent/publishing researchers " I wonder what that really means. I'll leave it to you to
      explain how the "general weight of opinion" should be evaluated.

      The beginning of the 20th century marks the science of CO2 that is "now in". The science consensus and all the models are based on it.

      At the same time, heavier -than-air flight was known by the overwhelming majority of scientists (consensus) to be impossible. And the fools who thought…

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    15. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      So because you cannot communicate your position and argue it effectively even in the pro AGW media like Fairfax, ABC, and Conversation amongst other blogs, you think it acceptable to shut any dissenting views down or legislate for their control/ suppression. To Jack's point, how do minority views and alternatives ever get off the ground if they are snuffed out by the existing orthodoxy.
      And who gets to decide what opinion or who's facts are worthy? The members of the Climate Scientists club? Alarmist…

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    16. Ian Smith

      Hon. Res. Fellow at CSIRO

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      This conspiracy nonsense:
      "What chance would Stewart have of getting a run if he had to confront a raft of alarmists on an editorial board."
      is a bit over the top.

      People may disagree with Stewart but I doubt the has been denied "getting a run" any more than the rest of us who submit to peer review. Stewart and others have ample opportunities to state their views and, although I am not convinced by them, they are well worth discussing and debating. To be honest, as a member of an editorial board, I think I would enjoy reading a well thought out "denialist" paper rather than another depressing "alarmist" paper. The problem is that there are relatively few well thought out "denialist" papers around. This has nothing to do with "stacked" editorial boards.

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    17. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Their just human mate.
      Trying to look out for their families like you and me and make a quid along the way.
      They came across a cash cow that just keeps giving and they don't want to give it up.
      We all understand how it can happen.

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    18. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      " am almost certain that this will not happen in this forum because of its well known AGW alarmist positioning"

      Whoops! My conspiracy theory alarm just went off again ...

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    19. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      "how do minority views and alternatives ever get off the ground"?

      By their proponents doing good science and making good cases for their conclusions. Garbage will generally fail the litmus test of credibility; good science will generally be of interest, especially if it corrects previous errors, or improves understanding of previously studied phenomena.

      On the other hand, conspiracy theorists will always invent hidden agendas to explain away why inadequate work is not accepted by reputable journals.

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    20. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      Ken, this response is so bigoted and absurd it's barely worth responding to.

      I merely suggested that journalists might provide some data on the broad weight of scientific opinion in order to help lay people form a sensible judgement and you start screeching about 'shutting down dissenting views' and legislating to control/suppress. That is so hysterical a misrepresentation of my comment that it is unsurprising that the remainder of your post comprises nothing other than the repetition of slogans.

      I didn't "say that 98% of papers say one thing" I used that number as an illustration of the type of data that might be provided. Are geologists not taught how to distinguish a hypothetical illustration from a statement of claim, or are you merely a poor example of the profession?

      And you wonder why your coments so often get rejected or dismissed as paranoia and conspiracy theory when you condem yourself out of your own mouth.

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    21. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Toby James

      Toby, this is just reductio ad absurdum.

      The general weight of opinion can reasonably be evaluated in the kinds of ways I suggested - by the balance of published research papers and the views of relevant scitific and professional bodies. The fact that it is, as I noted, imperfect doesn't mean that it is undefinable or useless.

      You can always produce the odd counter-factual like the heavier than air flight, but to do so you have to ignore the thousands of 'alternative' ideas that are either completely looney or turn out to be wrong when the evidence is in. This kind of argument ends up in the same place as the nonsense that quantum physics disproves Newtonian physics, when it simply addds to it and qualifies it in specific circumstances, such as sub-atomic scales.

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    22. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Jack Heinemann

      "We all choose journals based on some strategy to get published." While true this can work out in a number of ways.

      Manuscripts without errors may be rejected from journals because the results are not major enough or of interest to that particular journal's readership. In this situation, authors can and usually should seek another journal.

      However, manuscripts with major errors may be rejected by journals because of those errors. Ignoring the legitimate criticisms of the referees and shopping around for a journal with weak peer review is perpetuating pseudo-science.

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    23. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Oh Mike. Really, that is the pot calling the kettle black! The blogs at real climate, SKS, Denierwatch et al are ALIVE with people accusing 'climate deniers' of being part of a conspiracy funded by Murdoch, Heartland, Big Oil and so on. I think both 'sides' of this discussion are pretty guilty of this wasteul, unproductive behaviour.

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    24. Toby James

      retired physicist

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      You missed the main point Felix, publications - peer review - consensus - experts; in the final analysis they are mere piss in the wind.

      Science is process . . . Models and hypothesis are useless unless they accord with observation.

      Theories that predict that both hot and freezing conditions are caused by CO2 are just more piss in the wind.

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    25. Toby James

      retired physicist

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix, you really should get out more - it broadens the mind. And take a look at Feyerabend too.

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    26. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Toby James

      Actually, Toby, ever since Tydall and Arrhenius, over 100 years ago, CO2's influence on air in sunlight has been measured. Piss, less so.

      Perhaps the quote for deniers & FAs yo take to heart is the old US farm saying (since farmers are very close to Nature's reality every day):

      "Piss in one hand and wish in the other, and see which gets full first".

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    27. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Jack Heinemann

      If I understand this part of the discussion correctly, we need to make the distinction between scientific research and opinion.

      To use Mike Hansen's example of the anti-vaxers, Ms Dorey (who is not trained in any form of science) could present her opinion, but has never done any sort of scientific study. If any scientific journal were to give the space to her for an "opinion piece" (highly unlikely, as her opinion carries no weight beyond any other lay person), she would be soundly criticised by informed readers.

      I assume that the same applies to all the other sciences and their journals. "Normal" science means doing a study through the application of standard scientific method: defining a research question, applying the appropriate methodology and the appropriate data analysis, then making valid conclusions that are soundly based on the findings of the study.

      Isn't that what "normal" scientific research is?

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    28. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Very true, Sue. Which is why the magic "16-years of no warming" is such a hoot.

      No boss would accept such a conclusion from a marketing exec for projecting sales, etc. But deniers will try anything, if only to chaff real conversations about facts. Some get paid to do this.

      None, show confidence by placing bets on their statements, and all will be first in line to accept $ compensation for any future losses they may incur from things they say aren't happening.

      But, I personally enjoy their wriggling around, because it offers opportunities to make facts available to everyone else.

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    29. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      We all advise you to invest your retirement funds using exactly the method applied so religiously to the magic "16 years" Geoff. Report back.
      ;]

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    30. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex,
      Let's just talk science. My look at data, in common with many others, says no significant global warming for 16 years. Others include James Hansen, British Met Office, Phil Jones CRU, Christy & Spencer @ UAH through satellites . Do you have a credible reference that notes otherwise? Are you happy to share it?

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  4. Michael J. I. Brown

    ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

    One of Alberto Boretti’s papers is a comment on Shepard et al., which appeared in Springer’s Natural Hazards. This comment duplicates a significant amount of text, tables and figures from an earlier comment by Boretti on Cooper et al., which was published in Elsevier's Ocean & Coastal Management.

    Table 2 of the Natural Hazards comment is almost identical to Table 1 in the Ocean & Coastal Management comment. Figure 1 of the Natural Hazards comment reproduces two panels of the Figure 1 of the Ocean…

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  5. Michael J. I. Brown

    ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

    One of the most peculiar features of Parker's (Boretti's) most recent paper in Ocean & Coastal Management is the sources cited...

    "If the satellite reconstruction of the GMSL presented in Figure 6 reproduces the actual variation of the ocean volume or not is an open discussion, being the raw satellite data mostly flat before adjustments (Goddard, 2012; Mörner, 2004, Nova, 2012; Watts, 2012)."

    Three of the references given here are blog posts, not peer reviewed journal articles. How did this get past peer review?

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    1. Bob Beale

      Journalist

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Goodness gracious! You're kidding, right Michael? Surely the references to "Nova" and "Watts" are not to data published in two of the most unrelenting climate-denial crank sites? Ye gods, that is shocking.

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    2. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      This is also one of his references

      "Mörner N-A (2010c) There is no alarming sea level rise! 21st century science & technology. Fall 2010:7–17"

      Nils-Axel Morner's claim to fame are that he possesses paranormal abilities to find water and metal using a dowsing rod, and that he has discovered "the Hong Kong of the [ancient] Greeks" in Sweden.
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2011/dec/02/spectator-sea-level-claims

      "21st century science & technology" is the quarterly magazine published by the LaRouchite sect.

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    3. Roger Davidson

      Student

      In reply to Bob Beale

      Astonishing, isn't it? I am surprised the paper didnt also reference Wikipedia

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    4. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Roger Davidson

      Roger
      It can happen.
      The demise of the Himalayan Glaziers so strongly asserted in a recent IPCC Report was based on a press release from an environmental lobby group. Reference to Wikipedia is almost "academic" by comparison.

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    5. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Bob Beale

      Yeah, that would seem to have strayed a little beyond the genuine 'grey' area into a space that makes a black hole look sparkling...

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    6. Leon Carter

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      --- Nils-Axel Morner's claim to fame are that he possesses paranormal abilities to find water and metal using a dowsing rod, and that he has discovered "the Hong Kong of the [ancient] Greeks" in Sweden.
      * Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727), the noted English scientist and mathematician, wrote many works that would now be classified as occult studies. These occult works explored chronology, alchemy, and Biblical interpretation (especially of the Apocalypse)
      -wikipedia
      Issac Newton dabbled in the occult, therefore anything else he said can be subjected to the fallacy of ridicule...apparently.

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    7. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Leon Carter

      Any chance that our knowledge of the physical world has advanced in the 3 and 1/2 centuries since Newton?

      Actually you do not have to answer that question - for most climate science deniers who still base their science on their right-wing political allegiances effectively it has not.

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    8. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      And I wonder if the FAs know Newton was proud to be a proficient alchemist?
      ;]

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  6. Geoffrey Henley

    Research Associate

    Speaking of flawed papers which passed peer review, an interesting case involves a paper published in the Journal of Climate by Gergis et al entitled, "Evidence of unusual late 20th century warming from an Australasian temperature reconstruction spanning the last millennium".

    RealClimate reacted with jubilation at the appearance of an “Australian hockey stick paper”. However, it didn’t take long for climate sleuth, Steve McIntrye, to spoil the party. McIntrye soon discovered major errors in both the data and the methodology used by this paper. The paper was initially put on hold, but due to the magnitude of the errors found in the paper, it was eventually withdrawn.

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    1. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Geoffrey Henley

      My understanding is the Gergis et al. paper has been or soon will be resubmitted.

      The technical flaws in the original version of Gergis et al. are far more nuanced than transforming 78 into 50 and not including any uncertainties.

      Many of flaws in Boretti's papers would be unacceptable in undergraduate lab reports. It is thus remarkable that they have got past peer review multiple times (albeit in journals that don't publish significant sea level rise papers).

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    2. Geoffrey Henley

      Research Associate

      In reply to John Hunter

      What I'm suggesting is that flawed papers written by so-called 'consensus scientists' have also passed review. The argument presented in this article applies as much to consensus scientists as to sceptical scientists.

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    3. Geoffrey Henley

      Research Associate

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      My understanding is that the Gergis paper contained significant flaws. Whether they intend to resubmit, I don't know, but there is no guarantee that their paper will ever be published.

      I think you're so obsessed with demonising sceptics, that you can't bring yourself acknowledge the obvious fact that 'consensus scientists' have also produced flawed papers.

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    4. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Geoffrey Henley

      So, you are agreeing that peer review, before and after publication, is the best solution we have to filtering garbage out of the flow of information?

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    5. Geoffrey Henley

      Research Associate

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Steve McIntyre exposed the flaws in Mann's hockey stick paper, was chiefly responsible for the Gergis et. al. paper being withdrawn and wrote a comprehensive critique of Lewandowsky's woeful 'moon-landing' paper. His climate audit website is highly regarded and vastly superior to the bulk of alarmist websites.

      Roll around on the floor if you like, but your comments only reveal your ignorance.

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    6. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Geoffrey Henley

      McIntyre's scientific output appears to be missing from Google Scholar - any links to his peer reviewed journal articles Geoffrey?

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    7. Geoffrey Henley

      Research Associate

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      So what about these?

      McIntyre, Stephen; McKitrick, Ross (2003). "Corrections to the Mann et. al. (1998) Proxy Data Base and Northern Hemispheric Average Temperature Series". Energy & Environment

      McIntyre, Stephen; McKitrick, Ross (2005). "The M&M Critique of the MBH98 Northern Hemisphere Climate Index: Update and Implications". Energy & Environment

      McIntyre, Stephen; McKitrick, Ross (2005). "Hockey sticks, principal components, and spurious significance". Geophysical Research Letters…

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    8. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Dont hide behind the sarcastic ad hom, Mike. You'd be better off critiquing McIntyre's work rather than attacking his presence or otherwise on Google Scholar.

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    9. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Geoffrey Henley

      On21 Jan 2013 the DCCSS confirmed to me that the Gergis et al paper was to be resubmitted. It was currently in review. Bet you a quid that they try to get it into AR5 even if it passed the submission date.
      The original error that attracted attention was a schoolboy howler that demeaned peer review. There were others. Like talking about Australasia, when practically no proxies come from Australia itself and some are even north of the Equator. Some are from New Zealand, whose original temperature…

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    10. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Love the 'astute' if verbose critiques, Geoff, but especially the Aussie slang, which is intriguing. Your 'science', however, is weak. No slang needed to describe what you put out in place of science & fact.

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    11. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Example, please?

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    12. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Others have already done that well, Geoff. But keep trying. It offers a great way to provide folks with accurate info so they can identify fluff when they see/hear it.

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    13. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Don't cop out, Alex. Point me to an error I have made. That's how topics advance. Can't see where anyone else has found one on this blog.

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    14. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoff, I don't need to. It's already been well done by others -- such as your odd idea of earthly dimensioning, or your lack of grasp of the significance of all the facts re the lovely "last 16 years of no warming" naivete.

      If you really were a geologist or mining engineer, rather than just the "boss", then those mistakes wouldn't be forgivable. But, bosses can well be light in knowledge and get away with it. Is that what it is -- you've grown accustomed to getting away with it?
      ;]

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  7. Sean Lamb

    Science Denier

    Shouldn't this article be headlined as being about sea levels rises rather than about peer review and shouldn't Boretti or Parker be given a right of reply?
    The authors basically say they don't like this article - which is their constitutional right, there are plenty of articles I think are rubbish also - but don't discuss how you draw the line between articles you disagree or feel have interpreted data the wrong way and articles that should be excluded from publication altogether.

    As a rule…

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    1. Roger Davidson

      Student

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      I am sure the author isn't being denied a right of reply, do you have any evidence that his voice has been silenced?

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    2. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Roger Davidson

      I have no idea whether or not he has been offered a right of reply, I am just saying he should be offered a right of reply.
      Alas my hidden listening devices in the offices of The Conversation seemed to have had a large box of doughnuts placed on top of them and everything is so muffled that I can't pick up whether they have offered him one or not and I lack the extra-sensory perception that you possess.

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    3. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Sean
      Hell will freeze over before the author is given a right of reply in the Conversation.
      But I ask the editors of the Conversation. Will the author be given an opportunity?
      If not, why not? He has produced a published academic paper in the area of climate science.
      Michael Brown by comparison is just an Astronomer.

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    4. Jack Heinemann

      Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at University of Canterbury

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      @Sean Lamb: "Shouldn't this article be headlined as being about sea levels rises rather than about peer review"

      Alas, this is also what I thought. The peer review and media angle, which I find really interesting and worth discussing in general terms, seems to be just a hook to attack some authors. I am not familiar with their science or the science of the blog authors so am not weighing into that dispute, but I do think the article headline is hard to justify.

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    5. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Jack Heinemann

      Disingenous nonsense.

      "I am not familiar with their science or the science of the blog authors ..."

      But that has not stopped you from pronouncing judgment on the article. Perhaps you should become a little bit better informed first.

      The article is about the gaming of peer reviewed science journals to advance the cause of climate science denial.

      This is not the first time that it has happened.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soon_and_Baliunas_controversy

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    6. Jack Heinemann

      Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at University of Canterbury

      In reply to John Hunter

      Perhaps, but the example is quite large compared to the discussion of peer review and the media. Mostly the article condemns some journalists and critically evaluates two authors. As I've said, I found the example interesting just not enough to justify the grand title.

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    7. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      I agree.
      I think Parker should be asked to respond by the Conversation. If he refuses then that should be published on this blog also. But equally I would like Anthony Watts, Steven McIntyre and Christopher Monckton to also be asked to contribute. Then you could tear strips off them if you had the ability to.
      The AGW alarmist position is so in the ascendency that any contributions in this blog could never dent the surface.
      What are you all so afraid of?

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    8. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      What are you suggesting Ken. That Monckton be asked to write an article on birtherism?

      http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2012/11/monckton-goes-all-out-birther/

      I am not sure that you would be able to persuade your gaggle of climate cranks to write for The Conversation - they are too busy writing opeds for the Murdoch press et al or in the case of Monckton for WND (Wingnut Daily).

      This is the nub of the issue - for all your arm waving, it is the cranks who get preferential treatment in the mass media. It has taken web sites like The Conversation to go some way towards addressing the balance.

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    9. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      Ken, are you seriously suggesting that Christopher Monckton has put forward serious and credible arguments that remain in need of proper refutation?

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    10. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      So take Monckton down any way you can based on what he writes if you can.
      If he is such an idiot then it should be easy for you and the many others on this blog that share your view to destroy him. Strangely every time his name is mentioned alarmists ridicule him as an idiot..not a climate scientist...etc but at the same time most are afraid to confront him directly in telecast debates or on blogs like this. He is a good media performer and I think he intimidates sound scientists who could probably…

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    11. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      Monckton doesn't care when he's taken down, 'cause he gets $ from Fox News regardless..
      ;]
      But, in 2009, I somehow got into an email exchange with him, about the absurd presentations he was giving about emissions, etc. It ended up with him saying he'd no longer talk to me.

      Apparently, 2 things I said put him off -- a) I offered to bet $5k that over the next 5 years (at $1k/year), world temps would average as high or higher than any of the preceding 8 years; and b) he'd claimed that there…

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    12. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      From all reports creationist Duane Gish (of the infamous gish gallop) was a good media performer in that he was able to like Monckton spout a continuous stream of bullshit which is difficult to rebut in that form of debate.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duane_Gish

      From the archives - Ian Plimer debating Duane Gish
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D44LqmktXrg

      Some say (not me) that is where Plimer got his concept for Heaven and Earth from.

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    13. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      He gets $ from FOX News.
      I did not know that.
      Well if that is true then it could mean that all his analysis is being directed by Rupert Murdoch.
      It means Murdoch is part of a conspiracy to control Climate Science Research.
      You of course have proof of this Alex.
      Produce it, the world needs to see it.
      I look forward to your response.

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    14. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      So Ken, instead of wasting server & network power as above, you could have just directed your righteous typing to Google "monckton on fox news". Even some Aussie links in the result!

      Enjoy!
      ;]

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    15. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      No No No Alex!
      You said he gets $ from Fox News.
      Does he?
      Perhaps you could substantiate that bit please.
      Look forward to your reply.

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    16. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      I look forward to you actually doing some work, Ken, because you can easily determine the shows he';s been paid a fee to appear on yourself.

      You could then keep your embarrassment to yourself.
      ;]

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    17. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael J Brown was asked why the CSIRO graph of sea level change differs from the University of Colorado more primary version.
      His answer "The plots only look “so different” if you don’t read their axes properly" is lacking susbstance and is kindy level.
      Specifically, between the years 2012-2014, the U of C graph shows a decline in global sea levels of about 7 mm. This is disappeared from the CSIRO graph.
      I'll ask the question another way. Does the CSIRO have evidence that this decline was fictional…

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    18. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      You're a cop out Alex
      You came in with your big cowboy guns blazing and made a headline making claim that Monckton was receiving payment from Fox News. The clear implication being that he was in the pay of Murdoch (read the evil empire) and it was one great conspiracy to control Climate Science with Monckton as his puppet. As a result of this Murdoch would destroy the world because the public would be too stupid to know any better.
      Now of course you cannot make your case with any evidence, you attempt to deflect the sourcing of this evidence to me, when it was you who made the claim.
      You had better do better than this cowboy. This would never stand up to the peer review you keep banging on about.
      Then again, it just might.

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    19. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      The CSIRO plot shows yearly data and finishes in 2011 while the Colorado plots shows data for every 10 days with a 60-day smoothed curve and finishes in late 2012.

      The temporary dip in sea levels started mid-2010 and ended before mid-2011, so it does not show up strongly in the CSIRO plot showing yearly data. The dip occurs when there is a switch from strong El Nino to La Nina (it has happened previously) and this is discussed at the following URL.

      http://climate.nasa.gov/news/570

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    20. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Thanks for the link Michael, There are some very nicely detailed satellite views that illustrate the large influence of ocean currents and changing wind patterns on local sea levels. A discussion is in AAAS Science 6 July 2012.

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    21. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      What is the point of using a CSIRO graph that ends in 2011 when we are at the start of 2013? Besides, do I see that roughly, the CSIRO trend is about 1.6 mm/y and the Uni of Colorado one is 3.2 mm/y? Is there no need to comment on this? And yes, I have read the NASA explanation of satellite Grace detecting that water had been lifted from the sea and dropped on the land.

      It's really a matter of principle. The Jason data showed that contrary to common belief, within best estimates, relentless sea…

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    22. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      I decided to use CSIRO, as readers are more familiar with CSIRO than the University of Colorado.

      Both CSIRO and Colorado reach similar conclusions for the past two decades using both tide gauges and satellites. (e.g, http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_hist_last_15.html)

      "Besides, do I see that roughly, the CSIRO trend is about 1.6 mm/y and the Uni of Colorado one is 3.2 mm/y?"

      The CSIRO number you refer to covers the entire 20th century while the Colorado number is for the past two decades. No surprise that the rates are different.

      The satellite data shows sea levels have risen over the past two decades by roughly 3 mm/year. If there is a peer reviewed article that says otherwise, please let readers know. Otherwise it is safe to assume it is more guff from the blogsphere.

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    23. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      This is fun, even with Geoff's link to a mashed-text site that claims to be

      "A complete list of things caused by global warming" -- complete?

      Interesting waste of time, eh Geoff? Sort of like you waxing on about sea rise occurring or not occurring and a graph only going to 2011, blah, blah, blah.

      So, Geoff, when you step out onto the stree in front of a stopped truck, did you look first to left of the truck to see if some vheicle might be just going behind it? And did you wait the amount…

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    24. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      I was not questioning the data. I was questioning the selection of data to illustrate a point. I've corresponded with world authorities like Annie Cazenave and Xiaping Lu about some of the finer points of the topic and so am not dealing in guff. No gain from doing so.
      Question for you. If global sea levels are changing, against which primary datum are the changes being measured? See if you can answer without looking it up.

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    25. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      I've met Lord Mockton (yes, Lord is his established title) and it was a sobering experience. He is one of the few people I have met in recent times who could be classed as genius. Eccentric? Maybe. Correct all the time? Maybe not, buy he usually asks for inaccuracies to be reported back to him, so that he can correct as is proper.
      Quick Anecdote. In this photo of the both of us, Chris is the one with the ties showing the periodic table of the elements. I mentioned the Tom Lehrer song from the 60's…

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    26. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Doug,
      I would be ashamed to publish snippets of a video in which a person (Lord Monckton here) uses the plural 'we' not in the Royal sense of himself, but in the sense of the community with whom he interacts. In the material you reference, Lord Monckton does not make the claim that he had invented a cure for AIDS or anything else. There are treatments that are approaching a cure for AIDS by lessening its severity and extending the life of those afflicted until death from an unrelated cause happens…

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    27. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey, "(Lord Monckton here) uses the plural 'we' ". I take that as an inclusive, in the sense of "some others and I". He has included himself as an important member of the group who are working on a cure for HIV, MS etc. If he meant to speak of a group that he merely knows about, he would have used the word "they", not "we". Hence, being the genius you portray him as, he should know how this magical cure is going. I just suggested you ask him how it's going, you being a pal of his and all. You seem very touchy about having his pronouncements questioned: why is that?

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    28. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Nice picture, Geoff! I too have conversed with Monckton (actually he is Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley).

      And, no genius, since he, as do many other deniers, fails to understand electromagnetic interactions with molecules, such as greenhouse gasses and the concepts of energetic couplings among molecules.

      He, for instance, tried to say there's too little CO2 in the air to have significant effect. When asked if he'd move his accounts to another bank that offered 380/280 times his present…

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    29. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Doug,
      Like several of your fellow bloggers, you have an ability to imagine that I said something, that I feel a certain way about something, that do certain things that I have never mentioned. For example, I have never used a word like 'pal' in relation to Lord Monkton. Once you realise the frequency with which such straw men are invented on this blog, it is easier to understand how you wrongly feel you have solved a problem (though it is one of your own making) and boldly move to the next. It's…

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    30. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      "Christopher Monckton impersonated a delegate from Myanmar at the 2012 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change international meeting in Doha, Qatar. He sat in the Myanmar delegate's seat, was mistakenly called upon to speak, and recited two common pieces of misinformation — that the planet has not warmed over the past 16 years, and that mitigating global warming by reducing human greenhouse gas emissions is more expensive than adapting to the consequences of climate change. Neither…

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    31. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Doug, it may just be that Geoff just envies Monckton having a title better than "Boss".
      ;]
      My 1st exposure to Monckton was a video of him striding regally along a leafy, private schools campus, to an ivy-covered ancient hall, which he entered to face a dozen of so kids in a small auditorium with a slide projector ans screen. This whole "watch the Lord walk" portion was surprisingly long.

      Then the slides started flashing -- reams of graphs & lines and axes... each one on the screen for a second…

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    32. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex, I have not seen that particular video of Monckton, but it sounds in character. In every forum I have seen him, he relies upon a Gish Gallop of questionable science and reasoning, but is unable to discuss the science meaningfully, when (seldom) he is pinned down at more rigorous places like http://www.skepticalscience.com .

      That may be why he is so welcome at WUWT: an uncritical audience, unable or unwilling to scratch the surface of his glossy spiel, who appear to be mesmerised by his title and conflate rank in the peerage with infallibility.

      I wonder how his shirt shop is going: possibly starting to notice increased sales of short sleeves?

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  8. Michael J. I. Brown

    ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

    One of the slightly unusual parts of the Boretti / Parker publication record is the two comments on Shepard et al in Natural Hazards. Boretti submitted a comment May 4 that was accepted June 22. Parker submitted a comment July 19 that was accepted July 24. Parker references Boretti, but you wouldn't know they were the same person from the two comments.

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    1. Bob Beale

      Journalist

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Yikes - this is getting truly weird. Citing denier blogs, water diviners and far-right political groups is one thing, but citing yourself under two different identities? What the heck is that?

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    2. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      I had not appreciated that both Chirs de Freitas (of the Soon and Baliunas controversy) and Tad Murty (Natural Hazards) are both "ICSC Consultant Science Advisers".

      --------------------------------------------

      ICSC Consultant Science Advisers:

      1. Chris R. de Freitas, PhD, climate Scientist, Professor, School of Environment, The University of Auckland, New Zealand

      2. Willem de Lange, MSc (Hons), DPhil (Computer and Earth Sciences), Senior Lecturer in Earth and Ocean Sciences, Waikato University, Hamilton, New Zealand

      3. Tad Murty, PhD, Professor, University of Ottawa, Previously Senior Research Scientist for Fisheries and Oceans Canada and former director of Australia's National Tidal Facility and professor of earth sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, Ottawa, Canada - see September 17, 2010 Ottawa Citizen article about Dr. Murty's award from the International Tsunami Society for outstanding contributions to tsunami research.

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    3. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      If he has legitimately changed his name this is hardly an issue.
      Presumably female academics who marry and chose to change their name and the name they use on their publications face this all the time.
      Are they expected to spend the rest of their life signing their articles Parker nee Boretti in order to satisfy a herd of nervous academics in a group-think panic stampede?
      Fortunately it didn't take long for the IPCC 4 climate predictions to fall short - IPCC 5 is preparing the ground to ditch them and by IPCC 6 they will be quietly forgetten, it would be a shame if the sea level predictions of IPCC 4 hung around our necks like a dead albatross only because they are more difficult to falsify.

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    4. Ian Smith

      Hon. Res. Fellow at CSIRO

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      This serves to highlight a problem with the much of the (main stream) media (ABC excepted). Namely, why is it that people (mainly scientists) like Michael have to do the investigative work with these issues?

      Is it just me or was there a time long ago when being a journalist meant actually doing some work and looking behind a story rather than blissfully regurgitating any old rubbish that was fed to them.
      Or are they now subservient to editors who like to push certain barrows? Either way it does not seem to be much of a profession.

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    5. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      How much grant money, international travel or other allowances did Karoly, Steffen and McNeil get from environmental groups over last 3 years or so? How many of their ARC grant applications were presided over by members of the Climate Scientists Club?

      I will look into it, but the principle is the same.

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    6. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Sean, you make some totally unfounded and unsupported claims:

      > Fortunately it didn't take long for the IPCC 4 climate predictions
      > to fall short

      And how did they "fall short", may I ask? It has been shown that observations of the RATE of sea-level rise over the past two decades are around 60% greater than the central estimates of both the TAR and AR4 projections (see a couple of papers by Rahmstorf and co-workers on this topic).

      In addition, the "Hunter and Brown" Discussion paper, which…

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    7. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to John Hunter

      "Fortunately it didn't take long for the IPCC 4 climate predictions to fall short"

      Well Professor Hunter you are going to think me an enormous idiot but I wasn't aware sea levels were included in the collective noun of climate.

      My reference to IPCC 4 climate predictions was to this graph buried deep in the draft IPCC 5 report
      http://ktwop.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/ipcc-ar5-draft-models-vs-observations.png?w=450&h=341
      Of course this only shows it might be falling short, for all we know the temperature might kick up again over the next 10 years. Simply if it follows the same trend it appears to be following, then IPCC 4 will look pretty sick by IPCC 6.

      I have no opinion whatsoever about sea levels except to observe that it appears in general environmental scientists have too little understanding of their own fallibility and if their models are relying on temperatures that aren't going to be delivered then they can't possibly be reliable.

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    8. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      > How much grant money, international travel or other allowances
      > did Karoly, Steffen and McNeil get from environmental groups
      > over last 3 years or so?

      I can't answer for them, but from my own experience of academia, I'd guess very little, if anything at all.

      And now you can go and seek out the one case, many years ago, when I received travel assistance from Greenpeace to give a presentation on sea-level at the South Pacific Forum in 2002 - the contrarians feasted on this for a short while (Google "john hunter" greenpeace). What I said in my presentation was not influenced by Greenpeace in any way at all - they just helped me to get there and speak. No global conspiracy, no corruption, no "hand in the till", no attempt at to hide the source of funds - sorry.

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    9. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to John Hunter

      Well thankfully you don't have to do that now with the excellent facilities that Skype offer us. No more wasteful burning up of aviation fuel is necessary to spread the word of the dangers we face.

      No more forcing yourself to down those cocktails on Pacific beaches or endure the slumming it in Rome hotels. With a solar power laptop and fast-broadband you can participate in scientific discussion and preserve the environment all from your own living room.

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    10. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Oh dear, is this going to be like Alec Rawls, with more and more strange biographical information being slowly drip feed out?
      If you have a dirt file on him wouldn't it be simpler to just lay it all on the table right away rather than drip, drip, drip in the comments? Alternatively if someone is just passing you titbits, could you ask him/her to provide you with the whole file?

      Anyway, he might be the High Priest of the Ancient Order of the Buffalo Riding Sun Worshippers of Double Bay - his estimate is still going to be better than IPCC 4 by 2100

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    11. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to John Hunter

      So why is it assumed that money from the anti AGW skeptic side of the debate somehow corrupts scientists, and yet money from the pro AGW alarmist side does not?

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    12. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Bob Beale

      "citing yourself under two different identities? What the heck is that?"

      It's called getting a second opinion from someone you trust /sarc.

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    13. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      "Are they expected to spend the rest of their life signing their articles Parker nee Boretti in order to satisfy a herd of nervous academics in a group-think panic stampede?"

      No, but they are expected to make clear when they are referring to their own posts as if they were by someone else. Saying the same thing under two different names, is not the same as getting a genuine second opinion. "8-/

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    14. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      "members of the Climate Scientists Club".

      Brrrriiiiinnng!! My conspiracy theory alarm is ringing again.

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    15. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Sean: Firstly, I'm not a Professor.

      Secondly, the subject of the article at the head of all these comments is the way in which peer review and the media handled a particular paper on sea-level rise and its projections. Let's stick to that shall we?

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    16. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      I think the quick answer is that, if someone says something that fits into the reasonably coherent pattern that describes some broad area of science, and which is reproducible and verifiable, then the source of funding does not seem to be an issue - unless you subscribe to some conspiracy theory that says that everyone in in this broad area of science is corrupted in the same (self consistent) way.

      However, if someone who should be reasonably intelligent (e.g. an academic) says things that are demonstrably unsupportable and false, you are forced to wonder why they do it. The source of their funding is one possibility. Being old is another (I can say that because I'm reasonable old ;-) ).

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    17. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Aha, I'd fogotten how magnetism changes climate! Thanks.

      Actually, it does have an effect as earth goes though periodic field reversals in about 80,000 year intervals, because a smaller field will allow more atmospheric compression and heating from the solar wind of protons.

      There are many variables influencing climate, but we humans have found the 'sweet spot' in overwhelming the natural Carbon Cycle by a factor of about 30 for decades. Oops.
      ;]

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  9. Michael J. I. Brown

    ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

    This discussion thread has been quite lively. It is interesting to note that no one has claimed that Boretti’s analysis was valid and worthy of press coverage.

    Is there broad agreement that 78 is more than 50? Is there broad agreement that you need to consider uncertainties, especially when claiming there are differences between models and data? Should journalists have talked to people who could have quickly identified these major flaws?

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    1. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      I did.
      I said by the time we got to 2100 I thought that sea level rises would be greater than 5 cms and less than 80-100 cms, but closer to Boretti/Parker's estimate.

      That makes his analysis better than the IPCC's. Why fuss about 50 or 78? As Deng Xioping said: "It doesn't matter if the cat is black or white so long as it catches the mouse."

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    2. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      I agree with you Michael that journalists should seek a contrary expert view and do some work in understanding and then writing a balanced opinion. As long as AGW alarmists like you and others are subject to the same contrary scrutiny and we can ensure that the journalists involved write a balanced assessment in that case also.
      But we have got to get away from the shut down of opinion from alarmists which says that because members of the Climate Scientists Club do not agree with it, it is not true…

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    3. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      I have no problem with the same scrutiny being applied to all papers irrespective of their conclusions. However, that should not be confused with giving equal coverage to papers on different sides of the debate. Some papers are clearly poor quality and not worthy of attention.

      Should the media really report a paper that requires 78 =< 50? I think it is well established that 78 > 50.

      Ian Smith hit the nail on the head with a comment earlier in the discussion...

      To be honest, as a member of an editorial board, I think I would enjoy reading a well thought out "denialist" paper rather than another depressing "alarmist" paper. The problem is that there are relatively few well thought out "denialist" papers around. This has nothing to do with "stacked" editorial boards.

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    4. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Sean: what you actually said was "I suspect by the time the dust settles by 2100 the sea rise will not be 80-100 cm (IPCC) or 5 cm (Boretti/Parker), but probably a lot closer to the lower estimate. But that is another matter".

      You gave absolutely no reason for the "suspicion".

      On the other hand, our Discussion paper on the Boretti/Parker article (discussed in this The Conversation post) did not make any projection about sea-level rise by 2100. What we did do was to show, by rather elementary maths and stats that many of Boretti's claims were just plain wrong - this isn't stuff that is based on any "climate conspiracy" - it is basic stuff you are supposed to learn in high school and university.

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    5. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      Ken: You say "Rather than draw attention to him, let him speak, let him be criticised and then let the public decide. In the end the public is pretty smart and they will get it. If you censor and suppress they will always doubt you."

      I suppose this is how the "public decided" that the Earth was round, whether special and general theories of relativity were sound or not, the cause of AIDS, whether the scientists looking for the Higgs Boson are doing their job correctly (or just making the stuff up?). This may come as a surprise to you, Ken, but when I want to find out a complicated answer to a complicated problem, I go to people called "experts" (surgeons, engineers of all sorts, high-level IT people, etc.) - I don't generally read about the "debate" in the newspaper, or take a poll among my friends (however "smart" they may be about other things). I might even go to Boretti/Parker for advice on car engines - but not on sea-level rise.

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    6. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Hunter

      FYI, Calif. coastal sea rise is estimated now at 110cm by 2100, relative to 2000. The variation is high, since there indeed are many factors influencing seas in different regions around the world. The IPCC estimates have been notoriously & consistently low.

      A recent explanation of differences is in Nature Climate Change 2, 10.1038/NCLIMATEL1597 (2012)

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    7. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      "The IPCC estimates have been notoriously & consistently low."

      I wouldn't say that, Alex. The "IPCC estimates" represent pretty well the state of play of climate science at the time when the particular Assessment report was being written. As I said earlier "it seems pretty obvious from a reading of papers published since the AR4 that the new projections cannot be far different from the earlier ones (as indeed the AR4 projections were very similar to the earlier TAR projections)". Regional projections may of course be significantly higher (or lower - they are actually negative in the northern Baltic Sea and northern Canada, where upward land motion is large) than the global-average projections.

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    8. Leon Carter

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      --A trait of pseudo-science is pulling numbers (that feel right) out of thin air.
      Climate scientist love their 2 decimal point accuracy for averaged temperatures. It's pretty hard to find thermometers that are actually that accurate: you won't find any of them at weather stations:
      https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=thermometer%2C+2+decimal+places
      Nevertheless, the climate "science" industry loves those 2 decimal places to foster the illusion of precision. Did you ever wonder where they pulled those numbers from, Michael?
      You can't get two decimal places by averaging a lot of numbers that use only one.

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    9. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Leon Carter

      "You can't get two decimal places by averaging a lot of numbers that use only one"

      Yes you can - if the errors are random and unbiased. This is elementary statistics. The error in the average reduces approximately as the square root of the number of observations - so averaging 100 observations reduces the uncertainty in the average by a factor of about 10.

      But I emphasis - you need to be sure that the errors in the original observations are random and unbiased.

      And this bit of information doesn't come from any "industry" - it is in all basic statistical texts.

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    10. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Leon Carter

      I completely agree with John regarding significant figures. In both professional and amateur astronomy this issue arises when combining images of faint celestial objects.

      Boretti quotes his fit parameters to six significant figures without uncertainties. In some cases, (e.g., for his other paper in Coastal Engineering) you cannot reproduce his plots with the parameters provided (even with six significant figures) due to a poor choice of x=0 (zero AD rather than ~2000 AD).

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    11. Leon Carter

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to John Hunter

      When you take a collection of temperatures - say 2000 measurements of maximum temperature in Melbourne - and each temperature reading is documented, for very good reasons, to only one digit of precision, you can't average them out to find two digits of precision. Your equipment didn't read those two digits in the first place.
      It's not about the reduction of sampling errors in the temperature record through averaging (I understand that point) - it's about the simple arithmetic of averaging the documented figures:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arithmetic_precision

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    12. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Leon Carter

      Leon: I've already explained how the precision is reduced on averaging if "the errors in the original observations are random and unbiased" - that's basic statistics - I'm not going to say any more on that. If you need to, look it up in a basic statistics book.

      The link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arithmetic_precision doesn't say anything about averaging, so I don't see how it is relevant.

      You may be under the illusion that when a number is quoted to, say, two significant figures, then this…

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    13. Leon Carter

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to John Hunter

      Firstly, an averaged temperature is like climate, in that it does not exist in reality; it is a mathematical abstraction.
      Secondly, Melbourne, Feb 06, 1851, Max 117°F = 47.2222°C, + Feb 08, 2009, Max = 46.4°C. Averaged temperature of the two hottest days on record = 93.6222°C/2 = 46.8111°C
      Thus, the two hottest days on record exhibit a cooling trend of approximately 0.542625°C per century. Now, it so happens, ipse dixit, that THIS IS ABSOLUTELY STANDARD PRACTICE - if it isn't done then you are…

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    14. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Leon Carter

      Sorry, I don't understand what point you are making.

      Sorry, also, I was not shouting - I was emphasising - it does not appear to be possible to insert italics in these messages.

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    15. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to John Hunter

      John Hunter re estimation of error.

      Before the 1970s, Australian temperatures were recorded in deg F. Now they have been converted to deg C in the usual way and most often published to one place after the decimal. If you then try to reverse the procedure to get back to deg F, you will find that the equation gives 2 solutions for some temperatures.
      It is probablr that about 30% of all deg F readings held by the BOM are round figures and that their reconstruction from deg C is not possible.
      Therefore, we can assume that there is at least one example that the numbers are not "random and unbiased".
      See for example http://joannenova.com.au/2012/03/australian-temperature-records-shoddy-inaccurate-unreliable-surprise/

      Now, if you were a statistician

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    16. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Hunter

      John, indeed the IPCC sea evel projection have been uniformly at or below actual measurements on US coasts, which why our own Bay Area issues are very great -- www.bcdc.ca.gov/proposed_bay_plan/faqs.shtml

      One reason is that Arctic Ice melt was under forecast, because models used didn't include Arctic Ocean warming via ice retreat increasing direct solar input.

      Sea levels also vary by meters around the world, depending on ocean circulations (ENSO...) and winds, so satellite measurements expose both great geographic variability and overall trends of rise.

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    17. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Leon Carter

      All the 18th century and many/most of the 19th century measurements were taken with thermometers without Stevenson screens. This resulted in measurements that were biased high.

      There is a certain irony that climate change deniers are not questioning the 18th and 19th century data, when they often question the quality of more recent data.

      An example of the problems with the 19th century data comes from “Thirsty Country” by Asa Wahlquist (page 51);

      Since 1910 Australian temperature readings…

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    18. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      > Therefore, we can assume that there is at least one example that
      > the numbers are not "random and unbiased".

      You've drifted way off topic. I never suggestes that the temperature observations were "random and unbiased". I simply pointed out the error in Leon Carter's statement "You can't get two decimal places by averaging a lot of numbers that use only one". I made no claims about randomness or biases in temperature observations.

      End of discussion.

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    19. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to John Hunter

      If you are having a major operation you seek a second opinion. Why on earth would you do that. And if the second guy says no, what do you do.
      You employ a certified financial planner who as an expert directs you to investments which look good on his projected modelling. They fail and you lose money. Do you sue him? Do you question him and then go to someone else? Has your confidence in certified financial planners been shaken? Yes to all the above.
      You engage an IT expert to set up a LAN for your…

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    20. Leon Carter

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to John Hunter

      The point I was making from the very start is identical to the one made by Robert Brown (physicist, Duke University) a few weeks ago at WUWT. It goes like this, quote:
      --If there were an honest human being working in climate science today, they would stop posting two decimal points — for example, 287.16 — for the Earth’s mean temperature. They would stop posting one decimal point — 287.2. They would post no decimals at all, and they would add a confidence interval ...
      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/25/bethlehem-and-the-rat-hole-problem/#comment-1183054
      I often resort to emphasis with caps when italics aren't available: I accept that you weren't shouting at me, and apologize. Cheers.

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    21. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      If you believe the “climate science club” should be subject to greater scrutiny, learn the science, write really good papers, and genuinely challenge the prevailing paradigms. As Ian Smith has already noted, scientists actually enjoy robust challenges. Unfortunately, very few seem to go down this path. Most opponents of climate science seem to prefer blog posts, shonky papers and pseudo-scientists.

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    22. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Leon Carter

      You won't find uncertainties and confidence intervals unless you look for them. It isn't hard with google

      An example of a plot (from BEST) with confidence intervals is online at the bottom of
      http://berkeleyearth.org/analysis/

      An example paper discussing uncertainties is

      Brohan, P., J.J. Kennedy, I. Harris, S.F.B. Tett and P.D. Jones, 2006: Uncertainty estimates in regional and global observed temperature changes: a new dataset from 1850. J. Geophysical Research 111, D12106

      which is listed in the references at http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/

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    23. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Leon Carter

      Yes, but it's not decimal points, it's "precision of measurement" that counts and so lets one assign the proper number of significant digits to any data point.

      Confidence Intervals are often ok, but they assume a known, stable, uniform, symmetric distribution of all measurements -- e.g.,. Gaussian (normal) distributions. This is as dangerous an assumption as one can make, when the underlying processes that generate the observed data points aren't fully understood.

      That's why statistics is…

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    24. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex, we agree.
      In ore grade estimation in mines, there are complex stats required to estimate grades between drill holes and then to design blocks of a suitable size to send to either waste or processing. A mining company can live or die by the quality of its stats. The methods can be similar to time series temperature analysis if the data are good enough. For but one example.
      When geostatistics were being developed by Michel David et al at Fontainebleu, we sent statisticians to France to lean…

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    25. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Glad you seem to agree that "selecting distributions" is always key, Geoff. Hope you apply that to a rethinking of the silly "16-year" no-warming fibbery.
      ;]

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    26. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex, I did not say that selecting distributions was always the key. I wrote, "Before you start, establish your distribution(s) and select the appropriate analysis methods."
      Do you have a problem with that?
      Still awaiting a reference that does NOT non-warming for past 16 years.

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    27. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoff's plot (as the name suggests) shows temperature as a function of latitude, not the distribution of residuals around a mean/median. No one assumes temperature as a function of latitude is a normal distribution.

      Geoff's argument regarding normal distributions and climate science is a straw man without any supporting evidence. Perhaps he should be sceptical of blog posts and learn more of the science.

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    28. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoff, or "boss" says: " I did not say that selecting distributions was always the key. I wrote, "Before you start, establish your distribution(s) and select the appropriate analysis methods." -- is there something I don't know about English in your mind re "selecting" vs "establishing"? Geoff?

      And "Still awaiting a reference that does NOT non-warming for past 16 years" means what?

      You've had my email address explained at least twice here, so I could pass such a doc to you, or any of the other FAs fulfilling their commitment to misinform yhe unsuspecting. Want to try again, or just find the AAAS President's keynote speech in 2009?...

      AAAS Annual Presidential Address by J. McCarthy (reprinted in
      Science, 18 Dec. 2009, pp1646-1655).

      I'll give you a hint -- the 16-year 'flat temps' indicate warming. Now you're an advertizing geologist, so you shouldn't be challenged to grasp why.

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    29. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael,

      On that subject you might be interested in this comment by Steve Jewson, who has several dozen published, peer-reviewed statistical papers, many on climate temperature analysis. Let me know if you find argument with his comments about climate people about pulling numbers out of the air:

      Sorry to go on about it, but this prior thing this is an important issue. So here are my 7 reasons for why climate scientists should *never* use uniform priors for climate sensitivity, and why the IPCC…

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    30. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey, you are just wasting our time. We disprove one of your claims and you just switch to another flawed claim. In this case, with a 1000+ word "comment" that is longer than our article.

      Geoffrey said, "Keep in mind that a person can be more intelligent than you, even though you label that person as a skeptic". A sceptic can certainly be more intelligent than I am, but I have my doubts about deniers who cannot read the labels on plots.

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    31. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Geoff definitely has arranged to dominate the space for names, but he's still behind Berthold (where art thou?) for volume of chaff.
      ;]
      But, it is good that he's demonstrated he truly doesn't grasp science or basic statistics.

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    32. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael,
      Wasting time on what?

      If you accuse me of wasting time, then you must have some idea of what is supposed to be done in that time. From my viewpoint, you have been given public funds to allow discussion of aspects of science. Not you money, public money. Because it's not your money, you have no authority to dictate who says what. Nor do you have authority to complain about the length of contributions.

      Comments like yours are capable of being collected and taken to higher places as…

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    33. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss Geoff "you have been given public funds to allow" you to use the Internet and fill it and our machinery with meaningless chaff.
      ;]

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    34. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Along with research and teaching, part of my role as the Monash University scientist is public outreach, but public outreach works best when we communicate with an audience that listens and learns. Best not to waste time on people who refuse to listen and learn.

      We have answered the many queries from Geoffrey. As shown in this discussion, Geoffrey has largely misunderstood the science, data or history. This includes temperature reconstructions, sea level rise in WA, temperature vs latitude and some Nobel Prize history.

      No thanks for correcting these misunderstandings. Instead Geoffrey just switches to another accusation (probably from the blogsphere). It seems like Geoffrey is here to make a point (perhaps climate science is wrong?) rather than to listen and learn.

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    35. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      With regards to the “deceptive plots”, this is again a misunderstanding by Geoffrey. The “deception” only exists if you struggle with understanding what is being plotted and the supporting material provided.

      I used a plot of data covering the past century from the CSIRO, since the past century is relevant to Boretti’s paper and Australians are familiar with the CSIRO. The plot doesn’t cover 2012 (neither did Boretti’s analysis) and for the discussion of long-term trends a single year won’t make a significant difference.

      The CSIRO plot shown above uses annual averages whereas some others use 10 or 60 day averages (which will look a little different). All plots of sea level rise choose a particular year (or average of years) to define zero, but these can change depending on the group and/or range of years used. This does not impact estimates of how sea levels have changed between two specified years.

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    36. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Oh Michael, it is quantitatively incorrect for you to claim that "We have answered the many queries from Geoffrey".

      You can redeem yourself by listing as follows:
      1. Geoffrey's Question ">>>>>>
      Our response: "<<<<<<<

      2, Geoffrey's Question">>>>
      Our response"<<<<<<< etc etc. if there are more.

      You will find that I have made examples and observations more often than asking questions. On one occasion I conceded that I was wrong and apologised. I have no dog in the fight about global warming…

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    37. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey, you said "OTOH, I have several times claimed (with references to authors) that there has been no global warming for 16 years and I'll add with one sigma uncertainty. This seems to alarm you guys to the point of awkward silence". The awkward silence is not from alarm, it is from embarrassment that they are stuck in a conversation with someone who is proving unable (or unwilling) to understand simple concepts.

      It's OK to be wrong, as long as one admits one's error when it is pointed out. I know, because I often have my limited understanding corrected by people wiser than me.

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    38. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Wow, the Boss Geoff is ruffled...

      "Comments like yours are capable of being collected and taken to higher places as illustrations that money is being wasted and that science censorship can be alleged in the contributing universities.
      (The use of 'deniers' is currently under legal study and quite a few people are considering proceeding further. Better you don't do it again). "

      Since you've been offered several times here, for all to witness, an opportunity to see, for instance, factually, why the magic "16 years of no warming" actually demonstrates warming, and you've repeatedly avoided those offers, then Geoff, we must indeed have legitimate, witnessed right to term you a "denier" or "fact avoider" -- you clearly fill this site with fluff and avoid actual serious discussion of facts..

      "So, how about a mature response" Geoff?
      ;]

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    39. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Thanks Doug, I guess I'll try again, for the 5th or so time, to see if Geoff really is concerned with science facts & finding out why the magic "16 years of no warming" actually indicates warming. Apparently it's necessary to repeat facts again and again to the Boss, because he's too busy typing to study, but here's again the ref I'll happily explain -- go it Geoff?

      2009 AAAS Annual Presidential Address by J. McCarthy (reprinted in Science, 18 Dec. 2009, pp1646-1655).

      last name at sbcglobal dor net for a PDF, Geoff! Hey, a rhyme! Maybe you can handle it better than Monckton did.
      ;]

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    40. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Regarding the "pause" there is an interesting discussion of this at...

      http://www.presscouncil.org.au/document-search/adj-1558/?LocatorGroupID=662&LocatorFormID=677&FromSearch=1

      ...in the context of an article by Andrew Bolt. A key quote is...

      The Met Office responded on the same day that "for Mr Rose to suggest that the global temperatures available show no warming for the last 15 years is entirely misleading".

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    41. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Thanks Michael. Interesting link.-- "Mr Bolt should have acknowledged explicitly that all of the three changes in question were comparatively short-term and were statistically compatible with continuance of the long-term trends in the opposite direction."

      Exactly. The 'flat' temps actually demonstrate warming, since the strong influences of solar cycles, ENSO & volcanism were then toward cooling.

      Let's see if the few vocal deniers here want a 6th try at understanding the statistics and science...

      2009 AAAS Annual Presidential Address by J. McCarthy (reprinted in Science, 18 Dec. 2009, pp1646-1655).

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    42. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      I'm not going to repeat myself with a long list of things Geoff has got wrong or misunderstood. However, examples include the 0.61 mm/year figure for sea level rise near Fremantle and trying to prove a distribution isn't normal using a plot of temperature vs latitude (rather than residuals around a mean/median/fit).

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    43. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael,
      I am disappointed that you misquote me so often. I did not claim that the plot in question was any type of distribution. I merely said that it had a platykurtic appearance. That is, flat-toppped like a plateau. I apologise if you have not seen the word before, but then several eminent statisticians like Briggs and Wegman and McIntyre have noted weakness in statistics as used by climate people.
      I am disappointed that you have failed to list a single error of mine (although I did agree to one). If you can't construct a list of errors, it would be ethical to cease referring to a list of errors. Ethics rank high in my book.

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  10. Alex Cannara

    logged in via LinkedIn

    The AAAS published a (peer-reviewed) report on peer-review effectiveness a year or so ago, and found that there was essentially no difference among many respected journals in terms of retractions per article printed. AAAS was honest in reporting that its journal Science was right up at the the top in both papers published and retractions -- remember the Krazy Korean Kloner?
    ;]

    In other words, the more articles journals published, the more retractions they had to make.

    The media, of course, have quotas, in the sense of articles to complete of a certain size by certain times, related to certain subjects, especially on the "latest shiny objects" of interest, like football stars with imaginary dead girlfriends. The writers of these pieces have time for little depth of research or critique by subject experts. On-line publication, Internet media outlets and blogs only make this worse.

    We're in an age of unlimited information with undetermined accuracy.

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  11. Moth

    logged in via Twitter

    I discussed a very similar problem in response to an article I disagreed with in Nature by François Houllier, "Biotechnology: Bring more rigour to GM research," where he looks at the fall out from the GM study undertaken by Séralini et al. (2012).

    Here, we had a situation whereby the researchers actually undermined the capacity of the scientific journalists to critique the study thereby inflating the results beyond all reason. That the release of the study coincided with a movie and two books…

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  12. Daryl Deal

    retired

    "Crank" is a pejorative term used for a person who holds an unshakable belief that most of his or her contemporaries consider to be false. A crank belief is so wildly at variance with those commonly held as to be ludicrous. Cranks characteristically dismiss all evidence or arguments which contradict their own unconventional beliefs, making rational debate a futile task, and rendering them impervious to facts, evidence, and rational inference.

    As for the science journals, we tend to forget that a majority of reviewers are unpaid. In addition, the editors of these for profit journals are under extreme pressure to publish garbage to populate the pages from their greedy business owner, who is only in it for the money, no more, no less .

    Such is life, when you do not ask who benefits, nor investigate the quality of the writer , who does not cite error bars or his cherry picked sources.

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  13. John Nicol

    logged in via Facebook

    People who "aim or claim" to be experts in a field should be quite capable of deciding for themselves the value of a paper - to require advice from reviewers, who are not necessarily the top people in the field, but often someone who has enough time on his/her hands to meet the request made by the Journal's Editor, is simply being lazy, incompetent or both..

    The object of peer review is, and always has been, to determine if the overall quality of the paper is reasonable - ranging from its use…

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    1. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to John Nicol

      > There is no precedent in science for condemning Boretti,

      I disagree. I would condemn any paper in any discipline that presented conclusions based on flaws in elementary maths and statistics - "some of which would be unacceptable in an undergraduate lab report". The purpose of our article, above, is the bring attention to peer-review processes that allow this to happen, and to the way in which the problem may be "amplified" by certain sections of the media and blogosphere.

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    2. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to John Nicol

      Peer review of modern scientific papers is designed to catch blatant errors that would cast doubt on the conclusions. Many journals literally provide a box to tick if such errors are present in a manuscript.

      As noted the in the article, peer review does fail from time to time, and the relevant papers are generally ignored by scientists. What is unusual in this case is the media coverage of a blatantly flawed paper.

      The criticism of Boretti’s paper is not unprecedented. There are many examples…

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    3. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Hunter

      Hear, hear!

      As Mark Twain (a 2nd name for a real guy) said: "A lie gets half way around the world before the truth can get its boots on."

      This is precisely the human failing that Murdoch, the Kochs, Heartland, Goebbels, Pinocchio, Sinon... have long relied on.
      ;]

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    4. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to John Nicol

      This is good! Nicol is back, with all his best verbosity -- like a destroyer deploying a smoke screen around the fleet, so the Gerrys ('warmists'...) can't see the fleet is just cardboard.

      We've talked directly by email a year or so ago, remember John? You never came back when I gave you clear scientific proof of why we'd not expect anything but what we've seen of temps since 1995 (the magic year for deniers). -- remember John? Long time no hear.

      Anyone who wants a PDF of what John could…

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    5. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to John Hunter

      Aw shucks, John Hunter, why end the discussion on averaging and temperature records just as it warms up? Afraid you might read something unpalatable?
      I mean, you've stated "But thankfully, as you have indicated, the Bureau does do the right thing ..... they do have basic analytical and statistical skills." as if this was the final word. Well, it's not.

      The BOM home page can be accessed online. They have one set of temperature records for Australia that are mainly primary readings homogenised…

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    6. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Please pardon the typo, it was genuinely unintentional. For 'Scorn' read 'AcornSAT'.

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    7. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Ian Smith

      Hey, thanks for that link, Ian! I've had a little email correspondence with Muller after the UCB report.

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    8. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Ian Smith

      For Ian Smith,
      Don't jump to conclusions when you have no evidence. I supplied a great deal of data to the BEST project. They have not finished their work. They have not yet incorporated some severe corrections into their data base. There are several chapters that need revisiting by people with more expertise than they have demonstrated.
      There is little to gain by an argument that several agencies can reproduce (roughly) similar results for global temperatures. This is because they all start with…

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    9. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey:

      > If the diameter of the earth has not changed, how has sea level

      > risen?

      Perhaps you need to read the paper properly - the result to which you refer relates to "the mean radius of the solid Earth". As far as I know - and I stand to be corrected on this - the "solid Earth" doesn't include the sea, does it?

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    10. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to John Hunter

      John Hunter
      But isostasy is real. OK?

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    11. Ian Smith

      Hon. Res. Fellow at CSIRO

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Apologies for doubting you - I thought I saw you use the label "scientist" in some other forum.

      Back to the topic of discussion. The point here is that Muller, a "top-notch" physicist, was skeptical about the handling of temperature measurements. He re-crunched the numbers and, to the dismay of the skeptical community, found that previous estimates may have underestimated global warming. He was brave enough to publish his results and admit his change of opinion. That sounds like good science to…

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    12. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      > But isostasy is real. OK?

      Yes, of course - but it only changes the shape of the solid Earth - not its volume of mean radius.

      I must congratulate you - you seem to have an endless supply of straws to grasp at.

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    13. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Ian Smith

      And the Kochs paid for Muller's work, adding even more deliciousness to the result.

      But, they have $ billions for their 30-year plan anyway.

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    14. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to John Hunter

      How do you change the shape of solid earth without changing a diameter somewhere? Do all gains balance all losses on every diameter you can draw? Are you considering ice on land as solid earth or not?

      These are not straws. They lead to fascinating concepts that are poorly understood, best understood by geologists who have specialised in isostasy. It's a side interest for me, but I have read a reasonable amount of literature and corresponded with some prominent authors, simply to see who might be telling porkies.

      e.g. Would you say that a sea level rise of 30 metres (Al Gore) would have no effect on solid land diameter ?

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    15. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Ian Smith

      Ian,
      Do point me to where I stated I deny the existence of global warming. Take your time looking, you will need it.
      Can you tell me if the Blair Trewin mistake was corrected in the BEST data set or not? I'm not suggesting it makes a great deal of difference to the calculations, but it is important in the context of methodology and rigour.

      It is hard to find formal works contradicting BEST, because its first formal publication date is January 2013, a few days ago.

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    16. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey: I can't believe that you are not having me on. But I will persist one more time. As I said earlier:

      'Perhaps you need to read the paper properly - the result to which you refer relates to "the mean radius of the solid Earth". As far as I know - and I stand to be corrected on this - the "solid Earth" doesn't include the sea, does it?'

      Note that this refers to the MEAN radius, not EVERY radius. So the solid Earth deforms, but doesn't change its mean radius (which, for small perturbations relative to the size of the Earth, means that the Earth's volume doesn't change - which is one of things that the authors of the paper were trying to find out).

      However, whether or not the Earth's volume is changing says nothing about sea-level rise. It is yet another diversion, introduced by a contrarian, to muddy the water, to confuse the issue and to introduce doubt where there is none. Well done, Geoffrey, you're playing well for your team.

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    17. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey, there are a couple of other issues in your post, so I'll answer them separately.

      Firstly, you talk about "fascinating concepts that are poorly understood, best understood by geologists who have specialised in isostasy". Why just "geologists" - why not geophysicists, or physicists, or mathematicians?

      Secondly, you say "I have read a reasonable amount of literature and corresponded with some prominent authors, simply to see who might be telling porkies". If you start reading up on…

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    18. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      I just realized you're the self-appointed "Boss", Geoff!

      Then of course you don't need to understand all about a planet's diameter, etc. You hire people who do, and listen to them.

      That lesson of being boss seems to have been missed in your "boss" schooling. Or maybe you just played hookey?
      ;]

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    19. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to John Hunter

      John Hunter,

      First, I thank you for your civility, which unfortunately is not matched by all.

      Second, I belong to no team. I'm an isolated 71 year old who writes here what he chooses with no directions from any team leader or team whatsoever.

      In this case I am prepared to concede that you are probably correct and I am not. The Wu et al paper (abstract) goes "... the mean radius of the Earth is not changing to a measurement uncertainty of 2 sigma of 0.2 mm /year".

      I read that as the mean…

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    20. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to John Hunter

      So you would condemn Gergis et al 2012?
      "Evidence of late 20th century warming...." Journal of Climate. Under repair.

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    21. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey: I'm not sure if you are making any point here, but I can assure that sea-level scientist do (and have for a long time) taken account of thermal expansion, ice melt and isostatic adjustment (including, of course the accompanying changes in gravitational field and rate of Earth rotation). For general sea-level stuff, Google Church, Gregory or Woodworth (to name only three) and, for isostatic adjustment, Google Lambeck, Peltier, or Mitrovica. That should give you a bit to read.

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    22. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      C'mon, Boss Geoff, you repeatedly expose your goal to be chaffing, but you could return to scientific discussion by simply responding to my offer to provide the proof that the magic "16 years of no warming" prove there indeed has been warming, for both those and the preceding 16+ years.

      C'mon Boss, show you got the stuff to be what you call yourself.
      ;]

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  14. Michael J. I. Brown

    ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

    John O’Sullivan’s article (http://www.webcitation.org/6CyAx9zm9) on a Boretti paper provides some very interesting insights into the denialsphere and John O’Sullivan’s Principia Scientific International organisation. For example,

    “Dr. Boretti’s work was painstakingly reviewed by dozens of independent scientists connected with PSI but still the mainstream journals refused to touch it, he claims, for political reasons.”

    Yet again, we have a conspiracy theory – that journals are rejecting papers for political reasons. When did uncertainties and statistical significance become “political reasons”?

    Did dozens of “scientists” not question the absence of uncertainties and establishing statistical significance? Given the answer is no, I think this is consistent with PSI being yet another pseudo-scientific organisation that appropriates the legend of a famous scientist (in this case, Newton).

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  15. Comment removed by moderator.

  16. Gus Gollings
    Gus Gollings is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Technical Director at The Conversation

    A comment emailed in from Sue Ieraci:

    There is a real difference between the peer review process that gets a paper to publication, as opposed to real peer review - which happens after publication, amongst an informed community.

    In the past, publication in journals was a process where researchers put their work out to be critiqued by their colleagues. The journal process was aimed at selecting papers that were publishable - publication doesn;t make them somehow valid or correct. Paper journals…

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    1. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Gus Gollings

      Sue,
      There should be no need for peer review of a settled science.
      Except that, as science progresses over time, new & better instruments are developed, people think more, then they realise that earlier papers require a corregidum. This needs peer review.
      Climate work is replete with examples like 'hide the decline' where a retraction or correction should have been issued by now. Indeed, the whole field of dendroclimatology is affected by first, an unexpected divergence some decades long and second, a flat global temperature for a decade or more that invites a resampling and recalibration of virtually all past dendro work.
      Again, the corrected papers need peer review. Not just an endorsement of the greatness of the authors, but worked examples of the code using different inputs to see that it runs as claimed, when presented.

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    2. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      I broadly agree with Sue's comments. Being able to critically evaluate papers is crucial for understanding them. For journalists who need to report the content of (very technical) papers, they should seek out relevant experts to verify that the conclusions of the relevant papers are significant and plausible.

      Regarding the reviews of existing literature, this does happen relatively often. There are review papers and reports. An example is "Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the last 2,000 years", which is online at http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11676&page=R1

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    3. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      The review "Surface Temperature Reconstructions...." mentioned above is notable for its persistent denial or short shrift given to dissenting papers from acknowledged authorities.
      There are many examples that could be given. However, it is rather pointless to do this in the context of the proper conduct of science when statements such as this are given. "All proxy records of climate are obtained from samples that are not randomly selected (Cronin 1999)." (Chapter 4).
      The passage of time and the gaining of wisdom will show its deficiencies.

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    4. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      The National Research Council of the US National Academies is in "denial" in a report comissioned by the US Congress?

      I think it more likely that the dissenting voices have a weaker case than they imagine. Papers like Boretti's demonstrate how weak some of the "dissenting papers" are, including ones that receive significant media coverage.

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    5. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Thanks, Gus

      I don't know what you mean by "a settled science" - peer review relates to the evaluation, by true peers, of published research. One cannot review an entire science - I thought we were discussing the review of pieces of research.

      As I said before, publication was originally the way that people put their work out into their professional community, where it was read, discussed, evaluated and either accepted, partially accepted or rejected by that informed community.

      I would not seek to peer review research outside my area of expertise - despite knowing about research methods and critical review of research, true peer review requires an understanding of the practice, body of knowledge and existing research within that area. So, it a new study shows something incongruous, it can be compared to the previous ones.

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    6. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Sue, and if there are no previous ones?

      Very many advancements start from a single person with a new idea. Society has to accept new ideas. They should not be rejected because they don't seem to be mainstream.

      That is why this comment was so anti-science
      "I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep
      them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"
      Phil Jones to Michael Mann, Climategate emails, July 8th 2004.

      Unfortunately, a few of the contributors here seem a little infected by this mind set, preferring to name people as skeptics without even considering if their contributions have value.

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    7. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex, I have no idea what you mean or why you wrote it.

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    8. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael, and what do you say about the early papers of Nobel Laureates Warren & Marshall?

      "Dissenting"? "To be regarded as sceptical outpourings"?

      What mechanisms can you name that assess the relative merits of new papers with new concepts?

      One day you guys will move from Boy Cubs to Scouts, but first you have to pass tests that your eyes are open.

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    9. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      I do find it amusing when science deniers invoke Nobel Laureates. It says more about deniers' ignorance that about science. Lets look at Warren & Marshall.

      Did the relevant Nobel Prize winners avoid peer review? No.

      Did they need to go journal shopping to get their "dissenting" results published? No, they got published in Lancet!

      Did scientists/doctors reject the convincing evidence? No, they were sceptical at first but most were convinced not long after. There is a discussion of this at http://www.csicop.org/si/show/bacteria_ulcers_and_ostracism_h._pylori_and_the_making_of_a_myth

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    10. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey - you say "Very many advancements start from a single person with a new idea." Reality is actually the opposite - advancement for all of humanity occurs by long slow work building on previous ideas. Totally new ideas, not based on previous knowledge, are very unusual. Where they do occur, they require testing, by methodology that should be openly evaluated and assessed by informed peers. If the idea is supported by the evidence, as seems feasible, then more evidence should be sought and…

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    11. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Sue Ieraci

      Sure Sue.
      That explains why so many fundamental principles in science are described by a person's name. Reynold's number, Newton's Law, Schrodinger equation, Beer-Lambert Law, Romanovsky-type mixtures, Fritsch process, Stefan-Boltzmann, Hartman's procedure, and so on and on and on.

      I do not disagree that much advancement comes from, even needs, team effeort. We seem to differ on how often the primary idea arises from a person or two. But then, such concepts might not match "From each according to his means, to each according to his wants". Let's share our science, by all means, by making public research very open of the public who paid for it. But let's admit individual mistakes by the individual.

      Who on Earth gave you the false idea that I or colleagues are "rejecting all previous science?" That is a comment from make-believe world and you made it, not me.

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    12. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss Geoff... "From each according to his means, to each according to his wants". -- trickle up? Kochs love it.

      Glad to see you can list famous names in science, but still awaiting your studied analysis of why the magic "16 years of no warming" actually prove the existence of global warming -- you know, apply some science and math you say .you seek.

      And, indeed "let's admit individual mistakes by the individual", Geoff, even if he is "Boss".
      ;]

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    13. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      I've written to two successive Presidents of the Australian Academy of Science asking what mechanisms or procedures they have set in place to allow the passage of the left field paper that comes good. No adequate answer has been received.

      You might find it interesting to read http://science.org.au/fellows/memoirs/carey.html I knew Sam reasonably well and we often discussed his science.

      There is an Australian list of more such examples and there is an international one on the Net. I won't reproduce then here as 1000 words approach.

      Problems arise, not unreasonably, when underqualified people attempt to dominate others with better performance or intellect. That was Sam's problem.

      His path was not a rematch of Warren & Marshall, but the main topic of rejection by the establishment was a point in common. Peer review is simply not doing well enough and in climate work it's fast becoming the last refuge of the scoundrel.

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    14. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Wow, Boss Geoff "Problems arise, not unreasonably, when underqualified people attempt to dominate others with better performance or intellect." -- such unexpected introspection!
      ;]

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  17. Michael J. I. Brown

    ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

    In Hunter & Brown we only discussed a subset of the major problems in the Boretti paper.

    In addition to the fit to the Fort Denison data (78 mm of sea level rise for 2010-1910), Boretti also provides a fit to the Fremantle tide gauge data (137 mm of sea level rise for 2010-1910). These fits to the Fort Denison and Fremantle straddle the value for sea level rise around Australia in the prior literature (approximately 10 cm).

    Given the difference between the two fits, it is interesting that Boretti did not consider uncertainties, chose to focus on the Fort Denison data, and revised 78 down to 50.

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  18. Michael J. I. Brown

    ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

    Boretti’s plots employ a number of tricks that are used to hide trends in the data.

    For most plots, Boretti uses monthly averages rather than yearly averages. These data show more variability than yearly averages that helps mask long-term trends. Using monthly data also hides the fact that polynomials are not good fits to the data (e.g., as shown above for 1930-1950 for Fort Denison).

    For some plots, Boretti uses scales of several metres. Consequently, it is hard to see 10-cm of sea level rise, let alone acceleration. Despite this, Boretti uses these plots to claim sea level rise is not accelerating.

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    1. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Mann et al merely tried to hide the medieval warming period and the little ice age. That's a more impressive trick. But it did not work..

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    2. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      The Mann et al. results have been examined time and time again, and the results broadly reproduced by other groups using different methods. This is introduced at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temperature_record_of_the_past_1000_years and references therein.

      It is a very standard science denial technique to pretend that evidence for anthropogenic climate change relies on a very small number of results and that the small errors in the methods/results undermine that case for anthropogenic climate change. This ignores the fact that thousands of people work on climate change science using a variety of approaches that allow key results to be cross checked.

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    3. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Wow! How'd he do that? No one else seems to have been able to hide the warming and cooling that are directly related to solar activity and a very few other observables. You're again a font, Geoff, a font!

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  19. Michael J. I. Brown

    ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

    A number of blogs provide unintended insights into how climate change “sceptics” evaluate papers with the “right” conclusions.

    For example, at the misnamed CO2science Keith Sherwood and Craig Idso praise Boretti’s paper, including the conclusion that sea level rise will be less than 50mm by 2100 (http://www.webcitation.org/6Ds2o8UPG).

    They finish with “Our advice to the Australian government would consequently be to get real, i.e., to get real data, before making any further outlandish pronouncements on the subject of potential future sea level change.”

    As we have shown, the flaws in Boretti's paper are very obvious. If you want to “get real” with “real data” and avoid “outlandish pronouncements”, you shouldn’t use Boretti’s paper on sea level rise near Sydney.

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    1. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael J Brown,
      By similar criteria, you should not use Michael Mann's paper(s) on the hockey stick.
      A correct scientist would be clamouring for retraction. Of Mann et al.

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    2. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      How funny. The Mann et al. results have been broadly reproduced by a number of groups and clearly any imperfections in the methodology did not produce major errors. (All papers have some imperfections, but the big question is whether these imperfections significantly impact the key results and conclusions.)

      For Boretti to be anywhere close to correct, 78 has to become less than or equal to 50. That just isn't going to happen.

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    3. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Can I assume, then, that you have not read the comprehensive rebuttals by McIntyre & McKitrick?

      I know which science I favour. The rigorous set of the latter. Based on scientific merit, not wishes.

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    4. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      The McIntyre and McKitrick claims are discussed in http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11676&page=112

      A general point is uncertainties were underestimated in the early temperature reconstructions and the methodology wasn't ideal.

      However, the Mann et al. (1999) results have been broadly reproduced by other groups using different methods. In the unlikely event that Mann et al. (1999) methodology was proved to be totally wrong tomorrow, you still have other studies to contend with.

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  20. Michael J. I. Brown

    ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

    An interesting aside is Boretti’s paper would have been off my radar if Marc Hendrickx hadn’t promoted it in comments following “State of the Climate 2012” (http://theconversation.edu.au/state-of-the-climate-2012-5831).

    Marc Hendrickx also promoted Boretti via his abcnewswatch (13/3/2012) blog and sent a copy of the paper to the ABC’s Linda Mottram (although no coverage resulted?). Curiously the fact that Boretti claimed roughly half the sea level rise of Church & White and didn’t include uncertainties didn’t raise red flags.

    Hendrickx found out about Boretti via Roger Pielke Snr. Again, it is odd that Pielke didn’t spot the very obvious flaws in the methodology.

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  21. Michael J. I. Brown

    ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

    Despite 200+ comments being posted, not a single person has justified (based on evidence, not hunches) that Boretti's methodology was correct, Boretti's results were correct and that Boretti's paper was worthy of media attention.

    Instead, many people seem to be devoted to discussing diversions and rehashing debunked myths.

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    1. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      It is difficult to comment on a topic when the current methodology produces inconsistencies. Better to say nothing until it's better understood.
      My personal reasoning on Boretti was coloured by some work of Chris Gilham of Perth, summarised as
      "A myth was started in early December 2012 that sea levels off the Perth coastline have been rising at 9-10mm per year since 1993, three times the global average. The West Australian newspaper published a page 3 story quoting a State of Australian Cities…

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    2. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Yes, Geoff, "It is difficult to comment on a topic when " you don't know what you're taliking about!

      Keep it up. These are great opportunities to expose whatever you wish to expose of your lacks.
      ;]

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    3. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Third time Alex, you've failed to provide an example of where I've been wrong. You're into the naughty corner now. Don't expect a response to your future unhelpful snides. Grow up.

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    4. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Geoffrey: I don't know why you don't actually do some analysis yourself, rather than just grumbling about "inconsistencies" and "discrepancies". Let's just look at Hillarys and Fremantle for 1992-2010 (the duration of the Hillarys dataset at PSMSL). It's easy - the data is publicly available from PSMSL and, if you are only interested in trends, annual data will suffice. There are only 19 observations in each data set (you should be able to manage that). Here are the linear trends in sea level over…

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    5. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to John Hunter

      John, I spend hours most days doing my analysis. Much of it gets mired down when I discover the paucity of data of adequate quality to continue. Here's an example of why it can be off-putting. When you get this far and read about competent statisticians wanting to report temperature to one place after the decimal, well .... would you publish?

      http://www.geoffstuff.com/spaghetti%20Darwin.jpg

      So I go off and research other fields where the data are more rigorous than in the climate field. Much more satisfying, because you often meet people who understand and join in to help.

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    6. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey: Characteristically, you've made another diversion. We weren't talking about Darwin temperature observations - we were talkiing about sea level observations from Perth.

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    7. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to John Hunter

      John,
      It's a matter of where the blog puts responses and time lags. Gets out of sequence.
      Gave the Darwin example of why it's more fruitful to go where there is more robust science. You reach a limit on how much time you want to spend on data of the type I illustrated. I keep going because people actually make expensive decisions based on junk like that.

      Re sea levels, I've read papers from all the people you mention, bar one. Some have too much emphasis on end justifies the means at the expense…

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    8. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      C'mon Boss Geoff, if you really "spend hours most days doing my analysis", then you can easily do what you were offered more than once here (or as DeNiro said: analyze this)...

      2009 AAAS Annual Presidential Address by J. McCarthy (reprinted in cience, 18 Dec. 2009, pp1646-1655).

      Here, practice, if your analyze lobe need exercise...
      www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjhOHSGbId4

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    9. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      The comment that started this particular thread still stands:

      Despite 200+ comments being posted, not a single person has justified (based on evidence, not hunches) that Boretti's methodology was correct, Boretti's results were correct and that Boretti's paper was worthy of media attention.

      Instead, many people seem to be devoted to discussing diversions and rehashing debunked myths.

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    10. Chris Gillham

      Journalist

      In reply to John Hunter

      I'm talking about the difference between 1993 and 2010 with their temperatures more accurately represented as averages of their respective nine year halves. It's more accurate if only because 1993 was the lowest Fremantle sea level since 1941, probably thanks to Pinatubo (likely 92, 94 and 95 influence also).

      Add .61mm to Fremantle each year from a first half averaged 1993 and by 2010 it'll equal the average of the latter half. Add 1.2mm each year and it won't.

      If we're to accept a 9 division…

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    11. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Chris Gillham

      Chris: I can't follow all of this because you are still making the original mistake right at the beginning. I am assuming the two "9-year halves" are 1993--2001 inclusive and 2002-2010 inclusive. If you take the average of each of these halves, then most people would take the averages to apply to the middles of each half (i.e. 1997 and 2006) which are 9 years apart. If you want to apply the 1993--2001 average to 1993 and 2002-2010 average to 2010, then of course you are going to get silly results…

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    12. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey:

      You say: "Re sea levels, I've read papers from all the people you mention, bar one. Some have too much emphasis on end justifies the means at the expense of hard data, others are hardly significant enough for a paper. Most end with a question or uncertainty. Should publish when all your facts are in, preferably, especially when it is trumpeted that the science is settled."

      This is, I'm afraid, the way science works. It never comes without some uncertainty. When a numer of different researchers come up with estimates of a given quantity, with quantified uncertainties, and if these estimates statistically agree (based on the uncertainties), then we say that, for the time being, the science is settled.

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    13. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to John Hunter

      John, My oldest son did a B.Surv at Curtin and knows Prof Will Featherstone who many would concede is an authority on levels on the Perth coastal plains. Will noted recently to the effect that it would be possible to re-level the topography in question (son says 0.5 mm closure Fremantle to Hillaries should be possible), but as Will says the cost of the excercise would be out of proportion to the benefit it could be foreseen to bring.

      If you were of geological background, you might be aware of…

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    14. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey: if you had read my posts above, you would realise that I fully accept that the land moves vertically (as do all the sea-level scientists I know). And you would also realise, if you read what I said properly, that I accept that (in relation to Fremantle and Hillarys) "both estimates indicate a difference in vertical land motion of about 3 mm/year".

      One thing that galls climate scientists is the fact that so many contrarians, "skeptics" or deniers (call them what you will) seem to think that climate scientists haven't really thought these things through, that they completely ignore whole fields of science such as geology, and that a non-specialist can quickly get on top of the subject by reading a few blogs. The "gotcha" tactic gets extremely tiresome after a while.

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    15. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Chris Gillham

      One can test Chris Gillham’s methodology by creating mock tide gauge data with a known answer.

      Consider a port where the sea level rises by 1 mm every year with no year-to-year variability, so it is 3 mm in 1993, 4 mm in 1994 and so on until 20 mm in 2010. For 1993-2001 the average sea level is 7 mm while for 2002-2010 the average sea level is 16 mm. The two averages correspond to the sea levels in 1997 and 2006.

      If you take the difference and divide by 18 (as Chris did) you get only 0.5 mm per year. If you take the difference and divide by 9 (as John did) you get the correct answer of 1 mm per year.

      This discussion does flag that many vocal climate deniers do not understand the basic science, including reading plots and simple maths.

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    16. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Yep, "many vocal climate deniers do not understand the basic science, including reading plots " -- nor do they dare to.
      ;]

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    17. Chris Gillham

      Journalist

      In reply to John Hunter

      Anthropogenic land subsidence in the Perth Basin: challenges for its retrospective geodetic detection (2012)

      http://www.cage.curtin.edu.au/~will/Featherstone53-62.pdf

      "Fourteen years of data give a subsidence rate of -4.6 mm/yr, but this increases to -6.1 mm/yr during the 2000–2005 period of increased groundwater extraction. This demonstrates that the rate of subsidence is not linear, which needs to be taken into account by GPS analysts who do not necessarily have such local knowledge…

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    18. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Chris Gillham

      Chris: You are using the standard contrarian tactic of the scattergun approach - i.e. when cornered, fire off a whole load of new and unrelated information, in the hope of covering up your error.

      I'll say it again: when most people take an average of some group of data over time (e.g. in a running average), they normally assign the time of the mid-point of the group to the average. What they certainly don't do (unless they are really dumb) is to assign the start time to the first group and the…

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    19. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Chris Gillham

      Chris: Re. your long post above, you don't directly answer my question "can you tell me where you got the "6.1mm per year" from and whether it is for the Hillarys location?". I assume (well, actually, I know) that the answer to the last question is "no". The "6.1 mm/yr" does not apply to Hillarys, or to Fremantle, which are the two sites which we were considering. It in fact applies to Ganagara, about 17 km east of Hillarys. The estimated rate is also based on only 5 years of GPS observations and so would have a large uncertainty - unfortunately, Featherstone does not provide an estimated uncertainty for the "6.1 mm/yr".

      As I said in my previous post "we basically don't know exactly what is going on ..." - and nor do you.

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    20. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Chris Gillham

      There is the right way of dealing with binned data (i.e., averages) and the rise-over-run, and there are wrong ways of dealing with binned data and rise-over-run.

      Amazingly Chris Gillham describes the right way as "misleading, albeit technically correct from an academic's perspective" and tries to hide the wrong way behind popularism. Below is the relevant part of his comment.

      "When told that a level starting 1993 and finishing 2010 has risen an average annual .61mm or 1.2mm, "most people" don't grab a calculator and work out the mid-point of the two half averages. They assume levels rose by x figure each year between start and end. One description caters for the assumption "most people" make and the other is misleading, albeit technically correct from an academic's perspective."

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    21. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Guess Gillham does other Aussies a service by declaring his investment gains yearly, rather than averaging over an allowed tax horizon, thus hitting the nonlinearity of tax rates for higher incomes.
      ;]

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    22. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Chris Gillham

      With regards to all of the measurements being thrown around, one needs to compare the same data (locations, years). One also needs to determine uncertainties and possible biases in different methods. For example, if one uses medians rather than averages the answer changes for noisy data.

      Without uncertainties one cannot determine if differences are significant or not.

      The Watson paper has some significant issues, including the use of polynomials and no uncertainties. Some of these issues are discussed in http://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/07/22/how-not-to-analyze-tide-gauge-data/. We obviously discuss similar issues in our comment on Boretti's paer.

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  22. rory robertson
    rory robertson is a Friend of The Conversation.

    former fattie

    Hi Michael and John,

    I agree that "peer review" is an essential part of science, with the risk of serious problems when it is non-existent or fails to identify major errors, and substandard articles are published. How's this for an episode in credible scientific "peer review"?

    In 2011, two University of Sydney scientists - Dr Alan W. Barclay and Professor Jennie Brand-Miller - claimed to have documented "a consistent and substantial decline in total refined or added sugar consumption by…

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    1. rory robertson
      rory robertson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      former fattie

      In reply to rory robertson

      Of course, none of this would matter if the Australian Paradox "study" were just another hopeless paper published by no-name academics. But these are two of Australia's most-distinguished scientists, the world's most-prolific low-GI advocates and Australia's highest-profile academic defenders of added sugar in food as harmless (see Slide 11 at #22 in my Australian Paradox website).

      Importantly, the faulty paper's false conclusion was quickly embraced by pro-sugar lobbies globally (see #6 in…

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    2. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to rory robertson

      The "Australian Paradox" controversy did get a mention in Saturday's Good Weekend magazine that comes with Fairfax newspapers.

      There is quite a bit of material to digest here so I am not going to comment on the details of this just yet.

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    3. rory robertson
      rory robertson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      former fattie

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Hi Michael,

      Yes, I saw that. It's a pity Angus Holland's otherwise excellent review of the sugar and health debate - "Sweet Assassin" - was spoiled by his misreporting of the Australian Paradox dispute. Angus falsely reported that:

      "Using Australian Bureau of Statistics data, she [Professor Jennie Brand-Miller] and Dr Alan Barclay, the Australian Diabetes Council's head of research [both operators of the University of Sydney's pro-sugar low-GI business that involves stamping particular brands…

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    4. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to rory robertson

      There is a lot of material to digest here and I cannot comment on the specifics. However, I will make some general comments that may (or may not) apply in this case. I reiterate, the comments that follow may not apply in this case.

      Most scientists are sceptical when very major results/claims appear in minor journals. This raises a red flag as minor journals may have a weaker peer review process and scientists normally prefer major results/claims to appear in major journals.

      There are some concerns about some open access journals. That said, MDPI isn’t on the Jeffrey Beall’s list of predatory open access publishers (which is a very useful resource).

      When it comes to dubious claims in the literature, a rebuttal in the literature is always a good start. If you aren’t an expert in the relevant field, collaborating with people who are is almost essential. Most endeavours have nuances that aren’t obvious to intelligent people from outside the relevant discipline.

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    5. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to rory robertson

      Editors being authors in their own journals is quite common, but obviously they should relinquish their role in the peer review process to another editor. If they are picking the referees for their own papers that is clearly wrong.

      There has been some discussion in recent years of “rogue editors”. These are editors who allow the publication of dubious papers whose conclusions match the editors’ opinions. These editors may also block the publication of strong papers whose conclusions disagree with…

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    6. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael,
      That is downright wrong. Probably, all scientific journals started off small or "minor". Some grew, some did not. You are illogical when you state without qualification that "Most scientists are sceptical when very major results/claims appear in minor journals".

      Have you polled "most scientists?"

      Although it's not a Journal, more a photo mag, I've written to the Managing Editor of National Geographic pointing out that we have clarified a number of errors in their Nov 2006 edition…

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    7. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael, do a search of Climategate 1 & 2, looking for peer review, to find what are probably gem quality statements for all of science so far in recorded history, of climate workers deliberately setting out to maliciously alter peer review, to turn peer review into pal review. Also, do read the Report of the Inter Academy Council into the IPCC.

      If you want to attack rogue editors, look for the evidence. The Hockey stick team have reviewed each other's papers, chosen reviewers of their liking…

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    8. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Interesting that Boss Geoff, not a scientist, makes claims like "...mistake that Himalayan glaciers will be largely gone by 2035"

      When the facts appear quite problematic -- facts Geoff could easily access. Just some....

      www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121116124650.htm
      http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/12/academy-finds-mixed-climate-impacts-on-himalayan-glaciers-water-supplies/

      And, since mountains & snow & climate & man have many complicated interactions, here's a good example of how true scientists admit to making wrong predictions..
      www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2011/03/snows_of_kilimanjaro_defy_global_warming_predictions.html

      The bottom line is that global warming changes the amount of water in air and air circulation, so some historically-icy places will melt, others will expand, and the total effect will be loss of cold-trapped water.

      Nat Geo might be happy to correct errors, in one direction anyway, now that Murdoch owns it.
      ;]

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    9. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      I should have clarified that most scientists I meet are sceptical about big claims in minor journals. Yes, some minor journals have grown to become major journals (and vice versa), but that doesn’t change the statement I made above.

      Given Geoffrey’s misunderstanding of the science (e.g., the shape of the solid Earth and sea level rise), his claims regarding the identification of errors need to be taken with a grain of salt.

      The 2035/2350 error in IPCC AR4 was one small part of a vast report, and had no impact on its principal conclusions (e.g., the temperature record, sea level rise, the causes of temperature rise). Boretti’s errors are absolutely central to all of his principal conclusions.

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    10. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      "Nat Geo might be happy to correct errors, in one direction anyway, now that Murdoch owns it".

      Oh, no! Murdoch owns Nat Geo now? There goes a fine reputation.

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    11. rory robertson
      rory robertson is a Friend of The Conversation.

      former fattie

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael, thanks for your thoughtful responses. As you observed of the errors in Boretti's paper, Dr Barclay and Professor Brand-Miller's obvious errors "are absolutely central" to the "principal conclusions" of the Australian Paradox paper.

      I had prepared another long response but i think I will leave it by saying that I would be keen to hear from anyone who - after absorbing the facts in this chartset prepared for the Debate on "The place of sugar in Australia’s Dietary Intake Guidelines", Parliament House, Canberra, Monday 29 October 2012: http://www.australianparadox.com/pdf/22Slideshowaustraliangoestoparadoxcanberrafinal.pdf - is keen to argue that there is nothing slippery, smelly and unscholarly going on in the University of Sydney's "nutrition science" area.

      Michael and John, best wishes for 2013 and keep on fighting the good fight for credibility and integrity in science.

      Regards,
      Rory

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  23. John Nicol

    logged in via Facebook

    How does one get hold of Boretti's paper withoput paying $35 for it?

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    1. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to John Nicol

      > How does one get hold of Boretti's paper withoput paying $35 for it?

      Have you thought of writing to Boretti/Parker and asking por a reprint? - this has always been one of the standard ways of accessing papers of interest.

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  24. Ian L. McQueen

    Retired

    I've just spent a few hours reading every comment here. Quite a task and quite a view. Basically two sides, each one equally sure that it is right, with some regular comments from the peanut gallery (old Howdy Doodie reference that probably bypasses most readers, but which serves the purpose here) that added virtually nothing but ad hominems.....though with the occasional addition that indicated that the writer just might know more than his other writings indicated.
    I was pleased to find so many…

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      IAn, good to hear you've been reading!

      But, your sensitivity to folks' verbiage "ad hominem"... suggests you actually are part of your "let the peanut gallery".

      In any case, it was explained a while back here that there are a number of concepts and assumptions that must be properly made before statistics can be written down and analyzed to get a conclusion.

      Since wyoiu seem impressed by 'credentials', I've taught university-level statistics and ahve a degree in the subject, so here goes…

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    2. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      There are two imortant points arising from these discussions:

      1. It is very dangerous to imply uncertainty from the number of decimal places - it is much better to indicate the uncertainty of a value specifically (i.e. as x +/- y), remembering to specify what the "y" means (e.g. standard deviation, 95-percentile range). If this is done, then it doesn't matter how many decimal places are given, so long as they are sufficient to be consistent with the uncertainty. If there are too many decimal places…

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    3. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      "It is hard to take seriously anyone who places credence in the postings at Desmogblog or Skeptical Science". So, you object to the science being discussed by scientists who are actually doing the research? Why?

      "It is hard to believe that supposedly-informed commentators still believe Michael Mann's publications". You are suggesting all of Michael Mann's publications have been debunked. Can you provide links to the science that contradicts all of Mann's work, or was it just a generalisation and…

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    4. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      When it comes to the supposed debunking of Mann's publications, it is always worth noting that other groups using other proxies have come up with similar temperature reconstructions. This is discussed at http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11676&page=R1

      As for http://skepticalscience.com/, it sometimes provides a useful start to debunking some myths but if you really want to get into the detail, chase down the peer reviewed papers that site refers to.

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    5. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Doug,
      The BEST results have little to no bearing on the debate on global warming. They were simply an attempt to add credence to the measurements of the world's temperatures from 1979 to 1998 and to prove the accuracy of the analysis. However, the measurements themselves were never under challenge by any serious skeptic, denier or what ever you like to call them. Most if not all people accepted that the earth had warmed as it had continued to do following the little ice age ending in about 1850…

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    6. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to John Nicol

      John Nicol sometimes just invents stuff. There are several examples in the above post, and a good one is

      "If you have not understood the faults in Mann's paper on the Hockey stick, which even the IPCC later disowned, then perhaps you are looking at the wrong graph."

      Mann's work appears in IPCC AR4, has been broadly reproduced by other groups and reviewed by the US National Academies. This has been pointed out to John Nicol before, but he just repeats the lie.

      Repeating debunked myths is a tactic of pseudo-scientists and lobby groups, not scientists.

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    7. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to John Hunter

      John,
      I agree in principle. But, how do you estimate all forms of uncertainty when your data give plots like I posted for Darwin?

      Another major discrepancies comes from periodic comparisons of the predictive results of global climate models. Here. I suspect, the within lab spread of results is greater than the between lab spread of results. That is a most unhealthy situation. The main reason they get close is from setting some standard starting conditions, agreeing to use identical coefficients for some parameters and comparing results before publishing the comparison. Even then, the mean of the ensemble is tracing very poorly each year compared to actual. Indeed, IIRC, the actual is outside the error limits of the ensemble at the moment. If this is so, what would you suggest as a remedy?

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    8. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      I could stand corrected Michael. Could you include the reference section in AR4 where the paper is discussed?

      My information was that it had not been used as the centre piece it was in the previous report, and the implication was that the IPCC were cautious after McIntyre's significant debunking of it

      Thanks. John.

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    9. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to John Nicol

      John, you said "The BEST results have little to no bearing on the debate on global warming. They were simply an attempt to add credence to the measurements of the world's temperatures from 1979 to 1998 and to prove the accuracy of the analysis". The BEST project was set up because people like Anthony Watts were claiming that the measurements were unreliable, due to problems with recording station environments and the urban heat island effect. The Koch brothers provided some funding and their track…

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    10. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to John Nicol

      Mann et al. (1999) does feature in IPCC AR4 (http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch6s6-6.html) but isn't as prominent because there are other temperature reconstructions, including improved reconstructions by Mann's collaboration and other research groups.

      McIntyre did not debunk Mann, as discussed in IPCC AR4:

      McIntyre and McKitrick (2003) reported that they were unable to replicate the results of Mann et al. (1998). Wahl and Ammann (2007) showed that this was a consequence…

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    11. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey: the primary purpose of these comments is to discuss the contents of the "The Conversation" article at the head of this page, and not as a general sounding board for questions on climate change. I've done my best to answer a number of questions which bore little relationship to the article. However, I do have a life, and answering questions about the Darwin temperature record and the complexities in the way in which global climate models are averaged, is beyond what I'm prepared to do. Sorry…

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    12. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael,

      Thank you for the reference to the IPCC section which I have copied and saved. However, I note that none of the graphs shown relate very closely to the original Mann Hockey Stick referred to in theat section and all pay some attention to the MWP, which Mann had scotched. I also note their comments on Mann's paper:

      "The ‘hockey stick’ reconstruction of Mann et al. (1999) has been the subject of several critical studies. Soon and Baliunas (2003) challenged the conclusion that the…

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    13. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Doug Hutchison,

      I may need to be clearer in my statement for yopu regarding the "physics" ofr "mathematics" of being "at the poeak of a cycle. I am not making any claims about what is determining the earth's temperature in that particular statement.

      I am simply referring to the plots of what the earth's temperature actually is. Never mind about the Milankovich cycles, the effects of CO2 or the sun direct, the fact is that since 1850 the earth has warmed to its present level. In about 1850…

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    14. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to John Nicol

      John Nicol, if you reread the IPCC AR4 text you will notice "their qualitative approach precluded any quantitative summary of the evidence at precise times, limiting the value of their review as a basis for comparison of the relative magnitude of mean hemispheric 20th-century warmth" is actually refering to Soon and Baliunas (2003).

      Mann et al. (1999) isn't a perfect paper and there are better reconstructions now available (including improvements/updates by Mann and his collaborators) but to claim it has been disowned by the IPCC is simply wrong.

      For more on Soon & Baliunas, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soon_and_Baliunas_controversy

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    15. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Nicol

      John Nicol continues his wordy avoidance of facts, with Earth:

      "could have warmed. For whatever reason, perhaps because of increases in CO2, it has warmed and continued to do so almost monotinically until recently. It is therefore, with no ifs, buts or maybes, at the peak of its warming for now,and is currentoly in a slight stasis" (misspellings are John's)

      Because he reveals again he's not bothered to study the very recent years, which indeed show both average air and sea warmings, as well…

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    16. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      I accept Michael that they are still prepared to use it. However, you did not comment on the graphs they chose to publish in the section and nor did they make a feast as previously of the amnn paper. I guess it is partly a matter of perspective - I do not see the emphasis as you do - perhaps I am wrong and will have to accept that.,

      However, in regard to another recent response you ahve made to me, I must say that I am surprised that as a physicist you make the statement about the "ten hottest…

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    17. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Nicol

      Again, Nicol continues the diversions that sound knowledgeable, but fail

      The:"hockey-stick" straw man has been long dead. The Medieval Warm Period and ‘Little Ice Age were both small in temperature variations, even over the past 10,000 years. And, like the "16 years of no warming" are all well understood -- something John has known for about two years, yet still attempts to fool others and raise doubts that fit his bias.

      But, these are always good opportunities to be uised to provide others…

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    18. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to John Nicol

      "we are at the top of what may well turn out to be a cycle".

      What forcing mechanism is driving this putative cycle, John? There must be a physical reason behind your claimed cycle, so would you care to expound what it is?

      It would be a remarkable coincidence if this unknown forcing just happened to be driving temperatures to where AGW theory says they should be due to the greenhouse effect, so you should also explain why atmospheric physics have been suspended by your new cycle. There is a Nobel Prize waiting for you, if you can explain this new phenomenon.

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    19. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to John Nicol

      "It is therefore, with no ifs, buts or maybes, at the peak of its warming for now,and is currentoly in a slight stasis".

      John, the Earth's capacity to heat up is not limited to the air over land. There is the tiny matter of the oceans to be considered. This graphic is worth a thousand words:
      http://www.skepticalscience.com/pics/Nuccitelli_Fig1.jpg

      Not only is global (hint: that means land, sea and air) warming continuing at its expected pace, but you have presented no evidence to the contrary. Can you link to peer-reviewed science supporting your claim?

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    20. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Doug, John already knows what "Cycle" we're atop, at least he should, if he'd actually read what I gave him about 2 years ago, from the AAAS in 2009.

      I saw that John suddenly became aware of the term "Milankovitch Cycle, but I hope he doesn't think that's it.

      What John has known for about 2 years is that we're heading soon into an 11-year solar activity (sunspot) cycle peak, which was partly the cause of the Medieval Warming. However, John may not have studied enough to know the sun has a…

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    21. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      What the heck, here's what John has had for ~2 years, for the nth time...

      2009 AAAS Annual Presidential Address by J. McCarthy (reprinted in
      Science, 18 Dec. 2009, pp1646-1655).

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    22. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to John Nicol

      John, can you give dates and locations for the ‘Medieval Warm Period’? From what I have read, slightly warmer periods can be traced in many areas, but the dates vary wildly and do not even overlap in some cases, indicating that these warm periods were local or hemispherical.

      I was not aware anyone had found evidence of a global ‘Medieval Warm Period’. As far as I know, the same applies to the 'Little Ice Age': it was not a global phenomenon. Do you have links to the research supporting a global MWP or LIA?

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    23. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex, in Oz, we describe our best friend thus: "Oh, he's a complete bastard"; a fraudulent person, on the other hand, is described as being "a bit of a bastard". In this context, if someone has known this stuff for a couple of years and continues to raise it, I expect we would call him "a bit of a fibber". "8-)

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    24. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Excellent resource, Alex. I have saved the link, so I can trot it out to people whose world view is challenged too greatly by Skeptical Science.

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    25. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Thanks for the link fest there, Alex. I have opened each one in tabs and will now settle down to doing some reading. I wonder who else will follow the links and come back to this discussion? (Cue the sound of crickets...)

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    26. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Quote from the Climate Central link:
      'That, D’Andrea said, gave them the confidence that they really could say something meaningful about temperatures back to the Medieval Warm Period and beyond. “We can say that summer temperatures at this location have been warmer in the recent past than they have over the past 1,800 years.”'

      Well, who'da thunk?

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    27. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      "Maybe we should reinstitute the stocks..." ... and throw their rotten science back at them. How childish! How very satisfying, though. "8-)

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    28. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      And the July 2011 Scientific American had an excellent discussion of past CO2, temps, etc. and how we've beaten all CO2 increase rates by about 100x, all the way back to the separation of N. America & Africa Our current temp rise and CO2 rise are ~100x faster than the fastest, post Pangea, around 56 million years ago.

      And, of course,, the combustion folks have already won, since the Carbon Cycle has been overwhelmed by about 30x for decades. They have their $ and our offspring have thousands of years of their sad legacy. Follow this to DePaolo Group papers...
      http://energyseminar.stanford.edu/node/461

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    29. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Doug,
      I believe that the dates given for these varies a lot as it depends (obviously) where one decides to cut off the warmer or cooler bit in a sequence of values. A possible definition for:

      the Roman Warm Period, sometimes called the Roman Optimum, was about 200 BC to 400 AD;

      the MWP from 850 to 1250 (or 1300); and

      the LIA from 1550 to 1850.

      There appears to be both clear paleoclimate recognition of the basis for these periods as well a "social" evidence such as the growing of…

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    30. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to John Nicol

      John, as your comment shows, different areas had different climates at different times, which is why it is difficult to state that there was a GLOBAL Medieval Warm Period. Temperature variances by region are expected as part of normal climate variation.

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    31. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Nicol

      Ahhh more of Nicol's wordiness to appear knowledgeable!

      "circular patch in the Northern Hemisphere surrounding the North Magnetic Pole where the temperature rise was greatest and one surrounding the South Magnetic Pole where the rise was the least from over the globe. This is really quite amazing"

      Really, John? The difference in the hemispheres that might cause different average temps is what? C'mon, look at a globe, John. And note the circumpolar flows aren't centered on magnetic poles*.

      Your descendents are waiting.
      ;]

      * S mag pole is ~1800mi toward Tasmania, while N Mag. is under 8 degrees from true North.

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    32. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Doug, if the MWP was detectable in places around the world, it would make some sort of a bump in the shaft of the hockey stick, unless there were contemporaneous compensating cool periods elsewhere, of which I have seen none in the literature. they might be there, but I've not seen them
      It follows logically that the Mann et al reconstructions, which flatline these event, plus the Little Ice Age, are likely to be flawed. The LIA in particular has been detected in many places, by somewhat inarguable events as the Thames freezing over.

      I'm retired also, Doug, but if I wanted to mount an argument that the LIA was widespread, I'd do a literature search and report the results in a blog discussion like this rather than sweeping a generalised arm. I spend a lot of time being Nanny to people unable or unwilling to do the hard yards by researching before making statements. If I can do it, you can do it.

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  25. Michael J. I. Brown

    ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

    Apologies for repeating myself, but despite 320 comments being posted, not a single person has justified (based on evidence, not hunches) that Boretti's methodology was correct, Boretti's results were correct and that Boretti's paper was worthy of media attention.

    Instead, many people seem to be devoted to discussing diversions, rehashing debunked myths and invoking strawman arguments.

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    1. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael, some of us know how to count to 320 but would prefer more challenging tasks.
      Like a vinyl record with a broken track, you have seized upon an alleged error in a paper by Boretti and gone on and on about it. We are sick of the tune. The information required to make a meaningful response is not contained in the paper. Let's say he might have made a mistake. Why not write to him and ask? That's what I'd do on such a minor point.

      Why not start another thread asking why the global temperature has flatlined for 16 years? That's somewhat more fundamental in an era of global warming.

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    2. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      The Conversation Dashboard did the counting for me.

      Is it odd that in the comments following an article on Boretti's paper, I happened to mention Boretti? I think it is more odd that the bulk of the comments avoid the topic of the article.

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    3. trevor prowse

      retired farmer

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Does the standard the knowledge of the people who do the peer review make the difference to the worth of the review. From my experience in agriculture , preconceived ideas create problems. About 50 years ago as a young farmer, my dad planted some garden turnips on about 30 acres after a Febuary rain. Dad put 300 pregnant ewes on them for 6 weeks. When the ewes lambed ,only one in twenty lived. My neighbor who was a dept of ag advisor had been experimenting with selenium. At that time the head of…

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    4. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael,

      Not many people, including myself, have access to Boretti's paper, so it is not possible for anyone to say whether or not his findings are correct or have been properly arrived at scientifically and statistically!

      Unless you show his graphs and analysis, no one is in a position to make such a comment, so everyone simply refers to the points you made yourself in the article. Can you send me a copy of Boretti's paper? Can you quote from it on this blog for everyone to see? While you criticised his methodology, you did not show the material that you were criticising, apart from the "currents in the Christmas Pudding" which was supposed to show his trend .
      jonicol18@bigpond.com

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    5. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to John Nicol

      Boretti's paper is under copyright, so I cannot distribute it here. I suggest contacting the Boretti for a copy. Some of the relevant plots, showing Boretti's fits and the monthly data (rather than annual data) are on Marc Hendrickx's blog.

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    6. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to John Nicol

      John Nicol: you say "Not many people, including myself, have access to Boretti's paper" - I've already responded to you on this one (see above) - you do what scientists have done for many many decades - you ask the aouthor (in this case Boretti) for a copy - what is so hard about that?

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    7. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey: You suggest "Let's say he might have made a mistake. Why not write to him and ask? That's what I'd do on such a minor point."

      This isn't a "minor point" - Boretti made major blunders in coming to the following conclusion, which is at total variance with mainstream climate science and the sensible risk management being undertaken around Australia to address sea-level rise:

      "The most likely rise of sea level in the bay of Sydney by 2100
      is therefore more likely less than the 50 mm measured so far
      over the last 100 years rather than the metre predicted by some
      models."

      Boretti's "minor point" reduced the projected sea-level rise by more than an order of magnitude.

      This is serious stuff, Geoffrey - it certainly isn't a "minor point".

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    8. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to John Hunter

      John. Don't shoot the messenger. It's not my specialty. My interest is in improving the quality of science. I've given you an authority to contact. I've suggested some difficulties that face anyone wanting to work with Hillarys and Fremantle. I've given you an informal analysis by a friend. I've suggested that you sort it out with Boretti - what's hard about that?

      Here is a social observation. In Australia, in general conversation, the man in the street or the families that have lived their lives…

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    9. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Thanks for that Michael. I will proceed to get it now and hope he can send me a copy. I will also have a look at Mike Hendrikx's blog. Cheers, John Nicol

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    10. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to John Hunter

      John,

      I know you responded but you did not explain the total facts as
      Michael has just done. I have tried writing (emailing) authors before and most cases have not had a response, or am told there were no reprints provided as was the case with many journals by the time I left the system in 1997. Earlier the journals would almost always supply a goodly number of reprints but that procedure has faded.

      Thanks any way.

      John

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    11. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey:

      "People laugh themselves stupid watching photoshopping like New York half under water"

      See: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/slideshow/2012/10/30/photos-hurricane-sandy-floods-new-york-city/?intcmp=related#slide=4

      ( As far as I know, NONE of these pictures have been photoshopped.)

      "Then you have the famous tide mark carved in rock 150 years or so ago in Tasmania, which shows very little change."

      The change (around 14 cm since 1841) is consistent with observations from…

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    12. John Hunter

      University Associate, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at University of Tasmania

      In reply to John Nicol

      John:

      Coastal Engineering provides author(s) with a PDF copy of their paper. The conditions of use are described at:

      http://www.elsevier.com/authors/author-rights-and-responsibilities

      which allows "distribution to colleagues for their research use".

      I assume that this means that there should be no problem in Boretti providing you with a copy.

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    13. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey said, “That would avoid you wasting time counting higher than 320 blogs.” As mentioned previously, we never counted "blogs" (comments), the number just pops up on our browsers when we go to The Conversation's dashboard feature.

      Geoffrey should spend a little more time cross checking his facts, otherwise he will keep making silly errors.

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    14. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to John Hunter

      Thanks John. I was not aware of that. In earlier years reprints were provided without any conditions attached by most if not leading papers - at least this was the case in physics.

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    15. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Yep, Geoff has several links here to follow, but he ignores them, much as Nicol has ignored same for about 2 years, right John?
      ;]

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    16. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Thanks Doug for the reference. However, this does not demonstate warming since 1995 and most of the major research institutes admit to being puzzled by the lack of warming.

      I note again the claim in the SKS article you referred me to that "NASA and climate scientists throughout the world have said, however, that the years starting since 1998 have been the hottest in all recorded temperature history. Do these claims sound confusing and contradictory? Has the Earth been cooling, lately?" which…

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    17. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to John Nicol

      Can John Nicol clarify "most of the major research institutes admit to being puzzled by the lack of warming"?

      Given the known variability in the temperature record, I have yet to see robust claims that the long-term trend of increasing temperature has changed significantly. Indeed, 9 of the 10 hottest years on record have happened since 2000.

      A relevant article is Foster & Rahmstorf (2011) and an introduction to the key results of that paper is online at http://skepticalscience.com/foster-and-rahmstorf-measure-global-warming-signal.html

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    18. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Nicol

      Indeed, John, Michael has a great question -- Can John Nicol clarify "most of the major research institutes admit to being puzzled by the lack of warming?

      You and I both know, John, that for about 2 years you've known your statement to be false. So why the fibbing? Is this all you're left with?

      Good that you continue to expose your lack of scientific knowledge and integrity this way, because it gives others the chance to gain real information...

      2009 AAAS Annual Presidential Address by J. McCarthy (reprinted in Science, 18 Dec. 2009, pp1646-1655).

      Remember that, John?
      ;]

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    19. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Nicol

      "The use of this bald fact to try to indicate that warming is still taking place is a sign of desperation" -- actually John, it's a sign that someone is keeping up with the facts.

      However, your choice of 1995 as your reference point illustrates again your lack of science & integrity. Why not start with 1975 and "direct surface measurements", John? Oh yes, because that shows temp rise larger than the variances you hide in. Oops.

      What ion earth to write for your descendents, eh John?
      ;]

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    20. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to John Nicol

      John, you said "we are obviously at a peak of the temperature rise", but have posited no explanation for this claim, other than invoking some mythical climate cycle.

      I have provided you links to the science showing that the globe (air, land and sea) has continued warming at an unabated pace. To claim "this does not demonstate warming since 1995" is curious, to say the least.

      Which part of "the oceans are warming" do you not understand?

      Which part of "TOA energy imbalance" is giving you problems?

      How much energy is going into melting the Arctic?

      I know of no "major research institutes" admitting to "being puzzled by the lack of warming", simply because there is no lack of warming. Can you provide links to support your statement?

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    21. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Oh Doug, You are so wrong.
      Here is a figure you should study. I assume you can read graphs and am not so silly to assume that you can't, as others have assumed of me.
      http://www.geoffstuff.com/Hadley.PNG

      The lower graph was issued in December 2012. The source of commentary is traced back to The Guardian at http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2013/jan/09/global-warming-met-office-paused

      There is a lot of comment around Jan 9, 2013, about 3 weeks ago, Now how up to date do you wish…

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    22. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to John Hunter

      Try the Al Gore movies.

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    23. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Doug, please don't be rude.
      Here's November 9, 2013, leo Hichman in The Guardian.
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2013/jan/09/global-warming-met-office-paused

      Here's a graph of the UK Met Office fiddling data from 2011 Dec to 2012 Dec, a few weeks ago.
      http://www.geoffstuff.com/Hadley.PNG

      Foster & Rahmstorf have in turn been debunked by several authorities, including Frank Lansner

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/?s=Lansner+Foster

      The main problem with F&R is that they do nor…

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    24. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Prof Richard Muller of Berkeley Physics gave a talk a year or more ago in which he spoke in part of the hockey stick. In that context, he stated thet "There are several authors whose papers I choose no longer to read".
      I have an old and growing list also. It includes sceptical science, a double exymoron because it is closed mind, not sceptical; and because it does no science of its own, of any consequence, when cherry picking the work of others is so much easier. Another junk effort is RealClimate, where abuse outweighs the occasional useful comment by about 50 :1 (or did before I sacked it). Latest on the list is the person who writes here under the rude Alex Cannara, who ignored 3 warnings and so deprived himself of access to a source that can be helpful at times.

      Please, try not to include my name in any future blog comment that includes these names. I have to go and wash my hands.

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    25. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Apologies. My PC indicated that this had dropped out, so some of the the same themes in another post above. It's the one that uses 'exymoron' to describe scepticalscience blog, the meaning being an oxymoron that consumes a lot of expense.
      Although I purchased my first take home computer in 1969, the pace of development has been so fast that nobody can claim complete mastery even of a PC. There are big gaps in my computer knowledge, but at least, unlike Phil Jones the High Priest confessed, I am reasonably proficient in Excel whereas he said he could not produce a graph.
      Also, having had a secretarial pool most of my career, I'm a slow and inaccurate two-finger typist because I did not learn touch typing.
      It's like reliance on the papers of other people to maintain a blog. If you have never done the science &written papers yourself, chances are that you will not be as good as you might have been.

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    26. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Hard to evaluate Muller's comments without a transcript. Geoffrey has made more than a few mistakes in this discussion, so is his summary accurate?

      Geoffrey seems to prefer self-trained bloggers to sites that reference the peer reviewed literature. As noted elsewhere in the discussion, some of those bloggers struggle with the basics, including using averages and rise over run.

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    27. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael,

      I am sorry, but I am leaving this blog and will probably select a few ignorant examples and post them on a world-wide blog to show disgust at the unethical nature of your conduct.

      In summary, you accuse me of frequent mistakes, but you do not say what they are, or offer a different view adequately. I volunteered that I had might have made one mistake, but that was of interpretation of how to measure global radius. The answer preferred on this blog by John Hunter is just as wrong as…

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    28. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      No, you're only sorry your lacks were exposed, Boss Geoff!

      ""Michael, I am sorry, but I am leaving this blog and will probably select a few ignorant examples and post them on a world-wide blog to show disgust at the unethical nature of your conduct. "

      Indeed, the last refuge of a fact avoider is victimhood.
      ;]

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    29. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Oooh, Boss Geof is ruffled....

      " Latest on the list is the person who writes here under the rude Alex Cannara, who ignored 3 warnings and so deprived himself of access to a source that can be helpful at times. Please, try not to include my name in any future blog comment that includes these names. I have to go and wash my hands."

      Guess being self-appointed "boss" clouds a sense of honesty to fact & science, eh Geoff?

      Of to the gish blogs for you, where you'll feel right at home, eh "Boss"? Having talked with Muller, I can affirm you're no Muller, in the sense of honest retraction when wrong.
      ;]
      (hey, I used some Aussie slang -- ace!)

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    30. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss Geoff reads the first link and sees "paused?", but doesn't see the "?" and doesn't also comment on the piece to ask the science things he''s so concerned about, like solar cycle states, oceanic cycle states...?

      C'mon, Boss Geoff, you could have really shown your 'expertise' to those climate wonks!

      Good to throw in impressive terms, like "cloud nucleation", when you're otherwise empty, and unstudied (remember the 2009 AAAS Annual Presidential Address by J. McCarthy (reprinted in
      Science, 18 Dec. 2009, pp1646-1655? -- naw, of course you don't, eh Geoff?)
      ;]

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    31. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey, linking to the original research papers would be better than linking to newspaper articles. You have read the original research, haven't you?

      I guess I stopped taking your post as useful when I read "Here's November 9, 2013, leo Hichman in The Guardian." I will start reading again on November 9, 2013 and see if it makes more sense then. "8-)

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    32. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      The link to the video is missing. Regardless, if Muller has issues with the Mann et al. papers, he should put those criticisms into the peer reviewed literature or base those criticisms on the current state of the literature. IPCC AR4 provides a useful summary of the criticisms and their significance.

      Given other research groups have produced broadly similar temperature reconstructions with various proxies and methods, the problems with Mann et al. are clearly not as significant as some people imagine.

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    33. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      If Geoffrey is to post elements of this discussion and make formal complaints, I hope he uses long quotes and provides links back to this discussion so the context is completely clear.

      There are over 400 comments in this discussion, with John Hunter and myself answering a large number of questions and addressing various misunderstandings.

      Also, my name is "Michael J. I. Brown", not "Michael J. Brown".

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    34. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      And Boss Geof, my name is Alexander B. Cannara, not to be confused with the New Jersey Cannara getting out of federal pen soon. Ever see The Sopranos, Geoff?
      ;]

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  26. Freddy Hills

    logged in via email @hushmail.com

    I am a skeptic. Not because I particularly doubt the earth's climate is changing but because I'm loathe to accept any claim as infallible. Even apparently solid and widely-accepted evidence could turn out to be flawed as new information comes to light. That's the beauty of science -- it's a naturally self-correcting process. And yet some would betray that process by adopting beliefs. A "belief"? Really? Since when does science require the acceptance of dogma to gain admittance to the temple?

    I'm…

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Freddy Hills

      Sounds like you want to argue both sides of the debate, but without doing any brain work, kinda like your gun comments elsewhere, Freddy.

      "Good science requires opposition that challenges one to support their claims and their evidence."

      Yes, indeed and you've made no scientific claims, while thousands of scientists, for over 100 years, have laid down clear, factual substantiation that your contribution to carbon emissions alone have contributed (along with ours) to climate change, sea raise…

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    2. Freddy Hills

      logged in via email @hushmail.com

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      "Yes, indeed and you've made no scientific claims..."

      Climatology isn't my field of expertise. The difference is that I realize it.

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    3. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Freddy Hills

      Scientists (myself included) actually enjoy a robust challenge to the orthodoxy. However, such a challenge doesn't come from papers that require 78 =< 50 or blog posts that struggle with averages and rise over run. It is a mistake to confuse such sloppy work with science.

      Ian Smith had an excellent comment on this topic earlier in the discussion. He said:

      To be honest, as a member of an editorial board, I think I would enjoy reading a well thought out "denialist" paper rather than another depressing "alarmist" paper. The problem is that there are relatively few well thought out "denialist" papers around. This has nothing to do with "stacked" editorial boards.

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    4. Freddy Hills

      logged in via email @hushmail.com

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      I didn't say it had anything to do with "stacked editorial boards". I just don't think calling people "deniers" is helpful. Its derisive and prejudicial. One should make their case without resorting to that.

      I'm also trying to make the case for how it sounds to the layman. Climatology isn't my area of expertise and I don't consider myself qualified to evaluate the evidence. So I have to depend on the consensus of those who supposedly are. When I hear people ridiculing those who disagree it doesn't inspire confidence that the process is unbiased.

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    5. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Freddy Hills

      Freddy, since you're not a scientist or engineer, no one expexts you to make "scientific claims". And, you oblige.
      ;]

      However, those of us who are scientists & engineers, relish the chance to get accurate info out to others herem, whenever folks like you blather in about the science you don't bother to study.

      So Freddy, here's something for you -- explain how we know exactly that much of the Carbon now in oceans came from you, and us, burning stuff.

      Here's some science practice, first, if that will help you -- explain why an ice cube floats in water, but not in good liquor. You can drink the whiskey after you do the 'science' -- it might relax your fact-avoidance lobe.
      ;]

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    6. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Freddy Hills

      Freddy, saying: "Climatology isn't my area of expertise and I don't consider myself qualified to evaluate the evidence." -- means what? That you should take Tom Lehrer's advice for folks who "can't communicate" and should "just shut up"?
      ;]
      You've shown everyone here you're not only not a scientist of any sort, but that you don't care to even study things you could gather from science, whether written here or elsewhere.

      Hiding behind "skeptic" gives you no credence for anything you complain about. Lay people aren't always fooled by that, y'know.

      .

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    7. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Freddy Hills

      Freddy, calling people "warmists" and "alarmists" is equally prejudicial and unhelpful as calling people "deniers", but there are no simple words to differentiate between those who make up their minds based on the evidence (ie: true sceptics), those who deny the evidence (deniers) and those who have already made up their minds based on the evidence and want to get on with solving the problems (alarmists, warmists).

      Another problem is that members of each of these labelled groups also refer to themselves as "realists", thereby inferring that anyone not in their group is automatically unrealistic.

      What simple, one-word, non-prejudicial labels would you prefer to see applied to the three major groups I have described?

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    8. Freddy Hills

      logged in via email @hushmail.com

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      "Freddy, since you're not a scientist or engineer..."

      I said climatology wasn't my field of expertise. I didn't say I wasn't a scientist or engineer.

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    9. Freddy Hills

      logged in via email @hushmail.com

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      "Freddy, calling people "warmists" and "alarmists" is equally prejudicial and unhelpful as calling people "deniers" "

      Of course.

      "What simple, one-word, non-prejudicial labels would you prefer to see applied to the three major groups I have described?"

      If one is evaluating the science on its own merits then it shouldn't matter. But if one needs labels then I would suggest acronyms.

      GW = Global Warming
      NGW = Non Global Warming
      AGW = Anthropomorphic Global Warming
      NAGW = Non Anthropomorphic Global Warming

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    10. Freddy Hills

      logged in via email @hushmail.com

      In reply to Freddy Hills

      "Anthropomorphic" should read "anthropogenic". ಠ_ಠ

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    11. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Freddy Hills

      Freddy, the point is that you give little evidence in your words of scientific understanding of things.

      Tell us, then, what science you do have expertise in, please.

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