To: Tom Wigley <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Phil Jones <email@example.com>, Mike Hulme <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Keith Briffa <email@example.com>, James Hansen <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Danny Harvey <email@example.com>, Ben Santer <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Kevin Trenberth <email@example.com>, Robert wilby <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Michael E. Mann" <email@example.com>, Tom Karl <Thomas.R.Karl@noaa.gov>, Steve Schneider <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Tom Crowley <email@example.com>, jto <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "simon.shackley" <email@example.com>, "tim.carter" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "p.martens" <email@example.com>, "peter.whetton" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "c.goodess" <email@example.com>, "a.minns" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Wolfgang Cramer <Wolfgang.Cramer@pik-potsdam.de>, "j.salinger" <email@example.com>, "simon.torok" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Mark Eakin <email@example.com>, Scott Rutherford <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Neville Nicholls <email@example.com>, Ray Bradley <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Mike MacCracken <email@example.com>, Barrie Pittock <Barrie.Pittock@csiro.au>, Ellen Mosley-Thompson <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "email@example.com" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Greg.Ayers" <Greg.Ayers@csiro.au>, Tom Wigley <email@example.com>
Subject: And again from the south!
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 2003 20:28:20 +1200
Dear friends and colleagues
This will be the last from me for the moment and I believe we are all
arriving at a consensus voiced by Tom, Barrie, Neville et al., from
Firstly both Danny and Tom have complained to de Freitas about
his editorial decision, which does not uphold the principles of good
science. Tom has shared the response. I would be curious to find
out who the other four cited are - but a rebuttal would be excellent.
Ignoring bad science eventually reinforces the apparent 'truth' of
that bad science in the public mind, if it is not corrected. As
importantly, the 'bad science' published by CR is used by the
sceptics' lobbies to 'prove' that there is no need for concern over
climate change. Since the IPCC makes it quite clear that there are
substantial grounds for concern about climate change, is it not
partially the responsibility of climate science to make sure only
satisfactorily peer-reviewed science appears in scientific
publications? - and to refute any inadequately reviewed and wrong
articles that do make their way through the peer review process?
I can understand the weariness which the ongoing sceptics'
onslaught would induce in anyone, scientist or not. But that's no
excuse for ignoring bad science. It won't go away, and the more
we ignore it the more traction it will gain in the minds of the general
public, and the UNFCCC negotiators. If science doesn't uphold the
purity of science, who will?
We Australasians (including Tom as an ex pat) have suggested
some courses of action. Over to you now in the north to assess
the success of your initiatives, the various discussions and
suggestions and arrive on a path ahead. I am happy to be part of it.
Warm wishes to all
On 23 Apr 2003, at 23:53, Tom Wigley wrote:
> Dear friends,
> [Apologies to those I have missed who have been part of this email
> exchange -- although they may be glad to have been missed]
> I think Barrie Pittock has the right idea -- although there are some
> unique things about this situation. Barrie says ....
> (1) There are lots of bad papers out there
> (2) The best response is probably to write a 'rebuttal'
> to which I add ....
> (3) A published rebuttal will help IPCC authors in the 4AR.
> Let me give you an example. There was a paper a few years ago by
> Legates and Davis in GRL (vol. 24, pp. 2319-1222, 1997) that was
> nothing more than a direct and pointed criticism of some work by
> Santer and me -- yet neither of us was asked to review the paper. We
> complained, and GRL admitted it was poor judgment on the part of the
> editor. Eventually (> 2 years later) we wrote a response (GRL 27,
> 2973-2976, 2000). However, our response was more that just a rebuttal,
> it was an attempt to clarify some issues on detection. In doing things
> this way we tried to make it clear that the original Legates/Davis
> paper was an example of bad science (more bluntly, either sophomoric
> ignorance or deliberate misrepresentation).
> Any rebuttal must point out very clearly the flaws in the original
> paper. If some new science (or explanations) can be added -- as we did
> in the above example -- then this is an advantage.
> There is some personal judgment involved in deciding whether to rebut.
> Correcting bad science is the first concern. Responding to unfair
> personal criticisms is next. Third is the possible misrepresentation
> of the results by persons with ideological or political agendas. On
> the basis of these I think the Baliunas paper should be rebutted by
> persons with appropriate expertise. Names like Mann, Crowley, Briffa,
> Bradley, Jones, Hughes come to mind. Are these people willing to spend
> time on this?
> There are two other examples that I know of where I will probably be
> involved in writing a response.
> The first is a paper by Douglass and Clader in GRL (vol. 29, no. 16,
> 10.1029/2002GL015345, 2002). I refereed a virtually identical paper
> for J. Climate, recommending rejection. All the other referees
> recommended rejection too. The paper is truly appalling -- but somehow
> it must have been poorly reviewed by GRL and slipped through the net.
> I have no reason to believe that this was anything more than chance.
> Nevertheless, my judgment is that the science is so bad that a
> response is necessary.
> The second is the paper by Michaels et al. that was in Climate
> Research (vol. 23, pp. 1�9, 2002). Danny Harvey and I refereed this
> and said it should be rejected. We questioned the editor (deFreitas
> again!) and he responded saying .....
> The MS was reviewed initially by five referees. ... The other three
> referees, all reputable atmospheric scientists, agreed it should be
> published subject to minor revision. Even then I used a sixth person
> to help me decide. I took his advice and that of the three other
> referees and sent the MS back for revision. It was later accepted for
> publication. The refereeing process was more rigorous than usual.
> On the surface this looks to be above board -- although, as referees
> who advised rejection it is clear that Danny and I should have been
> kept in the loop and seen how our criticisms were responded to.
> It is possible that Danny and I might write a response to this paper
> -- deFreitas has offered us this possibility.
> This second case gets to the crux of the matter. I suspect that
> deFreitas deliberately chose other referees who are members of the
> skeptics camp. I also suspect that he has done this on other
> occasions. How to deal with this is unclear, since there are a number
> of individuals with bona fide scientific credentials who could be used
> by an unscrupulous editor to ensure that 'anti-greenhouse' science can
> get through the peer review process (Legates, Balling, Lindzen,
> Baliunas, Soon, and so on).
> The peer review process is being abused, but proving this would be
> The best response is, I strongly believe, to rebut the bad science
> that does get through.
> Jim Salinger raises the more personal issue of deFreitas. He is
> clearly giving good science a bad name, but I do not think a barrage
> of ad hominem attacks or letters is the best way to counter this.
> If Jim wishes to write a letter with multiple authors, I may be
> willing to sign it, but I would not write such a letter myself.
> In this case, deFreitas is such a poor scientist that he may simply
> disappear. I saw some work from his PhD, and it was awful (Pat
> Michaels' PhD is at the same level).
> Best wishes to all,
Dr Jim Salinger, CRSNZ
P O Box 109 695
Tel + 64 9 375 2053 Fax + 64 9 375 2051