Friday, December 23, 2011


From: Tim Osborn <>
Subject: Re: Update on response to Douglass et al.
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2008 13:41:18 +0000
Cc: "'Philip D. Jones'" <>

Hi Ben (cc Phil),

just heard back from Glenn. He's prepared to treat it as a new
submission rather than a comment on Douglass et al. and he also
reiterates that "Needless to say my offer of a quick turn around time
etc still stands".

So basically this makes the IJC option more attractive than if it
were treated as a comment. But whether IJC is still a less
attractive option than GRL is up to you to decide :-) (or feel free
to canvas your potential co-authors [the only thing I didn't want to
make more generally known was the suggestion that print publication
of Douglass et al. might be delayed... all other aspects of this
discussion are unrestricted]).



At 21:00 10/01/2008, Ben Santer wrote:
>Dear Tim,
>Thanks very much for your email. I greatly appreciate the additional
>information that you've given me. I am a bit conflicted about what
>we should do.
>IJC published a paper with egregious statistical errors. Douglass et
>al. was essentially a commentary on work by myself and colleagues -
>work that had been previously published in Science in 2005 and in
>Chapter 5 of the first U.S. CCSP Report in 2006. To my knowledge,
>none of the authors or co-authors of the Santer et al. Science paper
>or of CCSP 1.1 Chapter 5 were used as reviewers of Douglass et al. I
>am assuming that, when he submitted his paper to IJC, Douglass
>specifically requested that certain scientists should be excluded
>from the review process. Such an approach is not defensible for a
>paper which is largely a comment on previously-published work.
>It would be fair and reasonable to give IJC the opportunity to "set
>the record straight", and correct the harm they have done by
>publication of Douglass et al. I use the word "harm" advisedly. The
>author and coauthors of the Douglass et al. IJC paper are using this
>paper to argue that "Nature, not CO2, rules the climate", and that
>the findings of Douglass et al. invalidate the "discernible human
>influence" conclusions of previous national and international
>scientific assessments.
>Quick publication of a response to Douglass et al. in IJC would go
>some way towards setting the record straight. I am troubled,
>however, by the very real possibility that Douglass et al. will have
>the last word on this subject. In my opinion (based on many years of
>interaction with these guys), neither Douglass, Christy or Singer
>are capable of admitting that their paper contained serious
>scientific errors. Their "last word" will be an attempt to obfuscate
>rather than illuminate. They are not interested in improving our
>scientific understanding of the nature and causes of recent changes
>in atmospheric temperature. They are solely interested in advancing
>their own agendas. It is telling and troubling that Douglass et al.
>ignored radiosonde data showing substantial warming of the tropical
>troposphere - data that were in accord with model results - even
>though such data were in their possession. Such behaviour
>constitutes intellectual dishonesty. I strongly believe that leaving
>these guys the last word is inherently unfair.
>If IJC are interested in publishing our contribution, I believe it's
>fair to ask for the following:
>1) Our paper should be regarded as an independent contribution, not
>as a comment on Douglass et al. This seems reasonable given i) The
>substantial amount of new work that we have done; and ii) The fact
>that the Douglass et al. paper was not regarded as a comment on
>Santer et al. (2005), or on Chapter 5 of the 2006 CCSP Report - even
>though Douglass et al. clearly WAS a comment on these two publications.
>2) If IJC agrees to 1), then Douglass et al. should have the
>opportunity to respond to our contribution, and we should be given
>the chance to reply. Any response and reply should be published
>side-by-side, in the same issue of IJC.
>I'd be grateful if you and Phil could provide me with some guidance
>on 1) and 2), and on whether you think we should submit to IJC. Feel
>free to forward my email to Glenn McGregor.
>With best regards,
>Tim Osborn wrote:
>>At 03:52 10/01/2008, Ben Santer wrote:
>>>...Much as I would like to see a high-profile rebuttal of Douglass
>>>et al. in a journal like Science or Nature, it's unlikely that
>>>either journal will publish such a rebuttal.
>>>So what are our options? Personally, I'd vote for GRL. I think
>>>that it is important to publish an expeditious response to the
>>>statistical flaws in Douglass et al. In theory, GRL should be able
>>>to give us the desired fast turnaround time...
>>>Why not go for publication of a response in IJC? According to
>>>Phil, this option would probably take too long. I'd be interested
>>>to hear any other thoughts you might have on publication options.
>>Hi Ben and Phil,
>>as you may know (Phil certainly knows), I'm on the editorial board
>>of IJC. Phil is right that it can be rather slow (though faster
>>than certain other climate journals!). Nevertheless, IJC really is
>>the preferred place to publish (though a downside is that Douglass
>>et al. may have the opportunity to have a response considered to
>>accompany any comment).
>>I just contacted the editor, Glenn McGregor, to see what he can
>>do. He promises to do everything he can to achieve a quick
>>turn-around time (he didn't quantify this) and he will also "ask
>>(the publishers) for priority in terms of getting the paper online
>>asap after the authors have received proofs". He genuinely seems
>>keen to correct the scientific record as quickly as possible.
>>He also said (and please treat this in confidence, which is why I
>>emailed to you and Phil only) that he may be able to hold back the
>>hardcopy (i.e. the print/paper version) appearance of Douglass et
>>al., possibly so that any accepted Santer et al. comment could
>>appear alongside it. Presumably depends on speed of the review process.
>>If this does persuade you to go with IJC, Glenn suggested that I
>>could help (because he is in Kathmandu at present) with achieving
>>the quick turn-around time by identifying in advance reviewers who
>>are both suitable and available. Obviously one reviewer could be
>>someone who is already familiar with this discussion, because that
>>would enable a fast review - i.e., someone on the email list you've
>>been using - though I don't know which of these people you will be
>>asking to be co-authors and hence which won't be available as
>>possible reviewers. For objectivity the other reviewer would need
>>to be independent, but you could still suggest suitable names.
>>Well, that's my thoughts... let me know what you decide.
>>Dr Timothy J Osborn, Academic Fellow
>>Climatic Research Unit
>>School of Environmental Sciences
>>University of East Anglia
>>Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
>>phone: +44 1603 592089
>>fax: +44 1603 507784
>Benjamin D. Santer
>Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison
>Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
>P.O. Box 808, Mail Stop L-103
>Livermore, CA 94550, U.S.A.
>Tel: (925) 422-2486
>FAX: (925) 422-7675

Dr Timothy J Osborn, Academic Fellow
Climatic Research Unit
School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia
Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK

phone: +44 1603 592089
fax: +44 1603 507784


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