The Climate Research Dispute over Publishing Soon and Baliunas
From the very good, searchable, ClimateGate document site www.climategate.com comes some emails I haven't seen discussed anywhere. The bottom email is from an editor criticized for publishing Soon and Baliunas by the CRU crowd; the top email is CRU man Dr. Jones's reaction.
Dear All, Keith and I have discussed the email below. I don't want to start a discussion of it and I don't want you sending it around to anyone else, but it serves as a warning as to where the debate might go should the EOS piece come out. I think it might help Tom (W) if you are still going to write a direct response to CR. Some of de Freitas' views are interesting/novel/off the wall to say the least. I am glad that he doesn't consider himself a paleoclimatologist - the statement about the LIA having the lowest temperatures since the LGM. The paleo people he's talked to didn't seem to mention the YD, 8.2K or the 4.2/3K events - only the Holocene Optimum. There are also some snipes at CRU and our funding, but we're ignoring these here. Also Mike comes in for some stick, so stay cool Mike - you're a married man now ! So let's keep this amongst ourselves . I have learned one thing. This is that the reviewer who said they were too busy was Ray. I have been saying this to loads of papers recently (something Tom(w) can vouch for). It is clear from the differences between CR and the ERE piece that the other 4 reviewers did not say much, so a negative review was likely to be partly ignored, and the article would still have come out. I say this as this might come out if things get nasty. De Freitas will not say to Hans von Storch or to Clare Goodess who the 4 reviewers were. I believe his paleoclimatologist is likely to be Anthony Fowler, who does dendro at Auckland. Cheers Phil X-Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org X-Mailer: QUALCOMM Windows Eudora Version 5.1 Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 09:29:22 +0100 To: c.goodess@uea,phil Jones
From: Mike Hulme Subject: Fwd: Re: Climate Research Clare, Phil, Since Clare and CRU are named in it, you may be interested in Chris de Freitas' reply to the publisher re. my letter to Otto Kinne. I am not responding to this, but await a reply from Kinne himself. Mike From: "Chris de Freitas" To: Inter-Research Science Publisher Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 13:45:56 +1200 Subject: Re: Climate Research Reply-to: email@example.com CC: firstname.lastname@example.org Priority: normal X-mailer: Pegasus Mail for Win32 (v3.12c) Otto (and copied to Mike Hulme) I have spent a considerable amount of my time on this matter and had my integrity attacked in the process. I want to emphasize that the people leading this attack are hardly impartial observers. Mike himself refers to "politics" and political incitement involved. Both Hulme and Goodess are from the Climate Research Unit of UEA that is not particularly well known for impartial views on the climate change debate. The CRU has a large stake in climate change research funding as I understand it pays the salaries of most of its staff. I understand too the journalist David Appell was leaked information to fuel a public attack. I do not know the source Mike Hulme refers to the number of papers I have processed for CR that "have been authored by scientists who are well known for their opposition to the notion that humans are significantly altering global climate." How many can he say he has processed? I suspect the answer is nil. Does this mean he is biased towards scientists "who are well known for their support for the notion that humans are significantly altering global climate? Mike Hulme quite clearly has an axe or two to grind, and, it seems, a political agenda. But attacks on me of this sort challenge my professional integrity, not only as a CR editor, but also as an academic and scientist. Mike Hulme should know that I have never accepted any research money for climate change research, none from any "side" or lobby or interest group or government or industry. So I have no pipers to pay. This matter has gone too far. The critics show a lack of moral imagination. And the Cramer affair is dragged up over an over again. People quickly forget that Cramer (like Hulme and Goodess now) was attacking Larry Kalkstein and me for approving manuscripts, in Hulme's words, "authored by scientists who are well known for their opposition to the notion that humans are significantly altering global climate." I would like to remind those who continually drag up the Cramer affair that Cramer himself was not unequivocal in his condemnation of Balling et al's manuscript (the one Cramer refereed and now says I should have not had published - and what started all this off). In fact, he did not even recommend that it be rejected. He stated in his review: "My review of the manuscript is mainly with the conclusions of the work. For technical assessment, I do not myself have sufficient experience with time series analysis of the kind presented by the authors." He goes on to recommend: "revise and resubmit for additional review". This is exactly what I did; but I did not send it back to him after resubmission for the very reason that he himself confessed to ignorance about the analytical method used. Am I to trundle all this out over and over again because of criticism from a lobbyist scientists who are, paraphrasing Hulme, "well known for their support for the notion that humans are significantly altering global climate". The criticisms of Soon and Baliunas (2003) CR article raised by Mike Hume in his 16 June 2003 email to you was not raised by the any of the four referees I used (but is curiously similar to points raided by David Appell!). Keep in mind that referees used were selected in consultation with a paleoclimatologist. Five referees were selected based on the guidance I received. All are reputable paleoclimatologists, respected for their expertise in reconstruction of past climates. None (none at all) were from what Hans and Clare have referred to as "the other side" or what Hulme refers to as people well known for their opposition to the notion that humans are significantly altering global climate." One of the five referees turned down the request to review explaining he was busy and would not have the time. The remaining four referees sent their detailed comments to me. None suggested the manuscript should be rejected. S&B were asked to respond to referees comments and make extensive alterations accordingly. This was done. I am no paleoclimatolgist, far from it, but have collected opinions from other paleoclimatologists on the S&B paper. I summarise them here. What I take from the S&B paper is an attempt to assess climate data lost from sight in the Mann proxies. For example, the raising on lowering of glacier equilibrium lines was the origin of the Little Ice Age as a concept and still seems to be a highly important proxy, even if a little difficult to precisely quantify. Using a much larger number of "proxy" indicators than Mann did, S&B inquired whether there was a globally detectable 50-year period of unusual cold in the LIA and a similarly warm era in the MWP. Further, they asked if these indicators, in general, would indicate that any similar period in the 20th century was warmer than any other era. S&B did not purport to do independent interpretation of climate time series, either through 50-year filters or otherwise. They merely adopt the conclusions of the cited authors and make a scorecard. It seems pretty evident to me that temperatures in the LIA were the lowest since the LGM. There are lots of peer-reviewed paleo-articles which assert the existence of LIA. Frankly, I have difficulty understanding this particular quibble. Some sort of averaging is necessary to establish the 'slower' trends, and that sort of averaging is used by every single study - they average to bring out the item of their interest. A million year average would do little to enlighten, as would detailed daily readings. The period must be chosen to eliminate as much of the 'noise' as possible without degrading the longer-term signals significantly. As I read the S&B paper, it was a relatively arbitrary choice - and why shouldn't it be? It was only chosen to suppress spurious signals and expose the slower drift that is inherent in nature. Anyone that has seen curves of the last 2 million years must recognize that an averaging of some sort has taken place. It is not often, however, that the quibble is about the choice of numbers of years, or the exact methodology - those are chosen simply to expose 'supposedly' useful data which is otherwise hidden from view. Let me ask Mike this question. Can he give an example of any dataset where the S&B characterization of the source author is incorrect? (I am not vouching for them , merely asking.) S&B say that they rely on the original characterizations, not that they are making their own; I don't see a problem a priori on relying on characterizations of others or, in the present circumstances, of presenting a literature review. While S&B is a literature review, so is this section of IPCC TAR, except that the S&B review is more thorough. The Mann et al multi-proxy reconstruction of past temperatures has many problems and these have been well documented by S&B and others. My reading of the IPCC TAR leads me to the conclusion that Mann et al has been used as the basis for a number of assertions: 1. Over the past millennium (at least for the NH) the temperature has not varied significantly (except for the European/North Atlantic sector) and hence the climate system has little internal variability. This statement is supported by an analysis of model behaviour, which also shows little internal variability in climate models. 2. Recent global warming, as inferred from instrument records, is large and unusual in the context of the Mann et al temperature reconstruction from multi- proxies. 3. Because of the previous limited variability and the recent warming that cannot be explained by known natural forcing (volcanic activity and solar insolation changes) human activity is the likely cause of the recent global change. In this context, IPCC mounts a powerful case. But the case rests on two main foundations; the past climate has shown little variability and the climate models reflect the internal variability of the climate system. If either or both are shown to be weak or fallacious then the IPCC case is weakened or fails. S&B have examined the premise that the globally integrated temperature has hardly varied over the past millennium prior to the instrumental record. I agree it is not rocket science that they have performed. They have looked at the evidence provided by researchers to see if the trend of the temperature record of the European/North Atlantic sector (which is not disputed by IPCC) is reflected in individual records from other parts of the globe (Their three questions). How objective is their assessment? From a purely statistical viewpoint the work can be criticised. But if you took a purely statistical approach you probably would not have sufficient data to reach an unambiguous conclusion, or you could try statistical fiddles to combine the data and end up with erroneous results under the guise of statistical significance. S&B have looked at the data and reached the conclusion that probably the temperature record from other parts of the globe follows the same pattern as that of the European/North Atlantic sector. Of the individual proxy records that I have seen I would agree that this is the case. I certainly have not found significant regions of the NH that were cold during the medieval period and warm during the Little Ice Age period that are necessary offsets of the European/North Atlantic sector necessary to reach a hemispherically flat pattern as derived by Mann et al. S&B have put forward sufficient evidence to challenge the Mann et al analysis outcome and seriously weaken the IPCC assertions based on Mann et al. Paleo reconstruction of temperatures and the global pattern over the past millennium and longer remains a fertile field for research. It suggests that the climate system is such that a major temporal variation as is universally recognised for the European/North Atlantic region would be reflected globally and S&B have given support to this view. It is my belief that the S&B work is a sincere endeavour to find out whether MWP and LIA were worldwide phenomena. The historical evidence beyond tree ring widths is convincing in my opinion. The concept of "Little Ice Age" is certainly used practically by all Holocene paleo- climatologists, who work on oblivious to Mann's "disproof" of its existence. Paleoclimatologists tell me that, for debating purposes, they are more inclined to draw attention to the Holocene Optimum (about 6000 BP) as an undisputed example of climate about 1-2 deg C warmer than at present, and to ponder the entry and exit from the Younger Dryas as an example of abrupt climate change, than to get too excited about the Medieval Warm Period, which seems a very attenuated version. However, the Little Ice Age seems valid enough as a paleoclimatic concept. North American geologists repeatedly assert that the 19th century was the coldest century in North America since the LGM. To that extent, showing temperature increase since then is not unlike a mutual fund salesmen showing expected rate of return from a market bottom - not precisely false, but rather in the realm of sleight-of- hand. Regards Chris Prof. Phil Jones Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0) 1603 592090 School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0) 1603 507784 University of East Anglia Norwich Email email@example.com NR4 7TJ UK ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- Thomas J. Crowley Nicholas Professor of Earth Systems Science Dept. of Earth and Ocean Sciences Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences Box 90227 103 Old Chem Building Duke University Durham, NC 27708 firstname.lastname@example.org 919-681-8228 919-684-5833 fax
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