Retraction City

I’m still waiting for some notable reporters, web loggers and commentators to retract, to take it all back on Climategate, which was a “pseudo-scandal”, according to Chris Mooney, in reviewing “The Climate Files”, a book on the stolen University of East Anglia e-mails, written by Fred Pearce :-

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727671.300-the-climate-scandal-that-never-was.html

A number of people appear to want Fred Pearce to retract his own work as well. Chris Mooney writes :-

“Pearce is an ace climate journalist, deeply conversant with every debate in the field going back several decades. This expertise, however, makes the arcane climategate emails a kind of kryptonite for him. Again and again, they drag Pearce into the weeds of complex technical arguments between scientists and their sceptic detractors. And so we plunge into debates about the validity of certain data from Chinese weather stations and about whether bristlecone pine tree rings show evidence of climate change. And this is precisely where the sceptics want journalists to go – into the weeds – because it confuses the public.”

Other people are less charitable :-

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/07/fred_pearce_informs_us_that_op.php

“Fred Pearce informs us that opinions on the shape of the Earth differ”

http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/2010/07/01/fred-pearce-is-a-rubbish-journalist/

“July 1, 2010 : Fred Pearce is a rubbish journalist : If anyone needs evidence that the “reporting” crutch of He Said, She Said is still being employed by stenographers masquerading as journalists, here’s Fred Pearce in New Scientist. No serious effort is made to inform the reader which of the parties is actually supported by reality. Note the weasel wording and false balance throughout, e.g.: “some of the researchers involved take issue with a suggestion that greenhouse gases are not primarily responsible for global warming”; “Foster’s team concludes… But de Freitas says”; “The vitriol continues”; etc. It’s a stereotypical example of the “on the one hand, on the other” style that has so distorted the public’s understanding of the issue of anthropogenic climate change. It’s 2010… This article should be held up as a model for how reporting should not be done…”

Here is what they are complaining about : a short online article, much shortened for the “Upfront” News snippets in the front pages of the print edition of the New Scientist magazine, Issue 2767, 3 July 2010 :-

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http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727670.201-climategate-jibes-fly-over-el-nino-impact-on-warming.html

‘Climategate’ jibes fly over El Niño impact on warming

29 June 2010 by Fred Pearce

The echoes of “climategate” rumble on with the publication of a paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research in which some of the researchers involved take issue with a suggestion that greenhouse gases are not primarily responsible for global warming.

A paper published by the journal in July 2009 claims two-thirds of global warming in the past 30 years was caused by the growing influence of the warm phase of the El Niño climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean – and, by inference, not by greenhouse gases. The analysis was conducted by John McLean of Applied Science Consultants in Croydon, Victoria, Australia.

The journal has now published a riposte from researchers whose emails were stolen from the University of East Anglia last November. They include Grant Foster of Tempo Analytics in Westbrook, Maine, UEA’s Phil Jones and Mike Mann of Pennsylvania State University. Among the objects of their ire was McLean’s co-author, geographer Chris de Freitas of the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Foster’s team concludes that McLean’s analysis maximises the apparent influence of the four-year El Niño cycle by filtering out temperature variability on timescales greater than six years. They say El Niño only explains 15 to 30 per cent of recent warming.

“Foster uncovered a fatal flaw in the analysis of McLean and de Freitas,” says Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. But de Freitas says there are “Climategate-style shenanigans” going on, and that Foster’s paper is an “attempt to discredit work that challenges alarmism”.

In March, when early drafts of the Foster paper were circulating, de Freitas and McLean wrote a pamphlet which claimed that the Journal of Geophysical Research had refused to publish their reply to Foster’s critique of their paper. The vitriol continues.



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I think the Editor at New Scientist might have been a little worried by this piece, as the print edition version is somewhat less “spattish” :-

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New climate spat

The echoes of “climategate” rumble on with the publication of a paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research in which some of the researchers involved take issue with a suggestion that greenhouse gases are not primarily responsible for global warming.

A previous paper published by the journal in July 2009 claims two-thirds of global warming in the past 30 years was caused by the growing influence of the warm phase of the El Niño climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean – and, by inference, not by greenhouse gases. The analysis was conducted by John McLean of Applied Science Consultants in Croydon, Victoria, Australia.

The journal has now published a riposte from researchers whose emails were stolen from the University of East Anglia last November. They include Grant Foster of Tempo Analytics in Westbrook, Maine, UEA’s Phil Jones and Mike Mann of Pennsylvania State University.

Foster’s team concludes that McLean’s analysis maximises the apparent influence of the four-year El Niño cycle by filtering out temperature variability on timescales greater than six years (DOI: 10.1029/2009JD012960). They say El Niño only explains 15 to 30 per cent of recent warming.

“Foster uncovered a fatal flaw in the analysis of McLean and de Freitas,” says Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.



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For reference, here is the original Maclean, de Freitas and Carter research paper :-

http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2008JD011637.shtml
“Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature”

And here is the comment from Foster, Annan, Jones, Mann, Mullen, Renwick, Salinger and Trenberth :-

http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2010/2009JD012960.shtml
“Comment on “Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature” by J. D. McLean, C. R. de Freitas, and R. M. Carter”

  
  
  

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