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Two climate papers get hyped first, reviewed later. Isn’t that a bad idea?

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posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 07:22 PM

Over the weekend, two groups of researchers noisily announced the release of new climate-science papers they’d written. Physicist Richard Muller’s team at the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study (BEST) declared that it had re-confirmed the temperature results of NASA and other groups. The Earth has indeed been heating up, the group found. Muller even wrote a New York Times op-ed to showcase his findings. Meanwhile, climate skeptic Anthony Watts trumpeted a new paper that questioned some of the techniques used by NOAA to calculate U.S. temperature trends. Watts’ paper was quickly heralded by climate-change doubters.


The author of this article brings up a very good point. Stating that the recent rush to announce studies or discoveries before they have been peer reviewed is a disturbing trend.

One of these papers is already being discussed here on ATS:
Climate deniers act like actual skeptics, do own research, get "surprising" results.,

As we saw earlier in the year, when the brash claim was announced that neutrinos had been observed traveling faster than the speed of light. It caused quite an uproar in the scientific community. Then anticlimactically ended up being just a faulty cable.

So what is the reasoning for all this jumping the gun? Is it politically motivated? Are large sums of cash involved?(whether in the form of elicit payments, perks, or grants).

One possibility is that these papers are so crucial that they can’t possibly wait years before being vetted. That was one rationale behind announcing the faster-than-light neutrino result. Einstein might be wrong! That’s big news. But is that true in the case of these climate papers? Elizabeth Muller, the daughter of Richard Muller and a co-founder of the BEST project, tried to suggest as much: “I believe the findings in our papers are too important to wait for the year or longer that it could take to complete the journal review process.”

I tend to agree with the author. If your study is valid and holds up to scrutiny it will be acknowledged in due time. But rushing to publish, especially if there is a flaw in the research just leaves a black eye on science as a whole.

Are some of these studies to important to wait for verification, should these scientists risk casting doubt on all their work just because they are too impatient for their 15 minutes of fame?

Yet many climatologists have countered that there’s no good substitute for letting peer review do its work, especially in a fraught field like climate science that attracts lots of public attention. A few years ago, Penn State’s Michael Mann and NASA’s Gavin Schmidt penned a defense of the peer-review process for Real Climate. Yes, they noted, bad papers do get past reviewers. Just because something is published in a journal doesn’t mean it should be taken as gospel. But the current system works remarkably well:

What do you think ATS?

posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 09:08 PM
Yeahbut, Meuller has ben trotted out as having changed his mind, what, two or three times now?

He never really was a skeptic, it's a headline grabber. People keep cooking figures, inventing hockey sticks, fixing the books, and placing thermometers on hot asphalt and next to hot air returns...

And yes, I agree.

But, this should get your attention:

Forget 'climate convert' Muller: Here's the real warming blockbuster
Apply official WMO methods, warming shrinks massively

Posted in Energy, 30th July 2012 16:34 GMT

If new techniques endorsed by the World Meteorological Organisation are applied to official figures, over half of the global warming reported by US land-based thermometers between 1979 and 2008 simply disappears, researchers have found.

The new study used the same raw temperature measurements as US government federal scientific agencies, but the team deployed a revised metric that was better at taking into account the quality of the weather stations that housed the thermometers.

Previous studies have used a cruder metric to gauge station quality, which has to be taken into account so as to allow for the effect of asphalt, urban development and other local factors on the readings at any given thermometer. The new station-quality metric improves on older methods, not merely relying on distance but also the density of heat sinks and sources near the thermometers.

When the more sophisticated classification system is used, some dramatic results are seen. The new study reveals that the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) discarded the temperature trend from the higher quality weather stations in favour of a warming temperature trend from low quality weather stations.


When these non-compliant airport stations are excluded, the top-quality class 1 or 2 thermometers report an increase of just 0.124°C/decade, rather than the 0.308°C/decade NOAA insists upon.

So between 1979 and 2008 US land did warm, but not by as much as the official state agencies reported. Higher quality stations, less affected by growing urbanisation did not reflect the trend.


The Watts work has significant implications. For example, work by climate activist and scientist James Hansen, who has overseen the NASA global temperature record's major increases, and Richard Muller's recent BEST programme - much in the news lately owing to his putative status as a "convert" to climate alarmism - use cruder station classification systems. Their statistical methods may be unimpeachable, but it now appears that they are using unreliable data sets.

ETA: Money is always the reason, but these two papers were released in this fashion in a form of one up-manship, as well as election-related issues. In my opinion, of course.
edit on 30-7-2012 by Libertygal because: ETA

posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 10:47 PM
reply to post by Libertygal

Personally, I would like to see some studies on previous warming/cooling cycles.

Almost all the climate models being thrown about only use data from the past 150 years or so. I find it very hard to put much stock into these models when only a tiny fraction of the Earth's climate history is being studied.

Almost all life on this planet has been wiped out a few times now from one event or another, yet here the Earth is, still doing fine and teeming with life once again.

And these people expect us to buy that people burning coal is going to kill the planet? I'm not buying it.

But I digress, this thread is about irresponsible science, and studies being released before they have been reviewed. The climate debate just happens to be the most recent example.

posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 01:08 AM
reply to post by watchitburn

I could not agree with you more, and has been pointed out in multiple threads, volcanoes add immense fumes to the atmosphere, and we have no hopes of plugging them any time soon!

The thing is, most of these studies now seem to be so biased one way or the other. I just cannot see how they can be trusted, peer reviewed or not. There seems to be an agenda for either argument, and I cannot see either side relenting any time soon. I can also not see either side having a truly impartial study, it seems impossible now.

I feel like you, it seems. The earth has been through much, but she is here and still ticking.

I am not saying to live irresponsibly, or to pollute without regard to the planet, that is ridiculous. I am saying, however, that cO2 is a natural gas, and the more there is, the more plants thrive. I saw a study one where cO2 was forced over a crop of soy beans, and the other crop was left alone. The crop with the cO2 flourished, produced a high volume crop, and was substantially healthier than the other crop.

Studies like this, and common sense, cannot be denied.

They go after things *we* cannot see, that *we* cannot measure, and that *we* will have to pay carbon credit taxes for. Taxes for something invisible that earth *needs* to survive.

Common sense should prevail, but instead, lets kill off the plants and die from oxygen starvation.

Peer review that.

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