Monday, August 10, 2009

More on that ENSO nonsense

It is rumoured on the blogosphere that a manuscript by Foster, Annan et al :-) has been submitted concerning that silly ENSO paper that was recently published in JGR.

Climate Progress asks: Is this the fastest rebuttal of a denier study in history? We actually submitted the comment on Schwartz before that paper was even published (I think: we were certainly writing it prior to the paper appearing).

Of course, that's assuming that the Schwartz paper counts as a "denier study", which is not really clear. It was used in that way, but perhaps Schwartz was merely misguided and stubborn (the main problems had been pointed out to him prior to publication), whereas this lot was certainly mischievous and deceptive in the way they misrepresented their results.

Anyway, the most glaring problem in the McLean et al paper is that their analysis automatically rubs out any trend a priori, and thus they can deduce precisely nothing about the presence or cause of any trends in any of the data sets. The offence is aggravated by the fact that the differencing operation was justified in the paper as eliminating noise, which is clearly not the case. They also spliced together two data sets which have different zero levels without correcting this offset - the more modern one just happening to be biased cooler. There's also the point I made previously that their facile analysis of the statistics of the time series in no way supports their claim of a step change rather than a trend. In short, just about everything they said was wrong, apart from the vague generalities that were well known (eg that ENSO affects global temperature).

There's an interesting official statement from JGR in the comments to Tamino's post. Not that the contents of the comment are particularly interesting, but the fact that they felt that they needed to say it at all...

Will be amusing to see how serious a defence anyone can muster for the original paper.


Steve Bloom said...

For a quick blush, Foster et al will want to see the write-up over at Climate Progress.

David B. Benson said...

In some journals with which I have more knowledge, there is a 6 month window to send in "comments" about a paper. Civil ones are sent to the lead author of the paper in question. He, prehaps with the other authors, prepare a "closure" defending the paper. The comments and the closure are published together. That ends the matter as far as the journal is concerned.

Something similar going to happen in this case?

James Annan said...


Um...didn't I already link there?


Yes, it should be something like that, although there will also be some 3rd party review of both contributions. The AGU has a policy which it adheres to rather loosely (IME). I would expect the whole process to take several months.

Steve Bloom said...

Yes you did. I was commenting too fast and too late at might, plus you tricked me by not remarking on the fulsome rhetoric (which, since the first author is not a climate scientist, logic informs us must be directed at the second author).

James Annan said...

Oh, I thought it might be considered a little uncivilised to DRAW TOO MUCH ATTENTION TO IT!