David Karoly

I haven’t had a chance to read the FoI materials on this yet, but Climate Audit and Bunyipitude dissect the Karoly/Gergis Hockey Stick debacle, on-hold, correction, retraction, withdrawal or whatever it really was.

Prof Bunyip has an ongoing series of posts here.

Climate Audit reports on the discovery of the error here, and the battle with the Journal of Climate here.

You can download all the documents here.

Gergis Hockey Stick 'withdrawn'

Watts Up and Jo Nova are reporting that the Gergis/Karoly Hockey Stick paper has been withdrawn. You will recall the original story, widely covered by the lame-stream media, that a new analysis of proxy data showed the warming in the last 50 years was unprecedented in the past millennium. Here is how ACM reported the story:

ACM on 17 May 2012

Thanks to Hockey Stick Breaker in Chief, Steve McIntyre, the paper was put “on hold” after discovery of a “data processing error”.

Now it appears the paper has been withdrawn (see WUWT and Jo Nova).

[crickets chirping]

That’s the sound of the mainstream media’s response to the withdrawal…

Yet more on Gergis

Steve McIntyre’s investigation into Gergis et al continues apace. His latest post investigates the “Law Dome” ice core series, and why it has never been published officially, despite being the highest resolution available for the last 2000 years. It was “screened out” of the Gergis paper.

Josh has been on good form once again, with a trio of Gergis based cartoons (click to enlarge each):


Stick sifting

McIntyre at work

The Age beats The Oz for balanced climate reporting

Balance - today, at least

UPDATE: The Australian prints an update here (not, however, by science writer Leigh Dayton, who couldn’t bring herself to acknowledge the problem even existed).

For today, at least, The Age’s Adam Morton gets the guernsey for climate reporting (yes, you did read that correctly), for acknowledging the problems with the recent Gergis et al paper (see here, here, here, and here).

Morton, like the majority of environmental journalists, is a (self-selected?) believer in the magnitude and dangers of AGW, but today has shown a welcome streak of balance:

A WIDELY reported study that found the past half-century in Australasia was very likely the warmest in a millennium has been ”put on hold” after a mistake was found in the paper.

Led by scientists from the University of Melbourne, the study involved analysis of palaeoclimatic data from tree rings, coral and ice cores to give what was described as the most complete climate record of the region over the past 1000 years.

It was peer-reviewed and published online by the Journal of Climate in May, but was removed from the website last week at the authors’ request after the discovery of a ”data processing issue” that could affect the results.

Study co-author and climate science professor David Karoly said one of the five authors found the method of analysis outlined in the paper differed to that actually used.

The Climate Audit blog – run by Canadian Steve McIntyre, who has challenged the validity of palaeoclimatic temperature reconstructions – claimed credit for finding the issue with the paper. Professor Karoly said the authors uncovered the problem before Climate Audit blogged about it.

He said the data and results were being reviewed. (source)

Disappointingly, however, The Australian, which has usually been far more balanced in its reporting of climate matters, is so far refusing to publish anything about the developments. When contacted by ACM about the discovery of the problem, suggesting that a similar article to Morton’s be published in the Oz, science writer Leigh Dayton responded:

“I think we’ll have to agree to disagree.”

A curious answer, given the fact that the paper’s authors themselves have acknowledged the issues with the data processing. It’s an indisputable fact that the paper is on hold pending correction, and not a matter of opinion over which one can choose to agree or disagree.

It is likely that the conclusions of the paper will be substantially similar after the review, but in any event, readers of The Australian, who, like readers of The Age, were informed of the fairly sensational claims of the original paper, should also be informed of this important development.

Quote of the Day: 'Gergis has lost all critical distance from her research'

I like to think that ACM played a small part in this story, as commentators are beginning to look closely at Joelle Gergis’ climate activism and how it invariably taints her research.

Commenter Baldrick first located Gergis’ blog here, which revealed her past climate activism, and we preserved it here and here on Webcitation so that if it ever got posted down the memory hole, it would still be available.

Guess what? That’s exactly what happened, and Gergis’ blog was “disappeared“…

Recall that Gergis, on her blog, wrote:

As a climate scientist, I am hopeful that we will finally see real action on climate change. According to COSMOS, [former Australian PM Kevin] Rudd is expected to receive a “rock star’s welcome” to the world stage at crucial U.N. climate change talks in Bali next month. He will be hailed for agreeing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement aimed at curbing global greenhouse gas emissions.

Up to 140 world environment ministers will attend the conference. It is hoped the meeting will bring vital breakthroughs in the effort to achieve a new climate agreement. It is expected to deliver a road map to show how to keep the planet’s temperature from rising more than two degrees

And now, Fritz Varenholt, author of The Cold Sun spells out the obvious conflict:

By mixing activism and science, Joelle Gergis has apparently lost all critical distance [from her] research results, which invariably leads to such errors. A science open to results is impossible with that attitude. This is not only true for Gergis. Inconvenient results are suppressed, interpretations constantly distorted in one direction, and alternatives are ignored or swept aside. Gergis’s refusal to admit to errors and to have a fruitful dialogue with opposing views can only be explained by her ideological fixation(source)

Well said indeed. Read my post Are climate scientists a self-selecting set of climate activists? here.

Aussie Hockey Stick paper 'put on hold'

UPDATE: Leigh Dayton, “science” writer for The Australian responds to an email relating to this issue from one of my readers thus:

“I deal only with peer-reviewed science, not cherry-picked “evidence” from people not engaged in research.”

Only thing I can say is: wow. Yet another self-selected environmental activist, alas. Check out this article if you are in any doubt about her blinkered approach to climate. It even uses the “D” word.

Again, thanks to the tireless efforts of Steve McIntyre, truly a hero of the realist cause, the paper by Joelle Gergis (climate activist), which claimed a Hockey Stick in Australia (and who then refused to release the data), has been put on hold.

David Karoly writes to McIntyre:

An issue has been identified in the processing of the data used in the study, which may affect the results. While the paper states that “both proxy climate and instrumental data were linearly detrended over the 1921–1990 period”, we discovered on Tuesday 5 June that the records used in the final analysis were not detrended for proxy selection, making this statement incorrect. Although this is an unfortunate data processing issue, it is likely to have implications for the results reported in the study. The journal has been contacted and the publication of the study has been put on hold.

This is a normal part of science. The testing of scientific studies through independent analysis of data and methods strengthens the conclusions. In this study, an issue has been identified and the results are being re-checked.

We would be grateful if you would post the notice below on your ClimateAudit web site.

We would like to thank you and the participants at the ClimateAudit blog for your scrutiny of our study, which also identified this data processing issue.

Note that Karoly says McIntyre’s scrutiny “also” identified the issue, hinting that they had found it themselves independently. How likely is that? Where were all the peer reviewers? Missing in action? Blinded by their own ideology? Just a coincidence that McIntyre blows holes in it and suddenly they find a problem? D’ya think they’d have bothered if McIntyre hadn’t exposed the paper as being potentially flawed? I very much doubt it – it would have just added to the “consensus”.

McIntyre however cautions:

I urge readers not to get too wound up about this, as there are a couple of potential fallback positions. They might still claim to “get” a Stick using the reduced population of proxies that pass their professed test. Alternatively, they might now say that the “right” way of screening is to do so without detrending and “get” a Stick that way.

Why are they trying to “get” a stick? Is that science, or activism?

Read Steve’s post here.

(h/t Paul M – thanks)

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