Joe Bast Sent me this summary of Nature articles with his brief comments. I liked.
Attached are 25 pages from some recent issues of NATURE that I found especially interesting.
* “Modelling the effects of subjective and objective decision making in scientific peer review,” by UK Park, Mike W. Peacey, and Marcus R. Mufato, Nature, Vol. 506, February 6, 2014, pp. 93-96. This lengthy (4 pages) and heavily footnoted article appears as a “Letter,” so I’m not sure it’s peer reviewed. The authors are economists in the UK and South Korea. This is an important article about the collapse of peer review. It repeatedly cites Ioannidis’s pioneering work in this field, points out that “it has been shown that increased popularity of a particular research theme reduces the reliability of published results, and that findings published in prestigious journalists are less reliable and more likely to be retracted.” They also cite research showing “a mismatch between the claims made in the abstracts [of academic articles], and the strength of evidence for those claims based on a neutral analysis of the data, consistent with the occurrence of herding.”
* “Drought and fire change sink to source,” by Jennifer K. Balch, reports on a study that found the Amazon forest biome released more carbon than it took up in 2010, a major drought year, due to forest fires and reduced photosynthesis rates. Since many computer models forecast more drought due to global warming, she warns that “if drought and fire frequencies increase in the future, they may override the Amazon’s function as a carbon sink.”
* “Carbon dioxide storage is secure.” Vivian Scott, a scientist at Edinburgh University in the UK, writes on behalf of six cosignatories to object to an article in a previous issue that warned that seabed fractures pose a threat to plans to sequester carbon dioxide under the North Sea in the Sleipner gas field.
*”Make supply chains climate-smart,” by Anders Levermann, a “professor of dynamics of the climate system at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany,” describes efforts to “track the flows of specific goods at a scale appropriate for the effects of natural disasters” to be observed and then prepared for and defended against. While the author repeats the usual mantra of AGW alarmism and cites no new data, Robert Carter in Australia will be happy to know work along these lines is underway.
* “Statistical Errors,” by Regina Nuzzo, in the February 13th issue of NATURE, is a fascinating article about the value of P-values. “P values, the ‘gold standard’ of statistical validity, are not as reliable as many scientists assume.” John Dunn may find this relevant to his recent debate with others over the role of confidence levels and statistical significance.
* “Managing forests in uncertain times,” by Valentin Bellassen and Sabastiaan Luyssaert (both are spelled correctly), are Frenchmen who seem to be writing far outside their area of competence. They report that “the world’s forests have absorbed as much as 30% (2 petagrams of carbon per year; PgCyear-1) of annual global anthropogenic CO2 emissions – about the same amount as the oceans.” Carbon dioxide fertilization and anthropogenic nitrogen emissions are “accelerating tree growth worldwide,” but this trend may be endangered by “forest fires, infestations, droughts and storms” thought to be linked to global warming. “A quantified understanding of how all these drivers shape the forest carbon sink is lacking. And predictions of how they will change during this century remain uncertain.”
* “A green illusion,” by Kamel Soudani and Christephe Francois, reports on a study appearing in the Letters section (“Amazon forests maintain…” see below) warns that previous estimates of the “greenness of Amazon forests” based on satellite observations “are in fact an optical artifact.”
* “A two-fold increase in carbon cycle sensitivity to tropical temperature variations,” by Zuhui Wang et al., is full of computer modeling gogglygoog, but I think they found that “most of the models used do not correctly capture the response of tropical carbon fluxes to climate variability,” which “call into question their ability to predict the future evolution of the carbon cycle and its feedbacks to climate.”
* “Amazon forests maintain consistent canopy structure and greenness during the dry season,” by Douglas C. Morton et al., “Here we show that the apparent green up of Amazon forests in optical remove sensing data resulted from seasonal changes in near-infrared reflectance, an artifact of variations in sun-sensor geometry. Correcting this biodirectional reflectance effect eliminated seasonal changes in surface reflectance, consistent with independent libar observations and model simulations with unchanging canopy properties.”
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