Climategate 2.0: Santer angry over not being able to silence skeptics

Imagine that to debunk a study, you need the author’s approval.

From the Climategate 2.0 collection (#5321), Ben Santer complains to Phil Jones that he and Tom Wigley didn’t get the chance to spike a skeptics’ paper critical of Santer/Wigley that was published in Climate Research — like they did a year earlier when the skeptics tried to get it published in the Journal of Geophysical Research:

Dear Phil,

In June 2003, Climate Research published a paper by David Douglass et al. The “et al.” includes John Christy and Pat Michaels. Douglass et al. attempt to debunk the paper that Tom and I published in JGR in 2001 (“Accounting for the effects of volcanoes and ENSO in comparisons of modeled and observed temperature trends”; JGR 106, 28033-28059). The Douglass et al. paper claims (and purports to show) that collinearity between ENSO, volcanic, and solar predictor variables is not a serious problem in studies attempting to estimate the effects of these
factors on MSU tropospheric temperatures. Their work has serious scientific flaws – it confuses forcing and response, and ignores strong temporal autcorrelation in the individual predictor variables, incorrectly assuming independence of individual monthly means in the MSU 2LT data. In the Douglass et al. view of the world, uncertainties in predictor variables, observations, etc. are non-existent. The error bars on their estimated ENSO, volcano, and solar regression coefficients are miniscule.

Over a year ago, Tom and I reviewed (for JGR) a paper by Douglass et al. that was virtually identical to the version that has now appeared in Climate Research. We rejected it. Prior to this, both Tom and I had engaged in a long and frustrating dialogue with Douglass, in which we attempted to explain to him that there are large uncertainties in the deconvolution of ENSO, volcano, and solar signals in short MSU records. Douglass chose to ignore all of the comments we made in this exchange, as he later ignored all of the comments we made in our reviews of his rejected JGR paper.

Although the Douglass et al. Climate Research paper is largely a criticism of our previously-published JGR paper, neither Tom nor I were asked to review the paper for Climate Research. Nor were any other coauthors of the Santer et al. JGR paper asked to review the Douglass et al. manuscript. I’m assuming that Douglass specifically requested that neither Tom nor I should be allowed to act as reviwers of his Climate Research paper. It would be interesting to see his cover letter to the journal.

In the editorial that you forwarded, Dr. Kinne writes the following:

“If someone wishes to criticise a published papers/he must present facts and arguments and give criticised parties a chance to defend their position.” The irony here is that in our own experience, the “criticised parties” (i.e., Tom and I) were NOT allowed to defend their positions.

Based on Kinne’s editorial, I see little hope for more enlightened editorial decision making at Climate Research. Tom, Richard Smith and I will eventually publish a rebuttal to the Douglass et al. paper. We’ll publish this rebuttal in JGR – not in Climate Research.

With best regards,


Read Climategate 2.0.

5 thoughts on “Climategate 2.0: Santer angry over not being able to silence skeptics”

  1. What a piece of garbage. I can’t believe he would expect somebody to read a letter that long just for him. I just want to type “bad” words here now. GRRR!!

  2. To Ben Santer, sorry you were put out about being found to be lying. Any time that you would like to debate the issues let me know (I am a layman) I could win using a farmer’s almanac,daily newspapers and an open window. You sir are a fraud.

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