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Gergis to resubmit at end of July

The University of Melbourne's page on the Gergis paper has been updated:

An issue has been identified in the processing of the data used in the study, "Evidence of unusual late 20th century warming from an Australasian temperature reconstruction spanning the last millennium" by Joelle Gergis, Raphael Neukom, Stephen Phipps, Ailie Gallant and David Karoly, accepted for publication in the Journal of Climate. 

The authors are currently reviewing the data and methods. The revised paper will be re-submitted to the Journal of Climate by the end of July and it will be sent out for peer review again.

I do think that this time around the Journal of Climate should ask the authors to archive the data series that didn't pass the screening as well as those that did.

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Reader Comments (87)

No they won't but it is still in time for AR5 so they will be happy they still can discount the MWP in the southern hemisphere which was the whole point of their first activist driven paper.

Jun 26, 2012 at 2:25 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

At least they are "reviewing the data and methods." Hopefully they are also reviewing the conclusions.

Jun 26, 2012 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Maloney

They are reviewing the method as well as the data.

Evidently the method previously advocated is no longer adequate and the new method will be justified as being superior on some objective basis and not merely because it produces the result that they are looking for ...

Jun 26, 2012 at 2:51 PM | Registered Commentermatthu

I bet they are in a blind panic knowing that the paper will now be subject to more than the usual critical scrutiny and having little time for a complete overhaul.

Having argued that detrending was necessary to avoid bias in the screening process, it would be a complete cop-out to argue now that it is unnecessary, but who knows what the results look like when the method is correctly applied?

Jun 26, 2012 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

Maybe this is the eve of a "tipping point."

If the new method doesn't produce the "expected" result and Gergis publishes with new discussion to the effect that the previous inferences have been found to be unsupported by the data as now analyzed, we will have the first self-corrected study in this field.

She may have the opportunity to really make her name - maybe with all of us, warmistas and s(k)(c)eptics alike.

Jun 26, 2012 at 3:20 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

Shouldn't they reference SteveM ?

Jun 26, 2012 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

Does anyone have standing to contact the editor and ask that certain issues be covered in the peer review? As Steve Mc was unofically creditied with jointly finding the initial error, perhaps he has sufficient authority?

Jun 26, 2012 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndyL

Perhaps McI will be asked to review the paper or would he be considered to close (pal review /sarc)

Jun 26, 2012 at 3:33 PM | Registered Commentermangochutney

They should review the reviewers.

Jun 26, 2012 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveA

'The revised paper will be re-submitted to the Journal of Climate by the end of July and it will be sent out for peer review again'

Not a good move. Joelle's Mum will be on her winter holiday in August so won't have time to sign and send back the pre-approved peer-review form until the end of the month.

Jun 26, 2012 at 3:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

'it will be sent out for peer review again.' So I guess we now know 'the Team' will not be on holiday at the end of July , because even if they use one of their 'rush jobs' there going to have to be a bit more careful this time unless they really want yet more egg on their face.

Jun 26, 2012 at 3:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Peer review is pretend-science (and pretentious science), on the part of academic children.

Jun 26, 2012 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Dale Huffman

We presume Gergis will get by with a little help from her friends.

Jun 26, 2012 at 3:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike

Cynically, I expect they will drop the detrended part of their method (as predicted by Steve M), wave it through peer review, get it into AR5 and say "data processing glitch, no change whatsoever to the results".

I don't expect to see the result of their original method on all 62 proxies anywhere this side of AR5 (which may still result in a HS shape), that would "commonly be referred to as research".

Jun 26, 2012 at 4:03 PM | Unregistered Commenterredc

Gergis' Research Trick?

Jun 26, 2012 at 4:14 PM | Registered Commentershub

I hope that the editor is brave enough to invite Steve McIntyre to review, and that Steve accepts.

In these adversarial and suspicious times, the editor might worry that a reviewer potentially regarded as an "opponent" would take an unnecessarily long time to return the review and hence deliberately delay the process. This is a great chance for everyone to prove that there can be a bit more trust and constructive discussion.

Steve, if you were invited, would you accept?

(NB. This is a genuine question from an interested, independent observer - I have no links to Climate Dynamics, nor the WG1 palaeo chapter).



Jun 26, 2012 at 4:16 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

They will no doubt review it on their phones on the beach at Rio or somewhere else where they expect the sea level to rise. (Also know as the tide coming in).

Should take all of 20 mins.

Jun 26, 2012 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

I don't care if they discover how to cure cancer: if (a) McI isn't a reviewer and (b) they keep using the same pre-screening HS sieving method as per Josh past and (c) discarded data is not made public, I can confidently say that the new paper will be (objectively, not just as my opinion) absolute rubbish.

Jun 26, 2012 at 5:01 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Steve, if you were invited, would you accept?

Despite my intimate knowledge of the proxy reconstructions, I am very seldom asked to review. I would be prepared to review. If I reviewed, I would not review anonymously.

If a reviewer can be perceived to be adverse in interest, I think that the author should be entitled to know, so that they can respond accordingly.

Jun 26, 2012 at 5:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve McIntyre

If Steve M was a reviewer, everybody could be a winner. (assuming the paper stands up)
The reputation of Gergis would be enhanced (restored)
The skeptics would be reassured and it would be a major step in the right direction for the science.
Fingers crossed.

Jun 26, 2012 at 5:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

Surely, if Mr McIntyre were to be a reviewer he could ask all sorts of difficult questions. Like "can I please see ALL the data, and the code?" Not sure that would go down too well. I can't see them going for that.

Jun 26, 2012 at 5:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

Richard Betts @ Jun 26, 2012 at 4:16 PM

“This is a great chance for everyone to prove that there can be a bit more trust and constructive discussion.”

Well said sir! Thank you!

Jun 26, 2012 at 5:38 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

On re-reading I realised I mentioned the wrong journal. It's Journal of Climate, not Climate Dynamics - sorry!

Jun 26, 2012 at 5:44 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

... and a flawlessly logical reply from SM. Hats off to you both gentlemen.

Jun 26, 2012 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

Re: confused

Shouldn't they reference SteveM

The should but they wont. The wording of their emails, posts and press releases indicate that they are going to claim that they found the same problem independently of Steve McIntyre and Climate Audit.

Jun 26, 2012 at 6:25 PM | Registered CommenterTerryS

According to her now defunct blog, which she had set up to communicate with the public and policymakers, Gergis received funding for the project from mid-2009 to mid-2012. After June 30, she'll be doing overtime. Not sure if she's going to get paid for that.

But I am sure that after June 30, everyone in Australia will start paying Carbon Tax, which Gergis, Karoly, Flannery and other assorted affiliated climate doomsday cult members helped to bring about.

Jun 26, 2012 at 6:34 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Do you suppose this is what scientists like Gergis calls, "doing research"?


Jun 26, 2012 at 6:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

Richard Betts has authored several Journal of Climate papers. I hope they take his suggestion and Steve's response very seriously.

Jun 26, 2012 at 7:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Does this mean "On hold" is now a formalised status in scientific publishing?

Will it have sub categories? "On hold - pending rewrite", "On hold - pending new data and methods", "On hold - to be fixed before such and such date", "On hold - conclusions not under review", "On hold - previous press releases still stand" etc etc etc

Jun 26, 2012 at 7:16 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

"An issue has been identified"

The word is problem, not issue!

Jun 26, 2012 at 7:17 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp


error even.

Jun 26, 2012 at 7:42 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

As already suggested here, it will be resubmitted with a change in the DESCRIPTION of the methodology, rather than any change in methodology.

Jun 26, 2012 at 7:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterOakwood

Oakwood - well, not quite. I'd bet that the methods will be revised as necessary to avoid having to change the conclusion, basically daring the skeptic community to vet the thing in time.

It will not be republished if that would mean material revisions to the outcome such that it fails to fit the narrative.

Jun 26, 2012 at 8:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJEM

Richard Betts
'the editor might worry that a reviewer potentially regarded as an "opponent" would take an unnecessarily long time to return the review and hence deliberately delay the process. '

You mean as opposed to rushing it through to get it into a IPCC report or on the table for a climate conference, therefore being to easily distracted from the clear faults or logical falsities it contents?

Its speed not haste which is main problem with work in this area , the turn round time for some papers has frankly been amazing especially given the way contra AGW papers have taken months of even years to get through review .

Jun 26, 2012 at 8:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

The good news is that they are under the Klieg lights, and they know it. Any of the usual slipping and sliding will be ferreted out and exposed within days.

Still, we should not lose sight of the flawed (to put it mildly) nature of the whole exercise. It purported to be about Australia, while using almost no data from Australia. It claimed to have run 3,000 tests (!) to verify the results. I am still waiting for a coherent explanation of what that means, given that they screwed up the execution of their methodology. And, 3,000 is such a nice, round, number. Excuse me if I smell a rat.

I do fear that quibbling about this issue will put things out of proportion. Certainly, it is worth pursuing. But, the whole study is flawed in its premises, and especially in the sense that it purports to describe a continent that is almost entirely absent in the data. And, it is not as if more relevant data are unavailable. Talk about the elephant in the room! Here we have a whole study that claims to relate to a continent based on material from anywhere but there.

Jun 26, 2012 at 8:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohanna

Not only will they be resubmitting that paper, but I assume this one also which was in review at the same journal which is probably based on the first paper.

Works in Progress:
Phipps, S. J., J. Gergis, H. V. McGregor, A. J. E. Gallant, R. Neukom, S. Stevenson, T. D. van Ommen, J. R. Brown, M. J. Fischer and D. Ackerley, Palaeoclimate data-model comparison: Concepts and application to the climate of Australasia over the past 1500 years, Journal of Climate, in review.

Jun 26, 2012 at 8:58 PM | Unregistered Commentersue

As I see it they have three options:

1. Drop the de-trending and keep the result HS-shaped.

2. Keep the de-trending and accept that the result won't be what the IPCC wanted.

3. Keep the de-trending and hunt up some new proxies somewhere, anywhere that will give them the "right" answer.

The two first alternatives would be only a few days work, so the fact that they won't re-submit for another month makes it likely that the big proxy-hunt is on.

Jun 26, 2012 at 9:07 PM | Unregistered Commentertty

You are expecting too much from the climate bodging community. They will manipulate the data somehow to ensure that the message is maintained and that the paper can figure prominently in the IPCC fairy tale for this year.
Steve Mc will not be asked to review it. They fear him much too much. I am sure that they would rather not republish than give it to Steve to review.

Jun 26, 2012 at 9:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterstephen richards

Richard Betts has authored several Journal of Climate papers. I hope they take his suggestion and Steve's response very seriously.

Jun 26, 2012 at 7:06 PM | Pharos

That's because Richard is part of 'The Team'. He has already said that he knows them well (or some of them) and that they are very nice people. They just _____ and ___ a little, that's all.

Jun 26, 2012 at 9:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterstephen richards

Thanks, Sue. (Jun 26, 2012 at 8:58 PM)

I tried to access the relevant info (whatever it may be) as sHx from 1, Yada Street, Yadatown, Yadaland, for reasons of "yada yada yada", but it seems I have to get approval from an administrator to access to anything.

That's quite normal, I understand.

Since climate science communication has always been yada yada yada climate catastrophe, yada yada yada climate tipping point, yada yada yada climate doomsday!

Jun 26, 2012 at 9:33 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

"Despite my intimate knowledge of the proxy reconstructions, I am very seldom asked to review. "

It will be reviewed by McSteve and his team anywayz, being a reviewer or not, so they better invite him from now on, what better way to shut up the "deniezers"?? Approved by CA©™

Jun 26, 2012 at 9:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterTINSTAAFL

Johanna is right. There is far more wrong with the Gergis et al paper than just the de-trending issue. ManicBeancounter's website has a number of good articles pointing out these problems, including :

6 of the 27 proxies are well outside the specified geographical area, some by thousands of km, including 2 from Vostok. Since when has Antarctica been part of Australasia ? However, as Johanna points out, onshore mainland Australia does not appear to be represented. (Do you think we could get Julia Gillard to resign as PM of Australia if we promise her Australasia instead - Gergis version of course.)

12 of the proxies are tree rings. Here we have Steve McIntyre's selection fallacy whereby trees correlating with temperature over the calibration period are selected on the assumptions that (a) the correlation is not spurious, and (b) these trees will also have been correlated outside the calibration period. Where is the evidence for any of this ?

There is a pair of coral proxies at Rarotonga which are relatively close together but do not agree with each other. Same applies to a pair at Fiji. This would imply that one (or both) proxies in each pair do not display a reliable temperature signal.

There are only 3 proxies for the early part of the millenium and results are skewed by one from Palmyra Atoll which appears to be an outlier.

We also need to know what analysis was done on proxies which were not selected and why they were rejected.

If the revised paper comes back with these faults still present then I don't care whether it's shaped like a hockey stick, a snooker cue or a mashie niblick. It will still be junk concocted solely for the purpose of keeping the meme alive in AR5.

Jun 26, 2012 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Lilley

I do wonder how they can be so confident that their revised paper will be ready for "re-submission" by the end of July. However, that aside ... colour me somewhat skeptical but ...

Unless I'm mistaken, Gergis et al is already on the table for AR5, is it not? So, in accordance with the IPCC's oh-so-plastic guidelines, it has met their publication "deadline".

I don't believe that there is any provision in the IPCC's new, improved guidelines for the evidently newly-created status of "On hold" - but there are provisions for excluding "blogs and other social media" as "acceptable sources". So while they would be extremely foolish to do so, they can just ignore the "problems" inherent in Gergis 2012.

In addition, consider the following:

1. Karoly has given a creatively ambiguous acknowledgement to the role of CA in discovering the errors only at CA.

2. This acknowledgement is unlikely to be known to anyone who relies on (e.g.) Revkin's NYT article (in which he didn't even have the decency to update his post with mention of SteveM's lengthy E-mail - but conveniently (?!) let it get buried in the comments).

3. The more recent U of Melbourne piece is deafeningly silent on the role of CA

4. When he sent his E-mail to Steve (and/or responded to Revkin) Karoly should have made it clear that they would be asking Steve/CA to review their revisions - either as one of the "official" peer reviewers or (perhaps to save them further embarrassment) prior to their re-submission. He didn't.

In light of all the above, I do not have a high level of confidence that Gergis, Karoly et al, or the Journal, or the IPCC will act any differently than they did wrt "the Jesus paper".

And now the IPCC even has the "fallback" position of the new, improved guidelines whereby they can include the "revised" paper before peer review - without any requirement that it be designated as "not published".

They can do this, of course, because a year ago, the IPCC officially "disappeared" the rule (that they weren't practicing anyway!) that non-published and/or non-peer-reviewed material be so designated in the references.

Jun 26, 2012 at 10:29 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Johanna, David Lilley - powerful logic on your part and I agree with you. As a Kiwi, I am very aware of the climactic, geographic, etc differences between Aus and NZ and am amazed that 'scientists' such as Gergis et al expect to be taken seriously considering the very obvious flaws in their conclusions and methodology. The land mass of Australia is truly huge, making this a record-breaking 'elephant-in-a-room'!

Jun 26, 2012 at 10:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

These guys seem to be able to write papers, reviews and rebuttals very very quickly. and now revisions as well.
I like to give Karoly the benefit of the doubt, and hope he is doing the 'right thing'

but they dont like 'doubters' over there , do they?

Jun 26, 2012 at 10:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterEternalOptimist

I suppose that should a MWP emerge from data not collected within Austalia, then that MWP will be local only to Australia.

Jun 26, 2012 at 11:26 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

On the off chance that Dr Gergis or one of her co-authors sees this, I offer the following helpful (I hope!) suggestions for the revised article:

Regarding selection of proxies for reconstruction:
1. Briefly explain the criteria for selecting the initial proxy pool (62) from the larger SH set of Neukom&Gergis 2011, as several of the proxies (notably Palmyra, Cook Islands, and Vostok) are significantly outside the Australasia region defined as the subject of the study.
2. Expand table 1 to include all members of the initial proxy pool, indicating which ones met the selection criterion. [And by the way, amend the current table as it incorrectly implies that all proxies are S latitude and E longitude.] Or enumerate the rejected proxies in a similar table in the supplemental information.
3. Include the non-selected proxies in the archived data. Exclude from the analysis any proxies which can not be made public.
4. Indicate in the description of the selection method that Spearman correlation was used to compute significance (assuming that is the method used).
5. Adjust the threshold level for significance in the selection step by accounting for the auto-correlation (non-white-ness) of the series being correlated.
6. Use a one-sided test for significance (rather than two-sided), with the sign determined by the nature of the proxy (positive for tree rings, ice delta-18O and ice accumulation rate; negative for coral delta-18O).

In addition,
7. Include in the overall SE, an estimate of the uncertainty incurred by geographic sampling. That is, the uncertainty in the estimation of the regional average temperature, given only a limited number of samples. Neither the ensemble uncertainty nor the calibration uncertainty accounts for this effect, which I expect is especially significant in the pre-1500 regime when there are often only two proxies available.
8. Include in the archived results, not just the "2SError", but its components as well.
9. Archive the code used to produce the results with the journal, as the data are archived there.

Only #7 would seem to pose any difficulty; the others are minor changes in method or presentation.

Jun 26, 2012 at 11:50 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Previously, the Jesus paper. Now this will be the Phoenix paper? Or the Icarus paper?

I'll repeat my question. Does anybody think one of the Realclimateers was a reviewer of this paper?

Jun 26, 2012 at 11:51 PM | Registered Commentershub

Jun 26, 2012 at 11:51 PM | shub

I'll repeat my question. Does anybody think one of the Realclimateers was a reviewer of this paper?

Sorry, Shub ... must've missed your question the first time :-)

The answer, of course, is blowin' in the wind ... How could it ever have gotten as far as it did without a glowing review from (at least) one of the Realclmateers?!

Jun 27, 2012 at 12:52 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Come on the majority of commentators, or so it seems at first glance, cut the "opposition" a bit of slack.
What really matters is where we go from here; not where we've been.
If and only if, we profoundly disagree with the new findings of the revised study, have we any right to moan. Forget any pre-conceived expectations about tribalism and wagon-circling giving rise to the behaviour displayed in the past; if, as experienced hitherto, then the cynicism is justified but, if not, it just comes over as mean and petty!
We all make mistakes and, for whatever reason, that's what we do! It's never pleasant to admit to personal failure but it's what we do next that determines how others come to regard is.
The balls not in our court yet so let's not get carried away by hubristic cynicism!

Jun 27, 2012 at 3:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

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