Roy Spencer’s Quest for Misunderstanding

Temp Anomalies Jun 2011
June 2011 Global Temperature Anomalies

Roy Spencer’s Quest for Misunderstanding

By, John P. Reisman – August 1, 2011

Science is a quest for understanding our world, ourselves and our existence. It is built upon a method of critical examination and reasoning to determine relevance in the strongest form possible. When scientists start going in the opposite direction from adding to the understanding, to detracting from it, one is hard pressed to call it science. Such endeavor can still be done in the name of science, or even done from a premise of misunderstanding; but when the same mistakes that have been scientifically shown to be unsound are repeated by the same scientist over and over again, one can see that something is wrong.

It has already been pointed out to Roy Spencer that cherry picking short time periods and weighing that cherry pick with other cherry picked model examples to show how they don’t match is scientifically inappropriate when considering any conclusions that may be drawn. To draw a conclusion for a scientifically short time period separate from the totality of the evidence and aggregated science is not good science. One is hard pressed not to cal it foolish.

Roy Spencer has put out another paper. It’s about climate science and how he thinks everyone else has got it wrong. He published it, not in a more qualified climate science journal with a strong peer review, but a journal for geographers. Evidence indicates that this publication does not actually have a strong peer review process in place:

The fee is 500 Swiss Francs to publish:

“currently planning for the implementation of a discount system for peer-reviewers that kindly offered their services to our journals. This new discount system will be in place in middle of 2010″

There may be an opportunity for someone:

Open positions at MDPI
Assistant Editor
Posted: 1 February 2011
Location: Office in Haidian, Beijing, China
Contact: [email protected]

Red Flag: Spencer limited the view to between 2000-2010 (too short to evaluate a projected model due to inability to separate the natural variation in a single decade from the climate signal). His focus is on uncertainty in feedback response.

Spencer’s paper was published on July 25, 2011 here:


Mike Mann posted a response by Kevin Trenberth and John Fasullo on July 29th.

Fox News of course picked up on Spencer’s paper with this:

A Real Climate Assessment

Trenberth and Fasailo: “The paper has been published in a journal called Remote sensing  which is a fine journal for geographers, but it does not deal with atmospheric and climate science, and it is evident that this paper did not get an adequate peer review. It should not have been published.”

Summary: “Even so, the Spencer interpretation has no merit. The inter-annual global temperature variations were not radiatively forced, as claimed for the 2000s, and therefore cannot be used to say anything about climate sensitivity. Clouds are not a forcing of the climate system (except for the small portion related to human related aerosol effects, which have a small effect on clouds). Clouds mainly occur because of weather systems (e.g., warm air rises and produces convection, and so on); they do not cause the weather systems. Clouds may provide feedbacks on the weather systems. Spencer has made this error of confounding forcing and feedback before and it leads to a misinterpretation of his results.  The bottom line is that there is NO merit whatsoever in this paper. It turns out that Spencer and Braswell have an almost perfect title for their paper: “the misdiagnosis of surface temperature feedbacks from variations in the Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance” (leaving out the “On”).”

Al Gore Speaks Clearly About Climate Change

by John P. Reisman – August, 10, 2011

Climate change does not care about your politics. Climate change does not care about your beliefs. Climate change is a matter of physics. Al Gore, in a speech in Colorado made the following remarks:

“Some of the exact same people — by name, I can go down a list of their names — are involved in this,” Gore said Thursday at an Aspen Institute forum in Aspen, Colo. “And so what do they do? They pay pseudo-scientists to pretend to be scientists to put out the message: ‘This climate thing, it’s nonsense. Man-made CO2 doesn’t trap heat. It’s not — It may be volcanoes.’ Bullshit! ‘It may be sun spots.’ Bullshit! ‘It’s not getting warmer.’ Bullshit!” … “There are about 10 other memes that are out there, and when you go and talk to any audience about climate, you hear them washing back at you the same crap, over and over and over again. They have polluted this shit. There is no longer shared reality on an issue like climate, even though the very existence of our civilization is threatened.”

In the nexus of American colloquialism, there is nothing inaccurate in his comments. There is a clearly identifiable oligarchy of denialist consensus that is feeding unscientific malarkey, wrapped in the guise of science and understanding, to an uninformed public.

Source: NY Times