The UnAustralian

Saturday, May 08, 2004
Spencer's Reaction To The New Tropospheric Temperature Trend

The Nature paper which I linked to below has created its own little mini-firestorm.

Quark Soup probably has the best collection of links. What follows is my own interpretation of events.

Roy Spencer (who is one the original authors on the first paper to try and reconstruct tropospheric temperature trends from satellite data) has published an article in Tech Central Station on the recent paper who's abstract is included in the post below. Basically Spencer isn't a fan of the new paper. Most of his article is simply pathetic whining.

Somehow he appears to feel that Nature should have got him (or his co-author, John Christy) to review the new paper. He isn't the only expert in the field - in fact, experts have been finding mistakes in his work for many years now. There is no reason why he should be picked to review a paper like this. There is more along these lines, as he complains about the scientific journals Nature and Science.

However, his article does have an interesting point. He claims to have identified an error the new papers methodology. I'm not explain this error in detail, rather you should click on the link and read Spencers account of it.

I don't have an opinion on whether or not the error is significant (or even real), however, what I find interesting is where he has chosen to publish his rebuttal. Tech Central Station, has a reputation for being a lot things, scientific is one of them. The best place to publish his rebuttal would be in letter to Nature. By publishing in TCS, Spencer has ensured that the audience is mostly composed of rightwingers who are interested in science, but not particularly proficient. Very few of them will read the original papers. Even fewer will understand it. By publishing in Nature Spencer would reach an audience that contains real experts who can examine his claims, additionally Fu and co-workers would get a chance to reply.

This can bring many benefits. For example, if one reads the new paper, one important point which they will become aware of, is that the authors where aware of the problem which Spencer mentions (somehow he forgot to mention this in TCS piece). The comment attached to this post gives more details.

Roy Spencer has done some great work with satellite data, but he risks destroying his reputation in the scientific community, unless he submits his criticisms to a scientific journal.
| 4:50 PM