James Annan writes that their paper debunking McLean, De Freitas and Carter has been published and:

Amusingly, the comment will be published alone, without the customary Reply. Why? Because…McLean et al couldn’t muster a reply that was publishable (and not for want of trying, either – it was simply rejected).

I’m sure Energy and Environment will publish it quick smart.

Ove Hoegh-Guldberg is less kind:

1) Will McLean et al. retract the paper (and will Bob Carter admit fault or even discuss the errors publicly)?

2) Will the denial0sphere and the MSM give this story (a climate change scandal!) the same coverage it has recently showered on various IPCC hiccups?

3) Will there be an investigation as Bob Carter himself and so many other skeptics have insisted on over and over again, usually in response to bogus and unsubstantiated allegations.

4) Will Bob now reverse his policy positions and urge (vocally) politicians that may have been swayed by his bogus science to do the same? After all Bob, shouldn’t the science drive the policy?

5) Will The Australian cover this pending scandal! A scientist behaving badly!


  1. #1 Neven
    March 21, 2010

    1) No.
    2) No.
    3) No.
    4) No.
    5) No.

  2. #2 sod
    March 21, 2010

    1) No. 2) No. 3) No. 4) No. 5) No.

  3. #3 Paulino
    March 21, 2010

    Let’s frame these questions in away that the denialists don’t feel offended:

    questions 1 to 5 are unimportant, scientist must learn to communicate nicely without pointing out teh stoopidahtee.

  4. #4 Steve
    March 21, 2010

    1) No. 2) No. 3) No. 4) No. 5) No.

  5. #5 bluegrue
    March 21, 2010

    I’m absolutely sure, that McIntyre will audit the McLean paper and write a series of scathing posts about it, detailing the errors. Fodder for a month or two.

    _* tumble weed rolls by *_

    Any minute now.

    _* crickets chirping *_

  6. #6 Robert
    March 21, 2010

    This seems to be a pattern for Carter; as I review [here]( he pulled a similar trick in 2007, substituting a graph of the mid-trop for one of the lower trop.

  7. #7 Lars Karlsson
    March 21, 2010

    Typical denialist reply:
    1) Ad hominem!
    2) Ad hominem!
    3) Ad hominem!
    4) Ad hominem!
    5) Ad hominem!

  8. #8 Mike G
    March 21, 2010

    I can see the headlines now- “Annan Admits Skeptics Prevented from Publishing”

  9. #9 Deep Climate
    March 21, 2010

    It’s useful to remind everyone of the real point of that paper: to provide a platform for a massive PR campaign trumpeting and exaggerating its erroneous findings. That campaign was promulgated by the Australian and New Zealand affiliates of Tom Harris’s International Climate Science Coalition, with whom all three authors have longstanding ties (especially de Freitas and Carter).

    Here’s some additional info on de Freitas going back to the early days of Friends of Science and its links to Talisman Energy.

  10. #10 John
    March 21, 2010

    1) No. 2) No. 3) No. 4) No. 5) No.

  11. #11 Gaz
    March 21, 2010


    This seems to be a pattern for Carter; as I review here he pulled a similar trick in 2007, substituting a graph of the mid-trop for one of the lower trop.

    Plimer did the same in his book, p455 I think, except it was an upper trop/lower strat graph in place of what should have been a lower trop graph.

    Standard stuff for the NAGWaDs.

  12. #12 frankbi
    March 21, 2010

    > Typical denialist reply: 1) Ad hominem! 2) Ad hominem! 3) Ad hominem! 4) Ad hominem! 5) Ad hominem!

    Nope, Lars, here’s the typical denialist reply:

    1) Insert off-topic inactivist talking point here (e.g. global warming will cause great misery to poor people in Africa who just want to fill their cars with gasoline).

    2) Hey, here’s some off-topic linkspam! Check it out if you dare!

    3) Insert off-topic inactivist talking point here which contradicts 2) above, or even better, contradicts itself.

    4) Insert yet another off-topic inactivist talking point. Preferably, put something illogical in a climate scientist’s mouth, then complain how illogical it is.

    5) Going back on topic? Of course not! Now, for the finale, we have… yet another off-topic inactivist talking point! Probably about the US Founding Fathers, or some such.

    … ??? … PROFIT!!!!!!!

  13. #13 Joel
    March 21, 2010

    frankbi, you’ve completely forgotten the Gore-bashing! That’s at least 3 steps right there!

  14. #14 Nils Ross
    March 21, 2010

    I just read the rebuttal. That’s a real shellacking.

    MFC’s paper DOES confirm a previous finding, however: if you remove the low frequency trend from a set, you no longer have a low frequency trend in that set. It’s none the less true for being entirely trivial, you know.

  15. #15 caerbannog
    March 21, 2010

    Here’s a Neil Young song for the deniers:

  16. #16 Mike
    March 21, 2010

    1a) Highly unlikely.

    1b) Not a snowflake’s chance in hell.

    2) No.

    3) No.

    4) I can’t believe anyone would even ask that question. Carter’s “science” is governed entirely by political ideology rather than demonstrable and repeatable facts and analysis, and from that there is no possible escape.

    5) I very much doubt it, but just for fun I’m going to write and ask them about it anyway.

  17. #17 Bernard J.
    March 22, 2010

    I’m not sure if it’s the real deal, but [someone using McLean’s name said](

    James, if you think that your comment refuted our paper then you are greatly deluded. Those whose posting appear above this one seem quite gullible and devoid of critical thinking.

    Still, that’s what seems to be the norm in climate science these days.

    You will see our response when it’s published and not before. And don’t bother emailing me because I will just ignore it as I have your other emails.


    And in a moment of delightfully amusing hubris, Tim Curtin swans in and claims that Foster et al are wrong.

    Oh, my aching sides!

  18. #18 Lotharsson
    March 22, 2010

    Foster et al was pointed out on the thread on The Drum where it had been touted. The responses were predictable:

    Well for heavens sake have a look at who are included as the authers of the supposed refutation.

    I will read that with a giant pinch of salt.


    if you think that Trenberth is a reliable authority, please read:

    1) the CRU emails, and,
    2) the open letter of resignation written by Christopher Landsea (easily available via google)

    Earlier (chronologically speaking) a poster calling himself John McLean had also appeared on that thread, claiming to have a peer-reviewed paper and arguing by appeal to his own authority that the science was all rubbish. Someone asked for references to his work, but they were not provided.

    I’m amazed that thread seems to be still going. It seems to be a strange attractor for several kinds of Teh Stupid – so maybe it’s keeping the rest of the intertubez from additional damage 😉

  19. #19 Mike
    March 22, 2010

    @17. I just looked up Tim Curtin’s website (never heard of him before).

    Wow. Every bit of right wing economist junk-science under the sun. He also refers to himself almost exclusively in the third person on his website.

    Mike thinks he is a bit strange.

  20. #20 MikeH
    March 22, 2010

    @19. His economics might be a bit strange but it positively shines compared to his take on science [here]( and [here](

  21. #21 Jeremy C
    March 22, 2010

    I always wondered if Carter et al published their paper at the time they did to distract from the unravelling of the meme about cooling since 1998. Carter is smart enough to know that such a meme was eventually going to outlive its usefulness. The paper would’ve provided something for the denial-sphere to move onto quick smart in their usual fashion.

  22. #22 John
    March 22, 2010

    This thread isn’t about your pathetic temperature meme, but if you have some detailed analysis as to why James Annan is wrong we’d all love to hear it.

    Predicted response:

    “AGW is a scam!!!!!!!”

    Who am I kidding. He won’t be back.

  23. #23 Benard J.
    March 22, 2010


    You’ve never heard of Tim Curtin?!

    If you’re prone to morbid fascination, [he has his own thread](…

  24. #24 P. Lewis
    March 22, 2010

    I just looked up Tim Curtin’s website (never heard of him before).

    Our host devoted a whole thread to Curtin’s nonsense, if you can stomach it: D-K effect meets ideologically affected “science”, i.e. stupidity of the first degree.

  25. #25 P. Lewis
    March 22, 2010

    Aargh! Too late.

  26. #26 Bernard J.
    March 22, 2010

    [P. Lewis](

    No matter – you provided a succinct précis, and Mike deserves the warning!

  27. #27 Mike
    March 22, 2010

    Oh……..god (jaw gaped open). Just read the Tim Curtin thread.

    It was really entertaining for a while, then the stupidity got a bit too much.

  28. #28 Chris S.
    March 22, 2010

    Tim Curtin [says]( “I see it took 8 of you led by the egregious Tamino and including the even more dubious team of Schmidt & Mann et al to take on McLean + 2. Even the 8 of you still get ENSO wrong.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but is this not a nice example of pure ad-hom?

  29. #29 Lotharsson
    March 22, 2010

    Oh my goodness, that Tim Curtin thread was horribly morbidly fascinating – it took a long time to look away.

    Internal dialogue:

    “Surely this time he’ll realise his arguments have pretty much all been pwned and give up?”

    Psychologists would have a massive field day with it.

  30. #30 Lotharsson
    March 22, 2010

    And one of several (literal) jaw droppers for me was the projections of Dunning-Kruger onto those taking his arguments apart piece by little piece.

  31. #31 caerbannog
    March 22, 2010

    Tim Curtin says: “I see it took 8 of you led by the egregious Tamino and including the even more dubious team of Schmidt & Mann et al to take on McLean + 2. Even the 8 of you still get ENSO wrong.”

    Wow — 8 authors vs. McLean et al. That’s one of the most lopsided confrontations since the Ceaucescu execution (with something like 100 people elbowing each other to be part of the firing-squad). And given the quality of McLean et al.’s work, about as sporting…

  32. #32 Jeremy C
    March 22, 2010

    If John *22 was commenting on my post at 21 I think he misread me.

  33. #33 Robert Murphy
    March 22, 2010

    Looks like Tim Curtin is the Ted Holden of climate science deniers. Pretty funny stuff.

  34. #34 Bernard J.
    March 22, 2010

    [Jeremy C](

    Never fear, John was not referring to your post.

    He was in fact responding to an annoying troll who has repeatedly been rebuffed for asking the same stupid question over and over again, and whose garbage post our esteemed host has wisely removed from the thread.

    You were one post before the knuckle-dragging troll, so it seems now that John was replying to you.

  35. #35 Bernard J.
    March 22, 2010

    Ah yes, the TC thread…

    That, and the [Windshuttle thread that spawned it](, are an entertaining catalogue of how one emeritus throws all reason to the wind and doesn’t let the inconvenience of fact stand in the way of his meandering contradiction of whole disciplines of science.

    It was with some frustration that I participated in the rebuttals of Curtin’s nonsense, but as I said during the discourse I did it to ensure that any unknowing third parties reading Curtin’s rot were not taken in by it.

    In the end I was rather pleased with some of the gotchyas with which we caught Curtin out, but the sad thing is that he doesn’t allow his accumulating errors to slow his rabid momentum one iota. He simply ignores them and rolls on, slandering folk left, right and centre along the way.

    The word ‘pernicious’ springs to mind…

  36. #36 Lotharsson
    March 22, 2010

    …I did it to ensure that any unknowing third parties reading Curtin’s rot were not taken in by it.

    That’s often my motivation…

    …but the sad thing is that he doesn’t allow his accumulating errors to slow his rabid momentum one iota.

    Brent on the “Empirical Evidence” thread seems to be exhibiting the same characteristic. I think it’s a fairly common trait (self-awareness-defence mechanism?) in deniosaurs.

  37. #37 CEKAY
    March 22, 2010

    This doesn’t make much sense to me.

    Scientists offer a piece to a journal, which is peer-reviewed and published. Others write a piece challenging the paper and the original authors are offered a right of reply. This exchange is then peer-reviewed.

    Then the challenge is published, but the reply is censored!! can this be right?

    Doesn’t this type of carry-on add weight to the current allegations that the peer-review process has been manipulated into a device to prevent unpopular views being heard?

  38. #38 zoot
    March 22, 2010

    Doesn’t this type of carry-on add weight to the current allegations that the peer-review process has been manipulated into a device to prevent unpopular views being heard?

    Umm, no. It means the peer review process is functioning as it should, filtering out crap.

  39. #39 Mike
    March 23, 2010

    @37, there is a huge difference between being “censored” and having something rejected because it is total nonsense, though denialists regularly blur this line.

    The offer was made to McLean & co to have their “rejected” response published on the web for all to see. They could equally submit it to WUWT, ClimateAudit, or any of a dozen well known websites which will paste up literally any old junk, no matter how embarrassing it is. This would allow people to judge why it was rejected soon enough.

    Strangely, they seem to have so far decided not to let anyone else see it. Go figure.

  40. #40 jakerman
    March 23, 2010


    Following what Mike said, ask your self what credibility is bestowed by peer review. Why in a subject requiring detailed knowledge does peer add weight to a claim. It becasue its a filter to catch rubbish.

    Imagine if MDC’s response had been published even thought it was based on nonsense. The errors may not be apparent to lay people, and many people who push denialst rubbish (cohnite, el gordo, janama etc.) would claim that MDC had past peer review and thus would try and claim the MDC analysis were valid.

    MDC has not stoodup under peer reivew. It got throught the first step, but did not standup under further scrutiny.

  41. #41 Gareth
    March 23, 2010

    My understanding is that normally the “reply” to a comment should address the points raised by the comment, and either offer a defence of the original analysis or show why the comment is itself in error. It appears McLean et al were not able to do that.

    Meanwhile someone claiming to be McLean has popped up in comments at James Annan’s blog and Hot Topic attempting the “you’re wrong, but I’m too busy to explain why” defence.

    That fails peer-review too…

  42. #42 Tim Lambert
    March 24, 2010

    Oh look, [here is their reply]( Apparently there was a conspiracy to reject their reply.

  43. #43 Tim Lambert
    March 24, 2010

    And in their reply they admit that they did their correlation on the differences (which removes the long term trend) but repeat their claim that their correlation shows that natural factors account for most of the variation. No wonder it was rejected.

  44. #44 sod
    March 24, 2010

    pretty shocking. this reply post references the stolen mail.

    scientific debate dragged to the lowest level!

  45. #45 Bernard J.
    March 24, 2010


    I too am surprised at the nature of the response. All the more so for the (Socratic, a la [Marohasy]( ironic hypocrisy of the second quote in the preamble:

    But as it is written, the current paper [Foster et al. draft critique] almost stoops to the
    level of “blog diatribe”. The current paper does not read like a peer-reviewed journal
    article. The tone is sometimes dramatic and sometimes accusatory. It is inconsistent with
    the language one normally encounters in the objectively-based, peer-reviewed literature.

    Anonymous referee of the Foster et al. critique, September 28, 2009

    The fact that they also install a chronology of their work, including the emails stolen from CRU, will probably backfire on them. It leaves a nice trail of the history of the rubbish that they have promoted, and shows their refractoriness to understanding why it is rubbish in the first place. It also shows how real scientists have tried to maintain a standard of professional publication in the field when confronted with the clumsy efforts of folk who are not able to understand their own incapcity to properly participate in the science.

    I am not surprised that MFC found a home with Mr Monckton – he of the [paranoia about being censored]( They may huff and puff as much as they like, but more and more they are demonstrating to the world that they are just silly little boys who were caught out pretending that they were all grown up.

    I truly hope that E&E or similar does publish their reply. It would be interesting to see them suffer the further humiliation of any additional refutation that would probably follow hot on their heels.

  46. #46 Lars Karlsson
    March 24, 2010


    Could the referee they quote be one of them (e.g MFC)?

  47. #47 Lars Karlsson
    March 24, 2010

    Sorry, that should have been addressed to Bernard J.

  48. #48 guthrie
    March 24, 2010

    Tim #42 and 43 – however in order for us to counter the propaganda which will no doubt spread across the internet, what we really need is a statement from the AGU as to why the reply was not printed, ideally specifying that it does not answer the main critiscisms.
    Is there any way we can get such a thing?

  49. #49 Stu
    March 24, 2010

    Tim @42, I was already laughing when the URL included and SPPI. Gotta be pretty gullible to take that pairing seriously. The article, from the start, is just whining.

    Foster et al. amply demonstrated that the analysis in the original paper overestimated the correlation by a long way and eliminated any trend, hence making conclusions such as “…and indicated that a large portion of the variability in global temperature is explained by ENSO variation, thus leaving little room for a substantial human influence on temperature.”

    As far as I can see, the only problem with what happened in the whole sorry tale spelled out in McLean’s reply is that three original reviewers didn’t pick up on this. Maybe they’re not statisticians.

  50. #50 Stu
    March 24, 2010

    Oops, missed out a word. That should read

    …making conclusion such as “…and indicated that a large portion etc” invalid.

  51. #51 sod
    March 24, 2010

    what McLean et al write in their “answer” sounds like a blatant lie:

    Our comments about the change in Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) accounting for 72% of the
    variance in satellite (MSU) GTAA, 68% of variance in the radiosonde (RATPAC-A) GTAA and 81%
    of variance in the tropospheric temperature in the tropics were made in the context of the discussion
    of our derivatives based on differentials between 12 month averages, and we stand by them. Contrary
    to Fea10 claims, those figures do not refer to long-term variations but only to the derivatives that were

    the [abstract]( of the original paper says:

    Change in SOI accounts for 72% of the variance in GTTA for the 29-year-long MSU record and 68% of the variance in GTTA for the longer 50-year RATPAC record. Because El Niño−Southern Oscillation is known to exercise a particularly strong influence in the tropics, we also compared the SOI with tropical temperature anomalies between 20°S and 20°N. The results showed that SOI accounted for 81% of the variance in tropospheric temperature anomalies in the tropics. Overall the results suggest that the Southern Oscillation exercises a consistently dominant influence on mean global temperature, with a maximum effect in the tropics, except for periods when equatorial volcanism causes ad hoc cooling. That mean global tropospheric temperature has for the last 50 years fallen and risen in close accord with the SOI of 5–7 months earlier shows the potential of natural forcing mechanisms to account for most of the temperature variation.

  52. #52 Lotharsson
    March 24, 2010

    Could the referee they quote be one of them (e.g MFC)?

    That was my first thought.

  53. #53 Mike
    March 25, 2010

    I can’t believe it. But the Herald Sun has joined the war one on science. OK, we know that Bolt attacks science… but today they’ve attacked the theory of evolution by allowing ex-footballer Gary Abblet to publish a two-page spread that is a creationist screed. Check it out:

    “…The fact is that fossil records do not support Darwin’s theory. Experts have come to realise that the gaps in the fossil records and the absence of precursor and intermediate forms are such that they can no longer be ignored or his theory be taken seriously. It was Darwin, the author of the theory of evolution himself, that confessed in a letter to Ossy Gray on September 5, 1857 that “one’s imagination must fill up the very blanks”…”

    “…Unfortunately, Western civilisation has embraced the “lie” of evolution as fact, and we have been completely blinded to the profound effect and impact it is having upon our society and nation. We tell ourselves and our children that it was all just an accident and we are nothing more than “cosmic orphans”, with no real purpose, value or destiny, completely without hope for a great future and then wonder why our country is “self-destructing” and our society’s attitude has become “Let’s eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die”…”

    It’s a full on “assault” against not only climate science, but science. What the hell is going on here? How could they allow such creationist drivel to be so prominently published?

    I’ve always believed that the deniers and creationists share a disdain for science, and share common tactics. But seriously, the Herald Sun is turning into a right-wing religious institution.

  54. #54 Bernard J.
    March 25, 2010

    Abblet’s not running for a seat in the Federal election, is he? Family First, the Libs, or the Nats, would happily endorse him if he’s pushing the Creatist barrow.

    It’s a symptom of something wrong in our society when faith trumps knowledge, especially when people remain deliberately ignorant in the face of easily accessible knowledge.

  55. #55 Lotharsson
    March 25, 2010

    PZ Myers could perhaps redirect this post to Ablett…

  56. #56 John
    March 25, 2010

    If Tim doesn’t take on that scientific giant Gary Ablett Jr. I’ll never comment here again (for one week).

  57. #57 John
    March 25, 2010

    I meant, of course, Ablett sr.

  58. #58 Lars Karlsson
    March 26, 2010

    52 – It seems like I was wrong concerning my suspicion about the referee which compared the tone of the the Foster et al. critique to a “blog diatribe”. This is what this referee hs to say about MFC (from [Eli Rabbett](

    *The real mystery here, of course, is how the McLean et al. paper ever made it into JGR. How that happened, I have no idea. I can’t see it ever getting published through J Climate. The analyses in McLean et al. are among the worst I have seen in the climate literature. The paper is also a poorly guised attack on the integrity of the climate community, and I guess that is why Foster et al. have taken the energy to contradict its findings.*

    I wonder why this was not cited in the response by MFC…

  59. #59 Lotharsson
    March 27, 2010

    PZ Myers reports that Ablett’s arguments are stupid (not entirely unexpected), and seem to be heavily plagiarised.

    And comment #25 is priceless:

    The picture of Ablett shows a very typical religious stance:

    Holding it up to show how pious they are, but not actually reading or understanding the contents.

  60. #60 Lotharsson
    March 27, 2010

    More worthy comment at Pharyngula in response to Ablett’s article.

    In response to “The very reason food is sealed is to keep information out” [otherwise life could spontaneously form]:

    No, silly, the information is always on the outside – it’s too difficult to read othe[r]wise.

    The reason food is sealed is to keep the food in.

    And this comment notes the nasty source of some of the palgiarised material.

  61. #61 Gaz
    March 29, 2010

    My comment at #11. It was page 355 not page 455 that Plimer had the dodgy graph showing upper tropo/lower strato UAH data instead of lower tropo.

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