“A number of biases internal and external to the scientific community contribute to perpetuating the perception of ocean calamities in the absence of robust evidence.” – Duarte et al., 2015
Image Source: Larcombe and Ridd, 2018
Within a matter of days after the press release for a newly published Nature paper spewed the usual it’s-worse-than-we-thought headlines throughout the alarmosphere (Washington Post, BBC, New York Times), the paper’s results were assessed to have “major problems” by an author of multiple CO2 climate sensitivity papers (Lewis and Curry, 2015, 2018).
A glaring miscalculation was quickly spotted that changed not only the results, but consequently undermined the conclusion that estimates of climate sensitivity to doubled CO2 may be too low.
And yet the paper was able to pass through peer review anyway.
Dr. Michael Mann’s error-riddled 2016 paper
A few years ago Dr. Michael Mann was the lead author of an embarrassingly non-scientific paper fraught with glaring methodological and statistical errors.
A post-publication reviewer (statistician Dr. William Briggs) wrote in his point-by-point critique of the paper that “Mann’s errors are in no way unique or rare; indeed, they are banal and ubiquitous.”
Despite the glaring errors, the paper made it through peer-review and was published in Nature‘s Scientific Reports journal anyway.
“Hoax” papers can get published in 70% of peer-reviewed journals
Analyses indicate that “fake peer review” often goes undetected, and as many as 7 of 10 peer-reviewed journals are apt to publish a deliberately-written “hoax” paper.
“Any reviewer with more than a high-school knowledge of chemistry and the ability to understand a basic data plot should have spotted the paper’s shortcomings immediately. Its experiments are so hopelessly flawed that the results are meaningless. … The hoax paper was accepted by a whopping 157 of the journals and rejected by only 98. Of the 106 journals that did conduct peer review, 70% accepted the paper…” (Murphy, 2017 The Failure of Peer Review)
A new paper cites analyses that find half of peer-reviewed science results are flawed, not replicable
Earlier this year, a review paper (Larcombe and Ridd, 2018) published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin delivered a stinging rebuke to the modern version of science’s disturbing lack of replicability and verifiability.
Image Source: Larcombe and Ridd, 2018
The authors go on to detail a large volume of examples when peer-review failed to detect errors in Great Barrier Reef (GBR) coral research.
Confirmation bias appears to permeate the peer-reviewed literature, slanted in the direction of finding evidence for catastrophic decline in coral health. This isn’t the first time that marine research has been called out for overselling calamity (see Cressey, 2015, “Ocean ‘calamities’ oversold, say researchers – Team calls for more scepticism in marine research.”) and falling “into a mode of groupthink that can damage the credibility of the ocean sciences”.
As just a single example among the many provided, Larcombe and Ridd reviewed the De’ath et al. (2009) study in which an “unprecedented” decline in GBR corals was alleged to have occurred between 1990-2005.
After a reanalysis of the measurements and methods used, Larcombe and Ridd used corrected data to show there has actually been “a small increase in the growth rate” of corals since the early 1900s (see below image) instead of the dramatic decline after the 1990s documented in the peer-reviewed paper.
These errors slipped past the reviewers’ notice too. The publication of flawed results has seemingly become so common that it’s no longer even surprising.
“This paper [De’ath et al. (2009): Declining coral calcification on the Great Barrier Reef.] studied 328 corals on the GBR, and indicated a 14% reduction in growth rates between 1990 and 2005. It stated that the corals of the GBR are declining “at a rate unprecedented in coral records reaching back 400 years”. Subsequent reanalysis of the data indicated that the apparent recent reduction in growth rate was caused by a) problems with the physical measurements of calcification, which systematically biased recent growth bands to give lower growth rates (D’Olivio et al., 2013; Ridd et al., 2013), and b) an unjustified assumption that coral growth rate does not change with the age of the coral (Ridd et al., 2013). With these taken into account, the dramatic fall in growth rate after 1990 is no longer evident, and a small increase in growth rates since the early 1900’s appears (Fig. 6). Further, D’Olivio et al. (2013), working on a different set of GBR corals, showed an increase in coral calcification rates on middle and outer shelf reefs, which together represent 99% of GBR corals, of 10% for the period ~1950 to ~2005, but a decrease of 5% per decade between 1930 and 2008 on inner-shelf reefs, which represent only 1% of GBR corals. Therefore, it would be hard to glean from these datasets that there is a documented decline in coral ‘growth’ parameters, and even harder to attribute change to a particular cause.”
24 responses to “Quality Control Sorely Needed In Climate Science: Half Of Peer-Reviewed Results Non-Replicable, Flawed.”
What people do not understand is that science IS NOT AN AUTHORITY but A PROCESS OF CHALLENGING AUTHORITY.
A very primitive, immature and unscientific conception of science has captured the public mind — science as the repository of ultimate truth. The dignity and authority of good science — which is always fallible and hospitable to questioners — is being abused to make people believe in ultimate truths when the purview of genuine science is not final but incessantly evolving knowledge.
By debasing science to the status of ultimate source of apodictic truth, the charlatanry is invited of those who are eager to impress the seal of unquestionable authority on their agendas, no matter what.
Some will act this way because they are dishonest, even quite consciously so; others succumb to dazzlement and self-conceit. Both have lost touch with the scientific method.
As science is moved away from its critical-corroborative capacity toward a role of validator of what is socially acceptable, the type and attitude of those associated with it shift away from the profile of the soberly objective researcher toward the zealot — high priest or humble believer — of socially fashionable articles of faith.
At some point the latter type is so predominant in terms of power and numbers that “scientists” no longer understand the point of science, having lost the capacity for rational self-control. At this point, a modern society tilts back into an age of mythical thinking.
Great summary. Public need to be educated about this !!
Keep that in mind next time you guys go on and on about 30 year old predictions … climate science is evolving as well. That’s why there are adjustments, better models and better understanding of the mechanisms today than in previous times. Skeptics however seem to be somehow drawn to the past.
Better models? Are you for real? Better for what? For fooling people? That’s why they can have in them purely imbecile bugs like this one: https://github.com/ddbkoll/PyRADS/issues/2 Exactly because they cannot be tested. They don’t predict, they only emit bullshit. They might get better at that, but for prediction, nope. A real scientific model can be tested against reality and such idiotic bug could not survive. Without that check against reality, such a bug could survive in a computer model forever. In this case, they were lucky I looked into it, annoyed being by ignorant individuals that blindly believed stories of Earth going Venus as the propaganda said that this computer model said (no, it did not, but the propaganda said it nevertheless). Next time you put your ignorant blind faith in climate computer models, be certain you checked them all line by line. They might have thousands of errors. Even without those errors, the Lyapunov exponents still take care of their exponentially amplified bullshit, but at least you could claim they are ‘better’.
WOW Georg WORDS of WISDOM and TRUTH
Oh dear, I’m afraid that the juxtaposition of “quality” with “control” makes me uneasy. I should almost say that science publishing is too controlled now. If each climate journal were independent I’m sure quality would rise. I tried to find out how many publishers control the journals, but was unsuccessful.
Does anyone know?
L.A. Times is determined to increase the quality of its climate science coverage:
“Newspapers should be truthful. That goes for every single page.
The L.A. Times recently won national attention and praise for spelling out its policy of refusing to publish the claims of climate deniers.”
“Forecast the Facts, a project that aims to improve the quality of coverage of climate change in the press, launched a petition calling on the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal to refuse to print letters that deny basic science.”
Sorry, I don’t think “control” is going to give us quality.
I don’t know how to get quality, but we can all agree that decentralization of control is necessary, no?
Regarding the MSM’s part in supporting the AGW hoax, I note that more than 100 companies controlled US major media in the 80s, and today 95% of it is controlled by 6 companies.
The percentage of rubbish papers that pass the peer review process appears to differ widely between one scientific discipline and another. Medicine seems to generate a much higher percentage than,say, solid state physics.
This is probably as it should be. In the case of rare diseases it is unlikely that any one institution will see enough examples for any apparent pattern to pass the normal tests of statisitical significance. It is only ny stimulating other researchers in other institutions to examine their own data that we can, eventually, end up with a sample size large enough to determine whether the apparent pattern is really meaningful.
In examining the performance of peer review we need to look at rejection percentageas as well as acceptance ones. How effective is peer review at rejecting dross and how often does is reject gold dust?
As opposed to skeptic’s papers which are totally replicable? 😉
Look, peer review isn’t perfect, but it’s what we’ve got. It’s funny that you attack peer review here while at the same time you are amongst the skeptics that emphasize “peer reviewed” all the time when talking about new skeptic’s papers …
Rather a misleading headline: it implies thatthe 50% applies to climate science yet you don’t offer any evidence in the article.
There are two examples in first two sections and then the Larcombe and Ridd (2018) paper provides 10 more.
From a Monday article, there are about 2 dozen new papers contradicting Michael Mann’s claims from an op-ed he wrote last week:
Dr. Mann Says Man-Made Weather Change Isn’t Rocket Science. Observations Show It’s Not Even Science.
Here are about 300 papers contradicting the perception of global-scale warming of “unprecedented” magnitude published in peer-reviewed journals just since 2017:
300 non-global warming papers
Expect „published in peer-reviewed journals“ especially when it’s a paper about climate science doesn’t mean anything to you. Didn’t you just establish that in the article? So why do you use this phrase to describe papers that you interpret as contradicting? To give them more weight?
I have no understanding of what this sentence means.
Due to the sheer irony. Your side extols papers that appear in peer-reviewed journals. But then the peer-reviewed papers show us that the claims about unprecedented global-scale warming are undermined by other peer-reviewed papers that show modern temperatures to be nowhere near unusual or unprecedented. So, at best, we have a contradiction in results. This supports the contention that peer-reviewed climate science is not replicable.
Or take a look at the results that the peer-reviewed papers say that the climate models churn out. They produce completely different conclusions…or they fail to simulate observations. For example:
Collins et al., 2018
“Here there is a dynamical gap in our understanding. While we have conceptual models of how weather systems form and can predict their evolution over days to weeks, we do not have theories that can adequately explain the reasons for an extreme cold or warm, or wet or dry, winter at continental scales. More importantly, we do not have the ability to credibly predict such states. Likewise, we can build and run complex models of the Earth system, but we do not have adequate enough understanding of the processes and mechanisms to be able to quantitatively evaluate the predictions and projections they produce, or to understand why different models give different answers. … The global warming ‘hiatus’ provides an example of a climate event potentially related to inter-basin teleconnections. While decadal climate variations are expected, the magnitude of the recent event was unforeseen. A decadal period of intensified trade winds in the Pacific and cooler sea surface temperatures (SSTs) has been identified as a leading candidate mechanism for the global slowdown in warming.”
Scanlon et al., 2018
“The models underestimate the large decadal (2002–2014) trends in water storage relative to GRACE satellites, both decreasing trends related to human intervention and climate and increasing trends related primarily to climate variations. The poor agreement between models and GRACE underscores the challenges remaining for global models to capture human or climate impacts on global water storage trends. … Increasing TWSA [total water storage anomalies] trends are found primarily in nonirrigated basins, mostly in humid regions, and may be related to climate variations. Models also underestimate median GRACE increasing trends (1.6–2.1 km3/y) by up to a factor of ∼8 in GHWRMs [global hydrological and water resource models] (0.3–0.6 km3/y). Underestimation of GRACE-derived TWSA increasing trends is much greater for LSMs [global land surface models], with four of the five LSMs [global land surface models] yielding opposite trends (i.e., median negative rather than positive trends) … Increasing GRACE trends are also found in surrounding basins, with most models yielding negative trends. Models greatly underestimate the increasing trends in Africa, particularly in southern Africa. .. TWSA trends from GRACE in northeast Asia are generally increasing, but many models show decreasing trends, particularly in the Yenisei. … Subtracting the modeled human intervention contribution from the total land water storage contribution from GRACE results in an estimated climate-driven contribution of −0.44 to −0.38 mm/y. Therefore, the magnitude of the estimated climate contribution to GMSL [global mean sea level] is twice that of the human contribution and opposite in sign.”
“While many previous studies emphasize the large contribution of human intervention to GMSL [global mean sea level], it has been more than counteracted by climate-driven storage increase on land over the past decade. … GRACE-positive TWSA trends (71 km3/y) contribute negatively (−0.2 mm/y) to GMSL, slowing the rate of rise of GMSL, whereas models contribute positively to GMSL, increasing the rate of rise of GMSL.”
Hanna et al., 2018
“Recent changes in summer Greenland blocking captured by none of the CMIP5 models“
Luo et al., 2018
“Based on the total 126 realizations of the 38 CMIP5 model Historical simulations, the results show that none of the 126 model historical realizations reproduce the intensity of the observed eastern Pacific cooling”
Agarwal and Wettlaufer, 2018
“The fluctuation statistics of the observed sea-ice extent during the satellite era are compared with model output from CMIP5 models using a multifractal time series method. The two robust features of the observations are that on annual to biannual time scales the ice extent exhibits white noise structure, and there is a decadal scale trend associated with the decay of the ice cover. It is shown that (i) there is a large inter-model variability in the time scales extracted from the models, (ii) none of the models exhibits the decadal time scales found in the satellite observations, (iii) five of the 21 models [24%] examined exhibit the observed white noise structure, and (iv) the multi-model ensemble mean exhibits neither the observed white noise structure nor the observed decadal trend.”
Expect. Maybe then you’ll understand. None of the „major“ skeptics papers have been replicable. Don’t you find that concerning?
On Feb 13, 2018: The judge dismissed all charges in the lawsuit brought against Dr Tim Ball by BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver. It is a great victory for free speech.
‘The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science’.
“Human Caused Global Warming”, ‘The Biggest Deception in History’.
QUALITY ASSURANCE vs QUALITY CONTROL
“Quality Assurance is process oriented and focuses on defect prevention, while quality control is product oriented and focuses on defect identification.”
With any standardized “product” you will always have defects. ALWAYS! The goal is to minimize the number and impact of those defects. That is the job of Quality Control.
What then is the “product” being produced, and how are “defects” in it identified and minimized, both during development and after it is completed?
What is the standardized completed “product” we are talking about? Isn’t it just the finished scientific paper? But isn’t each and every one by definition unique? So, how does one exercise Quality Control over something to which it does not, and cannot apply?
The closest we can come to that is to have the product examined by other scientists with expertise in the same or closely related fields, and hope that they are knowledgeable and honest enough to catch real flaws that can be fixed, and not reject the product for reasons other than real defects that can’t be fixed. We already have that. It’s called Peer Review.
But hasn’t this question arisen because peer review itself isn’t working properly? So, how do we control for a situation in which the controllers in place are themselves defective? I think it’s obvious that more of the same is probably not the best solution to that problem.
Well, what about Quality Assurance? After all, it’s purpose is to prevent defects during product development. Perhaps this is the most appropriate tool to use? And, even though the “product” is unique, one still wants it to be as free as humanly possible of defects.
So, who are most qualified to identify and eliminate defects during “development” of this “product?” Aren’t they the scientists doing the research? Of course they are, and that’s what they do if they are any good at it. Anyone who has ever been involved in scientific research knows that competent and honest scientists already do this. They review the results every experiment in excruciating detail before planning and proceeding to the next. They have to. It’s integral to the process.
But if we already have mechanisms in place to address the issues, and they aren’t working, what more can we do? After all, they should and often do work. So why don’t they always work?
As long as one has to rely on the competence and integrity of QA/QC teams, who are themselves not free of defects, we can’t expect a different outcome. And no amount of added bureaucracy will change that.
The appropriate processes are in place. It’s not the processes, it’s the people involved who need to change.
One of the main problems is that Universities and government agencies tolerate substandard work because it brings in more money than honest work does. Climategate showed us what happens when scientists and research are sold to the highest bidders. It’s not pretty. The levels of oversight that already exist were easily hijacked by them. I don’t see how giving them another level to pervert could possibly be a solution.
Climategate? Why is this even a thing? You skeptics are making up a hoax story like that go with it for years until it becomes folklore or a legend amongst you guys where nobody really remembers what actually has happened, but the version that you remember is somehow what you base your believes about climate science on. Correct?
Who quality controls all the skeptic prophets who write nonsense day in day out? Since it doesn’t really matter, it often doesn’t get refuted by anyone and some poor souls begin to think those „findings“ are real. That there are contradictions everywhere. They believe what they are being told by blogs like this one. Without much quality control … I have confidence that scientists can figure out what is going on with the climate, but I have zero confidence that blogexperts and conspiracy fans that flock to this skeptic meme can ever change their opinions towards non-crazy ones …
Climategate? Why is this even a thing?” – SebH
Why is perversion of peer review even “a thing?” Because it’s broken, and the warmunista science charlatans are among those who broke it.
Shame on us for caring about scientific integrity?
Shame on SebH for not only not caring, but trying to con others into not caring as well, …and lying to them about why they shouldn’t.
Climategate exposed the dry rot that is rampant in climate science. It is a BIG deal. If it isn’t “a thing,” then nothing is.
See also here.
“These e-mails provide an insight into practices by researchers that are poor science at best and fraudulent at worst. Bias, manipulation of data, avoidance of freedom of information requests, and efforts to subvert the peer-review process are apparent, all to further the “cause” of man-made global warming.“
Some more Climategate links…
It’s pretty obvious from the facts that SebH hasn’t a clue what he’s writing about.
Not allowed to reply to Yonason? Why are you protecting this guy?
Seb, “peer review isn’t perfect, but it’s what we’ve got.” is a very poor defense of the modern scientific method. Modern science is broken, when a researcher sends a paper to a publisher most publishers ask for suggestion on who should peer review the paper, that’s not peer review that’s “pal review”. The government bases policy/laws/spending on this science which later turns out to be false/fraudulent/wrong, public opinion is also shaped by this “science” which can and does lead to deaths (Wakefield study) which people are now refusing to get vaccines for their children. Most of these studies are no better then a “WAG”.
An excellent article was written in the New Yorker in 2010 (hardly a climate denier magazine)about how much we believe is just not true
Most people don’t believe modern science because of people like you, who stand behind the modern scientific research as a shield and a weapon, to bludgeon opponents only to be told years later “oh we were wrong and now you should believe this”.
Even the prestigious Nature magazine show most science is not reproducible which should be the hallmark of all research.
Science is broken, go to the website Retraction Watch to see how broken science is…….
I have zero confidence that blogexperts and conspiracy fans that flock to this skeptic meme can ever change their opinions towards non-crazy ones …”
That is a very interesting point of view! Does SebH think that insulting people makes them change their minds? I hope he doesn’t use this attitude in daily life. It’s asking for trouble in my experience.
In his daily life, SebastianH has historically said that he is surrounded by people who agree with him that skeptics like us are “crazy”.
It’s probably quite common for those in his insular world to dismiss those who disagree with him as “nutty” and “conspiracy theorists” who support “memes” and “nonsense”.
He of course offers little in the way of substance with any of his “rebuttals”, just insults and condescension directed at those who he believes are intellectually beneath him. This is how those of his kind operate. They think it’s enough to hurl the appeal-to-authority repartee at us. As if he thinks we actually regard him as having superior knowledge, but don’t want to admit it.
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