Science, Unsettled

A study that claimed that the oceans are warming 60% faster than the IPCC’s prediction turns out to have had a bit of an issue:

“The findings of the … paper were peer reviewed and published in the world’s premier scientific journal and were given wide coverage in the English-speaking media,” Lewis wrote. “Despite this, a quick review of the first page of the paper was sufficient to raise doubts as to the accuracy of its results.”

Co-author Ralph Keeling, climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, took full blame and thanked Lewis for alerting him to the mistake.

“When we were confronted with his insight it became immediately clear there was an issue there,” he said. “We’re grateful to have it be pointed out quickly so that we could correct it quickly.”

Keeling said they have since redone the calculations, finding the ocean is still likely warmer than the estimate used by the IPCC. However, that increase in heat has a larger range of probability than initially thought — between 10 percent and 70 percent, as other studies have already found.

“Our error margins are too big now to really weigh in on the precise amount of warming that’s going on in the ocean,” Keeling said. “We really muffed the error margins.”

A correction has been submitted to the journal Nature.

Of course, to the crowd that thinks “I Heart Neil DeGrasse Tyson” is “science”, the narrative is already set.

53 thoughts on “Science, Unsettled

  1. Only a fool or a liar would spin the gross failure of a quality control mechanism like peer review as a sign that the system works.

    To illustrate how stupid Emery’s spin was, the guy who caught the Resplandy et al error was not a climate scientist. In fact, he is not even a scientist. He worked in finance. His academic background is mathematics, with a minor in physics, at Cambridge University (UK). His entire career has been outside academia.

    This is a pattern with climate science.

    It was Steve McIntyer, a Canadian mining engineer who caught Karoly et al’s blunder within hours of publication.

    When “civilians” catch obvious errors that peer-review and editors fail to catch, the field has a serious quality control issue.

    Most fields would recognize this as a flaw, but climate science views it as a feature. After all, the alarmist claim got headlines and that is all that is important.

  2. Bernie Sanders: “The scientific community is telling us if we do not address the global crisis of climate change, transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to sustainable energy, the planet that we’re going to be leaving our kids and our grandchildren may well not be habitable”

    Totally not true. The “scientific community” is saying nothing like this.
    Waiting for the usual suspects to condemn Sanders for his lies about science and climate change . . .

  3. To build on what Greg is saying, when you have repeated cases of amateurs catching basic errors, in this case on page 1 of a paper, your peer review system is no longer preventing errors, but is rather acting merely to enforce the standard view. Doug Casey of FEE did an excellent explanation of how this process works.

    Not just in politicized science like climatology, but arguably in any place where (a) you have government paying the bills or (b) where participants don’t see the need to take outside input seriously.

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