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David Whitehouse: Data, Deflection And The Pause 

Monday, February 13, 2017 10:34
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The arguments stirred up by the NOAA’s ‘pausegate’ whistleblower rumble on. A UK Met Office expert asserted ‘the slowdown hasn’t gone away’. This one could run and run.

David Rose’s splendid and significant article in last week’s Mail on Sunday certainly caused a stir. The initial reaction, mostly distractions, have been easily dealt with by David Rose in this week’s installment.

One of the points raised concerned a paper submitted to the Journal of Climate by Huang et al. It is about the new ERSSTv5 sea surface temperature dataset.

It is an interesting paper that claims that ERSSTv5 shows a lower rate of warming than the previous ERSSTv4 which was used by the now famous Karl et al paper in 2015 which claimed that — contrary to the IPCC — there had been no slowdown in the rate of temperature increase in the past 15 years or so – the so-called Pause.

One persistent activist said the paper was stolen and it was unethical to comment on it. In reality the preprint was obtained from a public webpage, anyone could have downloaded it. It has been in circulation for weeks.

The Huang paper and its inconvenient conclusion prompted the Carbon Brief website to publish an article early Friday afternoon by Prof Peter Thorne of Maynooth University. Clearly, and unwisely, it was designed to forestall anything David Rose might say about discrepancies in ocean temperature data. It was a naïve move showing inexperience with ‘media management.’

Carbon Brief’s contributor said that the paper’s authors did not give permission for the yet to be published data to be distributed. But it doesn’t matter. By placing it on a public website they had. Also Carbon Brief or its advisors know that no such restrictions apply to journalists.

Some journalists have a relationship with some journals to respect short-term pre-publication embargoes, but it is voluntary and not applicable with the journal in question. Where would journalism be if every time a reporter was told ‘you can’t publish this,’ they acquiesced?

The author said because of the potential headlines he wanted to set the record straight. Because the Huang paper and its data was still undergoing peer-review he said he would only discuss it in the barest detail, only he didn’t. He went into much detail about many of the most important points of Huang et al.

But he went even further than that. He actually published the HRSSTv5 dataset. It doesn’t matter that it was in graphical form – there it was on Carbon Brief who had given to the world data that was under peer review! The article on Carbon Brief is published under a CC license encouraging reproduction. There could be no copyright issues now.

Within minutes of the posting by Carbon Brief it was noted that their ERSSTv5 graph was not the same as in the Huang paper. Because of this there followed a series of twitter exchanges. I will spare the names and embarrassment. You can go look at them if you like. Below is the Huang data.

The GWPF report continues here.


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