Juckes Review

I’ve submitted two short review comments on Juckes et al – one on their representation of M&M issues and one on the Union reconstruction. The comment period expires on December 21.

My comments overlap somewhat with Willis’ draft. I’ve paid attention to various comments by others here, but, in these short reviews, it’s hard to reflect everything and I’ve not attempted to do so. Regardless of the outcome at CoP, I think that we’ve discussed Juckes et al pretty thoroughly here and readers of this blog have a pretty good understanding of the limitations of this study.

BTW I’ve been invited to act as a CoP reviewer for another submission and I suspect that they are not unaware of our discussions of the Juckes submission.


  1. John S
    Posted Dec 19, 2006 at 4:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The links you give appear to make the site think I am you when I follow them. (It has a note saying “Dear Stephen McIntyre…”)

    You might want to change those links so you don’t have people inadvertently logging in as you… (or log out yourself).

  2. Posted Dec 19, 2006 at 4:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Or worse, filing comments as you.

  3. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 19, 2006 at 4:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks. Fixed

  4. Pat Frank
    Posted Dec 19, 2006 at 8:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    May I never get a review like that, or screw up my science so badly as to qualify for a review like that. Jeez. Really, Steve, that is not “two short review comments.” You do yourself an injustice. If your points carry (does anyone doubt it?), that is a devastating review. On the statistics, I can’t comment except to note that the references to the statistical cautions of the Wegman and North committees are as I remember. But that aside, the duplication of proxies, the mislocation of proxies (the pine we spline make past temps decline), the unreported processing steps, the misrepresentations of (or lack of understanding of) past analyses. . . . It’s incredible. If nothing else, the continual re-use of the same proxies demonstrates an almost patholgical laziness, or opportunism, by some members of the climate reconstruction community. I can’t see any route to repair.

  5. bruce
    Posted Dec 20, 2006 at 1:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #4: From what I have seen of your postings here at CA Pat, I would say that the chances of your getting a review like that are zero! You consistently adopt an approach that is demonstrably objective, and concerned about real science.

    Your postings (and those of many other credible CA posters) contrast with some posters who clearly have a POV issue.

    And I agree that Steve’s critique is devastating for Martin Juckes, who never seriously attempted to address criticisms and comments here. Steve’s work is serious and sound, and in no way deserving of the description “nitpicking” used by some of those with a POV re AGW.

    In fact, it seems to me that the HT, Phil Jones, Hansen, Gore et al are digging their own (metaphorical) graves as credible climate scientists by their demonstrated lack of concern (or even understanding of) sound scientific practice, appropriate use of statistics, the need to provide sufficient data and methods to allow replication etc.

    The opinion polls show that the AGW alarmist propaganda has so far won the battle for popular support, with for example, 70% of Australians saying that they are seriously concerned about AGW. This creates a problem for politicians in dealing with the issue.

    It seems to me that there are two effective ways to counter this propaganda. The first is to continue to address the science. The Juckes experience is a good example of serious discussion that the internet allows which will, I am sure, not go un-noted among other climate scientists. Hopefully we will see better quality work now the consequences of trying to publish poor quality work are so painfully revealed to many influential people.

    The second is to encourage more Copenhagen Consensus exercises. This format is a very good way to educate people about ranking issues, and allocating scarce resources to address those issues. The approach could be used in schoolrooms, public lectures, government groups, media organisations and many more.

    What I am saying is that EDUCATION is the key. And if the science, in the fullness of time, DOES show that the AGW hypothesis is correct, AND that there are sensible actions that we can take to address it, then we should get on and fix it.
    However, on the state of play today, it seems that there are many issues much more deserving of resources than AGW.

  6. Posted Dec 20, 2006 at 3:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I’d have to agree with Pat. I winced at the assault on Juckes’ methodology from devastating point after devastating point, made all the worse by the fact that I’ve met Steve McIntyre and know that there is no malice in him – this is someone who has clear expertise in multiproxy studies that the Hockey Team cannot ignore.

    It’s clear to me that one of the consequences of the climate science debacle is that the Hockey Team appear, through their policy of aggressive isolationism, to be re-creating statistical fallacies known to statisticians for many years. One of the tesks of reviewers must be to pierce this bubble of fallacious statistics and return climate science to using proper statistical methodology.

  7. Posted Dec 20, 2006 at 3:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I’m also puzzled by “Anonymous Reviewer #1” constant references to “Mann (2007; Annual Review of Earth and
    Planetary Sciences)”. Are reviews allowed to reference unpublished works as authoritative? How can we have a situation where a comment is contingent on a paper that no-one can check?

  8. Posted Dec 20, 2006 at 5:09 AM | Permalink | Reply


    I’m also puzzled by “Anonymous Reviewer #1″ constant references to “Mann (2007; Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences)”.

    It is interesting: You can find the paper from here

    But: in that paper Mann refers to

    Mann ME, Rutherford S, Wahl E, Ammann C. 2006a. Robustness of proxy-based climate field reconstruction methods. J. Geophys. Res. In press

    6 times. Now, where is that paper?

    Some time ago at CoP, Anonymous Referee #2 referred to this paper 5 times. Puzzling.

  9. TAC
    Posted Dec 20, 2006 at 6:25 AM | Permalink | Reply


    Nice job!

    The thought crosses my mind that, having shown what is wrong with the “hockey-stick” reconstructions, perhaps it is time for a thought piece on the “so what?” — something like: “The Economic Consequences of a Failed Reconstruction” — beginning with a broad perspective (analogous to Lomborg) on the many problems and threats our world faces, and then focusing in on why this particular issue should matter to you if you care about the planet. The Atlantic Monthly, for example, might be willing to publish such a piece.

    Just a thought…

  10. jae
    Posted Dec 20, 2006 at 11:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Bruce: you say:

    In fact, it seems to me that the HT, Phil Jones, Hansen, Gore et al are digging their own (metaphorical) graves as credible climate scientists by their demonstrated lack of concern (or even understanding of) sound scientific practice, appropriate use of statistics, the need to provide sufficient data and methods to allow replication etc.

    I completely agree, and I believe the power of the Internet will hasten the recogninition of the lousy science produced by some of the climate scientists. I am amazed at how many people come to this site and describe themselves as amateurs, but who thoroughly understand the criticisms of the studies. Lots of education going on here, thanks to Steve M.

  11. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Dec 20, 2006 at 12:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Once upon a time some of us would discuss promotions around coffee. How do you get one? We came up with some – You walk around with computer cards(this was later replaced by floppies and CD’s); write at least one paper, then have someone reference it, then you write more and reference it again, etc.

  12. PHE
    Posted Dec 20, 2006 at 2:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The paper and reviews make an entertaining read. Juckes et al so blatantly tow the ‘consensus’ line, but appear to believe that saying the right words is an adequate alternative to good science and balanced criticism. Anonymous Reviewer No.1 is presumably flattered, but so embarassed by association that he feels obliged to criticise the paper, albeit by claiming we should ignore it in favour of other papers yet to be published! As another has indicated, Steve’s comments by comparison are devastating, thorough and astute.

  13. per
    Posted Dec 20, 2006 at 4:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

    fantastic review.

    It is going to be difficult for the editor. I don’t know if they usually get comment from outside people during review, and I don’t know how they will evaluate that comment. I could imagine that they might require the author to accomodate the comments of their “anonymous reviewers”, but merely leave the unsolicited comments as public commentary on the manuscript.

    Fairly incisive commentary though. I suspect that the authors may feel traumatised.


  14. Cliff Huston
    Posted Dec 22, 2006 at 10:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    In theory at least, the CoP discussion phase on Juckes et al 2006 closed yesterday. Seems odd that Referee #2 has not posted anything yet.

  15. Cliff Huston
    Posted Jan 19, 2007 at 5:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Yesterday marked the scheduled end of the Authors’ Final response period, for the Juckes et al 2006 paper at CoP. So far, no final response has been posted, nor is there any indication from the editor that a four week extension has been requested. Also, according to CoP description of the review process, there should be a minimum of two review referees, but only one has posted. Curious.

    I’m beginning to wonder if this paper has been withdrawn and nobody has bothered to cleanup the CoP web page.

  16. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 19, 2007 at 7:04 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #15. As I understand their process, the papers stay online. The Burger and Cubasch paper was rejected, but is still online. So I wouldn’t draw any conclusions.

  17. Jean S
    Posted Feb 22, 2007 at 6:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Any idea what is the true status of the paper? The page still says “Status: Final Response (Author Comments only)”, but according to the COP rules:

    6. Final Response. At the end of the open discussion the authors are asked to respond with final Author Comments. After 4 weeks (expandable to 8 weeks) or upon submission of a revised manuscript the final response phase is terminated, and the discussion paper and interactive comments are archived. Before submission of a revised manuscript for publication in CP, the authors are supposed to have answered the Referee Comments and relevant Short Comments cumulatively or individually.

    It’s now 9 weeks since the open discussion was terminated.

  18. Posted Feb 22, 2007 at 6:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Status of Burger and Cubasch paper is not ‘Closed’, only accepted papers get that status? BTW, Burger and Cubasch and Juckes et al. are most commented papers:


  19. Cliff Huston
    Posted Feb 22, 2007 at 7:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #17: Willis had e-mail correspondence with the editor assigned to this paper, perhaps he will be kind enough to send a note asking the editor for the status.

    Martin Juckes was glib enough when posting at CA, hard to imagine that he has had nothing to say during the author’s response period – I guess he has moved on . . . does MITRIE get a refund?.

    Also, I’m still wondering what happened to the second CoP ‘referee’ – are peer reviewers often no shows?

  20. Jean S
    Posted Mar 6, 2007 at 12:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Martin Juckes has finally posted his comments/answers! What a wonderful rebuttal of all the points raised… no wonder it took almost two and half months to write those comments ;) Now, let’s see what the editor decides…

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