Ryan O’Donnell Responds

Subsequent to my post on Feb 7, 2010 here, Steig informed me by email that he had not seen our Response to his Third Review, as I had previously assumed. I apologize for my misunderstanding on this point, which was, however, incidental to the major concerns expressed in my post. A more detailed response on matters raised in Steig’s most recent RC post and other issues will be forthcoming.

My misunderstanding over whether Steig received the Response to the Third Review does not alter the fact that Steig acting as Reviewer A, in his Second Review, had asked the editor to “insist” that we present the “most likely” West Antarctica trends, specifically proposing iridge, although, in an email yesterday, Steig expressed “total surprise” that we had complied with his iridge proposal and, in his Feb 1 RC post, even criticized us for complying his proposal. We will have more to say on this near the future, as his explanations remain insufficient.

Nor do I agree that the criticisms in his RC posts of the methodology have any merit. In his Third Review, Steig had raised similar points against iridge, notwithstanding his Second Review proposal of the approach and his Third Review comment that “use of the ‘iridge’ procedure makes sense to me, and I suspect it really does give the best results”. We responded fully to these concerns in our Response to his Third Review, although we were unaware until Feb 8, 2011 that Steig had not received a copy of our Response.

In any event, Steig knew or ought to have known that our response must have satisfied the editor of Journal of Climate and should have familiarized himself with our response before condemning the method that he had previously encouraged. Had Steig informed me that he had not seen a copy of our Response to his Third Review, I would have been delighted to send it to him. Instead, he chose to publicly disparage our paper using arguments that were both irrelevant and satisfactorily addressed – which was, unfortunately, no different than the tactic he used during review.

Steig’s recent outbursts are merely his most recent effort to obfuscate the underlying point of our critique: that whatever was original in Steig et al 2009 was based on faulty mathematics; and that whatever was correct in Steig et al 2009 was already known.

169 Comments

  1. Jason
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Ryan,

    Everything you have written here is spot on.

    But you have not addressed your decision to breach anonymity, nor your decision to use snip-able language.

    Not withstanding Steig’s behavior, which will have to be judged on its own merit, do you wish to express regrets about some of your own decisions?

    • PhilH
      Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Ryan did explain his decision to “breach anonymity” in his first post several days ago. As regards his use of snippable language,” Jason, sometimes in this life, enough gets to be enough.

      • Jason
        Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

        I’m of the “two wrongs don’t make a right” camp.

        After you have a chance to think about your actions, you apologize for what you wish you hadn’t done.

        Ryan apparently regrets assuming that Steig had received a copy of his third response.

        It will be noticed that he has chosen not to apologize for anything else.

        • Skip Smith
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 12:55 PM | Permalink

          You should apologize for that awful use of the passive tense.

        • Neil McEvoy
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 1:30 PM | Permalink

          It’s the passive voice, not tense

        • Martin A
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 4:12 PM | Permalink

          Who cares what it’s called – tense or voice – using the passive like that is simply awful.

        • Mailman
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 5:30 AM | Permalink

          Well then he should stop making his point so badly.

    • Molon Labe
      Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Duplicity trumps anonymity.

    • RomanM
      Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Jason (Feb 11 11:01), in Ryan’s view, the following had occurred:

      The reviewer had pushed Ryan and the other authors to alter the content in a particular direction.

      Ryan later discovered that this particular reviewer was Eric Steig.

      Subsequently to that, Steig blogged that this was not a good thing to do.

      How exactly was Ryan supposed to even address this sequence of events without releasing the name of the reviewer involved (whether Ryan was irritated or not)?

      • steven mosher
        Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 5:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: RomanM (Feb 11 11:44),

        Well he could have tortured Steig for months on end by quizzing him about whether Steig
        agree with reviewer A.

        He could have used reviewer A’s words against Steig’s words and posts.

        He could have said ‘ Eric, take your complaint up with Reviewer A” or “Reviewer A, was such an idiot, what do you think Eric”

        That would have been a nice cruel game to play. Moshpit would have done such a thing.

        Then SteveMc and JeffId would have piled on and likewise critcized Reviewer A.

        And the “who is the mystery man” would have carried the story for a long ass time.

        That would have been fun as hell.

        • RomanM
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 5:37 PM | Permalink

          Good thinkin’. An opportunity missed. :)

        • steven mosher
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 7:09 PM | Permalink

          Re: RomanM (Feb 11 17:37), Can you imagine the problems RC would have had deleting questions like “eric, do you agree with reviewer A?”

          The argument would have raged for a long time. About who reviewer A was.

          Actually if Ryan were to read the review to Revkin over the phone then revkin could do a
          paraphrase.. and then.. wow, just wow

        • Tom Gray
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 7:20 PM | Permalink

          RealClimate having trouble deleting posts they do not like!?!?!?!?!?! Isn’t that like breathing air to them

        • AusieDan
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 9:40 PM | Permalink

          Mosh – that would have been very funny.
          However everybody has his own style.
          Ryan seems to prefer to be straightforward.

          I believe in civility too.
          But Ryan has been pushed too far.

          The team have shown very poor judgement again.
          They have taken their very poor analysis of a small area of the climate debate and have used it to expose their methods much more broadly.

          There are two things that come out of this clearly:
          1. The team’s methods
          2. Where the antarctic heat is located.

          We should continue to address these and forget about passive voices, methods of poking fun at those we do not like and other trivial matters (such as my poor spelling and typing).

        • HAS
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 10:59 PM | Permalink

          Just being a little bit pedantic we have not, as I understand it, added much to “Where the antarctic heat is located”, just how to do it better next time.

      • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 7:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

        So let’s see if I have this right:

        someone writes a paper.

        a few others know it has statistical errors. They without shadow of a doubt that the statistics are wrong that they write a second paper criticising the first.

        This is reviewed and an unknown reviewer says their response should not be published unless their statistical methods are changed.

        The authors of the second paper meekly change their statistical methods to those that the anonymous reviewer suggests.

        One has to ask just how confident were the second papers authors when they simply change the most important aspect of their paper on the say-so of an anonymous critic?

        Should they have simply refused to cave in?

        Why did they change their once deeply held beliefs?

        Strange!

        • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 8:17 PM | Permalink

          Re: thefordprefect (Feb 11 19:21),

          > So let’s see if I have this right

          No. For an idea of what’s being discussed, start with Steig’s RC post, then read O’Donnell’s CA essay. The linked reviews of O10 should help, too.

        • HAS
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 10:38 PM | Permalink

          “One has to ask just how confident were the second papers authors when they simply change the most important aspect of their paper (sic) on the say-so of an anonymous critic?”

          Not at all really – they were initially simply replicating the methods used in the paper they were critiquing.

          You will get a sense of what they really thought of the original technique if you read their response to Reviewer A’s third comments.

        • glacierman
          Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

          Re: thefordprefect (Feb 11 19:21),

          “So let’s see if I have this right:”

          Answer: No, you don’t have it right.

        • Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 1:43 PM | Permalink

          No, you have it quite wrong. We used TTLS in the first draft of the paper not because we thought it was better, but to demonstrate that using an objective criterion (cross-validation) rather than a heuristic results in significant changes to the results.

          Nic and I were already working on a follow-on paper (which is quite clear from our response to the first review) that utilized ridge regression instead of TTLS in order to demonstrate that (at least in relatively high SNR situations) ridge regression produces superior results as compared to TTLS. In order to demonstrate that the reviewer’s concerns with our cross validation method were misplaced, we stated that alternative methods (direct RLS and iRidge) produced nearly exactly the same results, but yielded answers in West Antarctica that showed MORE warming than TTLS – answers that we felt were a better representation of the underlying data. This was to answer the reviewer’s question that the TTLS results were a peculiarity of the truncation parameter choice. These were introduced solely to demonstrate that entirely different infilling methods gave similar answers. We did not suggest or even imply that these should replace the TTLS ones.

          The reviewer then insists that we show the “most likely” results rather than the TTLS graphics. The “most likely” results were obviously limited to either direct RLS or iRidge, and the reviewer even spends several sentences clearly outlining his preference for iRidge. With respect to that, we agreed . . . after all, we were writing a follow-on paper in which we were demonstrating the superiority of ridge regression over TTLS. After some conversations, we decided to scrap the idea of a follow-on paper and we took the reviewer’s suggestion.

          In the subsequent review, the reviewer then (after us having taken his “recommendation”) states that he agrees that iRidge is likely to be better and asked for a “few sentences” of justification based on a misreading of Mann 2007 (which he erroneously referred to as the Mann 2008 PNAS paper). We explained in detail how his concerns were misplaced.

          If you are going to summarize, summarize properly.

    • Patrick Hadley
      Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 12:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Two wrongs do not make a right, but anyone like Eric Steig who routinely uses the despicable term “denier” to insult sceptics is in no position to complain about snip-able language.

      • Jason
        Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 12:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Is that routine? When I saw that word in his post, I thought it represented a deliberate decision to inflame the situation.

        • S. Geiger
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 3:30 PM | Permalink

          Yes, its routine. Are you new to this debate?

        • Jason
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 4:04 PM | Permalink

          No. But I didn’t realize that Eric had previously used the term. Could you possibly give me a link?

        • Patrick Hadley
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 5:26 PM | Permalink

          Since you are obviously new to this I suggest that you visit a site called RealClimate.org. Using the search box you will find a number of posts written by Eric Steig. Comments below those articles are very strictly controlled, with no words unacceptable to the author allowed. You will find that neither Steig nor any other member of the team has any scruples at all about allowing the term “denier” or “denial” or “denialist” in comments on threads below his posts, including in posts in which they make an in-line response.

          While RealClimate team members continue to allow free use of the term “denier” in its article and comments it has no business in complaining about harsh words in other sites.

        • Jason
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 6:33 PM | Permalink

          Over the course of the roughly six years that I have been closely following the climate blog wars, I have more than once visited Real Climate. I have seen relatively few posts by Eric, and none in which he called somebody a Denier (prior to this most recent event).

          Could you provide me with a single example please.

        • GaryA
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 9:21 PM | Permalink

          Are 3 examples enough?

          In line comment on
          “What we can learn from studying the last millennium (or so)” May 2010 thread…

          “…. I would agree with you that the mainstream media, the deniers, and yes, some scientists confuse these issues quite badly.–eric]”

        • Jason
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 9:46 PM | Permalink

          Its not exactly what I was looking for.

          If I wrote that “this is they type of misrepresentation that duplicitous people typically use”, I wouldn’t consider it to be impolite because I’m not actually saying that anybody in particular is duplicitous.

          Calling Ryan a denier is an altogether different matter because:

          1. He is insulting Ryan directly and

          2. He is implying the Ryan denies global warming, even though he knows this not to be the case.

          Eric’s previous use of the word is, at worst a mild expression of hostility towards an opposing group. His most recent use of the word is completely unacceptable behavior.

        • Patrick Hadley
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 5:05 AM | Permalink

          Do you think that Steig has never noticed the routine use of “denier” in Real Climate comments? You must know that Real Climate strictly censors all replies to posts, so whenever Steig allows a comment under his posts containing “denier” he is deliberately supporting the routine use of that insult, and making it seem respectable.

          While RC continues to allow the use of the term on its site it is hypocritical of anyone there to complain about intemperate language elsewhere.

        • DEEBEE
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 8:33 AM | Permalink

          You could have gone and done your own work, as Patrick suggested and either supported his conclusion or falsified it. You refuse to do the work. You can have an opinion whether Patrick is correct, but please stop the sterile “It is, it is not debate”

    • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 1:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Jason
      Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:01 AM

      Ryan,

      Everything you have written here is spot on.

      But you have not addressed your decision to breach anonymity,

      It was Steig who breached his anonymity, not Ryan. The obligation to maintain it is on the editor (to protect negative referees from retribution for negative reports) and on the referee (to prevent future reciprocating back rubs for positive reports).

      Ryan had no obligation (other than his assurance to Steig, which he argues was nullified by Steig’s “trick”) to protect Steig’s anonymity.

      • Jason
        Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 4:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I would argue that by submitting his paper to the journal, he became obligated to respect the journal’s rules, which include protecting reviewer anonymity.

        Any ambiguity in the rules would appear to have been resolved with John Nielsen-Gammon’s email to Steve and Jeff.

        http://blogs.chron.com/climateabyss/2011/02/on_revealing_the_identity_of_reviewers.html

        • steven mosher
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 5:30 PM | Permalink

          Re: Jason (Feb 11 16:10), The facts of course were incomplete in the description of the case at hand

        • MrPete
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 6:22 PM | Permalink

          Re: Jason (Feb 11 16:10),
          a) The journal’s rules do NOT protect reviewer anonymity in any way.
          b) What you cite is an email that was not sent to Ryan.
          c) In this case, even if Ryan did not reveal who Reviewer A was, it would have been obvious if he were to say anything at all about the duplicity of Steig’s public vs review statements.

          OR… should Steig simply be allowed to say one thing as a reviewer, and something quite different in public, and get away with it?

        • Jason
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 6:50 PM | Permalink

          “The journal’s rules do NOT protect reviewer anonymity in any way.”

          That is a matter that the journal can decide. But many reviewers do, in fact, have this understanding.

          “In this case, even if Ryan did not reveal who Reviewer A was, it would have been obvious if he were to say anything at all about the duplicity of Steig’s public vs review statements.”

          Interestingly, John Nielsen-Gammon claims that this would have been permissible conduct. I’m not sure he is right (his own email to Steve calls this into question). But certainly, had Ryan done this, he would look far better (PR wise) right now.

          “OR… should Steig simply be allowed to say one thing as a reviewer, and something quite different in public, and get away with it?”

          As has been noted elsewhere, Ryan had a number of alternative responses that would have been effective. Moreover, he was winning the debate. Steig et al is a remarkably flawed paper, and Ryan was winning where it counts. He did need to alter the status quo in this way.

          That said, the journal should be allowed to decide that preserving the anonymity of reviewers is more important than making sure that Steig doesn’t “get away with it”. In fact, I’m sure that this was their preference.

        • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 7:27 PM | Permalink

          “The journal’s rules do NOT protect reviewer anonymity in any way.”

          That is a matter that the journal can decide. But many reviewers do, in fact, have this understanding

          Whether the reviewers have that mistaken understanding or not, as you apparently do, is not material. They could very easily do what Roman M did in another thread and I have done here: Google the policy, read them and then make statements based on them.
          Here is the direct link to the AMS policy
          http://www.ametsoc.org/pubs/authorsguide/authorseditorsreviewersguide.pdf

          People are conflating custom to being policy in this case and while it maybe customary to keep it confidential it is not policy.

        • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 8:41 PM | Permalink

          Boballab is 100% correct. There are guidelines for confidentiality and conflict of interest but not hard and fast rules. Ethical behavior is assumed whether justified or not. Ryan’s publishing the reviews are the only legal issue if the JOC has copyright over the reviews and decides to enforce their rights.

          Outing Steig would be bad form IF there was no conflict of interest on Steig’s part. By not signing his reviews, Steig left himself open to claims of a conflict of interest.

          Poor choices were made by both parties

    • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 6:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I am curious as to what is more important, anonymity and language you disagree with or the integrity and accuracy of science?

      If this absurd practice of having reviewers be the same authors of a paper someone is criticizing is not fully exposed we will continue to see the gate-keeping of bad science.

      • Jason
        Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 9:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Lets not kid ourselves. Recent events have done nothing to improve the accuracy of science.

        A few days ago, Ryan et al were in the process of slaughtering the Team on the scientific merits of the issue, and gaining a great deal of respect in the process.

        Now its its just a big mess.

        In a sports match, its usually the losing team that starts a fight. Arguably that’s what happened here with Eric’s post on February 1st, and his subsequent behavior. But Ryan took the bait.

        • intrepid_wanders
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 2:10 AM | Permalink

          Jason,

          Let the children play ;) It works itself out in the end, maybe with a few bruised egos. Maybe it is just an unwinable game, or the way of the Tao.

          I believe at the end of the day, after “the team” and “the auditors” peel the mashed potatoes w/ turkey gray and the custard off, things will settle back in the civil dialog. The “temporal accuracy” will evolve with the critical evaluation of the data over time.

          I also see *both* sides of this learning much more about the real physics and statistics involve in this issue that relate to science in general. Think of the Space Race. Two countries designing solutions to achieve orbit with radical design differences (Vostok and Saturn) yet the real government intent is for ICBMs. We managed to get both, a nuclear proliferation program and a space-craft program. It is always about the balance.

          Balance is good for science.

  2. David P
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Is it Steig’s position that he was only “suggesting” iridge might give “the best results” but that it was still inappropriate to use? By this I mean is that how I am to read his RC Response post on this matter? He doesn’t seem to deny the quotes attributed to him, only what they mean.

    • Luis Dias
      Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Exactly. And he evades the obvious issue by crying “foul” to the irrelevant mistake by O Donnell.

  3. Salamano
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:06 AM | Permalink | Reply

    So…Is it possible that Steig could behave and respond this way without being ‘duplicitous’?

    Also (and I don’t know this answer)…Is it up to Steig to realize that each of his reviews would have a response, and that he is entitled to receive a copy? (As he points out S.M. was upset about)

    Finally…Does this mean that after all this, it still is, in fact, true, that the data from Antarctica concludes that warming ‘has’ occurred there, but the matter of ‘debate’ is the magnitude and spatial extent? (Meaning, his nature cover picture may well be an exagerration, but perhaps still possible to not be a lie)?

    • Luis Dias
      Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

      No, I don’t think so. Eric’s duplicity is smaller than previously thought, but it still exists. Either that or full blown incompetence as a reviewer.

  4. carbon-based life form
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

    There do seem to be too many expressions of personal rancor in this episode, whether deserved or not.

    The whole history speaks once again to the need to have credible statistical oversight of any non-expert use of statistical tools.

  5. Alex
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

    @Salamano If the Steig result is “correct” or not is simply not relevant in regards to the O’Donnell paper. Steig used a faulty method, this has been proven. The nature cover has no scientific value. If I read tea leaves I can also get the correct result, but I would still be wrong.

    • Salamano
      Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 12:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Then we can pretty-much expect another paper to come out in the future that presents improved methods, that cites E.S. 09 as its history (without making any reference to RO’10), that essentially comes to the same conclusions, and those who have sought to deliver the same news (regarding antarctic warming) will be able to say that their previous ‘results’ are confirmed.

      Wasn’t this the same thing (more or less) that went on with the Hockey-Stick papers?

      Might this simply be that the ‘random’ reviewers that Nature chose for E.S. ’09 just happend to find the results more agreeable and intuitive enough (vis-a-vis prior literature) such that the flawed methodology was not enough to keep it from being published (in their view)? After all, R.O. seems to agree that some of the ‘discoveries’ put forth by the paper are those that are already known.

      • S. Geiger
        Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 3:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

        “Then we can pretty-much expect another paper to come out in the future that presents improved methods, that cites E.S. 09 as its history (without making any reference to RO’10), that essentially comes to the same conclusions, and those who have sought to deliver the same news (regarding antarctic warming) will be able to say that their previous ‘results’ are confirmed.”

        - and that would be great…as long as the methods/data are tenable. That’s all anyone is asking for.

  6. RuhRoh
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Is it the duty of authors to convey review responses to the (at that point anonymous) reviewers?

    Also; typo; ‘near the future’ at end of second paragraph?

    To the extent possible, I encourage you to always first address the science questions before reacting to the latest question of when who said what to whom.

    One other technique; always a final pass to choose more dispassionate phrasings. It took me decades to learn that passion is often decoded as evidence of an ego monument.

    RR

  7. OldUnixHead
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Ryan,

    Would either you, Steve McI, or some other moderator please TAG this post and the “Steig’s Trick” post with “o’donnell” and “Steig”. It’ll help the rest of us find them later in the blog category displays.

    Thx.

  8. Quiet Waters
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    John Nielsen-Gammon at Stoat:

    “Announcing the identity of the anonymous reviewer was wrong in and of itself. The seriousness of the offense deepens to the extent that the author also reveals some of the content of the review. Revealing the identity of the reviewer while simultaneously publishing the complete content of the reviews makes this particular ethical violation as bad as possible.”

    • Ron Cram
      Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Really? John Nielson-Gammon condemns Ryan in this? Even though Steig had suggested a method he then publicly criticized the paper for? Really? I used to respect John Nielson-Gammon, even though I didn’t agree with him. I don’t see how any honest scientist can be on Steig’s side in this.

      • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 12:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

        John N-G is being consistent with earlier response.

      • Jason
        Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 12:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Anonymity is critical to the peer review process. Nobody will want to participate if their comments will subsequently be used against them. I could imagine the journal taking this very seriously.

        Because Eric actually wrote the paper being criticized, I don’t think that breaching anonymity matters very much in this case. Eric had the incentive to participate in the process no matter what, and protecting his anonymity had the potential to enable all sorts of mischief on his part.

        BUT, protecting reviewer anonymity is a bright line rule of the reviewing process. Ryan chose to cross it. And his reason for doing so (that Steig pushed Ryan to use a method which he subsequently could criticize) seems decidedly less clear cut on paper than it evidently does in Ryan’s head.

        I think that a great many researchers will believe that protecting the principle of reviewer anonymity is far more important than publicizing a (very questionable) instance of reviewer misconduct.

        That said, on December 8th (after Ryan had determined the identity of reviewer A), John Nielson-Gammon sent an email to Steve and Jeff Id specifically outlining the prohibition on revealing content written by a no longer anonymous reviewer. http://blogs.chron.com/climateabyss/2011/02/on_revealing_the_identity_of_reviewers.html

        At this point, he should be pissed that this letter was ignored

        • Zorro
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

          Outing the reviewer maybe wrong in a macro sense but “team” actions leave little option.
          Every time it happens they are like a little kids with chocolate smeared all over their faces saying that they didn’t eat the chocolate.
          So many of the practices exposed (still denied) during climategate are illustrated in this case.
          Zorro

        • Jason
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

          I disagree. Had Ryan kept Steig’s identity confidential, he would still be winning the technical argument (and he would be looking considerably better right now). Stooping to their level was not necessary in this case, and may ultimately prove to have been harmful.

        • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 7:06 PM | Permalink

          Ryan looks perfectly fine despite your repeated attempts at guilt via moral superiority.

          Exposing Steig as a reviewer has only harmed the integrity of the journal.

        • Jeff C.
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 9:15 PM | Permalink

          As shown in the links to JoC policy above, there were no rules against what Ryan did. As far as I know, none of the paper’s authors signed documents promising to keep the reviews confidential. Any matters of confidentiality were gentleman’s agreements. When one side no longer acts as a gentleman (e.g. criticizing the same methodology one recommended), the agreement is void.

          The Team is used to making, interpreting and enforcing the rules at their own whim. Now that others refuse to play their game, we hear nothing but howls of indignation while dodging the substantive issues. It is transparent and embarrassing. Suggestions that Ryan would look better by playing their game are absurd.

        • clazy8
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 1:04 PM | Permalink

          Steig outed himself. He did not have to respond to RO’s question. As RO stated, in the comments yesterday I think, Steig did not ask him to keep that information secret.

          The idea that RO has somehow damaged the peer-review process is absurd: reviewers are given anonymity so that their review will not be affected by their relationship with the author. Once the reviewer has identified himself to the author, the primary rationale no longer exists. If the editors had outed Steig, that would indeed be damaging, but this instance has no effect on peer review except in the minds of those eager to turn the argument against RO.

        • glacierman
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 1:34 PM | Permalink

          Exactly. Reviewer anonymity is something that is provided by the journal editor and the reviewers themselves. Steig broke it. I am pretty sure that authors are not asked to not reveal the identity of someone they were not supposed to know in the first place. This is a straw man argument. The only claim Steig can make is that RO broke his word to not reveal what Steig had an obligation as a reviewer to have not revealed. It is not the same thing. People claiming RO broke crossed some line seems like a misdirection of responsiblity.

        • Philip Finck
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

          You are correct, 100%. In fact it is quite common to see an author(s), in the Acknowledgement Section, thank a specific reviewer who chose not to remain anonimous(sp) and an `anominous reviewer’.

        • Geoff Sherrington
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 6:04 PM | Permalink

          I suspect you have it wrong. The anonymity of Reviewer A was broken by Steig telling Ryan that Steig himself was Reviewer A.

          That it what matters in the formal sense, the sense of importance to the future review process.

          If Steig had never told Ryan that he was Reviewer A, much of this might not have developed along lines that worry some people.

        • clazy8
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 9:37 PM | Permalink

          Geoff, I don’t understand what you are saying. Where is the damage?

        • glacierman
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

          “Anonymity is critical to the peer review process.”

          Then will hold ES accountable for breaking his?

        • Dave Andrews
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

          Jason,

          Why is anonymity essential to the scientific review process? Surely it is only essential to those who wish to somehow maintain their status rather than progress the science?

          Plenty of reviewers willingly forego anonymity, believing transparency is far more important.

        • Jason
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 4:22 PM | Permalink

          Academia is amongst the most intensely political environments on earth. There are many situations in which writing the wrong thing (or saying it inelegantly) would be held against the reviewer… especially when they have something bad to say. I know people who bear intense resentment towards anonymous reviewers, and I suspect that this is a fairly universal occurrence.

          I would not claim that it is impossible to perform scientific reviews without anonymity. But as the system is presently structured, it is an essential element. I would expect AMS to feel obligated to protect it.

        • harold
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

          Thanks for the link Jason. I found it odd that the email was sent to Jeff and Steve, but not to Ryan. In the thread John Nielson-Gammon gives an explanation:

          Marco – There was a discussion going on at The Air Vent regarding whether it was ethical or appropriate to publicly post reviews. I personally thought it was okay, but I decided to help things out by contacting my friends at the AMS leadership directly and getting what would amount to an official pronouncement on the matter. I expected that this would facilitate posting of the reviews and responses without there being a side discussion of whether it was right or wrong of them to do so.

          J Bowers – I have no knowledge of O’Donnell being aware of my email. My initial contact was to Jeff Id. Steve McIntyre, apparently informed by Jeff that I was doing this, then asked me to also inquire about the issue of reviewers with conflicts of interest.

          Posted by: n-g at February 10, 2011 10:34 AM

        • Jason
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 4:13 PM | Permalink

          If Ryan says here that he was unaware of the email, I will believe him.

          But I can think of others who probably won’t.

      • glacierman
        Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Was it ethical for Steig to break his anonymity? Didn’t he have any obligation to remain anonymous? Wasn’t the obligation his, as a reviewer? He told O’Donnell that he was Reviewer A didn’t he? He asked O’Donnell not to reveal this, but what is O’Donnell’s obligation to comply with this request? What was O’Donnell obligation really?

    • EJD
      Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

      makes this particular ethical violation as bad as possible.

      And the fact that a reviewer was assigned to review a critique of his own work? Silence…

      • Jason
        Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 12:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

        That is common practice. Who better than the original author to understand what the first paper was saying.

        • Willis Eschenbach
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 12:55 PM | Permalink

          Jason, in my experience it is absolutely not common practice to have the original author as a reviewer, although it is quite common to ask them for, and provide space separately for, their comments as original author.

          This is for the obvious reason that you either a) haven’t noticed, b) don’t care about, or c) ignored.. The original author, while they know what the first paper was saying, has a huge, monstrous, giant conflict of interest in the issue.

          w.

          PS – You say “Anonymity is critical to the peer review process. Nobody will want to participate if their comments will subsequently be used against them.” In other words, you want people to be able to attack the paper and not have to be responsible for their comments. This to me is one of the biggest flaws in the current peer review system.

          In my opinion, while the original reviewers should be anonymous while they are reviewing, they should have to sign their names to their reviews, and their signed reviews should be published along with the original paper

          However, as your username shows and like your preferred method of review, you want to be free to snipe at and attack people here, but you don’t have the stones to sign your own name to your attack … which gives your words as much value as anonymous reviews.

          Which on my planet is mostly “none”.

          w.

        • Zorro
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

          Willis Eschenbach said:
          Jason, in my experience it is absolutely not common practice to have the original author as a reviewer…….

          ………but you are not on the team.
          Z

        • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 1:25 PM | Permalink

          As a case in point, Willis and I recently submitted an article to Nature Geoscience, criticizing one of their recent articles. We got back two reports, one from the authors, and one from an anonymous, presumably impartial referee. That is how JC should have handled Ryan et al.

        • Jason
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 1:58 PM | Permalink

          I agree. Anonymity serves no purpose when the reviewer is the author of the original paper. But determining how this should be handled is the job of the journal. Submitting your article to a journal for peer review and then not abiding by its rules seems decidedly uncool. Hopefully, Ryan didn’t see the email sent to Steve and Jeff, so this wasn’t deliberate on his part.

          In my own experience, the only time I had my name on a paper that directly criticized another, it was assigned to the original author. In that case too, the reviewer effectively breached his own anonymity. I was at a major university, and everybody else involved considered it to be common practice. (So much so, that I don’t even recall questioning the practice. But it was a decidedly less acrimonious affair.)

        • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 2:07 PM | Permalink

          Re: Willis Eschenbach (Feb 11 12:55),

          Jason’s arguments should be addressed on their merits, not on the basis of his ‘handle.’ The points he raises are ill-characterized as “snipes” and “attacks,” and deserve serious consideration.

          If ClimateAudit’s proprietor wishes to restrict pseudonymous commenting, he can revise the blog’s policies at any time. (It’s a mixed bag: there are some advantages to doing so, and others to not doing so, IMO.)

        • Jason
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

          Heh, I didn’t even notice the original swipe at my using a nym until AMac’s post.

          Its my choice not to link my real name to my positions in the climate debate (mostly because of my concerns about the other side actually. It’s interesting that I should be attacked here for it).

          Questioning my testicular fortitude is not going to convince me otherwise.

        • steven mosher
          Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 7:56 PM | Permalink

          Re: Willis Eschenbach (Feb 11 12:55),

          in engineering we sign our reviews. that means we cant be unreasonable, cant use delaying tactics, cant be unfair. because we know that we will just engender a war of escalation where nothing gets done.

          Anonymity encourages bad behavior. or rather it recognizes that academics cannot help but be petty. ( that’ll start a fight Im sure)

        • Vorlath
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 2:01 PM | Permalink

          That’s ridiculous. It’d be like applying for a government grant and having your competitor on the review panel without you knowing. Or being both judge and defendant (or plaintiff) in a court case. It’s called conflict of interest in the legal profession and you’d get disbarred for that kind of behaviour because it puts the entire profession in disrepute. But climate science? No problem, business as usual. The proper course is to allow responses to the review panel by the previous paper’s author. But allowing the previous author on the panel itself is just bonkers. It stretches the imagination how this could in any way be acceptable.

        • Jason
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 3:30 PM | Permalink

          The decision to accept or reject a paper is made by editors, not reviewers. A reviewer is required to make sure that the editor is aware of any potential conflicts of interest (usually this is not necessary because the editor is already aware). The editor is supposed to factor any conflicts of interest into his editing process.

          A better example is your competitor testifying at your criminal trial. During cross examination (if not earlier) the judge or jury will be made aware of your competitor’s conflict of interest, and they will weigh any evidence given in that light.

        • RDCII
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 4:04 PM | Permalink

          Jason, have you really given thought to what you are asserting?

          If it were common practice to have the author of a challenged paper SECRETLY be one of the reviewers of a challenging paper…how would you know? Unless, of course, it’s also common for the reviewer to be outed?

          Perhaps, if it’s so common, you can name 5 instances you know of where the author of a challenged paper was asked to secretly be a reviewer of the challenging paper?

        • Jason
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

          My personal experience with this is limited to a single instance. The best person to ask would be an actual journal editor. Louis Derry (Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems) says that it is common practice here:

          http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/11/on-peer-review-and-climate-progress/

          Obviously all my co-authors thought it was standard practice.

          I’d turn the question back around to you. Do you know anybody with an extensive history with the peer review process who does NOT think that this is common practice?

        • steven mosher
          Posted Feb 13, 2011 at 12:23 AM | Permalink

          Re: Jason (Feb 11 16:30), Derry hasnt really answered the question.

          There is a unique feature of the ODonnell Steig affair that everybody forgets.

  9. sharper00
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “Steig’s recent outbursts are merely his most recent effort to obfuscate the underlying point of our critique: that whatever was original in Steig et al 2009 was based on faulty mathematics; and that whatever was correct in Steig et al 2009 was already known.”

    Er so Steig is the one who distracted from the analysis and the topic into a ridiculous sideshow about personalities, “duplicity”, the journal the peer review process? His latest “outbursts” are in direct response to serious attacks on his character and integrity, attacks which have been shown to be without merit and which this post does nothing to support.

    After all that you know want to complain that people have gone off topic? Really?

    • suyts
      Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:51 AM | Permalink | Reply

      sharper00, I know it is tricky, but I’ll try to explain. Those words in blue and that are underlined, that indicates a thingy we in the internet world like to call a “link”. If you click on them, magically something else will appear in your browser or even a new browser will open altogether! If you were to do so, you’d have the opportunity to read Steig’s 3rd review. You can then go back to RC and see where Steig was being disingenuous.(I’ll provide a link thingy if necessary) If you have problems with words and their meanings, just come back here and ask, I’m sure if I’m not here to help, many others will have a clear explanation for you.

    • EJD
      Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

      attacks which have been shown to be without merit

      Hmm, he ‘suggested’ they use iRidge, they used it and then, under the cloak of anonymity chided them for using it. Seems to me that’s ‘duplicitous.’

    • Ron Cram
      Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

      sharper00,
      Have you been paying attention? Steig criticized the paper because it used a method he recommended. You don’t see a problem with that?

      • suyts
        Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 12:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

        No, he doesn’t. He spent a good part of yesterday at WUWT running misdirection plays and handwaving.

  10. AJ Abrams
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Ryan et al.

    I think the initial angry response is probably regretted so I’ll not harp on it. Lesson learned I’m sure. As you know this all distracts from the main message.

    What is the main message? Well this one is so easy. When I entered my first math classes it was always mandatory to show my work. Why? Because in any math discipline it is possible to get the correct answer by sheer accident/guessing. If the professor can’t see your work he can’t have any idea if you understand the method, and it is the methodology that is taught, not guessing 101.

    This case is clearly the same. The method he went about getting his answer was incorrect which made his answer incorrect. Since no one actually knows the correct answer to the question (including Ryan)the method is actually the only thing we can say is correct, or incorrect.

    As I have stated elsewhere, there is no way anyone on this planet is going to convince me that there is enough data down there to give the kind accuracy/precision that is being claimed in any of the trend studies I’ve seen coming out of Antarctica. West, east or central. Too many problems with data corruption, missing data, moved thermometers etc for anyone to calculate error bars I’d trust. The one thing that has become clear from looking at the raw data is that we need a better way to measure temps there.

  11. Hector M.
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 12:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    When I read the “duplicity” response by Ryan I thought that the tone was inadequate, and still think so. One of the many virtues of Steve McIntyre has been his unfailing politeness and his refusal to use “snipable” language, that in the end works against one’s best interests. Ryan could have conveyed the same meaning by simply pointing out that Steig had recommended or approved the use of the iridge procedure that he later condemned. I do not think revealing the identity of Reviewer A is at fault in this case: Ryan has abstained from doing so for as long as possible, but Steig criticizing the procedure he had originally recommended, and eulogizing the other procedure (TTLS) that he had seen as faulty during review, could not be addressed without the revelation. Nonetheless, the discussion could have maintained the civilized tone of the beginning.

    • AJ Abrams
      Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 12:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Hector – “and eulogizing the other procedure (TTLS) that he had seen as faulty during review”

      In Eric’s defense, and this has irony built in if you get what went wrong with Eric’s method, he wasn’t eulogizing the other procedure as Ryan had done it 7 grids, but is instead saying
      I did it correct with 3 and Ryan should see that.

      It’s comical

    • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 5:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

      When I read the “duplicity” response by Ryan I thought that the tone was inadequate, and still think so.

      Somewhat “intemperate in parts”, perhaps, but surely not “inadequate” – and considering the circumstances far from unwarranted. We all have our “boiling points”, and were I to have been at Ryan’s keyboard, I think mine would have been reached far sooner than his! Although, being somewhat older and wiser, I might have slept on it overnight before hitting send (and having done so I might not have made any changes, either!)

      One of the many virtues of Steve McIntyre has been his unfailing politeness and his refusal to use “snipable” language, that in the end works against one’s best interests.

      Completely agree. But from where I’m sitting, the “tone” emanating from the hockey team / RC crowd has almost invariably been “monotonally” far from civil – particularly when “defending” the indefensible.

      Ryan could have conveyed the same meaning by simply pointing out that Steig had recommended or approved the use of the iridge procedure that he later condemned.

      Agreed – and it certainly would have been more in keeping with his earlier responses (especially considering that he had in his possession the “amunition” and evidence since Dec. 6)

      But, since Steig had placed himself in the position of (inter alia)defending the mathematically indefensible – and based on the long history of the tone of “the team’s” responses to Steve in similar situations – I very much doubt that in the long run it would have made much (if any) difference.

  12. Jeremy
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 12:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It really seems like the attempt is to just shout you down here. Nothing of substance about the issues in question is coming from the other side.

    I would recommend letting their shouting hang themselves. Shouting matches are only won by those who are working hardest to forget the big picture.

  13. Pat
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 12:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ryan;
    Your last sentence reminds me of a comment by the great wit, Samuel Johnson, reviewing some author’s work.
    “Sir, your manuscript is both good and original. Where it is good,it is not original; where it is original, it is not good,

  14. Fred Harwood
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 12:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “that were both irrelevant and satisfactorily addressed”

    Should that be unsatisfactorily addressed?

  15. Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 12:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ryan
    Just to be clear:

    Steig specifically states that O’Donnell et al came up with the iridge idea (when he raised issues with TTLS).

    You state here that Steig had ‘specifically proposed’ iridge.

    I think this is a discrepancy that needs sorting out.

    In any event, my understanding is that Steig, while not entirely happy with iridge, was not entirely unhappy with it either and seemed to see the virtues of using this method during review, and wanted the authors (O’Donnell) to discuss its issues/problems (even as he understood that space was at a premium).

    Given that background, Steig could have discussed issues with ‘iridge’ in a more abstract sense, in his Realclimate post.

    • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 12:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

      We did, indeed, mention the ridge and direct RLS results in the main text as supplementary indications that our choice of ground truncation parameter was accurate.

      In our response to Review A, we had mentioned iRidge and direct RLS to demonstrate that two entirely different methods gave results that aligned with our main reconstructions in order to answer the question in the review concerning our choice of truncation parameter.

      This is Steig’s entire comment following that:

      My recommendation is that the editor insist that results showing the ‘mostly likely’ West Antarctic trends be shown in place of Figure 3. While the written text does acknowledge that the rate of warming in West Antarctica is probably greater than shown, it is the
      figures that provide the main visual ‘take home message’ that most readers will come away with. I am not suggesting here that kgnd = 5 will necessarily provide the best estimate, as I had thought was implied in the earlier version of the text. Perhaps, as the authors suggest, kgnd should not be used at all, but the results from the ‘iridge’ infilling
      should be used instead. The authors state that this “yields similar patterns of change as shown in Fig. 3, with less intense cooling on Ross, comparable verification statistics and a statistically significant average West Antarctic trend of 0.11 +/- 0.08 C/decade.” If that is the case, why not show it? I recognize that these results are relatively new – since they evidently result from suggestions made in my previous review – but this is not a compelling reason to leave this ‘future work’.

      Steig chose to leave out most of this on his post. He insists that the editor require us to show the most likely version. He specifically suggests iRidge (which we would have chosen anyway over direct RLS) and then spends several sentences justifying why he thinks iRidge should be used. It was quite a bit more than a casual mention. He says nothing at all about any concerns he might raise with iRidge.

      Did we initially present the iRidge results? Yes, but only to answer a question in review. It was Steig who proposed that these results replace our primary reconstructions. He made no mention of any concerns he might have with iRidge until his third review, where he presented an argument that was not valid and used references that did not support his claim. We satisfactorily addressed this with the editor.

      • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 8:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Eric Steig:

        > Perhaps, as the authors suggest, kgnd should not be used at all, but the results from the ‘iridge’ infilling should be used instead.

        Ryan O’Donnell:

        > He specifically suggests iRidge (which we would have chosen anyway over direct RLS) and then spends **several** sentences justifying why he thinks iRidge should be used.

        [Our emphasis.]

        How many sentences were spent on Steig’s suggestion of the authors’s suggestion?

        • Layman Lurker
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 10:45 PM | Permalink

          How many sentences were spent on Steig’s suggestion of the authors’s suggestion?

          I am assuming this is a cute, rhetorical question.

          Steig and O10 authors are not ‘suggesting’ the same thing (if this is what you are implying).

          O10 authors had been arguing the kgnd cutoff parameter for TTLS with reviewer A. They used the alternative iridge reconstruction (with no infilling) to argue O10′s choice of kgnd=7 for TTLS (correlation) and kgnd=6 for TTLS (covariance). Any “suggestions” from O10 relate to this argument.

          In Ryan’s passage shown above, after Reviewer A ‘insists’ on Figure 3 revision to ‘most likely’, he explains to O10 that he is not arguing as he was previously (kgnd=5). He is now instead “suggesting” or ‘insisting’ that the iridge argument O10 used to support their kgnd parameters for TTLS should now replace TTLS as the feature reconstruction.

        • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:13 PM | Permalink

          > I am assuming this is a cute, rhetorical question.

          Assume and repeat as you wish. This is an italicized sentence. Clarity is required.

        • Layman Lurker
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 11:42 PM | Permalink

          Not really sure if your answer was, or was not confirming a rhetorical question. In the event it was not rhetorical, the number of sentences was 5.

        • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 12:02 AM | Permalink

          Thank you for your answer. Compare and contrast:

          > He specifically suggests iRidge (which we would have chosen anyway over direct RLS) and then spends several sentences justifying why he thinks iRidge should be used.

          with

          > He specifically suggests iRidge (which we would have chosen anyway over direct RLS) and then spends seven sentences justifying why he thinks iRidge should be used.

        • Layman Lurker
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 12:19 AM | Permalink

          Ok. I’ll bite by asking you to clarify what message you are conveying, or “clarity” you are seeking.

        • HAS
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 12:27 AM | Permalink

          To repeat, being absolutely clear here we have one sentence saying we insist on the paper reporting better correlations, a second saying we want it in lights, a third and fourth that says we’ll trade off our original methodology to get it, and the rest says “iRidge – whatever”.

        • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 8:49 AM | Permalink

          HAS,

          Your paraphrase is certainly not absolutely clear.

        • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 8:43 AM | Permalink

          Layman Lurker,

          I want to clarify the next sentence:

          > It was quite a bit more than a casual mention.

          Considering the nature of the accusation, this is quite an understatement, don’t you think?

        • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 8:51 AM | Permalink

          Steig:

          > He specifically suggests iRidge (which we would have chosen anyway over direct RLS) and then spends five sentences justifying why he thinks iRidge should be used.

          The original stated seven.

          So five sentences it is, according to Layman Lurker.

        • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 11:47 AM | Permalink

          Willard,

          My original comment stated “several”. Which is almost like “seven”.

        • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 2:18 PM | Permalink

          RyanO,

          Layman Lurker said:

          > [T]he number of sentences was 5.

          My original rephrasing contained “seven”.

          If Layman Lurker is right, would you say that the “several” in your original comment is almost like “five” too?

        • RomanM
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

          Willard, is there some sort of point to these questions or are you trolling for some sort of oh-so-clever “gotcha” for your even more oh-so-clever blog?

          You seem to have already worn out your welcome at Lucia’s through this sort of nonsense. I suggest that you not push it here, either.

        • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

          RomanM,

          Thank you for the interest ad hominem and I acknowledge your warning.

          To see that I already answered your question, you only have to read the thread.
          Not the blog, of course, as another gatekeeper of this site would say. Just this thread. It’s not even far.

          Here, in fact:

          http://climateaudit.org/2011/02/11/ryan-odonnell-responds/#comment-254744

          Does that qualify as some sort of point to you?

        • RomanM
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 5:23 PM | Permalink

          No. If you have a point to make, then make it. No adult wants to play your childish games.

          Criticism of trollish behaviour does not constitute an ad hom.

        • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 6:02 PM | Permalink

          No, problem, Gatekeeper.

          So here you go. This sentence:

          > It was quite a bit more than a casual mention.

          is an understatement of something that amounts to a serious accusation.

          This accusation is subsumed by the word “trick”. The word “trick” refers an action, an action that only intentional beings are doing. O’Donnell’s accusation is irreductibly stuck inside a loop of intentions.

          The only way out would be to argue that Steig used a trick unintentionally, i.e. it looks like a trick Steig pulled, but he did not willingly pulled it. It would be surprising that this way out is available anymore.

          This is not the first time this is done hereunder. Adults can assume what they are doing, can’t they?

        • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 6:17 PM | Permalink

          Willard (we cross posted, see below as well):

          Your great point is easy to address.

          Steig’s suggestions at review, turned into a ‘trick’, after he criticized the paper on his blog. Did not Ryan hold his silence until that point?

          Where does Ryan imply any motive on Steig’s part, as you suggest now?

          Steig could have even handled the issues concerning the novel iRidge method, in a more abstract manner. Instead he could not resist the temptation of making the point that use of this method, somehow rendered his paper more closer to the truth. (Yes he says that, you can read the RC post).

        • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 6:44 PM | Permalink

          Shub,

          > Where does Ryan imply any motive on Steig’s part, as you suggest now?

          Actually, he did right there:

          > It was quite a bit more than a casual mention.

          Here is the Wordnet definition of “casual”:

          # S: (adj) casual, insouciant, nonchalant (marked by blithe unconcern)
          “an ability to interest casual students”; “showed a casual disregard
          for cold weather”; “an utterly insouciant financial policy”; “an
          elegantly insouciant manner”; “drove his car with nonchalant abandon”;
          “was polite in a teasing nonchalant manner”
          # S: (adj) casual (without or seeming to be without plan or method;
          offhand) “a casual remark”; “information collected by casual methods
          and in their spare time”
          # S: (adj) casual, everyday, daily (appropriate for ordinary or
          routine occasions) “casual clothes”; “everyday clothes”
          # S: (adj) casual, chance (occurring or appearing or singled out by
          chance) “seek help from casual passers-by”; “a casual meeting”; “a
          chance occurrence”
          # S: (adj) casual, cursory, passing, perfunctory (hasty and without
          attention to detail; not thorough) “a casual (or cursory) inspection
          failed to reveal the house’s structural flaws”; “a passing glance”;
          “perfunctory courtesy”
          # S: (adj) casual, occasional (occurring from time to time) “casual
          employment”; “a casual correspondence with a former teacher”; “an
          occasional worker”
          # S: (adj) fooling, casual (characterized by a feeling of
          irresponsibility) “a broken back is nothing to be casual about; it is
          no fooling matter”
          # S: (adj) free-and-easy, casual (natural and unstudied) “using their
          Christian names in a casual way”; “lectured in a free-and-easy style”
          # S: (adj) casual, effortless (not showing effort or strain) “a
          difficult feat performed with casual mastery”; “careless grace”

          http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=casual

          Thank you for the advice,

          I’ll do my best,

          w

        • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

          Willard, my friend,

          I offered my interpretation above. As I pointed out, (above), you have to provide your interpretation of Steig’s suggestions, for us to have a debate/back-and-forth.

          I have never seen you you do that. Disputes are not resolved by dictionary meanings of words. I could show you the dictionary meaning of the word ‘more’, because it was appended with the word ‘casual’. Heh.

        • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 7:15 PM | Permalink

          Shub,

          For now, I would simply like to make sure that we both agree that there exist words like “trick” and “casual” that irreductibly carry an intentionality of some sorts. If you agree with that, I’ll return for the moment into my usual role of Climate Audit reader, something that seems to wish our beloved Gatekeeper.

          Deal?

          [RomanM: I'm just the janitor.]

        • steven mosher
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 7:31 PM | Permalink

          Actually in this context I Took casual to mean something with no such intention.

          casual as opposed to elaborate
          casual as opposed to detailed
          causal as opposed to deeply thought out.

          instead of casual he could have used cursory, or in passing.

          In other words some thought went in to it.

          unlike your posts.

          So, what do you think Ryans motives were in using that word?

        • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 6:09 PM | Permalink

          Sometimes, willard, you have to participate in the conversation. By committing and specifying what exactly your understanding of Eric’s passage quoted above, is, for example. You, and you are not alone in this believe me, have tried several (no count recorded) times only to offer brief, insinuating questions and comments, only to mop up others’ offerings for future use, and never offer your own ideas for any meaningful cross-examination.

          Hopefully you will give up on this mode of interaction.

          Eric Steig was careful as ever, during all his reviews, never to offer any original suggestions of his own, and always hide his ‘recommendations’ behind the authors own ideas. (See anything familiar?).

          The question is: Did he have any significant impact in the direction the paper took and the methods it employed? I think the answer is clear enough, and the authors of the paper are the best judge of that.

        • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 7:04 PM | Permalink

          > Did he have any significant impact in the direction the paper took and the methods it employed?

          I’m not sure I can answer that. In fact, I’m not sure why I would defend Steig here. I’m not defending anyone, actually, except me, perhaps. But let’s not talk about me (I am only a name) and let’s emphasize this parenthesis:

          > He specifically suggests iRidge (which we would have chosen anyway over direct RLS) and then spends several sentences justifying why he thinks iRidge should be used.

          To understand that parenthesis, a play by play of the first and second paragraphs of the second review of Reviewer A and the correlated authors’s responses might be needed here. After that, it might be tempting to turn it over to lawyers.

          ***

          While this play-by-play analysis is interesting in its own right, and related to one of the two sentences I was analyzing so far, it has no direct bearings to my earlier point, which was a logical one.

          If you can bust that point, I would not mind. There are chances we could get very rich.

        • steven mosher
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 8:55 PM | Permalink

          Re: willard (Feb 12 08:51),

          “For now, I would simply like to make sure that we both agree that there exist words like “trick” and “casual” that irreductibly carry an intentionality of some sorts. If you agree with that, I’ll return for the moment into my usual role of Climate Audit reader, something that seems to wish our beloved Gatekeeper.”

          I’d take issue with that. Philosophically of course along the lines that no meaning is inherent in the sign. With the word casual, of course, one may even be indicating an Absence of motive.

          A casual walk, a casual comment.

          Now when Ryan writes that it was not a casual mention, what does he indicate about Steig? That he had a motive? or intention? or that he simply took “care”. That he deliberated
          that he gave it some careful thought. That it was not a careless or thoughtless mention? There are two ways we talk about motive.

          “Steig had no motive in his review, he just wanted to get the science right.”

          That sentence makes sense, even though on one reading it’s contradictory

        • HAS
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 10:52 PM | Permalink

          I do think that probably any methodology would have done for Reviewer A if it showed some significant warming.

          Which after all has been part of the criticism of Steig’s subsequent comments on this matter, as I understand it.

        • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 8:53 AM | Permalink

          HAS,

          > I do think that probably any methodology would have done for Reviewer A if it showed some significant warming.

          I do think that probably any speculation about motive is dangerous, and in fact contrary to our curator’s blog policies.

        • HAS
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 1:50 PM | Permalink

          Ah Willard, as to motive that is another thing and I wouldn’t speculate on that.

        • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 2:07 PM | Permalink

          HAS,

          More clarity is then needed on the predicate “would have done” when talking about Reviewer A.

        • HAS
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 4:49 PM | Permalink

          Willard,

          Rephrasing to help you comprehend: “Any warming methodology would have been acceptable to Reviewer A”. This doesn’t ascribe motive, that comes latter when we get to say why this might be the case.

          I’ve suggested before you think more carefully before you comment on blogs so you can avoid these simple errors in the use of the English language.

        • Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 5:13 PM | Permalink

          HAS,

          You say:

          > [Saying that any warming methodology would have been acceptable to Reviewer A] doesn’t ascribe motive [but] comes latter [sic.] when we get to say why this might be the case.

          there is this **latter** word that remains unclear.

          In fact, this sentence:

          > Any warming methodology would have been acceptable to Reviewer A.

          is quite unclear unless the reader can interpret this why you would talk about “latter”, as you say.

          This “latter”, as you say, obscures that the reader, to understand your sentence, must be asking himself “why” you speculate so. Without this why-question, it might even not be possible to see the relevance of your speculation.

          To separate motive from your speculation, as you clearly say you can right now with the word “latter”, is a neat trick to bypass this blog’s policy, don’t you think?

        • steven mosher
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 7:45 PM | Permalink

          Re: willard (Feb 12 17:13), Actually the policy as practiced allows for people to enumerate several possible motives, without ascribing any specific one. At least that is my experience.

          So for example, Some might argue that the dialogue bewteen the reviwer and the author seems to indicate that any viable method that produced warming would have been acceptable to the reviewer.

          The motives for this could be:

          The reviewer believes that is the truth
          The reviewer wanted to protect his turf, regardless

          The list goes on.

          No amount of facts ( Even Steigs confession) can decide
          such questions. He may not even have a thing we would call a motive. Sometimes people just argue to hear themselves.

        • HAS
          Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 5:38 PM | Permalink

          Apologies it should have been “later” – big fingers, glasshouses and stones.

    • Paul Penrose
      Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 1:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Let’s be really clear: Steig stated that using iridge “makes sense” and that it “produced the best results.” That’s a ringing endorsement if I’ve ever heard one. How can one then explain his public comments later that criticized the use of iridge?

      • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 1:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

        By applying the alternate universe theory of climatology, many things while seemingly contradictory can exist in the same group as long as the correct conclusion is supported. When the conclusion is not supported, simply send the offending bit of data off to the other universe. Thus according to his ODonnellgate post, Steig is innocent of any wrongdoing and thus Climategate is upheld. It is all very clear.

      • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 3:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: Paul Penrose (Feb 11 13:00), How so?…

        By careful use of the word in a sense not commonly thought of…
        Check at an online Dictionary… here is the second meaning from one.
        2. to judge or discuss the merits and faults of: to criticize three novels in one review.

        I saw this earlier when I read the review but did not think it worthy of comment — clearly I was wrong. With some people you have to be pedantic … and I think that Steig is one of those.

  16. Fred Harwood
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 12:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Please strike my earlier query. I think I understand it now.

  17. Alan Millar
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 12:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I bet Eric Steig wishes he had a time machine and could go back and remove the RC thread about Ryan’s paper.

    That has to be one of the biggest own goals the ‘Team’ has ever made.

    Just consider, Ryan et al paper comes out and RC and the ‘Team’ spin it as further confirmation of Steig et al. This new paper had just made some further improvements to the statistical analysis that’s all!!

    Now some people on here and other blogs realised that this interpretation was completely wrong. The paper made no great claims as to what the actual trend in Antarctica was, just that it showed that Steig et al was absolutely flawed and in effect should be disregarded in the scientific literature.

    However, this view had no great traction with the public and the media and the ‘Team’ could chalk up another win for their RC censorship and PR.

    Unfortunately, due to their arrogance and ego, they could not leave it there. Nooo, they had to have the last word, not even the slightest blemish, inflicted by a non-believer, could be allowed to remain. Oh the hubris!

    So we can see what has happened now.

    It is now all over the internet about the dodgy dealing by Eric.

    His paper can now be clearly be seen by everyone to be virtually worthless.

    He has been forced to admit that he is ‘no statistician’. I think he has done this to ward the Indians off at the pass! Because if he tried to claim competence in the subject, with such obvious flaws in the analysis, then he would open himself up to the charge that he knew this all along and went with it, deliberately, because it could be made to back up his claims in other areas. This would be scientific misconduct and perhaps Eric would rather be known as incompetent rather than something altogether more nasty!

    It also reopens the issue of misconduct in the peer review process by the ‘Team’ that was highlighted in the ‘Climategate’ scandal. Here it is again in full view of the world.

    It begs the question of who were the Reviewers of Steig’s original paper? How could it have passed through this process if it had been reviewed by an objective expert statistician? Was it ‘Pal’ review rather than Peer review? Will we ever know?

    Well done Ryan, for your dogged determination in the face of such obstruction by the ‘Team’ and now your efforts have born fruit in spectacular fashion!

    Alan

  18. Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 1:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    1) Steig put an inordinate amount of effort into blocking and muddying the O’Donnell paper which was critical of Steig’s own work, under the cloak of anonymous review.
    2) Publicly, Steig pretended that he had not seen the O’Donnell paper.
    3) Steig publicly criticized the O’Donnell paper, for employing methods that he had anonymously advocated as a reviewer.
    4) 1-3 are made public by O’Donnell

    One side of this discussion (O’Donnell) is interested in truth and getting the facts correct, and publicly understood (as this post makes clear), and the other side (Steig) is interested in obfuscation.

  19. MikeN
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 1:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    >While the written text does acknowledge … it is the
    figures that provide the main visual ‘take home message’ that most readers will come away with.

    RealClimate responds to RealClimate regarding hide the decline.

  20. Tom Fuller
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 1:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

    One of the reasons I was happy to stop blogging when I got my latest job was the realization that being correct is not enough in the world of climate science. Without understanding the mores of the scientific community, I continually expressed my frustration with behaviour that did not meet my expectations of honesty, transparency and commitment to the facts. I was a hothead, and this led to whatever contributions I might have made being discounted.

    What you have done here is highlight both error and bad behaviour by Mr. Steig. There’s very little doubt about that. However, the way this has played out will be used against you (already is, from what’s being written on other blogs) for a very long time to come.

    Not because of what you did–after all, reviewer anonymity is intended to protect the author’s IPR, and reviewers routinely publish their names–but because it transgressed a century-old pattern of ‘polite’ behaviour in academic publishing.

    Good luck going forward. I think a shorter and unqualified apology might have served your purposes better. The lack of scientific merit on the part of Mr. Steig’s paper is available to all–you don’t need to refer to it. Your breaking the rules of publishing is something you’ll probably want to address separately. I don’t think you need to be overly contrite, but you went to Rome, you should have done as the Romans do.

    • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 1:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Tom,
      Ryan went to Rome, but the Roman comes to Blogland as well.

    • JR
      Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

      “When in Rome…” applies to visitors coming from elsewhere. Ryan is not a “visitor” to the scientific community; he is a part of it. RealClimate doesn’t own the community and does not get to make the rules.

    • Vorlath
      Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 2:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

      In that case, in the event this will happen to me, I’ll preemptively apologize for wanting things to be more out in the open. I apologize for wanting author’s of previous papers to not be on the review panel of a paper challenging their own conclusions. I apologize for getting frustrated at someone using their privilege of anonymity against me by recommending something anonymously and then ridiculing such results. I apologize for being the one who’s in the wrong even though I’m the one’s who will be the catalyst for bringing all the issues out in the open. I apologize for creating discussion on the topic. I apologize for getting more people involved. I apologize for providing reconstructions that even the most non-climate science aware people can understand.

      Finally, I preemptively apologize for wanting honesty.

      How in the world does the above apologies help exactly? Makes one look like a fool.

      • Tom Fuller
        Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 2:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Vorlath, I share a lot of your frustration and sentiments. But how about ‘I apologise for not following established protocols in dealing with this situation, and sincerely regret if I have offended anyone.’ Coupled with ‘Mr. Steig, I apologise sincerely.’

        Maybe then we can go back to looking at the disconnect between what Nature published and reality, which I think would be more interesting to all…

  21. DavidC
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 1:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I wonder if it is possible that Steig did not actually write the portion of the review recommending iRidge methods; that he in some way “outsourced” those review comments to an ally. Then he made the follow on criticisms, he reflected on his personal views, not the views of the outsourced reviewer, since he may not of even paid attention to what was said by that ally. I have no indication this occurred but it would explain what appears to be unusual and risky behavior by Steig. He must have known that he would be called out if he both suggested and critiqued the same point publicly.

    • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 1:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

      On the Real Climate comments, TGL obtained the following response on this question. Steig says that he did not share the O’Donnell paper with others, and does not comment on whether he wrote all the Reviewer A material.
      I do get the strong impression that you passed around his paper to your colleagues at Real Climate and used their criticisms in your own comments – is that impression fundamentally in error?
      [Response: I deleted the rest of your offensive 'suggestions', but I will answer the one coherent (but stupid) thing you asked me: You get that impression because that is the impression that O'Donnell & Co want you to have. But the facts remain that no one saw the paper except me and whatever other formal reviewers it was sent to. Stop making stuff up -- it's unethical and makes you look like an idiot --eric]

      • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 1:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

        It would be perfectly reasonable if Steig, as lead author, were asked to write an authors’ response, to ask his co-authors for input. The problem is that the editors didn’t make a clear distinction between the authors’ reponse and the anonymous impartial referee reports. This was an unfortunate error on their part, but I have no reason to think there was anything underhanded on their part.

        Part of the problem is that there may have developed a culture in climate science that no one ever exposes any one else’s errors, so that editors have forgotten to have a mechanism to deal with such a situation.

      • Stephen Parrish
        Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 2:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for that ZT. RC like the NYT doesn’t even get click traffic from me. I don’t know what RyanO does exactly in the productive world, but this appears to be a single foray into the world of climate science as vendetta rather than career choice. SteveMc’s perserverence in the fact of such rot is remarkable. I’d wash my hands of the unethical lot myself.

        Life’s to short, and they’ve lost the argument.

        Sadly it will a bit longer before they figure that out…

      • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 2:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Steig insists he was alone, it probably is my fault that others have the impression that the reviews were multiple people. I still think there were but don’t have any evidence.

        BTW, Ryan’s apology is also at Steigs word. Steig said he didn’t see the last reveiw, he also said a lot of things which are demonstrably not true. One oddity which has been pointed out was that our reply corrected his references, which he has now gotten right – apparently on his own. Whatever, it doesn’t matter.

        What does matter is the upcoming discussion of the incorrect science claims now polluting the scientifically pristine RC blog. That will be fun.

        • RuhRoh
          Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 3:04 PM | Permalink

          Jeff;
          Did ES make one of those curiously synchronized posts after the reply to 3rd review was conveyed to the editor?
          Was it the editor’s duty to convey drafts to the reviewers?

          TIA
          RR

  22. jo
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 1:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    ES: “Ryan O’Donnell made a series of serious allegations against me at ClimateAudit…, Ryan has offered to retract these allegations, now that he is a little better acquainted with the facts”
    one retraction is a whole series. he’s struggling with numbers again!

  23. Jeff C.
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 2:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    This entire episode exposes the sham of the peer-review system. The system is set up and manipulated to maintain the status quo. The old boy’s network waved through papers with conclusions they liked and killed papers they didn’t like.

    Ryan and the others played by the rules. They rewrote the paper multiple times, changed methods as suggested, and dutifully answered criticisms that were of an obvious nitpicking nature. It is clear the intent was to wear down the authors of O10 until they gave up. It didn’t work.

    Dr Steig then publically attacked the paper and made patently disingenuous claims. Ryan responded by making everything public so readers could decide for themselves. Right on cue, this set off howls of indignation from the old boy’s club regarding Ryan’s violation of the sanctity of the hallowed peer review process. Of course, this was a process where they made the rules and they enforced them. Their selective enforcement protected their exclusive domain of the field.

    I’m reminded of the complaints of the British Army during the American Revolution. They grumbled that the colonists wouldn’t play by the rules of war, where opposing armies would face off in a field against each other. Of course the British wrote the rules and excelled at them, guerilla warfare was considered vulgar and distasteful. Once the other side refused to play by the establishment’s rules, the war’s direction changed radically.

    Ryan and others, please keep up the good work. Do not be dissuaded by the feigned howls of indignation. The other side wrote the rules and they will selectively enforce and ignore those that suit them. Sunshine is the best disinfectant, as they say.

  24. bernie
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 2:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ryan:
    Nice post.
    Much of this could have been avoided, if the editor had asked Steig for an author’s response – which obviously would not have been anonymous.
    As to Steig not having received your response to his third review, I assume you checked with the editor whether this was in fact the case. If it was then you could ask the editor why that was the case. What letters from the editor did the reviewers see? The JoC review process seems very arcane and risk ladened.

  25. Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 2:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ryan could use a little work on the quality of his put downs. What was that one, “His work was original and accurate. Where it was accurate is was not original and where it was original it was not accurate.”

    “He creatively used sophisticate statistical methodology to eloquently verify his scientific insignificance.” That kinda stuff.

  26. Tom Gray
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I would suggest that this be the last word on any Steig-O’Donnell issue. The science is the main thing and this should not be allowed to distract from thqat.

    • Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 7:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Unfortunately that is rarely the case and this will need to be addressed any and every time it is publicly brought up at a known blog or in the scientific literature.

      Ryan, Jeff and Steve are fighting against a Nature (the most super-duper science journal of all time) cover story or Antarctica on fire.

  27. Keith W.
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 3:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Something I am trying to remember, wasn’t Michael Mann brought in to assist on the statistical methods used in the original Steig et al. 2009 paper? I mean, none of the other authors are statisticians.

    Eric J. Steig – Department of Earth and Space Sciences and Quaternary Research Center, University of Washington (Ph.D. Geochemistry/Glaciology, M.S. Geochemistry, B.A. Geology and Philosophy of Science – Dual Major)

    David P. Schneider – National Center for Atmospheric Research (Ph.D. Earth and Space Sciences, M.S. Earth and Environmental Science, B.A. Geology)

    Scott D. Rutherford – Department of Environmental Science, Roger Williams University (Ph.D. Oceanography, M.S. Geological Sciences, B.A. Geology)

    Michael E. Mann – Department of Meteorology, and Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, Pennsylvania State University (Ph.D. Geology & Geophysics. M. Phil. Geology & Geophysics, M. Phil. Physics, M.S. Physics, A.B. Applied Math & Physics – Dual Major)

    Josefino C. Comiso – NASA Laboratory for Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (Ph.D., M.S. Physics)

    Drew T. Shindell – NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University (B.A. Ph.D. fields unspecified in onlne CV)

    Mann is the closest thing to someone trained in mathematics with his dual major bachelor of arts.

  28. MikeN
    Posted Feb 11, 2011 at 7:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    So Ryan O’Donnell should have just kept quiet and let Dr Steig give a statement at odds with his own review?

    Old issue, but Ken Starr was involved in this same situation with regards to Sidney Blumenthal prior to the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Mr Blumenthal was going to a grand jury several times, and after the appearances attacked Starr publicly, and lied about the questions he was being asked. At a later appearance, the grand jury asked him about this as well, and thru it all Ken Starr said nothing.

  29. Craig Loehle
    Posted Feb 12, 2011 at 8:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The purpose of anon review is to protect the reviewer from retribution. There is nothing about protecting it from the public. Steig broke his own anon with Ryan. No anon to hide and Ryan could even have put it in the acknow., which would have been a problem for Steig’s attack at RC.

  30. Boro Nut
    Posted Feb 14, 2011 at 10:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    @Ryan O’Donnell
    “…Steig acting as Reviewer A, in his Second Review, had asked the editor to “insist” that we present the “most likely” West Antarctica trends, specifically proposing iridge.”

    Erm…this is taken verbatim from the link to the second review that YOU yourself posted:
    “Perhaps, ,[b]as the authors suggest[/b], kgnd should not be used at all, but the results from the ‘iridge’ infilling should be used instead. [b]The authors state[/b] that this “yields similar patterns of change as shown in Fig. 3, with less intense cooling on Ross, comparable verification statistics and a statistically significant average West Antarctic trend of 0.11 +/- 0.08 C/decade.” [b]If that is the case, why not show it?[/b]”

    Oh dear. Explain to me again who it was who suggested introducing ‘iridge’ Ryan. I have difficulty accepting your version of events based on my ability to read plain English. Isw it not your claim that he is one of the authors?

    And can you possbilby be expecting us to believe Steig could comment on a method that hadn’t already been introduced? You do understand the concept of the arrow of time I presume?

    • RomanM
      Posted Feb 14, 2011 at 12:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Erm… this is a statement by Eric Steig whose basis in accuracy, you don’t seem to have bothered to check.

      Perhaps, ,[b]as the authors suggest[/b], kgnd should not be used at all, but the results from the ‘iridge’ infilling should be used instead.

      I searched the entire 47 page Response to Reviewer A, and I could not find any place where the authors suggest that “the results from the ‘iridge’ infilling should be used instead“.

      In fact, in their response to Steig, they state:

      Testing by infilling ground stations using ridge regression with the ridge parameter for each time step determined via generalized cross validation yields validation statistics, spatial patterns and West Antarctic trends (~0.11) comparable to our main results, and performing RLS reconstructions after offsetting stations based on periods of mutual overlap (i.e., no infilling) yields validation statistics, spatial patterns and West Antarctic trends (~0.10) also comparable to our main results (¶4.C – U, 4.Y – AE). These additional tests – which form the basis for a future work – have now been incorporated into the main text.

      In plain English, it is quite clear that this is additional support to the case against the Steig paper. It also takes quite an imagination to turn that into your interpretation of the Steig quote that “introduction” of this material is tantamount to a suggestion by the authors that it become a replacement of the prior criticism of the Steig methodology rather than supplementary evidence.

      • Boro Nut
        Posted Feb 14, 2011 at 3:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Erm…
        “Testing by infilling ground stations using ridge regression.. ”

        My bad. I thought ‘Testing by infilling ground stations using ridge regression’ meant ‘Testing by infilling ground stations using ridge regression’. But I’m not a climatologist.

        So, according to you, it means ‘NOT Testing by infilling ground stations using ridge regression’ or perhaps ‘Testing by infilling ground stations by NOT using ridge regression’ does it? So did the authors tell some ikkle porkies about using it back then, or is someone telling ikkle porkies about not using it now? I’m, confused, at what stage are they telling porkies? Did they or did they not use ‘testing by infilling ground stations using ridge regression’ as they claim they did?

        The concept of before and after seems to be escaping you. Look it up and have another go. If you’re having trouble with which order they go in I’d be more than happy to assist you. It’s a simple task facing you. The specific claim by O’Donnell is that Steig specifically proposed they use iridge in his second review, and the evidence posted by O’Donnell himself in support of that claim clearly shows Steig commenting of ‘the authors’ use of it already! LOL. Furthermore, the claim that Steig insisted it was the best method is hardly supported by him suggesting ‘Perhaps’ it wasn’t the best method. Whoops-a-daisy!

        And then to cap it off, all that you can post in response to that refutation is proof positive that the authors had indeed already used iridge prior to any mention of it by Steig!!! Epic fail mate. I’m sorry to have to break this to you, but your evidence is supposed to support your case, not mine. That’s how it works, supposedly. But hey, have another go. You know you want to.

        • RomanM
          Posted Feb 14, 2011 at 4:49 PM | Permalink

          Re: Boro Nut (Feb 14 15:47),

          You can’t seem to grasp the underlying issue here. No one has claimed that the authors did not initially make use of ridge regression for some secondary purpose in responding to Eric’s first review. In his previous post on Steig’s Trick Ryan indicates the intent and focus of the paper:

          The first salient point is that Eric still doesn’t get it. The whole purpose of our paper was to demonstrate that if you properly use the data that S09 used, then the answer changes in a significant fashion. This is different than claiming that this particular method (whereby satellite data and ground station data are used together in RegEM) provides a more accurate representation of the [unknown] truth than other methods. We have not (and will not) make such a claim. The only claim we make is – given the data and regression method used by S09 – that the answer is different when the method by which the data are combined is properly employed. Period.

          Let me translate that for you. The purpose was to show that Steig used the TTLS in Regem method incorrectly. It was NOT to show that another method (e.g. ridge regression) works better. Period.

          They purported to do that. Steig objected to things in the first review. Ryan et al. addressed the issues raised AND to add weight to their objections used Regem with the iridge option as additional evidence. As stated in the quote above, this was NOT intended to become the central focus of the paper.

          In reply, Steig made the statement that I quoted earlier:

          Perhaps, ,[b]as the authors suggest[/b], kgnd should not be used at all, but the results from the ‘iridge’ infilling should be used instead.

          I already explained this to you earlier. Steig made the incorrect statement that Ryan had “suggested” that the iridge approach become the main method in the paper. That’s what “used instead” means. I indicated to you that Ryan did not make this suggestion anywhere in any document – it originated in Eric Steig’s mind. Got it?

          For the rest of the story from here, I “suggest” that you go read (and understand) the very clearly written post, by Steve on this very same issue.

        • Boro Nut
          Posted Feb 14, 2011 at 6:57 PM | Permalink

          “You can’t seem to grasp the underlying issue here. No one has claimed that the authors did not initially make use of ridge regression for some secondary purpose in responding to Eric’s first review.”

          Erm… nobody mentioned the underlying issue, and your crude attempt to shift attention away from your complete failure to support the claim being defended is duly noted. Let me remind you of it. Ryan O’Donnell claimed that “Steig acting as Reviewer A, in his Second Review, had asked the editor to “insist” that we present the “most likely” West Antarctica trends, specifically proposing iridge” You have conceded that claim is not true, that in fact ‘the authors’ had already introduced iridge before Steig made any mention of it, so it can’t possibly have been his proposal. Hey I’ve got an idea. Why not do a word search for ‘propose’ or ‘proposal’(don’t bother). You might find it (no you won’t).

          “In his previous post on Steig’s Trick Ryan indicates the intent and focus of the paper:”
          I never asked you to demonstrate the intent and focus of the paper. If there is anyone in need of intent and focus it is clearly you. Keep on topic. You took it upon yourself to defend a specific claim, and you are singularly failing to do so. Son I am dissapoint.

          In reply, Steig made the statement that I quoted earlier:
          “Perhaps, ,as the authors suggest, kgnd should not be used at all, but the results from the ‘iridge’ infilling should be used instead.

          Erm… It was me who drew your attention to it, not you mine. It was the fist post you responded to. Keep up. Claiming my points as your own is hardly going to get you anywhere is it? I’m beginning to suspect you operate in an alternative reality. You’ll be claiming you showed me what a scoundrel O’Donnell is next.

          I already explained this to you earlier. Steig made the incorrect statement that Ryan had “suggested” that the iridge approach become the main method in the paper.,But I wasn’t asking you to defend any incorrect statements by Steig. I was asking you to defend a specific incorrect statement by O’Donnell. Pay attention.

          For the rest of the story from here, I “suggest” that you go read (and understand) the very clearly written post, by Steve on this very same issue.And I suggest you go back and read my posts, and address what I say, not what you wish I’d said. You seem to be labouring under the misaprehension that ‘Perhaps’ means
          something other than ‘Perhaps’. In fact the whole tenor of your posts imply you think it means ‘definitely is’, whereas in my book it is exactly equivalent to ‘perhaps not’. And I think it only fair to tell you at this stage that my book is the Oxford English Dictionary, not the Boys-Own Book of Boils and Sores.

        • MrPete
          Posted Feb 14, 2011 at 9:45 PM | Permalink

          Re: Boro Nut (Feb 14 18:57),
          Maybe people are reading the same words and taking away different meanings? I’ve certainly seen that happen before.

          Ryan O’Donnell claimed that “Steig acting as Reviewer A, in his Second Review, had asked the editor to “insist” that we present the “most likely” West Antarctica trends, specifically proposing iridge” You have conceded that claim is not true, that in fact ‘the authors’ had already introduced iridge before Steig made any mention of it, so it can’t possibly have been his proposal.

          Key words: “introduced” and “proposing.”

          Key facts:
          * The authors first mentioned the word “iridge”
          * The authors used iridge as an additional test
          * The authors proposed the possibility of using iridge in further future work, not in this paper.
          * Steig’s insistent request (for “most likely” method) was interpreted both by the editor and the authors as an insistence that iridge be used for the main result. And his third response proves that he was in agreement with this.
          * Steig also argued that iridge work should not wait for another paper but be used in this one.
          * Steig admits he is not a statistician and thus is unable to weigh in professionally on the different methodologies used.

          Two ways of looking at it:

          Pro-Authors:
          * Their use of iridge for confirmation did NOT “introduce” nor “propose” iridge as the primary method for the paper. Since all the methods produced similar results, this wasn’t even a big deal for them.
          * Steig was the one who (insisted) on iridge for this paper, “softened” slightly by also using the word “perhaps.”
          * Steig also argued that iridge analysis not be delayed to a future paper.
          * It is disquieting that Steig would now claim iridge should not have been used, and particularly so since he also (separately) claims to not be able to make such pronouncements.

          Pro-Steig:
          * The authors first mentioned iridge, this “introduced” the topic. Doesn’t matter that they explicitly said full iridge analysis should wait for a future paper.
          * Steig’s “insistence” and further recommendation that iridge work not be delayed was simply a desire for the best math to be used now rather than later.
          * All the rest of this is obfuscation. Why pick on Steig?!

          Do I have it about right?

        • Boro Nut
          Posted Feb 15, 2011 at 7:05 PM | Permalink

          Do I have it about right?

          As near as damn it. But I’d put it a bit more succinctly. Something along the lines of “Two blokes are wrong about each other on the internet – hilarity ensues” would suffice.

        • RomanM
          Posted Feb 14, 2011 at 10:07 PM | Permalink

          Last kick at the demised pony.

          I suspect that you have never been a reviewer (we call them referees in my discipline) for a journal. “Perhaps” is not a mere suggestion to make conversation. The job of a reviewer is to make recommendations for changes to a paper and to offer final advice to an editor who makes the decision on acceptance or rejection. Statements like “the results from the ‘iridge’ infilling should be used instead” (a statement which originated with Steig not with the authors) is a recommendation for the authors to make changes, pure and simple.

          You somehow also have an off-the-wall idea that because the authors made an initial use of iridge for additional information, this somehow contradicted the possibility of Steig proposing that iridge become the central methodology used. You either can’t or you refuse to understand the context of the argument, so all you are capable of is sophistry which “wins conclusive points”, but only in your own mind. Get a new book.

          (It’s like talking to a rock! What a waste of electrons…)

        • Boro Nut
          Posted Feb 15, 2011 at 7:57 PM | Permalink

          I’m an engineer. I do more peer review than any

          You still insist on avoiding any reference to the claim you are supposed to be defending, that Ryan O’Donnell, being of sound mind and body, and acting of his own free will, at 10:50 AM on or about Feb 11 2011, did assert claim and hold to be true that Steig (hereinafter known as Steig)in his second review, did specifically propose that O’Donnell (hereinafter known as Thingummybob)should use iridge. I can’t write it any plainer than that. The most cursory examination of this claim shows this claim to be:
          a) An error
          b) Disingenuous
          c) A lie
          I have no evidence or inclination to suspect it is anything other than an error. The lie came later.

          Here is all the context you need. If O’Donnell doesn’t equate ‘iridge’ with ‘the best method’, then why does he accuse Steig of insisting that it be used, when Steig only ‘insisted’ on the best method? HE clearly conflates them as synonymous, hence his accusation, while Steig clearly DOESN’T, hence what he actualy wrote. ‘PERHAPS’ Steig doesn’t know on way or the other. Perhaps I can read. It was O’Donnell who did all the proposing. You can’t even assert that Steig did any seconding of that proposal. He clearly abstained.

          Back of he net! One-nil to the Boro.

        • Boro Nut
          Posted Feb 15, 2011 at 9:06 PM | Permalink

          “My misunderstanding over whether Steig received the Response to the Third Review does not alter the fact that Steig acting as Reviewer A, in his Second Review, had asked the editor to “insist” that we present the “most likely” West Antarctica trends, specifically proposing iridge

          Perhaps you could try escaping into the quibble that you can’t technically alter a fact that doesn’t exist. You never know, it might work. (No it won’t). It’s worth a try. (No it isn’t).

  31. mikep
    Posted Mar 20, 2011 at 4:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Ryan O’Donnell has posted two further comments on the Air Vent – not sure why not here. They seem to me to deserve wider circulation since the Air Vent is no longer very active. They can be found here
    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/kgnd-cross-validation-by-ryan-odonnell/

    and

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/kgnd-cross-validation-part-ii-parting-thoughts/

    Pretty conclusive in my opinion.

7 Trackbacks

  1. [...] Climate Audit, more on the ongoing Antarctic [...]

  2. [...] O’Donnell has posted public apology to Eric Steig for the mistake in fact he posted at in his first version of Steig’s Trick, [...]

  3. [...] 11, 3:36 p.m. | Updated Here's Ryan O'Donnell's reply to SteigFeb. 9, 11:15 p.m. | Updated After more e-mail exchanges, in which O'…O'Donnellgate" on [...]

  4. By Top Posts — WordPress.com on Feb 11, 2011 at 7:10 PM

    [...] Ryan O’Donnell Responds Subsequent to my post on Feb 7, 2010 here, Steig informed me by email that he had not seen our Response to his Third [...] [...]

  5. [...] moderators did let through a highly inaccurate characterization of O’Donnell’s response to Steig’s more recent [...]

  6. [...] a point that Ryan was unaware of. Ryan promptly acknowledged and apologized on this narrow point here, while noting the Steig knew or ought to have known that the editor must have been satisfied by his [...]

  7. [...] a point that Ryan was unaware of. Ryan promptly acknowledged and apologized on this narrow point here, while noting the Steig knew or ought to have known that the editor must have been satisfied by his [...]

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