During the counter-attack on Soon et al 2003, Climategate participants made serious allegations about the integrity of its peer review and the editor (Chris de Freitas) who had supervised its publication. (These allegations were investigated by the publisher of Climate Research, Otto Kinne, who cleared de Freitas in unequivocal terms – a finding that did not convince the Climategate scientists. This is a topic that I will discuss on another occasion.)
In today’s post, I’m going to examine information from the Climategate emails on the peer review of Mann et al 2003. Given the serious allegations being leveled against the peer review of Soon et al 2003, one would presume that the Climategate correspondents would ensure that the peer review process for Mann et al (EOS 2003) would be not only meticulous, but antiseptic.
But was it?
For example, we know that the reviewers of Mann et al 2003 did not catch either its enhanced hide-the-decline, its failure to disclose enhanced hide-the-decline or the deceptive captioning in the primary figure used to “discredit” Soon et al. Obviously reviewers cannot be expected to be omniscient, but were they diligent and independent?
The EOS editor, who handled Mann et al 2003, was Ellen Moseley-Thompson, the wife of notorious non-archiver Lonnie Thompson.
In March 2003, when the idea of responding to Soon et al 2003 was first mooted (email 3366), Crowley suggested a comment in EOS (rather than the logical Climate Research). Mann observed that both Moseley-Thompson and Keith Alverson were editors of EOS and could be expected to be “receptive” to such a submission, as, indeed, proved the case. However, after Mann, Bradley and others discussed the matter further in Nice in early April, they decided not to respond, presumably to avoid “legitimizing” the article.
In April, Moseley-Thompson was a party (along with Pachauri and others) to the lengthy email correspondence (1999,3052, 2469 and others), where serious allegations were made against the integrity of the peer review process at Climate Research in respect to Soon et al.
In April and May, Soon et al attracted some media interest, with articles mentioning it in the Telegraph in the UK and the Age in Australia. It also attracted interest among U.S. Republicans, especially Inhofe. In May, Mann and Michael Oppenheimer prepared a talking-points memorandum against Soon et al for use by media and politicians, which Mann sent to Moseley-Thompson in early June. On June 3, at Moseley-Thompson’s request, Judy Jacobs, editor of EOS, invited Mann to write up these talking-points for EOS (email 3323). Jacobs drew Mann’s attention to the AGU Position Statement on climate change, observing that, since Soon et al article had not been published in EOS, the authors would have to “minimize” references to the target article:
AGU has an official Position Statement, “Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases,” which states, among other things, that there is a high probability that man-made gases primarily from the burning of fossil fuels is contributing to a gradual rise in mean globab temperatures. In this context, your proto-article—in the form of the attachment you sent me– would seem right on target for a Forum piece. However, since the Soon et al. article wasn’t actually published in Eos, anything that you and Dr. Bradley craft will have to minimize reference to the specific article or articles, and concentrate on “the science” that is set forth in these papers. Presumably this problem could be solved by simply referencing these papers.
Less than an hour later (3323), Moseley-Thompson expressed her satisfaction to both Jacobs and Mann on their progress in an email that, despite Jacobs’ caveat about “minimizing” references to Soon et al, bore a subject line of being a “refutation to Soon et al”. Moseley-Thompson told Jacobs that timing was critical and urged her to expedite matters.
Subject: Re: position paper by Mann, Bradley et al that is a refutation to Soon et al
To: Judy Jacobs, “Michael E. Mann”
Judy and Mike -
This sounds outstanding. Am I right in assuming that Fred reviews and approves the Forum pieces? If so, can you hint about expediting this. Timing is very critical here.
Judy, thanks for taking the bull by the horns and getting the ball rolling.
Mann relayed the prospect of fast-track publication in EOS to core associates: Bradley, Jones, Briffa, Wigley, Crowley, Trenberth, Overpeck, Oppenheimer, Rutherford. (Hughes was inadvertently left off the invitation and was added as co-author to the proofs after the article had been accepted.) In the morning of June 4, Jones signed up for participation, quickly followed by the others.
The article was pulled together with great speed. Mann sent out a first draft later the same day (June 4 – CG1 322. 1054757526.txt). There is extensive correspondence on the preparation of this article over the next two days.
On June 7, less than 3 days after receiving the first draft, Crowley sent some sensible comments, some of which Mann brushed off as being “very late” in the game:
Unfortunately,you arrived very late in the game. Not your fault, but it does make it difficult to incorporate a number of your suggestions at this very late stage.
On Tuesday, June 10, the coauthors continued to be busy editing the article. Primary responsibility passed from Mann to Jones, since Mann was leaving on Wednesday, June 11 to get married. Nonetheless, on the eve of his departure, Mann was still busy editing the text of the article (2945).
On or about June 10, Jones distributed the latest draft (CG1 -327. 1055512559), reporting a change to Figure 1. Their target date for submission was June 12, with Jones advising coauthor Overpeck that he had two days to say yes/no. On June 13 (CG1-327), the authors were still debating details – Wigley sent an email to Jones worrying about the poor correlation between the Greenland isotope series and temperature, with Jones responding with reassurances.
On June 17 (2530), Jones confirmed to the now newly-married Mann that Moseley-Thompson had the EOS article. Jones and Mann discussed the replacement of a Briffa series with the more hockey-stick shaped Yang series.
On the UK morning of June 18, Jones wrote the co-authors advising them that the EOS article was “currently with AGU and should go soon to Ellen Mosley-Thompson for assessment/reviewing”. Jones notified the co-authors of the pending publication of Mann and Jones 2003, for which they had just received acceptance subject to revisions. Jones said that he was “in discussion with AGU and Ellen about co-ordination as this should increase the impact of both pieces”.
Moseley-Thompson had asked editor Jacobs to expedite matters and did so herself, accepting the submission later that same day (CG1 – 329. 1056440026.txt) asking only for very minor formatting changes. No petty questions about hide-the-decline.
Dear Dr. Mann: (copy to Phil Jones)
I am pleased to accept “On Past Temperatures and Anomalous late-20th Century Warmth” for publication in Eos with the provision that in your final submission you modify to the first paragraph slightly so that it is fully consistent with the text of the AGU statement on climate change and greenhouse gases: http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/policy/climate_change_position.html.
Note that first sentence of your paper indicates that the AGU statement includes the inference that there is a high probability …. I cannot find the words high probability in the AGU statement (unlike IPCC that does state “high probability.”). It is critical that the introductory paragraph is carefully constructed so as not to diminish any of the points you make in the Forum piece. I suggest a modification of your first paragraph – please feel free to further modify this.
Evidence from …. Gases,” that there is a compelling basis for concern over future climate changes, including increases in global mean surface temperatures, due to increased concentrations of greenhouse gases, primarily from fossil fuel burning
If this is too long, you might wish to break it into two sentences. This says the same thing as your original intro sentence but is fully consistent with the text of the AGU statement.
Also in the first paragraph would you agree to this change?
… such anomalous warm cannot be fully explained natural factors …… (Added the word “fully” to indicate that some but not all of the anomalous warming can be explained by natural factors.)
Another suggestion is to remove the second reference to the AGU policy (second paragraph). What about … these claims in light of the fact that they have ……
The content of the Forum piece is just fine, but I did find a few minor problems that you need to fix in the final submission.
1) 3rd paragraph line 8 – reference to Jones et al. (1998) – this date occurs in several places in the paper and should be Jones et al. 1999; e.g., point (2) line 3
2) page 2 – the second (2) point last 3 lines: remove double period after U.S.; also that sentence reads awkwardly – try a comma after the word ‘cancelling’.
3) the second paragraph of point 2 (2); last three lines: this is awkward; the word “apparent” is out of place; I think this should this read ….. apparent coldness and warmth differ …..
4) point 3) last line of first paragraph – change … insight to …. (Remove in from into)
5) references – the Jones et al. 1999 reference is formatted differently than the rest (put date at end).
Finally – everywhere throughout the text et al should be corrected to et al (The period is consistently absent)
Before publication, your article will be edited to reflect the Eos newspaper style, including a possible change in the headline. We will send the edited version to you for review and final approval before the article is published.
Please note that before we can proceed with production work on your submission, a copyright transfer agreement and reprint order form must be completed and returned to AGU. These forms may be printed* from the AGU web site …
In the absence of information from you to the contrary, I am assuming that all authors listed on the manuscript concur with publication in its final accepted form and that neither this manuscript nor any of its essential components have been published previously or submitted to another journal. The AGU Guidelines for Publication emphasize that: “It is unethical for an author to publish manuscripts describing essentially the same research in more than one journal of primary publication.”
Thank you for your contribution to Eos.
They resubmitted with the very slight changes on June 20. There was a slight glitch as they seem to have resubmitted directly to Moseley-Thompson, rather than the online AGU system, remedied on June 23 (email 2670).
Subsequent to acceptance, as noted a few days ago, Mann et al substituted the Yang series for a long Briffa chronology in their Figure 2 and, in addition, added the Mann and Jones 2003 strand to their spaghetti graph in Figure 1. On June 26, acceptance was complete – AGU sent an invoice to Mann and coauthors for reprints.
The article was issued with an accompanying AGU press release on July 7. Leifert of AGU reported to Mann(1811):
We issued the press release at 3:40 p.m. EDT Monday, July 7. It was sent to 900 science writers worldwide on our distribution list and posted on EurekAlert!, the AAAS web site for science press releases. Almost immediately, we received requests for the full article from The New York Times, USA Today, National Public Radio, Toronto Star, San Jose Mercury News, Cox Newspapers, Richmond Times-Dispatch, and four freelancers. It was too late for most Europeans to receive the release
Monday, so we expect additional requests Tuesday morning.
Leifert also reported (5047) to Jones and Mann that the article had been distributed to a Senate briefing on July 10:
Mike and Phil,
Perhaps more relevant than which media have already carried the story, copies of your Eos paper were distributed at a Senate briefing yesterday, and the minority (i.e., Democratic Party) staff is inviting Mike to appear at a hearing later in the month. (I trust Mike got and responded to the message??)
Mann had indeed got the message, replying (4664):
Yes, I’ve been in touch w/ a representative for the minority. I’m looking forward to doing this. Will keep you all posted of what happens,
On July 14, Moseley-Thompson wrote to Mann, saying that Soon had contacted AGU to question the peer review process, causing a giggle among Moseley-Thompson and the others:
I thought I would gag when I heard that Soon contacted AGU to question the nature of the review (to which your piece was subjected)
The Climategate-2 emails show the “nature of the review” quite clearly.
On a personal note, I might add that I did not receive similarly expedited treatment when I sought to respond to a defamatory article at EOS by Tom Crowley (for which Crowley has apologized privately, but not publicly.) EOS spent six months before getting a reviewer and, even though the reviewer conceded that I had legimitate grievances, Eos rejected the article as now being no longer newsworthy.