MM05 Chosen as a GRL Journal Highlight

Our GRL article has been selected by AGU as a Journal Highlight.

On March 9, 2005, the AGU issued a press release in which our GRL article was selected as a Journal Highlight.

After the online publication of this article, Mann and Schmidt, in their usual elegant prose style, stated here that we had "managed to slip through the imperfect peer-review filter of GRL" as follows:

All of their original claims have now been fully discredited (see e.g. this previous post as well as this discussion of a paper ‘in press’ in the Journal of Climate by Rutherford et al). MM however, continue to promote false and specious claims. McIntyre and McKitrick (2005), in a paper they have managed to slip through the imperfect peer-review filter of GRL, now simply recycle the very same false claims made by them previously in their comment on MBH98 that was rejected by Nature. Sifting through a large number of false and misleading statements in this latest paper, there are two primary criticisms of MBH98 that they raise, both of which are demonstrably specious.

A few days earlier, Mann and Schmidt had published another diatribe against GRL – , stating that:

While GRL publishes many excellent papers and provides an important forum to the research community for rapid publication of important results, occasionally, poor papers slip through the net.

The irony of this observation, given that GRL had published MBH99, has been observed elsewhere, as for example Kevin Vranes here:

As concerns Mann himself, this is especially curious in light of the recent RealClimate posts (link and link) in which Mann and Gavin Schmidt warn us about peer review and the limits therein. Their point is essentially that peer review is limited and can be much less than thorough. One assumes that they are talking about their own work as well as McIntyre’s, although they never state this. Mann and Schmidt go to great lengths in their post to single out Geophysical Research Letters. Their post then seems a bit ironic, as GRL is the journal in which the original Mann curve was published (1999, vol 26., issue 6, p. 759), an article which is now receiving much attention as being flawed and under-reviewed.

For newer readers, if you click the sidebar MBH98 under "Categories", you will see some previous comments on the claims made at realclimate. I discussed the claim that "all of their original [MM03] claims have been discredited" in An MM03 Scorecard. I discussed their arguments trying to salvage the hockey stick in Errors Matter #1, Errors Matter #2, Errors Matter #3 and Was Preisendorfer’s Rule N Used in MBH98? and their argument about RE and R2 statistics inCook et al 2004.

While I am very pleased that the article was selected as a Journal Highlight, I do not claim that such a selection proves that we are "right" or that passing peer review proves that we are "right" or that AGU or GRL has endorsed our findings as being proven. However, being selected as a Journal Highlight is a pretty good retort to the argument that this article somehow "slipped through the net".


  1. Posted Mar 11, 2005 at 8:49 AM | Permalink

    I suspect that the major failings of peer review arise from the way in which they promote and sustain orthodoxy. Over at the Internation Network of Cholesterol Skeptics they have similar misgivings.

  2. John A
    Posted Mar 11, 2005 at 1:00 PM | Permalink

    If the work of McIntyre and McKitrick in MM05 really was “fully discredited” as well as making “false and specious claims”, then we would expect that truly independent reviewers would have spotted these “errors” and said so, quoting chapter and verse of exactly where these “errors” occur.

    To the point, GRL have had the most massive political pressure placed on their expert reviewers about this one paper – and yet the AGU are now higlighting the paper as an example of the sort of work they wish to give greater prominence to.

    If I were a member of the AGU, I would be embarassed by the antics of Mann and Schmidt – what example are they setting for the image of science?

  3. Paul
    Posted Mar 11, 2005 at 2:25 PM | Permalink

    Congratulations! I do have one bone to pick with AGU, however. It states in the highlight that, “Most climatologists agree that the twentieth century was the hottest in the last 1,000 years. This consensus is based in part on the ‘hockey stick’ record published by climatologist Michael Mann and colleagues in 1998.” The “consensus” is invoked over and over again without the slightest bit if evidence. Nearly every newspaper story on global warming invokes the “consensus of scientists.” Yet no one ever cites polls or surveys that lend any support to such assertions. It may well be that there is a consensus of scientists on global warming, but nobody to date has shown any supporting data to support such a claim.

  4. N. Joseph Potts
    Posted Mar 11, 2005 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

    All professions are conspiracies against the laiety.
    – George Bernard Shaw

  5. Michael Mayson
    Posted Mar 11, 2005 at 9:45 PM | Permalink

    Yes – congratulations on the recognition and also for the straightforwardness of your last paragaraph.
    If only the Hockey Team could be as up front – speaking of which, how about a game called “Spot the Irony”.

    As the first entry this is what I found when I followed your link to ‘another diatribe’;

    “….Shaviv and Veizer’s analyses were based on unreliable and poorly replicated estimates, selective adjustments of the data (shifting the data, in one case by 40 million years) and drew untenable conclusions, particularly with regard to the influence of anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations on recent warming.”

  6. TCO
    Posted Sep 15, 2005 at 10:46 PM | Permalink

    Maybe there is just a little bit of the sticking it in the eye for Nature. the specialty journals in some ways often have better standards…

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