Ammann Chronology

I’ve just noticed at the UCAR website that Ammann and Wahl now say that their CC re-submission was “provisionally accepted” on Dec 12. I have no information on what a "provisional acceptance" means, but it’s certainly a coincidence that the “provisional acceptance” occurred only 3 days after GRL agreed to send their previously rejected GRL comment out for review, together with an expected reply from us. This is a second coincidence: they re-submitted to CC on Sept 27, a few days after they were allowed to re-submit to GRL on Sept 25 after getting their editor changed at GRL. Maybe it’s just a coincidence; but perhaps CC acceptance is contingent on their GRL submission not being rejected another time.

Here is a summary of the chronology, showing some of the intricate timings. Note that Ammann and Wahl cited their GRL submission to CC in support of their refusal to provide cross-validation statistics in response to a reviewer request, even though the GRL submission had already been rejected.

Chronology of Ammann and Wahl Submissions

May 11 UCAR press release
that :

Their results appear in two new research papers submitted for review to the journals Geophysical Research Letters and Climatic Change. The authors invite researchers and others to use the code for their own evaluation of the method.

Ammann and Wahl’s findings contradict an assertion by McIntyre and McKitrick that 15th century global temperatures rival those of the late 20th century and therefore make the hockey stick-shaped graph inaccurate. They also dispute McIntyre and McKitrick’s alleged identification of a fundamental flaw that would significantly bias the MBH climate reconstruction toward a hockey stick shape. Ammann and Wahl conclude that the highly publicized criticisms of the MBH graph are unfounded.

May 12 Request from CC to review Ammann-Wahl submission
May 23 GRL receives Ammann-Wahl comment
June 6 Request to CC for Ammann-Wahl to provide cross-validation statistics
June 6 GRL rejects Ammann-Wahl comment
June 10 Ammann and Wahl refuse to provide R2 and
other cross-validation statistics. In their refusal, without disclosing the rejection of their GRL submission, Ammann and Wahl use their rejected GRL comment as authority as follows: "In addition, [we] have shown in other material referenced in mss. #3321 that the analysis of McIntrye and McKitrick in GRL (2005)–which claims RE significance levels are improperly determined by Mann, Bradley, Hughes–is itself deeply flawed."
June 15 Request to CC for a copy of Wahl.and Ammann, C.: "Stationarity and Fidelity of Simulated El NiàƒⰯ-Southern Oscillation Climate Proxies over the Last Millenium in Forced Transient AOGCM Output". Their website shows that they used R2 statistics; it also stated: "This result indicates that modern-period validations of reconstructions based on relatively poor-quality proxies can give a strongly false sense of security about the likely long-term reliability of these reconstructions."
June 16 Ammann and Wahl refuse to provide copy of article, unless reviewer identifies himself
June 22 Letter to CC objecting to Ammann and Wahl refusal to provide cross-validation statistics, including a request for the "approximate anticipated publication date of the other material" referred to in their letter of June 10
June 23 Letter from Barton Committee to Mann, asking,
inter alia, whether Mann had withheld R2 and other verification
statistics and, if so, why
July 5 Review of Ammann and Wahl submitted to CC. CC notified that Ammann and Wahl submission to GRL had been rejected, raising pointed questions about integrity of Ammann and Wahl letter of June 10, citing the rejected article.
July 7 EGU letter to Barton Committee referring to Ammann and Wahl press release
July 8 Ammann and Wahl respond to June 22 letter acknowledging that the GRL submission was "declined", but stating that "We disagree with this decision from an editorial policy standpoint, however, we are planning to submit this text to another journal besides GRL."
July 15 Mann letter to Barton Committee citing Ammann and Wahl article and press release
July 21 Houghton evidence to Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, citing the UCAR press release of May 11
Sept 25 Re-submission of Ammann and Wahl Comment to GRL
Sept 27 Revision of Ammann and Wahl submission to CC
Dec 9 GRL decides to move forward with review of Ammann and Wahl comment, together with reply from M&M. Notice from GRL to M&M to prepare Reply. (Email cleared on Dec. 14 due to travel to AGU Dec. 9-13)
Dec 12 "Provisionally accepted" at CC
Dec. 13 Lunch with Ammann at AGU conference


  1. John A
    Posted Jan 18, 2006 at 3:00 AM | Permalink

    It seems that in the world of the Hockey Team, if its still in the system, or at least not consigned to the flames, then its still authoritative.

    The most amazing thing is that Wahl and Ammann’s works were in the trash at two journals when they were quoted authoritatively to Congress as “proof” that M&M were wrong. If Sir John Houghton might not have known as to its status, Mann certainly must have known.

    Was this ethical?

  2. Louis Hissink
    Posted Jan 18, 2006 at 5:19 AM | Permalink


    Provisional acceptance here means

    “We’ll accept your paper but before we do officially we will do a due diligence using the audit methods of M&M. If you pass the audit we’ll accept it”.

    This could be called a Pre Peer, Peer Review, or a PPPR. Peers are needed to do the audit.

    I suspect that by now editors of perstigious scientific journals have discovered that chicken eggs occur in many forms, often as a facial coating that initially is unnoticed.

  3. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 18, 2006 at 5:57 AM | Permalink

    I don’t know that the CC paper was ever rejected, only that the GRL paper was. Mann slyly only referred to the CC paper in his evidence.

  4. Paul
    Posted Jan 18, 2006 at 6:15 AM | Permalink

    What was CC doing even countenancing an argument that “other journals let us do it”? If journals don’t reject such nonsense out of hand they are destroying the indepedence of review across publications and seriously endangering scientific advance.

  5. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 18, 2006 at 9:01 AM | Permalink

    We don’t know anything about why the acceptance is “provisional”. I’m just speculating. It could be something quite different.

  6. Paul
    Posted Jan 18, 2006 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

    #5 – Phone call between Ammann & Editor (fictional)

    Ammann: Will our paper be accepted?
    Editor: Yes, if it meets our standards and goes through the peer review process.

    Ammann: Good, then it’s “provisionally” accepted, right?
    Editor: Whatever…

  7. jae
    Posted Jan 18, 2006 at 10:38 AM | Permalink

    “Provisional acceptance” probably means that if all the facts check out, then it will be published. Thus, it will never be published, maybe for years?

  8. Posted Jan 18, 2006 at 3:24 PM | Permalink

    I am not a member of the hockey team. Two times the last couple of years I have submitted papers about climate and both time they got rejected due to reviewer comments that to me seem like mostly nonsense. When members of the hockey team get a paper rejected, and apparently rightly so, they pull some strings, get the editor replaced, and the paper is pulled out of the trash can. Apparently, it is more important in climatology that the results are “right” than having the quality of the submitted paper at an acceptable standard.

  9. John Hekman
    Posted Jan 18, 2006 at 3:52 PM | Permalink

    Lars Kemel:

    you have an interesting website and research interests. You must be very lonesome in your attempt to publicize the “pseudo-science” of global warming.

  10. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Jan 18, 2006 at 7:51 PM | Permalink


    Perhaps there is some consolation in knowing that the Science magazine selection procedures led them to publish Hwang’s falsified paper. This exposes yet another example of a pseudo scientific paper published in what many believe to be a reputable journal.

  11. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 18, 2006 at 8:58 PM | Permalink

    Right now the Ammann and Wahl paper is an interesting situation. A major objective of the Hockey Team (right up to Houghton and the IPCC) is simply to have some paper in some peer-reviewed journal that says that our criticisms are "unfounded". Then IPCC can quote the paper. Right now they don’t have anything that does the job for them; so Ammann and Wahl ends up being important for them. I don’t think that they give a damn about the substance as long as they can get it through some process. I’m sure that putting this little charade in the light of day doesn’t please them very much.

  12. Ron
    Posted Jan 18, 2006 at 9:12 PM | Permalink

    Very interesting website, Lars. You are likely correct that the theory of anthropogenic catastrophic global warming is pseudoscience. At this time in history, it is politically correct pseudoscience, which pulls in quite a bit of grant money and popular acclaim.

  13. Ian Castles
    Posted Jan 18, 2006 at 9:27 PM | Permalink

    Re #11. According to the timetable for the Fourth Assessment Report, as currently promulgated on the IPCC Working Group I website, the Third Lead Author meeting took place in Christchurch, New Zealand on 13-15 December 2005. A “Note” to this item in the schedule states that:

    “Literature to be cited will need to be published or in press by this time. Copies of literature not available through normal library sources should be sent to the [Working Group I Technical Support Unit] so they can be made available to reviewers if requested.”

    Thus 13-15 December was the time by which literature to be cited needed to be “in press”. Perhaps “provisional acceptance” of a paper on 12 December means that, if the paper is in due course accepted, it can be held to have been “in press” before 13 December. GRL’s decision to “move forward” on 9 December might also be related to meeting an IPCC-specified requirement for what constitutes being “in press” before the deadline.

  14. Ian Castles
    Posted Jan 19, 2006 at 12:22 AM | Permalink

    Following up on my #14, I suppose that the IPCC can break its own rules, so my suspicions about these coincidences of timing may be misplaced. But there is something risible in the thought that the authoritative advice to policymakers about the climate history of the past 1000 years could depend on someone getting a journal article “in press” with 24 hours to spare. I’m reminded of a review by the justly celebrated British economist Wilfred Beckerman of the late Herman Kahn’s “The Next 200 years”, in which Beckerman said that Kahn’s “firm and up-to-date refutation of the ‘limits to growth’ doctrine” was “nothing new”, had been provided years ago, “and hardly required the assistance of a whole research institute.” Beckerman went on:

    “Now, suppose that society did come up with some solution to, say, the problem of urban violence, or the Middle East conflict, or industrial relations. Does anybody believe that the solution would have to be modified if Kahn suddenly rushed into the room saying that he had just revised his calculations and that the range of world output was, after all, between $70 trillion and $2,000 trillion?”

    I’m getting a bit off-topic, but I can’t resist reproducing the concluding paragraph of the Annex on “Protocol and Procedures” of Castles & Henderson, 2003, “Economics, Emission Scenarios and the Work of the IPCC” (in the issue of E&E before M&M03 appeared):

    “In our view, public debate on issues of policy cannot reasonably be confined, or even largely confined, to writings that have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals and peer-reviewed literature of such writings. One reason why this is so is the sheer lapse of time that is normally involved, between the emergence of an idea that deserves attention and its appearance in peer-reviewed print. Another consideration … is that any given circle of peer reviewers may be less inclusive, and more restricted in its knowledge, assumptions and beliefs, than its members realise – or, perhaps, are willing to admit. More fundamentally, it is an oversimplification to think of the task of policy-makers as being to translate the findings of ‘the research community’ into actual measures and programmes.”

  15. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 19, 2006 at 6:25 AM | Permalink

    Ian, in terms of “coincidences”, IPCC Working Group 1 is housed by UCAR and their website address refers to both organizations. Ammann is at UCAR and presumably familiar with nuances of WG1 timing. So it’s quite possible that the tight timing of “provisional acceptance” is not a coincidence and was done with the intent of construing that as being the equivalent of “in press”.

    “Going forward” at GRL simply meant that they agreed to initiate a review process in which we were asked to prepare a Reply (GRL granted a due date of Jan 29 due to holidays and other factors), which will then be sent for joint review.

    I obviously agree entirely with your observations about peer review. There is an obvious irony here. In the Climatic Change case, it looks like the peer review is being ignored. I was a peer reviewer for the Ammann and Wahl submission and made copious and detailed comments. From a comment that Ammann made in San Francisco – that he didn’t change very much in the CC article – it dosn’t look like CC has paid any attention to the peer review comments. In making the peer review comments, while I obviously have a controversial interest, I was conscious of trying to discharge objective obligations of peer review and attempted to do so with the benefit of the intimate knowledge of the material that I had.

    I would be very disappointed if CC simply disregarded these comments. I’ve found Schneider to be quite a cheerful and engaging correspondent. In the case of Mann’s submission to CC in 2004 critcizing us, he seemed to have toed an editorial line in the sand; I’m sure that it wasn’t easy for him to reject Mann’s submission.

    My beef with the Ammann comment is not a beef against comments in general. On balance, I think that it’s good publicity to have comments. Huybers made one valid point in his comment about our RE argument; we had to think in our Reply, but were able to actually enhance our original argument. It’s just the Ammann comment has so many layers of misrepresentations and mischaracterizations, with the additional touch of withholding adverse validation statistics.

  16. John A
    Posted Jan 19, 2006 at 7:54 AM | Permalink

    It’s just the Ammann comment has so many layers of misrepresentations and mischaracterizations, with the additional touch of withholding adverse validation statistics.

    In other words, it’s propaganda masquerading as science.

  17. fFreddy
    Posted Jan 19, 2006 at 8:36 AM | Permalink

    Have you asked Mr Schneider what “provisionally accepted” means at his journal ?

  18. Posted Jan 19, 2006 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

    From the UCAR ethics web site: (

    Employees may not use their position with UCAR, or knowledge gained through UCAR employment, to make a profit or to obtain any other personal advantage, …

    One would his UCAR bosses would like to ensure an ‘arms length’ relationship to avoid the impression of a conflict of interest with UCAR and reviews of their employee’s work by journals and the IPCC.

  19. Posted Jan 19, 2006 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

    ..oops One would expect… more…

    Potential and actual conflicts of interest, or the appearance of such, must be managed so that UCAR’s mission is not compromised, research conducted at UCAR is free from bias or perceived bias, the investment of the public is protected, and confidence in the integrity of UCAR’s activities is maintained.

  20. Ian Castles
    Posted Jan 19, 2006 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

    Thanks Steve. My experience with Stephen Schneider has been a less happy one (I told the story on another thread some months ago). On the subject of peer review and the roles of editors and reviewers generally, I’d recommend a reading of the paper given by Chris Harrison of Cambridge University Press at an AAAS session in 2003 (available at ) and the editorial introduction to the special issue of Environmental Science and Policy in which the symposium papers were published (available at ). The succeeding issue of ES&P carried an article by the head of a major US University Press (Princeton, I think it was), supporting CUP and observing that it was clear that they had published Bjorn Lomborg’s book not in spite of peer review but because of it. Note in particular the terms of the letter from twelve distinguished American scientists to CUP (p. 358 of Chris Harrison’s paper).

    I’ve been able to piece together the probable processes that preceded the IPCC’s decision to dismiss the Castles & Henderson critique rather than address the points we’d raised. A paper by the Union of Concerned Scientists which was attached to a letter circulated by Senator John McCain to colleagues on 28 July 2003 alleged that “Moreover, Castles and Henderson’s claims are false, as they were apparently unaware that SRES authors also used PPP in some of their projection exercises.” Actually, David and I were fully aware of these so-called PPP projections as they had been discussed at length in the side meetings at Amsterdam. This explains why Dr. Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC, refused my request that he release the agreed draft record of the Amsterdam discussions. The UCS paper also referred to “a recent study by Richard Richels (EPRI) and Alan Manne (Stanford) that found “that the choice of conversion factor makes only a small difference when projecting future temperature change.” The citation referred to a draft paper dated mid-May which was available on request from Richels or Manne. No website was identified. Several subsequent versions of the M&R paper are extant on the internet (the submission from the UK Environment Department to the 2005 House of Lords Committee Inquiry cited a draft of 20 August 2003 on a Stanford University website). The IPCC’s decision to dismiss C&H was probably made at an informal meeting in Potsdam on Sunday (!) 31 August 2003 and a further version of M&R was published in the AEI/Brookings Center Working Paper (!) series in late-September 2003. The paper was cited (though without reference to the title) in the IPCC press release debunking C&H which was issued in Milan on 8 December 2003.

    This detail may seem irrelevant but it’s not. The interesting thing is that all of the 2003 versions of the M&R paper cited a paper by Paul Samuelson which they thought implied that PS was anti-PPP. Actually he’s strongly pro-PPP and this is well-known among economists. In fact, I’d quoted Samuelson on this in my report to the OECD on their PPP Programme in 1997. Apparently none of the IPCC milieu who decided that C&H were wrong knew this. Alan Heston of the University of Pennsylvania, who’s Chair of the Technical Advisory Group supporting the world PPP program (ICP), saw the M&R paper for the first time in January 2004, spotted the error immediately, and strongly criticised this and some other aspects of the M&R paper at an Energy Modeling Forum workshop at Stanford University in February 2004. A sanitised version of M&R, with James Edmonds as an additional author, appeared in CC in July 2005 and will undoubtedly be cited in AR4.

    Another paper that appeared in CC in 2005 was Bjart Holtsmark and Knut Alfsen, “PPP Correction of the IPCC Emissions Scenarios – Does it Matter”. The interesting thing about this is that the H&A paper had already been published by Statistics Norway as its Research Department Discussion Paper No. 366, and this is the version cited in the UK Environment Department’s submission to the Lords Committee – it’s still available on the web. The Statistics Norway version says at eight points in the text that the IPCC’s Special Report on Emissions Scenarios had made “errors” or “mistakes”. In the CC version all these references were rephrased, presumably at the behest of a reviewer in order to avoid acknowledging the obvious fact that there were mistakes in the IPCC report that Stephen Schneider had said had been through three rounds of review in his hatchet job on Lomborg in Scientific American in January 2002. The peer-reviewed version of H&A in C&C will presumably be cited in AR4 in support of the claim that the C&H critique was unfounded – yet another example of the way in which the peer review process is being corrupted to meet the needs of the IPCC.

    Ian Castles
    Visiting Fellow
    Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government
    The Australian National University

  21. Roger Pielke, Jr.
    Posted Jan 19, 2006 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

    Dougherty comment on Harrison referred to by Castles in #20 can be found here:

    Click to access comment_peer_review_politics_and_pluralism.pdf

  22. Posted Jan 20, 2006 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

    Dear Steve,

    your nice words about Schneider sound very encouraging and I am happy that you enjoy him. If I wrote what I think about him based on various texts he wrote in journals and some of his correspondence either directly with me or with someone else, it would probably damage the high level of politeness that has become a standard at your blog. 😉

    Meanwhile, the performance of your competitors at dropped to 11% of yours even though there are 11 authors trying to compete with you. Now it seems that they have changed the design (in the “real” climate, the Sun is a gigantic tomato or what it is) and they have erased the comments that they won’t do politics. This new policy was immediately used – and in their latest work, they report their interview for the well-known radical left-wing blog Daily Kos. Very nice. 😉

    Best wishes

  23. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jan 20, 2006 at 10:28 AM | Permalink

    Oh Heavens, Lubos!

    An interesting recent headline is that the Washington Post had to cut off responses to a blog they’d set up simply because their Ombudsperson said that Mr. Abramoff had contributed to Democrats as well as Republicans. Apparently if you do so people on the political left will start using quite profane language. I’m not saying people on the right are pure as the driven snow (or dripping icicle for any warmers out there) but the language used is generally several cuts above that level. Does RC know what they’re letting thereselves in for?

  24. Hans Erren
    Posted Jan 20, 2006 at 10:31 AM | Permalink


    How did you measure performance?

  25. Paul
    Posted Jan 20, 2006 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

    RE#24 –

    Same way that Enzyte measures “enhancement”?

  26. JerryB
    Posted Feb 22, 2006 at 2:43 PM | Permalink

    Whose turn is it to update this weeks’ status of A&W’s hockeystick papers?

    The UCAR press release web page seems not to mention the provisional acceptance at the moment.

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] accepted — so that the “jesus paper” could make the deadline. McIntyre covers the issue here. One need not re-adjudicate whether or not the IPCC rules were broken. And further these rules […]

  2. […] accepted — so that the “jesus paper” could make the deadline. McIntyre covers the issue here. One need not re-adjudicate whether or not the IPCC rules were broken. And further these rules have […]

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