Marotzke’s Broken Promise

A few days ago, Jochem Marotzke, an IPCC Coordinating Lead Author and, according to Der Spiegel, “president of the German Climate Consortium and Germany’s top scientific representative in Stockholm”, was praised (e.g. Judy Curry here) for his promise that the IPCC would address the global warming hiatus “head on” despite pressures from green factions in government ministries and for his declaration that “climate researchers have an obligation not to environmental policy but to the truth”.

However, it turned out that Marotzke’s promise was merely another trick. Worse, it turns out that Marotzke already knew that the report would not properly deal with the hiatus – which, in a revealing interview, Marotzke blamed on an ” oversight” (h/t to Judy Curry here). Worse, it turns out that IPCC authors were themselves complicit during the plenary session in causing information about the discrepancy between models and observations to be withheld from the SPM, as shown by thus far undiscussed minutes of the IPCC plenary session.

Just before the release of the IPCC SPM Judy Curry drew attention to Marotzke’s interview with Der Spiegel (Sep 23, 2013) prior to release of the SPM on Sep 27, 2013, the interview in which Marotzke promised that IPCC would deal “head on” with the hiatus.

In my post here, I pointed to an ad hoc and desperately cobbled box (Box 9.2) in the Government Draft as IPCC’s belated and completely unsatisfactory effort to deal with the Pause, pointing out that the IPCC’s ability to assess the Pause from peer-reviewed literature was compromised because of accumulated failure both by IPCC and its community:

But the problem not arise “last week”. While the issue has only recently become acute, it has become acute because of accumulating failure during the AR5 assessment process, including errors and misrepresentations by IPCC in the assessments sent out for external review; the almost total failure of the academic climate community to address the discrepancy; gatekeeping by fellow-traveling journal editors that suppressed criticism of the defects in the limited academic literature on the topic.

In a post entitled How the IPCC Forgot to Mention the Pause, Judy now draws attention to an article in the Christian Science Monitor (Sep 27, 2013) containing an interview with Marotzke in which he tells an entirely different story than the one told to Der Spiegel.

Thomas Stocker, WG1 Co-Chair and Climategate correspondent, who was also interviewed, conceded my observation that there was negligible peer-reviewed literature on the topic as follows (but was not asked about the role of IPCC-sympathizing journal editors in rejecting submissions):

the group, which relies on studies published in peer-reviewed journals for its overviews, didn’t have much to go on, acknowledges Working Group 1’s co-chairman, Dr. Stocker. “I’m afraid to say there is not a lot of published literature that allows us to delve deeper into the required depth of this emerging scientific question,” he says,

Marotzke blamed IPCC’s failure to adequately address the pause as an “oversight”, rather than a deliberate intent to mislead, “explaining” to the reporter that authors in each chapter thought that someone else was handling the problem. Here is an extended quote:

Scientists in the first working group also have tried to tackle the issue of the pause in surface warming that has marked the past 15 years – although they came to the issue a bit late in the process, acknowledges Jochem Marotzke, director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg and a lead author on one of the main volume’s chapters.

Some 200 authors involved in the first report met in Hobart, Australia, in January for a final gathering to hammer out wording, in light of reviews they had received on a previous draft.

“We got quite a few review comments on various chapters saying: What’s going on here? We need to assess what we know” about the hiatus, he said during a briefing Friday morning.

He attributed the oversight to a tendency of each group working on each of the 14 chapters to rely on some other chapter to deal with the issue. And anyone who was thinking about it at all thought some other chapter should handle the issue.

Here one has to watch the pea. Marotzke’s excuse – lack of coordination among authors of various chapter – might have been valid for the Zero Order Draft, but not for the next two drafts. The “Second Order Draft” discussed at Hobart was (at least) the third draft distributed to Lead Authors. The “oversight” observed in Hobart in January 2013 could just as easily been identified in the Zero Order Draft or the First Order Draft. The problem was not a single incident, but accumulating failure.

Making matters worse were interventions of IPCC Coordinating Lead Authors (including presumably Marotzke and Stocker) in the plenary session (see here h/t commenter at Judy Curry’s), where the CLAs actively fought against disclosure of the inconsistency between models and observations in the Summary for Policy-makers – an incident that I plan to report on separately:

In the explanation of the observed reduction in the surface warming trend over the period 1998-2012, Saudi Arabia strongly urged incorporating language from the Technical Summary on models overestimating the warming trend. The CLAs advised against including this statement in the SPM, noting that: the research is currently inconclusive; overestimation of the models is too small to explain the overall effect and not statistically significant; and it is difficult to pinpoint the role of changes in radiative forcing in causing the reduced warming trend, with Co-Chair Stocker referring to this issue as an “emerging science topic.”

While I will discuss this incident separately, the claim that the effect is “not statistically significant” is untrue.


  1. cirby
    Posted Sep 30, 2013 at 8:29 AM | Permalink

    “He attributed the oversight to a tendency of each group working on each of the 14 chapters to rely on some other chapter to deal with the issue. And anyone who was thinking about it at all thought some other chapter should handle the issue.”

    “Write about the pause? Are you NUTS? Let those other groups do it – I don’t want to end my career this early! I have a grant proposal in the works, and I need to pay for braces for my kids!”

  2. son of mulder
    Posted Sep 30, 2013 at 8:33 AM | Permalink

    The dog really,really,really did eat my homework.

  3. Jeff Norman
    Posted Sep 30, 2013 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

    “”” The problem was not a single incident, but accumulating failure.”””

    What sort of failure? Honesty?

  4. Posted Sep 30, 2013 at 8:38 AM | Permalink

    This is what happens when journals and the high priests of the climate glitterati engage in gatekeeping. The most significant reason why there is little literature, and certainly none of any credibility, available to the IPCC to determine the reason for the 16 year pause is because papers which may have helped on attribution have been rejected and kept from publication. Hoisted on their own petards.

    Reminds me of Phil Jones’s Climategate email, “I can’t see any of these papers being published”, “even if we have to redefine what the peer review literature is” or words to that effect.

  5. Matt Skaggs
    Posted Sep 30, 2013 at 9:21 AM | Permalink

    “He attributed the oversight to a tendency of each group working on each of the 14 chapters to rely on some other chapter to deal with the issue.”

    I’ve been bitching for a few years now about how far away from a true attribution study the IPCC has wandered, and how poorly it is organized for the task at hand. But to now exploit this muddled mess as rationale for wandering even farther off course…that’s priceless!

    • Posted Sep 30, 2013 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

      You could say the IPCC has plumbed to new depths in their attempts to find their missing heat.

      • tomdesabla
        Posted Oct 1, 2013 at 9:45 PM | Permalink

        “plunged” to new depths.

        The “plumbing” is no doubt of the waste disposal variety.

  6. Posted Sep 30, 2013 at 9:41 AM | Permalink

    From the Christian Science Monitor article referenced in Judith Curry’s post:

    “This does not mean that global warming has stopped, because the ocean is still taking up heat, sea level is still rising, ice is still melting everywhere we look, Dr. Marotzke said.”

    I guess Marotzke closed his eyes when he looked at ice in the southern hemisphere. Antarctica set a record for all-time sea ice extent in both 2012 and 2013.

    As for sea level, didn’t it drop in 2010 and 2011 and the excuse the IPCC came up with is “it rained a lot in Australia”.

  7. Robin
    Posted Sep 30, 2013 at 10:45 AM | Permalink

    I see some of the report has finally been released (though is still “a draft”).

    Click to access WGIAR5_WGI-12Doc2b_FinalDraft_All.pdf

    Seems to be hockey sticks all round (when considering central values and ignoring the error band).

  8. Wayne
    Posted Sep 30, 2013 at 11:07 AM | Permalink

    So the end result is that by lowering their low-end estimate while leaving the upper end basically unchanged, they are once again able to claim that their projections are consistent with the real world, but also have enormous threats on the high side.

  9. AntonyIndia
    Posted Sep 30, 2013 at 11:09 AM | Permalink

    From private “Hide the decline!” to public hide the Pause / miniscule incline: regress in climate science? This needs further analysis.
    The IPCC does not stick its head in the sand here, no it sticks it in the deeper oceans.

  10. AntonyIndia
    Posted Sep 30, 2013 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

    After hearing Jochem Marotzke speak at his home institute ( I see him now as a German version of Gavin Schmidt. His own ‘most realistic’ climate model predicts 4C world temperature increase by 2100.

    In WG1 AR5’s 2216 pages final report the Pause is named the Hiatus and is hidden away inside the first bar graph of box TS3 figure 1 and discussed in just 3 pages (TS 26 ..).
    Less than 0.2% attention on what actually happened the last 15 years: are they all far sighted (Hyperopia)?

  11. David L. Hagen
    Posted Sep 30, 2013 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    Four persons were blamed as primarily responsible:
    Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, And Nobody

    There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.

    Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

    Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.

    Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.

    It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done

    Lest the blame fall on me!

    Contrast Richard Feynman’s standard for Science

    It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty–a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid–not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked–to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.

  12. Posted Sep 30, 2013 at 2:17 PM | Permalink

    I would also think that almost every chapter author(s) had to have comments about the pause from the expert reviewers. It would be interesting to see the disposition of such comments.

  13. rabbit
    Posted Sep 30, 2013 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

    Global temperature projections are the centre piece of the IPCC reports. They are what is used to say “See? Catastrophe is upon us!”

    Yet with each passing year that global temperatures go sideways rather than up, the odds that the projections are wrong increase exponentially. This exponential increase means their models seem fine until suddenly they are not.

    The very foundation of IPCC claims is approaching crisis, and they have almost nothing to say about it. It beggars belief that this is an accident. I’m left to conclude that the IPCC simply does not know how to handle it.

  14. etudiant
    Posted Sep 30, 2013 at 3:24 PM | Permalink

    So sad.
    The best and the brightest of climate science, yet they collectively have neither the integrity nor the courage to even discuss the possibility of error.
    In fact, no one dared to discuss the pause, presumably because it was so contrary to the prevailing paradigm. Yet one might have thought that one of these scientists would have spied an opportunity for really path breaking distinction here.
    Surely the least that could have been done was to note the pause and dismiss it for some reason, rather than to disguise it into a 15 year flattish trend.

  15. Grant P
    Posted Sep 30, 2013 at 3:58 PM | Permalink

    Prof Stocker.

    Here are all the peer reviewed references to the Pause you could ever want on this ’emerging science.’ You didn’t look very hard did you?

    Click to access Whitehouse-GT_Standstill.pdf

    Grant P

  16. Rdcii
    Posted Sep 30, 2013 at 6:19 PM | Permalink

    So they admit that they missed out on discussing the discrepancy between their models and the actual observational evidence through poor process and a SERIES of failures to review their own material?

    The excuse is actually worse than the mistake. Why should we have any confidence in any part of the report after this admission of poor organizational, communication and delegation skills? And these are our TOP scientists?

    In fact, are these the same scientists who do peer review for journals? Because this brings their ability to do peer review into stark question.

    Donna Laframboise is going to have a field day with this. This might be enough material for a new book.

  17. stevefitzpatrick
    Posted Sep 30, 2013 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre,

    I actually do believe that there was at least some simple ‘oversight’ component in the failure to address ‘the pause’, though it seems to me most of it was more like “I’m sure as hell not going to touch that…. let’s hope someone else will!” Combine that with the relative lack of publications addressing ‘the pause’ prior to the closing date for AR5, and you can a least (if you are very generous) see how the issue would not have been handled. But history has shown that all manner of information which is ‘not really within the rules’ of the IPCC, heck, not even peer reviewed, makes its way into these documents, independent of dates, so I think this type of excuse is at best weak.

    The IPCC needs to substantively address the issue. How they could possibly do that, with the AR5 already completed, is not clear to me. But IMO, they do risk becoming irrelevant in the discussion of policy options if they discredit themselves by ignoring such an obvious problem with their own past projections. I suspect the organization is not structured to address this kind of problem, so they very well may just become irrelevant.

    Steve: I agree that “oversight” might explain the failure up to the Zero Order Draft, or maybe even the First Order Draft. But the failure to deal with the topic ought to have been evident to the CLAs and especially WG1 Chair Stocker. Thereafter it was, at a minimum, “lack of oversight”.

    • Posted Sep 30, 2013 at 9:45 PM | Permalink

      But the failure to deal with the topic ought to have been evident to the CLAs and especially WG1 Chair Stocker. Thereafter it was, at a minimum, “lack of oversight”.

      Steve, I beg to differ. Given his past performances, since Stocker was responsible for overseeing the process, I think it’s highly unlikely that he would have overlooked this! Lack of insight? Yes! And, I would suggest, lack of foresight, too:-)

      The view from here is that Stocker gave the game away when he issued the participants their marching orders, during the opening session (before they so “transparently” took their SPM deliberations behind closed doors).

      As I had noted after watching the video of the well-scripted performances:

      Stocker, WGI Co-Chair (and chief manipulator ooops, sorry “facilitator“) certainly set the tone and expectations:

      We are not here to discuss what we have heard or read in the news recently … we are here to successfully complete [the assessment process which began four years ago] … Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time … [IPCC assessment reports provide an] unprecedented and unbiased view of the climate system. [emphasis added -hro]

    • zyz
      Posted Oct 1, 2013 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

      “The IPCC needs to substantively address the issue. How they could possibly do that, with the AR5 already completed, is not clear to me”

      The pause didn’t just come out of the blue, it has been brewing for fifteen years. There has been plenty of time to develop reasoned explanations. The failure to do so is very revealing.

  18. sean2829
    Posted Sep 30, 2013 at 8:34 PM | Permalink

    This kind of reminds you of the financial/real estate crisis of 2008. By the end of 2006, it was becoming clear that the the charade of high grade bank paper backed by the value of mortgaged properties was simply a house of cards. Yet all the rating agencies and the Fed behaved as if some adjustments and re-purposing some funds would keep the system together. Then late on a Friday evening we got word that the government was taking over Fannie and Freddie (read this online while watching the movie Titanic of all things) and the landslide was on its way, picking up momentum by the moment. Within a week, all trust in the financial system would be gone.
    The latest IPCC report is also an expression of confidence in a system. The foundations of that system are clearly showing strain but the edifice and mantle of authority are heaped higher and higher no matter what is going on below. The credential of its leaders and participants are fixed to that edifice. Are events like the Australian election a Bear Stearns moment foretelling what’s coming?

  19. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Sep 30, 2013 at 11:18 PM | Permalink

    I expect someone will eventually look up the comments by the reviewers and see which ones were rejected as in AR4. Should be interesting.

  20. Posted Oct 1, 2013 at 2:51 AM | Permalink

    IPCC authors were advised by reviewers back in December 2012 that they had not adequately (if at all) addressed the ‘hiatus’. Regarding the SPM, one reviewer wrote
    “all the models from past assessments over-predicted warming of surface temperatures over the past 10-20 years”
    and another wrote
    “Some acknowledgement needs to be made here of the slowing of warming over the last 15 years or so”.

  21. johanna
    Posted Oct 1, 2013 at 6:41 AM | Permalink

    It reminds me of the grotty shared kitchen that many of us have encountered in our workplaces and perhaps share houses. Everyone thinks that it is someone else’s responsibility.

    “Lack of co-ordination” is the standard bureaucratic response to failure. Believe me, I know what I am talking about. Implicit is the notion that there is nothing wrong with the structure or rationale, it’s just a failure of communication and co-ordination. It is, for example, trotted out every time an abused child dies in full view of the agencies that are supposed to prevent it.

    These homespun examples might seem a bit far-fetched for high-falutin’ climate scientists. But, they are not. Systemic failure happens two ways. One is that individual fail-safes are degraded. The other is that the core problem is misdiagnosed. Catastrophes often happen when both are in play.

    Take your pick.

  22. observa
    Posted Oct 1, 2013 at 8:03 AM | Permalink

    Cmon staff. Credit where credit is due. They are improving incrementally from the dog ate the homework last time to, we all forgot to do the homework this time. So give them some grace to get around to, we all forgot to bring the homework, next time.

    They’ve already earned a stamp for ‘Most Participated’ and they’re struggling their level best for ‘Most Improved’ so we as professionals need to be mindful of crushing their self-esteem completely in front of the rest of the class.

  23. hunter
    Posted Oct 1, 2013 at 4:33 PM | Permalink

    In IPCC-speak, “dealing with problematic data head on” means “burying it, hiding it, or ignoring it”.

  24. Skiphil
    Posted Oct 1, 2013 at 9:58 PM | Permalink

    Judith Curry calls for ending the IPCC in this blistering essay:

    Kill the IPCC: After decades and billions spent, the climate body still fails to prove humans behind warming

    Judith A. Curry, Special to Financial Post | 30/09/13 | Last Updated: 01/10/13 8:22 AM ET

  25. Posted Oct 2, 2013 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

    Mainly, as I see it, the IPCC is marginalizing itself. When governments are specifically bringing up the Hiatus and the need for it to be addressed, the cat is well out of the bag. The IPCC is making itself a buggy whip factory – useless and irrelevant.

    Since Climategate some sizable portion of the IPCC audience has abandoned it – and they simply don’t get it. Before Climategate they had the podium to themselves. Recall the days of 2006-2007 when every news outlet ate up everything they said. That simply is not the case anymore. But they still act as if they do.

    The IPCC is irrelevant and making itself more irrelevant with every denial. They will NEVER get another Kyoto – and isn’t that what most of us here are really after? Basically we have won. And not only do they need to understand that, but so do we.

    • observa
      Posted Oct 5, 2013 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

      I’d agree with your conclusion Steve but only one part of the diaspora, namely those who have a reasonable grounding/appreciation of science and the scientific method. Climategate certainly made anyone in the field sit up and take notice of the veracity of the science and the various IPCC Exagerrationgates only compounded that scrutiny more intensely, but in the end the data and methodology had to stand on its own two feet and couldn’t.

      However the political traction these climatologists and their caravan of political/quasi scientists had gained with the broader lay community and their politicians was and still is a different matter. I constantly found trying to discuss the scientific issues raised here by Steve and others with a wider audience over the years, always drew a blank and realised so many had taken the ‘consensus’ at face value without any understanding of the science involved. That was the great success of the climatology club and their rapid ascendency to the commanding heights so to speak. Their fall from grace with the broader lay community and consequently their politicians, was summed up best by Walter Russell Mead some time ago-

      For so many it was never about the true underlying science but as the bard said, all’s well that ends well in this great tragedy for science and the scientific method.

  26. observa
    Posted Oct 5, 2013 at 11:00 AM | Permalink

    There’s still the theatre to clean up of course.

  27. Bob
    Posted Nov 12, 2013 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

    It strikes me intellectually inept to agree that something is a trend (1998-2012 surface temperatures) and then dismiss it as “not statistically significant” – either it is a trend or it is noise. The obfuscation of the statement by dismissing it as “not statistically significant” demonstrates the level to which discussions have sunk in the scientific realm.

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  1. […] and the tales of malfeasance are flowing already. Steve McIntyre has already blogged about some misleading behaviour by senior scientists involved in the review, but his post this morning is amazing, revealing how […]

  2. […] these posts at ClimateAudit, here and here for […]

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