2011-07-04 12:13:48Request to rebut Aussie paper on climate regime shifts
John Cook


Email request:

I would like to ask you if there have been any refutations of this paper


by Stockwell and Cox?

I have been following the climate debate for some time - especially on Drum.
I really have no truck with Cox as I find his approach to be dishonest and dissembling.

But I have to say I find this paper to be pretty sound?

2011-07-05 18:41:59
Glenn Tamblyn


This came up earlier here http://www.skepticalscience.com/thread.php?t=2001


Two basic points that I can see.


1. Someone with a serious statistics brain (definitely not moi. I passed some of my University maths but Stat's was gobbledeegook. Which is a pity since it is obviously powerful and important gobbledeegook) needs to evaluate the methodolgy used. Might be valid, I dunno. Would Tamino run his eye over it?

2. They are apparently looking at surface phenomena and perhaps only Ozzie surface phenomena and make no attempt to ascribe underlying physical processes to the conclusions they make. Maybe climate change will proceed as a series of step changes. Anyone who has watched a pot of thick soup slowly heating can atest to how the circulation pattterns can change significantly. As an observation about how changes in ocean energy transport patterns may have caused a step transition in surface climate phenomena for example there might be validity here. But if they try to draw broader conclusions from this other than 'surface temps may have gone through a step change but we can't comment on the underlying causative physical mechanisms since we haven't looked at them', then they are going to far. You can't make statements about the dog by just analysing the tip of its tail.

I suspect this paper is a bit like McLean, Carter & DeFrietas - reasonable analysis within a VERY limited scope, then draw conclusions way beyond what the analysis justifies, get it published in 'a peer-reviewed journal', then say, 'see, we published stuff too'.

Unless there is an obvious hole in the statistical method, I would be going with 'And WHAT is the relevence of this dogs tail?'

2011-07-05 18:50:56
Rob Painting

Looks like Dikran's field of expertise.