2010-10-20 00:36:48Peer Review Journals Overview
Robert Way

Hey everyone.

Me, John and Doug have been mulling over an idea and we thought we would open it up to general discussion amongst the authors group.

Our idea is that the authors from the skeptical science forum would put together a couple review articles for submission into peer-reviewed journals such as quaternary science reviews. The reason this idea came about is because we feel that we have a very active author group with such wide reaching abilities that we could very efficiently conduct research and summarize it onto paper. When you think of it we have quite a few writers, some scientists and a lot of people with great research skills who together could probably work and contribute effectively.

Ultimately, we would work in groups of say 5-10 authors per paper and hopefully have for each article some scientists who have experience with the peer reviewed literature. Once articles are finished our own internal peer review would be conducted and a couple individuals would be appointed to make thorough reviews of the articles. The final step would be the preparation for specific journals and the submission. By that point through our own internal peer review we should have the articles at a level that makes it likely to not require rigorous changes prior to acceptance.

Some ideas we have thought about doing a review article on include:
(1) The Empirical Evidence for Human Contributions to Climate Change
(2) An Overview of the state of the cryosphere (sea ice, land-ice, and ice sheets)
(3) Paleoclimate (Geologic to Holocene)
(4) Any other ideas people can come up with!

Question: Why do this?

Answer: Some of these subjects lack the most recent developments in the literature, others like the empirical evidence for an enhanced greenhouse effect often are left out and I have yet to even see a review article on the subject. Putting all the empirical evidence in one place and in one article will do a lot to inform the public and to dissuade dissidents who like to ignore real evidence.

Finally, this process will make us better writers and better people. You learn a lot through the preparation of an article and you learn to collaborate and sure who wouldn't want to see their name in the literature!!

Anyways I'm opening this up to discussion. Anyone who feels this is something they're interested in let us know and let us know what areas are those that would interest you!
2010-10-20 02:40:08#1
Dana Nuccitelli
My vote would still go to the empirical evidence for AGW topic, but the cryosphere is pretty good too.
2010-10-20 03:16:59My vote
Robert Way

My vote is that the empirical evidence for human attribution is the most important one and its something we can all get working on as soon as possible. The key is the identification of as many conclusive ones as possible.

  1. Humans are currently emitting around 30 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year (CDIAC). Of course, it could be coincidence that CO2 levels are rising so sharply at the same time so let's look at more evidence that we're responsible for the rise in CO2 levels.
  2. When we measure the type of carbon accumulating in the atmosphere, we observe more of the type of carbon that comes from fossil fuels (Manning 2006).
  3. This is corroborated by measurements of oxygen in the atmosphere. Oxygen levels are falling in line with the amount of carbon dioxide rising, just as you'd expect from fossil fuel burning which takes oxygen out of the air to create carbon dioxide (Manning 2006).
  4. Further independent evidence that humans are raising CO2 levels comes from measurements of carbon found in coral records going back several centuries. These find a recent sharp rise in the type of carbon that comes from fossil fuels (Pelejero 2005).
  5. So we know humans are raising CO2 levels. What's the effect? Satellites measure less heat escaping out to space, at the particular wavelengths that CO2 absorbs heat, thus finding "direct experimental evidence for a significant increase in the Earth's greenhouse effect". (Harries 2001, Griggs 2004, Chen 2007).
  6. If less heat is escaping to space, where is it going? Back to the Earth's surface. Surface measurements confirm this, observing more downward infrared radiation (Philipona 2004, Wang 2009). A closer look at the downward radiation finds more heat returning at CO2 wavelengths, leading to the conclusion that "this experimental data should effectively end the argument by skeptics that no experimental evidence exists for the connection between greenhouse gas increases in the atmosphere and global warming." (Evans 2006).
  7. If an increased greenhouse effect is causing global warming, we should see certain patterns in the warming. For example, the planet should warm faster at night than during the day. This is indeed being observed (Braganza 2004, Alexander 2006).
  8. Another distinctive pattern of greenhouse warming is cooling in the upper atmosphere, otherwise known as the stratosphere. This is exactly what's happening (Jones 2003).
  9. With the lower atmosphere (the troposphere) warming and the upper atmosphere (the stratophere) cooling, another consequence is the boundary between the troposphere and stratophere, otherwise known as the tropopause, should rise as a consequence of greenhouse warming. This has been observed (Santer 2003).
  10. An even higher layer of the atmosphere, the ionosphere, is expected to cool and contract in response to greenhouse warming. This has been observed by satellites (Laštovi?ka 2006).

2010-10-20 03:32:30Format
Robert Way

I'm not sure exactly how the article would be formatted but I think first the evidence that the greenhouse effect is increasing. Second the evidence that greenhouse gases such as CO2 are increasing, third the evidence that humans are causing this increase.

References needed for the following:

In introduction need to just say evidence the world is warming and that there is debate surrounding the causes
-Glaciers (Cogley 2009)
-Ice Sheets (Rignot et al. 2008, Bamber and Riva 2010)
-Ecological indicators
-Warming measured on the surface and in the air (UAH, RSS, NCDC, GISS, HADLEY)

Debate exists
(Spencer, Lindzen, whoever else articles)

What is the greenhouse effect?
<> Ruddiman's Book

Evidence that the greenhouse effect is increasing
<> Less LW radiation is escaping from the Atmosphere (Harries et al. 2001, Griggs 2004, Chen 2007).
<> Downward LW radiation is increasing (Philipona 2004, Wang and Liang 2009)
<> Wavelengths of heat returning (Evans. 2006. Presentation)

<> Nights should warm faster than days (Braganza 2004, Alexander 2006)
<> Cooling in the upper atmosphere (Jones 2003)
<> Tropopause should rise with greenhouse warming (Santer 2003)
<> The ionosphere is expected to cool (Lastovi?ka 2006)

Evidence Greenhouse Gases are increasing
<> Studies showing that CO2 is a greenhouse gas
<> Graph with Mauna Loa and Dome C (I think) data of CO2
<> Ruddiman's Book

Evidence Greenhouse Gas increases are human caused
<> CDIAC humans are emitting 30 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year
<> More Carbon 16 (or 18 I always forget) is accumulating in the atmosphere which is expected with fossil fuel burning compared to terrestrial processes (Manning 2006) (Need more references and background from chemistry)
<> Corals showing fossil fuel carbon accumulating (Pelejero 2005)

Just some random thoughts obviously but it will be important to get the background articles behind all this subjects that the ideas are based upon.

2010-10-20 06:56:48How to organize info
John Cook

The logical progression is good - warming -> more GHE -> more GHG -> humans raising GHG. A few initial thoughts

David Evans has done some significant work measuring the GHE but all I've found are presentations. We need to search for any peer-reviewed work & then perhaps get in contact with him for more info (I hold out hopes of recruiting him into the Climate Scientists Explain series).

I have a few coral papers - I'm planning 1 or 2 more posts on the 'human fingerprint on Coral' theme. Will add these to the mix.

Perhaps we can organize this by having separate threads devoted to each topic. And as the paper takes shape, Robert can continually update the overview in this thread to reflect new content.

2010-10-20 09:21:40relevant rebuttals
Dana Nuccitelli

We've got some relevant information in the 'how do we know CO2 is causing warming' and 'human fingerprint of global warming' rebuttals as well.  And there's the aforementioned 'human fingerprint on coral' blog post.

Robert's progression is good - humans are causing the increase in atmospheric CO2 -> this is increasing the greenhouse effect -> this is causing an energy imbalance -> this is causing global warming -> there are 'fingerprints' of this anthropogenic warming.

2010-10-20 16:52:23
Ari Jokimäki


(I think we should start a separate thread on this empirical evidence paper.) Here are some references for empirical evidence paper:


Robert: "In introduction need to just say evidence the world is warming and that there is debate surrounding the causes
-Glaciers (Cogley 2009)
-Ice Sheets (Rignot et al. 2008, Bamber and Riva 2010)
-Ecological indicators
-Warming measured on the surface and in the air (UAH, RSS, NCDC, GISS, HADLEY)"

Ocean warming needs to be included here as well.

Robert: "Debate exists
(Spencer, Lindzen, whoever else articles)"

I would argue that this doesn't necessarily belong in this paper. We are just going through the observations and showing the evidence. It is not relevant if someone doesn't believe the evidence. We need to mention the work of these people only when they have contributed something relevant to some issue we're discussing.

For establishing the motivation for the article, I would mention that climate models are in the center of the attention in climate science, and that we are going to take a look how well we can establish the AGW without climate models but using just observations.

Robert: "<> Less LW radiation is escaping from the Atmosphere (Harries et al. 2001, Griggs 2004, Chen 2007)."

There are some more references on this (especially Anderson et al. 2004, but there's some confusion on that, my list has full text from 2001 and the abstract is different - I need to check these references):


Robert: "<> More Carbon 16 (or 18 I always forget) is accumulating in the atmosphere which is expected with fossil fuel burning compared to terrestrial processes (Manning 2006) (Need more references and background from chemistry)"

Relevant carbon isotopes are carbon 12, 13, and 14. I looked at this issue some time ago. I think there were at least five different methods to establish that carbon dioxide is from fossil fuels but I need to refresh my memory on that. Here are some references (your Manning, 2006 seems to be missing from my list...):


John: "David Evans has done some significant work measuring the GHE but all I've found are presentations. We need to search for any peer-reviewed work..."

I can start searching for them, but I did look quite hard for such papers when I made this list (and couple of times after that):


By the way, here's my previous attempt on this issue:


2010-10-20 19:04:59
Ari Jokimäki


Here's probably the latest peer reviewed paper from Wayne F. Evans (not "David Evans", John :) ):


Unfortunately, I don't have access to this paper. He has other interesting papers in his CV too:


One other example not in the CV from 1995:


This one is from Journal of Climate, so the full text is freely available:


2010-10-21 03:48:03Comment
Robert Way

 Ican't seem to get access to the infobase paper either. It looks really interesting! I have some of the others though if anyone is interested!
2010-10-21 07:03:03Wayne Evan's publication list
John Cook

I am drooling over that list of papers by Wayne Evans (no idea where I got David from). Theres one where he compares the forcing from the sun vs the greenhouse effect. Cool. I'll try to drill deeper and if I can get more info, will start a new thread. As far as empirical evidence for an increasing greenhouse effect goes, Evans is da man.
2010-10-21 08:55:12comment
Robert Way

Hey John, I have that paper on solar versus greenhouse if you like.
2010-10-21 10:12:30Yes please
John Cook

BTW, I've already got hold of a few papers I previously didn't have access to, thanks! :-)
2010-10-21 16:03:25
Ari Jokimäki


Perhaps we should setup an e-mailing list so that we can exchange files. I would be interested in the full texts also.

2010-10-21 19:04:54


It would be nice to know who had access to what.

I can generally papers from Nature.

2010-10-21 19:05:33Collaboration via a dedicated and easy to set up wiki?


Hi Folks,

just wondering if for a collaborating effort like the one you are planning a kind of easy to use "wiki" might not come in handy?

We've been using a wiki to organise the translations into German (http://klimaschutz.pbworks.com/Skeptical-Science-Translations) and something similar could be set up for your purpose as well. You wouldn't need to send emails back and forth as files can be stored and referenced directly in the wiki and you could also more easily jointly edit your texts via pages in the wiki.

The "klimaschutzwiki" is open for all to read but such a pbworks-wiki can also be set up as "invisible" where only registered users have access to the content. I have been using such wikis for a couple of years eg. for the volunteer docents at our zoo in Stuttgart and it really works very well and is easy to use.

A basic wiki with 2GB of storage can be set up for free and it can be up an running in just a few minutes. Here is some more information from pbworks: Collaboration made easy

If you think that something like this could help with your efforts, just let me know and I can help setting it up.



2010-10-21 19:14:05



PBWorks looks interesting. But if everything is free, how do they make money? How do we know they won't "pull the plug" on us at some time?

2010-10-21 22:52:21PBWorks



PBWorks also offers paid versions for companies, schools and universities which is how they "make money". Those versions offer more functionality, space and service. For the tasks I've been using pbworks, I actually started out with basic paid versions but was later able to easily switch to free versions with more functionality than the earlier free versions had. I'm currently involved with 7 more or less active workspaces and didn't have any issues with any of them yet.

Their "About" page has some information about who their customers are.

Does this help?



2010-10-22 00:41:55

Yes, thanks.
2010-10-22 10:07:40Comment
Robert Way

I think the first step should be to make a mock (or real) skeptical science post from the review and then shape it/mould it to be of peer review quality and length. Basically we put together a nice long summary of the information out there and work it into a length and quality then expand. 
2010-10-22 11:28:57Access of papers
Robert Way

Hello All,

Setting up an emailing list would be good as long as it doesn't get spammy.

I would suggest waiting until a few papers have been collected and sending all at once perhaps.
2010-10-22 15:35:02Papers
John Cook

Is it too iffy to upload full papers to the SkS website and post the links in this forum? It won't be public - only for us authors. But is that too dodgy from a copyright point of view?
2010-10-22 16:02:49Comment
Robert Way

I won't tell. I have QUITE an archive of papers too... couple hundred... so as long as it doesn't get out to other people...
2010-10-22 16:08:08Comment
Robert Way

I think if you do it, wait till you have an applet or something set up. Like not just post links but have it organized somehow... posting links will let people get access if they ever find out the links and a lot of scientists could be mad. There must be some where to keep it so you can directly link to it.
2010-10-22 18:58:24Tricky issue: How to avoid copyright issues?


I would not keep an archive on-site.

I would not make a whole lot of papers available, over a period of time.

2010-10-23 18:12:29Ok, no papers on SkS
John Cook

Perhaps a thread that lists all relevant papers + links to abstracts & full papers if available online (Ari has a knack of sniffing them out). For the papers that aren't freely available online, someone can request we email e PDF.
2010-10-27 16:46:58
Ari Jokimäki


Here's a new paper claiming that there's not much empirical evidence for AGW:


"At best, the empirical evidence for human impact on climate change, more specifically, the anthropogenic global warming (AGW), is based on correlational research. That is, no experiment has been carried out that confirms or falsifies the causal hypothesis put forward by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that anthropogenic increasing of green house gas concentrations very likely causes increasing of the (mean) global temperature. In this article, we point out the major weaknesses of correlational research in assessing causal hypotheses. We further point out that the AGW hypothesis is in need of potential falsifiers in the Popperian (neopositivistic) sense. Some directions for future research on the formulation of such falsifiers in causal research are discussed. Of course, failure to find falsifying evidence in empirical climate data will render the AWG hypothesis much stronger."

This one is sure to be celebrated in denialosphere soon.

2010-10-27 19:38:40What the crap?!?!
John Cook


It's correlational? What about the satellites measuring less heat escaping to space? You can't get any more causal than that. More infrared heat returning to earth at CO2 wavelengths. The multitude of human fingerprints.

Okay, I am definitely fired up about getting our paper published now. This paper stinks!

Oh, and I'm using the Firefox Add-on to add it to the database. Does it qualify as peer-review?

2010-10-27 20:18:11
Rob Painting

 John, you'll have to add another argument to the list "Anthropogenic Global Warming is unfalsifiable". That Karl Popper nonsense is one meme I've run across a few times elsewhere.

That it could possibly make it into the peer review literature, is a bit of a shock.


2010-10-27 21:38:54
Ari Jokimäki


That paper is open access, by the way, so the PDF-link in the abstract page should work for everyone. The paper is full of questionable stuff - even some conspiracy innuendo:

"Since as a matter of fact, the cash-value of the idea of AGW has proved to be positive, this alone may serve as sufficient motivation for its maintenance in science."

"Unfortunately, when a theoretical phenomenon such as AGW becomes a global political program, it soon becomes vulnerable to methodological fallacies in the realm of social and political science."

And complete nonsense:

"In fact, some skeptics in the debate on AGW point out that all natural climatic disasters are used as evidence (verification) for the human impact on climate, whereas evidence that a post WWII global warming is absent in, e.g., the Greenland Ice-Core Bore Record is ignored as falsifying evidence (see, e.g., Dahl-Jensen et al. 1998; Feldman and Marks 2009). Needless to say that a methodologically sound theory would encompass all available evidence and not “cherry-pick” those pieces of evidence that confirm the theory while ignoring those that do not."

It cites heavily the papers of known climate change deniers:

"In the scientific (i.e., peer-reviewed) literature, several authors have expressed doubts about the quality of the analyzed data and the possibility to derive at valid inferences on human impact on global warming (e.g., Jaworowski 1994; Soon et al. 2004; Michaels 2008; Pielke et al. 2007)."

Most critically, a review of existing empirical evidence is missing completely. I wonder how this got past peer-review. One quite revealing quote is this:

"However, since the author of this article is no expert on climate science, the issue of whether or not data used in climate science are of enough quality will be left for others to decide."

2010-10-27 21:43:32
Ari Jokimäki

Sigh, I just looked at the reference list and found out that the Feldman and Marks 2009 in one of the quotes above is a citation to a book called "Global warming and other bollocks".
2010-10-27 22:15:57


The impact factor of this journal is about 1.7; for comparison, Nature's is about 50.

The area of expertise of this author is "Research Methodology" of science. I guess that translates to "applied kibbutzing."

2010-10-28 00:53:31This study sucks...
Robert Way


Perhaps we should write a comment on this paper? They're only short...

And it might be the quickest and easiest way to get our empirical evidence out there...

Some thoughts

Kampen (2010), hereafter KP10, makes the argument that the basis for current understanding on anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is constructed almost exclusively from correlation research. KP10 furthermore makes the claim that there is significant motivation for the maintenance of the current view on AGW because of monetary investments associated with this theory.

KP10 makes the claim that some skeptics believe that proponents of AGW point to natural climatic disasters as verification of a human impact on climate. Although this claim is not supported by the scientific literature, it is likely something that those in the sceptical community have indicated in the past. KP10 must also acknowledge therefore in making this statement, that there are instances where those sceptical of AGW point to extreme cold events as being evidence that AGW is in effect not operating. A front-page column which appeared on Fox News’ website is a good example of this claim where a large snowfall is followed by the headling “THAT’s SOME GLOBAL WARMING”. Neither instance by either the proponents of AGW or the skeptics of AGW is completely warranted however scientific evidence can in fact suggest that certain extreme events are more likely to occur with increasing atmospheric temperature (et al.) Furthermore as the recent heat wave in Russia suggests, some recent events are unprecedented over large time intervals (>= 1000 years) and therefore support conclusions that the climate system is perturbed by an external forcing (IPCC 2007). KP10 further claims that the theory behind AGW is not methodologically sound because it is claimed to “cherry-pick” pieces of evidence which confirm the theory. The author points to a Greenland Ice-Core Bore Record which does not show unusual warmth post WWII as being evidence that a piece of falsifying evidence has been ignored by proponents of AGW. What the author of KP10 does not acknowledge however is that although ( et al) is an important study, it is a single location, covering a particular timespan. In his criticism of proponents of AGW he himself “cherry-picks” which study to use as evidence to support his claim rather than using hemispheric or global reconstructions that do not support his claim. When the best available paleo evidence of climatic changes is compiled into comprehensive studies with multiple proxy sites, it is clear that the late 1990s to early 2000s warmth is unprecedented over the last 2000 years (Moberg et al. 2005, Mann et al. 2008, Ljunqvist et al. 2010).  

KP10 further makes a comparison to the IPCC consensus as being similar to the consensus’ which disagreed with propositions by Galileo, Copernicus and Darwin. What makes this criticism invalid is that there are virtually no publishing climate scientists that disagree with the key tenets that increased emissions of CO2 will cause some global warming. The disagreement often exists as to how much warming and this relates directly to feedback processes and climate sensitivity. Therefore although the author concludes that there’s no guarantee that the majority will reach the most sensible conclusion. The actual majority in this case is not simply the majority of scientists related to AGW but rather it is important to note that 97% of actively publishing climate scientists have identified AGW as being a real phenomena. This is a majority amongst a very small group of scientists who are experts in climate sciences.

KP10 also makes the speculative argument that scientists will not “bite the hand that feeds them” implying that much funding is received through AGW and therefore scientists would not discuss their uncertainties or results if they counter AGW theory. This statement is completely without merit as the scientific literature has shown time and time again that authors who are proponents of AGW still publish studies that reduce the implications of AGW. An example of which is a study by Bamber et al. (2009) which concludes that a collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet would have a significantly small sea level rise than previously known (3.2 m compared to previous estimates of 5 m), if scientists were not countering AGW such as KP10 contends, then this sort of reassessment would likely not be found in the literature because it seems to reduce potential impacts of AGW on coastal regions. The claim made by KP10 is not substantiated by the scientific literature and can best be described as unsupported by scientific evidence.

KP10’s central claim is based on the implicit premise that there is a lack of experimental (or empirical) data which supports AGW and that therefore proponents of KP10 use causal relationships derived from correlational data to make assumptions. This premise is without merit as it is reliant upon a false claim that there is a lack of experimental data to support AGW. There is in fact a multitude of empirical data which supports AGW. This data has been collected from satellites, ground meteorological stations, spectrometry and climate models. In particular over the period 1970 to 2008 there has been an observed decrease in the amount of longwave radiation (LW) escaping from the Earth’s atmosphere into space (Harries et al. 2001, Chen et al…. etc…).  On the ground measurements using from 1956 to 2008 (need to check this) have measured an increase in downward LW radiation across the globe (Wang and Liang 2009). Both of these empirical evidences demonstrate that the greenhouse effect is increasing, the foundational principle of AGW theory. Furthermore, using spectrometry Evans and XXXX (2004) measured the wavelengths at which LW radiation is returning to the earth and found the forcing of the greenhouse effect from CO2 and other trace gases is very close to the forcing as predicted by climate models. Other model predictions specific to greenhouse forced warming include that nights would warm faster than days (et al.), polar regions would warm faster than the rest of the planet, the tropopause should rise with greenhouse warming (Santer et al. 2003) and both the ionosphere and upper atmosphere would cool. These AGW specific predictions made by climate models have all been confirmed through empirical measurements (et al et al et al et al).

>Application of Bunge’s theory is incorrect because it assumes that that the relationship is unique (one cause, one effect) and asymmetrical (when X causes Y, then Y does not cause X). This is not the case as evidence suggests that the GHG-temperature relationship can act as both a cause and effect and vice versa for each (Ruddiman).
> Ice Core records indicate that temperatures raised before CO2 levels because this is a feedback associated with ocean temperatures having less capability to hold CO2 at warmer temperatures and vice versa

>The opposite is also true as evidence from the emian (or whenever) shows that elevated GHG can cause significant atmospheric warming

>Lab experiments show CO2 is a greenhouse gas

>satellite measurements show that less LW is escaping
>on ground satellite measurements show that more LW is radiating downwards
>Spectrometry shows greenhouse gas energy as being 3.6 w/m2 or whatever

Modeled versus predicted
>Nights would warm faster than days - Observed
>Polar Amplification - Observed

Any thoughts?

2010-10-28 07:01:42comment
Dana Nuccitelli
Robert has drafted up a comment for us to....comment on.
2010-10-28 07:05:22New thread
John Cook

Yes, let's move all discussion of this paper to the new thread...