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American Meteorological Society Withdraws Hockey Stick Paper After Climate Sceptics Find Fatal Flaws

UPDATE: It appears the paper has been withdrawn and credit acknowledgement given to Steve McIntyre, see below:

There was yet another recent “hockey stick” being foisted on the public. Gergis et al.

It says:

The average reconstructed temperature anomaly in Australasia during A.D. 1238–1267, the warmest 30-year pre-instrumental period, is 0.09°C (±0.19°C) below 1961–1990 levels.

Basically, another “ah-ha, man is at fault” pitch.

At Climate Audit, the paper was examined in more detail, and alarm bells went off. Concern centered around the 27 proxy data sets used in the study. Now, after Steve McIntyre found some major faults, it seems this paper has gone missing from the AMS website without explanation. All that remains is the Google cache thumbnail image, not even the cached web page. See below:

Here is the original URL:

http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00649.1

Here’s a backup copy: http://static.stuff.co.nz/files/melbourne.pdf

To read about how the takedown came about, I suggest this excellent summary from Bishop Hill as the technical details are rather thick: Another Hockey Stick broken

The problems with the paper in a nutshell:

  1. upside down proxy data again
  2. preselection of data, ignoring the whole set in many cases
  3. though they tried to justify preselection, the paper’s methodology doesn’t hold up (circular reasoning)
  4. inability to replicate given the data and methods used

In Gergis defense, they provided full *some documentation and data at the outset, unlike some other hockey stick purveyors we know. This allowed the work to be checked independently. This is how science is supposed to work, and apparently it has.

(*Added: apparently Gergis refused some additional data Steve McIntyre requested, the documentation of this on his CA website)

It appears from my perspective that this is a failure of peer review at the AMS.

UPDATE: Further proof that the paper has truly been taken down, and this isn’t a web glitch.

1. The DOI link is also broken over at Real Climate in their article: Fresh hockey sticks from the Southern Hemisphere

References

  1. J. Gergis, R. Neukom, S.J. Phipps, A.J.E. Gallant, and D.J. Karoly, “Evidence of unusual late 20th century warming from an Australasian temperature reconstruction spanning the last millennium”, Journal of Climate, 2012, pp. 120518103842003-. DOI.

2. On the AMS search page: http://journals.ametsoc.org/action/doSearch

I put in both the author name and the DOI, and got nada:

Search Results
Search Query: Authors: gergis

Your search did not match any articles.

Search Query: PubIdSpan: JCLI-D-11-00649.1

Your search did not match any articles.

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UPDATE2: Steve McIntyre reports the paper has been put “on hold” http://climateaudit.org/2012/06/08/gergis-et-al-put-on-hold/