Refutation of Steig et al. 2009 finally published

Ryan O’Donnell, Nicholas Lewis, Steve McIntyre (Climate Audit), and Jeff Condon (The Air Vent) have finally succeeded in running the gauntlet of reviewers (one hostile Hockey Team reviewer, actually) to publish their paper in the Journal of Climate refuting the results of Steig, et al., who had claimed statistically significant warming in West Antarctica in their 2009 Nature paper.  Steve and Jeff had previously refuted Steig’s results in their blogs (links above), but publishing in a peer-reviewed journal will overcome the usual objections.

Excerpt from Climate Audit:

“Substantively, what is actually left of [Steig’s] signature results about the West Antarctic, which were:

Assessments of Antarctic temperature change have emphasized the contrast between strong warming of the Antarctic Peninsula and slight cooling of the Antarctic continental interior in recent decades… Here we show that significant warming extends well beyond the Antarctic Peninsula to cover most of West Antarctica, an area of warming much larger than previously reported. West Antarctic warming exceeds 0.1 deg C per decade over the past 50 years, and is strongest in winter and spring.

Nothing. Steig’s West Antarctic warming results from a spreading of warming in the Peninsula to the West Antarctic through choices made in their principal components. Different choices – ones more plausible in the circumstances – lead to opposite results.”

Even more interesting is the “abusive peer review process” which had to be overcome in order to get the paper published.  Excerpt from Climate Audit:

“After an abusive peer review process in which the Team were evidently involved, an article has been accepted by Journal of Climate (O’Donnell [Ryan O], Lewis [Nic L], McIntyre and Condon [Jeff Id]) refuting the West Antarctic claims of Steig et al 2009.  …

The gauntlet that had to be run shows that practices in climate science journals remain unchanged despite Climategate.  … In this case, the Journal of Climate appointed a reviewer – or shall we say a representative of a Team of reviewers – whose energy in attempting to suppress the article went far beyond an unconflicted reviewer. Ultimately, the reviews and responses totalled 88 pages! And Andy Revkin and others blame critical authors for not running such gauntlets.  …

The gauntlet that was created in this particular incident had nothing to do with additional due diligence occasioned by perhaps overturning a well established result. Steig’s results, showing West Antarctic as a particular locus of warming, were themselves novel and, if anything, contradicted prior views of Peninsula warming. Our results were straightforward – the 88 pages of review and response were nothing more than obstruction, “going to town” on the comment rather than the original article.”


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