Flaws in Climate Questioning Paper

A recent paper that fueled skepticism about the severity of climate change predicted by current models contained fundamental errors and false claims.

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef (an unusual nickname for Jennifer) got her master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses. After four years of diving off the Gulf...

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Sep 6, 2011

Global warming predictions mapWIKIMEDIA COMMONS, ROBERT A. ROHDE

An editorial published Friday (September 2) in the journal Remote Sensing points to “fundamental methodological errors” and “false claims” in a paper that challenged current estimates of climate change, published in the same journal just 6 weeks ago.

When the paper was first published, it was touted in the media as evidence that the global warming threat may be overblown. The authors used NASA satellite data to suggest that climate models overestimate the amount of heat the atmosphere retains, and thus misjudge the warming greenhouse effect. Climate researchers weren’t convinced, however.

The paper “essentially ignored the scientific arguments of its opponents,” Wolfgang Wagner of Vienna University of Technology, the journal’s editor-in-chief, wrote in the editorial. “This…was missed in the review process, explaining why I perceive this paper to be fundamentally flawed and therefore wrongly accepted by the journal.”

"I don't blame...

The journal has not stated whether or not it plans to retract the paper, but Wagner hopes his resignation will signal that “Remote Sensing takes the review process very seriously.”

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