Wolfgang Wagner,a professor of remote sensing at Vienna University of Technology, resigned last week as editor of the scientific journal Remote Sensing. He blames himself for having approved publication, in July, of a flawed paper. The paper, co-authored by climate sceptic Roy Spencer, was ‘off topic’ for the journal, so managed to pass peer review.
The editor of a science journal has resigned after admitting that a recent paper casting doubt on man-made climate change should not have been published.
The paper, by US scientists Roy Spencer and William Braswell, claimed that computer models of climate inflated projections of temperature increase.
It was seized on by “sceptic” bloggers, but attacked by mainstream scientists.
Wolfgang Wagner, editor of Remote Sensing journal, says he agrees with their criticisms and is stepping down. ….
Roy Spencer, however, told BBC News: “I stand behind the science contained in the paper itself, as well as my comments published on my blog at drroyspencer.com.
“Our university press release necessarily put our scientific results in lay language, and what we believe they mean in the larger context of global warming research. This is commonly done in press statements made by the IPCC and its scientists, too, when reporting on research which advocates the view that climate change is almost entirely caused by humans.
“The very fact that the public has the perception that climate change is man-made, when in fact there is as yet no way to know with any level of scientific certainty how much is man-made versus natural, is evidence of that.”
Dr Spencer is one of the team at the University of Alabama in Huntsville that keeps a record of the Earth’s temperature as determined from satellite readings.
He is also on the board of directors of the George C Marshall Institute, a right-wing think tank critical of mainstream climate science, and an advisor to the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, an evangelical Christian organisation that claims policies to curb climate change “would destroy jobs and impose trillions of dollars in costs” and “could be implemented only by enormous and dangerous expansion of government control over private life”.
Richard Black, “Journal editor resigns over ‘problematic’ climate paper” BBC News, 2 September 2011.
Here is Prof Wagner, in his own words:
[T]he problem I see with the paper by Spencer and Braswell is not that it declared a minority view (which was later unfortunately much exaggerated by the public media) but that it essentially ignored the scientific arguments of its opponents. This latter point was missed in the review process, explaining why I perceive this paper to be fundamentally flawed and therefore wrongly accepted by the journal. This regrettably brought me to the decision to resign as Editor-in-Chief ….
Wolfgang Wagner, “Editorial: Taking Responsibility on Publishing the Controversial Paper “On the Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedbacks from Variations in Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance” by Spencer and Braswell, Remote Sens. 2011, 3(8), 1603-1613″, Remote Sensing 3:8 (2 September 2011), pp. 1603-1613.
There is more information (with links) here.
William Braswell, co-author of the controversial paper, is a colleague of Spencer at the Earth System Science Center, University of Alabama.
Tags: global warming