Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedback - No merit to Spencer/Braswell Study
Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedback
Guest commentary by Kevin Trenberth and John Fasullo
RealClimate: Climate science from climate scientists
The bottom line is that there is NO merit whatsoever in this paper. It turns out that Spencer and Braswell have an almost perfect title for their paper: ‘the misdiagnosis of surface temperature feedbacks from variations in the Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance’ (leaving out the ‘On’).
The hype surrounding a new paper by Roy Spencer and Danny Braswell is impressive (see for instance Fox News); unfortunately the paper itself is not. News releases and blogs on climate denier web sites have publicized the claim from the paper’s news release that ‘Climate models get energy balance wrong, make too hot forecasts of global warming’. The paper has been published in a journal called Remote sensing which is a fine journal for geographers, but it does not deal with atmospheric and climate science, and it is evident that this paper did not get an adequate peer review. It should not have been published.
The paper’s title ‘On the Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedbacks from Variations in Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance’ is provocative and should have raised red flags with the editors. The basic material in the paper has very basic shortcomings because no statistical significance of results, error bars or uncertainties are given either in the figures or discussed in the text. Moreover the description of methods of what was done is not sufficient to be able to replicate results. As a first step, some quick checks have been made to see whether results can be replicated and we find some points of contention.