But, the hounds of scientific justice were on their trail in no time, striving to re-inject some realism and set the story straight. I've listed various authoritative reviews and investigations into the Roy Spencer and Danny Braswell's claims.
First though, a summation of the basic issues... courtesy of SkepticalScience.com
"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. . ."~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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"Moreover the description of the methods in the paper is not sufficient to be able to replicate the results. . ."
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"To help interpret the results, Spencer uses a simple model. But the simple model used by Spencer is too simple: well this has gone way beyond being too simple (see for instance this post by Barry Bickmore).
The model has no realistic ocean, no El Niño, and no hydrological cycle, and it was tuned to give the result it gave. Most of what goes on in the real world of significance that causes the relationship in the paper is ENSO.
We have already rebutted Lindzen’s work on exactly this point. The clouds respond to ENSO, not the other way round [see: Trenberth, K. E., J. T. Fasullo, C. O'Dell, and T. Wong, 2010: Relationships between tropical sea surface temperatures and top-of-atmosphere radiation. Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L03702, doi:10.1029/2009GL042314.]
During ENSO there is a major uptake of heat by the ocean during the La Niña phase and the heat is moved around and stored in the ocean in the tropical western Pacific, setting the stage for the next El Niño, as which point it is redistributed across the tropical Pacific. The ocean cools as the atmosphere responds with characteristic El Niño weather patterns forced from the region that influence weather patterns world wide. Ocean dynamics play a major role in moving heat around, and atmosphere-ocean interaction is a key to the ENSO cycle.
None of those processes are included in the Spencer model. . ."
Just Put the Model Down, Roy
Barry Bickmore | July 26, 2011
“For the past few years, Roy Spencer has had a love affair, of sorts, with “simple climate models”. After all, who needs some fancy-schmancy global circulation model (GCM) when you can boil down the main features (energy in and energy out) to a simple “1-box” or “zero-dimensional” model that you can run on a spreadsheet?~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“In this case, Spencer wants to use simple climate models to estimate equilibrium climate sensitivity for a doubling of CO2. Let’s look back and see how he’s done with that so far. . .”
Global Warming Debunked! Or… not.
By Michael D. Lemonick ~ July 28th, 2011
"The headline on Forbes.com, highlighted on the Drudgereport, is just too juicy: "New NASA Data," it says, "Blow Gaping Hole in Global Warming Alarmism."~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"As many of the scientists I know say in response to an eyebrow-raising claim, "Important... if true."
"It's the "if" part that's problematic here. First, the Forbes headline is way more sensational than anything Dr. Roy Spencer actually says in his new paper. As Climate Central chief scientist Phil Duffy says:
"The paper itself is far less aggressive in its claims than the Forbes article is. The paper's abstract, for example concludes:
“It is concluded that atmospheric feedback diagnosis of the climate system remains an unsolved problem, due primarily to the inability to distinguish between radiative forcing and radiative feedback in satellite radiative budget observations”
This is hardly a sweeping claim!"
Climate Change Debunked? Not So Fast
LiveScience Senior Writer ~ 28 July 2011
“New research suggesting that cloud cover, not carbon dioxide, causes global warming is getting buzz in climate skeptic circles. But mainstream climate scientists dismissed the research as unrealistic and politically motivated.~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"It is not newsworthy," Daniel Murphy, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) cloud researcher, wrote in an email to LiveScience.
“The study, published July 26 in the open-access online journal Remote Sensing, got public attention when a writer for The Heartland Institute, a libertarian think-tank that promotes climate change skepticism, wrote for Forbes magazine that the study disproved the global warming worries of climate change "alarmists."
“However, mainstream climate scientists say that the argument advanced in the paper is neither new nor correct. The paper's author, University of Alabama, Huntsville researcher Roy Spencer, is a climate change skeptic and controversial figure within the climate research community.
"He's taken an incorrect model, he's tweaked it to match observations, but the conclusions you get from that are not correct," Andrew Dessler, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University, said of Spencer's new study.”
“Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedback”
Guest commentary by Kevin Trenberth and John Fasullo— mike @ 29 July 2011
“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.”~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Climate Scientists Debunk Latest Bunk by Denier Roy Spencer
Joe Romm ~ Jul 29, 2011
“It bears repeating that Spencer committed one of the most egregious blunders in the history of remote sensing — committing multiple errors in analyzing the satellite data and creating one of the enduring denier myths, that the satellite data didn’t show the global warming that the surface temperature data did.~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“It also bears repeating that Spencer wrote this month, “I view my job a little like a legislator, supported by the taxpayer, to protect the interests of the taxpayer and to minimize the role of government.”
"No, new data does not “blow a gaping hole in global warming alarmism”~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"I received a few emails, tweets, and comments on the blog yesterday asking about an Op/Ed article in Forbes magazine that claims that new NASA data will "blow [a] gaping hole in global warming alarmism".
"Except, as it turns out, not so much. The article is just so much hot air and climate scientists say the paper on which it’s based is fundamentally flawed and flat-out wrong.
"It’s clear after reading just a few words that this article is hugely biased. The use of the word "alarmist" and its variants appeared no fewer than 14 times. . ."
Climate scientists blow gaping hole in ‘NASA data’ paper
Grist.org ~ Brad Johnson ~ July 29, 2011
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Roy Spencer's paper on climate sensitivity
Rebuttal written by Kevin Trenberth
SkepticalScience.com ~ 7-31-11
“Spencer's model is too simple, excluding important factors like ocean dynamics, and he treats cloud feedbacks as forcings. There is no merit to his paper.
“To help interpret the results, Spencer uses a simple model. But the simple model used by Spencer is too simple (Einstein says that things should be made as simple as possible but not simpler): well this has gone way beyond being too simple. The model has no realistic ocean, no El Niño, and no hydrological cycle, and it was tuned to give the result it gave.
“Most of what goes on in the real world of significance that causes the relationship in the paper is ENSO. We have already rebutted Lindzen’s work on exactly this point. The clouds respond to ENSO, not the other way round [see: Trenberth, K. E., J. T. Fasullo, C. O'Dell, and T. Wong, 2010: Relationships between tropical sea surface temperatures and top-of-atmosphere radiation. Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L03702]”