Admitting mistakes in a ‘hostile environment’

by Judith Curry, November 19, 2018 in ClimateEtc.

Reflections on Nic Lewis’ audit of the Resplandy et al. paper.

In response to Nic Lewis’ two blog posts critiquing the Resplandy et al. paper on ocean temperatures, co-author Ralph Keeling acknowledges the paper’s errors with these statements:


By quickly admitting mistakes and giving credit where due, Ralph Keeling has done something unusual and laudatory in the field of climate science. If all climate scientists behaved this way, there would be no ‘hostile environment.’

I find it to be a sad state of affairs when a scientist admitting mistakes gets more kudos than the scientist actually finding the mistakes. But given the state of climate science, I guess finding mistakes seems to be a more common story than a publishing scientist actually admitting to mistakes.

Given the importance of auditing climate research  and independent climate scientists working outside of institutional frameworks, I wish there was some way to encourage more of this. In the absence of recognition and funding, I don’t have much to suggest