by P. Homewood, January 20, 2019 in NotaLotofPeople KnowThat
Clearly the whole study is worthless, and the paper should be withdrawn.
There are some alarming facts about all of this:
1) Why did the researchers not suspect that the temperature data looked hopelessly wrong at the outset?
2) Why did peer review not do the basic checks that I did?
3) The study carries out some mindbendingly complex statistical analysis, linking arthropod decline to rising temperatures. But how can this analysis have been robust, when the temperature data was hopelessly wrong?
The conclusion is that the faulty temperature data matched the researchers’ expectations of climate warming, and consequently they never bothered to crosscheck. It would after all have been extremely simple to have asked the people who maintain the data.
Whether or not arthropods are in decline I have no idea. But by blaming non existent climate warming, there is a very real danger that the true cause is being missed. Indeed, looking at those graphs, it may well be climate cooling that is responsible.
I plan to contact PNAS, who published the paper, to request that it be withdrawn.