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…the Harde they fall.

Filed under: — gavin @ 4 October 2017

Back in February we highlighted an obviously wrong paper by Harde which purported to scrutinize the carbon cycle. Well, thanks to a crowd sourced effort which we helped instigate, a comprehensive scrutiny of those claims has just been published. Lead by Peter Köhler, this included scientists from multiple disciplines working together to clearly report on the mistaken assumptions in the Harde paper.

The comment is excellent, and so should be well regarded, but the fact that it is a comment means that the effort will likely be sorely underappreciated. Part of problem is the long time for the process (almost 8 months) which means that the nonsense is mostly forgotten about by the time the comments are published. We’ve discussed trying to speed up and improve the process by having a specialized journal for comments and replications but really the problem here is the low quality of peer review and editorial supervision that allows these pre-rebunked papers to appear in the first place.

GPC is not the only (nor the worst) culprit for this kind of nonsense – indeed we just noticed a bunch of astrology papers in the International Journal of Heat and Technology (by Nicola Scatetta [natch]). It does seem to demonstrate that truly you can indeed publish anything somewhere.


  1. P. Köhler, J. Hauck, C. Völker, D.A. Wolf-Gladrow, M. Butzin, J.B. Halpern, K. Rice, and R.E. Zeebe, "Comment on “ Scrutinizing the carbon cycle and CO 2 residence time in the atmosphere ” by H. Harde", Global and Planetary Change, vol. 164, pp. 67-71, 2018.

9 Responses to “…the Harde they fall.”

  1. 1

    ” It does seem to demonstrate that truly you can indeed publish anything somewhere.”

    And so the President has:

  2. 2
    Dennis N Horne says:

    Is this the same Harde who was born all those years ago? Nearly every cell in his body has been replaced…

  3. 3
    Alastair B. McDonald says:

    Judging by the abstract of Köhler et al, 2017, a major error in the Harde paper has been missed. Harde believes that the residence time for anthropocentric carbon is similar to the residence time of 14C radiocarbon. In his scheme,anthropocentric carbon disappears from the Earth within ~ 5 years. The reason this is not obvious is that the paper is badly written by a non native English speaker. The editor should have spotted that and insisted that Harde had his paper edited by a native English speaker before publication.

    But of course the paper should never have been published, but can you really expect an editor to admit he was wrong?

  4. 4
    Hank Roberts says:

    empirical evidence yields to a quasi 60-year oscillation modulating a warming trend …

    … It has been suggested that non-radiative physical processes connected with solar activity and the “resonant” orbital motions of the moon and the planets can cast light on the otherwise incomprehensible temperature fluctuations [34,35]. In fact, the magnetic activity of the sun and, probably, also the planetary motions modulate both the solar wind and the flux of the cosmic rays and interstellar dust on the earth with the result of a modulation of the clouds coverage

    — Scafetta,

    The nation that controls magnetism will control the universe

  5. 5
  6. 6
    Hank Roberts says:

    > magnetism
    See, if the old Martians had understood that, they could have saved their ecology.

    Dr. Jim Green – the Director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division – and a panel of researchers presented an ambitious idea. In essence, they suggested that by positioning a magnetic dipole shield at the Mars L1 Lagrange Point, an artificial magnetosphere could be formed that would encompass the entire planet, thus shielding it from solar wind and radiation.

    Read more at:

  7. 7
    Matthew McIrvin says:

    So this is why I’ve been seeing denialists making some form of this claim all over the place. I was wondering if some new talking point had emerged, though the Skeptical Science page rebutting it was years old, so it’s obviously not an inherently new confusion.

  8. 8
    Jim Powell says:

    “You can indeed publish anything somewhere.” This became abundantly clear to the authors who surveyed peer-reviewed articles on AGW looking for statements of rejection as one way to infer the extent of the consensus. As reported at the link below, of 54,195 articles reviewed from 1991-2015, only 31 clearly rejected AGW, for a derived consensus of 99.94%. Among the 31 were “Cooling of atmosphere due to CO2 emission,” one of whose authors was the founding editor of the journal, and “Tiny warming of residual anthropogenic CO2.” The 31 have few citations and some have never been cited, making it is safe to say that collectively they have had virtually no influence on science.

    So, one could ask, since science is self-correcting, have these ineffective articles done any harm? If the subject were anything but AGW, I would answer no, that a few such articles are the price of openness in science. But given the readiness of the deniers to pounce on any alleged discrepancy, articles on AGW require peer review at its best, with clear language and no obvious errors.

  9. 9
    Roger Albin says:

    The Society for Neuroscience sponsors an open access, online journal called eNeuro. One of eNeuro’s explicit goals is to be a forum for replication studies and negative results. eNeuro has a strong editorial board and a slightly unconventional peer review process. The quality of papers appearing in eNeuro is solid and it seems to be fulfilling its mission. This may be a useful model for other fields.