AR6 SOD Reviewers Needed – please light a candle

Guest announcement by Dave Burton,

Denunciatory rhetoric is so much easier and cheaper than good works, and proves a popular temptation. Yet it is it far better to light the candle than to curse the darkness.

Rev. William L. Watkinson

I’m writing to ask you, dear reader, if you have relevant expertise, to please register with the IPCC as an AR6 (6th Assessment Report) WG1 (Working Group One) SOD (Second Order Draft) Expert Reviewer, and also to please tell me when you have done so. If you are already registered as an AR6 expert reviewer, then thank you, and please tell me that, too. (My contact info is on my web site:

The IPCC’s deadline to submit comments has been extended, because of the COVID-19 crisis, so we still have eight weeks left to comment on the AR6 WG1 SOD. The deadline for submission of comments is now June 5, 2020, at midnight CET (which is 7PM EDT), or perhaps 6PM EDT if they really meant CEST, as seems likely.

I won’t sugarcoat it: reviewing IPCC climate reports is an unpleasant chore. Not only are the Reports enormous, the IPCC’s policies make the “expert review” process largely ineffectual.

Despite the similarity in names, the IPCC’s expert review process does not resemble academic peer review. The IPCC’s expert reviewers have no authority of any sort, and the authors are free to ignore anything or everything that the reviewers write.

The IPCC’s authors promise to eventually write responses to all expert reviewer comments, but they will not permit the expert reviewers to see those responses, until after the final version of the Report is released to the public. While reviewing the Second Order Draft, an expert reviewer is not permitted to see the other reviewers’ comments on the First Order Draft, nor even the authors’ responses to his own comments on the First Order Draft.

They did the same thing for AR5, which greatly frustrated me, and significantly degraded the effectiveness of the review process, and the quality of the final Report.

For instance, in comments about several different parts of the AR5 Report, I complained about their practice of adding Prof. Peltier’s 0.3 mm/yr GIA adjustment to arrive at AR5’s inflated 1.7 mm/yr supposed average rate for 20th century sea-level rise. In every case, the authors rejected my complaints. But the reasons they gave were contradictory! Sometimes their response claimed that they did not include the 0.3 mm/yr adjustment (“the 1.7 mm/year rate does not have a 0.3 mm/year correction applied,” they said). Other times they claimed that it was proper to include the 0.3 mm/yr adjustment (it was “done to extract the 1.7 mm/yr SLR supposed to reflect climate processes only,” they said).

I suppose that inconsistency happened because they had multiple people writing the responses. But since I was not permitted to see any of their responses until after the final report had been released, there was no way for me to point out their confusion to them, and that incorrect number remains in the final AR5 Report.

Another problem is that they make the expert reviewers sign confidentiality agreements, and then refuse to tell the expert reviewers who the other expert reviewers are. That’s why I would like you to tell me if you have registered as an expert reviewer: so I can know who I can talk to about it, without violating the confidentiality agreement.

So, you might be wondering, after all that, why would you want to participate?

● Well, it’s a dirty job, but someone needs to do it.

● Also, it gives you a sneek peek to let you see what’s coming.

● Also, it puts your comments and criticisms on public record. The IPCC promises that, eventually, after the final AR6 WGI Report is released, all the reviewer comments and the authors’ responses will be made public.

● Also, it will potentially help me, because once you’ve signed the confidentiality agreement and have been accepted as a reviewer, it will be “legal” for me to consult with you, about my own comments.

● Also, it gives you better moral standing for criticizing inaccuracies in the AR6 Report, later. Nobody will be able to say, “you had your chance, but you declined to take it, so shut up.”

● Also, it is even possible that, in some small way, your review comments just might persuade the authors to actually correct some errors, and improve the Report.

● Also, because “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”

This is the IPCC’s “AR6 WGI FOD Expert Review Guidance Note.”

Here are their guidance notes for lead authors, including the literature publication deadlines for use in the Report:

The expert reviewer registration / application form is short and simple. You can register online, here::


Dave Burton

My contact info is on my web site:

via Watts Up With That?

April 10, 2020 at 04:17AM

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