The editor in chief of the journal Remote Sensing resigned on Friday over a controversial paper on climate science that he said was “fundamentally flawed” and should not have been published. In an editorial posted on the open-access journal’s Web site, the editor, Wolfgang Wagner of the Vienna University of Technology, wrote that peer-reviewers of the paper had neglected “to identify fundamental methodological errors or false claims” in it.
The paper, by researchers at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, criticized as unreliable the climate models used by mainstream science to predict the progress of global warming. Mainstream scientists attacked the paper after it was published, in July, and Mr. Wagner wrote that he eventually came to agree with them, noting that the paper’s thesis has “already been refuted in open discussions and to some extent also in the literature.” The reviewers had missed that point, he said, probably because they “share some climate-skeptic notions of the authors.”
He resigned “to make clear” that the journal “takes the review process seriously.” One author, Roy W. Spencer, wrote on his Web site in defense of the paper, which has not been retracted. Good analysis of the episode can be found on blogs of Nature and Science.