Monday, August 01, 2011

More on PolarbearGate: Interview with Jeffrey Gleason

If you read through the Gleason transcript and the Monnett transcript, it's pretty difficult to believe that Monnett's current troubles have absolutely nothing to do with his junk polar bear paper.

After co-authoring the paper suggesting that global warming killed the allegedly dead polar bears, Gleason now suggests that evidence of AGW is "somebody else's issue".

Gleason is questioned about the ridiculous 25% survival calculation in his paper; he's asked why he could get clear pictures of whales, but not dead polar bears; he's asked why his only photos appear to be manipulated; he's asked whether he's sure that the same dead polar bear wasn't seen more than once. He's also questioned on the "pal review" on this paper (Monnett's wife was a reviewer). He's also asked why no more dead polar bears were seen in subsequent years, if global warming killed the bears in 2004.

Gleason says the airplane circled all dead polar bears to get a better look. On page 25 of the Monnett transcript, Monnett agrees, but then contradicts himself on page 29, when he says "I know some of them, we didn't circle on. We just kept going. We, we identified them, um, you know, flying by." Note that the paper says "Swimming and floating polar bears are difficult to see from the survey's standard 457m altitude even under ideal conditions."

Transcript of an interview with Jeffrey Gleason | Environment |
January 20, 2011
ERIC MAY: What kind of camera were you using?

JEFFREY GLEASON: It was an EOS, one of the upper-end EOS Rebels, great camera, and it had a good lens. But between the vibration in my hands in the aircraft and shooting through glass, it just –
JEFFREY GLEASON: Most of the time, yeah. We saw some dead polar bears at one time, and it was pretty obvious with the naked eye what it was. But the pictures, they just kind of turned out to be a white blob in the photos. And I can't remember, we probably took three or four pictures, and it's sort of white blob floating in the ocean, so it's pretty hard to tell.
JEFFREY GLEASON: Absolutely, yeah. No, in that paper and the subsequent papers on polar bears, there's talk about change in the environment, but there's no reference per se to global warming in any of these papers.

ERIC MAY: Okay. And then have you seen Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth?

JEFFREY GLEASON: I have, yeah.

ERIC MAY: And what's your thoughts on his reference to the dead polar bears?

JEFFREY GLEASON: Of course, the problem with this sort of research and observations – and it doesn't matter what the research is – it can be spun. And I don't think that's a fault of the original scientists. I think that's the fault of the media and/or others' interpretation of the science and the results.
...But in none of the polar bear papers that I'm an author or coauthor do we say anything really about global warming. It's something along the lines of the changing environment in the Arctic. And beyond that, I don't think we make any references...I mean, environment change is day to day, year to year, and teasing apart natural variation in the environment versus anthropogenic sources and contributions becomes somebody else's issue.
ERIC MAY: Well, and that's why I'm referring to global warming, because they extrapolated all that information as this was the first tangible evidence of global warming. I mean, they reference your study. I mean, this is all over the world.

JEFFREY GLEASON: Right, it's a leap of faith, again, to go from Point A to Point Z.
ERIC MAY: Well, and the reason I bring it up, this "straightforward calculation," that's a great segue, because I had my folks who are experts in numbers/statistics, and they found that there was error in the extrapolation methodology that suggests that the survival rate of the polar bears in 2004 was 57 percent as opposed to the 25 percent reported in the manuscript. That's quite a difference in terms of 25 percent is very, "Wow, that's huge."
ERIC MAY: Well, the reason I ask is because I did do some research on the sightings. And we found that through 2007, it appears there were no subsequent sightings of dead polar bears during the surveys conducted after your survey of 2004.
ERIC MAY: But you lightly touch upon it, is what I'm getting at, and that's why the world is referencing your study as an indication of global warming. I was just wondering why did you go over the wind event so little when that was probably the biggest reason why the dead polar bears died.
ERIC MAY: Okay, let me read an email from Monnett to you, and it says, "Just got off the phone with my co-supervisor from my PhD, who's an Arctic ecologist, and I mentioned the dead polar bear sightings. He thought we might be onto something with the global warming angle. In any case, he recommended we get in touch with Ian Stirling" – who you just mentioned – "to discuss our observations. It might be worthwhile to get his views on the topic." I mean, you're talking about global warming, and this was back in –
JEFFREY GLEASON: We never mentioned global warming in the paper.

ERIC MAY: But it's inferred. That's why the world took it up as a global warming tangent.
JEFFREY GLEASON: Yeah, those are just bowhead whale pictures.

ERIC MAY: Was this around the time you observed the dead polar bears, because this is pretty clear.


ERIC MAY: And I obviously have the dead polar bear photo. Why is this so much more clear than the polar bear shot that you took?
JOHN MESKEL: What else was in the picture then that was cropped out from these?

JEFFREY GLEASON: Basically, that's it, open ocean with the polar bear.

JOHN MESKEL: How do you even tell that that's a polar bear?
JEFFREY GLEASON: There were no Native subsistence whalers in those areas at that time. We thought, well, maybe somebody shot it. Having talked to subsistence whalers, the Game and Fish biologists, there were no whaling activity during that time in those areas, so we eliminated that.
ERIC MAY: Did Mr. Monnett try to manipulate these photos to make it more clear?

JEFFREY GLEASON: Not that I'm aware of.

JOHN MESKEL: So was that you that was using that program, whatever it was you referred to, to try –

JEFFREY GLEASON: Yeah, like I said, it was just something on the computer, Paint or one of the – in the hopes of trying to make it clear. And it allows you to do some things, but I could never get it to where I thought it was worth including in the manuscript. And like I said, we took probably that file to an image processing place to see if they could enhance it.
JEFFREY GLEASON: No, we didn't send it electronically, I don't think. I think we actually had it on the thumb drive and asked them to look at it. And I think we might have provided a hand printout, something like this, and said, "Is there anything you can do?", that sort of thing. But I don't remember which camera shop it was. I simply can't recall.
ERIC MAY: Okay, "Before we agree to have the work done, it would be good to know if the image can be manipulated enough to be of publication quality, that is, if you look at it." The "manipulation," what do you –?

JEFFREY GLEASON: Basically clarifying the image, not distorting it in any way, no.
JOHN MESKEL: One of the things that also puzzled us was the digital image that's with that email. We did forensics on it, and we can't tie it to that camera as we would expect to be able to if it were the original image. There is what's called "EXIF data" that's produced, if you're familiar with that, that it is embedded in the digital image.


Anonymous said...

On the comment about EXIF data. There are some photo editing programs that can strip out the EXIF data from a file, but MS Paint is not one of them. Paint is about the least capable editor you could use.

So as a photographer I'd say that missing EXIF is highly suspicious. The most common editor that will strip EXIF data is Photoshop. This can happen when a file is 'saved for the web' in older versions of Photoshop. The EXIF data, also records which editor was used to edit the photo file. Along with the date and time the image was taken by the camera.


Anonymous said...

I've seen some blog posts (by warmists) stating that the OIG interviews must be about some kind of financial malfeasance. On the basis of this transcript and one or two others posted recently, I'd say that's preposterous. Why would OIG give a hoot about polar bear photos and cropping and shakiness?

Answer: they wouldn't. This is clearly about the polar bear "studies."

Anonymous said...

"After co-authoring the paper suggesting that global warming killed the allegedly dead polar bears, Gleason now suggests that evidence of AGW is "somebody else's issue"."

They do NOT suggest that global warming killed the bears. The first paragraph of the monograph states that they are hypothesising a NATURAL cause of death (drowning while swimming long distances). The authors recognise that the area had less sea ice that year than any previous, that sea ice had been declining around the Arctic, and that sea ice scientists forecasted further decreases in sea ice cover. They do not discuss the validity or otherwise of global warming.

The photograph stuff is just cherry-picking and elision from the author of this article. They weren't professional photographers, whales are bigger than bears, whales were the target of the flyovers (but they were under instructions to note down other fauna).

The bit about 'pal review' is ridiculous. Monnett showed early drafts of the monograph to several colleagues, his wife (an ecologist who has published papers herself, and they've also published together), and his superiors, to see if it was god enough to submit to a journal. He did so - with permission from his superiors, to Polar Biology, where it was formally peer-reviewed by anonymous experts and then published.

Somehow the skeptiverse thinks that you're not allowed to ask your wife to check your work. I'm glad the Curies didn't get that memo.

The interview took place 7 years after the flyovers, so naturally the skeptiverse expect Monnett and Gleason to remember everything as if it happened yesterday, otherwise they're scoundrels. In the reality-based world, it's normal and acceptable for people to forget a few details after 7 years.