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The snail paper

Readers who have been following the saga of the extinction and resurrection of the Aldabra banded snail will be interested in this posting. As you no doubt recall, the snail was declared exctinct by researcher Justin Gerlach in 2007. His findings were hotly contested by another expert in the area, Oxford's Clive Hambler.

In their wisdom, the Royal Society, who had published Dr Gerlach's original paper decided that the rebuttal should not see the light of day, a decision that turned out to be a bit of a problem when the snail was rediscovered a few months ago. Dr Hambler has now published the rejected manuscript on his website and I have to say it makes rather interesting reading.

R. aldabrae has apparently existed in the region for over 125,000 years, despite substantial changes in Aldabra’s habitat and land area (Taylor et al. 1979).  The species survived very low rainfall around the 1950s (Stoddart & Walsh 1979), including years drier than any since 1968.  Rainfall data for Aldabra are fragmented and will require expert analysis.  Gerlach’s data and analyses require correction:  1981 had c. 970 mm (not 1702), and 2006 was the wettest on record (1787 mm).  Fuller data (including 1984-1993) show generally dry periods between both 1980 - 1991, and 1999 - 2004.

The statistical handling looks to my untrained eye like an unmitigated disaster as well.

I think the Gerlach paper may well fall into the category of "so bad that it would be too embarrassing to publish a rebuttal pointing out all the problems. You can see why Hambler had no joy with the journal.


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Reader Comments (44)

I had a chat on twwiter, about how the science was supposedly misrepesneted, how on earth did he media get it wrong (and Paterson) -/irony

Red List (assessor Gerlach) "concluded that this species [snail] is extinct as a result of climate change (Gerlach 2007)

Nature: "unfortunate distinction of being 1 of the few species whose extinction can be attributed directly to climate change"

Nature:"[snail] has been driven to extinction by reduced rainfall associated with climate change, according to new research"

Title of snail paper was.. Short-term climate change and the extinction of the snail Rhachistia aldabrae

"First tied directly to global warming, according to Oxford University biologist Justin Gerlach. " @richardabetts…


I then heard the argument that he did not say AGW, which shows how misledaing 'climate hange' is if it is sed to mean eith natural/AGW interchangeably

Oct 20, 2014 at 8:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

"We predict “rediscovery” when resources permit."

At last, an accurate prediction.

Oct 20, 2014 at 8:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterDocBud

The RS has been corrupted and remains so. The members who aren't global warming alarmist stooges need to regain control.

Oct 20, 2014 at 8:25 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Well, the findings are science; the decision not to publish the rebuttal and findings of the snail is politics. How deep can we sink, even with snails?

Oct 20, 2014 at 8:28 AM | Unregistered Commenteroebele bruinsma

The Royal Society sinks still further in my estimation. It publishes a paper in the peer reviewed literature, subsequently receives a well argued, data rich comment, from an expert in the field that completely undermines the original paper and refuses to publish it.

Was Bob Ward employed by the RS at this period I wonder?

Oct 20, 2014 at 8:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Dent

The Snailgate story now has a post at retraction watch appropriately called “At a snail’s pace”.
This notes that the editor of the journal, Richard Battarbee, has made a half-hearted attempt to address the problem by writing an Editorial article about the case. But there is no retraction, and no warning flag on the original paper.

Andrew's link to the original paper goes to the pubmed page (not quite the same thing as the original paper). The paper in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters is here. At the bottom of that version there is a link to the editorial written by Battarbee.

Oct 20, 2014 at 8:41 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Is it endemic, wasn't Richard Betts proclaiming that the demise of the snail had nothing to do with AGW, without an explanation that 'short term climate change' is something completely different.
How stupid of us to not realise that 'short term climate change' is as far unrelated to AGW as science is to postmodern science!!!!

Can we not realise that climate change/global warming/ AGW is a long term concept covering periods greater than 30 years, unless it's the hottest year/month/day 'eva', and climate change/natural variability is a short term concept covering periods of less than a decade/17 years/25 years just according as to how long the hiatus/pause/slow down in warming lasts.

Clear now!!!

Oct 20, 2014 at 8:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Thanks for the link, Paul Matthews.

Richard Battarbee considers that the false declaration of extinction in the Gerlach paper does not constitute "honest error". It quite clearly is an error and one hopes that the wrong conclusion was made honestly and in good faith. I cannot understand the reluctance to retract, I'd have thought the authors would be keen to see a paper that reaches a clearly erroneous conclusion retracted, I know I would.

Oct 20, 2014 at 8:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterDocBud

Missing treehugger link:

"First tied directly to global warming, according to Oxford University biologist Justin Gerlach. "

"He reached this conclusion after observing that the smaller shells once commonly picked up by collectors were vanishing

with the advent of the longer, hotter summers — a phenomenon he attributes to global warming. If his intuition is correct, that would make the Aldabra banded snail the first climate change related casualty."

Oct 20, 2014 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

"In their wisdom, the Royal Society, who had published Dr Gerlach's original paper decided that the rebuttal should not see the light of day"

Given the RS previous and present presidents (Lord May, Lord Rees and Sir Paul Nurse), it is not surprising that it has abandoned real science. Their support for AGW has never been based on science but on the beliefs of a few. It is difficult to see how RS can sink any lower in reputation. And we have the pleasure of knowing they use public funds for this.

Oct 20, 2014 at 9:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

Carl Sagan, a well-known American astronomer, wrote:

“There are many hypotheses in science which are wrong. That’s perfectly all right: it’s the aperture to finding out what’s right. Science is a self-correcting process.”

The Royal Society is obviously in complete agreement with Carl Sagan. Why bother to publish a rebuttal of the snail paper when you can simply let the science correct itself?

Oct 20, 2014 at 9:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Here is Justin Gerlach's current activity:

Recent work has concentrated on evaluating the status of the world's invertebrates through my role as Chair of the IUCN/SSC Terrestrial and Freshwater Invertebrate Red List Authority and climate change, most recently as Facilitator of the new Climate Change Working Group of the IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. In June 2013 I became active in Partula snail conservation after a gap of 20 years. These snails are emblematic of the biodiversity crisis, with 51 of the French Polynesian species being driven to extinction within two decades. Only 5 species survive in the wild and a further 11 survive only in captivity. A notable outcome of my research will be the publicaiton of a major work on evolution: Partula - icons of speciation. This is due for publicaiton in 2016.

I wonder how many of the 51 extinct French Polynesian species are still alive and well?

Oct 20, 2014 at 9:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

James Delingpole missed Paterson's talk because he was talking to Radley School about the Aldabra Banded Snail.
I trust that he will be reading this post.

Oct 20, 2014 at 10:09 AM | Unregistered Commentertoad

The slimy trails of the MRN period of the Royal Society's evolution will surely be subjected to much further study. When measures of integrity and rigour in leadership are devised, we may well discover that the Society is currently in an historic minimum from which a long, slow recovery may be the best that can be hoped for.

Oct 20, 2014 at 10:29 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Terry S:

According to the IUCN 281 terrestrial snails are extinct globally. I don't know if this is an accurate number, but I do know that a lot of the extinctions are well-documented and individuals of the species in question haven't been seen for a long time.

Note that as far as I know climate change has not contributed to these losses. They have generally occurred on small islands where species are represented by small populations. The main causes are probably introduced species (plants and other snails, predatory ones), deforestation (obviously can be catastrophic on small islands) and possibly over-collecting.

You can browse some of the detail at the IUCN website. Search for Gastropoda and exclude marine species. The threats are nicely summarised for the living species, but they don't seem to put detail for all the extinct ones.

R. aldabrae is still listed there as extinct....................

Oct 20, 2014 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterJit

@Lord Beaverbrook I found yesterday that the term CAGW is banned in alarmists circles
- That is bizarre to me as how do you differentiate between the scenario where you really need to do something against CO2 CAGW and the scenario where the AGW is at only a small level ?
- I can only figure that they are afraid of acknowledging that there can be anything other than the path to catastrophe.
From the ironically named Rationalwiki

"catastrophic anthropogenic global warming," is a snarl word -derogatory label that can be attached to something, in order to dismiss its importance or worth, without guilt
As ever that sounds like greens having a wacky unevidenced conspiracy theory.

Oct 20, 2014 at 10:36 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I retired from science a number of years ago, but cannot believe how corrupt the Royal Society has become since my working days. Every working scientist looked up, perhaps even in awe, to the primary scientific institution of our country. Now it seems to have shrunk into a rather unsavoury lobby group, led by men devoid of any guiding principles. In my working life, a scientist good enough to have a paper read at the Royal Society 'had arrived'. I am sure that is not the case now.

Oct 20, 2014 at 10:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

A perceptive observer has written about the Royal Society's MRN period here:
But don't take his word for it. Let Nullius in Verba be our guide.

Oct 20, 2014 at 10:47 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

It seems wrong is the new right.

Extinction is absolute. Species do not spontaneously regenerate.

Given empirical evidence that it was wrong then and is wrong now, how can the paper stay on the record?

Oct 20, 2014 at 10:49 AM | Unregistered Commenterclovis marcus

Terry S: "I wonder how many of the 51 extinct French Polynesian species are still alive and well?"
Supplementary question: Is any of these escargot species edible?

Oct 20, 2014 at 11:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington


"Rational"wiki indeed.

presumably then, if one suggests that the Didcot B gas fired power station suffer a "catastrophic failure", rather than simply a "failure", one is just using a "snarl word in a derogatory fashion to diminish the event witohut guilt"

Oct 20, 2014 at 11:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Rumours of the unfortunate demise of Aldabra have been greatly exaggerated!

Hmm, and in a similar vein and entirely related rumpus, some uni geek decided that the Himalayan glaciers would melt circa 2035, ah and numerous NGO affiliated twerps averred that, the equatorial rainforests of the Amazon were in danger thanks to man made emissions of CO2 and it all turned out to be just what it was, very idle speculation by a set of jerks wanting to make a name for themselves but also a business opportunity! Golly, and gee whizz and what a surprise that, journalistic hyperbole: always hits the spot in the western media and press.

The groupthink of charlatans.

Mind you the once august RS, is now just another climate sorcery advocacy agency, it is ever so slightly soiled but disconcerting [well it was....... at one time] that even there, money talks louder than the truth of - in the RS - and thus brings shame, which now is turning to opprobrium - we scoff at and chide you all - for even the remnant honest scientists are bedaubed with the same s%*7 brush.

As to Betts, still all equivocation, still break dancing on pin heads and thus, no change there then.

Oct 20, 2014 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Another (s)nail in the AGW coffin

Oct 20, 2014 at 11:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterH2O: the miracle molecule

The ministry of truth has spoken!

It is stated that infallible peer review confirmed Gerlach's findings. Reality must be wrong and so the paper shall stand!

Oct 20, 2014 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

stewgreen Oct 20, 2014 at 10:36 AM |

I always like to use "newsworthy" AGW whenever I comment on websites.
If they are talking about it they must accept it as "newsworthy". But that raises the question of why is it "newsworthy" if it can't be detected or noticed? It puts the onus on them to say what the problem is - 2°C means what to you?

In the end, it always comes down to their dystopian faith in the future.
Which undermines the persuasiveness of their arguments, somewhat.

Oct 20, 2014 at 11:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterMCourtney

>"catastrophic anthropogenic global warming," is a snarl word - derogatory label that can be attached to something, in order to dismiss its importance or worth, without guilt

I'm not sure that CAGW becoming a general term of abuse is such a bad thing. If it reinforces the idea that climate alarmism is exaggerated and overblown, and if that's the general perception, I'm in favour!

BTW, has anyone yet canvassed the opinion of resident snail expert S.Jones on the similarly exaggerated extinction of his banded friend?

Oct 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Science has always been a slightly venial activity; you waved on through the odd weak paper and that was just part of the mix. Science has now been subverted by sociology and politics. It's now the norm. I'm not sure there's a way back.


Oct 20, 2014 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterPointman


I am in no doubt whatsoever that we will receive an update on climate phraseology eventually, which will of course be backdated to cover tracks, and of course when it does happen I shall tether my glee behind a smug smile and a large whiskey without making an utterance.

Oct 20, 2014 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Someone called GrrlScientist has just tweeted "the most-read BIOLOGY LETTERS #science papers from my fav journal now listing Sept 2014", linking to this page of the most-read paper in Biology Letters in September. Gerlach's 2007 "Short-term climate change and the extinction of the snail Rhachistia aldabrae" is number 3 on the list.

Oct 20, 2014 at 12:59 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Yes RE: failure/ catastrophic failure
asserting that when an engineering components fails, it is never anything other than "catastrophic failure" of course DENIAL

@John Shade the Telegraph article has a comment worth repeating

head honcho of the Royal Society, prefer that he be referred to as Dame Paul Nurse. This is due to his pantomime style of presentation.

Oct 20, 2014 at 1:01 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen


That's too sweeping and too narrowly focused.

Don't forget Lysenkoism in the USSR, which had a serious effect in the USSR for a couple of decades, but wasn't much more than a shocking curiosity in the rest of the world.

Science has been a very successful means of finding out how the universe works and there's no particular reason that's going to change, because it's a valuable thing.

Because it's been so successful, various bodies of learning have grabbed the term to describe themselves; management science, political science, computer science (in fact computer technology) and climate science. It would be more appropriate to substitute "studies" for "science" in each case.

What's surprised me about this is the elevation of peer review (basically a protection mechanism so that journals don't publish too much unadulterated tosh) into God's Seal of Approval. I assume that's an import from the humanities.

I'm inclined to think of this as a mass mania, made worse because it's infected the political systems, but it will wash out, because it's in conflict with reality. Shame about all the quite needless damage, but it seems to be in our nature as a species to go through these excursions from time to time.

Oct 20, 2014 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

Small children are given blunt scissors to play with, so they can't take somebody's eye out.
A "Bayesian estimation" is a dangerous tool in the hands of those with poor vision.

Oct 20, 2014 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

"He reached this conclusion after observing that the smaller shells once commonly picked up by collectors were vanishing "

Another unscientific extinctionist jumps to a conclusion which suits his worldview.

Simple response to these characters; show us robust, verifiable proof that the species in question no longer exists, or it didn't happen.

"We think", or "we haven't seen them around" or the old favourite "habitat loss leads to extinction of a proportionate number of species" canard does not constitute such proof.

Claims such as knowing how many Scottish Wildcats or Sumatran Tigers exist should be treated with the derision that they deserve.

Oct 20, 2014 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

"...the smaller shells once commonly picked up by collectors were vanishing "

Catastrophic Anthropogenic Collecting perhaps?

Oct 20, 2014 at 4:05 PM | Registered Commenterdavidchappell

Don't worry, Mr Passive-afggressive at Andthentheresphysics knows better:

Firstly, you don’t retract a paper simply because it’s wrong ...

Oct 20, 2014 at 4:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

"I wonder how many of the 51 extinct French Polynesian species are still alive and well?"

Probably very few since they were exterminated by a carnivorous snail introduced by idiot french bureaucrats despite repeated warnings of the disastrous effects of previous introductions of the same species elsewhere. Predators are unfortunately much more thorough searchers than snail researchers.

Oct 20, 2014 at 5:00 PM | Unregistered Commentertty


Aside from pathological cases, one could say about scientific peer review something similar to what Winston Churchill said about democracy - that it's the worst system in the world for vetting scientific results except for every other one that could be imagined.

Oct 20, 2014 at 7:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterrw

don't get caqrried away about is meant to catch stuff that has been said already or stuff that does not make sense. It is not meant to guarantee correctness. It just says to the relevant community, this is interesting, so let's discuss. Sadly, Climate Science does not do discussion. It does Helpful or Not Help-ful. And the scientists involved, often, do not seem to realise this.

Oct 20, 2014 at 10:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

For the record, (please forgive the repetition, but I believe it belongs in this thread) ...

A few days ago (over in the Paterson at the GWPF thread), appropos of nothing that had previously been mentioned in the thread, Richard Betts evidently felt obliged to expand upon a drum he'd been banging on via twitter:

Mr Paterson mentions the mistaken extinction of the Aldabran banded snail as if this were evidence that 'forecasts of effects of climate change have been consistently and widely exaggerated'.

However, the paper mistakenly claiming the extinction never did actually attribute this to AGW. The author wrote:

At present, the data from Aldabra are too limited to confirm that the climate change pattern is part of the drying trend of Southern Africa and not merely a local or short-term phenomenon.

This 'example' is therefore merely a strawman.

Along with John M, Mike Jackson, and Brownedoff, I had added my .02 as follows:

Oct 17, 2014 at 12:55 AM | Richard Betts

Well, this is a slight improvement over your banging on this particular drum via twitter (which I had commented on over in Failure to Deny [Oct 17, 2014 at 9:50 AM]).

And I see that at least we now agree on Paterson's intro: 'forecasts of effects of climate change have been consistently and widely exaggerated' (even if you didn't paste in the full paragraph).

But, considering that:

a) The title of this paper is:

Short-term climate change and the extinction of the snail Rhachistia aldabrae (Gastropoda: Pulmonata)

and (setting aside the lack of any definition for "Short-term climate change")

b) The paper's abstract reads:

The only known population of the Aldabra banded snail Rhachistia aldabrae declined through the late twentieth century, leading to its extinction in the late 1990s. This occurred within a stable habitat and its extinction is attributable to decreasing rainfall on Aldabra atoll, associated with regional changes in rainfall patterns in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. It is proposed that the extinction of this species is a direct result of decreasing rainfall leading to increased mortality of juvenile snails. [emphasis added -hro]


c) As Brownedoff noted, above, neither Paterson nor this paper's author, Justin Gerlach, even mentions "AGW" (or even the word "anthropogenic" for that matter!)


d) While you now quote the following from Gerlach's "Conclusion":

At present, the data from Aldabra are too limited to confirm that the climate change pattern is part of the drying trend of Southern Africa and not merely a local or short-term phenomenon.

I'm not quite sure I understand why you chose to omit the immediately following sentence:

However, it is to be expected that the impacts of the changes reported here will be detected in more species in the future as rainfall patterns change. [emphasis added -hro]

Perhaps your view is that "abstracts" cannot - and should not - be relied on (nor, it would seem, should final sentences!)

If so, where might we find your critique of Cook et al's "award winning" 97% paper - which (amongst its many faults) relied entirely on abstracts?

Come to think of it, Gerlach's abstract would have been a great item for Cook et al wouldn't it?!

But that aside ... could you share with us the steps you have taken to encourage the Royal Society to withdraw or update this paper, so that there's one less alarm we should worry about?!

Or is it the case that you intend to keep on beating this same (context-free) irrelevant drum?!

But a funny thing happened on my way to pasting these posts here ... I followed the link that John M. had included:

And here's what I found there:

Snail Revival Raises Peer Review Debate

Rediscovery of a snail thought to be extinct has raised questions about the peer-review process that approved the publication of the extinction report.


[...] when a Biology Letters study by Justin Gerlach of the Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles in the U.K. correlated the organism’s disappearance with a decrease in rainfall as a result of short-term climate change. The snail’s extinction was cited as an example of a species whose loss was directly caused by climate change, rather than other factors such as habitat loss or invasive species, earning the tiny creatures a mention in the 2014 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Fancy that! Gerlach even got a mention in AR5's WGII. Correct me if I'm wrong, Richard ... but wasn't that the WG in which you were involved?!

So, in light of all of the above, perhaps you could enlighten us as to how and why you determined that Owen Paterson's mention of the Aldabra Branded Snail (and here it is in context) ...

I also note that the forecast effects of climate change have been consistently and widely exaggerated thus far.
For example the Aldabra Banded Snail which one of the Royal Society’s journals pronounced extinct in 2007 has recently reappeared, yet the editors are still refusing to retract the original paper.

It is exactly this sort of episode that risks inflicting real harm on the reputation and academic integrity of the science.

... is "merely a strawman"


Oct 21, 2014 at 5:24 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov


My IPCC WG2 chapter did not claim that the snail had gone extinct due to anthropogenic climate change.

We actually wrote:

Of the more than 800 global extinctions documented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), only 20 have been tenuously linked to recent climate change (Cahill et al., 2013; see also Hoffmann et al., 2010; Szabo et al., 2012). Molluscs, especially freshwater molluscs, have by far the highest rate of documented extinctions of all species groups (Barnosky et al., 2011). Mollusc extinctions are attributed primarily to invasive species, habitat modification, and pollution; changes in climate are rarely evoked as a driver (Lydeard et al., 2004; Regnier et al., 2009; Chiba and Roy, 2011; but see a few cases in Kappes and Haase, 2012; Cahill et al., 2013).


Overall, there is very low confidence that observed species extinctions can be attributed to recent climate warming, owing to the very low fraction of global extinctions that have been ascribed to climate change and tenuous nature of most attributions.

(my bold here)

So you are incorrect that we mentioned Gerlach - you check the reference list for my chapter here. We did cite Cahill, who had suggested there was a link, but as a matter of documenting what's in the literature - but it's clear from our assessment that we thought the links were tenuous.

So the piece you cite above is not representing what we actually wrote - we didn't even actually mention the snail itself.

Personally I agree with Clive Hambler that too much emphasis on trying to attribute extinctions to climate change (anthropogenic or otherwise) distracts from other more pressing causes of extinctions, such as habitat loss.

Regarding your question on twitter about whether I'm doing about this - well, in addition to making sure that there was no over-statement of attribution of extinctions to AGW in my IPCC chapter, I did contact Clive to see if he's still pursuing the issue of his unpublished rebuttal of Gerlach, and asked whether I can do anything to help.

Oct 21, 2014 at 4:03 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts


Perhaps a post on the Met news blog highlighting the tenuous claim and stating the accepted scientific position as per IPCC would assist!

Oct 21, 2014 at 4:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Regardless of how others have used his paper, I think that Gerlach definitely linked the snail's extinction to man-made climate change by his citation of Thomas et al. 2004.

From Gerlach:

This may be one of the few cases of extinction that cannot be attributed to a change in habitat, predators or diet, but may plausibly result from the direct impacts of climate on survival. Climate change has been proposed as a factor leading to the decline of many species (Thomas et al. 2004), either directly or through indirect associations, such as host–parasite dynamics (Mouritsen et al. 2005).

Thomas et al. 2004 ('Extinction risk from climate change' Nature 427, 145-148) models different emissions scenarios to estimate species extinctions by 2050. It is entirely about the possible effects of future anthropogenic climate change.

From Thomas et al. 2004:

Minimum expected (that is, inevitable) climate-change scenarios for 2050 produce fewer projected 'committed extinctions' (18%; average of the three area methods and the two dispersal scenarios) than mid-range projections (24%), and about half of those predicted under maximum expected climate change (35%). These scenarios would diverge even more by 2100. In other words, minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering carbon to realize minimum, rather than mid-range or maximum, expected climate warming could save a substantial percentage of terrestrial species from extinction. Returning to near pre-industrial global temperatures as quickly as possible could prevent much of the projected, but slower-acting, climate-related extinction from being realized.

If Gerlach meant something other than anthropogenic climate change, he chose an inappropriate reference to make his case.

Oct 21, 2014 at 5:55 PM | Registered CommenterRuth Dixon

Richard betts,
Your position and work now makes you unacceptable to the Royal Soceity.
Who'd a thunk it possible?

Oct 21, 2014 at 11:03 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Oct 21, 2014 at 4:03 PM | Richard Betts

Thank you for your response, Richard. It was a very enlightening explanation of matters that had evidently unfolded (presumably!) prior to your original tweet, which gave rise to much that has come to light since the U.K. Royal Society gave its (unwarranted?!) 2007 peer-reviewed blessing to Gerlach's paper.

For the record - and benefit of those here who (probably quite wisely!) steer clear of the twitterverse - your original far from the then unbeknownst** IPCC/UNFCCCs green yonder, your original tweet was:

Richard Betts ‏@richardabetts Oct 16 [4:29 p.m.]

Why did Owen Patterson mention Aldabra Banded Snail? It's wrongly-assumed extinction wasn't even attributed to AGW

[**Well, unbeknownst at least to me - and quite possibly even to Owen Paterson and/or those who might have assisted him in the preparation of that particular part of his address to the GWPF audience on Wed. Oct. 15]

This certainly confirms that the real problem here lies in the hands of the choices that were made - for whatever reason - by the (decreasingly credible standards of) the powers that be at the U.K. Royal Society's editorial and/or publishing arm(s). As Andrew had quite correctly noted in his post above:

In their wisdom, the Royal Society, who had published Dr Gerlach's original paper decided that the rebuttal should not see the light of day, a decision that turned out to be a bit of a problem when the snail was rediscovered a few months ago.

Also, for the record, I did try to locate the actual text in AR5's WGII that might have precipitated Jyoti Madhusoodanan's link thereto within the Oct. 15:

Snail Revival Raises Peer Review Debate

Rediscovery of a snail thought to be extinct has raised questions about the peer-review process that approved the publication of the extinction report

However, unfortunately Madhusoodanan's link did not point to any specific chapter (or even part!) of the report.

Nor did my own (admitted) stab-in-the-dark search of the - IMHO, unfathomably non-"Tagged" and non-"Fast Web View", in this day and age - pdf of Part B (based on my obviously mistaken reading of the Title, i.e. "Part B: Regional Aspects" and keywords, i.e. "climate change impacts, adaptation, vulnerability") when I should have been looking within your

For the record, I was looking in that which I found within Consequently, in the absence of simplicity and clarity on the IPCC's AR5 WGII site, I blew it! Mea culpa!

But that aside (although I do think it would be a very good idea if you were to convey to the powers that be at the IPCC that there is room for considerable improvement in their presentation of pdf's - as well as the "user-friendliness" of their "products") ...

Perhaps - on the "content" side of things - you could approach and request that Madhusoodanan amend their AR5 WGII link - and/or text - accordingly.

The mileage of some may vary, but to my mind - notwithstanding any and/or all of the foregoing - 'twould be a far, far better thing that you do (now) than your repeated attempts to cast aspersions on Paterson (and/or the GWPF), via your still unexplained (and, IMHO, inexplicable) emphasis on your repeated, embellished - and totally unsubstantiated - claim that (in context, as noted in my comment to which you are now responding) Paterson's:

For example the Aldabra Banded Snail which one of the Royal Society’s journals pronounced extinct in 2007 has recently reappeared, yet the editors are still refusing to retract the original paper.

is deserving of your (IMHO) dismissive and doubt-casting original and subsequent tweets; and, in particular, your earlier "assessment" and unwarranted comment here, to the effect that the above paragraph is "merely a strawman".

Clearly, if there is any "blame", doubt or aspersion to be cast in this sorry saga, it lies squarely at the feet of the U.K. Royal Society, not at those of either Paterson or the GWPF. Wouldn't you agree?!

If so, perhaps you could apologize to Paterson and the GWPF - and redirect your twitter-followers' attention to where it more appropriately and rightfully belongs.

Oct 22, 2014 at 3:55 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

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