This is about the weird experience that motivated this blog. The main story is quickly told, but there are lots of interesting spin-offs, that I will address in later posts.
In 2006, Khilyuk and Chilingar published a climate change sceptical paper in Environmental Geology (Khilyuk, L.F. and Chilingar, G.V., 2006. On global forces of nature driving the Earth’s climate. Are humans involved? Environ. Geol., 50: 899-910). I found this article, because Environmental Geology (EG) sometimes has papers about groundwater that may be useful for me. As I read it, I was shocked about the complete nonsense that it contained - at least in my humble opinion. EG is not a top journal, but supposedly a serious, reviewed, scientific journal. How could they publish an article full of - at best - extremely unconventional theories?
I thought that such a questionable publication on an important issue in the reviewed literature could not go undisputed. As I figured that the top climate scientists would hardly note this paper in a journal that is not known for climate science, I felt compelled to write a comment (or rebuttal, as they call it in EG) myself. This was published in print in 2007 (Aeschbach-Hertig, W., 2007. Rebuttal of "On global forces of nature driving the Earth's climate. Are humans involved?" by L. F. Khilyuk and G. V. Chilingar, Environ. Geol. 52: 1007-1009). A bit to my surprise, no reply to my comment was published at that time. Judged by how quickly my manuscript got published online, it seems that the authors of the original article had not been invited to write a reply, or had declined to do so.
Even so, I received quite a bit of response to my article in the form of e-mails and reprint requests (much more than I usually get for more important papers). Perhaps most noticeable was a reprint request by the famous climate sceptic Fred Singer. The whole debate was also noticed by a few people in the blogsphere. Nexus 6 pointed out that the climate sceptics scene had happily adopted the paper of Khilyuk and Chilingar as further proof of their case, and presented my rebuttal to show that they were misled. Deltoid also cited my paper as a "devastating rebuttal". The rebuttal is mentioned in the Real Climate Wiki. And even the climate sceptic blogger Lubos Motl had to admit: "Unfortunately, I would agree with many points of the rebuttal...". So far, so good.
A few weeks ago I noticed that a reply to my rebuttal had finally been published in EG (Chilingar, G. V., O. G. Sorokhtin, L. F. Khilyuk, 2008. Response to W. Aeschbach-Hertig rebuttal of ‘‘On global forces of nature driving the Earth’s climate. Are humans involved?’’ by L. F. Khilyuk and G. V. Chilingar. Environ. Geol. 54:1567–1572). Of course, I read it with great interest. It turned out that it wasn't really a response to my critique, except for a few sentences bashing me as holding a sacred climate belief and so on. Most of it was just another presentation of their funny "adiabatic theory of greenhouse effect". More nonsense, it seemed to me, but I was not inclined to write another rebuttal.
Not until I received an e-mail by the blogger Eli Rabett, pointing out the new paper and asking if I planned to respond. I checked out his Rabett Run blog, and found that he already had a nice critique of the new Chilingar paper. So no need for me to add anything. But, following the links in the blog, I was amazed to learn that Chilingar and colleagues had actually published the same questionable paper already before in Energy Sources (Chilingar, G.V., L.F. Khilyuk and O.G. Sorokhtin, 2008. Cooling of atmosphere due to CO2 emission, Energy Sources Part A 30: 1-9). Thanks to Eli Rabett for pointing out this recycling fraud!
Too much is too much! This little twist really was the last straw that prompted me to start this blog. I will research the issue more thoroughly, and I plan to take appropriate steps. I will let you know what happens...