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Second CRU inquiry reports

Filed under: — gavin @ 14 April 2010

The Oxburgh report on the science done at the CRU has now been published and….. as in the first inquiry, they find no scientific misconduct, no impropriety and no tailoring of the results to a preconceived agenda, though they do suggest more statisticians should have been involved. They have also some choice words to describe the critics.

Carry on…


1,421 Responses to “Second CRU inquiry reports”

  1. 51
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Brian Carter says: 14 April 2010 at 12:57 PM

    Is there any suggestion that the statistical methods used at the CRU were inadequate to the task?

    From the report, which RC might want to republish here given the positively gyroscopic spin levels we’re already witnessing:

    In the event CRU scientists were able to give convincing answers to our detailed questions about data choice, data handling and statistical methodology.

  2. 52
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “Do you think such a close collaboration is necessary? Or are most climate researchers already sufficiently proficient staticians?”

    Well, those who redo the work anew will use their own statistical methods.

    Such methods are explained in the papers.

    These papers are just as open to statisticians as any other.

    If they were considered bad stats, why didn’t the massive funding from Exxon get the papers out to statisticians who may not have a university subscription?

    So I ask you:

    Do you consider the stats used to be insufficient to draw the conclusions made?

  3. 53
    Hank Roberts says:

    For those who didn’t click the link I gave way back at the beginning:

    —–excerpt—-
    Statisticians Comment on Status of Climate Change Science

    Richard L. Smith, University of North Carolina; L. Mark Berliner, The Ohio State University; and Peter Guttorp, University of Washington and Norwegian Computing Center

    The authors discussed this article online, live, on March 31, 2010. The discussion can be viewed at the end of the article.

    In November 2009, ASA Past-President Sally Morton joined with the leaders of 17 other science organizations to sign a letter (pdf) to all U.S. senators summarizing the consensus of climate change science. In short, the letter cited the strong scientific evidence that climate change is happening and that human activities are the primary driver. It went on to list the many likely consequences, some of which are already starting to occur….
    ——end excerpt ——

    Has anyone seen any comment from any UK statisticians?

  4. 54
    Tony Sidaway says:

    Those bridling at the lack of apparent progress on investigating the hacking should note that typically the British police like to work in private. If they make arrests, that is likely to be the first concrete information you hear about the police inquiry and the direction it has taken.

  5. 55
    Sou says:

    And about time – from the report:

    CRU did a public service of great value by carrying out much time-consuming meticulous work on temperature records at a time when it was unfashionable and attracted the interest of a rather small section of the scientific community.

    For the deniers who have already criticised yet another report praising the scientists and showing they not only did no wrong, but made a huge and critical contribution to the world, I have only contempt. I realise we can’t ignore deniers, because they are a polluting menace and must be stopped. I will be doing my best to expose their wickedness and deliberate attempts to bring climate chaos closer.

    But my main focus is on reducing carbon emissions and helping others to do the same.

  6. 56
    Greg C. says:

    #43 – “Moving goalposts? This is a game?”

    When someone says that you have moved your goalposts what they mean is that you have responded to evidence contradicting a claim you had been making by disingenuously switching to a new claim and then acting as if the evidence has just proven that you were right all along. Arguing with people who act this way is incredibly frustrating and tiresome.

    If you think that that this characterization is unfair (and perhaps it is; I am not familiar with your posting history), the proper defense in your case would be to argue that a claim is being attributed to you that you never actually made, and furthermore said claim is one with which you disagree.

  7. 57
    Sou says:

    I also noted the reviewers questioned the fact that FoI applies to academic research.

    A host of important unresolved questions also arises from the application of Freedom of Information legislation in an academic context.

    I agree with them – FoI shouldn’t apply to academic research. I doubt very much that was the intention when FoI was introduced. It just happened that no-one anticipated it would be used to query research, let alone to try to stop research and to threaten scientists, as it has been. It was designed to make administrative decisions more transparent.

  8. 58
    Jay says:

    What say you about the new “audit” of the IPCC report that finds lots of “grey” literature being used after the chairman’s comments about the strength of their peer review process?

  9. 59
    Theo Hopkins says:

    Good news.

    This inquiry has been reported on Chanel 4 News in the UK

    C4 News is a heavyweight one hour news program.

    But McIntyre is talking in the background as I type

    The news item is at about min 41 of the news. Google Channel 4 News and go to “catch up”.

  10. 60
    Completely Fed Up says:

    Jay, same thing they’ve said before.

    You don’t have to go far back in topics.

  11. 61
    Hank Roberts says:

    Jay, it’s amazing how many people got that wrong.
    Where did you come across it, so late in the day?
    http://shewonk.wordpress.com/2010/01/26/mea-culpa-ipcc-and-gray-literature/

  12. 62
    CM says:

    The nicest touch about the report is how they examine the science by actually reading it and questioning the scientists about it, without even deigning to mention irrelevant extraneous matters like certain stolen emails.

    But they seem to be straying from their brief a bit with this odd hook they left in about “other groups” using inappropriate statistical methods, apparently so Prof. Hand could get in a dig at Mike Mann in the Telegraph. The panel wasn’t asked to examine the research of Mann, Bradley and Hughes (1998), and one imagines they didn’t, either, so this looks a bit irresponsible. And odd, in focusing on the ‘blade’, as Deep Climate noted above. In a similar vein, this strained charge that the IPCC “sometimes neglected to highlight” the divergence problem. I could understand rapping the IPCC over the fingers if they’d failed to mention it, but failure to highlight?

  13. 63
    John Mashey says:

    1) Regarding statisticians, people might read the 1-page essay in A.10.4, p.172 of PDF Crescendo to Climategate Cacophony. Among other this, it observes some reasons why there are rarely as many statisticians around as might be wished, especially in universities.I also argue that to be helpful, statisticians have to understand enough of the science and its context to avoid silly errors, and this takes time and effort. Good statisticians do this.

    2) Without naming anybody, I think some comments here must be from people who lack interaction with scientists, statisticians, and usage of statistics in relevant fields. Admittedly, I’m a Tukey fan, and I’m fond of a few of his quotes:

    “―The combination of some data and an aching desire for an answer does not ensure that a reasonable answer can be extracted from a given body of data.

    ―Far better an approximate answer to the right question, which is often vague, than an exact answer to the wrong question, which can always be made precise.”

  14. 64
    Geoff Wexler says:

    Re #9

    It sure would be nice if all climate scientists take the advice from the report and get their work reviewed by statisticians.

    Provided that the said reviewers know something about climate, which is not to be taken for granted (see DC at #47).

    It sure would be nice if your advice was followed by anti-climate-scientists? * Some of their work has already been reviewed in a variety of places. One statistician who also knows about climate has written a book which includes some review material of anti-climate-statistics and is discussed here:

    http://profmandia.wordpress.com/2010/04/04/do-you-feel-lucky-punk/

    I am sure that writers and readers of RC could provide more examples of contrarian statistical skills (or lack of).

    [* This word is chosen carefully because climate is a statistical concept}
    ——————————-
    By the way the Telegraph’s coverage of this report is no joke considering that it is probably one of the main suppliers of information for many of the next batch of MP’s in the UK parliament. I wonder how Murdoch’s Sunday Times will cover it?

  15. 65

    MikeV,

    I can’t speak to paleo records, but bloggers doing their own surface temperature reconstructions from GHCN is a small cottage industry these days. We can’t reproduce HadCRUT exactly (unlike GISTemp, which has been pretty much perfectly replicated by CCC), since they use some temp data not included in GHCN, but a good 95%+ of the data used is the same, and the effect on the results is minimal.

    Just today Nick Stokes added in SST data to get a global reconstruction (previously everyone had only been looking at land records): http://moyhu.blogspot.com/2010/04/incorporating-sst-and-landocean-models.html

  16. 66
    Anand says:

    Edward:
    “It isn’t turned all the way around until the REAL criminals are convicted and strong AGW legislation is passed in the US.”

    That is what this is all about, isn’t it?

  17. 67

    Official panel official: So-called climate change skeptics were “just plain nasty and ill-informed.”

    This… people is what is what I have personally experienced on a first hand basis while at a US national research climate research center for 11 years.

    The so-called skeptics I have met are *not* scientists because they do not follow the scientific “method” in place since the 1600s that has protected our civiization, you, your fathers, your grandfathers, great grandfathers, etc. who relied sucessfully on this method with their lives.

    In the scientific method, you submit your data in a set way (by scientific journals/conferences). If your information is proven to be crap, you move on and don’t keep submitting the same crap.

    People who keep submitting the same crap and refusing to accept world wide findings are not scientists. They are pseudo scientists. It is these people who uninformed people keep listening to. This is a road to national suicide. Real science advances your economy and protects your country.

    This is the first CHANGE (paradymn shift) in how science is being used by the public and policy makers in 400 years. Something is very, very wrong. I think it is possibly the new rise of the “every man is an expert” trend…

    “Instead, “we found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganized researchers” who did not store their data and working notes as well as they could have but whose science was conducted “with integrity,” the committee said in a report released Wednesday.

    The panel did recommend that the researchers work more closely with trained statisticians to strengthen the soundness of their conclusions. But even if such cooperation had been in place before, the researchers would probably not have arrived at significantly different results, the panel said.

    “The fact is we found them absolutely squeaky clean,” the head of the panel, Ron Oxburgh, a geologist and former government advisor, told the BBC. He added that some of the criticism by skeptics, who pointed to the hacked e-mails as proof of a massive scientific cover-up, was “just plain nasty and ill-informed.”

    http://www.latimes.com/news/custom/topofthetimes/world/la-fg-climate-data15-2010apr15,0,4480601.story

  18. 68
    Richard C says:

    Bill # 35

    “BUT,how does this provide any sound basis for supporting future policy decisions affecting billions of people and likely costing billions of dollars?”

    Well apart from the fact that an under-resourced and under-staffed academic group produced sound science in good agreement with the science of other academic groups, what would you suggest?

    Perhaps the utterances of an ex-tv weather presenter?

  19. 69
    Damian says:

    One thing to look out for is something that often happens in situations like this. There will be a huge furore, as we have seen, with claims and accusations flying around, everywhere, most or all of which are completely untrue and often slanderous. And when all serious investigation finds that literally none of it was in fact true, and that the entire exercise was a politically motivated and manufactured controversy, the cavalry, otherwise known as the “reasonable” critics, arrive just in time to suggest that the few criticisms that have come out of the investigation were what they had been arguing for, all along (terribly convenient, don’t you think?), and that they either haven’t noticed all of the disgraceful slander, or that they have never taken part in it.

    This is classic political strategy and something that we see all the time in politics. The “reasonable” people sit back and allow the conspiracy theorists to cause havoc, destroying reputations and spreading malicious falsehoods, and when it is finally (if ever) revealed that it was literally all false and politically motivated, they step back in to the frame, completely untouched by anything that has happened, and focus on the tiny and often unimportant issues that have been revealed during the course of investigation.

  20. 70

    I’m wondering if somebody has some kind of statistic about the number of articles (printed as well as online) which “reported” on the stolen emails last year and how many of these articles included at least some “hints” at wrongdoings or scams by the scientists. It would then be interesting to count the number of new articles about the inquiries and the results they contain and how many of those articles only pick on the few points of critique (like eg. not working closer together with staticians). I’m fairly certain that it would be a somewhat lopsided chart (lots of reporting then, little reporting now). It might still make for a neat graphic to include in presentations about climate change and the obvious gap between scientific und public understanding.

  21. 71
    Steven Sullivan says:

    Nonscientists might be shocked at how often professional statisticians are NOT consulted in biomedical/clinical research…which can lead, e.g., to the wrong stats tests being done or data being overinterpreted. So as a biologist I certainly would not single out CRU scientists for special condemnation — especially as the UEA report shows that their papers still hold up under scientific scrutiny (which is typically NOT the case when a biomedical paper’s statistical methods are no good/inappropriate).

  22. 72
    John McManus says:

    When I went over to see what the auditors have to say, I read Stevie whining that he wasn’t invited to testify.

    Either he’s 5 years old or a severe case of meglomania has set in.

    One way or the other Phil should breath easier it’s now all about Steve.

  23. 73

    bill (35): how does this provide any sound basis for supporting future policy decisions affecting billions of people and likely costing billions of dollars?

    BPL: By itself, it doesn’t. Coupled with the other 114 years of work on this problem by tens of thousands of scientists, it does.

  24. 74
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Steven Sullivan says: Nonscientists might be shocked at how often professional statisticians are NOT consulted in biomedical/clinical research…

    How did the whole M.K. Chen analysis of the Monty Hall problem in psychological experiments work out?

  25. 75
    Sou says:

    @72 John McManus: 14 April 2010 at 3:52 PM

    When I went over to see what the auditors have to say, I read Stevie whining that he wasn’t invited to testify. Either he’s 5 years old or a severe case of meglomania has set in.

    The panel was set up to assess the integrity of the research published by the Climatic Research Unit. The last person to be consulted on matters of integrity would be McIntyre. I doubt he knows what the word means. Nor does he seem to know anything about climate research as the panel kindly pointed out in its report.

    …these criticisms show a rather selective and uncharitable approach to information made available by CRU. They seem also to reflect a lack of awareness of the ongoing and dynamic nature of chronologies…

  26. 76
    B S Kalafut says:

    What we are seeing is more confirmation that nearly everyone who reported that “Climategate” revealed scientific dishonesty made false allegations of fact. When will the libel suits begin? Find a few choice targets for whom “good faith” is unlikely and put them out of house and home. End this.

  27. 77
    RickA says:

    #64 Geoff Wexler.

    Yes – both camps should use proper statistical techniques. So I agree with you on that point.

    However, I am not sure any skeptics are anti-climate – or maybe I don’t know what you mean by that phrase.

    The climate is what it is – and you cannot be pro or anti climate, just like you cannot be pro or anti gravity, or pro or anti weather. If it rains it rains.

    However, I am sure you meant to refer to skeptics who agree that the world is warming – agree that humans play a part – but are skeptical as to the degree of human contribution to the warming of the last 150 years, or how sensitive the climate really is to a doubling of CO2 levels (to 560 ppm).

    There is still a great deal of uncertainty about what will happen to sea level and temperatures in the future. I look forward to looking backwards from 2100 and seeing what the actual data show at that time. I expect there will be a few surprises by 2100 that the science of today failed to take into consideration (yet). Why? Because we have seen numerous surprises and tweaked the climate models to incorporated quite a bit over the last 20 years – and I don’t see any reason for that to change going forward.

    Personally, I think a lot more science will be done related to how much of the warming since 1850 is caused by natural variation and how much is caused by humans, and how sensitive the climate is to a doubling of CO2.

    After all – this is not the first time the average global temperature has risen above the level of 1850. And even though temperature rises above that level have happened many times before, none of them were caused by humans (at least I don’t think that has been asserted).

    This is not the first time the ice in the arctic has disappeared.

    This is not the first time CO2 levels have increased.

    This is not the first time seal levels have risen above the level of today.

    There is still room for reasonable people to wonder whether we really know everything we need to know to state with any accuracy what the climate will really be in 90 years.

  28. 78
    Theo Hopkins says:

    Those who say there should have been interviews with sceptics, please tell me what sort of sceptics…….

    1. World is getting colder – new Ice Age.
    2. Temps have not changed – urban heat islands.
    3. Temps are rising – but natural variations,
    4. Temps are rising, but cabbages grow better – clouds/silver linings.

  29. 79
    zeroworker says:

    #57 Sou

    Maybe FoI should apply to academic research, and maybe it shouldn’t. Off the cuff, without reading the report, I see no reason why FoI should NOT apply to academic research. Either way, it DID apply when the requests were made.

    Before anyone jumps down my throat (this topic is fast becoming equivalent to the Israeli/Palestinian issue, where passion reigns and reasoned discussion is impossible), let me say that it is clear that Phil Jones did not tamper with data, or engage in any scientific fraud. I’m glad to hear that has been the outcome of the investigation.

    However, I believe Monbiot has some valid criticism of Jones and the university. First off, he should have simply complied with the FoI request up front, and not tried to stonewall, which he does appear to have done. The fact that the FoI request was made by deniers bent on throwing mud is really immaterial – everyone has the right to make an FoI request. The fact that you don’t like them, or you know that they are trying to make your life miserable, is not a valid excuse to deny such a request.

    Secondly, I also believe his handling of the issue when it first blew up, and the response of the university, was exceptionally poor. That’s a PR mistake, not a scientific one, and perhaps it can be forgiven since he’s a scientist, not a politician. Still, the handling of the situation was unfortunate, and in the real world, damaging to the attempt to get the public to wake up to the seriousness of climate change issue.

  30. 80
    Paul Gosling says:

    I wonder how many of you criticising me have actually sat in meetings discussing what to include in scientific papers and what to leave out or are involved in the peer review process. When you receive a paper for review you do not get special access, you basically receive what the authors want to publish in its finished form. You to have to take on trust that in order to get the nice results they present they have not had to repeat the experiment four times or that they have not left out some inconvenient results that do not agree with the rest. If I received a paper to review which I was not happy with and asked for more information on the methods used and got the reply that the authors had lost their notes on their exact methodology (which is what the report suggests about some of the papers they looked at) I would recommend to the editor that the paper be rejected, if I thought it threw doubt of the results. There are plenty of recent examples of scientific fraud getting past the review process, but lets be clear. I do not believe that CRU are a bunch of crooks producing fraudulent papers. However, I do not see how the panel can make conclusions about the methods used to produce these papers, if some of the methods have been lost. They may have interviewed people at CRU but some of these papers are more than 20 years old, the authors can only have a rough idea of what they did if they have no archived methods. All that the panel can say is that they were not able to make a proper assessment, they might also justifiably say that given the fact that more recent better archived work supports CRU it is reasonable to conclude that even though they could not examine methodology fully it was probably appropriate.

  31. 81
    MapleLeaf says:

    I liked this, I think Dr. Allen had a certain failed auditor in mind when he says this:

    “Yet climate scientist Myles Allen of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, is cautious about the panel’s call for improved bookkeeping so that others can later review a body’s work: “Science generally progresses by taking different approaches to problems and either confirming or refuting published results, not by ‘auditing’ old calculations. There is a danger that if climate science starts to be treated as a bookkeeping exercise, this would actually impede progress in understanding how the real Earth system works.”

    http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2010/04/oxburgh-report-clears-controvers.html?rss=1

    p class=”response”>[Response: Myles Allen is right on as usual. I wonder how those who refer to RealClimate and various others as one monolithic "team" explain why it is that Allen agrees with on these issues, yet has actually been quite critical of the RealClimate blogging exercise? --eric]

  32. 82
    Bob says:

    For everyone who wants to see libel suits…

    Well, I do, too, and they are possibly needed to discredit a certain crowd, but they are also expensive to pursue and I suspect they are unlikely to materialize. I’m sure most people like Dr. Jones would rather just get on with their research.

    With that said, I think history will be a much better punishment. The truth is what it is, no matter what anyone says. Events will unfold. And some people will become utterly vilified laughing-stocks in the history texts of the future (if civilization survives, which I have no doubt it will, no matter how much needless suffering is inflicted in the process).

    “Now, children, who can name the seven most famous deniers from the early twenty first century, and who can tell me why courses in both statistics and the scientific method are now required by any respected university to achieve a degree in journalism?”

    “In the twentieth century most societies already had laws against slander and libel. Who can tell me why first the Crimes Against Civilization legislation was adopted in the year 2049, and then why the separate Purposeful Obfuscation Acts were passed in the year 2057, how they differ from the older slander and libel laws, and how they are affected by freedom of speech concerns? Yes, yes, little Stevie M., you may answer, go ahead…”

  33. 83
    Hank Roberts says:

    > all the panel can say

    So you reject everything the panel did say as unsupported?
    That’s odd, isn’t it?

  34. 84
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Zeroworker says: First off, [Jones] should have simply complied with the FoI request up front, and not tried to stonewall…

    Apparently, you’re not aware of the FoI blizzard that was thrown at UEA by CA. These were vexatious requests made in bad faith, and it’s not speculating beyond the data to see this denial-of-service attack as the prelude to the hack.

  35. 85

    whether we really know everything we need to know to state with any accuracy what the climate will really be in 90 years.

    It’s the imprecision of confused passages like this that bolster the idea that most of the so-called ‘skeptics’ on the interwebs are simply crank-yankers.

    “Any” accuracy? Well, yes, I would say we know “everything we need to know” to state with some accuracy what the climate will be in 90 years. How much accuracy? What do we need to know: specifically, and with what level of confidence? Define those questions and then you can get somewhere.

    Just spraying FUD all over the walls, on the other hand, does nothing to advance any debate… and that hardly seems like a coincidence.

    Crank-yankers.

  36. 86
    calyptorhynchus says:

    A bit OT, but I can’t understand the denialist trope about “not enough evidence to justify making changes to our economic systems/putting millions out of work” &c &c

    If you believe in a totally free market then you’re going to have to accept that over time markets will be knocked about by events (including their own instability (1929 et seq)).

    So free marketeers are quite happy to see millions out of work from stochastic causes, but then start screaming blue murder if anyone suggests changes to try to ward off threats in the future that might result in increased unemployment (but probably won’t).

    Perhaps there’s no point in tyring the analyse the irrational.

  37. 87
    freespeech says:

    Eli Rabbet wrote:
    “The Committee members READ THE PAPERS PUBLISHED BY THE CRU. Try it sometime.”

    It is always fun to read comments from proponents of the science of irreproducible results. No they didn’t Eli. A subset of the panel read a small subset of the CRU papers. Eleven in all, as documented in the report.
    No details of what they did to “analyse” these eleven papers was listed, no details of which members read them, and how they arrived at their conclusions.

    [Response: This argument is disingenuous. They chose papers based on the recommendations of the Royal Society. Those papers cover 20 years, appeared in major journals, and covered large areas. Several of them deal specifically with topics that critics have raised about the CRU--notably tree ring divergence (two), UHI effects (two), and uncertainty in the SAT record (one). It is incumbent on critics to provide evidence that other unexamined papers would lead to a different conclusion--Jim]

    Who can tell if this report is any good, it would be like writing a scientific paper without being able to supply the data used … oh, no wonder people here find it so illuminating.

    Better delete this post in the interest of nurturing your reader’s inquisitive minds.

    By the way, any idea who the groups this esteemed report believes used “inappropriate statistical tools with the potential for producing misleading results” are? Or are we just ignoring that bit in the interests of maintaining the concensus?

  38. 88
    Doug Bostrom says:

    calyptorhynchus says: 14 April 2010 at 5:47 PM

    So free marketeers are quite happy to see millions out of work from stochastic causes, but then start screaming blue murder if anyone suggests changes to try to ward off threats in the future that might result in increased unemployment (but probably won’t).

    Well, we spend $4 trillion per year or roughly 6% of global GDP each year buying protection against things we’re fairly sure won’t happen to us, so don’t look for any rationality in this matter. Insurance is really not very controversial but such precedents mean nothing when the established vector of cash is threatened.

    freespeech says: 14 April 2010 at 5:54 PM

    Who can tell if this report is any good…

    I’m sure if you twist yourself into a sufficiently contorted position you’ll be able to find a reading angle that will produce the comfort you’re looking for.

  39. 89
    Steve P says:

    Hey “freespeach”, when you are a guest at someone’s house do you call them a jerk just because you can? Do you spray them with your opposing political and religious beliefs just because you can? Do you go out of your way to accuse your host of making stupid mistakes? You are a guest at this blog. It is far more convincing to make a point eloquently, with logic and facts, than to spew, don’t you agree?

  40. 90
    Frank Giger says:

    Wait a sec…

    “Science generally progresses by taking different approaches to problems and either confirming or refuting published results, not by ‘auditing’ old calculations. ”

    That’s not true. The ability to validate a theory or experimental finding is in repeatability.

    If I claim to have found a way to defeat gravity by the use of a paper clip, a magnet, and a fresh piece of Double Bubble, it’s not an article of faith that it was accomplished; nor is simply telling someone what was used and then telling them to figure it out themselves on how I did it.

    No, I’ll have to put my procedures out there so other scientists can validate it by repeating what I did. If they can’t after following my instructions, then they disprove my claim. If they can, I’m a zillionare. :)

    Even in models this holds true. In my last job I worked with multi-factored model outputs that used large data sets that had been cleaned up. The first thing I did as an analyst was replicate the model from soup (raw data) to peanuts (output). If it didn’t match, questions were asked.

    Often it was a simple mistake on one end or the other, and the process was improved – but to say that good science isn’t about repeatability is to say it’s really about faith.

  41. 91
    Ian says:

    Like Paul Gosling I am part of the peer review process reviewing papers from time to time at the request of the editorial panel of a variety of journals. I too certainly would reject a paper if the data from which conclusions had been made were missing or incomplete and when asked for were said to be lost. As far as I am aware in all disciplines it is incumbent on authors to supply sufficient information so that others can, should they so wish, repeat the experiments. This does not seem to be the case in climate science and I am unsure why the rules are different.

  42. 92
    freespeech says:

    Steve P wrote:
    “Hey “freespeach”, when you are a guest at someone’s house do you call them a jerk just because you can? Do you spray them with your opposing political and religious beliefs just because you can? Do you go out of your way to accuse your host of making stupid mistakes? You are a guest at this blog. It is far more convincing to make a point eloquently, with logic and facts, than to spew, don’t you agree?”

    Yup, agreed. So pointing out that Eli exaggerated when he claimed they read all of CRUs papers and pointing out that they only read 11 or them,

    [Response: Good point except for the fact that Eli didn't say they'd read "all of CRU's papers"--you made that up right here--Jim]

    with no details on who read them and what criteria they used to arrive at their conclusions is apparently not using facts to support one’s argument. Apparently it is “disingenuous”, but Eli Rabbet’s claim, profoundly wrong that it is, doesn’t warrant the “disingenuous” tag.

    As for Jim’s comment, “Several of them deal specifically with topics that critics have raised about the CRU–notably tree ring divergence (two), UHI effects (two), and uncertainty in the SAT record (one). It is incumbent on critics to provide evidence that other unexamined papers would lead to a different conclusion–Jim”

    Could you point out exactly where in the report they detail their concerns, the follow-up questions and the answers? I only find a 2 paragraphs (8&9) that refer to this and they are little more than “some of us read some of the papers, we asked awesome (but private) questions and we received awesome (but private) responses, and can categorically assure you that everything is just awesome at CRU.” Which might have just gotten them better than an ‘F’ if the panel had any critics on it, but alas there were none.

    So I totally disagree that my comments were disingenuous.
    1) Eli’s comment was wrong, I pointed this out with details of why it was wrong. Apparently it is “disingenuous” to point out that something is wrong.

    [Response: You raised the issue about only a "small subset" of CRU papers being reviewed, apparently implying that this subset was un-representative of the larger set.--Jim]

    2) The scope of documents examined by the panel is irrelevant if they do not include any details of what they did with the documents, what their questions were and what the answers they received were. They could have examined all of them or none of them and we wouldn’t be any wiser, all we have is their conclusions. Given the make up of the panel, total lack of any substantiation and their apparent judgment that no substantiation is necessary, it is pretty hard to put a great degree of value to these conclusions.

  43. 93
    Dan L. says:

    The reality-based world again shines the light of fact into the black hole of science denial, from which no photon escapes.

    How many times must this happen before the McIntyres of this world retreat in shame? How many grains of sand comprise all the beaches in the universe?

  44. 94
    Charlie B says:

    Hang on a sec: there’s a criticism that they can’t find the notes they used for papers 20 years ago… in most areas, the legal requirement to keep notes (receipts, records, legal documents etc) is seven years. The criticisms by Paul Gosling and Ian above are classic bait-and-switch – there’s nothing in this to say the CRU scientists didn’t have their notes and methods at the time of peer-review and for some time after. Of course you wouldn’t accept a paper if the authors couldn’t answer the questions on methodology and analysis at the time. But 20 years on, those papers are supported by more recent work and therefore stand or fall on the basis of other work, not the lab-books of the authors.

  45. 95
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Ian says: 14 April 2010 at 7:57 PM

    I too certainly would reject a paper if the data from which conclusions had been made were missing or incomplete and when asked for were said to be lost…

    Do you mean if you were reviewing the paper today, or 20 years ago, when the work in question was actually in play as a candidate for publication?

    Without accounting for or acknowledging the gulf of time between the actual creation of this work and today, it’s a pretty absurd thing to conjecture about papers passing review without supporting materials being available at the time of review. It’s a fictional interpretation of history, plain and simple.

    The “rules” for climate science are the same as in any other field, within the boundaries of natural variability, including what’s reasonable to expect in the way of data and note preservation over decades.

    The “rules” for climate science being unremarkable is why the fact that Jones et al were unable today to produce 100% of their notes, data and other materials collected during the process of preparing papers for publication 20 years ago did not raise an eyebrow when passed under review by other academics.

    Did you read the report?

  46. 96

    This is all very good.

    However, I would like to caution any non-climate statiticians who get involved in climate analysis (as the report suggests), temperature in Celsius and Fahrenheit scales is NOT ratio level data, but interval level. You can’t multiply or divide in those scales. So the data needs to be converted into the kelvin scale.

    Isn’t that one of the mistakes the climate denialists have made.

  47. 97
    Sou says:

    Ian and Paul Gosling seem to feel very disposed to coming in and criticising people in another field for what? Not keeping on hand data that is available elsewhere, which they referred to in a paper long ago.

    I wonder if they themselves have all their raw data from every research project that they’ve ever conducted, and computerised all their old paper records from twenty years ago and more so they are on tap just on the off-chance that any old non-scientist, be it Tom, Dick or Stephen, from another part of the world asks for it. Even knowing that tom, dick and stephen, will announce to the world on their blog (without checking with the scientists first) if they find an ‘error’ (or think they’ve found an error), but won’t announce to anyone if they confirm the original findings.

  48. 98
  49. 99
  50. 100
    freespeech says:

    Eli wrote:
    “The Committee members READ THE PAPERS PUBLISHED BY THE CRU. Try it sometime.”
    I wrote:
    “So pointing out that Eli exaggerated when he claimed they read all of CRUs papers and pointing out that they only read 11 or them”
    Jim wrote:
    “Response: Good point except for the fact that Eli didn’t say they’d read “all of CRU’s papers”–you made that up right here

    Sorry Jim, I must be reading something else. [Edit]

    [Response: Yes you must be. No more time for playing your word games I'm afraid.--Jim]


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