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Wednesday
Jul282010

Weasel words

The University of East Anglia has just announced that it is to become involved in a major new initiative in data openness - I kid you not.

Climate scientists at the University of East Anglia will soon be demonstrating new methods of providing open access to research data - thanks to a major new investment from JISC to improve the way UK university researchers manage their data.

JISC, for those of you who don't know, is the Joint Information Systems Committee, a government body that pays for IT projects. But look out for the weasel words in this next bit...

The UEA team, led by Dr Tim Osborn, is one of eight departments around the country who will be working towards models of better data management practice and making data more openly available for reuse in universities across the UK.

Surely they are not going to try to get away with that...?

Tuesday
Jul272010

Geoscientist magazine on HSI

The reviews are coming thick and fast - here's the latest one, from Geoscientist, the magazine of the Geological Society.

Andrew Montford tells this detective story in exhilarating style. He has assembled an impressive case that the consensus view on recent climate history started as poor science and was corrupted when climate scientists became embroiled in IPCC politics. His portrayal of the palaeoclimatology community is devastating; they are revealed as amateurish, secretive, evasive and belligerent. But the most serious charge is that they have simply failed to demonstrate any scientific integrity in confronting McIntyre. The University of East Anglia emails, which appeared just as Montford was completing his book, suggest that the Hockey Team were more interested in knobbling McIntyre than in addressing his arguments.

Read the whole thing.

Tuesday
Jul272010

Stringer grills Willetts

In the video in the last post, there was reference to the evidence given by Science Minister, David Willetts some days ago, which apparently again touched on the Climategate affair, and once again at the prompting of questions from Graham Stringer.

The video is here, with Stringer's questions beginning at 41:55. He starts by asking about the reputation of British science, with discussion covering subjects like the BSE scare, MMR vaccines and the like. At around 46:00 conversation turns to Climategate, with Stringer asking about the impact on the reputation of British science.

Willetts' responses suggest:

  • that scientists have been cleared of many of the allegations
  • that there are lessons to be learned - data should be available to the wider public
  • the conduct of the scientists passes muster on the basis of three independent inquiries and that the science therefore stands.

Good to see no caveats about the availability of the data and also interesting to note that he says that the scientists have been cleared of "many" of the allegations. Perhaps I'm reading too much into that, given his later responses though.

However, it's very hard to credit that a minister of the crown would be persuaded that the panels were independent and that the science stands - how would we know when it hasn't been examined? My impression is that the civil service are playing Willetts like a fiddle.

Tuesday
Jul272010

Stringer grills Rees

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee questioned Martin Rees today, and Graham Stringer chose to use his time to ask about the effect of Climategate on confidence in climate science. Some highlights of Rees' responses:

  • CRU scientists exonerated
  • IPCC procedures need to be modified to restore confidence
  • Need to have protocols to ensure that data is made available to anyone who is able to analyse it. [Check that wording carefully]
  • Lessons have been learned and Rees expects that scientists will share their data with genuine inquirers.
  • Stringer asks if the science should be looked at. Rees disagrees that science not looked at.

There are two things to take away from this. Firstly, it is quite clear that Oxburgh did not look at the science, because he said so. It is extraordinary to see Rees telling the panel otherwise. Secondly, if one reads between the lines it seems clear that Rees is going to put the Royal Society's weight behind a shift away from the scientific method, so that data becomes available only to those who will not rock the boat.

Video is here and Stringer's questions start at 37:25.

Monday
Jul262010

HSI in NWT

I've also uncovered a review of The Hockey Stick Illusion in Natuurwetenschap & Techniek, the Dutch popular science magazine that played such an important part in bring McIntyre and McKitrick's work to prominence. I'm grateful to Marcel Crok for arranging this translation:

Assuming that the climate is changing due to human activities and that quick and substantial global policies are necessary to counter what many scientists characterize as a catastrophically changing climate, one might think that the transparency in climate science has the highest priority. Nothing is further from the truth.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jul262010

David Holland in Quadrant

Also from Quadrant, John Abbott discusses David Holland's quest to release IPCC-related information from British government bodies.

Link.

Monday
Jul262010

HSI in Quadrant magazine

John Dawson reviews The Hockey Stick Illusion in Australia's Quadrant magazine.

The Hockey Stick Illusion is the shocking story of a graph called the Hockey Stick. It is also a textbook of tree ring analysis, a code-breaking adventure, an intriguing detective story, an exposé of a scientific and political travesty, and the tale of a herculean struggle between a self-funded sceptic and a publicly funded hydra, all presented in the measured style of an analytical treatise.

Read the whole thing.

Sunday
Jul252010

McIntyre on RC on BH

Steve M weighs in on Tamino's review of the Hockey Stick Illusion.

Sunday
Jul252010

A brick wall

Scott Ott from the Daily Caller tries and fails to get meaningful comment out of Michael Mann.

Sunday
Jul252010

Hoskins: climate models are lousy

The quote is at 4:30.

Saturday
Jul242010

Zorita on Smerdon

Eduardo Zorita has a must-read post up at Klimazwiebel, discussing a new paper by Smerdon et al. Michael Mann fans will be amused to read of geographical problems uncovered in some of Mann's papers, which will instantly bring to mind favourite episodes from the Hockey Stick story, like the Rain in Maine (falls mainly in the Seine) and the documentary records of East African climate from the medieval period (Mann et al 2008). Here's a sample:

In one case, when interpolating the climate model data onto a different grid, the data were rotated around the Earth 180 degrees, so that model data that should be located on the Greenwich Meridian were erroneously placed at 180 degrees longitude; in another case the data in the Western Hemisphere were spatially smoothed, while the data in the Eastern Hemisphere were not.

Ouch.

As Eduardo points out the implications are rather interesting, since Smerdon's findings imply that Mann's stress-testing must have been too weak to actually demonstrate what they purported to do. Fascinating stuff.

Saturday
Jul242010

Booker namechecks man of cloth

Christopher Booker's latest article namechecks your humble host while discussing the selection of papers for the Oxburgh report.

Friday
Jul232010

Josh 28

 

More cartoons by Josh here.

Thursday
Jul222010

Josh 27

More cartoons by Josh here.

Thursday
Jul222010

Tamino on the Hockey Stick Illusion

Tamino has a rave review of the Hockey Stick Illusion up at Real Climate. I'm reading it now.

A few initial observations - there is a lot of discussion of proxy selection rules in Tamino's piece. This is complex for those who aren't embedded in the nitty gritty of the science, but stand back and ask yourself this: if you have over 100 series in your database, and one of these is the fourth most important pattern in the tree rings of a couple of closely related tree species in one area of the western USA, how comfortable are you that this series should form the basis of the temperature reconstruction for the northern hemisphere? The idea that you can reconstruct hemispheric temperatures in this way is deeply unsatisfactory.

Click to read more ...