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A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

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The ICO on the six-month time limit

The ICO's office has issued a response to an FoI request enquiring about the legal status of the six-month statute of limitations that is apparently preventing them from prosecuting anyone at UEA over breaches of the FoI Act. Alongside their statement, the ICO has also released a lot of their correspondence on the matter, including an interesting exchange with Jonathan Leake of the Sunday Times over the legal niceties. The ICO certainly seems pretty convinced that prosecution under the FoI Act is indeed time barred. This, for example, seems to be an internal email on the subject:

The six months is in the legislation so prosecution is not possible but we will see what action
can be taken once the inquiries report. The relevant section is Sec 77 of the Freedom of
Information Act.

Click to read more ...


A new type of proxy

There's a fascinating article at Nature's website at the moment, reporting on a new paper in PNAS in which William Patterson of the University of Saskachewan in Canada reveals his new clam-based temperature reconstruction. 

The study used 26 shells obtained from sediment cores taken from an Icelandic bay. Because clams typically live from two to nine years, isotope ratios in each of these shells provided a two-to-nine-year window onto the environmental conditions in which they lived.

Patterson's team used a robotic sampling device to shave thin slices from each layer of the shells' growth bands. These were then fed into a mass spectrometer, which measured the isotopes in each layer. From those, the scientists could calculate the conditions under which each layer formed.

The resolution is remarkable, down to as little as a week and with Patterson holding out the possibility of daily resolution in future. As Patterson puts it, this opens the door to the study of paleoweather and the possibility of studying seasonal changes changes.

The reconstruction is pretty interesting too, with a hint of a little ice age, a clear medieval warm period and the turn of the first millennium appearing as warmer even than medieval times.

But what's really interesting is the modern era. Are current temperatures unprecedented or not? That's what we all want to know. Well, we don't know because Patterson's results seem to stop at 1800 AD.

Perhaps he explains in the full paper. 

Click for full size



The insanity of greenery

This from a correspondent:

A German aristocrat of my acquaintance has figured out that the price he will be paid for the output of a solar panel is so high compared with the price he will pay for his input of normal electricity, that he is thinking of rigging up powerful arc lamps to shine on solar panels on his extensive roof.



Josh 6

More cartoons by Josh here.



Public sector efficiency

On August 12, 2009 Nature reported on attempts by Climate Auditors to obtain Phil Jones data and Jones' response:

Although Jones agrees that the data should be made publicly available, he says that “it needs to be done in a systematic way”. He is now working to make the data publicly available online and will post a statement on the CRU website tomorrow to that effect, with any existing confidentiality agreements. “We’re trying to make them all available. We’re consulting with all the meteorological services – about 150 members of WMO – and will ask them if they are happy to release the data”, says Jones. But getting the all-clear from other nations could take several months and there may be objections. “Some countries don’t even have their own data available as they haven’t digitized it. We have done a lot of that ourselves”, he says.

The letter to SMHI requesting permission to release their data was dated December 2009.

I wonder what CRU were doing in the intervening five months?



Who's withholding what from whom?

There have been some interesting developments on the subject of which countries are preventing the release of their raw temperature data. You may remember that the Select Committee inquiry into CRU were told that several countries, among them Sweden, Canada and Poland, were refusing to allow him to publish these figures.

Anthony Watts is now reporting a press release by a Swedish pressure group called the Stockholm Initiative, who have obtained the correspondence between Jones and the Swedish Met Office, SMHI. The suggestion is that SMHI weren't in fact preventing release at all, but there has been a very long thread at Climate Audit where several people have disputed this. This posting is my attempt to make sense of it all.

Click to read more ...


Climate cuttings 36

Here's a few more climate stories that I've come across in recent days:

A forthcoming review paper claims to have found the fingerprint of mankind on the global climate. Lubos picks over the entrails.

Richard Tol continues to find grey literature cited in the IPCC's WG3 report. Andreas Bjorstrom says that in the Third Assessment Report only 36% of references in WG3 came from the scientific literature.

Climate scientists are planning to take out attack ads in the New York Times. I wonder if they'll call us "deniers". Judith Curry thinks that maybe doing some sound science would be a better approach.

The interest in whether the "great dying of the thermometers" caused a bias in the global temperature average continues. Lucia has invited Chiefio to go a guest post explaining his thoughts.

Roy Spencer has come up with a new way of estimating the Urban Heat Island effect.

Warmist affluence, sceptic squalor? Richard North looks at the sea of money in which climatologists are swimming.



Met Office to scrap seasonal forecasts

A couple of days ago, Mrs Hill commented that she could no longer find the Met Office's seasonal forecast. We had a bit of a dig around the Met Office website and there indeed seemed to be no mention of a spring forecast.

In the rush of activity after the hearings on Monday, I neglected to follow this up, but the Met Office has now come clean anyway. The seasonal forecasts are to be scrapped.

Click to read more ...


Andy Russell's blog

The Guardian piece I cited in the last article quotes a physicist named Andy Russell who has written to the IoP expressing his dissatisfaction with their submission. It turns out that Andy also has a blog, which looks very interesting and can be seen here.



David Adam pursues the IoP

David Adam, the Guardian's green guru, is on the warpath, in hot pursuit of the Institute of Physics, or at least the identities of those senior members who drafted its statement on climate change.

Evidence from a respected scientific body to a parliamentary inquiry examining the behaviour of climate-change scientists, was drawn from an energy industry consultant who argues that global warming is a religion, the Guardian can reveal.

Click to read more ...


JeanS on anonymity

JeanS is well known to followers of climate blogs, being a regular commenter and occasional author at Climate Audit. After Leo Hickman's piece the other day criticising anonymous posters, I asked Jean (not his real name), who is a professional statistician, whether he'd like to say something about his desire as a practising scientist to remain anonymous when contributing to blogs. The following has been lightly edited for language.

...being anonymous is deliberate decision I made after long consideration when I started actively commenting on climate-related blogs. The main reason is that I want to keep my real career out of this. I'm in the academic world, and unlike the US, we do not have a tenure system. People are only human, and anything, even a small thing, that can be used against you might be used, even if it does not have anything to do with the actual topic. That is, I see that using my real name would present some risks to my academic career but I can hardly imagine any situation where it might be helpful.

Click to read more ...


Hearings transcript

An uncorrected transcript of the Science and Technology Select Committee hearings is now available here.


BBC presenter can't question AGW

I'm grateful to Charles Crawford for this item, in which BBC Radio Five Live's Peter Allen tells a listener that he is not allowed to question manmade global warming. The programme will soon disappear from the BBC website so an excerpt is attached below.


Peter Allen on AGW


Orlowski on the hearings

Andrew Orlowski takes a long hard look at the hearings on Monday:

Parliament isn’t the place where climate sceptics go to make friends. Just over a year ago, just three MPs voted against the Climate Act, with 463 supporting it. But events took a surprising turn at Parliament’s first Climategate hearing yesterday.

MPs who began by roasting sceptics in a bath of warm sarcasm for half an hour were, a mere two hours later, asking why the University of East Anglia’s enquiry into the climate scandal wasn’t broader, and wasn’t questioning “the science” of climate change. That’s further than any sceptic witness had gone.

Readers should also note the contribution from Josh. New friends eh? ;-)



Rude bloggers

There's a fascinating analysis of the effect of rude blogging on climate science at the Times. In related news the Guardian decides it's no longer going to call us "deniers". At least not in news stories.

(H/T Anthony Watts)