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New solar study

There is much excitement in the MSM today over a new paper by Joanna Haigh et al. This is Nature's take:

An analysis of satellite data challenges the intuitive idea that decreasing solar activity cools Earth, and vice versa. In fact, solar forcing of Earth's surface climate seems to work the opposite way around — at least during the current Sun cycle.

The Express asked me to comment on the story and I gave them a couple of lines that I imagine they will have found rather too cautious for their liking. I can't see their story online though.


ICO meets with universities

The Times Higher Ed Supp reports that the Information Commissioner has met with the umbrella body for UK universities to discuss their alleged difficulties with complying with freedom of information legislation.

A meeting between UUK and the body was held last week and chaired by David Eastwood, vice-chancellor of the University of Birmingham. It concluded that universities needed sector-specific guidance to comply with the law.

A spokeswoman for the Information Commissioner's Office said: "We acknowledge the challenges that research units face, often because FoI requests relate to material that may span several years of research. Nonetheless, all requests must be handled in line with the legislation."

UUK will now appoint a panel to help draw up the guidelines.

I fail to see how material spanning several years of research is a problem under FoI.


How long can this continue?

Bob Ward's efforts to smear absolutely everyone who disagrees with his position on climate change continues apace, with a shameful attack on Bob Carter on ABC radio in Australia.

Anthony Watts notes that there are a few people who might like to hear if you think this is unacceptable behaviour by ABC.

Chairman of the Board (Maurice Newman - via his personal assistant who is Angela Peters:  Peters.Angela (at)

Robyn Williams:  Williams.Robyn (at)


Josh 44


Hegerl lecture

I was in Edinburgh last night for a public lecture by Gabriele Hegerl. Hegerl, some of you may remember, is a climatologist and she appears briefly in the Hockey Stick Illusion as a witness at the NAS panel hearings.

The lecture was frankly rather disappointing, being pitched at an introductory level, and being largely a run through of the standard AGW talking points. That said, there were a few issues that I noted down as being of interest.

The first of these was when, early on in the talk, she said that the IPCC acknowledges different sides to scientific debate but that disputes are resolved, often by the author teams taking a position on the debate. As I understand it this is what happens, but it is against the guiding principles of the IPCC.

Glaciergate got a brief mention. Hegerl said in essence that Fred Pearce has misheard the number, which is not the way I remember the story at all. She also said that the figure SPM was correct in the SPM but the figure was wrong in the chapter. I hadn't heard this before.

Climategate was mentioned extremely briefly - there was an overwhelming sense of "moving swiftly on", with just enough of a pause to say that the allegations emerging from the emails had been "largely refuted".

There was little discussion of paleo although the spaghettin graph (Fig 6.13) from AR4 was shown. Hegerl said that the medieval/modern differential wasn't of particular interest - the response of temperature to drivers was more important.

She said that sceptics were "stupid" and that she wished we asked more intelligent questions.

 [Updated to correct the nuance on what was said about Glaciergate]


Lindzen on the BBC

Richard Lindzen is interviewed on the BBC. Haven't had a chance to listen myself yet.

(H/T Lubos)


Cuccinelli tries again

The Washington Post is reporting that Virginia Attorney-General Ken Cuccinelli has reapplied for the email correspondence of Hockey Stick maestro Michael Mann. Regular readers will remember that a judge quashed a previous demand, but left the door open for Cuccinelli to try again.

Cuccinelli has limited his demand to the e-mails and documents related to one state grant Mann received. The attorney general dropped requests for paperwork related to four other federal grants. But he expanded a section explaining why he sought the records, laying out in writing that he seeks the documents because Mann wrote two papers on global warming that "have come under significant criticism" and that Mann "knew or should have known contained false information, unsubstantiated claims and/or were otherwise misleading."

"Specifically, but without limitation, some of the conclusions of the papers demonstrate a complete lack of rigor regarding the statistical analysis of the alleged data, meaning that the result reported lacked statistical significance without a specific statement to that effect," the CID alleges.

(H/T Jiminy Cricket in the comments)


Still spinning...

Bob Ward has demanded and received the right to respond to Joe Brannan's review of the Hockey Stick Illusion in Geoscientist.

Joe Brannan then responds in turn here.


Down and dirty authors

Natalie Hanman, the new editor of Comment is Free, wants authors of CiF articles to get down and dirty in the comments threads with the punters.

Quite right too.

And I would have joined in with the people who commented on my CiF article the other day, if only the Graun didn't have my comments premoderated.

I wonder if they will make the connection?


Government response to S&TC report

Via a discussion thread at Wikipedia comes the government's official response to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report. Some points of interest:

In the instance of the CRU, the scientists were not legally allowed to give out the data (although there is the question of whether they could have gone back to national meteorological societies to get permission to release data).

The Muir Russell Review concluded that the scientific practices used to produce the WMO graph were not misleading, but that it was misleading of the team not to have communicated the methods used more clearly...We welcome the findings of these reviews...

The Ministry of Justice will continue to work with the ICO to determine the extent to which offences have not been prosecuted as a result of the time limit currently in place. The case for any amendments to the legislation will be assessed in the light of these discussions.

The Government welcomes that UEA established two independent assessment bodies to investigate allegations arising from the data loss incident, and the key scientific publications of CRU. is of great importance to us that the reviews have considered both whether CRU’s science was sound...The Committee’s findings are in agreement with the Government’s assessment that the disclosure of emails from CRU does not undermine the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change.

The Government also welcomes the Committee’s support for CRU and the scientific reputation of Professor Phil Jones

The response was produced under the auspices of the Departmen of Energy and Climate Change, so this is Chris Huhne's responsibility. It might be seen as rather embarrassing for Mr Huhne to speak of independent inquiries looking at CRU's science when it is already clear that the inquiries were not independent and didn't actually examine CRU's science either.


Fred Pearce calls for Patchy's head

Fred Pearce has a long piece at the Mail on Sunday, setting out in gory detail why Rajendra Pachauri should fall on his sword or be sacked.

There is a pattern of behaviour here, I think, from the man with arguably the most important role in protecting the world from climatic meltdown. Complacency. Loyalty to those who do not deserve it. Intemperate statements at inopportune times.

Climate scientists should not tolerate this. Environmentalists should not tolerate this. The UN should not tolerate this.


A coverup at the Charities Commission?

Christopher Booker returns to the subject of Rajendra Pachauri and his Teri-Europe charity and wonders why the Charities Commission were so understanding about Teri having failed to declare as much as 80% of its income.


A measured view from Grantham

The FT has given space in its letters columns for more of Jeremy Grantham's staff - this time from the other institute, at Imperial - to respond to Lord Turnbull's article the other day. Dr Simon Buckle's contribution is much more measured than Bob Ward's laughable piece the other day, as you would expect from a former diplomat. He agrees that the IAC recommendations should be put in place immediately, but rejects calls for a renewed inquiry into what went on at CRU.

The problem with a civil service insider saying that there should not be a credible investigation of CRU is that it ends up looking like Sir Humphrey sweeping problems under the carpet. Again.

[Post amended to correct Dr Buckle's affiliation]


Royal Society on climate change

I'm slightly late to the story, but it's being reported this morning that the Royal Society has bowed to pressure from sceptics and will replace its position paper on climate change, incorporating more of the uncertainties that concern sceptics.

Climate change: a summary of the science states that “some uncertainties are unlikely ever to be significantly reduced”. Unlike Climate change controversies, a simple guide — the document it replaces — it avoids making predictions about the impact of climate change and refrains from advising governments about how they should respond.

This is certainly welcome.


Pielke Jnr on Bob

RP Jnr has also been reading Bob Ward's article in the FT and picks up on many of the same points I did, including the oddity of a publicly funded university - LSE - spending money on employing a political "attack-dog", as Roger calls our Bob.