18 April 2010

Judy Curry on the Oxburgh Report and IPCC

[UPDATE #2: Judy Curry opines in the comments at Real Climate, and gets the Real Climate treatment for her troubles.]

[UPDATE: Keith Kloor is all over this, and has reaction at Real Climate to Curry's comments. Check it out
here.]

From the comments. here are some interesting and provocative comments from Judy Curry, a climate scientist at Georgia Tech.
The primary frustration with these investigations is that they are dancing around the principal issue that people care about: the IPCC and its implications for policy. Focusing only on CRU activities (which was the charge of the Oxbourgh panel) is of interest mainly to UEA and possibly the politics of UK research funding (it will be interesting to see if the U.S. DOE sends any more $$ to CRU). Given their selection of CRU research publications to investigate (see Bishop Hill), the Oxbourgh investigation has little credibility in my opinion. However, I still think it unlikely that actual scientific malfeasance is present in any of these papers: there is no malfeasance associated with sloppy record keeping, making shaky assumptions, and using inappropriate statistical methods in a published scientific journal article.

The corruptions of the IPCC process, and the question of corruption (or at least inappropriate torquing) of the actual science by the IPCC process, is the key issue. The assessment process should filter out erroneous papers and provide a broader assessment of uncertainty; instead, we have seen evidence of IPCC lead authors pushing their own research results and writing papers to support an established narrative. I don't see much hope for improving the IPCC process under its current leadership.

The historical temperature record and the paleoclimate record over the last millennium are important in many many aspects of climate research and in the communication of climate change to the public; both of these data sets are at the heart of the CRU email controversy. In my opinion, there needs to be a new independent effort to produce a global historical surface temperature dataset that is transparent and that includes expertise in statistics and computational science. Once "best" methods have been developed and assessed for assembling such a dataset including uncertainty estimates, a paleoclimate reconstruction should be attempted (regional, hemispheric, and possibly global) with the appropriate uncertainty estimates. The public has lost confidence in the data sets produced by CRU, NASA, Penn State, etc. While such an independent effort may confirm the previous analysies, it is very likely that improvements will be made and more credible uncertainty estimates can be determined. And the possibility remains that there are significant problems with these datasets; this simply needs to be sorted out. Unfortunately, the who and how of actually sorting all this out is not obvious. Some efforts are underway in the blogosphere to examine the historical land surface data (e.g. such as GHCN), but even the GHCN data base has numerous inadequacies. Addressing the issues associated with the historical and paleo temperature records should be paramount.

61 comments:

Fred said...

And the truth shall set you free . . .

You go girl . . . tell it like it is.

Distill her statement and we really have to ask ourselves why $trillions of dollars are being shoveled off the back of the truck at CO2 mitigation/abatement when there are so many other serious ecological issues at hand.

When, in future, the opportunity cost of this CO2 mania are calculated, humanity will be very surprised at how much was spent on so little evidence or science.

Like all good scams, even ones like AGW that begin life as beautiful altruistic programs to save humanity, once the ball is thrown, the trajectory cannot be changed even as the evidence shows it is badly aimed.

Harrywr2 said...

"And the possibility remains that there are significant problems with these datasets; this simply needs to be sorted out."

We can not even get the correct sign for the temperatures in Finland reliably right in the year 2010, or any other place in the world where the average daily temp might end up being less then 0C for that matter.

There is no hope of ever sorting out the historical record.

jgdes said...

The problem with any new reconstruction is that the worldwide data remain far too sparse. There is a ridiculous tendency to assume that if something is the best we have then even if it is still far too poor to be useful then we need to assume that it is adequate because the alternative is to just admit "we don't know". This is the same "best tool we have" argument used for the over-reliance on totally inadequate models. It isn't an argument that would be acceptable in engineering. We really have to narrow the problem down in order to find a proxy that IS adequate.

First off we have to recognise that the current efforts are hopelessly compromised by adjustments that form a huge part of the trend. Ideally we'd want a zero-adjustment recon.

I once suggested on your fathers blog that maybe we should use only the Arctic as a proxy for AGW since, a. it is the area of most concern for AGW, b. there is a decent amount of 20th century data, c. there is no UHI problem, d. according to GISS it is the area of most rapid warming, and e. apparently we also have the best ice-core recon too (according to Richard Alley). He replied [inline] that it was an excellent idea. As long as we have a. minimal adjustments and b) good overlap with satellite data since 1979 then who can argue with it? Oddly though we have the GISP reconstruction with a well-defined MWP and the Kauffman recon with no MWP. Time to winnow out the true signal.

Malcolm said...

The science was never important, it was a means to a political end.

It really doesn't matter to the AGW advocates whether the world warms or cools it is all about holding the party line.

Michael Tobis said...

As I said at Kloor's blog, and equally relevant here:

Curry’s points are worth discussing but her timing is execrable.

Calling this “nuance” is wrong. It’s a red freaking herring. Bright cherry red. Herring.

The problems with the field and with the IPCC and with the relationship between them are real enough. These are human institutions of great complexity and little precedent. Expecting them to be perfect or above reproach is absurd.

This is quite exactly the worst imaginable time to be discussing them.

This is the time to be discussing how malicious and consequential exaggerations of specific basically innocent people got so much attention and were made to carry so much weight. The press has much to answer for.

Of course there are real problems! That is clear enough. It would be miraculous if there weren’t.

Those real problems do not extend to malfeasance, fraud, hoax or deliberate misrepresentation on the part of the CRU or significantly to any other part of the field. That is the important fact for the present. Raising the real issues now of all times amounts to throwing up smokescreens to protect the press and the more seriously malevolent elements of the anti-science crowd at a time when they most emphatically do not deserve it.

Sharon F. said...

jgdes:
I agree with your quote
"There is a ridiculous tendency to assume that if something is the best we have then even if it is still far too poor to be useful then we need to assume that it is adequate because the alternative is to just admit "we don't know". This is the same "best tool we have" argument used for the over-reliance on totally inadequate models. It isn't an argument that would be acceptable in engineering."

But I would just add that it wouldn't be acceptable in my field, natural resource management, either. It has fundamental ramifications for how you invest in dealing with the future; if you don't know what strain of flu virus will be out there you design your organization based on not-knowing; if you don't know what will happen in nature you use scenarios.
It's good to use models as research tools, but until they are empirically verified they are not science facts, but rather "quantified assumptions."

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-5-Michael

Who called Curry's comments "nuanced"?

You write: "Those real problems do not extend to malfeasance, fraud, hoax or deliberate misrepresentation on the part of the CRU or significantly to any other part of the field."

You will not find much receptiveness to this sort of blanket claim here, as I have documented deliberate misrepresentation as related to my own work.

I can assure you that my concerns about how my work is treated in leading science assessments has nothing to do with your concerns about protecting the "malevolent elements of the anti-science crowd" whatever that means and why ever you think it important.

You might also consider that Judy Curry is, like me, not so wrapped up in your blog wars, and thus does not filter every statement uttered through that lens.

keith said...

Roger (6):

Michael is referring to a comment I made in a thread at my blog, in which I refer to your's and Curry's views on climategate (and the Oxburgh report) as "nuanced"--which for me is shorthand for not black and white.

http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/04/17/some-spicy-curry/#comment-2837
--kkloor

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-8-Keith

Thanks. Michael Tobis seems to think that everyone is playing the science/anti-science game (or however he'd characterize it).

Some of us think that such a battle is bad for science and bad for policy. So we talk about different things than he does.

willard said...

The battle against corruptions of the IPCC process is being coatracked in the discussion about the Oxburgh report, however key the issue is. And raising the question of corruption of the actual science by the IPCC process, or even (at least?) its inappropriate torquing might simply be seen as moving the goal post.

Changing subjects sure is talking about different things.

Bill Kerr said...

I'm unclear about the real differences in the meanings of these expressions:
- malfeasance
- acknowledging uncertainty in an honest way
- corruption
- inappropriate torquing
- supporting an established narrative

jgdes said...

Is it really that difficult to imagine that people who want to actually verify a body of work that policy is being shaped around might be pro-science rather than anti-science. If it isn't verifiable then it may be genuine error but when you refuse to divulge your data because someone might "only want to find something wrong with it" it is not only the most anti-science philosophy one can imagine, Jones is perforce displaying zero confidence in his own work. And yes, he did admit he wrote that gem.

Is it also so hard to believe that someone who wants to limit access to the cheapest form of energy available based on iffy, pessimistic scenarios can very easily be considered to be far more intrinsically evil than those who don't. As Roger pointed out, the Indians are in no doubt about what policy to pursue to reduce grinding poverty - the burning of coal. Even if we were certain we were in planetary jeopardy we are still in no position to preach, considering that we would have caused it, but if the case hangs on unverified data gathering and dodgy analysis by people without even confidence in their own work and, by extension, without interest in the truth, then physician heal thyself. The climate clique might view themselves as planet-savers but the majority of the population now see them as hubristic blow-hards. The increasing attempts to blame the usually fawning press for this debacle will surely backfire too.

Frontiers of Faith and Science said...

@Michael Tobis,
Do you even detect the self-inflicted irony that you blame Dr. Curry of the *timing* of pointing out that the databases and the IPCC are fouled up?
You are apparently still clinging to the idea that those evil wicked denialist conspiracies are behind the problems AGW is in.
What is wrecking the AGW social movement is the lack of a climate crisis. That promoters got carried away and did every dirty trick to hide that unpleasant reality is not the "denialist's" fault.
Until you guys can deal with that, it is only increasingly ridiculous for you to pound the table about holding other people accountable.

Raven said...

I think a lot of this debate depends on what the definition of "malfeasance" is.

Someone who takes proxy data, chops off the bits that cast doubt on the reliability of data, pastes on real temperature data and then smooths it together to make it look like a single dataset is guilty of malfeasance according to my definition.

The fact that so many other scientists seem to think that such manipulations are "clever tricks" simply shows that "malfeasance" in the name of promoting the IPCC agenda is considered acceptable in the climate science community.

Harrywr2 said...

.. 3

jgdes said...

"I once suggested on your fathers blog that maybe we should use only the Arctic as a proxy for AGW since, a. it is the area of most concern for AGW, b. there is a decent amount of 20th century data, c. there is no UHI problem, d. according to GISS it is the area of most rapid warming,"

According to the climatologist at University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
http://climate.gi.alaska.edu/ClimTrends/Change/TempChange.html

"The period 1949 to 1975 was substantially colder than the period from 1977 to 2009, however since 1977 little additional warming has occurred in Alaska with the exception of Barrow and a few other locations."

Barrow station history
http://climate.gi.alaska.edu/history/Arctic/Barrow.html#Barrow%20Station%20History

"Record length and completeness good; no missing data since 1921. Site continuity reasonable, but changes in summer exposure to ocean, and albedo changes due to growth of town, moves, snow clearance, dirt on snow, etc. could result in false long-term trends."


The problem with the arctic is that the PDO is going to have a huge impact. The 5 degree step jump that occurred in Alaska in 1976 is currently written off as a shift in PDO. We need to wait a few more years to see what happens as the PDO turns downward again.

eric144 said...

Tobis

The vast majority of British citizens do not believe in human created global warming, despite overwhelming corporate and government support, is precisely because they suspect the actors involved are deeply dishonest.

Please don't tell us that the average scientist is smarter than the average citizen (outside the realm of mathematics). All the evidence from the climate wars is that they aren't. That's also why Copenhagen collapsed. Almost no one believes you.

Even George Monbiot, who is being paid large sums of money to support AGW thinks the CRU has been totally compromised.

eric144 said...

The wider problem with scientists is that apart from being astounding politically naive, it is advantageous for them to minimise the possibilty of being blamed for something, and maximise their own power and research grants.

At vast cost to economies, by tomorrow, no aircraft will have been flying in Europe for five days because scientists are saying it is highly dangerous as a result of volcanic ash. The cost is estimated at $200m a day,purely for airlines, the knock on cost for business could be billions.

Back in the real world, a number of major airlines including Lufthansa, KLM and British Airways have flown test flights with absolutely no damage reported. Pilots also say there is no danger.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8628323.stm


Scientists cannot be trusted. They must be closely supervised by non financially interested parties.

rjtklein said...

-7- Roger

Seeing as we won't have our breakfast meeting on Tuesday, we'll have to communicate this way!

My understanding was that you said you were misrepresented by the IPCC. The Oxburgh investigation was about CRU. You and Curry (and various commentators here and elsewhere) seem to confuse CRU and the IPCC.

I don't know much about CRU so I have nothing to say about them other than accept what is in the Oxburgh report. As for the IPCC, an evaluation by the InterAcademy Council is ongoing. One can already predict what will happen though. If the evaluation turns out to be positive for the IPCC, it will be seen as a whitewash. If it turns out to confirm views held by sceptics, it will be seen as carrying weight. Intellectual integrity and honesty appear off balance.

As for the misrepresentation of your own scientific results, from what I've read I think you are right to feel strongly about this. But I am not a statistician so I cannot judge who's right and wrong. I do know that you've always sought the dialogue and that others have avoided it. That by itself is telling.

However, these 'others' are not the IPCC, just as much as I am not the IPCC. They may be authors of certain chapters of IPCC reports, but so am I. I think you should be more careful in distinguishing between certain individuals and the IPCC as an institution. The IPCC is not a black box. I can write a whole essay about this, but I think you understand well enough how the IPCC works that I don't have to go in detail.

In the end it's the governments, not the authors, that are responsible for the IPCC reports and findings. The 'I' in IPCC stands for 'intergovernmental'. Not even Pachauri has as much influence as you credit him with; he simply is the face of IPCC, representing the organisation to the media and other stakeholders. Next time you discuss the IPCC you might want to consider the role of governments in the assessment process.

eric144 said...

It turns out that the volcano ash forecasts come from a computer simulation at the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in London, which is part of the British Met Office, as is the CRU.

LOL !!



http://www.news.com.au/business/breaking-news/no-uk-flights-until-tuesday-but-airlines-suspect-reasons-for-ban-is-unfounded/story-e6frfkur-1225855203278?from=public_rss



However, German airlines Lufthansa and Air Berlin said the decision to close much of Europe's airspace was not based on proper testing.


The said that their aircraft showed no signs of damage after flying without passengers.

"The decision to close the airspace was made exclusively as a result of data from a computer simulation at the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in London," Air Berlin chief executive Joachim Hunold said.

Not a scratch

"Not one single weather balloon has been sent up to measure how much volcanic ash is in the air."
Lufthansa spokesman Klaus Walter added.

"The flight ban, made on the basis just of computer calculations, is resulting in billion-high losses for the economy

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-18-Richard

Volcanic ash. Best excuse for a missed breakfast I've heard for a long time;-)

Sorry for any confusion. My invocation of the IPCC was specifically in response to the comment of Michael Tobis as follows: "on the part of the CRU or significantly to any other part of the field"

I take "any other part of the field" to also include IPCC.

You don't need to be a statistician to evaluate my concerns about the IPCC, which are indeed about the institution. It would be interesting to know who is responsible for the misrepresentations, I don't, and I am perfectly comfortable pointing a finger at the institution.

The IAC evaluation will indeed be interesting.

Sharon F. said...

Not to keep bringing this up, but do we really need an IPCC? We don't have an International Panel on Volcanic Ash Dispersal, or an International Panel on Renewable Energy.. just sayin' before we reform we should know what we really want them to do and what other investments we could be making with the same funding and attention. It seems like worldwide awareness of the issue is already there..

jae said...

Judith is being very kind. When famous scientists ignore and deny the kind of stuff that Steve McIntyre found, it is very hard for me to beleieve there was no malfeasance. In the type of science I was trained in, you just don't get to "hide" stuff and select only those datasets that will support a preconceived position. If anyone still thinks that was not done by the Team, then I say something is wrong with his/her mind!

keith said...

Willard (10):

Judith Curry elaborates on her IPCC comment over in the comment thread at my site. She's says her intent is:
"to provoke a switch in the dialogue (away from the witch hunt) to the problems with IPCC process and how this might be improved for the coming AR5 and also to producing better data sets for the historical and paleoclimate records."

She says a bit more, if you care to read in entirety:
http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/04/17/some-spicy-curry/#comment-2866
--kkloor

jae said...

jdges, 12:

" Is it really that difficult to imagine that people who want to actually verify a body of work that policy is being shaped around might be pro-science rather than anti-science."

I'm fairly certain that you wrote that tongue-in-cheek, since you have to know that the leftist crowd HAS to find a boogey man to discredit the truth. They really like the "racist" boogeyman, but "anti-science" is also a good one. Fortunately, the majority of the people are on to their game.

dljvjbsl said...

I am surprised that no one has linked this with the current issue of air travel in Europe. Air travel in Europe has been shut down in the name of safety. However there appears to be little evidence available about the degree of danger posed by the ash cloud. Action was taken in the name of safety that may have significant effect on the European economy but no one cna point to definitive evidence one way or the other.

To me the link to climate change policy is apparent. There seems to be a precipitate rush to take action without a corresponding degree of evidence. Instead the uncertainty around climate change is use as a reposin that strong action must be taken. The effects of a similar course of action is now being seen in Europe. The economy has been affected and no one can say the action was justified. Worse than that, the choice of action has caused a precedent that will be difficult to overturn. If air travel is shut down now and he eruption persists for weeks or months, who is going take the decision to restore service?

Michael Tobis said...

As others have pointed out, Oxburgh was not charged with investigating IPCC. As others have pointed out, IPCC is a complex institution. As I myself conceded to begin, IPCC is imperfect and those imperfections should be examined, hopefully in a collegial and honest way, without presumptions of "guilt" or anything of the sort.

It is quite silly to be accused of being wrapped up in a blog world by a blog. I really don't buy into this ponderous distinction between blogs and some sort of serious grownup world, but if I did, all of you would be here in the sandbox with me.

The point I am making is not that everybody reading thinks CRU is innocent. It is that Curry agrees with me that CRU is innocent.

Accordingly, for her to suddenly switch the subject to the larger (and genuinely serious) issues of how IPCC works and how public communication works is bizarre. It is as if a large young thug banged an elderly person on the head with a steel tire iron over a dispute over a parking spot, and Dr. Curry were to show up saying "well, the old fellow was rude, after all".

That is, if Jones et al have committed no serious transgression, as many people including Oxburgh, myself, and more to the point Curry actually perceive, the attacks in the press and in blog commentaries have been grossly unethical at best, and quite arguably criminal.

The idea "to provoke a switch in the dialogue (away from the witch hunt) to the problems with IPCC process" strikes me as completely bizarre. A witch hunt is serious business, and if such a thing has occurred (as it clearly has in the opinion of the relevant review) it is necessary to understand how that happened and what can be done to prevent it in the future.

Regarding jae's comment, the idea that baseless and extreme accusations directed at a single (and likely totally innocent) individual has anything to do with "verifying the body of work that policy is being shaped around" is about as nonsensical a comment as I've seen in conversations about climate, and that is saying something.

Can we take things one at a time? This is not about the IPCC.

This is about the anti-consensus forces making a serious run at destroying a person's reputation and career for no reason other than that they find his conclusions inconvenient, and about the press being complicit in their schemes.

It is also about the normalization of criminal activity as an instrument of politics, an outcome I find terrifying regardless of the goals involved.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-26-Michael

I'll say the same thing that I said to another commenter on an earlier thread ... you have confused innocence/guilt with respect to research misconduct with violations of basics norms of scientific practice.

The former are sanctionable transgressions under various university policies, hence the UEA investigation.

Yet, being judged innocent of research misconduct does not mean that one has not violated basic norms of science. I've explained why I think that some of the revelations in the emails are troubling, for instance here:

http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2009/11/redefining-peer-review.html

So those who accuse the CRU folks of fraud and misconduct are just wrong, and you and others who are ready to elevate them to sainthood are equally off base.

This is where nuance comes in. It is possible to at once understand that no research misconduct took place and at the exact same time be offended by the intentions and actions revealed by the emails.

Frontiers of Faith and Science said...

@ Michael Tobis,
If you assert the latest whitewash of the CRU and climategate is anything less than a transparent non-credible cover up, you may be sincerely fooling yourself, but no one who is less than completely partisan for the consensus.
You are on the side of history that includes tulipomania, eugenics and any number of other failed, popular manias. Apocalyptic movements have a 0.000 success rate, and AGW is not going to improve that number one bit.
That true believers choose to cling to demonstrated frauds is a well documented foible called, appropriately, true believer syndrome.
I suggest you get up to speed on it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/True-believer_syndrome

jae said...

MT: "Regarding jae's comment, the idea that baseless and extreme accusations directed at a single (and likely totally innocent) individual has anything to do with "verifying the body of work that policy is being shaped around" is about as nonsensical a comment as I've seen in conversations about climate, and that is saying something.'

Most people don't "notice me. Did I hit a nerve? I noticed that you did not address the merits, as is standard practice for a liberal. This kinda proves the point I made in the comment to which you responded. LOL.

hro001 said...

rjtklein #18

"Not even Pachauri has as much influence as you credit him with; he simply is the face of IPCC, representing the organisation to the media and other stakeholders"

With all due respect, Pachauri is also the "voice" of the IPCC. And that "voice", at the slightest hint of criticism or questioning, invariably responds that the IPCC Assessment Reports are "all/solely/entirely/only" based on "peer-reviewed" literature.

http://www.noconsensus.org/ipcc-audit/not-as-advertised.php

I was a participant in the very recent "Citizen Audit" which examined all the References in AR 4, to determine whether or not Pachauri's claim (repeated by the media and other stakeholders ad nauseam) is supported by the evidence in the References. Of the 44 chapters in AR 4, 21 received an "F" (less than 60% of the references cited were published in peer-reviewed journals).

While the IPCC does permit the use of non-peer-reviewed material, it is worth noting that the "rules" indicate that such material is to be clearly designated as such in the reference citation. Only 6 (of 5,587) non-peer-reviewed references were so designated.

http://hro001.wordpress.com/2010/04/14/uns-climate-bible-gets-21-fs-on-report-card/

If, as you assert, it is the "governments" constituting this "Intergovernmental Panel" that are ultimately responsible for the Assessment Reports, I certainly wonder how many have taken Pachauri (not to mention various and sundry Lead/Contributing Authors, amongst whom many are from or associated with CRU) at his word vs actually conducting the required due diligence to determine for themselves the validity of the recommendations.

In a subsequent response to RC, Dr. Curry observed:

"Regarding my personal opinion on where I stand regarding climate science as presented by the IPCC. I place little confidence in the WG2 and WG3 reports; these fields are in their infancy. With regards to the WG1 report, I think that some of the confidence levels are too high. During the period Feb 2007 – Nov 2009, when I gave a presentation on climate change I would say “don’t believe what one scientist says, listen to what the IPCC has to say” and then went on to defend the IPCC process and recite the IPCC conclusions. I am no longer substituting the IPCC’s judgment for my own judgment on this matter."

IMHO, Dr. Curry has made a very wise decision.

As much as Michael Tobis (#26) would like to separate the CRU problems (although I find his depiction of these problems somewhat removed from reality) from the problems of the IPCC, the two are indisputably related, as even a cursory reading of the Climategate emails clearly demonstrates.

Frontiers of Faith and Science said...

The CRU and the IPCC are intricately intertwined. Lord Oxburgh, when what he actually said in full is read is in no way exonerating the CRU. Perhaps it is time for AGW promoters to stop parsing around between the failings of different organs of the climate hysteria industry? Perhaps it is time to deal with the actual lack of a climate crisis and the increasingly obvious problems of data, methodology, integrity of the AGW community?
Accepting what Dr. Curry says as a valid and timely criticism is a good first step.

Raven said...

Roger,

I understand the nuance you are making but I see it as not relevant because I (and a lot of other sceptics) never thought the CRU emails provided enough evidence for sanctionable transgressions under a university code of conduct. They simply show violations of the norms of good science which call into question the objectivity of the people involved and the IPCC reports which they authored. The also raised a lot of questions about the integrity of the peer review process which have been completely ignored.

That said, the Oxburough report could have made the same distinction that you make but choose not and as result alarmists are running around claiming that report exonerates Jones et. al. for everything which is not true.

Malcolm said...

The people have turned against climate alarmism.

We have been misled by a small but powerful group of climate scientists. As a result all science will suffer.

We have been misled by our politicians. As a result governments will fall.

We have been deliberately lied to by environmentalists. As a result they will be banished to the lunatic margins of society.

We will teach our children to check out the supposed truths in order that they will never be fooled like us.

jgdes said...

Harrywr2
Alaska is only one part of the Arctic. Look at Svalbard! The whole Arctic might just be a good microcosm, as we have parts that didn't warm, parts that warmed hugely, and recons with and without MWP. However it's the adjustments and data sparsity causing all the disagreements. Frankly I can't get my head around the tobs adjustment. Ordinarily a good idea but over the long term it should balance out, not produce a huge heating trend. Currently it seems observers started at 12 midday and measured 1 minute earlier every day since.

jae
I don't think anyone involved (left or right) in this farce is deliberately trying to do any harm but there are certainly far too many people whose very job depends on unrelenting scare stories; journalists included. The moral superiority argument from both sides is vacuous: So much easier to demonize someone as you don't then have to deal with any of their arguments. I just want the truth. In my experience tidy theory is very often trumped by natures hard facts. From my vantage I see leftists and rightists correct from time to time. Prediction is difficult.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-32-Raven

"the Oxburough report could have made the same distinction that you make but choose not"

No, I don't think they could have. Why do you think this? Your expectations for this panel are unrealistic.

Raven said...

#35 - They could have put a qualifier like this:

This report only looked at whether there were sanctionable transgressions under the university code of conduct. This report did not consider whether there was evidence of bias of other violations of the norms of scientific practice.

The fact that they did not (or at least not one I noticed) suggests that they did not see the nuance that you do and presumed that "sanctionable transgressions" were the only thing that matter.

BTW - SteveMc has pointed out that the LA times and you completely misquoted Oxburgh on the sceptical critics. Did you see his post?

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-36-Raven

I agree that such a statement on the scope of the investigation would have been useful. There are hints of the focus in the report by not as clear or prominent as it could have been.

I saw Steve's post ;-)

itisi69 said...

Dr.Pielke, your quote in the Spic and Span thread was incomplete!

"...just plain nasty and ill-informed" should have been preceded by "And I think that some of the sceptical comment was in fact justified..."

Which makes a helluva difference.

See CA thread: http://climateaudit.org/2010/04/18/laundering-oxburghs-interview/

Michael Tobis said...

Roger, I am of the opinion that Jones is a perfectly ordinary scientist; not a saint, not (as far as I know) an outstanding genius, and not (as far as I know) a serious transgressor of existing norms.

Whether contemporary science as a whole is healthy is another matter. I think there are serious problems.

For Jones to be a proxy for the state of a whole culture of which he is a part is unfair. It's perhaps not as unfair as other things he's been subjected to, but unfair just the same. After all, what is a "non-sanctionable transgression" other than a judgment that someone else might question?

My point stands. The main issue is how and why this matter, which should never have become public at all, became a proxy for the most extreme and excessive hostility to climate science.

Maybe the fact that many of your commenters are happy to take these alleged nonsanctionable transgressions as an excuse to dismiss the idea of an emissions policy altogether isn't entirely coincidental?

This has been nothing but politics from the beginning. Politics which starts with a completely sanctionable transgression (illicit exposure of private communications) is not a good precedent. It's also politics that seeks to mislead about the balance of evidence. It's foul. Continuing to focus on Jones rather than on the hopelessly skewed way these events have been handled in the press and in the public discourse ("is climate change a hoax" etc.) is bizarre.

My question to you and Judith Curry, then, is why are you continuing to focus your critiques on the victim (Jones, who, let's stipulate for purposes of argument, is not a saint) rather than on the crime?

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-38-itsi69

If you take a look at the LA Times article you'll see that I reproduced its quote in full. Steve's beef it with how the LA Times parsed the BBC interview.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-39-Michael

You won't find much, if any, discussion of Jones on this blog. In fact, almost all of my concerns expressed on this blog and elsewhere have been about institutional failings -- the personalities and individuals are almost incidental.

You wonder, quite appropriately, "he main issue is how and why this matter, which should never have become public at all, became a proxy for the most extreme and excessive hostility to climate science."

Yes, why is there such hostility to some in the climate science community?

This is a subject that we've discussed before, and whether you accept the answer as legitimate or not, a big part of this hostility derives directly from how some (certainly not all or even most) scientists have decided to comport themselves in public creating perceptions that, for better or worse, seemed to be confirmed by what was revealed in the emails.

One just need drop by the comments at Real Climate today, or your own blog or others in your community, and see how people are treated to understand why some are put off.

In public discussions, for many observers it is not just Jones who is a proxy for your community, it is others as well, including you.

Malcolm said...

Jones own choice of words in the Climategate emails made him a victim. He was the master of his own downfall.

The 'crime' of public exposure of flawed science at CRU and Penn, and the inner workings of the IPCC, is no crime at all.

What would you rather have - complete secrecy or transparency and openess of thought and purpose?

It would appear for Jones apologists like Michael Tobis secrecy is the preferred option.

Quote, Robin McKie science and technology editor of the UK Observer "Questions must also be asked if freedom of information legislation should cover access to raw scientific data."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/apr/18/climate-change-east-anglia-report

There you have it - a call by AGWers to close off public access to scientific data.

It is little wonder that people are steadily losing faith in science.

eric144 said...

This really is a true story. Really. No amount of weasel academic obfuscation will alter a single word.



Overheard

Picking the right team is the sine qua non. A panel of sound people, leavened with a handful of neutrals (purely for effect, you understand) will produce the required result every time. Edward’s appointments to the emails panel were a case in point.

True believers are not going to let you down, Bernard. Of course, old hands might criticise Edward for making his choices slightly too obvious, and there was some unfortunate public criticism, but the public really shouldn’t be concerning themselves with minutiae like the membership of panels of inquiry.

How could they possibly understand? And the important thing is that Edward will get the right result, and it’s the result that counts, eh Bernard?



http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2010/4/17/overheard.html

willard said...

It will be tough to say at the same time:

"[Almost all of my concerns expressed on this blog and elsewhere have been about institutional failings -- the personalities and individuals are almost incidental."

and

"[A] big part of this hostility derives directly from how some (certainly not all or even most) scientists have decided to comport themselves in public creating perceptions that, for better or worse, seemed to be confirmed by what was revealed in the emails."

Somehow, one of the two assertions will have to be nuanced. Or maybe both.

Not naming a person does not always suffice not to talk about that person.

Stan said...

Michael,

It didn't start with the release of the e-mails and code. It started years ago. Pick any start point you want, but it will be an instance of immoral and unethical behavior by Jones or his friends. It started when Mann and Jones stonewalled McIntyre. It started when they slandered McIntyre repeatedly. It started when they conspired to break the law. It started when the whole Climategate crew lied about the science. But it most certainly did not start this fall. Even you can't be that blind.

Ruth said...

Re: eric144

No, the 'Overheard' thread on Bishop Hill is not a true story... it is a spoof of the British TV comedy 'Yes Minister'. Probably only UK readers over a certain age would immediately realise that.

But, many a true word spoken in jest, etc...

Frontiers of Faith and Science said...

Michael Tobis,
You assert the issue should never have been made public?
If your mutual funds were mannaged by people who treated conflicts of interest and reporting obligations the way climategate e-mails show climate science data and legitimate requests for information were treated, would you be pleased if it was swept under the rug?
Can you seriously hold the position that you would leave your funds under that sort of management?

Stan said...

Roger,

A related point -- one of the points defenders of the CRU bunch have been trying to make is "this is just how science is done". Now I think that is slanderous of a lot of other scientists, but even if it were true, it is still a loser in regards to the ultimate argument.

Public policy should never, ever be made on the basis of evidence produced by practices as shoddy and as corrupt as those of Jones et al. If Jones represents good science practice, then good science practice fails to meet the standard necessary for policy. By a wide margin. Especially when the proposed policy is as draconian in impact as the advocated climate policies.

I don't really care if East Anglia or the UN or any other institution considers Jones' work to be acceptable or not for their standards. That's not the relevant question. It is clear beyond any reasonable doubt that his work is too shoddy to support changes in the law. And that's the issue which really matters.

eric144 said...

Ruth

I am Scottish, over a certain age and remember Mrs Thatcher's favourite TV programme very well. I was joking.

The point is indeed serious. Rupert Murdoch would not appoint Noam Chomsky to edit The Times. The British government is very good at covering things up, at least to the satisfaction of the corporate media.

In those circumstances, it is utterly preposterous to discuss this committee seriously, and I haven't !

PKthinks said...

Judith Currys balanced discussion represents the finest spirit of a balanced scientific debate, whereas the treatment by 'real climate' demonstrates the lack of confidence to even enter into that debate.

I think quite correctly she describes the corruption of the process and the spinning of what the science means (by the IPCC in particular) rather than the science itself.
But this is at the heart of how the mainstream media and policy makers have exaggerated the threat to such a degree that people then lose faith in the science itself.( and there is evidence they are )

I feel climate scientists forget how many other apocylyptic scares the public have been subjected to that are simply sexed up scientific work (commonly quite mundane).

This distortion we might call post modern science or 'ecopoliticalscience' ie. more to do with absolving politicians of any responsibility for the risk in question (and making us all pay for it)

Brian H said...

Hucksters and grifters of all stripes know that their primary resources and hooks are Fear and Greed. If you can appeal to those, you can pretty much short circuit rational thought, and induce even egregiously self-destructive decisions.

I shall refrain from making the obvious observations about how those two hooks have been exploited by the Alarmists. But it's an instructive exercise!

itisi69 said...

Dr.Pielke (40)
I got the message now (after rereading), sorry for the misunderstanding.

Dr.Curry, I certainly do not agree on many things you say/write, but I admire your courage and professional honesty by risking a witch (no pun intended!!) hunt going into the lions den. Chapeau!

keith said...

Brian (51):

In the political and policy realm, it's worth keeping in mind that environmentalists are just one group that likes to play the "fear" card you are referring to.

With respect to the public health care reform debate that's recently played out in the last year, a certain political group had no problem trafficking in fear (death panels, to cite just one obvious example).

And with the Congressional climate legislation debate, we've seen certain interest groups and prominent politicians assert that cap & trade would ruin the U.S. economy, which is clearly a bit of an exaggeration. (Cap & trade has many shortcomings as a climate change policy instrument, but an economy killer is not one of them,I believe.)

Anyway, I mention all this merely to enlarge the fear-mongering context that seems to frame and poison debate over many important issues, from war(remember that WMD-related mushroom cloud that was parroted in the run-up to the Iraq war?) to stem cells ('don't kill all the babies').

So yes, fear is a favorite tactic of climate 'alarmists,' just as it is a favorite of their opponents.

As you can see, I haven't refrained from making those 'obvious observations' for the purposes of an 'instructive exercise.' :)
--kkloor

Michael Tobis said...

FFS

"You assert the issue should never have been made public?"

The emails should not have been stolen. Having been stolen, the pretense that they revealed anything of consequence should not have been made. Had the pretense been made, the press should have had the wherewithal to ignore it. Had some branches of the press ignored it, other branches should have called them on their reading comprehension. So far not even this last has occurred to any important extent, and I would like at least that much to happen.

"If your mutual funds were mannaged by people who treated conflicts of interest and reporting obligations the way climategate e-mails show climate science data and legitimate requests for information were treated,"

What conflicts of interest? What reporting obligations? What data? This has all been shown to be complete noise. The CRU originated none of the data, and therefore, far from being obligated to reveal it, was obligated not to do so, as Oxburgh noted.

If you want to change the rules of science to promote more transparency going forward, I support you. Still, even reasonable rules that aren't even in place now don't apply retroactively.

Raven said...

Michael Tobis,

CRU prepared a temperature dataset that was used by the IPCC to set government policy. That imposes an burden on them to release all information required to check that they are doing what they claim to be doing. It does not make a difference what the 'standard practice' is for scientists arguing over the mating habits of lesser wombats. The CRU scientists choose to play in a field of significant public concern which means they are expected to live up to much higher standards whether they like it or not.

In the CRU case they failed to live up to those standards and should be censured.

ourchangingclimate said...

Roger,

You discuss "personalities and individuals" a lot for it to be called merely "incidental".

Bart

Malcolm said...

Michael Tobis has seen the carefully constructed AGW narrative being destroyed in public by the simple act of whistle-blowing.

AGW, its science and politics, could not stand the test of public disclosure and exposure.

Attempts to downplay the signficance, keep secret or put a lid on this matter will all fail.

Faith in all science has been badly eroded, only a new generation scientists can fix that problem.

Brian H said...

MT;
the use of the word "stolen" to refer to release of publicly paid-for and owned information by an ethical whistleblower reveals the depth of your commitment to covering for massive fraudulent use of public funds to help shape massively fraudulent misdirection of global resources to inflate the powers of non-elected bodies and promote their control over the living patterns and lifestyles and incomes of the world's population by manipulation of every energy-producing and using activity everywhere.

Why do you want to do that?

dljvjbsl said...

Michael Tobis wrote:
==========
The emails should not have been stolen. Having been stolen, the pretense that they revealed anything of consequence should not have been made
===========

Assuming that stolen is an accurate description, why should this affect the determination that affected anything of consequence?

If files had been stolen from a business and these files revealed something about the business, why should people make the pretense that they do not? Certainly no court would make that determination. The two issues are collateral to each other.

Marlowe Johnson said...

at first I was going to suggest googling 'exclusionary rule' or 'fruits of a poisoned tree' as a rebuttal, but in fact I'm not sure it's so clear cut in a legal sense because the information wasn't obtained in the direct illegal means that the exclusionary principle seems to address. any lawyers lurking about?

EliRabett said...

Brian, do you mean to say that Roger Jrs. Emails are public property since his UColorado account is bought and paid for by the citizens of Colorado? Eli REALLY doesn't think you want to go down that road.

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