Curry, part 4

At last! I have a chance to be nice to Curry, which I’ve been waiting for. This opportunity is her comment reply to my comment question over at c-a-s, viz:

I find the main text of the WG1 Report to be an accurate assessment of the science. The problem that I have with the WG1 Report is the summary narratives (executive summary, summary for policy makers) where all this is integrated and summarized. My main issue with the WG1 report is that I think that many of confidence levels are too high: there is inadequate scientific uncertainty analysis, and lack of accounting for known unknowns and unknown unknowns. I have substantial issues with the WG2 report and the impacts.

So what does all this add up to? A moderate warmist that sees very large uncertainty with regards to hypothesized catastrophic impacts

Regarding your list of skeptics on the wikipedia (ed: I’d pointed her at [[List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming]]): I don’t align myself with any of them, but some of their statements cannot be refuted with a high level of certainty and there are other skeptical points that are not covered on your list.

So I think there are a lot of important things in there, and it helps to understand Curry’s position. Just to ram home a point I’ve made elsewhere in relation to another comment she made, I find the main text of the WG1 Report to be an accurate assessment of the science is not a comment you’ll find the septics making. As to her assertion that the confidence levels are too high: I don’t have a strong opinion on this. She might be right; likely she is wrong. There is room for debate. The problem comes with how you phrase that kind of comment; wrapped up in loaded words like “corruption” is becomes unhelpful. As for WG2, I sort-of used to agree with her, but people have slightly taken me to task for dissing WG2 so I’m not so sure any more (is that kind of woolly enough for you?). That she thinks that “catastrophic impacts” are uncertain is fine with me. I’m also very happy with her characterisation of the wiki list.

Currygate, part 3: the key papers exposed

DSC_3876-e-pensive-against-light Oh well, everyone else has a gate, perhaps I can have one too. Incidentally the picture is there for two reasons: firstly I have far too many pix of Darling Daugther and no-one looks at them. If Jules can put up huts, I can do children. And second, it is a cunning attempt to make me a human bean rather than just a face on the internet, so my enemies will find it harder to attack me. Clever eh?

So, the story so far (pay attention at the back!): I wondered about the list of 3 “key” papers that Curry was proposing should have been considered by the Oxburgh inquiry. Or perhaps by the parliamentary inquiry (Curry quite specifically says my source for the specific papers and why i think they are relevant to the UEA investigation is the documents submitted to the Parliamentary Select Committee). And the question was, in what sense were they key? Well, in this there is no secret that she is quoting McI, because she has said as much. So we should look at McI’s evidence to the Parliamentary inquiry. Which contains a helpful reference list at the end. And I don’t see the key papers on that list. Or you could read the evidence form Andrew Montford. Again, no hint of these so-called “key” papers.

So the answer is: the papers are key, post hoc, because they were not considered by Oxburgh. Had Oxburgh considered them, a different set of papers would have become key.

And once again, Curry simply hasn’t done her homework properly. she got muddled over Wegman and withdrew jsut ab out everything she said; I think she now needs to look very carefully at what she has said about “key papers” and consider whether she is just acting as a mouthpiece for the septics rather than doing what she can and should, which is using her expertise to add something new to the debate.

Incidentally: IMHO Curry’s motivations in all this remain somewhat obscure, and I’m interersted in what they might be. KK seems to have gone from chiding people about speculating to inquiring himself, and there is an interesting post: Curry: The Backstory at c-a-s. Which does demonstrate one thing, that journalists do at least have the virtue of asking people questions and some times they reply.

[Update. Oh no, this is going to turn into one of those eternally expanding posts. Over a c-a-s comment 355 (yes really) KK quotes Romm as saying She has joined the WUWT and McIntyre tribe (note my appearance as a side-dish, perhaps at one of JA’s feasts). Well, critical as I am of what Curry has actually said, I don’t think that comment is either true or helpful. And indeed, Curry has no problem demolishing it. There is enough tribalism around without trying to push it futher. Incidentally, the comment that Romm is responding to has misunderstood Curry, though she makes it very easy to do so: she is *not* saying that IPCC is on a level with NIPCC; she (like all sane folk) regards NIPCC as a joke. She is trying to say (but alas saying it very poorly) that the IPCC needs to retain the features that clearly distinguish it from the NIPCC. Like not being crap. My difference with Curry is that I think it is still doing this well, though like all things on this earth it could be better.]

[And another. Speculating on Curry’s motives is the game of the day, but I have no new ideas on that, so instead I’ll offer an analogy. Curry is like the outsider who looks at the two parties fighting over politics and decides to stand as a “clean-up” candidate (no, remember, this is an analogy; I’m not saying that climate is like politics). So she says a number of things, and garners a lot of media attention, and then either doesn’t get elected because the two-party system exists for a reason… or gets elected, and is then either useless or gets dragged into the system anyway.

This musing was brought on by HR drawing out her quote: “… I have been extremely critical of the NIPCC, it is basically a joke ….”. As I said in reply: you won’t find Watt, or McI, or *any* of the sceptics say that – they are, as she says, too tribal. Curry is *not* one of their tribe. Curry is fundamentally a scientist, and a sane one, and wandering off into attacks on her (which I hope I haven’t done) isn’t good -W]

[Also, another note on the paper-selection issue (DS notes): the initial announcement states: The University, in consultation with the Royal Society, has suggested that the panel looks in particular at key publications, from the body of CRU’s research referred to in the UEA submission to the Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee.]

See attachment

DSC_4112Good grief. So I try to gmail someone a message, and I happen to say “see attachment” in my text, and when I press “send” up pops a little box “I notice you said see attachemnt, but there isn’t one. Is that alright?” or somesuch.

Well, I thought it was interesting. This is (probably) Mr Asbo.

Coming soon: the thing none of you have noticed about the “key” papers 🙂

Curry, part 2: the papers

My general feeling about Judith Curry‘s stuff over at Collide-a-scape was that it was all tolerably vague. But there was one specfic.

Over there, she copied Bishop Hill and proposed “Jones 1998 and Osborn and Briffa 2006” as key neglected papers.

More directly she has proposed:

1. The Spatial Extent of 20th-Century Warmth in the Context of the Past 1200 Years
Timothy J. Osborn* and Keith R. Briffa (Science 10 February 2006:
Vol. 311. no. 5762, pp. 841 – 844
DOI: 10.1126/science.1120514)

2. Global surface temperatures over the past two millennia Michael E. Mann and Philip D. Jones, GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 30, NO. 15, 1820, doi:10.1029/2003GL017814, 2003

3. Jones, P. D., K. R. Briffa, T. P. Barnett, and S. F. B. Tett, High-resolution palaeclimatic records for the last millennium: Interpretation, integration and camparison with General Circulation Model control-run temperatures, The Holocene, 8, 455-471, 1998.

Although I notice – pure co-incidence no doubt – that these are exactly the ones McI choses as “Every CRU hockey stick article “. Well all right: this isn’t co-incidence. She clearly has copied Montford, then McI. Which rather suggests that she isn’t doing a great deal of independent thought around this issue, but is merely picking up the septic blogosphere.

The actual 11 papers examined are given at the end of the Oxburgh report.

So the question is, is Curry (or her source, Montford) correct to regard 1 and 3 (and optionally 2) as “key” papers that obviously should have been included? Why are these papers so key? Curry says (pers comm., but also comment 111 at c-a-s, so I can use it the main issue re the selection of papers is that they didn’t examine the main paleo reconstruction papers, which many identify with the “hockey stick”, which is the main issue for the skeptics and that has the highest profile with the public but I think this is an error. The Oxburgh report wasn’t an inquiry into the Hockey Stick – as I said before, we’ve had those, we know the answers (and yes I know that different people have taken different things away from the NRC report; but I don’t see any great evidence that doing it again would make anything new). Nor was the point of the Oxburgh report to placate the skeptics, or the public. The panel’s stated purpose was that it was asked to come to a view on the integrity of the Unit’s research and whether as far as could be determined the conclusions represented an honest and scientifically justified interpretation
of the data
. If you don’t like that, then fine, start your own panel.

Over a c-a-s Curry also says (comment 96, see I did read that far) William, my source for the specific papers and why i think they are relevant to the UEA investigation is the documents submitted to the Parliamentary Select Committee. The issues and papers mentioned in these documents are the ones that are of the greatest relevance to the skeptics’ concerns. Well again this is tolerably vague. There are an awful lot of docs submitted to that inquiry, am I supposed to read them all to guess the ones she means? Quite apart from that, she says again are the ones that are of the greatest relevance to the skeptics’ concerns. This seems to be a persistent misreading of the Oxburgh report. It wasn’t set up to pander to the septics.

Is Curry really suggesting that an examination of any of the three papers above would have shown up problems? If so, what are the problems? Does she know what they are, but won’t say, or does she just have a feeling that there is something lurking in the background that close examination would spot. If so, why not examine them closely?

I’ll be grateful for any input on why these are so key, or pointers to other blogs that have made such suggestions. Please no personal comments, let us try to stick to actually examine the question at hand.

[Updated (oh dear this will be ahrd to follow) from c-a-s comment 269 My whole point is that I thought the Oxburgh committee should have done better than to select essentially the same papers that were listed in the UEA submission to the select committee, which are presumably the ones that shed CRU in the most favorable light. I thought they should have paid some attention to the main papers that the skeptics have issue with, which is why i parroted the papers listed by Montford, McIntyre, Hughes, etc. Or even a random selection of papers would have been better. My personal choice for the most interesting 11 papers isn’t all that relevant.
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