CRU tooo?

Dunno yet. I’ll expand on this if I do. For the moment, CRU themselves are not excited.

Update: it looks very much like this is nothing new, just those mails deemed to dull to release last time. So, as Deltoid points out, and claims to being doing this for “information transparency” is a clear lie. Pic ripped off from Bart who presumably ripped it off someone else…

More update: I forgot that the most exciting thing is to look for my name – doh. And I find:

On Thu, 4 Jan 2007, Caspar Ammann wrote:
> check figure A9, there the 17th century is cold, and this is probably
> the curve that was used. In that case, then its Central England from Lamb.


Ah, you mean A9(d) (I thought you meant A9(a) for a bit). Yes, that looks 
pretty similar to IPCC 1990. Though not identical - the scaling is different, 
but the timing is similar.


Makes it all worth while. That is all about the semi-mythical IPCC ’90 fig 7.1c.

Update: still not very exciting; may even have passed away. That sure sign o’ the times, wikipedia, is seeing minimal activity (Climatic Research Unit email controversy#Further release, 2011). We do have William M. Conway, though.


* Part I
* Decoding Swifthack
* Barry Bickmore isn’t excited – but he has a nice collection of links.
* Even the Daily Mail can’t bring itself to rant
* KK is more interested in how the press might handle it than the thing itself
* Quark Soup goes against the flow and thinks they are “devastating”
* RC is bored
* The Grauniad is interested in periods and commas
* Phil Plait isn’t excited either, but does quote Mike Mann.
* Wikipedia isn’t very excited either
* WUWT are wildly excited, though.
* profmandia with more links
* Stolen CRU emails: the rejects – Deltoid.
* Plumbum
* Media Already Botching Reports On Hacked Climate Emails by Jocelyn Fong, Media Matters

Yet more clearing

‘Rigour and honesty’ of scientists not in doubt but Sir Muir Russell says UEA’s Climatic Research Unit was not sufficiently open. I’d quibble the latter but we have to take what we can get; probably they needed a sop for the ranters.

Here is the thing itself and here are some quotes (bold in the original):

13. Climate science is a matter of such global importance, that the highest standards of honesty, rigour and openness are needed in its conduct. On the specific allegations made against the behaviour of CRU scientists, we find that their rigour and honesty as scientists are not in doubt.
14. In addition, we do not find that their behaviour has prejudiced the balance of advice given to policy makers. In particular, we did not find any evidence of behaviour that might undermine the conclusions of the IPCC assessments.
15. But we do find that there has been a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness, both on the part of the CRU scientists and on the part of the UEA, who failed to recognise not only the significance of statutory requirements but also the risk to the reputation of the University and, indeed, to the credibility of UK climate science.

The one that misc septics have kept pushing is thoroughly rebutted:

16. On the allegation of withholding temperature data, we find that CRU was not in a position to withhold access to such data or tamper with it. We demonstrated that any independent researcher can download station data directly from primary sources and undertake their own temperature trend analysis.


We do not find that the way that data derived from tree rings is described and presented in IPCC AR4 and shown in its Figure 6.10 is misleading. In particular, on the question of the composition of temperature reconstructions, we found no evidence of exclusion of other published temperature reconstructions that would show a very different picture. The general discussion of sources of uncertainty in the text is extensive, including reference to divergence. In this respect it represented a significant advance on the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR).

Of course, like everyone else I haven’t actually read the report and may never do so :-).

[Update: The RC comment is worth reading. It deals with one issue I’d noticed but skipped over: 23. On the allegation that the references in a specific e-mail to a „trick‟ and to „hide the decline‟ in respect of a 1999 WMO report figure show evidence of intent to paint a misleading picture, we find that, given its subsequent iconic significance (not least the use of a similar figure in the IPCC Third Assessment Report), the figure supplied for the WMO Report was
misleading. We do not find that it is misleading to curtail reconstructions at some point per se, or to splice data, but we believe that both of these procedures should have been made plain – ideally in the figure but certainly clearly described in either the caption or the text.
What I hadn’t noticed is that they’ve got this hopelessly wrong: the “trick” junk was never over the 1999 WMO report – as RC points out, no-one has ever heard of it. This looks like a misunderstanding by M-R; I can’t quite account for their error here -W]

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.
Continue reading “Curry, part 2: the papers”

IOP: we were hopelessly wrong

Scientists cleared of malpractice in UEA’s hacked emails inquiry says the IOP, which isn’t quite the headline I chose, but once again you’ll have to forgive a little poetic licence on my part. The Grauniad says much the same, as does Aunty. Perhaps more tellingly, The Torygraph and Times have ignored it entirely.

The report itself is here. Thankfully, it is quite short.

[Update: other views:

* Eli
* TL
* Keith Kloor – for the “opposition”
* HT
* mt – this is well worth reading for mt’s thoughtful take on what is and what is not worth noting about the report.
* CA – McI is deeply miffed that Oxburgh doesn’t love him.

Update: as noted in the comments, this report picks up on a point the weaselly MP’s evaded, that Monbiot still hasn’t realised and that JA blogged: that the main problem with data availability comes from the gummint. So we may quote conclusion 3:

It was not the immediate concern of the Panel, but we observed that there were important and unresolved questions that related to the availability of environmental data sets. It was pointed out that since UK government adopted a policy that resulted in charging for access to data sets collected by government agencies, other countries have followed suit impeding the flow of processed and raw data to and between researchers. This is unfortunate and seems inconsistent with policies of open access to data promoted elsewhere in government.

Ha ha, I was too kind on the Torygraph: the toerags have gone for ‘Climategate’ scientists criticised for not using best statistical tools (mind you Nurture is a bit crap too). They even manage to stuff up the main conclusion: However, there was no evidence of “deliberate scientific malpractice”, meaning the conclusion that mankind is causing global warming is probably correct. is wrong, too. But even they can’t find a septic to stand up and be counted. Come on Lawson, where are you when you’re needed?

Oh, and

We have not exhaustively reviewed the external criticism of the dendroclimatological work, but it seems that some of these criticisms show a rather selective and uncharitable approach to information made available by CRU. They seem also to reflect a lack of awareness of the ongoing and dynamic nature of chronologies, and of the difficult circumstances under which university research is sometimes conducted.

is nice to have, too.


Monbiot is still rubbish

Hacked climate science emails: were requests for information vexatious? asks Monbiot, and then proceeds to get the wrong answer (though it isn’t as bad as his previous nonsense). “Framing” all this in terms of FOI is silly and wrong. Monbiot loves FOI ‘cos he is a journo and it is a one-way street for him: more info, formerly hidden, equals stories. Reality isn’t so important to him it would seem.

In terms of science, this is all just wrong. In my experience, and it seems to be true in this case too, the restrictions on revealing info are imposed by govts and their agencies. The UKMO was very bad in this regard. And why Monbiot thinks that Willis Essenbach was acting in good faith will remain a mystery. We all know that there were commercial-confidentiality agreements in place for the data… or do we? Because I can’t see the tiniest hint in Monbiot’s piece that he is aware of this. How could he possibly get so far into this story and yet not know that, or think it irrelevant?

Keep your eye on the ball

[This post got extensively re-written (you can tell that, cos it has a title that doesn’t fit its URL 🙂 after I realised that I, too, had been fooled by the septic FUD. Oh dear. I’ve stopped now: you can read on without fear that the words will change under you.]

The septics are trying to pretend that there is a spat between the Swedes (SMHI) and CRU, but this is just smoke-n-mirrors. Lets quote the final letter first:

With reference to the current debate regarding, amongst other things, access to climate data we have found that our letter to you dated 21 December 2009 unfortunately have rendered bad publicity both to SMHI and to the climate research community. We understand now that our response to your request forwarded by UK MetOffice 30 November 2009 may have been misinterpreted, maybe due to the fact that the formulations may have been a bit harsh. Our response was based on your information that it was likely that the version held by you would most likely differ from our current holdings. It has never been our intention to withhold any data but we feel that it is paramount that data that has undergone, for instance, homogenisation by anyone other than SMHI is not presented as SMHI data. We see no problem with publication of the data set together with a reference stating that the data included in the dataset is based on observations made by SMHI but it has undergone processing made by your research unit. We would also prefer a link to SMHI or to our web site where the original data can be obtained.

That is from SMHI and is dated 4th March. So: Jones asks SMHI if he can release their data (via the UKMO, 30th Nov 2009; apologies for dodgy source). They say no (21st Dec 2009). He tells people that SMHI has said no. This looks bad, so SMHI changes their mind, as long as the data gets a disclaimer as to its source and processing. All is well, perhaps.

[Update: apparently some Swedish folk are watching GA, but they are doing it in Swedish :-). This one I lke, though.

There is More from Max Andersson. He makes an interesting point – that if you actually *read* the transcript, most of the quotes attributed to Jones come from Acton:

Professor Acton: Unfortunately, several of these countries impose conditions and say you are not allowed to pass it on, so there has just been an attempt to get these answers. Seven countries have said “No, you cannot”, half the countries have not yet answered, Canada and Poland are amongst those who have said, “No you cannot publish it” and also Sweden. Russia is very hesitant. We are under a commercial promise, as it were, not to; we are longing to publish it because what science needs is the most openness.

Some license agreements here.

Also ClimateWTF.

Just to make it clear: despite what misc septic blogs are saying it is *not* true that Dr. Jones asserted that the weather services of several countries, including Sweden, Canada and Poland, had refused to allow their data to be released – see the transcript. I think Max A is the first to notice this. The lesson, again, is not to actually believe anything the skeptics say without verifying it first.

Yet more update (thanks C): OK, so while the above certainly is true, and the septics clearly have mistaken Acton’s words for Jones’s, Jones does touch on the same subject: he says (Q113) Professor Jones: It is not that sensitive. Canada, for example, says they would rather we sent requests for Canadian data to their website; they do not want us to put their data on our website. and (Q146) Professor Jones: Not in that way. We did, with the help of the Met Office, approach all the countries of the world and asked them whether we could release their data. We have had 59 replies of which 52 have been positive, so that has led to the release of 80% of the data, but we have had these seven negative responses which we talked about earlier, including Canada. That all seems entirely reasonable to me; it all rather fits with the NMS’s usual paranoia.

Continue reading “Keep your eye on the ball”