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]

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?

UEA circus, continued

The HoC inquiry into the CRU hack has reported. Judging from BBC radio 4 this morning (which interviewed Acton and then Lawson, no, not the wobbly one) the results are good: I say this because Lawson showed a distinct disinclination to talk about what the report actually said :-).

I’ll expand this post later with more, so don’t complain if it changes. My initial impression is that is is fairly good, and certainly provides the right headlines, but I can’t yet endorse it whole-heartedly – it looks like they have made some errors (in the matter of blaming Jones for the data sharing). But I need to read the thing (courtesy CP) before saying more.

Milambre, Octagon has spoken though, and the headline says it all “Phil Jones exonerated”. HT goes for the same. Eli also opines and has some more useful links. Romm too.

And the current version of the wiki page says The first review to become available, conducted by the House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee, largely vindicated Jones and the CRU (and no, I didn’t write that). That is sourced to yahoo news (are they a WP:RS?); James prefers The Times. The Grauniad isn’t quite so fulsome: Climate researchers ‘secrecy’ criticised – but MPs say science remains intact.

[Update: those toads at the IOP have the gall to trumpet this as Climate science must be more open, say MPs. Evil slimey little toerags. JA points out why they are wazzocks, without actually talking about them.

Moah: does this report pass the “Wattsupwiththat? test”? – yes, with flying colours. Watty can’t even bring himself to make any comments on it, and all his commentators hate it :-). McI hates it too, which is a bonus. Anyone else got any nose-out-of-joint septic blogs to link to? But I did learn that the division of the committee members is interesting. Look at p56, for the votes. On all issues, “Graham Stringer” stands alone (on the septic side). Who is he? I don’t know (uupdate: Fred Pearce clearly doesn’t know either: in his latest rubbish the best he can do for a link to GS is this fairly useless comment).

Speaking of slimy toads, if you look at the inquiry video around about 31:38 you see Benny Peiser complinaing that the satellite records don’t make thier methodologies fully available! Yes, that’s right – he is (although he is very careful not to do so by name) attacking UAH and Spencer and Christy. They are eating themselves -W]

* Deep Climate – Climategate investigations, round 1: CRU exonerated – has some interesting dissection of Stringer.
* Nurture wades in with “Parliament committee calls for more transparency in climate science” which is crap.
* Cruel Mistress goes for “Data Valid”, which is what the NYT said and I think this is a good headline – it is, after all, the fundamental point. Transpancy and reputations matter, but the bottom line is, was the research valid, and the answer is “yes” (ah, and as I can see that could easily be misinterpreted, whilst I’m happy that the HoC have said that, I don’t really think they are a competent authority to decide that. Who is competent? Probably the overall scientific community via peer review, who have said the same thing, implicitly).

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”