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.