Fortress CRU

As noted in other posts, IPCC policies state:

All written expert, and government review comments will be made available to reviewers on request during the review process and will be retained in an open archive in a location determined by the IPCC Secretariat on completion of the Report for a period of at least five years.

Despite this, IPCC Review Editor John Mitchell of the UK Met Office claimed to have destroyed all their working documents and correspondence pertaining to his duties as Review Editor and the Met Office also claims to have expunged all records.

David Holland has also made FOI inquiries to Keith Briffa, a lead author of AR4 chapter 6. Here’s a progress report documenting: May 5 – FOI request
May 6 – CRU Acknowledgement
June 3 – CRU Refusal Notice
June 4 – Holland Appeal
June 20 – CRU Rejection of Appeal


May 5 Holland FOI Request to CRU

Dear Mr Palmer,
Request for Information concerning the IPCC, 2007 WGI Chapter 6 Assessment Process

Drs Keith Briffa and Timothy Osborn of your Climatic Research Unit served as lead authors on the IPCC Fourth Assessment, which by international agreement was required to be undertaken on an comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis.1 On 31 March 2008, I asked Dr Briffa for important specific information, not so far released, on his work as a lead author to which I have had no reply or acknowledgement, but have, through other FoI enquiries, been given a copy of his email dated 1 April 2008, to several other IPCC participants including Dr Philip Jones, and to which my letter was attached. He told his colleagues his response to me would be brief when he got round to it. Also included in the documents released to me is an email dated 14 March 2008 to Dr Briffa, among others, from Susan Solomon, Co-Chair of WGI, advising the addressees not to disclose information beyond that (which I consider inadequate) already in the public domain.

Accordingly, I hereby request the following information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and/or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004:

All letters, facsimile and email correspondence to or from Drs Briffa and Osborn in connection with their work as an IPCC Lead Authors, including, but not limited to correspondence between them and the following individuals involved in the assessment:
Drs Susan Solomon, John Mitchell, Jean Jouzel, Philip Jones, Eystein Jansen, Jonathan Overpeck, Jean-Claude Duplessy, Fortunat Joos, Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Daniel Olago, Bette Otto-Bliesner, W. Richard Peltier, Stefan Rahmstorf, Rengaswamy Ramesh, Dominique Raynaud, David Rind, Olga Solomina, Ricardo Villalba, and De’er Zhang, and/or the following institutions: IPCC, IPCC Working Group I Technical Support Unit, IPCC Working Group II Technical Support Unit, DEFRA and/or the Met office.

I am also asking for copies of any internal CRU correspondence in connection with the IPCC WGI assessment process and discussion of IPCC Principles, rules, or procedures.

Yours sincerely,
David Holland

May 6 CRU Response

Dear Mr. Holland

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 – INFORMATION REQUEST (Our ref: FOI_08-23; EIR_08-01)

I acknowledge your request for information received by us on 5 May 2008. Your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) has been considered but as the information requested is ‘environmental information’ within the meaning of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, we must consider your request under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR), rather than under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The applicable exemption within the FOIA is s. 39, which exempts information that is ‘environmental information’ within the meaning of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Your request is being considered under EIR and you will receive the information requested within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the EIR, subject to the information not being exempt.

[some standard paragraphs]

June 3 Refusal Notice

Dear Mr Holland,

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 – INFORMATION REQUEST (Our Ref: FOI_08-23)

Your request for information received on 5 May 2008 has now been considered and it is, unfortunately, not possible to meet your request.

In accordance with s.17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 this letter acts as a Refusal Notice, and I am not obliged to supply this information and the reasons for exemption are as stated below

Exemption and Reason

s.12, Cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit: The cost of finding & assembling the information will exceed the appropriate limit

s.41, Information provided in confidence: The release of this information would constitute an actionable breach of confidence

Given the amount of material covered by your request, the cost of compliance in locating, retrieving and in the reading, editing or redaction of the relevant documents would clearly exceed the appropriate limit.

Additionally, we hold that the s.41 exemption applies to all requested correspondence received by the University. We have consistently treated this information as confidential and have been assured by the persons and organisations giving this information to us that they believe it to be confidential and would expect to be treated as such.

The public interest in withholding this information outweighs that of releasing it due to the need to protect the openness and confidentiality of academic intercourse prior to publication which, in turn, assures that such cooperation & openness can continue and inform scientific research and debate.

I apologise that your request will not be met but if you have any further information needs in the future then please contact me.

David Palmer

June 4 Holland Appeal

Dear Mr Palmer,

Your Ref: FOI_08-23 IPCC, 2007 WGI Chapter 6 Assessment Process

Thank you for your letter of 3 June 2008. Your unresponsive reply to my request for information, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and/or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, is not acceptable and I advise that unless we can reach a satisfactory agreement I will appeal to the Information Commissioner on both the grounds you have put forward. Information that I have already obtained has indicated to me that very significant information of great public interest for which the Acts presume disclosure is held by CRU.

I will deal first with the your second reason for refusal, in which you are mistaken.

The information that I am seeking could not conceivably have been given in confidence. The IPCC is an organisation which is governed by internationally agreed ‘Principles’ the reference to which I have given you. The Principles specifically state,

The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change etc.

and

All written expert, and government review comments will be made available to reviewers on request during the review process and will be retained in an open archive in a location determined by the IPCC Secretariat on completion of the Report for a period of at least five years.

All the participants in the process are volunteers and the process can not be open and transparent if any of them are permitted to claim anonymity or confidentiality on any aspect of their work for the IPCC before or after the fact. Moreover all the participants engaged in the process in the knowledge that they would be named. Indeed, for many, the kudos of being named in published documents and having their work cited and attributed to them by name is a great inducement, which the IPCC uses to encourage their participation. In short, all the participants who may be named in the disclosures are in any case already named in the published reports and have actively sought or agreed to be so.

Also pertinent to my request for information is the fact that my enquiries directly concern the responses to the far greater number of volunteer expert reviewers in the IPCC assessment process who provided comments on the first and second draft and for whom the IPCC afforded no anonymity when they published their full names with their detailed comments and the authors responses last year. After that, it would be perverse if documents revealing the authors’ professional consideration of those comments were to remain confidential or had names redacted in breach of the internationally agreed Principle of openness and transparency, either on account of their alleged wish or right to confidentiality, or a narrow interpretation of the Acts.

The public interest in the assessment of climate change science clearly and entirely outweighs any consideration of confidentiality were you able to rely upon it. It also outweighs any cost considerations. If the issue of confidentiality is disposed of, the need to redact names is also removed. The redaction of email addresses in this matter, as seems to be the FOIA practice, is entirely pointless as, for professional reasons, most if not all IPCC participants publish them on the Internet and, should I wish to, I could easily find any that did not.

If you accept the foregoing, you are overestimating the issue of assembling the relevant documents as I have every confidence that Drs Briffa, Jones, Osborn and others, of necessity and for their own convenience, will have carefully structured the archiving of their IPCC emails and any paper documents separately and will be able to supply them to you in minutes. If they have not done so and it really is a problem I shall argue that it is not an excuse professionals should be able to deploy to avoid legitimate disclosure or the Acts will too easily be circumvented.

I am keen to avoid the need to press this matter to appeal and hope that we might find a satisfactory way forward. My initial direct and specific approach to Dr Briffa did not yield the results that I wished for, or the cooperation that other IPCC participants have felt it proper to offer. I hope you will reconsider and put into the public domain all the documents pertaining to the IPCC AR4 WGI assessment process. This is any case will be the least cost option for the public purse as well as being the correct thing to do according to the Principles Governing IPCC Work.

Yours sincerely,
David Holland

June 20 Re-iterated Refusal

Dear Mr Holland,

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 – INFORMATION REQUEST (Our Ref: FOI_08-23)

Further to your appeal received 4 June 2008 against the Refusal Notice of 3 June 2008 and my response of the same date, I am writing to update you on the appeals process as it applies to this request.

We have had extensive discussions regarding this matter and considered the grounds of your appeal closely. I am not convinced, however, that the points you raise would persuade me to reverse the position stated in my letter of 3 June.

Specifically, any requested correspondence that we have received that is not already in the public domain clearly, in our opinion, meets the common law test of confidentiality and is subject to s.41. Additionally, further investigations have not revealed any reason to change my estimate that the appropriate limit would be exceeded for the recovery, assembly & review of the requested material.

Given all the above, and the nature of your request, I can see no way in which your request can be resolved informally. Therefore, in order to expedite the process, I am hereby initiating the second stage of our internal complaint process as laid out in our Code of Practice for Responding to Requests, and referring this matter to Mr. Jonathan Colam, Director of Information Services. As per our commitment in our Code, Mr. Colam will respond to you within 28 calendar days of referral of this matter, effectively, by 18 July 2008.

All information in my file on this matter has been passed to Mr. Colam for his review and he will advise you of the outcome of this review as appropriate

For your information, the complaint process is within our Code of Practice and can be found at: http://www1.uea.ac.uk/polopoly_fs/1.2750!uea_manual_draft_04b.pdf

If you are dissatisfied with the final adjudication of your complaint by our internal complaint process, you have the right of appeal to the Information Commissioner at:
[standard language]

OK, CRU says that they have “been assured by the persons and organisations giving this information to us that they believe it to be confidential”. OK, what “organisations” are we talking about here? The only organization in question is IPCC, whose procedures require that comments be public. Is IPCC interfering at CRU off the record to prevent CRU from releasing supposedly open comments?

207 Comments

  1. Jim Edwards
    Posted Jun 20, 2008 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

    If I were Keith Briffa and somebody showed me that initial request letter, I’d tell the information officer that the applicant is asking for ten years or more of correspondence. This might give CRU the basis to claim that “the appropriate limit would be exceeded for the recovery, assembly & review of the requested material.”

    While the beginning of the first request talks about Briffa being a lead author on 4AR, the actual request language does not limit itself to that report.

    All letters, facsimile and email correspondence to or from Drs Briffa and Osborn in connection with their work as an IPCC Lead Authors, including, but not limited to correspondence between them and the following individuals involved in the assessment: …

    … I am also asking for copies of any internal CRU correspondence in connection with the IPCC WGI assessment process and discussion of IPCC Principles, rules, or procedures.

    Was Briffa [or Osborn] a lead author on TAR or an earlier report ? Even if not, were there discussions about the possibility of his being one on an earlier report ?

    The position of CRU seems to be similar to the concept of “overbreadth” in freedom of speech cases. When the government passes a law that attempts to regulate protected speech, the law’s void – even against unprotected speech; if you ask for too much, you get nothing.

    I think this element of the refusal could have been avoided if the request had stuck to Briffa or Osborn and specified two or three month window of correspondence. After the documents are received, then it’s OK to go back and ask for another three or four months worth. If you send 99 requests in parallel, my memory of this topic from ~ 2yrs ago was they can bundle the requests and treat them as one. In that case, they’d be able to argue, again, that “the appropriate limit would be exceeded for the recovery, assembly & review of the requested material.”

  2. Pat Frank
    Posted Jun 20, 2008 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

    It looks like a carefully worded stonewall to me. What is an “appropriate limit” of cost, for example? David Palmer doesn’t give an estimate of cost, nor a range of acceptable costs. He just offers his subjective conclusion that this non-disclosed limit would be exceeded, and then renders his dismissal. Palmer’s argument is entirely specious.

    Further, I don’t see how emails and correspondence can possibly be “environmental information” under any rational definition. Environmental information includes such things as water resources and the state of soils. Emails and correspondence are matters of record, not of environment.

    Therefore the entire transfer of David Holland’s FOI request out of FOIA and to EIR regulations, the latter of which are likely bureaucratically set, strikes me as a bald and self-serving attempt to destroy and render powerless the FOIA, both in spirit and in fact. That is, Palmer’s transfer from FOIA into EIR is again a subjective dictate resting completely on his own personal recognizance and is no more than a self-serving bureaucratic stratagem.

    I’m also suspicious of the appeals process, because it merely ascends a ladder of bureaucrats all of whom are very likely committed to their own internal dynamic of mutual support and protection.

    There needs to be an external and autonomous inspector’s office to which these appeals should go. I also think David Holland should begin sending letters to Mr. Palmer on Lawyer letterhead, and point out to Mr. Palmer that documented evidence of willful obstruction and a false application of inappropriate rules and standards consistent with an intent to suborn a lawful request may be personally actionable.

  3. Mark_T
    Posted Jun 20, 2008 at 11:50 AM | Permalink

    Seriously, I can’t believe they destroyed their documents. Has any other organization that worked with the IPCC on climate change done this?

  4. Jim Edwards
    Posted Jun 20, 2008 at 11:57 AM | Permalink

    CRU’s “confidentiality” argument is also interesting. In many ways, the “confidentiality” position – if it’s the real position, and not made up to stonewall a single FOI request – is a good thing for civil liberties. Notice the reference to protections in the common law:

    Specifically, any requested correspondence that we have received that is not already in the public domain clearly, in our opinion, meets the common law test of confidentiality and is subject to s.41.

    Does a person give up their rights to privately communicate with friends and colleagues, just b/c they have a gov’t job ?

    The baseline for CRU appears to be that UK common law protects Briffa’s privacy rights. David Holland can argue Briffa, et Al. consented to publication when they voluntarily joined the IPCC process, but that will not be enough. UK law may require an explicit waiver of the confidentiality rights in question.

    IPCC’s promise to make comments available does not count as Briffa’s promise to do the same. If lead authors signed a pledge, agreeing to “abide by the policies of the IPCC,” this may also not be enough. That would implicitly, not explicitly, bind Briffa to waiver of confidentiality.

    The argument that would probably work is that participating in the IPCC is part of Briffa / Osborn’s jobs. That would, presumably, take the desired communications out of the realm of confidentiality. We can reasonably presume he’s being allowed to do IPCC work while he’s at his CRU desk, being paid by CRU.

    It would be interesting to use FOIA to get Briffa, et Al.’s job descriptions – and to see if there have been any official commendations or awards by CRU for work done at IPCC. Maybe Briffa’s boss wrote him an e-mail allowing him to take on IPCC as part of his workload ?

    Holland concedes in his June 4 appeal that Briffa, et Al. were volunteers, not employees. Then he makes a logical ‘public policy’ argument that will not defeat individual rights to privacy.

    All the participants in the process are volunteers and the process can not be open and transparent if any of them are permitted to claim anonymity or confidentiality on any aspect of their work for the IPCC before or after the fact.

    I would argue, instead, that UK (and CRU, specifically) are early and fervent supporters of the IPCC process, that it is one of the goals of the UK (and CRU, specifically) to assist with the IPCC process, and that Briffa / Osborn were PAID by the UK to work as lead authors. They weren’t hired to do so, specifically, but these are not janitors. They are expected to have flexible job responsibilities to help CRU achieve its goals.

  5. Jim Edwards
    Posted Jun 20, 2008 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

    #2, Pat Frank says:

    Therefore the entire transfer of David Holland’s FOI request out of FOIA and to EIR regulations, the latter of which are likely bureaucratically set, strikes me as a bald and self-serving attempt to destroy and render powerless the FOIA, both in spirit and in fact.

    The way I read their numbering system, as of May 2008, CRU has had 23 FOI requests [FOI_08-23], but this is the first request they’ve deemed to classify as falling under EIR [EIR_08-01]. I wonder what everybody else is requesting ?

    One thing that’s very interesting is that Palmer tells Holland it isn’t a FOI request, it’s an EIR request. Palmer then proceeds to treat it as a FOI request. Are FOI and EIR appealable to the same agency ? If not, Palmer may be sending Holland on a wild goose chase. Holland may appeal it as FOI, then be told, “Why didn’t you appeal it as EIR, we told you at the beginning FOI didn’t apply…”

  6. Harry Eagar
    Posted Jun 20, 2008 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

    OK, so why not resubmit a much smaller request?

    Instead of 10 years, how about six months? Or a specific document?

    And see what happens.

  7. MarkR
    Posted Jun 20, 2008 at 6:57 PM | Permalink

    I think there is some mistake here.

    The May 6 letter makes it clear that FOI rules don’t apply as it is Environmental Information, and thus subject to the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR). This letter creates two case numbers under both Acts.

    The subsequent June 3 Refusal Notice replies to the FOI request, and is not appropriate because the FOI does not apply.

    In my view, they should have replied under the heading of the EIR within the Statutory time limit (which is also 20 days), and they have not done so.

    Therefore the next step is to inform them of their mistake and to give notice that an Appeal will be made.

    By the way the EIR gives enforcement powers in the event of non-compliance.

    any person to whom this paragraph applies is guilty of an offence if he alters, defaces, blocks, erases, destroys or conceals any record held by the public authority, with the intention of preventing the disclosure by that authority of all, or any part, of the information to which the applicant would have been entitled.

    (2) Subject to paragraph (5), paragraph (1) applies to the public authority and to any person who is employed by, is an officer of, or is subject to the direction of, the public authority.

    (3) A person guilty of an offence under this regulation is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2004/20043391.htm

  8. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 20, 2008 at 7:12 PM | Permalink

    #7. You’re right about the EIR. Its exemption language is a little different.

  9. Nicholas
    Posted Jun 21, 2008 at 2:32 AM | Permalink

    Specifically, any requested correspondence that we have received that is not already in the public domain clearly, in our opinion, meets the common law test of confidentiality and is subject to s.41.

    Isn’t the whole *point* of Freedom of Information laws to allow people to force organizations to make documents public which aren’t?

    They seem to have come up with their own “Catch-22″ rule – if you don’t already have access to the document, you can’t ask us to give it to you, because by the very fact you are asking that means it’s “confidential”.

  10. Smokey
    Posted Jun 21, 2008 at 10:46 PM | Permalink

    I am sorry to have to point this out to Steve and others, but the plain fact is that these people are stonewalling, and the only way that the information requested will be provided is with the threat of legal action.

    Nothing else will result in the release of the requested information. Nothing.

    It’s a sad fact, but true. It’s the way of the world. I hate it as much as anyone, maybe more.

    But if a significant donation is required, put me at the top of the list. Plenty of others will sign on as well, there is no doubt of that; there are still a lot of ethical people in this world.

    We’re with you 110%, Steve.

  11. Posted Jun 22, 2008 at 6:03 AM | Permalink

    Isn’t the whole *point* of Freedom of Information laws to allow people to force organizations to make documents public which aren’t?

    You’ve not had very much experience with the UK Civil Service, have you?

    They seem to have come up with their own “Catch-22″ rule – if you don’t already have access to the document, you can’t ask us to give it to you, because by the very fact you are asking that means it’s “confidential”

    We’d better go right to the top and ask Sir Humphrey:

    “There seems to be little point in declaring things to be confidential if people can see it if they ask for it, is there? It makes a nonsense of the idea of “confidential””

    Well there you have it.

  12. MrPete
    Posted Jun 22, 2008 at 6:07 AM | Permalink

    Nicholas, YES!!! I think you have noted the key to this whole sorry episode.

    How long will it take them to wake up and realize that this logic is specious:

    Specifically, any requested correspondence that we have received that is not already in the public domain clearly, in our opinion, meets the common law test of confidentiality and is subject to s.41.

    Indeed.

  13. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 22, 2008 at 6:44 AM | Permalink

    #12. There’s a nuance here that rises a little above pure Sir Humphrey (though not much) and needs to be argued. As expressed here, the Sir Humphrey policy did not apply to all documents, only to “correspondence that we received”. But this will hardly do what they want. For what it’s worth, the Met Office, while hardly forthcoming, has already produced correspondence that is not already in the public domain, so CRU is taking an even harder Sir Humphrey line than the Met Office.

  14. Stan Palmer
    Posted Jun 22, 2008 at 7:13 AM | Permalink

    http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/opengov/eir/guidance/confidentiality.htm

    Confidentiality and the Environmental Information Regulations

    This is a document from DEFRA in the UK which indicates how confidentiality may arise and explains the tes to determine if a document is to be released.

  15. Stan Palmer
    Posted Jun 22, 2008 at 7:21 AM | Permalink

    http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/library/freedom_of_information/detailed_specialist_guides/awareness_guidance_2_-_information_provided_in_confidance.pdf

    UK guidance on confidentiality requests under FOIA.

    Note especially, that the breach must be “actionable”. This is distnct from the EIR regulations where the breach need not be.

  16. Stan Palmer
    Posted Jun 22, 2008 at 7:25 AM | Permalink

    An interesting question to ask Mr. Palmer would be how confidentiality arose in this case. Teh FOIA regulations seem quite explicit. It is difficult to see how discussions between two academics can be seen as similar to doctor/patient, priest/confessant etc. relationships. This is especially opaque if the discussions were not private and academic in nature but part of a UN and UK government sponsored public process.

  17. Posted Jun 22, 2008 at 5:52 PM | Permalink

    “All written … review comments will … be retained … for a period of at least five years.”

    The FAR reports were released in April 2006. One nasty trick used by the New Hampshire “Child Protective Services” is to drag out the court process until an eighteen month foster care period has elapsed and then put up a child for adoption under a federal accelerated adoption policy designed to keep kids from languishing in foster care.

    So, less than three years before they can discard the data you want and not have to sound at all apologetic. Ah well, the glaciers may be growing well by then.

  18. john
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

    Be patient. This is the UK? The requested information will be left on the 5:06 from Brighton. Car #6.

  19. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jun 23, 2008 at 12:25 PM | Permalink

    After reading that if it is not already in the public domain it must be confidential I laughed so hard…really. Do they write these things with a straight face? That is what FOI is FOR. And the argument that they would have to redact parts of correspondence about IPCC between two government scientists…what possible government secrets could there be here?

  20. Posted Jun 27, 2008 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

    Steve- this is just stunning arrogance on the part of the IPCC reviewer. snip – too angry

  21. Posted Jun 27, 2008 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

    snip- sorry, I ask people not to discuss policy matters here. I’m not online 24-7 and am not entirely consistent, but there are many other places to discuss policy and few to discuss the issues raised here.

  22. Posted Jun 27, 2008 at 1:16 PM | Permalink

    snip- seems to me that every post above mine is discussing policy- but regardless- just remove all my comments and any links to my site in my profile- not interested in postign comments on a site that destroys statements much in the same way the IPCC destroyed their reports- seems you can leave your comment about my post being’ angry’ but not my explanation that my post was not any ‘agrier’ than the snippit you left? Again- just remove my comments altogehter- thanks

  23. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jun 27, 2008 at 1:29 PM | Permalink

    Ah, comeon CottShop. Mentioning policy is not discussing policy. The rules are “Steve McIntyre reserves the right to remove inappropriate comments without warning.” and while we don’t always like what’s removed, hey, they’re his rules. Sorry.

  24. Posted Jun 27, 2008 at 1:53 PM | Permalink

    not questioning his right to do so, I simply stated I don’t care to have my posts editted for reasons which aren’t true, didn’t use foul language, didn’t call anyone names, didn’t even insinuate anyhtign that could be construed as even slightly sketchy. if he wishes to do so then I prefer not posting here or being connected in any way to the blog- I explained truthfully that my post wasn’t any agrier than what he left posted, and then he changed his reason for editting my post to a ‘policy’ reason. That’s fine- just don’t care to post here if that’s goign to be the case- not gonna tiptoe tryign to guess what might and mioght not be allowed- especially hwen it seems to change as it does.

  25. jeez
    Posted Jun 27, 2008 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

    Take a chill pill dude. Being Zamboni’d is a proud tradition around here.

  26. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Jun 27, 2008 at 3:56 PM | Permalink

    Re: #9

    Isn’t the whole *point* of Freedom of Information laws to allow people to force organizations to make documents public which aren’t?

    From what has been revealed by the posts at CA on this matter, I would have to say “not exactly”. FOI seems to be used to give the appearance of what you suggest, but the wording/interpretation seems to be constructed to allow a rather arbitrary judgment of individual cases based on what someone might think is in the public and government interests. For my purposes and as a practical matter, they allow someone to pursue the matter through FOI and that allows me to determine how sincere the body controlling the information being sought is about making their processes transparent. I think one should be allowed to think the worst when information is withheld in a lawyerly manner. In the case of the IPCC, I see no conspiracies, but their responses to FOI do tend to confirm my image of them as a politically aware organization marketing immediate mitigation for AGW.

  27. steven mosher
    Posted Jun 27, 2008 at 6:02 PM | Permalink

    COTT, listen to jeez and samU. many of us old timers have been snipped or sent to the penalty box. It’s Steve’s house. Hang around, you’ll get the rules. and don’t take it personally. dang if I counted the times I’ve been snipped I’d run out of fingers and toes and jeez’s fingers and toes. and he has six fingers per hand

  28. Posted Jun 27, 2008 at 11:35 PM | Permalink

    Nobody is stonewalling. The process is less formal than you’d like. The documents you want probably never existed.

    Most established climatologists didn’t seek controversy in their career choice. The model of the culture as secretive, manipulative and selfish is not a good explanation of the facts.

    You say the IPCC is too important to be treated casually? As are the claims of climatology? I for one agree with you on this point, though I am quite convinced they are giving you the right answer with about the right nuance. Fixing this will require a new climatological culture, but it will also require a lot more money, for the same reason that medical research costs more than botany.

    Formal processes are intrinsically expensive, and they also reduce the attractiveness of the work, implying greater compensation.

    The reason you can’t see this is because you have tried to convince yourselves that we are all about the money and are well-funded. Alas this is not the case.

    Such a change will in fact attract different people as well as different methods. Something will be lost in the process, and an eye to preserving as much of the collegial culture as possible is also worth considering.

    Am I saying, “we are in trouble, send money”? Not really. I don’t think climate science is first order important as of now, as the big picture is pretty clear. It’s those of you who don’t trust us who should be willing to invest in the matter.

    I suggest recruiting people from other sciences who don’t have a dog in the hunt. But I’m afraid you’ll get the same answer you always do. The sensitivity to CO2 doubling on a century time scale is about 3 C. Sloppy methods or not we have this thing nailed. Now you can let us keep thinking about our angles and pins, or you can hire somebody to replicate our work.

    All your huffing will lead to nothing except delay, delay which many of us are seeing as beyond unfortunate and verging on tragically stupid. The number is about 3 +/- 1. The shape of the curve is more or less hockey-stickish. Cope.

    You’d be much better off turning your attentions either to more intellectually interesting questions in climate or toward low carbon technologies and adaptations. But if you insist on your sport of sniping at our informality, if you insist that we become more formal, you need to invest a lot of money to train us and/or replace us, because we weren’t trained as MDs or pharmacologists or (a few exceptions like myself notwithstanding) as engineers.

  29. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 12:16 AM | Permalink

    #28. Puh-leeze.

    “The documents you want probably never existed.”

    Well, we know that is false for at least one document: Ammann sent his comment on chapter 6 directly to Briffa. “All written …expert comments” are supposed to be archived in an open archive under IPCC rules. But CRU has stonewalled on including the Ammann comment in the IPCC archive and Ammann has purported to refuse consent. Instead of railing against us asking IPCC and IPCC contributors to comply with their rules, why don’t you write to IPCC and Ammann and ask them to comply with their rules, rather than acting like prima donnas as though they are above the law.

    Likewise, I don;t believe that John Mitchell acted for several years as a chapter 6 Review Editor without a single email to any IPCC author. Mitchell’s claim that his email correspondence was “personal” rather than the property of the Met Office is ludicrous. Instead of lecturing us, maybe you should write Mitchell and tell him not to say things that make climate scientists look bad. Don’t blame us because Mitchell acts inappropriately.

    Climate scientists need to take some responsibility when people in their field behave irresponsibly. HAve you written to Lonnie Thompson telling him that he should archive his results top to bottom? Didn’t think so.

    The reason you can’t see this is because you have tried to convince yourselves that we are all about the money

    I’ve never suggested this. Show me a single quote. What is the purpose of simply fabricating stories like this?

    The shape of the curve is more or less hockey-stickish. Cope.

    Perhaps, perhaps not. As far as I’m concerned, the Hockey Stick articles are defective for a variety of reasons discussed at length. The issues are not hard to understand, but climate scientists seem unwilling to admit the obvious. IT’s been sometimes said to me – if the HS is not correct, then situation is much worse than we think. My reaction has consistently been – well, then people other than me should spend a little time assessing whether the HS is correct. If the situation is worse than we think because the HS is wrong, then we should know this and not thank people who withheld relevant statistical information into to promulagate their conceit.

    The sensitivity to CO2 doubling on a century time scale is about 3 C. Sloppy methods or not we have this thing nailed… The number is about 3 +/- 1.

    I would be interested in what you regard as the best reference laying out the derivation of 3 C from doubled CO2 in a coherent and comprehensive way, starting from the infrared physics and continuing through the various issues in water vapor feedback. Unfortunately, the IPCC does not do this. I’ve asked many visiting critics for a reference and to date have been unsuccessful in obtaining one. One scientist said that this was too “routine”. I, for one, have never suggested that this particular result is incorrect or unreasonable, but I would like to work through a detailed calculation for myself and so far I’ve been unable to locate a reference in which the calculation is done in a way that rises above arm-waving.

    Some readers conclude that the seeming inability to provide such a reference suggests that the result is incorrect; that’s not a conclusion that I’ve drawn. But I do like to work calculations through for myself. Unfortunately, in the papers that I’ve examined in detail, the standard of work is not high. Perhaps the situation is different in other branches of climate science. But I can’t vouch for it from personal experience one way or the other and, to the extent that the papers that I’ve examined constitute spot checks of the work in the field, they do not give a good impression either of the original authors or of the process of review and self criticism in the field.

    If climate scientists such as yourself spent less energy telling other people what to do and more energy doing their own jobs well, perhaps you’d find that your message got through more clearly than it seems to at present.

  30. kim
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 1:27 AM | Permalink

    28 (MT) Michael Tobis contemplates his navel and finds that it is good; just as his peers said it would be.
    ===============================================================

  31. kim
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 1:43 AM | Permalink

    28 (MT) What the heck does a ‘century time scale’ have to do with climate sensitivity to doubling of CO2?
    ============================================================

  32. Stan Palmer
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 2:47 AM | Permalink

    The shape of the curve is more or less hockey-stickish. Cope.

    As a true laymen and asking a real question — How would you know this?

  33. John F. Pittman
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 7:06 AM | Permalink

    #28 I read some of your site with interest. And it does appear with your academic training that you could be one who could provide CA with the derivation for the effects on temperature for doubling CO2.

    However, I am at a loss to explain your claim that

    At present, we are faced with organized and funded people who cherry-pick any possible indication that concerns about AGW are overblown.

    Are there some sites you would reccommend? I have looked at RC, Lucia’s, Watts, Tamino’s, and others. However, these sites seem to concentrate on the nuts and bolts of specific issues, including what constitutes “cherry picking”, not an organized, well-funded effort to say AGW is overblown.

    I would hope that you would consider that some here may well believe that AGW is not overblown at some level, but expect that such an issue would be have at least a well documented and available “opus”. I would like to read and study such a work, and many have expressed similar interest. Perhaps you could provide it or its loacation?

  34. Jaye
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 8:10 AM | Permalink

    Sloppy methods or not we have this thing nailed.

    Think about that comment in terms of professional engineering. Sloppy methods or not we know that the sky scraper will withstand the spec seismic forces. Sloppy methods or not we know that the flight software on the 787 works correctly. Sloppy methods or not we know that the tail rudder actuator on a 737 will not invert controls when subjected to extreme thermal cycling. Etc, and so forth.

    Do you understand the absolute silliness and nonsensical nature of that particular sentence? I suppose that kind talk comes from somebody who doesn’t REALLY have to make anything work.

  35. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

    MT: even if it really is the 3 deg warming you predict by 2100 (and it isn’t making much progress toward such a rapid warming at the moment) are we really to believe that 3 degrees is such a catastrophe that we should shut down the world economy? or that putting up a few solar panels would stop the warming (if it is to happen)?

  36. John F. Pittman
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 8:40 AM | Permalink

    #34 Jaye, if this is M Tobis

    M.Eng., Systems and Computer Engineering, Carleton University, 1984
    B.Sc., EE, Northwestern Univ. Tech. Institute, 1976

    I would think he would understand about engineering. I think if he would provide the derivation, “slop” and all; it would be appreciated. I know I have had to design equipment with large safety factors…sloppy. Yet still, it worked as designed; even though I was not pleased with the % error I had to use.

    Slop (uncertainty) does not necessarily invalidate an approach, and often it is required in order to give a reasonable estimate of a phenomena. I know I would like to see it laid out, slop and all.

  37. Jaye
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 8:52 AM | Permalink

    Ok maybe its just a semantics issue but for me there is a big difference between “sloppy methods” and designing for uncertainty or increasing a margin because some part of the problem is not completely understood. As you have intimated there is “hand waving” and there is “engineering judgment” that is documented in some form.

    Also, “understand about engineering” is not a classroom phenomena.

  38. Bernie
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 9:02 AM | Permalink

    “Sloppy methods or not we have this thing nailed.”

    This is simply a cry to “trust us” and to reject the notion that those involved in cliamte science need to be accountable for their pronouncements and to the well-established norms of publicly funded scientific research. Such a statement also undermines the value of peer review and essentially supports Wegman’s charge that no real review is taking place because most of those involved are complicit in endorsing “sloppy methods”.

    This is very sad and disturbing if MT plays a significant role in Climate Science.

  39. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 9:26 AM | Permalink

    Hey Guys, this is pretty typical of what we’ve seen when a Climate Scientist comes here and decides to post. It’s usually a sign that the person hasn’t made the distinction between Steve M and those who reply on a regular basis. And beyond that the distinction between the regulars who rely on the scientific method and those who want to talk politics, economics, or their pet theory and the like. Given that we’re relying on almost 300,000 comments and over 3000 main posts, this isn’t much of a surprise, but it would be nice for someone speaking up to show a bit of humility as to knowing what people here believe. Of course I’m assuming Mr. Tobis is serious in his statements instead of just wanting to stir up things in the trolling mode to obtain some hateful responses to take home as trophies.

  40. Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 9:54 AM | Permalink

    Interesting responses. Thanks all.

    I am not sure I have the time or energy to take up residence here to try to explain the nature of climatological understanding as I perceive it. It’s easy to see it becoming a consuming task. On the other hand I’m very tempted, because it seems there aren’t a lot of people who see both sides of it.

    The state of academic science is what it is for a number of reasons. Climatology is unexceptional except in having to deliver some very disconcerting news. You may argue that the nature of the news is such that climatology becomes higher stakes and needs to be reorganized and formalized. I have a great deal of sympathy with that position, and in that regard among others I’m an outlier within the field. Note, though, that such endeavors are expensive and prone to failure.

    The ‘opus’ that exists, the response to a need for an organized presentation, is the IPCC WGI reports. For all its flaws, the IPCC consensus process and its reports are an interesting and useful achievement.

    These in turn refer to the primary literature, understanding of which requires a few dozen semester hours of study. I don’t know of any serious science in which it is otherwise; if you want to know where the strong and weak points are you need to study the material.

    That all said, I would think Annan and Hargreaves’ analysis of the sensitivity would be to your taste. http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2006/2005GL025259.shtml

    The network of trust on which human progress is based is badly frayed these days. I don’t think Climate Audit has made matters any better, but I understand that trust can;t be manufactured on demand. All I can do is state that I have complete confidence in the intellectual competence and moral integrity of those leading figures in the field I have been privileged to work with, among them, most notably in this context, Ray Pierrehumbert. I have little expectation that my opinion of Ray’s talents will sway you. Nor do I think my somewhat different intellectual strengths put me in a strong position to defend the likes of Ray when push comes to shove, as it likely will around here. I simply don’t have the depth of understanding of planetary atmospheres that he does. So when I express trust I simply get put in with those you distrust, and am accused of navel-gazing.

    It’s a problem. People are demanding forms of “proof” that aren’t well suited to the problem area. Atmospheres are complicated and interesting beasts; atmosphere-ocean-ice systems (of which we have only one non-simulated instance) the more so. They aren’t unknowable, but predictions about large experiments on a specific system will always be contingent.

    That all said, both Pierrehumbert and Archer among others have endeavored to produce college level textbooks explaining some of the issues. I refer you to the “online textbooks” section on the left column of Eli’s site: http://rabett.blogspot.com/ .

    I am not influential enough within the field to effectively push any fixes you might suggest, but it would be interesting to hear about them anyway, to take matters in a less confrontational way. I

    An exception: I am sometimes of a mind to propose an open source climate modeling project aimed at legibility. I’d love to contribute to such a thing and I think I have some sound ideas as to how to proceed, but I’m, honestly, not energetic enough to do so and hold onto my existing work. However, it seems likely that such an endeavor will not suffice to change many minds. It seems in some ways futile, since multiplying the number of people who see the big picture by ten will still leave the population who has some understanding of the system very small.

    Suppose rather than sneering at what is wrong you make some suggestions as to how to set it right, what scale that would require, and who should pay for it.

    I haven’t spent much time here as yet. You will understand that it’s not great fun to be sneered at, never mind to dwell upon the vast confusion and hostility that surrounds the important issues we face collectively at the global level. So I should restrain my generalizations about what obsesses you and what you do about it, though I definitely have some concerns.

    I am not convinced that this site has been entirely constructive, whatever its intentions, but I suppose I can suspend disbelief for a while, just as I would ask you to do about me if we are to engage in a useful conversation. Allow me to state my main concern this once. It is obvious that many people are very pleased every time mainstream climate science is challenged or any time a blip or correction in the direction of cooling is observed, and yet utterly dismissive of anything tending the other way. Some of them do hang around here. It would be nice if someone around here would point out that the balance of evidence remains the balance of evidence and that the century timescale sensitivity is very likely near 3 C / doubling, rather than coddling this sort of onesided thinking. My impression is that this doesn’t happen much. I sure don’t want to take it on by myself, either; it sounds like the Walrus and Carpenter contemplating sweeping the sand off the beach.

    That said, I believe that the concept of an outside audit is sound and I advocate one for the field of economics, so I can’t consistently argue against one for climatology. I’d be interested in constructive ideas as to how we could improve our credibility if our understanding is sound, or test our understanding if it isn’t.

  41. kim
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 10:37 AM | Permalink

    40 (MT) A fair response, but it sounds to me like you are saying the science isn’t settled except for the 2X CO2 = 3 degrees C, which is nailed.
    ============================================================================

  42. welikerocks
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

    re 40 and 41

    That all said, I would think Annan and Hargreaves’ analysis of the sensitivity would be to your taste. http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2006/2005GL025259.shtml

    there’s another one:
    JAMSTEC where they work in Japan

    J. D. Annan and J. C. Hargreaves, Can we believe in high climate sensitivity?, rejected from GRL [pdf] , published without review on arxiv

  43. David Holland
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

    Michael,
    You say,

    The ‘opus’ that exists, the response to a need for an organized presentation, is the IPCC WGI reports. For all its flaws, the IPCC consensus process and its reports are an interesting and useful achievement.

    It may be interesting but its only of real use if nearly everyone believes it and its very close to being right.

    That said, I believe that the concept of an outside audit is sound and I advocate one for the field of economics, so I can’t consistently argue against one for climatology. I’d be interested in constructive ideas as to how we could improve our credibility if our understanding is sound, or test our understanding if it isn’t.

    The same idea will work to improve your credibility if your understanding is sound, or test your understanding if it isn’t. Its called “openness and transparency” in the Principles Governing IPCC Work and thats the what the assessment process should be.

    Will you stand up and be counted? Do you think Briffa should turn over his emails? Do you think Ammann’s IPCC correspondence is Confidential? Do you think Mitchell was acting in person as a Review Editor. Is his IPCC correspondence his person information to keep or destroy as he wishes? And a tougher question, do you think all the studies the IPCC cites should be just as open and transparent? Can we see your code?

  44. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

    you make some suggestions as to how to set it right, what scale that would require, and who should pay for it.

    One of the small suggestions that I’ve made that has caused unwarranted controversy is that authors archive their data and code – something that has been best practices in econometrics for a few years. This requires no additional funding, just a bit better housekeeping and a lot less arrogance on the part of some climate scientists and less passivity by the larger community of concerned climate scientists when a prominent member of your community acts like a spoiled brat. Archiving data does not represent measurable cost to a project. In the paleoclimate area, some scientists have a pretty good record, but others are abysmal – Lonnie Thompson being a prominent example.

    If you want to persuade the broader public, it is also important not to get involved in unwinnable and pointless fights. You are NOT going to win over the public by refusing access data and algorithm details. So, in your words – cope.

    If you don’t care about persuading the broader public, then Mitchell, Briffa, Ammann, Mann, Thompson, Esper, Jones, … the list unfortunately goes on and on … can try to argue that, for example, in Mitchell’s case, despite all the claims by the Hadley Center that the Center contributed to the IPCC and despite Mitchell being paid to go to IPCC meetings, that he did so “personally”, just as Mann tried to argue that his “algorithm” was his “personal” property. I don’t want to be bothered with such disputes either, but equally I’m not going to simply accept arrogance. In my opinion, Mitchell’s claim that his email at his Met Office address with IPCC authors was his “personal” property is false. If the emails were not legally his personal property (and I can’t see how Mitchell’s theory could possibly stand up if tested), then Mitchell converted company property. Corporate executives have got into serious trouble for treating company property as their “personal” property; I like legal puzzles and it’s an interesting legal puzzle trying to think up an explanation of why conversion of company property by Conrad Black is wrong, while conversion of company property by John Mitchell isn’t.

    If you feel that this sort of issue doesn’t “matter”, then write Mitchell and tell him to stop acting like a primadonna. Tell him to take this sort of issue off the table by locating all the relevant IPCC comments and archiving them. I for one would be much happier dealing with something else.

  45. Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

    David,

    I have no opinion about the controversies you raise, not having heard of them nor caring much about them. I find the output of WGI consistent with what I know and what I hear in expert conversation. That is good enough for me and for most scientific bodies. If you distrust them that is between you and them. The quality of the product itself along with some social networks I have as a result of my work is sufficient for me.

    I am willing to “stand up and be counted” for a more formal process in the future but I certainly will not support your harassing serious and decent people doing the best they can in unprecedented circumstances. I am sure it is possible embarass people but that doesn;t mean they are keeping anything besides sloppiness a secret. I promise you, though, that no matter how formal a process you put in place or how much money you sink into it, the picture will still be roughly the same one that emerged around 1990. Feel free to put this to the test, but you will have to find a way to pay for it. For instance, you could put an IPCC bureaucracy in place to enforce document retention standards.

    I am very much of the opinion that all publicly funded software, including word processors used by clerical people in government offices, should be mandated to be open source, with perhaps a very few security-related exceptions. I am happy to share any code I have the right to share. I can’t control university intellectual property offices that are very reluctant to release source, to mention a prominent obstacle.

    If you ask me politely for code for which I am sole author, I will send it, though I expect that may be a minor violation of university policy. If you ask me for code in which I am a participant, the vast majority, the usual intellectual property tangles apply. I agree that in principle you should be able to see it and anything less is not in the spirit of science, but in practice I may not be able to oblige. Nothing about this unfortunate circumstance is particular to climate science, and more under pressure from younger scientists who know better than from the general public it seems likely to eventually change.

  46. David Holland
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 1:28 PM | Permalink

    Michael,

    It is not a matter of opinion. I take it that you would not dispute what the IPCC state on their website as being the Principles Governing IPCC Work. If you accept that, then we are only talking about what “open and transparent” means and I think there is little wiggle room there.

    I do not think you need to know what the “issue” is agree that all IPCC participants should make full disclosure when asked any more than you need to know why you are being asked, to know you should tell the truth. It is a matter of ethics. In the UK is a matter of Law that you respond to the to a request for information under the FOIA rather than ask Susan Solomon.

    With the greatest of respect to you, intellectual property is baloney. From what I see most scientists would give their eye teeth to get cited in the IPCC. Incidentally what was that patentable ingredient in Michael Mann’s code?

  47. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

    For instance, you could put an IPCC bureaucracy in place to enforce document retention standards.

    Michael, again, attitudes are more of a problem than money. I was an IPCC reviewer and asked to see unarchived data for cited papers that were still unpublished. IPCC refused to ask the authors and, when I did so, threatened to expel me as a reviewer when the authors complained back to IPCC. It was not a matter of funding a bureaucracy; in this case, the existing bureaucracy could have effortlessly asked the authors to provide the data as requested. And they should have.

    And please – let’s not have fatuous discussions of word processing software – open source or not. Let’s deal with simple and practical questions about whether Lonnie Thompson and other paleoclimate scientists should archive data.

    And as to policing things, there is already an organization that is amply funded to ensure that data is archived: the National Science Foundation. If grantees can’t show that they’ve complied with federal policy, then no more money. If NSF did their job, 99% of these disputes wouldn’t exist. Unfortunately NSF doesn’t seem to have the faintest interest in ensuring that climate scientists comply with federal archiving policy.

    Econometrics journals have painlessly implemented archiving policies with negligible costs. You’re just making excuses and none of them stand up.

  48. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 2:13 PM | Permalink

    Re: #45,

    If this is indeed one of your first forays to CA, I’m afraid it isn’t a particularly good one to look at to see what all CA has explored. The code and all that is only important for Steve’s being able to do what he most wants to do, reproduce the results of the various luminaries in the Climate Change Community (CCC). When they won’t release their methods and data, it creates an adversarial atmosphere not of Steve’s making.

    Verifying scientific results are practically the sine qua non of the scientific method. Admittedly, Steve is only going into the data analysis of things (for the most part. He did help get some tree ring samples last year just to show it could be done.)

    Steve started out examining the temperature proxy data and found that the data wasn’t even close to being able to prove what was claimed: That present temperatures are demonstrably warmer than any in the past 1000 years. Warmers still claim it’s true, but between the NAS panel, the Burton Committee hearings and the Wegman report, it’s been shown that MBH 9x don’t do the job, and if you are willing to read several dozen head articles here you’ll find that the fall-back position; that there have been more recent papers which do show millennial warming, doesn’t do it either. This is largely do to the fact that the warming comes from using strip-bark Bristlecone and related trees, and / or from cherry-picking certain other proxies which are problematic at the least.

    More recently Steve has gotten involved in decoding the actual instrumental temperature records. That’s largely what has led to the problem being discussed in this thread.

    Many of the other mainstays of CCC have been examined here and few have come of unscathed. This isn’t to say that there’s believed to be some smoking gun which definitively disprove Global Warming, but there is certainly enough doubt to make it important to push the CCC bigwigs to commit to a thorough and rapid examination of the basic problems. Unfortunately the IPCC, which should have been doing this, is instead trying to avoid the issues.

  49. Stan Palmer
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 2:15 PM | Permalink

    I promise you, though, that no matter how formal a process you put in place or how much money you sink into it, the picture will still be roughly the same one that emerged around 1990

    How would you know that?

  50. Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

    I think it is very likely that there are very few engineering and science jobs for which archiving policies do not exist. Archiving has been a part of my career since before I finished grad school. I had to supply two copies of my dissertation for storage and retention by the university or I didn’t get my degree.

    Just this week I ran across the policy for the AGU.

    I’ll venture to say that Michael’s present job has some level of archiving requirements.

  51. MrPete
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 2:21 PM | Permalink

    Michael et al,

    More and more, this big picture discussion reminds me of the Y2K issue a decade ago, which BTW is what triggered me to even look into AGW in the first place.

    Y2K was a very real challenge. A lot of money was spent developing an understanding, and addressing the real issues.

    HOWEVER,

    Many experts made comments far beyond their areas of expertise.
    Many experts developed a personal agenda whether due to financial or socio/political goals.
    It quickly became that few could trust any statement made by anyone.

    Ultimately, y2k was in no way the terror it was made out to be. A few experts tried to speak up and say so, but were drowned out by the media circus fed by other experts.

    Not until it was all over did the furor die down. And no, nobody “paid the price” other than ordinary citizens who had wasted time and money overpreparing for something that really didn’t affect them at all.

    Now.

    Show me how AGW is demonstrably different. For example, show me that the poor cuddly polar bears shown in WWF ads didn’t lose just as much ice cover a thousand years ago, and are not actually more threatened by hunting depradation than by ice-loss. :)

    I agree that these scientists are capable of great work. Unfortunately, a lot of great work gets lumped in with shoddy administration that actually impacts the results… as well as PR campaigns that bias the outcomes.

    It was the same 10 years ago. y2k was real, and was actually well-handled. And then it was over. For all we know, agw may be the same thing — a real issue with outcomes that can’t be predicted because the truth is too well-hidden. Hidden behind unscientific opaqueness.

    Whether due to sloppy or scurrilous motives, I care not.

    I just want to see the truth. Even if the truth is “we don’t really have a clue.”

  52. trevor
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

    Michael Tobis. Good on you for turning up here to express your viewpoint. I, and I am sure many other denizens of CA welcome you, and appreciate your efforts to help us to understand the issues better.

    As the discussion shows, there are many issues, and many of those issues are complex. In order to simplify the discussion, I would like to explore just one statement that you made in your first post:

    The sensitivity to CO2 doubling on a century time scale is about 3 C. Sloppy methods or not we have this thing nailed… The number is about 3 +/- 1.

    I would like to know how you know this with such confidence (I interpret the term “nailed” to mean that you think there is little uncertainty relating to the issue).

    So far as I understand the issues (and I acknowledge that I am a layman in regard to this issue), it can be demonstrated that the sensitivity is of the order of 1 deg C warming for a doubling of CO2 levels and that the increase to 3 deg C depends on assumptions regarding feedback loops which we apparently don’t know very much about.

    Steve McIntyre has, for some time now, been asking for a demonstration of the reasoning and logic as to how the 3 deg number is derived. However, nobody anywhere has yet come forward with a robust and supportable explanation.

    Given that the AGW issue is likely to impose massive additional costs on populations world-wide, surely it is reasonable for those of us affected to ask “how do you know that?”. Maybe you can help the discussion by sharing with us the reasons that you are so confident that the 3 deg sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 levels is about right.

  53. Jonathan Schafer
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

    #28,

    Nobody is stonewalling. The process is less formal than you’d like. The documents you want probably never existed.

    If that were true, then the proper response would be that the documents requested don’t exist, not that they are “personal”. This in fact, admits that such documents do exist.

    Formal processes are intrinsically expensive, and they also reduce the attractiveness of the work, implying greater compensation.

    The reason you can’t see this is because you have tried to convince yourselves that we are all about the money and are well-funded. Alas this is not the case.

    That’s an amazing amount of insight into people about whom you know nothing at all. Everyone here has their own reasons for wanting to see openness and transparency in the science. On the contrary, it is the climate science community who consistently make the claim that skeptics are all about money from big oil.

    Am I saying, “we are in trouble, send money”? Not really. I don’t think climate science is first order important as of now, as the big picture is pretty clear. It’s those of you who don’t trust us who should be willing to invest in the matter.

    You obviously don’t know much about investing. People tend to NOT invest in someone they don’t trust. I’d advise you to stay out of the stock market with that perception.

    I suggest recruiting people from other sciences who don’t have a dog in the hunt. But I’m afraid you’ll get the same answer you always do. The sensitivity to CO2 doubling on a century time scale is about 3 C. Sloppy methods or not we have this thing nailed. Now you can let us keep thinking about our angles and pins, or you can hire somebody to replicate our work.

    All your huffing will lead to nothing except delay, delay which many of us are seeing as beyond unfortunate and verging on tragically stupid. The number is about 3 +/- 1. The shape of the curve is more or less hockey-stickish. Cope.

    This is precisely the attitude of climate science that is a root basis of many of the issues at hand. Your response reeks of condescension. Haven’t you ever heard the phrase you’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar? How many times do we have to sit back while scientists make proclamation after proclamation, only to find out later that their conclusions were wrong?

    You say you have it nailed. Then why hasn’t a clear exposition been published? Anywhere? Steve has asked for one repeatedly, yet no one can provide it. And I’m not talking about the output of one or more flawed gcm’s. I’m talking about a published scientific paper that shows conclusively how you get from A to B, with all the physics, math, statistics, etc.

    However, even if such a paper existed, which no one has shown does to this point, I would be much more interested in a paper which details WHY such a temperature increase would in fact be overly detrimental to the planet as a whole. For the history of mankind, there have been short and long-term climate variations (and well before). Mankind has consistenly adapted to these changing conditions and will continue to do so or die. You can paint all the doomday scenarios you want, but you have no scientific proof that any of them will be realized, and any error bars on such scenarios would be so large as to cover the entire range of possible scenarios, both good and bad.

    I’m not really interested in whether you think these processes are “tragically stupid” or not. I am not willing to follow any pied-piper just because they are convinced something bad may happen.

    Stop the arm waving, the condescending attitude, archive your data, scripts, results, etc. for replication, and that will give us all a good start.

  54. John F. Pittman
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 2:41 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for your replies M Tobis.

    I do not mean to be sneering or confrontational. Though I hope that you would consider that perhaps my being demanding may be not only be acceptable and understood, but expected and even required. And that this demanding part does go with the creditability part. I am not unique, but rather common.

    I am an environmental engineer. I advise my company. I often am part of the technical group that reveiws regulations and laws concerning the environment for industry in my state. At this point, I would in all professional honesty and integrity recommend that the technical group and in fact the business and manufacturer’s organizations, as well as my own organization, oppose any and all laws or regulations proposing the acceptance of AGW as currently presented in the IPCC. I will discuss details if you wish, but it is not because of the fact I don’t like the AGW conclusion.

    I would oppose, since I would be expected to be able to discuss and know much of the basis of the science; and my support would indicate my conclusion that the information and science had been done to the level that is expected of myself and others in my organization. I could not do this in good faith. I know you said cope; however, the sloppy nature would mean that I would put myself and my company at increased economic risk based on a margin of error that would be unacceptable if it came under reveiw. As it would, say if some of the solar guys are right, and temperatures plummet for the next few years or decade.

    Thus I would be put, and am put in the situation of telling the climate scientists to cope with the fact that “it is not ready for prime time.” When I read Hansen’s remarks, I am reminded of a public hearing I went to. A special interest spokesperson was ranting and raving about how all who opposed a certain regulation were criminals, communists, theives, selfish, etc. Upon which most of the attendees insisted on addressing this characterization. At break time, the legislature members who were meeting with our technical group assured us that in no way would they support such conclusions about legitimate business. Upon leaving, several wondered if that spokesperson could be hired to support all proposed regs or laws we opposed, since the committee came out voting 10:1 against, and it appeared that person’s support condemned the proposal. In this respect, the continued stonewalling and other problems that have been well documented on this site indicate to me that opposition to AGW and its proposed costs will continue and will grow. It does not have to be these way, IMO.

  55. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 2:47 PM | Permalink

    I suggest recruiting people from other sciences who don’t have a dog in the hunt. But I’m afraid you’ll get the same answer you always do.

    This is a suggestion that I’ve frequently made. I think that a thorough independent assessment would be of great assistance in the present debate and have encouraged this. The answer may well be the “same”, but it comes with more authority. “Audits” are supposed to come up with the same answer as the business accountants. An assessment on a meaningful scale is not a small job and would cost millions of dollars and take many months of professional effort.

    I regard myself as someone from another discipline who didn’t have “a dog in the hunt”. In respect to the Hockey Stick issues, I disagree that you always get the “same answer” although climate scientists are far too quick to uncritically accept this dogma from realclimate. You can get different answers through trivial variations of proxy selection and, in some cases, even through trivial changes of methodology. So in the area where I have expert knowledge, this part of your assertion is incorrect.

  56. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

    Why should we not just trust the experts? Why should we audit? In the early 1970s, the Club of Rome came out with Limits to Growth which claimed that the world was basicly doomed, that China and India would be shortly starving to death, etc. This was very bad science, and not audited. The authors were absolutely sure of themselves. I would also point out that this site and Watts’ site have uncovered blunder after blunder in the data that shows a trend, both the long term hockey stick and the GISS century long data. It is not yet clear what the final trends will look like, but it seems preposterous to claim that in these two cases “trust us” is a plausible position to take.

  57. Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 2:59 PM | Permalink

    Scientists should indeed archive data and should publish nothing that they themselves cannot reproduce. In some regards this is more difficult than it sounds, (portability, roundoff, sensitivity to initial conditions) but that doesn’t apply to, say, Mann et al type work, where an almost trivial use of a version control system would have avoided a lot of grief.

    This is not a concession on my part. I have agreed with you on this matter for some time.

    This problem is not unique to climate science.

    It is ridiculous to refer to the scientific method as being about “peer review” when not even the authors themselves can reproduce a result. Nevertheless I was never taught anything about keeping records and only late in the game have forced myself (quite independent of any expectation among my colleagues) to become familiar with version control.

    I urge you to look at the writings of Greg Wilson to become aware of how widespread these problems are:

    http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/id.3473,y.2006,no.1,content.true,page.1,css.print/issue.aspx

    On the other hand, the 1 Ka T history still is probably going to look like a hockey stick when all is said and done.

    You can travel over the speed limit and even run a red light here and there and still get to Albuquerque. This isn’t to say you should travel, it takes unnecessary risks, but nevertheless you are more likely to find yourself in Albuquerque than in Cleveland if that was the way you were headed.

  58. Andrew
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 2:59 PM | Permalink

    Steve, I’m beginning to wonder why you get rid of some of my comments. I respect your right to zamboni me out of nowhere-it is your blog-but I don’t think there was anything to offensive about me warning Mike that he may not be able to stand it here, and offering him some references that don’t get the same answers.

    Here they are again:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2007/2007JD008740.shtml

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2007GL032759.shtml

  59. Andrew
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

    58 (Tobis): But that is exactly what disturbs people about environmental sciences-they are “goal oriented”. The answer is pretermined ahead of time and scientists must go down the road to find the “correct” answer.

    How do you know we are on the road to Albuquerque, so to speak? I don’t mean to be bother some, but you should easily be able to convince people of this if it is really so self-evident. Why are things preordained so? TC Chamberlain famously said “The moment one has offered an original explanation for a phenomenon which seems satisfactory, that moment affection for his intellectual child springs into existence, and as the explanation grows into a definite theory his parental affections cluster about his offspring and it grows more dear to him…As this parental affection takes possession of the mind, there is a rapid passage to the adoption of the theory. There is an unconscious selection and magnifying of phenomena that fall into harmony with the theory and support it, and an unconscious neglect of those that fail of coincidence…

    When these biasing tendencies set in, the mind rapidly degenerates into the partiality of paternalism. The search for facts, the observation of phenomena and their interpretation, are all dominated by affection for the favored theory until it appears to its author or its advocate to have been overwhelmingly established. The theory then rapidly rises to the ruling position, and investigation, observation, and interpretation are controlled and directed by it. From an unduly favored child, it readily becomes master, and leads its author whithersoever it will…

    When the last stage has been reached, unless the theory happens, perchance, to be the true one, all hope of the best results is gone.”
    You be very attached to your hypothesis, but it doesn’t mean it is correct. Please keep your mind open if you must keep your mouth open.

  60. Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 3:34 PM | Permalink

    I indeed may not be able to stand it here, but I appreciate the interesting links and would very much like to be convinced that the dangers are exaggerated. Unfortunately even the factor of two suggested by your links doesn’t give us license to dig up all the fossil fuels, though if it pans out would be a welcome release from the present sense of urgency that many of us feel.

    I don’t know as the hockey stick was the goal; the 1 Ka T record was the goal; in my weak analogy the hockey stick is what you found once you got to Albuquerque and not Albuquerque itself.

    I don’t know if it’s correct to include climatology as an “environmental science”. Culturally and intellectually it shares much more with physical/observational sciences, notably geology and meteorology, and to a lesser extent astrophysics.

    We do know how to be skeptical of our our own beliefs and we are constrained by mathematics and physics at every turn.

    It appears that my participation here, particularly as a representative of the conventional wisdom, would be quite time-consuming. The conversation has proven more interesting than I expected. I intend to return when time permits. Time is not feeling especially permissive these days.

  61. Andrew
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 3:54 PM | Permalink

    61 (Tobis): Well I could of course make arguments to drive the values down lower still, but it wouldn’t be convincing to everyone. I am not sure why you think that anyone wants or needs a license to “dig up all the fossil fuels”(hyperbole if I’ve ever heard it) but I think that a reduced sense of urgency would be helpful to finding more rational solutions than those proposed. At the present their are large pro-regulatory groups which are eploiting public fear (however well founded) to push for an agenda that many don’t like. I think nuclear power is great, and the one good side effect of AGW fears is, in my opinion, the positive effect it has had on perception of nuclear power. I also think fossil fuels are not so great, not becuase they harm the planet, but becuase they come from unpleasant countries among other reasons. However, sooner or later fossil fuels will become prohibitively expensive and new technology will replace them. I am not against all “solutions” to global warming but I am also not so supportive of others. But I think that the dialogue would benefit from you not assuming everyone who disagrees with you wants to perpetuate the use of fossil fuels until they are all gone.

  62. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    Re: #40

    The network of trust on which human progress is based is badly frayed these days. I don’t think Climate Audit has made matters any better, but I understand that trust can;t be manufactured on demand. All I can do is state that I have complete confidence in the intellectual competence and moral integrity of those leading figures in the field I have been privileged to work with, among them, most notably in this context, Ray Pierrehumbert. I have little expectation that my opinion of Ray’s talents will sway you. Nor do I think my somewhat different intellectual strengths put me in a strong position to defend the likes of Ray when push comes to shove, as it likely will around here. I simply don’t have the depth of understanding of planetary atmospheres that he does. So when I express trust I simply get put in with those you distrust, and am accused of navel-gazing.

    I think one must seriously contemplate what the commenter’s point is here and thusly judge the commenter’s value going forward in resolving any of the issues raised in this thread. It is not grand statements about the state of affairs of climate science or its scientists that many of us seek, but the nitty-gritty details of the process.

  63. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 5:05 PM | Permalink

    Talent is not the point. The climate scientists can be granted bucket loads of talent, but this does not make them infallible. Let us remember that many grand ideas by brilliant people have turned out to be wrong. Freud swayed several generations, but is now mainly a footnote. Cold fusion was wrong. It was considered a great idea to perform lobotomies on thousands of the mentally ill. The levies around New Orleans and the rerouting of the Mississippi were grand ideas with a less than grand outcome. A sizable number of people would ban all herbicides and pesticides based on no data at all. In any science with limited ability to perform experiments, it becomes easier to fall in love with beautiful theories, but when the policies proposed based on those beautiful theories are non-trivial in their consequences, it is prudent to perform every type of audit and replication of results that is at our disposal. I believe this is our situation.

  64. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jun 28, 2008 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

    I am concerned with Tobis characterization of climate science as sort of sloppy, and that this is ok because that is how science is most of the time. It is true that science can be sort of informal, but any time scientists apply for a patent, claim discovery of a gene sequence or protein structure, are involved in clinical trials, help develop a drug, or do a formal risk assessment, this looseness is no longer allowed. In all such cases others must be allowed to check your work. Why should climate science get a pass on this?

  65. MarkR
    Posted Jun 29, 2008 at 12:38 AM | Permalink

    Tobis. Oh yeah. The wrong method right answer theory. I don’t think so!

    Especially as none of the Warmers methods is correct. Models, reconstructions, tree rings, hurricanes, sea surface temperatures, satellite temps, urban heat adjustments, ice fields, temperature records… It’s all wrong, and you should know it by now.

  66. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Jun 29, 2008 at 12:48 AM | Permalink

    Re Michael Tobis,

    Thank you for participating here. You will mostly find it not adversarial, but questing for objective evidence. You write inter alia -

    I find the output of WGI consistent with what I know and what I hear in expert conversation. That is good enough for me and for most scientific bodies.

    This is a matter of personal capability, as is your feeling of “expert”. You will find many older, experienced scientists and engineers who write on Climate Audit do so precisely because they are dissatisfied with the standard of climate science and they give reasons of good weight. Maybe, as time progresses, you will swing this way yourself.

    Then you write about climate science -

    Culturally and intellectually it shares much more with physical/observational sciences, notably geology and meteorology, and to a lesser extent astrophysics.

    This is probably well-intentioned on your part, but it is hurtful to people who have distinguished records in harder fields like geology/geochemistry/geophysics. For example, there is a great deal of modelling in these, and testing of models. A large difference is a moving system (climate) versus a near-resting system (geology). Geological scientists began modelling a long time ago and their results have many times been validated. Just think of seismic work and oil fields. I remember back to mechanical calculators with handles to pull after each entry, that succeeded spectacularly with new and quite complex models using standard maths and physics.

    Presently, it’s as if climate science was a consumer car entered in a race against a group of Formula 1 machines. Streets behind, and slipping away fast, does not know the rules, will soon be black flagged. Says there is a huge danger from the oil it is spilling on the track. Creates alarm for experienced drivers.

    This type of mental picture is widespread among those I know and respect. I’m not being unfriendly to you or what you wrote; I am merely placing it in the Robert Burns 1786 category of “seeing ourselves as others see us”.

  67. Michael Smith
    Posted Jun 29, 2008 at 8:04 AM | Permalink

    Mr. Tobis, in 40, explained his main concern:

    Allow me to state my main concern this once. It is obvious that many people are very pleased every time mainstream climate science is challenged or any time a blip or correction in the direction of cooling is observed, and yet utterly dismissive of anything tending the other way.

    I agree that objectivity demands that we consider ALL of the data, not just that which supports our point of view. But which side in this debate is working to limit our access to ALL of the data? Which side refuses to release sources and code and methods, etc? Which side has control of the data and unilaterally “adjusts” the data by whatever methods they see fit? Which side has near-total control over the composition of official government reports and decides which studies and which data to release and publicize and which to ignore? Which side truncates series and omits data that diverges from the official position?

  68. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Jun 29, 2008 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

    I have made one more attempt to find meaning in the comments made in this thread by Michael Tobis, if not in content, perhaps in an attitudinal evaluation.

    Tobis makes reference to the potential sloppiness in climate science work while at the same time maintaining a rather cocksure certainty that the end result about measuring past and future AGW, regardless of some sloppiness involved, will remain essentially unchanged. He also has rather transparently revealed his stand on a climate policy for immediately mitigating against any potential AGW.

    I have had a theory for while about some of these climate scientists’ attitudes as exhibited, for example, here by Tobis. It revolves around the amount of uncertainty we are willing to accept in the underlying science findings vis a vis using it to make climate policy. That uncertainty exists in these findings and in some cases is even difficult to estimate, I judge, goes in the end without a lot of contention – outside the show of hands from a consensus group of scientists. If a climate scientist is convinced, as a policy advocate, that AGW mitigation has little in the way of downsides then the uncertainty involved in the supporting evidence becomes less critical in determining policy and here I think that spills over into at least some of their thinking as climate scientists. That thinking further spills over into getting out a scientific message that is perceived as urgently needed “just in case” we are reaching a tipping point in the climate evolution and a benign view of the consequences of getting the message wrong or exaggerating it.

    The question I have asked at this point is: Will this moral, if not scientific, certainty lead to sloppiness in getting out a scientific message to support a final result that is viewed almost as a foregone conclusion. When comparing the potential results of this situation with that of the sloppiness that one might observe in an over-confident athlete, at any level, I would tend to find in the affirmative. Would I necessarily expect the over-confident participant to admit to the situation leading to a bad result? No.

  69. Posted Jun 29, 2008 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

    Although maybe MT did not mean to use ‘sloppy’ in this sense: “careless and unsystematic; excessively casual”, IMO the calls for instant mitigation efforts do in fact seem to be very well described by the dictionary meanings. That is, the calls for Action Now, based on nothing more than the Precautionary Principle are certainly consistent with ‘sloppy’. Why aren’t there more calls for application of The Scientific Method to determine the best paths for both mitigation and adoption? Sloppy or WAGs or EWAGs or even SWAGs are not accepted science and engineering practice when the health and safety of the public are involved. These generally lead to FUBBs, and when people are the primary subjects that will be affected, FUBBs kill.

  70. kim
    Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 5:13 AM | Permalink

    Check out Paul’s latest posting at Marohasy’s blog about the inadequate review process in the IPCC.
    ===========================================================

  71. Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

    I’m still reading.

    I sympathize with some of the points, but remain unshaken about the balance of evidence.

    I am not a person who is satisfied with the state of climate modeling, which is my corner of the endeavor. Much of it is embarassing, and I spend much of my time beating my head against the same lack of transparency, obscure data sources and inadequate testing that you complain about. I assure you I could do as good a job ranting about it than any of you. See:

    http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2007/12/excised-paragraphs.html

    http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2008/01/ncar-vs-google-place-your-bets.html

    http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2007/12/why-is-climate-modeling-stuck.html

    Nevertheless I think the evidence from the models is compelling that the sensitivity is on the order of 3 C / doubling and that this fits in with other evidence.

    I think the widespread and spreading misunderstanding about the balance of evidence is a consequence of a number of unfortunate twists in the history of this issue (which I would like to avoid calling a “debate”) among which the rather confrontational approach of the CA community is not a minor aspect.

    There is a great deal at risk in presuming that a process that is flawed is the same as a process that is worthless. In the present case the consequences may be nothing short of tragic. Is this site about improving the estimate or about collecting evidence to shift the estimate to the lowest possible value?

    Do people here want to delay action until it is possibly too late, or do you want to make the best possible use of information?

    I am sure you, by which I mean people who hang around on this site, claim the latter, but that is not how it looks to us in the trenches.

    We needn’t be flawless to have useful knowledge.

    By denying the need for significant policy action even today, most of you dismiss the state of current knowledge as almost totally inadmissible; some of you seem to think we are hardly better than astrologers. This is hidden under a veneer of civility but it’s sometimes quite rude, contributing to the lack of civility in the conversation. More to the point, if you promote that belief and it’s incorrect, your actions run the risk of being nothing short of spectacularly destructive.

    Steve: Oh, puh-leeze. For merely having the temerity to make dry statistical criticisms of Michael Mann, Mann called me “dishonest”. Did you stand up for me? Nope. But when I stand up for myself, you call it “confrontational”. Caspar Ammann and UCAR put out press releases that all our results were “unfounded” even though Ammann’s code showed that Mann’s verification r2 was ~0, exactly confirming our results and likewise confirming our results on the dependence on bristlecone pines. Like Mann, Ammann’s first draft withheld the adverse verification r2 results. I was a reviewer and asked Ammann to report these results. He refused. I met with him in December 2005 and told him that he had an obligation to report the results; he still said that he wouldn’t. I said that he seemed like a nice young man, but I wasn’t going to idly stand by while he withheld adverse results and I didn’t. But I had to file a misconduct complaint to get him to report this – confrontational perhaps, but I gave Ammann every opportunity to do the right thing without any public confrontation and he was the one that elected to push the matter to a confrontation.

    In that lunch, I observed to Ammann that our codes reconciled and that, in my opinion, the climate science community would have far more interest in a joint paper n which we reported what we agreed on, what we disagreed on and how one would go about reconciling any disagreements. I suggested a 2-month armistice while we attempted to draft such a paper and, if we were unable to do so, we could go back to square one. He said that this would be bad for his “career advancement”. I sent him emails confirming the offer on multiple occasions and he did not even deign to reply. So if you want to allocate blame for subsequent confrontations, you’d better get your facts right – something unusual for a climate scientist, I realize – and spend a little energy criticizing Ammann and Mann – which I haven’t noticed on your part. Any confrontation subsequent to December 2005 has been entirely their decision. So don’t blame me and don’t blame Climate Audit.

    I’ve never suggested that policy be deferred pending perfect certainty. Business people make decisions under uncertainty all the time. But scientists should stop using the “big picture” as an excuse not to deal with the details. I have also made it clear that merely because particular papers are flawed and the promoters of these papers seem like jerks doesn’t mean that there is no ore in the mine. All it means is that any proof lies elsewhere not there is no conceivable proof.

    In terms of statistical professionalism, the people purporting to derive 1000 year temperature histories from Graybill’s bristlecone chronologies and such things do not, in my opinion, have minimal scientific credence. Maybe the 1000 year history is HS-shaped, maybe it isn’t. But the handling of proxies by the Team is not a safe or scientific way of deriving such a conclusion. Ordinarily I do not permit the use of the word “astrologer” on this blog. But it’s very hard to have much confidence in the 1000 year histories and the IPCC’s handling of the 1000 year history issues was very biased and unsatisfactory, adding little credibility to the institution. Despite their abysmal performance on a matter on which I have intimate knowledge, I’ve repeatedly said, that if I had a big policy job, I would rely on advice from formal institutions, such as IPCC, rather than any views that I might have personally (and I’ve said very little on the “big picture” other than unsuccessfully seek an adequate exposition.)

    Perhaps the HS issue is totally irrelevant to policy issues. I was the only IPCC reviewer to consider this possibility. Other scientists seemed preoccupied by getting their names in print. As an IPCC reviewer, I suggested that, if this contentious area was irrelevant to policy, then the entire section should be removed from the IPCC report with a short comment for continuity explaining its exclusion. This sensible suggestion was rejected. Don’t blame me for this IPCC decision. However, since they decided that it was relevant (a “consensus”, I guess), I will continue to discuss the issues,

    I also distinguish between processes being “flawed” and being “worthless” and have taken care not to extrapolate from one to the other and readers here are aware of these cautions. However it would be my advice to you that participants in the “flawed” process should be moving heaven and earth to identify and remedy the flaws, rather than denying the flaws and making matters worse by sometimes engaging in ever descending spirals trying to conceal the flaws. You’re better off admitting whatever flaws are in the process right off – list them yourself and get it behind you – rather than denying the flaws and then just looking foolish as the skin is peeled off. And you should discourage your colleagues from trying to fight unwinnable fights – people should archive their data, archive their code; if they are IPCC officials, they should comply with IPCC policies on archiving all written comments. Let the chips fall where they may. You should be a loud and public voice of criticism on these matters.

    If the science is correct, then it will stand up. IF the matters are as important and as urgent as you say, then you should not let the egos of people like Mitchell, Briffa, Mann, Thompson etc be an impediment to making the case that you think is important. You should be writing them and telling them to take these issues OFF the table, that they are not helping anyone by their stubbornness. Have you done this?? Didn’t think so. Why don’t you try looking in the mirror for a change?

  72. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 3:32 PM | Permalink

    Re: #72

    Certainly even a very condensed version of “Why I believe what I believe” would be better received here than a proclamation of “You should be afraid – very afraid”.

    I can only speak for me when I say I have major fears of the unintended consequences of the mitigating actions that are likely to be presented for AGW, no matter how nobly presented or morally intoned.

    What I also see you missing here is that many of the more serious participants here simply enjoy analyzing papers and processes much in the puzzle solver mode that Steve M follows and appears to enjoy.

    When it comes to policy, the lead man, Steve M has not taken a stated advocacy position. Some other participants have policy positions that can be inferred indirectly and probably varies with individual all over the map. I suspect that you over rate the influence of the analyses and comments coming out of this blog in stalling any mitigation for AGW. The people that will most influence those decisions in the end will be the voting constituencies of the politicians.

    Fear tactics used for that purpose may work just as it can in getting a nation involved in wars, but I think to sustain that action will take something more substantial, and particularly so when the amount of mitigation required is fully acknowledged and understood and the adverse effects are being experienced by the voters.

  73. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

    Michael:

    Certainly the current state of the science of climate change is not condusive to gathering the proper way to proceed. Regardless of the reasons.

    We are not the enemy.

    Having read some of your blog posts, I get the impression you are basically of a like mind to many of us here, but perhaps you have a bit too much of an emotional interest in the state of affairs, looking out from the inside and all. It must be frustrating. Perhaps assisting Steve in ascertaining exactly what’s going on (that I get the impression is being swept under the rug in many cases) might help to reflect more positivley upon the science.

    My personal belief is that the answer is really “We don’t know anything, but we think it’s getting warmer, and that might be bad.” But really, in the end, it doesn’t matter, because regardless we need to try and keep our air and water clean, advance science in the areas of both energy and space travel, and in general find a way to develop better renewable sources of power and promote health, wealth, welfare, disease and famine control, and peace for all the citizens of our blue globe. We should be focusing on those things rather than spending endless time debating the particulars of some model or minutia of radiative forcings and the like.

  74. steven mosher
    Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

    RE 72. SteveMc. If your were a pHd from Iowa Tobis would cut you some slack
    and ask why you were angry

  75. Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

    As a grunt worker or as a blogger, I don’t know that I have an obligation to back or not back you up on any given issue.

    What I have to say about Mann is

    1) that almost everybody else in the field is coming to conclusions not dissimilar to those of Mann et al., leading me to believe that whatever the rigor of the statistics he wrote down, the intuitions that went into the conclusion were reasonably sound.

    2) while Mann’s inability to replicate his own results reflects badly on the computational sophistication of his lab, that is sadly typical of science as a whole

    3) Every field can huff and puff endlessly about works in other fields that touch on theirs. The understanding of the climate system that is apparent in papers in ecnomics or biology is no better thna the understanding of statistics in climate papers. Again this is an aspect of the sorry state of science and the existing fiefdoms. Statisticians want to be consulted on everything, but there are neither the funds nor the competent statisticians to go around

    4) I have no opinion about bristlecones, not having studied the matter. I don’t think that an error of this sort merits a congressional investigation of the fellow making the mistake.

    That’s all I know about it.

    With regard to your story, I am sorry to say it does not sound implausible in the abstract. However, I wasn’t there and can’t vouch for your version of events as they involve real people and real events.

    What does or doesn’t constitute “good for career advancement” is a real issue. On the one hand, I’m not sure I’d want to coauthor a paper with you either! I don’t think there is a scientific obligation to do that.

    Without prejudice to the case in question, about which I have no information besides your version of events, that doesn’t justify fudging data. Scientists have a special obligation to truth ahead of other virtues, including “career advancement”.

  76. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

    Michael Tobis, I think when it comes to the nitty-gritty of climate science of which many of us here striving to learn more, you will be of little help. Your approach to the issues here seem far removed from the science and more in line with a nuancing policy advocate.

  77. jeez
    Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

    We have to do something!

  78. Jaye Bass
    Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 4:25 PM | Permalink

    that almost everybody else in the field is coming to conclusions not dissimilar to those of Mann et al., leading me to believe that whatever the rigor of the statistics he wrote down, the intuitions that went into the conclusion were reasonably sound.

    With “everybody else” using roughly the same set of proxies. Go figure. GIGO.

  79. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 4:37 PM | Permalink

    that almost everybody else in the field is coming to conclusions not dissimilar to those of Mann et al., leading me to believe that whatever the rigor of the statistics he wrote down, the intuitions that went into the conclusion were reasonably sound.

    Nope. None of these studies stand up to scrutiny. I’ve spent quite a bit of time on the matter and am fully familiar with each and every one of these studies. While you may or may not wish to take my word for it, you’d be incorrect to presume that I am unaware of these other studies and have not fully considered their views.

    What does or doesn’t constitute “good for career advancement” is a real issue. On the one hand, I’m not sure I’d want to coauthor a paper with you either! I don’t think there is a scientific obligation to do that.

    If any corporation had been offered a fig leaf, such as the one that I offered to Ammann, they would have been duty bound to take it as far as it could go. The HS issue was already a sore one for IPCC, if only because of its use by TAR. They should have done whatever they could to get it behind them. It’s not a matter of what Ammann “wanted” – it’s a matter of what would be most constructive for IPCC. Ammann’s obligation was to report this offer to his superiors and their obligation should have been to urge him to do absolutely do so. So why didn’t this happen? Did Ammann fail to report the offer to Otto-Bleisner? Or did he check it out with Mann and get an earful of rage? Or did he just keep it to himself? In terms of achieving organizational objectives, the offer should have been taken. It has nothing to do with either Ammann or me personally.

  80. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 4:39 PM | Permalink

    I also must mention that I have arrived at similar conclusions to those of Pielke Jr and Sr and many others, though a careful consideration of the information and behavious from all involved.

    My take is that land-use changes are the most important issue, the population growth coupled with technology in a cycle is the ultimate cause of everything, the anomaly is not the best way to track energy levels, and the debate needs to be about what to do and not why to do it.

  81. MrPete
    Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 5:26 PM | Permalink

    Michael T,

    The “consensus” is why I raised the specter of Y2K. There was a vast public consensus on that issue as well. And the vast majority were wrong. Dead wrong. Some of us were as outspoken as we could be, but still were mice screeching on a rock stage :)

    Care to join me in the mountains of Colorado this summer, and see some Bristlecones for yourself? Maybe we can follow up last year’s adventure with a 2008 edition. Steve has proven that Strip Bark Bristlecones, plus one other proxy, account for essentially the entire HS shape. Perhaps you need to see for yourself what a bit of “amateur” diligent field work was able to discover, that leads us to great caution about BCP-based HS shapes.

    I have not been out to prove anything other than discovery of the truth. I would love to invite more people to join in.

  82. steven mosher
    Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 5:37 PM | Permalink

    Why does the term “mealy mouthed” come to moshpit’s head?

    sorry random thought.

  83. Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 5:42 PM | Permalink

    Steve says:

    “it’s a matter of what would be most constructive for IPCC. Ammann’s obligation was to report this offer to his superiors and their obligation should have been to urge him to do absolutely do so. So why didn’t this happen? Did Ammann fail to report the offer to Otto-Bleisner? Or did he check it out with Mann and get an earful of rage? Or did he just keep it to himself? In terms of achieving organizational objectives, the offer should have been taken. It has nothing to do with either Ammann or me personally.”

    This strikes me as peculiar.

    Ammann does not “work for” IPCC. As I understand it, nobody is in the employ of IPCC aside from a part-time clerical staff borrowed from the WMO. If you think an organization of such importance should be funded to a greater extent, you will not find me disagreeing, but as it stands it’s essentially a volunteer efforts as I understand it. Believe it or not, participation is considered prestigious in certain circles, but that’s about the size of it. I don’t believe anyone anywhere owes institutional loyalty to IPCC WGI.

    Nor does Ammann work for Bette in the sense that he is obligated to clear publications (never mind non-publications) with her. I doubt that the offer was perceived in terms of “organizational objectives”. I certainly would not report such an offer to my supervisors if I were disinclined to follow up on it.

    Finally, I don’t think there is an obligation to publish anything. Ammann’s career (I just looked) seems very far removed from dendrochronology and mostly about aerosol modeling.

    While the idea that there is a herd mentality is worth considering, the idea that there is some imposed tight discipline is not.

    Scientists are essentially soloists, and institutions are talent agencies that do well when their talent succeeds, but the coupling within institutions is much looser than you imply. The dominant institutional imperative is funding, and IPCC provides none of that directly.

    I’m sure it’s like this in the US: I think it’s pretty similar elsewhere.

    What does get published needs to be fair, but no scientist is obligated to be involved in a publication that doesn’t advance their own interests. Maybe that’s a bad thing, but it’s peculiar that you expect otherwise.

  84. jeez
    Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 6:14 PM | Permalink

    The sky is falling!

  85. M. Jeff
    Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 6:16 PM | Permalink

    Michael Tobis, June 30th, 2008 at 5:42 pm says:

    … no scientist is obligated to be involved in a publication that doesn’t advance their own interests.

    Shouldn’t that read … no self-serving scientist … ?

    No moral obligations?

  86. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 6:25 PM | Permalink

    Those moral imperatives seem to make a major metamorphism when some climate scientists remove their policy advocacy top hats and put on those science caps that evidently are pulled over the ears and tied under the chin.

  87. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

    #84. Your arguments here are highly inconsistent. On the one hand, you say that the problems facing the world community are important (a point that I agree with) and make woebegone statements about this blog having an adverse impact (a point with which I disagree). Personally I happen to believe that a vigorous exchange of ideas of the type encouraged here advances rather than deters knowledge. I emphasize process rather than conclusions.

    But while you are quick to criticize people here, you give a pass to scientists – even ones employed by UCAR – on the basis that they are “soloists” and should not be expected to be “involved” in something that “doesn’t advance their own interests”.

    Don’t misunderstand me – I’m familiar with the ways of the world and I understand all the practical reasons why Ammann wouldn’t want to be party to a joint article that went a long way to settling the HS dispute. But before you criticize me and readers here, you should reserve a little contumely for soloists who have permitted the advancement of their personal interests to damage the public perception of the climate science community as a whole. I refer to my offer to Ammann, because it was a classic example of someone putting his personal advancement first. BTW if you are going to persist in making personal criticisms, I request that you do not merely shrug your shoulders and say that my account may be “plausible” but you weren’t there. See if Ammann contradicts any particular (just as Von Storch asked Phil Jones to confirm his famous “25 years invested” comment.)

    Many of the other cases in controversy are of this type – scientists putting the “advancement of their own interests” ahead of concerns about public perception of the openness and transparency of the development of climate policy. If Mitchell were concerned about openness and transparency, he would not make the doomed argument that he participated in IPCC in a “personal” rather than “official” capacity.

    Before you come here and criticize me and my readers, I think that you should spend a little time thinking about the “soloists”. Maybe if the “soloists” spent a little more time thinking about the communal goals that you hold important and a little less time thinking about “advancing their own interests”, you’d come here with cleaner hands and more credibility. You can’t ask my readers not to have their say, when IPCC authors put the “advancement of their own interests” ahead of openness and transparency and you don’t criticize them.

  88. Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 7:24 PM | Permalink

    MT at 76:

    2) while Mann’s inability to replicate his own results reflects badly on the computational sophistication of his lab, that is sadly typical of science as a whole

    Are you saying that most scientists cannot replicate most of their own work?

    Thanks

  89. henry
    Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 7:31 PM | Permalink

    snip – please hold your horses on this.

  90. Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 8:43 PM | Permalink

    Re #89, stay tuned for the upcoming issue of IEEE Computers in Science and Engineering on the topic of reproducibility. Most scientists do not know how to work computers very well.

    If you can;t wait, see http://itc.conversationsnetwork.org/shows/detail3682.html for instance. Or http://www.johndcook.com/coombes.html . Or http://preprints.stat.ucla.edu/301/301.pdf . Or http://sepwww.stanford.edu/sep/jon/reproducible.html . Or http://rsf.sourceforge.net/Reproducibility , which is a project that I work on.

    Re #90, probably a better bet to start with preindustrial, since we are rather far from equilibrium at present. You know, there are other factors at work, though. I don’t believe you can find a case where the ice configuration was as it is now with such a CO2 change, for starters. That’s a big confound. You know if it were that simple you guys wouldn’t be arguing so much. I hope.

    Re #86, #87: Scientists of course have moral obligations and some of us take them seriously. I have not heard the other side of the story until now (I just got something in email that confirms my expectation that Ammann’s version would differ drastically) so again I would not presume to speak on the present story. The number of occasions when someone “offers” a shared publication where signing on would constitute a moral obligation must be very small though. I know of occasions where desperate scientists fake results or more commonly steal other people’s results but I don’t know of a single case of willfully withholding one’s own important results. I can’t even imagine a situation where that would be a temptation! What a strange fantasy! It’s just not a case worth mentioning.

    I suppose you made that up to try to make me look like an advocate for selfishness, but it’s really a weak effort because you have to implicitly concoct such a bizarre fantasy. As a swing in the endless game of gotcha I call that a miss. As far as civil conversation goes, I have to hope you don’t treat people you meet in person like that. Steve advises me in email to focus on the more reasonable responses but they seem rather scarce. Does someone have a civil word for me?

    Steve: you say:

    I don’t know of a single case of willfully withholding one’s own important results. I can’t even imagine a situation where that would be a temptation! What a strange fantasy! It’s just not a case worth mentioning.

    You don’t seem to have paid any attention to the Mann and Ammann stories. Mann withheld his own important (and failed) verification r2 statistic for steps other than AD1820. Mann eventually was reduced to denying that he even calculated the statistic (“that would be a foolish and incorrect thing to do”) even though MBH98 Figure 3 shows verification r2 for the AD1820 step where it passed and his source code, when produced, showed that it was calculated in the same step as the RE statistic. So “withholding one’s own important results” is hardly a “strange fantasy” or something that someone “made up” or “concocted”. It’s what Mann did. As I’ve mentioned, Ammann did the same thing in his first submission of Wahl and Ammann while having the cheek to say that our results were unfounded. And when asked by a reviewer to produce the disputed verification r2 statistic, Ammann refused. The verification r2 was only produced after an academic misconduct complaint. You seem to regard this account of the behavior by Mann and Ammann as a “bizarre fantasy” that I “concocted”, but I can assure you that every statement is documented.

  91. Bernie
    Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 9:05 PM | Permalink

    Michael T
    Are you saying that the email that you received from an unnamed source has first hand information on this topic and indicates that Ammann found a R2 significantly greater than zero and that Steve’s results are wrong?

    As for reproducibility – I cannot think of anything more essential for scientific progress. We are after all not talking about reproducing exact results, simply results that do not differ significantly.

  92. Jaye
    Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 9:50 PM | Permalink

    (I just got something in email that confirms my expectation that Ammann’s version would differ drastically)

    Are you kidding me? A mysterious email? Confirming an “expectation” based on what? Self serving would be the kindest insult I could come up with.

  93. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 30, 2008 at 10:55 PM | Permalink

    Here is my email of Dec 13, 2005 to Caspar Ammann. Ammann can try to give another side of it, but the plain language of the email is 100% consistent with my account. Re-reading it, it is a very sensible suggestion. Ammann did not even have the courtesy to send an email declining the offer. As noted in the email, the session chairmen thought that the suggestion was an excellent one. So once again, in my opinion, it is very inappropriate for you to reproach me for being “confrontational” with these folks, when I’d offered a solution and they preferred to escalate the confrontation. Perhaps they didn’t anticipate how the hand would play out, but they were the ones that chose to play it to the end. Yeah, yeah, they had no obligation to accept the offer, but by failing to accept the offer, they are the ones who deserve your reproach. But we haven’t seen you reproaching anyone at realclimate. Just us – why is that?

    Anyway here’s the original email. There aren’t two “stories” to tell. There are only my emails. Ammann never responded.

    Dear Caspar,

    It was a pleasure meeting you at the AGU convention. I would like to confirm the offer and suggestion that we discussed and in which you indicated serious interest.

    Re-capping briefly: in my view, the climate science community has little interest at this point in another exchange of controversial articles (and associated weblog commentaries) and has far more interest in the respective parties working together to provide a joint paper, which would set out: (1) all points on which we agree; (2) all points on which we disagree and the reasons for disagreement; (3) suggested procedures by which such disagreements can be resolved. Because our emulations are essentially identical, I think that there is sufficient common ground that the exercise would be practical, as well as desirable.

    Following our meeting, I happened to meet the chairmen of our AGU session (Beltrami and Gonzalez-Raucen) and discussed this concept with them, since they were familiar with the matter and because it resulted in part from our joint participation in their session. Both of them expressed their support for such an endeavour in the strongest possible terms.

    Accordingly I propose the following:

    (1) we and our coauthors (McKitrick and Wahl) attempt to produce a joint paper in which the above three listed topics are discussed;

    (2) We allow ourselves until February 28, 2006 to achieve an agreed text for submission to an agreed journal (Climatic Change or BAMS, for example, would be fine with us), failing which we revert back to the present position;

    (3) as a condition of this “ceasefire”, both parties will put any submissions or actions on hold. On your part, you would notify GRL and Climatic Change of a hold until Feb. 28, 2005. On our part, we would refrain from submitting response articles to GRL or Climatic Change or elsewhere and refrain from blog commentary on the topic.

    In our discussion, you expressed preliminary support for the idea, but noted a practical concern that you have already applied the present submissions for your evaluation at work. Under the circumstances, I am confident that your supervisors would be extremely pleased by your “bridge-building” efforts and I would be very surprised if there were any adverse effects. Indeed, from my own experience, I would expect the exact opposite. If any communication from me would assist in this administrative matter, I would be happy to do so. Be that as it may, I am sure that issues of personal advancement will not stand in the way if you endorse the proposal on other grounds.

    If this is agreeable to you, please advise by next Monday. I think that it is quite possible that we can achieve a constructive outcome that will be a credit to all parties if we work cooperatively on this. If not, then there is nothing lost by the attempt..

    Cheers, Steve McIntyre

    On Dec 19, 2005, I sent the following reminder:

    Dear Caspar,

    I have not yet received any acknowledgement or response to the proposal made last Tuesday. I would appreciate it if you would do so. Regards, Steve McIntyre

    On Dec 20, 2005, I forwarded a copy to Eugene Wahl. All emails were cc’ed to Ross McKitrick.

    In January 2006, after a furthr unsuccessful attempt to elicit a response, I posted a contemporary account at Climate Audit.

    Also as noted in the letter, I discussed the offer with our session chairmen (Beltrami and Gonzalez-Raucen), who can at least confirm that I reported the discussion to them at the time.

    I’d love to hear Ammann’s “drastically different version”. Is Caspar going to deny the offer? Inquiring minds want to Ammann’s side of the story. This is the fellow that won’t even provide the Supplementary Information to his publications.

    And Michael, get off the fence a little: in my opinion, this was a very fair and reasonable offer. If you think otherwise, then justify your opinion.

  94. MJW
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 2:55 AM | Permalink

    “Back off, man. I’m a scientist!”
    –Dr. Peter Venkman

    Excusing scientists for being slightly sloppy soloist, or accepting a hypothesis because lots of people have a good feeling about it, may be fine if the matter under discussion is, say, gill development in salamanders; but as Craig Loehle correctly points out above, the rules are stricter when money or lives are on the line.

    I find it rather arrogant for climate scientists to advocate policies that will have a trillion dollar impact on the economy, yet resent demands for transparency for their data and methods.

  95. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 5:03 AM | Permalink

    snip – hold your horses

  96. bernie
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 5:48 AM | Permalink

    This thread indicates yet again the power of keeping good, clear records and a willingness to be transparant. Steve has taken the high ground, I suspect Michael T , if he is smart, to simply retreat. If he is smart and polite, he will apologize.

    Note to self: In order to avoid a probable a*** whipping, avoid factual arguments with Steve M. and always be polite when disagreeing.

  97. Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 6:04 AM | Permalink

    re: #91

    MT, many, and I can’t say all because I haven’t read all the links you provide, of those concepts are SOP in engineering, and have been for decades. I can say that this trivial example, found as a link in one of the documents you cite, very likely would not have occurred in my industry.

    Steve: #98. Dan, all your link shows is that errors can occur. I don’t see any point in saying that such an error would or would not have occurred in your industry. Examples of error abound in industry as well.

    In my opinion, the issue that should concern climate scientists and policy makers relying on climate science journal articles is whether there is adequate due diligence and whether systems of due diligence can be improved. These are both large topics and ones that climate scientists have shown negligible interest in. In my opinion, one simple and inexpensive way of improving due diligence is to require authors to archive data and code as a condition of reviewing an article for a journal. This is already done in econometrics at negligible costs so I have no sympathy whatever for whining from paleoclimate scientists about who’s going to pay for this. By archiving data and code, anyone interested in the results of an article can experiment quickly and easily without having to give up because of a lack of data or inexplicable methodology. In many cases, such scientists are in breach of federal or journal data archiving policies. Of course, if a third party tries to hold them accountable, then all too often someone like Michael Tobis accuses them of “harassing” the poor climate scientist that caused the problem in the first place, thereby himself becoming part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.

  98. henry
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 7:08 AM | Permalink

    I don’t know of a single case of willfully withholding one’s own important results. I can’t even imagine a situation where that would be a temptation! What a strange fantasy! It’s just not a case worth mentioning.

    You don’t seem to have paid any attention to the Mann and Ammann stories.

    Or, for that matter, the Thompson ice core story.

  99. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 7:32 AM | Permalink

    #95. At a CCSP workshop in which Susan Solomon was a presenter, I asked her why the IPCC did not require authors seeking to be cited (and authors WANT to be cited) to sign a declaration consenting to archive their data as a condition of citation. The concept is borrowed from securities prospectuses where authors of qualifying reports have to consent to the use of their report and its availability to the securities commission.

    Her excuse: that would be interfering with journals. Well, boo hoo. The expectations on IPCC are different than those of journals. IPCC is both entitled and obligated to set its own standards, which may be higher than those of some journals. But the field is so full of self-congratulation that they fail to see the wisdom of even such simple hygiene.

  100. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 7:39 AM | Permalink

    Re: #91

    Steve advises me in email to focus on the more reasonable responses but they seem rather scarce. Does someone have a civil word for me?

    MT, I think most of us here are beyond hearing the AGW gospel according to Michael Tobis or even that nice lady, Judith Curry, for that matter, or most any other climate scientist. Why do so many climate scientists, but not all, come here to preach and not teach and then get bogged in issues of civility and the like. I am very selfish in wanting to learn and add to my knowledge base about climate scientist by having climate scientists talk science — the other stuff I have covered.

  101. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 8:23 AM | Permalink

    re 91. civil words for MT.

    You like Bob Wills and Texas swing so you have good taste in music. ” i’ve seen miles and miles of texas”

    Samuel Delaney. I actually met samuel long ago when I taught literature. At the conferences in Irvine. Him and Zalazny (sp) interesting dude.

    You like Python that is cool, and jazz.

    And Leonard Cohen.

    You can call me al

  102. M. Jeff
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 8:37 AM | Permalink

    Kenneth Fritsch, July 1st, 2008 at 7:39 am says:

    Why do so many climate scientists, but not all, come here to preach …

    Some come to preach in an elitist manner, but as they learn more and become aware of the level of expertise often manifested here, they experience an epiphany and are less demagogic in their posts?

  103. Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 8:55 AM | Permalink

    Re #98; I agree with Dan’s point without reservation.

    I also somewhat agree with Steve’s comment to 98, but only to the extent that standards should not be enforced retroactively. The costs of reproducibility are minor and the benefits are vast. The costs are nonzero, though. A certain amount of training and discipline is involved. The problem is more onerous the larger and more heterogeneous the source data, which makes it more difficult than in econometrics. Lacking a time machine you can’t enforce reproducibility in the past, and trying to do so is uncollegial and unhelpful.

    The reason that my confidence in the basic outlines of climate science including climate change prognoses is unshaken despite these problems is that the discipline is so tightly coupled; this coupling serves a function comparable to regression testing. Outlying information is usually found to be problematic in conception. Truth in climatology holds together the same way truth does in engineering or physics. This consistency is something that cannot be clearly visible to those whose approach is to start at the bottom and work up. Mistakes as severe as the one in Dan’s link don’t persist near the core interests of the discipline.

  104. Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 9:00 AM | Permalink

    Steve at #98.

    The specific error that I looked at was a sign error in a piece of software. One main subject of MT’s links was replication of results given the evolution of hardware and software over time. The V&V and SQA procedures and processes that are the subjects of many of my comments have been designed and developed to address these specific issues. Identification and repair of errors and maintaining reproducibility across different hardware and different versions of the software. Some of the computer software that I have worked with are required to produce the same results as calculated from over 25 years back in time. And this of course applies to all front-end and back-end processing of text and graphics.

    So, while errors occur in all industries, the specific problem included in one of MT’s links has been successfully attacked and solved, in the several areas that I am familiar with. And additionally have been in place as SOP for years and years.

    And yes, archiving code and data and in-detail documentation of everything are the most important parts of the processes.

    Apparently even those journals that require archiving of data that are used in producing a published paper have yet to realize the extremely simple fact that software code and associated input and output files are all data.

  105. bernie
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 9:19 AM | Permalink

    Michael
    Your comments are becoming more surreal. If the players involved in climate change research continue to rely on the same unarchived data and methods, the issue is not imposing standards retroactively but currently. If Hansen came out and said, I have no documentation on the adjustments we make and continue to make to the land temperature record – people would stop listening. The issue is not reproducibility per se, but transparency both then and now. Your excusing their past and current behavior simply aggravates the situation because it is denial of the obvious. (Is that your intent?)

    As for your consistency (i.e., tightly coupled)= truth argument, I know hardly where to start. Do you ask yourself how others are likely to react to what you write?

  106. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 9:49 AM | Permalink

    #104. Let’s try to build on something where we are in total agreement. Finding common ground is always a good start.

    The costs of reproducibility are minor and the benefits are vast.

    Agreed. Next point.

    I also somewhat agree with Steve’s comment to 98, but only to the extent that standards should not be enforced retroactively. … The costs are nonzero, though. A certain amount of training and discipline is involved. The problem is more onerous the larger and more heterogeneous the source data, which makes it more difficult than in econometrics. Lacking a time machine you can’t enforce reproducibility in the past, and trying to do so is uncollegial and unhelpful.

    I understand all this and these points are of very unequal merit. Let’s start with paleoclimate data – where I doubt that anyone will contest my familiarity with underlying data sets. These are all small data sets in byte terms and there is nothing difficult about archiving the data – certainly nothing “more difficult” than econometric data sets. Both are trivial to archive if the author decides to do so. There is an excellent facility for archiving paleoclimate data operated by NOAA, which I have endorsed at every opportunity (ask Bruce Bauer of WDCP), so bear this in mind when you claim that I fail to make suggestions on how to improve things.

    I agree that there’s a difference between grandfather data and current data. But you can’t use this as an excuse not to do anything about present data and thereby continue to accumulate problems. Why is non-archiving tolerated for 2008 papers?

    Next, some non-archiving has occurred in the past because authors did not comply with standards that were in effect (but not enforced due to flaccid administration by NSF). I submit that just because NSF failed to catch the authors at the time doesn’t mean that they get a permanent get-out-of-jail card, any more than the IRS has waived its position on your 2005 tax return. Authors are subject to any federal policies that applied at the time of their grant. The 1991 federal policy covers a LOT of situations presently in dispute and enforcement of the 1991 federal data archiving policy would resolve 90% of the data archiving problems that bother me. I spend a disproportionate amount of time asking agencies and journals to enforce their own standards – something that they seem very reluctant to do in climate science. Indeed, I’m just as critical of the agencies for not doing their jobs than I am of the scientists for taking advantage of the flaccid agencies.

    In the rare case that would not be covered under an existing policy properly enforced e.g. Thompson’s 1987 Dunde data (as opposed to his 2000 data) – a contract administrator has many levers when a non-compliant author comes for more money. He could say – OK, you beat me on the last contract, but you’re making me look bad. If you want to keep doing business with us, archive your Dunde data and then come and talk to us. There are lots of things that could be done if people wanted.

    Is getting Thompson to archive his past data “uncollegial and unhelpful”. Well, boo hoo. If you want people to get behind the policies that you’re advocating, then the process is going to have to be “open and transparent” – as IPCC governments set out in their requirements. Privately, I’ve found that many climate scientists agree 100% with my points about archiving and Thompson, in particular, but can’t say this publicly.

    I’ve not suggested that my particular findings on the HS show that concern about climate change is unwarranted. People say to me – “if the HS is wrong, then the situation is much worse than we think”. My response to this is – well then, we should find out if the HS is wrong and give no thanks to the people who withheld adverse statistics that showed that their statistical claims were wrong, and that I shouldn’t be the only person looking at the matter in detail.

    On many practical policy issues, Hansen and I (and many other people) are in agreement. I’m glad that Ontario has over 50% of its electricity from nuclear and, in my capacity as a Canadian citizen, I support the construction of new nuclear plants rather than new coal plants in Canada. But that doesn’t mean that Hansen’s GISTEMP code should be free from scrutiny or that Thompson shouldn’t have to archive data.

  107. Ross McKitrick
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

    Hello Michael. I appreciate your willingness to comment at CA. If you want a crash course on the issues relating to the hockey stick you might try the first 2 links at http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/trc.html .

    I gather from the above comments that you arrived here with a narrative in your head that goes something like this: Climatologists have conclusively shown CO2 levels are dangerously high and rising; the IPCC painstakingly chronicled the science then communicated this result to policy makers; a bunch of oil-funded rightwingers in the US government have been running interference by promoting pointless disputations and launching witch hunts against scientists; some ill-informed interlopers fill up blog sites with red herrings, trivial gotchas and nasty insults directed at respected scientists; meanwhile the noble experts can only toil patiently to advance the science and hope that society will adopt the deep emission cuts we need before it’s too late.

    I hope you will understand that a very different narrative can be held in good faith, i.e. based on a wealth of supporting counter-evidence. The narrative in my head goes roughly like this: Climatologists can’t say how the full climate system will respond to increased GHG levels but there is good reason to suppose the response will continue to be small amidst all the natural sources of variability; the IPCC conveys a lot of good information but at its core it has been captured by an agenda-driven group who cherry pick and distort at the expense of proper scientific balance; politicians and their staff keep learning about credible, published science that contradicts the alarmist point of view, and since they never learn about such findings from the IPCC, the CCSP, their Environment bureaucrats or the mainstream media they have learned to listen to other sources; sites like CA and Watts are finding where the bodies are buried with such regularity that they are changing peoples’ minds; scientists who try to wish away the bone-crushing costs of CO2 abatement, and simply expect the world to switch off fossil fuels overnight are going to be disappointed when they see the post-Kyoto decade play out much like the Kyoto decade.

    It is inevitable that there is a lot of talking past each other when people have such incommensurable premises, so I do admire your willingness to come and read what’s posted here.

  108. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre said: “You can’t ask my readers not to have their say, when IPCC authors put the “advancement of their own interests” ahead of openness and transparency and you don’t criticize them.”

    It does seem on Michael’s blog that he has criticized various people and actions. Why he doesn’t do it here more, I’m rather at a loss. As he said: “Scientists have a special obligation to truth ahead of other virtues, including ‘career advancement’.” Perhaps taking those that jest with jousters to task here might be more productive.

    I am not a person who is satisfied with the state of climate modeling, which is my corner of the endeavor. Much of it is embarassing, and I spend much of my time beating my head against the same lack of transparency, obscure data sources and inadequate testing that you complain about. I assure you I could do as good a job ranting about it than any of you. See:

    excised-paragraphs ncar-vs-google-place-your-bets why-is-climate-modeling-stuck

    Michael said: “Does someone have a civil word for me?”

    Are you seriously claiming we have on the most part as a whole been uncivil? I appreciate you being here, and attempting to clarify things, but like Caspar Ammann and others, you seem to be unwilling to work in a cooperative manner for the betterment of the situation. Follow up on the ideas above, here. Many of the visitors here, scientist or not, are willing to work cooperatively, why not join them? For an agnostic realist like myself, it’s clear who is not acting in a manner that gives one a warm fuzzy. It seems we are perplexed somewhat that you can’t see what’s pretty plain better.

    “lack of transparency, obscure data sources and inadequate testing ”

    Well, complain about it more.

  109. Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 11:51 AM | Permalink

    Steve, you move directly from a point of agreement to a point of disagreement.

    It is one thing to insist upon the modest mount of formalization to implement modern standards of repeatability in computation in the future. It is quite another to demand it retroactively, which essentially requires many orders of magnitude more work, and would cause science essentially to grind to a halt.

    I don’t think that sort of thing happens in the private sector. If the corporation finds it has need for some archival data, it will expend the necessary extra resources to extract it from the mess left behind by the less adept predecessors. The idea that no expense should be spared until every byte is neatly tabulated and cross-references does not enter into the matter.

    In the present circumstances, there is some question as to who gets to declare a bit of legacy information important. Personally I think the community itself is competent and trustworthy in that regard. Most of you disagree on one or both points. Fair enough: as I often say I do not trust the processes of the economics community so I must give you permission to distrust the processes of mine. The question is how to address this.

    Because skills and processes in the past were informal, recreating any particular bit of information can take as much or in some cases even more effort than creating it in the first place. Given this expense, to what extent should “openness” obligate recovering information for essentially informal groups like CA? Consider that *you outnumber us*. There are probably more regular readers of this site than there are self-identified climatologists in the world.

    I absolutely agree that we can and should do better in the future. The tools and methods exist and our community should learn and implement them. We can’t defer to the amateur community, never mind the unfriendlier half of it, to dominate our decisions about how to cope with our legacy data, regardless of the letter of the law. That would almost certainly dominate everything and prevent us from making progress on our funded, which is to say contracted, work. Legislating blood from a turnip won’t get it, you know.

    I think there needs to be some sort of gatekeeper about such requests.

    Essentially whichever group ends up in your field of attention gets a very large cost imposed on their productivity even if your postulated neutrality and curiosity were not, as many of us perceive, tinged with with a bias toward hostility and contempt. We don’t get paid enough to cooperate with requests like that, basically. If it’s that or get fired I think most of us will just go bag groceries. These jobs aren’t really that great.

    If “trust us” from us won’t do and “respond immediately to all requests like a clerk’s office” from you won’t do we are sort of stuck at present.

    Expecting people to be happy to respond to a request for an “audit” from an unofficial party is pretty much unreasonable.

    How would you respond to something like this at your home or business? Stipulate that you unwittingly agreed to something onerous in the click-through agreement on a software package, for instance. That’s a pretty good analogy. Show me your licenses for all your software going back to your first computer. Now. I see you had Pac-Man on your old Apple IIe in your attic. Where’s the purchase agreement?

    Meanwhile some other guy is trying to get you to prove that you own your fridge. Fun, huh?

    So, regardless of the letter of the law, you aren’t going to be able to get what you want, on demand, as a high priority. It simply isn’t practical or realistic.

    Can we come up with some sort of compromise? It’s not obvious to me how. It seems necessary that such work be funded and supported, and therefore prioritized. I’ll admit it is an interesting question, to avoid the likely outcome that whoever does the prioritizing will be viewed as part of the problem, just as the IPCC is now.

  110. theduke
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 12:00 PM | Permalink

    Ross, 108: You have a gift for capturing the Big Picture.

    The link to your webpage appears to have been moved.

  111. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

    Ross #108

    It is inevitable that there is a lot of talking past each other when people have such incommensurable premises

    Indeed!

  112. Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

    Re #108; Ross captures my position well enough in the second paragraph, and I usppose most CA readers’ well enough in the third. I would only add a fourth paragraph, closely based on the third:

    I hope you will understand that a very different narrative can be held in good faith, i.e. based on a wealth of supporting counter-evidence. The narrative in my head goes roughly like this: Climatologists can’t say how the full climate system will respond to increased GHG levels but there is good reason to suppose the response will continue to be larger than anticopated on many phenomena; the IPCC conveys a lot of good information but at its core it has been explicitly designed in such a way as to understate high-end risks; politicians and their staff tend not to hear about published science that contradicts the complacency of the IPCC point of view, and since they never learn about such findings from the IPCC, the CCSP, nor from well-funded groups that oppose strong policy, the balance of discussion is shifted far off the rational center; sites like Climate Progress are unjustifiably treated as out of bounds for intellectual discussion; those who try to wish away the bone-crushing costs of CO2 accumulation may encourage the the post-Kyoto decade to play out much like the Kyoto decade incurring enormous risks that far outweigh those of an early transition away from fossil fuels.

    I consider the probability of this reading being true to be approximately equal to the probability of Ross’s reading. The risk dominates in the latter reading. This is why I contend that the less confidence one has in climatology the more urgently one should support an end to net carbon emissions.

    Ross’s argument depends crucially not on the inadequacies of the science but on the sign of its biases. I am quite unconvinced that the herd mentality effect pulls toward one side or the other. It is in my opinion likely that uncertainties are understated in the WGI report, but if the biases are symmetrical, risk-weighted costs are greatly dominated by the high sensitivity side.

    Thanks for the opportunity to express this big picture opinion, one which I suspect does not have much currency on CA.

  113. MrPete
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

    Michael, you state:

    I absolutely agree that we can and should do better in the future. The tools and methods exist and our community should learn and implement them…We can’t defer…about how to cope with our legacy data…That would almost certainly dominate everything and prevent us from making progress on our funded, which is to say contracted, work. Legislating blood from a turnip won’t get it, you know…
    Essentially whichever group ends up in your field of attention gets a very large cost imposed on their productivity…

    I apologize if this sounds harsh (it might if you understand the context), but this argument seems too similar to the claim that updating the dendro data is just too difficult and expensive.

    Steve proved that claim false through a relatively brief jaunt into the mountains.

    The idea that proper administration, even of past data (that has not been destroyed), is too costly, is belied by the fact that such “catch up” administration is being done in some places as I write. And those doing it are merely advocating for a Two Percent administration “rider” on all grants to ensure proper administration is done.

    Two percent. Not a shutdown of all progress on funded work.

    How would you respond to something like this at your home or business?

    When done on time and properly, it’s called filing your tax returns. When not done on time, it’s called a tax audit. Yes, they’re both a pain. But tools like TurboTax make it easier. Just as the Stanford replication methodology makes replication of scientific analysis easier.

    Michael, I believe you really do have a heart for good, and improving, science. As does this community. Happily we’re having a “vigorous discussion” that may carry more undercurrents of agreement than most might be ready to admit. I’m quite optimistic!

  114. MrPete
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 12:52 PM | Permalink

    Ross M — thank you for your wonderfully terse yet comprehensive “picture” of the scene.

    My even more terse summary: this is an argument over uncertainty levels (aka confidence intervals).

    Wm Briggs (statistician) wrote recently on this, highlighting the three factors involved: data, model, and model parameters.

    Some in the community have high confidence in all three. CA is demonstrating that more humility is in order for all three.

  115. MrPete
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 1:02 PM | Permalink

    With respect to inherent bias in the uncertainty. Three factors give me great pause about presuming the data is essentially under-reporting the challenge we face:

    1) There’s a well-documented and dominant PR campaign pushing for extreme measures. I have found insinuations but no reality of serious pressure to falsify in the other direction.

    2) There is well-documented disconnect between theory and reality for some small sub-areas of climate science. Two that come to mind: the idea that UHI does not exist, and the idea that temperature effects dominate precipitation effects in plant growth at the margins. Rarely if ever am I finding suggestions that theory/reality are disconnected such that reality is likely worse than in-vogue hypotheses.

    3) We appear to be rapidly approaching solid falsification of 21st century temperature models…on the low side. I find little if any evidence suggesting we’re about to break out on the “high” side of models.

    None of these are proof of anything. They simply give me great pause about presuming the “unknowns” are actually biased low.

  116. Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    A quick reply to MrPete: thanks for the kind words. Please note that an informal jaunt into the mountains is dramatically less expensive than a comparable expedition mounted by an institution, for various reasons that are quite extrinsic to climatology.

    I need to stop posting here for a while. It’s sort of fun. A fat guy’s equivalent of extreme sports. I feel the peculiar exhilaration of unnecessary risks. But I have other things to do. I’ll keep reading, but I need to restrain myself for now. Maybe some of my blog readers will feel inclined to pitch in.

    Happy Canada Day to those for whom it applies!

  117. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

    Michael Tobis asserts that being bugged by unauthorized people who want to audit you is an unreasonable demand on a scientist’s time. I argue that anytime you make a claim as a scientist (ie, publish) you are subject to attempts to replicate and falsify your work. Let’s try this: Bill claims that the result of his research is that aspirin is dangerous and must be banned–what? you want to see his data? Oh, sorry, too much trouble. Or Tom claims that drinking antifreeze will cure a cold, but uses a simulation of germs rather than actual experiments–but trust him, he’s the best. In fact, far too many scientists do not respond to requests for data or act uncooperative or make claims not supporetd by their data, but usually the consequences are tiny to nil because the topic is obscure or trivial. When it was claimed that buckyballs (or carbon nanotubes or micro-robots or whatever) were going to revolutionize the world, we could wait for something real to happen–no one was making us STOP doing something. It was fluff, and not dangerous. I hope it is clear that AGW is different. In the science in which I have been personally involved, the studies I looked at were dead wrong. For example, computer models of forest response to climate change in the 1980s claimed that the SE USA would become a grassland because trees would die out. The ecomodels used the climate model outputs which at the time did not simulate precipitation–so it was warmer without increased precip and trees died. It also turned out the tree growth equations for temperature response were flat out wrong. My analysis:
    Loehle, C. and D. C. LeBlanc. 1996. Model-Based Assessments of Climate Change Effects on Forests: A Critical Review. Ecological Modelling 90:1-31
    has been widely cited and models no longer predict forest dieback as a response to climate change. The US Forest Service projections of US forest response over the next 100 years is generally for growth enhancement. A complete flip-flop in the science. My experience with the hockey stick is similar.

  118. Ross McKitrick
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 1:43 PM | Permalink

    111: Odd; clicking the link doesn’t work, but copying it into the url line on the browser does. The url as written is correct.

  119. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 1:51 PM | Permalink

    #110. Oh puh-leeze. Not all scientists share Mann and Ammann’s allergies to sunlight. I inquired about ocean data from William Curry, an eminent oceanographer, and immediately received a cordial apology about not archiving the data and the situation was immediately redressed.

    You say:

    We don’t get paid enough to cooperate with requests like that, basically. If it’s that or get fired I think most of us will just go bag groceries. These jobs aren’t really that great.

    Requests like what? What have I ever asked for that’s unreasonable? If you’d rather go bag groceries than archive your data, then so be it. I’m sure that there are many other people who’d be happy to do the job AND archive data. It’s not that hard.

  120. MrPete
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 1:59 PM | Permalink

    Ross M – it is fixed. Never place a period at the end of a link ;)

  121. jeez
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 2:01 PM | Permalink

    …is that the discipline is so tightly coupled; this coupling serves a function comparable to regression testing.

    Or is simply circumlocutive logic complicated enough that you can’t see the hidden assumptions for the trees (yeah, a bristlecone joke).

  122. MrPete
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 2:10 PM | Permalink

    Michael,

    A quick reply to MrPete: thanks for the kind words.

    You’re quite welcome…

    Please note that an informal jaunt into the mountains is dramatically less expensive than a comparable expedition mounted by an institution, for various reasons that are quite extrinsic to climatology.

    Don’t kid yourself. We did a very real dendro data collection trip. We did all necessary preparation: obtained permits, arranged appropriate transport, staffing, equipment. If anything, having no exactly similar excursions to go on, we did more work than the “professionals”: developed our data archives and so forth from scratch based on known best practices (and improving on them in various ways.) Have yet to see a professional team bring back as much provenance data as we did. And there still may be more to come (some is pretty advanced R&D stuff… how about a detailed 3D tree model?)

    Comparable Real Work was accomplished, in very reasonable time at very reasonable expense. And with similar enjoyment. (Next time, maybe we’ll use ATV’s to make it more fun, even for the Big Guys :-D)

    Michael, CA is not naysayers. Most of us are serious professionals, seriously interested in Good Science.

  123. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 2:11 PM | Permalink

    RE 110. It wont cause science to grind to halt. Its’ full employment for TAs and techs. Crap I spent the first 1 year of my first job cleaning up the mess left behind by the absent minded scientist. It’s a rite of passage.

  124. Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

    Michael:
    I find so much of what you say puzzling. Often this is not because what you say wrong, but because you seem to be arguing with an imaginary opponent.

    About the IPCC:
    Of course the IPCC might under-predict or over-predicting warming. But why do you present this idea as if it’s a rebuttal. Ross seems to suggest it’s more likely they over-predict; you tell us you think it’s more likely they under-predict. So, we have a range of opinions. I see this situation as normal, but it seems to upset you.

    My reaction to the possibility of over and under-prediction to be to compare their predictions to data. If the IPCC is under-predicting warming, in principle, data comparisons will show that. Alternatively, comparison might show the predictions are about right, or possibly in the right direction, but less precise than mere extrapolation.

    About inaction
    You seem to assume those who think and say the IPCC may be wrong (in either direction) or imprecise are dead set against action.

    Where do you get the notion people who participate at CA are against action?

    If you listened a bit, you find fairly wide support for bringing more nuclear power on line. Several people here have already mentioned this on this thread.

    Bringing this sort of base-load up would be a great step towards reducing the demand for carbon intensive coal fired plants. So, if you are worried about acting quickly, why are you wasting your time trying to convince people about your truth of the hockey stick when you could use your policy skills promoting nuclear power as a positive step toward reducing CO2 emissions sooner rather than later?

    About The GOLD

    I’m also puzzled by your tendency to inject the issue of money into the debate. You suggest people at CA don’t believe you because they think climate scientists are well paid.

    You often suggest there are well funded groups promoting ideas with which you disagree. Who are these groups? Who are they funding? Are you under the impression SteveM is well funded? By whom? Is the even more widely read Watts well funded?

    Blog exists. Bloggers are saying what they find. Some say things with which you disagree. That’s going to continue and has nothing to do with any well funded entity.

    About people listening to bloggers
    You seem to be upset that people listen to Steve, but not Joe Romm, saying things like:

    sites like Climate Progress are unjustifiably treated as out of bounds for intellectual discussion;

    Who treats Romm’s site as out of bounds for intellectual discussion? Roger Pielke JR links it often and engages Joe in discussions. Joe doesn’t seem to get many comments, but based on the Alexa rank, it seems almost as widely read as CA. Technorati gives it a rank of 584 which exceeds CA. Based on the links at the bottom, Climate Progress seems to be supported by the Center for American Progress Action fund.

    All this suggests many think Romm’s blog well within bounds for intellectual discussion.

    So, is your gripe that Romm isn’t popular enough in your view?

    Blogs, mostly operated by hobbiests post different view points. Each gains a following to lesser or greater degrees. Usually, this happens when other bloggers find their discussion meaningful and tell their own blog readers.

    If you think Romm says something interesting, tell your readers. Through you, they may discover his blog. Or if you think Romm has said something useful and on topic to one of Steve’s posts, mention it here and drop a link to Romm’s blog. Who knows, maybe if you work hard enough, who ever it is you think considers Romm unworthy of intellectual discussion will change their mind!

  125. henry
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 2:25 PM | Permalink

    Michael Tobis says:

    A quick reply to MrPete: thanks for the kind words. Please note that an informal jaunt into the mountains is dramatically less expensive than a comparable expedition mounted by an institution, for various reasons that are quite extrinsic to climatology.

    True, updating certain proxies may have some expense involved. But what does that have to do with the archiving of the data ALREADY gathered?

  126. MJW
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

    Michael Tobis:

    If “trust us” from us won’t do and “respond immediately to all requests like a clerk’s office” from you won’t do we are sort of stuck at present.

    Do you truly believe that in a matter that will affect the lives of billions of people, “trust us” should do?

    Expecting people to be happy to respond to a request for an “audit” from an unofficial party is pretty much unreasonable.

    How would you respond to something like this at your home or business?

    I agree that it’s a bit much to expect people to be happy about it. Here’s a compromise: they respond to requests from these “unofficial parties,” but they’re allowed to grouse about it. The fact that climate scientists equate information used to formulate far-reaching government policies with private data from a home or office is quite revealing.

  127. bernie
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 2:30 PM | Permalink

    Craig #118
    Thanks for a very on point example. Can you gauge the level of consensus that existed on predictions of dieback in SE forests prior to reassessments like yours? How hard was it to get people to acknowledge the failure of the models? Was there a reluctance to share with you the data upon which these catastrophic predictions were based? What was the scope of the suggested mitigation actions?

    Michael T:
    I agree with Ross that “there is a lot of talking past each other when people have such incommensurable premises” so lets see if we can develop an objective way of testing the central assertions. What set of future climate data (defined by level and length of the record) would make you seriously reassess (not necessarily change) your current position that a doubling CO2 would lead to ~3C increase in global mean temperature as measured by SST – using say 1980 as a base year?

  128. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

    Bernie asks about the forest response Issue which I rebuted here: Loehle, C. and D. C. LeBlanc. 1996. Model-Based Assessments of Climate Change Effects on Forests: A Critical Review. Ecological Modelling 90:1-31. At the time there was a pretty good consensus, including press releases from some universities, with multiple studies saying the same thing. I did not need to get anyone’s data. The equations in the studies were public and were not biologically correct so it was not so much a “data” issue. I followed up with several studies modeling the more realistic scenario and explaining the correct growth response:
    Loehle, C. 1998. Height Growth Rate Tradeoffs Determine Northern and Southern Range Limits for Trees. J. Biogeography 25:735-742
    Loehle, C. 2000. Forest Ecotone Response to Climate Change: Sensitivity to Temperature Response Functional Forms. Canadian Journal Forest Research 30:1632-1645
    I only received hostility from one colleague about it, and he later “moved on”. No one ever admitted they were wrong but the various models no longer project big forest dieback by 2100. The big break came when the computing power enabled daily timesteps instead of annual, which meant a more mechanistic model could be used and the dieback vanished for the reasons I argued. So the idea that a consensus doesn’t change is not correct.

  129. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 2:48 PM | Permalink

    I would add that the models showed dieback in other areas also, such as the whole southern boreal forest worldwide–pretty catastrophic forecasts.

  130. David Holland
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 2:48 PM | Permalink

    Michael,
    Retrospective rule changes are unfair. But requiring data and methodology including an executable package to be archived and independently certified to be so, to an ISO standard, in order for a study to be cited in the the next IPCC Assessment Report would not be retrospective. If I wanted to add a single electrical outlet in the kitchen of a 30 year old house in the UK I have to bring the entire wiring up to current standards and get it signed off. So I have no sympathy for climate scientists. Cope.

  131. Jenn
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 3:02 PM | Permalink

    Re #132

    It’s called peer review. Scientists don’t just make stuff up and voila it appears in Nature.

    Scientists’ work is independently checked by other experts (read at least three, plus an editor and an associate editor) in the field before it is published. How can someone not in the field attest to the quality of the science done? This peer reviewed work is what ends up in the IPCC reports. IPCC can only report work that has been done and published. If you want IPCC reports to be more complete or detailed, then find a way for climatologists to have the resources to do the level of work needed. Hard to do work on limited budgets with a less than 10% grant success rate by NSF (for all science, not just climate science). Good science takes time. Time to collect data, time to formulate models, time to verify models with some degree of certainty. Time = resources needed. We are not all in cahoots with each other trying to advance some agenda.

    Steve: Your premise here is incorrect. You say: “Scientists’ work is independently checked by other experts (read at least three, plus an editor and an associate editor) in the field before it is published. ” This is untrue. Journal articles are not “checked” by reviewers, who, in climate science, are not given access to and do not analyse underlying data nor code.

  132. MJW
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

    Jenn:

    It’s called peer review. Scientists don’t just make stuff up and voila it appears in Nature.

    So, when Science or Nature retracts a paper, what should we conclude? Or when Nature publishes a flawed paper, such as Mann 1998? Perhaps that peer-review is not quite the be-all-and-end-all for quality control that you suppose.

  133. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 3:14 PM | Permalink

    Jenn: no one said they are “making it up” but they could easily be wrong. We have dozens of cases discussed on CA where major facts have been wrong, where adjustments to data do not do what is claimed, where models are flat wrong (see my posts just above). If the $ is inadequate (as I agree) then don’t make claims about certainty that you can’t support. That is, if we are still at the “exploratory” stage of the science, fine. Let’s not confuse that with the engineering phase where you can scale up a process to manufacturing scale or fly an airbus that you designed and it flies properly.

  134. Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 3:14 PM | Permalink

    Well, I have forgotten the most important aspect of my comments relative to errors in published papers. What I overlooked is the published papers part. Some journals do in fact require work ( and thus time and money ) be devoted to ensuring that numerical calculations do not contain errors such as I mentioned in #s 90 and 105 above. These requirements have very likely been picked up by other professional engineering organizations by now.

    The ASME ( that’s American Society of Mechanical Engineers, for the Scientists here ) Journal of Fluids Engineering and Journal of Heat Transfer (and maybe others by now) and the AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets require that the numerical solution methods used in codes from which results presented in a paper for publication be formally Verified. These Verification procedures are designed, and have been successfully applied, to find even sign errors as in the example linked in # 95.

    So, the costs for this work must be written into the research contracts submitted to funding agencies. And the PIs must be prepared to do the work and sufficiently document the results.

    It’s interesting work. Especially when you discover that the working order of your numerical solution methods is actually less than one and you say, hmmm, that looks funny.

    What is another interesting aspect is the fact that many papers in engineering journals are ‘playing in the sandbox’ kind of investigations from The Academy having little practical applications at the time of publication. These professional organizations have thus determined that even for these kinds of papers, correctness is a very important issue for archival papers. And so have the agencies funding the work.

    When engineers do bridges and elevators, “I’m an engineer, trust me” doesn’t cut it.

    Maybe it’s a Science vs. Engineering thing?

  135. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 3:21 PM | Permalink

    Peer-review is the first defense against error, not the last. The final defence is can the work be replicated or tested. For example, my theory about the factors governing geographic range boundaries for trees has led to several field studies. Then later the paper is discussed in review articles and books and compared to other work, data, theories to see how it holds up. The idea that the latest paper on AGW be given instant gold standard status is NOT normal practice in science.

  136. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

    The reason that my confidence in the basic outlines of climate science including climate change prognoses is unshaken despite these problems is that the discipline is so tightly coupled; this coupling serves a function comparable to regression testing. Outlying information is usually found to be problematic in conception. Truth in climatology holds together the same way truth does in engineering or physics. This consistency is something that cannot be clearly visible to those whose approach is to start at the bottom and work up. Mistakes as severe as the one in Dan’s link don’t persist near the core interests of the discipline.

    While I think that Ross McKitrick’s showing two big picture views of climate science as it pertains to AGW for the purposes of noting that one should not in good faith summarily dismiss the other side’s POV, I have a problem when reason for confidence in climate scientists and the majority position is defended in such general and vague terms as Michael Tobis uses in the excerpted comment above.

    The only true and reasonable way to determine the quality of the science being done should include the type of analyses I see done being done here and other places on specific aspects of that science whether that be processes like the IPCC uses or published papers.

    The generalizing approach is forever inclined to “move on” when a problem is found within a specific area of the research. I give as an example MT’s reply to the broken hockey stick by indicating that other work in that area supported the same conclusion without even acknowledging Steve M’s counter that that other proxy work had some of the same problems as the hockey stick and in some cases additional ones. Without the nitty-gritty this discussion is doomed to go nowhere.

  137. Ross McKitrick
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 3:38 PM | Permalink

    #133: you’re waving an armload of red flags in front of the bulls here.

    Scientists’ work is independently checked by other experts (read at least three, plus an editor and an associate editor) in the field before it is published.

    You’ll learn, kid. One of the main findings of the whole hockey stick episode was that nobody checked Mann’s work. Not the editor or the reviewers or his colleagues or the IPCC or any of the governments that relied on his results. Independent checking rarely happens–in any field. And in the case of key climatological studies (including the GISS and CRU temperature records and a slew of paleoclimate papers) the authors continue to conceal their data, code or other crucial methodological information so that independent replication is either impossible or extremely costly in terms of time and frustration.

    How can someone not in the field attest to the quality of the science done?

    Easy: the statistical methods are common across many fields. Not only do climatologists have no claim to unique expertise, they are often less well-trained than average members of other empirical fields, in time series analysis, regression etc.

    This peer reviewed work is what ends up in the IPCC reports. IPCC can only report work that has been done and published.

    OK, you’ve kind of missed the whole thread on the Ammann and Wahl stuff, right? Their work was rejected twice by GRL and another paper was stuck in an un-accepted limbo at ClimChg when Briffa wrote a section that relied entirely on Ammann’s claims. He was told to remove all mention of it when extended deadlines passed and it was still not in print. Yet in the published IPCC report the section continued to dismiss the peer-reviewed findings in favour of unpublished claims by A&W. That’s but one example: LTP and surface data contaminationare two others, where the IPCC cast aside published, peer reviewed findings on critical topics in favour of unpublished speculations.

    If you want IPCC reports to be more complete or detailed, then find a way for climatologists to have the resources to do the level of work needed.

    $2 billion a year isn’t enough for you? Anyway the issue isn’t completeness, it’s the tight control exerted by a tiny group of lead authors who preclude any semblance of balance.

    We are not all in cahoots with each other trying to advance some agenda.

    True, no doubt. The problem is that if you were, the situation would not look much different than it currently does.

  138. Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 4:34 PM | Permalink

    #133

    Here are six peer-reviewed papers that were withdrawn because a sign error in a peice of software was discovered:

    One of the most spectacular flameouts in science happened last year. In a short letter (barely over 300 words long) published in Science in the very last issue of 2006, Geoffrey Chang, a crystallographer, retracted 3 Science articles, a Nature article, a PNAS article and a JMB article. The sum of 5 years of work was destroyed, apparently, over a single sign error in a data-processing program.

    Apparently the error wasn’t even in the mainline coding, but in a pre- or post-processing procedure.

    I guess that adds up to about 18 peer reviews.

    Peer reviews don’t review coding and data associated with the results. Peer review is necessary but not sufficient is the mantra, but even that is an incomplete statement of the necessity. The review must extend to the source of the numbers that are the basis of published results.

  139. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 5:20 PM | Permalink

    Ross #139

    “The problem is that if you were, the situation would not look much different than it currently does.”

    The truth does not matter, only the impression gathered by outsiders, no?

    Michael #113:

    “Thanks for the opportunity to express this big picture opinion, one which I suspect does not have much currency on CA.”

    It has a lot of currency, if you’re actually looking at the big picture. Let’s see, how about near your neck of the woods, at Mopac and Spicewood Springs KTXAUSTI67. High today of 99.7 F 71% humidity and high of 75.5 F 28% humidity. Think water vapor might be regulating things? Or is the real temperature at Circle C Ranch KTXAUSTI25 73.5 to 95.1 25%-78%. Perhaps the airport? Down at Town Lake? At the top of the capitol building? Over in Buda? Kyle?

    wunderground is a wonderful thing.

    If you can walk outside in the morning at 72 and then get 94, isn’t that a little daunting to compare to 1.2 over 130 years in the anomaly?

    “It is in my opinion likely that uncertainties are understated in the WGI report, but if the biases are symmetrical, risk-weighted costs are greatly dominated by the high sensitivity side. “

    You mean the supposed high level of scientific understanding putting the long-lived GHG at ~2/3 carbon dioxide and 1/3 the other three, methane, nitrous oxide and CFCs, not including ozone, in the radiative forcing alone? The constant harping on carbon dioxide when it’s just as clear that population and inherent technology and land-use are more to blame for whatever part of the warming the anomaly and anomaly trend may or may not add to it all. Perhaps UHI et al have more to do with this than is known. Perhaps other aspects of NASA have a better handle on what’s going on.

    Or those that can drill tree cores on a couple hundred bucks? Isn’t that what TA folks are for? How about a PhD paper handed out?

    Sorry, none of this passes the smell detector very well. Or as we say “Er zijn iets die een zeer verkeerde geur in deze plaats heeft” or others may remark that “Ceci sent au ciel élevé”.

  140. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 5:50 PM | Permalink

    #110. Listening to Tobis, you’d think that members of the Hockey Team actually spent time organizing data and code in order to respond to my requests. He calls for a “gatekeeper”.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. In 2007-2008, hardly any data has been provided to me from members of the core Hockey Team – be it Mann, Ammann, Briffa, Thompson, Hansen, Jones,…

    I’m racking my brain trying to think of exactly what could have so taxed the collective resources of the Team that Tobis thinks that a “gatekeeper” is needed. Through the UK FOI in 2007, I was successful in getting a roster of stations in Jones et al 1990. Other than that, I can’t think of any data obtained in 2007-2008 from the Team. Ammann has even refused to provide the Supplementary Information to include with his article, not that any Climatic Change reviewers or editors noticed or cared.

    I’ve never asked anyone on the Team for anything remotely like an ancient PacMan receipt. Tobis is simply making stories up.

  141. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 7:08 PM | Permalink

    Michael Tobis with the gracelessness that is unfortunately so characteristic of his community says:

    I have for some foolish reason been participating in a thread on Climate Audit. OK, I’ve basically hijacked the thread altogether. Starting with #28. Have a look, and if I post again there this month please shoot me.

  142. Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 8:42 PM | Permalink

    Re #132

    It’s called peer review.

    There are also systematic reviews, coding reviews, financial reviews. Peer reviews doesn’t serve those purposes.

    How can someone not in the field attest to the quality of the science done?

    Easily. A computer science can check the code quality. A statistician can check the study design. Etc.

    IPCC can only report work that has been done and published.

    No that was an arbitrary choice by the commissioning agency. A 1000 page unpublished report could be more useful and accurate if conducted well.

    If you want IPCC reports to be more complete or detailed, then find a way for climatologists to have the resources to do the level of work needed.

    I would rather the fox was not put in charge of the henhouse. We should not fund more of the same. We should commission more systematic reviews of targeted issues, like the Wegman study. We know how that turned out. If the science does well in an independent systematic review, that would build trust in the field.

  143. Jonathan Schafer
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 9:21 PM | Permalink

    #142,

    Well, this is one case where I’m glad someone has “moved on”.

  144. dover_beach
    Posted Jul 1, 2008 at 9:26 PM | Permalink

    Steve, the shorter version of Tobis at #142 is “Let them eat cake.” Someone remind me how that ended.

  145. Hank Roberts
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 12:37 AM | Permalink

    Chylek was mentioned above, for his papers saying climate sensitivity is very low.

    Has Chylek been cited by subsequent work? That’s the measure of scientific publication — not whether it’s right or wrong, but whether good interesting work citing it appears. Whether it’s interesting and productive.

    And the answer is:

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&lr=&cites=960979036408761186

    Yes, Chylek has been cited. Look.

    By this paper:

    http://www.ecd.bnl.gov/pubs/BNL-80226-2008-JA.pdf

    Which says, in part:

    “Abstract
    Reanalysis of the autocorrelation of global mean surface temperature prompted by the several Comments, taking into account a subannual autocorrelation of about 0.4 year and bias in the autocorrelation resulting from the short duration of the time series has resulted in an upward revision of the climate system time constant determined in Schwartz [2007] by roughly 70%, to 8.5 ± 2.5 years (all uncertainties are 1-sigma estimates). This results in a like upward revision of the climate sensitivity determined in that paper, to 0.51 ± 0.26 K/(W m-2), corresponding to an equilibrium temperature increase for doubled CO2 of 1.9 ± 1.0 K, somewhat lower than the central estimate of the sensitivity given in the 2007 assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but consistent within the uncertainties of both estimates….”

    This is why people keep saying “about three degrees” — because that’s where the numbers keep coming out, over time.

    The paper citing Chylek, the only one so far, is a correction to a prior paper. After it passed peer review and was published, comments were made, the author redid his work, and errors were found and corrected and published:

    “upward revision of the climate sensitivity determined in that paper, to 0.51 ± 0.26 K/(W m-2), corresponding to an equilibrium temperature increase for doubled CO2 of 1.9 ± 1.0 K …”

    1.9 ± 1.0 K, within the range of uncertainty of the IPCC estimates.

    It’s not a conspiracy. This is how it works.

    Read the last bit of that paper again:

    “… physical processes can result in large changes in modeled climate sensitivity, especially as the positive feedback approaches unity. This finding led to the observation [Allen and Frame, 2007] that climate sensitivity may not be a very useful quantity and the suggestion that the quest for determining this
    quantity be called off. The difficulty of determining climate sensitivity by climate models due to the strong dependence of modeled climate sensitivity to model parameters should not be taken as diminishing the utility of this quantity. Rather this difficulty of determining climate sensitivity by climate models should be viewed as a strong argument for empirical determination of this quantity from
    observables of Earth’s climate system, as was the objective of S07.
    The value of the climate system sensitivity determined by the empirical approach of S07, revised as presented here, is more consistent with the best estimate of this sensitivity presented by the recent assessment report of the IPCC [2007],

  146. Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 4:33 AM | Permalink

    Frankly I haven’t read all this thread, it’s too long, and too repetitive, but I wanted to pick up on one general misunderstanding: we do try and get scientists to archive their data and their code, but moral high ground or not, it’s bloody expensive to do so (you try and build and indexing system for 80 million files all in a variety of formats with and without documentation – that’s what I do for a day job).

    It’s that cost that Michael is hinting about. Sure, we could do a much better job about getting documentation, and data, and code from everyone … and believe me, we’re trying, but it doesn’t come without cost:
    - to the scientists to spend longer on what with current career rules is nugatory work (sadly, no one is rewarded with a professorship for good quality data and/or code documentation), and
    - on some sort of repository to organise and index the material (and no, you can’t rely on individuals to archive this sort of stuff).

    So, society gets what it pays for: the environmental science community does what it can with the budget allowed by our various sponsors (mostly governments), and at the moment, the going rate for data preservation/documentation etc rarely exceeds 5% of total cost, and society has not put in place a way of rewarding academics to do documentation! (Sure, let’s increase the percentage to ten, twenty percent, you pick your number, but realise that means less things studied,i.e. less known about the climate system, it’s a choice thing).

    So, given you haven’t paid for it, what to do? Well, one brings in consultants to take advantage of their expertise. Short of reading all the text books etc, you believe what they tell you. Like Michael says, there isn’t any significant doubt out there about the big picture, and no one has yet uncovered anything which conflicts with it.

    Sadly I shan’t be staying around to read the responses, I’m not paid to do so, and have other things to do with my own time :-)

  147. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 5:56 AM | Permalink

    #146. This response is very inaccurate as it pertains to paleoclimate.

    First, there is an existing paleoclimate archive operated by NOAA http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/ which many paleoclimate scientists already support. There is no need for individual scientists to maintain their own personal archives; indeed, such archives do not meet standards of a “permanent” archive.

    Second, in econometrics, where data sets are similar in size to paleoclimate, authors are required to archive data and operable code in order to trigger the review process. The cost is negligible if it is done at the time of submission. In the replication discussion in econometrics, economists have reflected on the difference between individual and group benefits. As you say, the benefits to an individual for having replicable code and documentation may be “nugatory”, but there are important benefits to the discipline in having replicable results. The journals are in an important position to implement policies that benefit the discipline and that’s what’s happened in econometrics. People interested in the environment should be able to understand the argument. Before climate scientists say that such a system is impossible or too expensive, they should understand that such excuses sound like pettifogging when speaking to someone who knows that such a system already exists and isn’t expensive.

  148. bernie
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 6:06 AM | Permalink

    Bryan:
    Your comments are arrant nonsense. Phamaceutical research would never be allowed to get away with that. Moreover, the issue is not simply with archiving huge databases – it is as simple as documenting and/or making public the actual methods used. The reluctance of key players to do the minimum is what increases skepticism. Moreover the repeated re-use of the data by these same researchers suggests that it is already in a somewhat organized form and could be readily available to others who could make the documentation more user-friendly. You “doth protest too much, methinks.” Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act 3

  149. Stan Palmer
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 6:58 AM | Permalink

    So, society gets what it pays for: the environmental science community does what it can with the budget allowed by our various sponsors (mostly governments), and at the moment, the going rate for data preservation/documentation etc rarely exceeds 5% of total cost, and society has not put in place a way of rewarding academics to do documentation! (Sure, let’s increase the percentage to ten, twenty percent, you pick your number, but realise that means less things studied,i.e. less known about the climate system, it’s a choice thing).

    Why is it assumed that this work needs to be done by academics in an academic reward system? The military built spy satellites for many years before Hubble was initiated. The astronomers attempted an equivalent task with Hubble (essentially turning a spy satellite by 180 degrees). One group succeeded and one did not.

    Something as important a the world economy should not be left to amateurs.

  150. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 7:05 AM | Permalink

    Bryan wins an O ring.

    think of the the cost of providing proper documentation in the context
    of the vaunted precautonary principle

  151. Dishman
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    “Precautionary Principle”…

    Somehow the risks associated with a dramatic negative impact on the global economy don’t seem to me to be fully addressed.

    There’s a lot of interaction between the economy and politics. Even if the economic models say some course of action is possible and assign a price for it, that doesn’t consider the potential political blowback. Last century had numerous examples of politics gone astray because of economic factors. The Treaty of Versailles is just one unpleasant example. I believe that accurately assessing those risks is beyond our current capability. They are, however, demonstrable. Events may have sufficiently non-linear response to individual events to be beyond precise prediction (ie John Hinckley).

    One particular risk in our current situation is China. The current government of China has a successful policy of maintaining economic growth in return for retaining power. A large enough portion of the chinese population is sufficently invested in maintaining the status quo that political freedom is not a high enough priority to topple the regime. A significant slowdown of the economy of China has a non-zero probability of catastrophic results.

    That is just one specific risk. There are many other potential major hazards (pandemic, asteroid impact), many of which we do not fully understand (like WR 104) and some we may not even be aware of.

    Our focus on AGW may increase or prevent mitigation of other hazards. Maybe that’s the right choice.

    It’s not exactly a safe choice, though.

  152. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    Sorry Mosh: the precautionary principle can only be used to prevent things from being done, not to require people to document their work. However, in most cases, by the time you get the data in shape to use yourself the extra effort to add labels to the top of the spreadsheet and a little metadata about when where how the data was collected, or a few comments to the code is NOT onerous. All of the paleoclimate stuff falls in this category. While there are no doubt cases where providing proper documentation would be costly, such as the GCMs or GISS temperature history, this is also where 1) they have real $, 2) it is a big lab or government agency and 3) the results are the most critical to the debate.

  153. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 8:25 AM | Permalink

    re 154 155. well you get my sarcasm. The minor cost of adding documentation
    to avert a scientific catastrophe is well worth the effort.

    The bottom line is this. They believe they are right so any short cut will
    suffice in their mind.

  154. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

    Mosh: of course I got the sarcasm–guess I should have added a smiley face…

  155. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 9:50 AM | Permalink

    Ha! There is no possible way to avert a scientific catastrophe!
    :)

  156. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 10:22 AM | Permalink

    Re: #142

    Steve M notes: “Michael Tobis with the gracelessness that is unfortunately so characteristic of his community says:”

    I have for some foolish reason been participating in a thread on Climate Audit. OK, I’ve basically hijacked the thread altogether. Starting with #28. Have a look, and if I post again there this month please shoot me.

    I would not be predisposed to shoot Tobis, but I would certainly strongly advise him to stay away from CA as he is wasting our times as well as his. He should come back when he is ready to discuss specifics of the science and the processes such as IPCC reviews.

    I would prefer to judge Tobis on his scientific offerings and can only hope that what he instead offered up here was not characteristic of his community as it would appear that his aim was not debating but baiting.

  157. Hank Roberts
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

    Chylek? One cite so far. Look at the citing paper, find it with Google Scholar
    Climate sensitivity — revised from very low, after comments, up to numbers that fall in the IPCC range, though at the low end.
    Longer post, links and quotes are in the spam filter since last night.

    Steve: I located and recovered your prior message – but who are you debating Chylek with here? And what does Chylek have to do with CRU withholding information pursuant to an FOI request? I’m unaware of any issues with Chylek providing data – is that a problem that you’ve encountered? If so, I’d be happy to do what I can to redress the situation.

  158. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 11:03 AM | Permalink

    And while archiving is the general theme of this thread, I have to wonder why data that has to be available to a scientist, in this day and age, for them to do their work efficiently must necessarily be in electronic form, cannot be inexpensively stored and archived and available on request.

    Why is the defense for lack of archiving and availability of basic data almost always: well, I, personally, want everything archived, but here are some reasons why I can understand that my fellow scientists might not follow through (followed by the litany of excuses) and when all else fails they resort to generalizations such as cost to archive without ever explaining in detail what it would reasonably cost.

    It is difficult to see why a true scientist would not make provisions for storing their own data used for research that they can then review if questioned and make available to someone else in the interest of furthering their science. The image one gets from the Tobis defense is of individual prima donnas at work with varied work habits that could include sloppiness and a lack of responsibility to those who pay their ways and/or might want to use their findings. In the end the defense for warding off criticism is the mantra: we mostly all agree on AGW (without indicating the boundaries used to obtain that consensus) and therefore the errors of our ways are without consequence. Do those who use these defenses even know how specious they sound to others?

  159. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 11:07 AM | Permalink

    re 156. one of the issues is that the discussions tend to be 10 vs 1. either here or other places. you’ll see the same thing when judith drops in to chat. It’s not
    a personal thing. when debate gets stifled, I think diatribe takes its stead.

  160. Stan Palmer
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 12:36 PM | Permalink

    I have to wonder why data that has to be available to a scientist, in this day and age, for them to do their work efficiently must necessarily be in electronic form, cannot be inexpensively stored and archived and available on request.

    One possibility is that they lack an effective version control system. Software and data is stored anywhere and everywhere on the hard drives of graduates student’s laptop. When the student moves on or the software evolves, the information is lost. Since mo one knows which issues each version addresses, even if the software can be found, it is still lost.

  161. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 12:58 PM | Permalink

    It think it is useful to distinguish between exploratory science and institutional science. Much exploratory science does get superceded after awhile, so archiving is not so critical. Institutional science, like GISS, CRU, ocean drilling programs, ice cap drilling programs, satellite data, is intended to be big science for the world community and to provide basic data for many to use. To fund big science with government money carried out in government labs and then treat it as individual exploratory science is a contradiction. Most of these programs even have official language about public access (e.g. the Argos web site).

  162. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

    re 162.

    GISStemp and Crutemp are not even science. I mean seriously.
    Its a measurement excercise. count the stones, weigh the stones.
    There is no discovery involved in this excercise. It’s purely technology. know how.

    I’ve noted that when guys who are used to discovery ,work on technology
    they eff stuff up. like using nighlights.

    Give us the data jim, go do science, we will count the beans.

  163. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 2:33 PM | Permalink

    ACtually GISS and CRU are barely even accounting exercises. They inhale data from GHCN, MCDW and USHCN and exhale gridded data using (in GISS’ case) legacy code. They don’t do any collection themselves or any substantive quality control themselves. My guess is that these exercises are generously funded and important profit centers for the institutions, – this is probably why they’ve been so secretive.

  164. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

    Re: #161

    One possibility is that they lack an effective version control system. Software and data is stored anywhere and everywhere on the hard drives of graduates student’s laptop. When the student moves on or the software evolves, the information is lost. Since mo one knows which issues each version addresses, even if the software can be found, it is still lost.

    Stan, I am being serious here when I say that that does not sound very scientific or at least science oriented. When data is used for publishing a paper at any level, why would any responsible scientist (and in the name of true science) not gather together all the data used (lets call it version P for what was used for publication) and electronically store it securely somewhere — and without being prompted like you would in getting your kids to do their chores. If a scientist does not exhibit that minimal amount of responsibility why should I be expected, as Michael Tobis has admonished us to do, trust that poor soul?

    Maybe the problem is that when some of these papers are published there are so many authors that none of them feels responsible for the whole paper and the archiving of its data. But then that seems to bring into play another issue of whether there is anyone responsible for the overall results and conclusions of the paper.

    Since Tobis failed miserably in providing any details, perhaps some of the publishing scientists participating here will give some of the details of their publishing experiences and archiving data. I have heard from some before on this matter but perhaps you could be prevailed upon to repeat your observations here – just to prove that Tobis’ high-jacking of this thread was not a total waste of time.

  165. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 5:16 PM | Permalink

    Re: #160

    re 156. one of the issues is that the discussions tend to be 10 vs 1. either here or other places. you’ll see the same thing when judith drops in to chat. It’s not
    a personal thing. when debate gets stifled, I think diatribe takes its stead.

    Mr. Mosher, I respectfully disagree. If a visiting scientist comes here to inform/discuss the science and/or processes, they will go to great lengths to avoid the diatribe and baiting. If, on the other hand, they come here to preach the gospel and point to CA participants’ sins and make some conversions then chaos can prevail. I personally think it is easy to judge the differences that motivate scientists’ participation here — and all do not come as the pure-at-heart scientist.

  166. Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 6:27 PM | Permalink

    Mosher, you had better be careful, I am actually starting to like the way you think. It would not be good for your reputation around here if that was to get out.

    I am sorry my bowing out was seen as graceless. I was trying to be droll. Please note that it was a comment on my blog, not a nastygram to Steve, which he did not make clear.

    Although I disagree with much of what goes on here, it is more interesting than I expected. I need to limit my participation out of self-preservation. I have too much going on right now to let the net take over my life.

    I will probably be back for more, fool that I am, should the powers that be allow it. Apologies in advance to Kenneth.

  167. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 6:37 PM | Permalink

    Eh, some or more preachy than others, about a variety of topics. Depending on career area and past training/experience.

    Michael makes a lot of good points I think, but for sure he shouldn’t like mosh so much. JEG might yell at him or something.

    Hey, mosh, btw, are you tamino’s “pit-bull”? :D

    Long live the mosh-pitt!

  168. Jen
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 6:42 PM | Permalink

    A comment on data archival:
    I think there’s a distinction between raw data and data analysis. With respect to NASA, have you had difficulties in obtaining raw data from them? There has been a quite large and expensive effort over the last several years (decade?) to make NASA data freely and easily available to the public. I’m sure than many/most of you here are familiar with the system of data archives, but here is a pointer for anyone who is not.

    http://nasadaacs.eos.nasa.gov/about.html

    Many of the DAACs include climate-relevant satellite data (e.g. CERES and ERBE data), and a large effort has gone into providing read software and analysis tools portable to a wide spectrum of operating systems.
    I myself am funded under NASA programs that obtain in-situ data from airborne campaigns, and it is clearly stated in the NRAs that ALL data obtained are to be publicly archived. I can’t imagine any data obtained under government funding that should not be available to the public, and if that is the case then there is something wrong.

    In the case of the GISS analysis, what you are interested in is not necessarily the raw data, but the post-analysis (post averaging, filling, weighting, combination of multiple raw data sets), and this is where the stumbling occurs. Am I incorrect?

    It’s perhaps a very gray distinction, if one at all. Please note I am not commenting on what is appropriate or not, but trying to understand where the balking might stem from.

  169. Jen
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 6:46 PM | Permalink

    With respect to the review process…

    I wonder what you think about the online open review process at ACPD?

    http://www.cosis.net/members/journals/df/recent.php?j_id=1

    I remain undecided if this is a better way to approach peer review or not.

  170. Jen
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 7:19 PM | Permalink

    #165:

    perhaps some of the publishing scientists participating here will give some of the details of their publishing experiences and archiving data.

    I apologize for not compacting my comments into one post.
    Here is a link to a 2002 National Academies book that you can read online that outlines (as of 2002) the current thinking/difficulties/proposed approaches for archival and data distribution from NASA.

    http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=10363

    As Steve M suggested, the structure is there. For data, at least (I am not talking model or research-grade code at this point), there is no reason for it to NOT be publicly archived. My impression is that the general state of affairs for earth science data management is in better shape than your personal experiences would lead one to conclude.

  171. Cliff Huston
    Posted Jul 2, 2008 at 8:16 PM | Permalink

    Re: #170 Jen,

    “I wonder what you think about the online open review process at ACPD?”

    For a case study, see:
    Juckes et al 2006
    Millennial temperature reconstruction intercomparison and evaluation

    http://www.cosis.net/members/journals/df/article.php?a_id=4661

    In the CA Categories box on the left, you will find Juckes et al 2006 which will find the CA articles relating to the paper and the CPD review process.

    For a summary of how well the review process worked, see:

    Hugues Goosse and the Unresponsiveness of Juckes

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2105#more-2105

    Cliff

  172. Posted Jul 3, 2008 at 5:50 AM | Permalink

    I lied, I came back … a bit. To all those who think I protest too much and deserve an O-ring award or whatever, understand this:

    Michael and I are on the side of better documentation and record keeping, but we as a community haven’t been as good as we could have been. Fair cop, but that’s where we are now and there’s no use bleating about the past. Feel free to lobby your governments to change that and increase the funding (sadly, unlike big pharma, we have no mechanism to increase the pot to meet the costs of the sort of record keeping bernie wants, and don’t even believe for a second the individuals in big pharma keep those records, it’s the institutions that are legally liable).

    I don’t disagree we should spend more, but then that is me as a professional data manager saying so, so you’d better discount my advice, because it’s my profession and I’m voting for more money into it.

    We still have to make decisions with what we know now, and I still contend that since you’ve paid for the advice, you should use it, warts and all!

  173. Posted Jul 3, 2008 at 5:52 AM | Permalink

    oops, the last advice referred to the global average temperature, not me and data management …

  174. bernie
    Posted Jul 3, 2008 at 6:14 AM | Permalink

    Bryan:
    With all due respect, you have missed the point. Better record keeping would obviously be a good thing. It is the lack of transparency that is the more systemic issue and pertains not just to data records but also to methods. Some of the behavior reported here by Steve and others has nothing to do with a lack of funding but everything to do with attitude. Some may hypothesize on the source of the attitude, e.g., politics, hubris, fear, paranoia, but what is clear is a lack of basic openness. If you have been through a financial audit you will understand what a powerful mechanism it is for improving processes and methods and how beneficial it is to go into such a process with “clean hands” and a willingness to be “open”. At one level Steve’s guiding analogy of an audit, is essentially peer review done with the rigor and vigor needed to improve climate science and methods – this and Steve’s ability to execute his audits with such alacrity makes this blog a quite extraordinary endeavor.

  175. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 3, 2008 at 6:17 AM | Permalink

    RE 167. Thanks Micheal. You’ll find when you come here that there is a rite
    of passage of sorts, where 10 people will gang up, 5 of which will just be throwing fruit. The random fruitings taper off and then you can actually have
    a good conversation. In any case, if you and I cant agree on some issue
    we can always talk about music and sci fi, since we agree on those.

  176. steven mosher
    Posted Jul 3, 2008 at 6:19 AM | Permalink

    re 168, hey JEG isnt all bad. he likes tom waits.

  177. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jul 3, 2008 at 7:06 AM | Permalink

    Bryan and Michael Tobis: It would be good not to get things mixed up. Most of the data issues discussed on this site have been about archiving simple site historical data such as tree ring series or ocean drill cores. If you go to the various archives that exist, you see that these are simply a header with some metadata and then columns of numbers. This is not advanced database stuff at all. It is basicly in the form that the researcher used it. It takes 5 minutes to upload it to the archives. Likewise with emails: in 5 seconds I can pull up every email to joe smith I ever sent. Thus the issue of cost is mostly (not always) a red herring.

  178. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Jul 3, 2008 at 7:25 AM | Permalink

    Re: #167

    Although I disagree with much of what goes on here, it is more interesting than I expected. I need to limit my participation out of self-preservation. I have too much going on right now to let the net take over my life.

    I will probably be back for more, fool that I am, should the powers that be allow it. Apologies in advance to Kenneth.

    Michael T, no need to apologize if you simply take seriously a little advice I will repeat for you that might just make your internet experience more efficient. Concentrate your posts on some of the more detailed aspects of the subject matters raised here. Most of us here have heard and know all the generalized replies, but those are not very satisfying for many of us looking at and enjoying the details of these analyses. An example of generalizing in the current discussion is yours and Bryan’s invoking the high cost of archiving but never giving any details.

    In my view scientists’ individual responsibilities go beyond what an organization in which they participate deems necessary in the way of record keeping and any sloppiness, stubbornness or neglect in these responsibilities reflects on that scientist. An individual scientist taking pride in her work would, I think, want to insure that their work can be reproduced and want the attention that that process would provide. I can see archiving getting lost, confused and expensive in some of the more bureaucratic institutions, but what I am talking about here is what an individual scientist can produce on request in an official or unofficial capacity and their willingness to make the effort to provide the requested data.

    By the way, making preachy and generalized comments in internet discussions should not take much of ones valuable personal time, whereas more detailed analyses may. I have seen preachers prepare a sermon in no time at all and sometimes on fly. Heck, this posting took me only a couple of minutes.

  179. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 3, 2008 at 8:06 AM | Permalink

    #173. Bryan, be careful in what views you ascribe to people. This blog is a long dialogue and I can’t preface every post with all my views. I’ve said on many occasions (e.g. my Ohio State talk for a convenient summary), that if I were a policy-maker, I would rely on the advice from formal institutions such as IPCC, rather than whatever personal views I might have. (My position on this point differs from many readers, but is, in my opinion, more appropriate.)

    However, I would also do what I could to improve the quality of advice. Enforcing existing policies on archiving data has negligible cost. I get tired of climate scientists using “big picture” concerns to justify mismanagement of details that can be controlled separately. I don’t say that policy should be delayed pending sorting out such details; but neither should it be an excuse for not sorting them out.

  180. David Holland
    Posted Jul 3, 2008 at 10:21 AM | Permalink

    Bryan,

    I don’t buy into your argument that you weren’t paid to do the archiving and documentation. It has been “best practice” as long as there has been science. What you are really telling us is that, sadly, as with every other aspect of modern life self regulation no longer works in climate science. You say,

    We still have to make decisions with what we know now, and I still contend that since you’ve paid for the advice, you should use it, warts and all!

    I see it slightly differently. Like Steve, I agree that, were I in Hilary Benn’s shoes, I would probably be taking a similar stance at least in public. However, unlike Mr Benn, I would want to be sure the advice I was being given was arrived at in the way my government and others had agreed it would be. When I find it all over the web that the Chief Scientist of the Met Office says his work for the IPCC was done on a personal basis and his working documents are private I would probably call him in for a chat.

  181. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 3, 2008 at 11:00 AM | Permalink

    #!69. Jen, in answer to your question, the situation is very uneven depending on the data set. GISS provides far more source information than CRU. GISS has a convenient online list of stations used. Their station data at various stages was also online, though in a VERY inconvenient form. They didn’t seem to expect it to be actually used for statistical research purposes, so when I started downloading data from their site station-by-station in an automatic way, I got into a tussle last with them last year when they pulled plug on my IP address. One of the benefits of having a popular blog is that I can report this and often sunshine overcomes bureaucratic secretiveness, as it did in this case, where they relented and restored access.

    THe problems with GISS related to mysteries of what they did. Last year, I thought that something was funny with the year 2000 in the US and asked to see code. They refused. By analysing data sets, I was able to locate the problem and notified them. I asked once again for access to the code and they once again refused. However, they moved promptly to fix the Y2K problem with all prior U.S. data being overwritten within 2 days of my notice to them. This issue got a lot of publicity as it coincided with a NASA launch and non-coopted science reporters covered the story. It appears that NASA administrators managed to actual instruct Hansen to do something – archive the code, which was done last September. Other than the code being awful and so poorly documented as to be virtually incomprehensible (in breach of NASA software policies), there is enough material on it to analyse it. Now apologists point to this code as though it were always available.

    CRU is a different story. They didn’t disclose even the station identities, much less their data. After prolonged FOI actions covering about 2 years, a mostly complete (but still incomplete) list of stations was obtained, but station versions are still unknown and unavailable.

    Someone like Lonnie Thompson is different again. A couple of years ago, on key ice cores (Dunde, Guliya), some taken over 20 years, he had archived nothing. There were different and inconsistent grey O18 versions running around. Since then more inconsistent O18 versions have appeared. He refuses to do anything. If the data is lost or destroyed , it would be ironic if Thompson’s negligence led to the loss of irreplaceable data that could have been preserved with routine archiving. (Crowley, for example, says that he lost the data for Crowley and Lowery 2000 moving to Duke.)

  182. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jul 3, 2008 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

    David #181: A short, productive and directive chat! :)

  183. bernie
    Posted Jul 3, 2008 at 11:33 AM | Permalink

    #181 & #183
    Or a re-run of an episode of Yes, Minister!!

  184. Posted Jul 9, 2008 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

    I’ve read through the thread, particularly the parts since #28 (as I found my way here from Tobis’s site).
    A few thoughts and a suggestion/invitation.

    * Back in #53, the desire (which seems common) for a comprehensive document with all the math, physics, etc. on climate was mentioned. What value of ‘all’ do the folks here mean? For the math, you’d need everything from algebra through a thorough sequence in partial differential equations, with side trips to a couple of numerical analysis courses on how to deal with all the relevant equations. That alone would be good for several thousand pages.

    The IPCC summaries are too short for an ‘all’ description, and they’re ca. 1000 pages themselves. For a start, they reference ca. 2000 papers, averaging, say, 10 pages each, for 20,000 pages there. All those papers reference another, say, 10 papers themselves, so now you’re looking at 200,000 pages. And this only gets you back a few years. To get ‘all’ the science on climate (with particular reference to possibilities of anthropogenic change), you need to go back to Fourier’s 1827 paper. While the publication rate does drop off exponentially in time as you go back,
    It’s hard to see the total coming in under a million pages.

    Much as I’d like that sort ‘all’ document myself, I don’t see it happening.

    So, what practicable document would you (all) like to see? How long should it be — 10 pages, 1000, …? What would its table of contents look like? What knowledge may be presumed (algebra only, no math, partial differential equations, …)? These are all serious questions as I’ve had in mind for some time to write that document.

    * A different recurring comment was about how folks here like to (or would like to) get in to the science and learn more about it. I like to see that, and encourage it. Now, this blog is not dedicated to science education, so not the best place to pursue such questions. On the other hand, my blog is dedicated to science education. On yet another hand, mine is not concerned with the policy questions, or audit issues, or the like, so not a place for those discussions.

    So I’ll invite those of you with science questions to come over to my blog http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/ and ask them. Some I won’t be able to help you with (yet :-) but a fair amount I can give good answers and pointers to the scientific literature regarding.

  185. bernie
    Posted Jul 9, 2008 at 7:45 AM | Permalink

    penguin:
    I think you misread what is being asked for, namely transparency about methods, access to actual data and adherence to stated policies for archiving information and data. It is that simple. The problem is that certain players (and their institutions) seem to be completely reluctant to abide by the basic requirements of scientific discourse and, moreover, take an almost perverse delight in stonewalling requests for information. If you can get Thompson to share the raw ice core data he uses or Mitchell to reveal reviewer comments and response thereto or Jones to clarify exactly which stations and which data from those stations he used – you will have a distinct increase in traffic to your site.

  186. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 9, 2008 at 8:25 AM | Permalink

    #186. bernie, you’re conflating two different problems.

    #185. that’s a silly answer.The term that I’ve used is an “engineering quality” document. I’ve not suggested that such a document include a derivation of linear algebra and nunber theory; nor would an “engineering quality” document do so. Going back to Fourier has nothing to do with it either. It’s a sensible question and your excuse is silly.

    For example, in none of the 4 IPCC reports is there a systematic description of infrared absorption by CO2, describing the relevant upward and downward spectra. They could have mitigated this to some extent if they said they adopted the description in such-and-such a text, but for such an important subject, it ‘s worth their time to make a self-contained exposition. For a variety of reasons, the confidence intervals of their forecasts don’t seem to have decreased in 30 years despite a lot of effort. An engineering quality report would discuss each of the major contributors to uncertainty in considerable detail, including a detailed description of cloud parameterizations and the problems encountered.

    Within the scope of 1500 pages, there’s a lot that could be done to make it a document that is far more illuminating to policy-makers and interested scientists from other fields.

  187. bernie
    Posted Jul 9, 2008 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

    Steve:
    On re-reading #53, you are of course correct. If I understand the main issue, i.e., the lack of a systematic description of infrared absorption, it seems to be presumed in all the documentation as evidence in the 2005 NRC Report referenced by Roger Pielke Snr. The whole research program that is outlined therein presupposes that a definitive exposition exists. Prof Pielke was on that Committee – perhaps he can say why what you are looking for is so hard to find.

  188. Posted Jul 9, 2008 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

    #187
    If the answer was silly, it was at least an honest answer to what appeared to be an honest request in #53.

    As I said in #185, a question is what value of ‘all’ folks here want. Unfortunately, you didn’t answer that. Nor did you answer, even just for yourself, the questions I raised:
    “So, what practicable document would you (all) like to see? How long should it be — 10 pages, 1000, …? What would its table of contents look like? What knowledge may be presumed (algebra only, no math, partial differential equations, …)? These are all serious questions as I’ve had in mind for some time to write that document.

    Your mention here is the first in this thread of ‘engineering quality document’. Unfortunately my engineering days didn’t run long enough to include such documents. If you’d just answered my original questions, we’d have been ahead.

    Complaints about IPCC really aren’t a concern for me here at the moment. I have a number of my own and a joint complaint-fest about IPCC doesn’t strike me as novel or interesting.

    Your example:
    “For example, in none of the 4 IPCC reports is there a systematic description of infrared absorption by CO2, describing the relevant upward and downward spectra.”

    The absorption spectrum of CO2 (and other common terrestrial gases) is not a function of upward or downward, or backwards/frontwards. It’s a function of pressure and temperature, with minor effects for isotopic variations, and negligible (under terrestrial conditions) effects for electric and magnetic fields.

  189. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 9, 2008 at 5:06 PM | Permalink

    #189. You say:

    Nor did you answer, even just for yourself, the questions I raised:
    “So, what practicable document would you (all) like to see? How long should it be — 10 pages, 1000, …? What would its table of contents look like? What knowledge may be presumed (algebra only, no math, partial differential equations, …)? These are all serious questions as I’ve had in mind for some time to write that document.

    I said:

    Within the scope of 1500 pages, there’s a lot that could be done to make it a document that is far more illuminating to policy-makers and interested scientists from other fields.

    Rather than asking me what should be in the report, you should ask climate scientists who have derived 3 deg C for doubled CO2. I’m not suggesting that the calculation is wrong, merely that I’d like to see a detailed exposition of how it’s obtained. I’m not looking for something that tries to spoon feed. If partial differential equations are the relevant math, then whatever is relevant should be used. If people can write down a proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem, they can describe the derivation of 3 deg C (even if, like the Fermat proof, only a few people understand it.) But my guess is that the proof does not involve math on the scale of Andrew Wiles’ proof.

    Again, I find it hard to believe that there is no such derivation. That’s why I’ve asked people for such a reference (admittedly unsuccessfully so far.) However once again, if there is no such derivation, then someone should provide one, but you’d be better off asking specialists in the field what they think the contents should be. If you get such a table of contents, I’d be happy to comment on it.

  190. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 9, 2008 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

    Re: #189,

    I came to look at Climate Change perhaps a couple of years before Steve. What I wanted was a site where you could dig down into the science as a non-professional in the field but having been trained as a scientist. I soon found, as numerous other people here did, that there was no such site. There were some places where you could be told that something was based on thus and such paper, but as you point out, there’s practically an infinite regress (though by no means an uncountable regress). This is unacceptable given the policies we’re expected to accept. Either something such as Steve suggests is produced or I’ll simply oppose the present proposals. Period! Those suppporting Kyoto et. al. have had ample time to get their act together. For the time being, they simply have created a considerable crowd of intelligent people who will not take their word without proof.

  191. Stephen Richards
    Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 2:16 AM | Permalink

    Penguindreams. Ridiculous name!

    Please explain how IR absorption is a function of pressure & temperature and please don’t start at PV=RT it is irrelevent.

  192. Jim Edwards
    Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 4:03 AM | Permalink

    Stephen Richards [and penguindreams]:

    It sounds like “penguindreams” is talking about the properties of CO2 in the lab [in vitro], rather than the effect of variable CO2 concentration on net solar IR balance in the atmosphere [in vivo]. His description is going to be correct on the micro level, but not quite what Steve M seems to be getting at in #187.

    Steve M. and penguin appear to be talking past each other.

    It looks like Steve M. is implicitly discussing the atmospheric system as a whole [upwards and downwards spectra / relevance to climate for IPCC]. Of course, he’s probably posted the same point 50x over the years, and the goal of an engineering quality report in this context 100x. He could have been clearer, but it’s a blog and if every sentence had to be perfect, nothing would be written.

    Having failed to read any of the many threads at CA, penguin is either jumping to the conclusion that Steve M. is seriously ignorant when he sees Steve talk about CO2 in a way novel to penguin [up & down], or he’s playing nitpick. His discussion in #185 looks like a “how many angels can dance on the end of a pin ?” argument.

    If penguin spent any time reading CA, he’d see that most gripes here are about one thing fundamental to good science: REPRODUCIBILITY.

    He asks what an IPCC document should look like.
    Whatever is needed to convince a scientifically-trained outsider with time on his hands [how about a Ph.D. physicist with no background in climatology] that the authors’ ultimate conclusions are faithful representations of scientific knowledge.

  193. tty
    Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 4:25 AM | Permalink

    Re 192

    I presume that Penguindreams is referring to “pressure broadening” i e the fact that the emission/absorption levels of an atom or molecule are affected by forces from nearby particles. The effect is very minor under terran conditions.

  194. Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 6:41 AM | Permalink

    Looks like folks missed the comment in both my posts:
    These are all serious questions as I’ve had in mind for some time to write that document.

    That you don’t like the IPCC is not relevant. Telling me to make the IPCC do what you want (particularly as details as to what that would be are still absent) is also not relevant as well as absurd.

    #190 wants a ‘detailed exposition’, but, again, doesn’t say what one would look like. As science is not math, the illustration of a mathematical proof is not useful.

    #191 — again, I’m not arguing the absence of a ‘good site’ (my term), but am asking what one would look like to you (any of you). How much math can be presumed, how much physics, how much chemistry, etc.? After making those assumptions, how much detail do you want? Actual codes for every model mentioned? Description of the algorithms and how they were tested, or would it suffice to say that they were tested, or are merely a fluid dynamical implementation of Newton’s laws (without detailed discussion of why relativity is not relevant — a friend read a scientific proposal that included
    relativity for modelling storm systems, so maybe you do want this?).

    #192 — the terms to look up are pressure broadening, doppler broadening (and at higher temperatures, state vacancy), stark effect (electric field) and Zeeman splitting (magnetic field). Line broadening is crucial for understanding terrestrial radiative transfer. The Stark and Zeeman effects are negligible on the earth, but Zeeman is helpful for looking at the Sun.

    #193 — I figure if you want to understand a field, and discuss it, you learn the language of that field. If Steve didn’t mean what I took him to mean, he can rephrase until he gets an answer to his real question. Since all fields have their own usages, I expect some iteration (regardless of where on knowledge spectrum I am) to get past them. In the mean time, the direction independence of gas absorption is interesting. Aerosol and cloud drop scattering can have directional preference (forward scattering albedo).

    If a detailed description has been given 100 times before, then it doesn’t seem like such a great effort to make that 101 when you have someone present who might undertake satisfying what is obviously a great desire of the whole group. If you can’t or won’t say what you want in enough detail for someone to give it to you, you probably won’t get it. ‘Whatever is needed …’, doesn’t work. I know quite a few people for whom ‘whatever is needed’ for them to believe that evolution happens is a film of every speciation event since the dawn of time. If that’s the sort of standard you want, you’ll be forever unhappy. I don’t think it is, but the present state of affairs also has you unhappy. Somewhere between the two is what you want, I assume, but I don’t know where it is.

  195. kim
    Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 7:43 AM | Permalink

    190 (Steve) I see the problem this way. You are asking a question for which you know there is no answer at present. The forcings and feedbacks among CO2, temperature, water in all its phases and the sun’s energy input are simply too complex to solve, let alone parameterize, at present. The real question should be how does this all this agnosis, a word I prefer here to ignorance, have the audacity to inform policy at the massive scale it desires. Obviously, such lack of knowledge should not inform policy and that is the problem to solve.
    =================================================================================

  196. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 7:52 AM | Permalink

    #195. It would be helpful if you actually read what I wrote:

    #190 wants a ‘detailed exposition’, but, again, doesn’t say what one would look like. As science is not math, the illustration of a mathematical proof is not useful.

    Let me re-iterate what I said before. I don’t know how the derivation is done in detail. That’s why I’ve been asking. Ask Gavin Schmidt what he thinks and, if you want me to comment, I’ll try to do so. IT’s their job to specify the chapters and it should have been done long ago. My point about Andrew Wiles was not that that was what the document should look like – it shouldn’t – it should look more like an engineering report, but merely to give an an example of where someone had written something very complicated down.

    So once again:

    Rather than asking me what should be in the report, you should ask climate scientists who have derived 3 deg C for doubled CO2. I’m not suggesting that the calculation is wrong, merely that I’d like to see a detailed exposition of how it’s obtained. I’m not looking for something that tries to spoon feed. If partial differential equations are the relevant math, then whatever is relevant should be used. …

    Again, I find it hard to believe that there is no such derivation. That’s why I’ve asked people for such a reference (admittedly unsuccessfully so far.) However once again, if there is no such derivation, then someone should provide one, but you’d be better off asking specialists in the field what they think the contents should be. If you get such a table of contents, I’d be happy to comment on it.

    You can ask me to provide an outline of the proof until you’re blue in the face, but I’ve been asking for the derivation for longer than you have and got nowhere.

    As to what an “engineering quality” document should like, I’d suggest that you try to get hold of a complete engineering study for something like a space station and then ask yourself whether a climate model is more or less complicated than a space station – and estimate the relevant length accordingly. IT’s not the sort of thing that an individual can do, or for that matter a bunch of IPCC volunteers in between their other duties. If Bechtel or some other big engineering firm took on a project like this, it would cost millions or tens of millions of dollars. I personally think that the money would be well spent regardless of the outcome.

    People say to me” if you’re right about the HS, then the situation is much worse than we think it is. And my answer is always: well, then we need to know this and should give no thanks to people who stubbornly disguised the true situation from us by withholding results adverse to their thesis.

  197. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 8:24 AM | Permalink

    penguindreams: when one looks for a derivation of the climate sensitivity, one finds a regress of references that goes back to essentially back of the envelope calculations done decades ago. The cartoons (as in diagrams) for example in Houghton are too vague to be real physics. the entire enterprise hinges on the response of the atmosphere to changing GHG, but the expositions generally only rise to the level of introductory textbook descriptions, if that. Not so convincing, especially with respect to the water vapor/clouds mechanism(s) which are described even more vaguely but give most of the positive feedback. All of this is discussed ad nauseum here at CA if you look for it.

  198. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 8:41 AM | Permalink

    In a post earlier this year http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2567, I excerpted the sections of AR3 and AR4 that were the closest things to being “expositions” of the enhanced greenhouse effect, saying that the expositions were “so baby food as to be essentially useless to a scientist from another discipline.”

    In a related post http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2572, I discussed and excerpted the “explanation” in Houghton’s text, which is not even baby food, but simply arm-waving.

    Once again, I do not say that a more professional exposition is impossible, merely that IPCC does not contain one nor does it provide any references to an endorsed text providing such an exposition.

  199. Nylo
    Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

    #192

    I don’t think that the absorption spectrum of CO2 would be even weakly affected by pressure or temperature to any relevant level. However, the total IR absorption of the atmosphere at a given location does get affected by temperature and pressure. For the same air pressure and atmospheric composition, a colder atmosphere is heavier, it has more “air”, which includes more CO2 and other greenhouse gasses, and therefore absorbs more IR radiation. In the same way, for the same temperature and atmospheric composition, a higher atmospheric pressure means more air, including more CO2 and a higher capability to absorb IR radiation.

    As a result, a very hot atmosphere combined with high air pressure in a hot summer day kinda “opens” a window of slightly reduced infrared absorption, which is quite good, because IR emissions from the surface at that location will likely be very big.

  200. Nylo
    Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 9:38 AM | Permalink

    Pardon, I meant a combination of a hot atmosphere and a low air pressure.

  201. Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 3:15 PM | Permalink

    Re #200

    On the contrary the CO2 absorption spectrum is strongly effected by T & P, that’s what causes it to be a logarithmic response rather than a linear one.

  202. Richard Hill
    Posted Jul 10, 2008 at 7:04 PM | Permalink

    re. 197, 198 engineering quality derivation.
    There are bodies like Australia’s CSIRO who are supposed to
    do commercial work as well as their climate modelling.
    Could a respected person/group formally request a quotation from them for such an engineering study?
    They CSIRO or whoever could respond with a quote, as Steve said, perhaps millions.
    Or, they could refuse to quote, which would speak for itself.
    A trust could be established to fund such a study.

  203. Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 5:42 AM | Permalink

    #196: Isn’t it a fairly damning thing to say that Steve is asking a question he knows there’s no answer to?

    Steve: I haven’t said that I “know” there is no answer to this question. Quite the opposite. I’ve said that I do not draw such a conclusion from the mere absence of a systematic presentation and have explicitly disagreed with readers who have drawn opposite conclusions.

    #198 I don’t follow you. When I’ve explored the literature on climate, I’ve gotten citations back to Fourier’s 1827 paper (which is well worth reading), not ‘decades’. Even limiting to how to compute a climate sensitivity, this goes to Arrhenius’ 1896 paper (which is online in several locations last I checked, Fourier was only in 1 last time I looked), so a good century. It’s uncommon, but I’ve also seen reference to Theophrastus and to Aristotle (the Meteorologica, I’ve read it in translation, and am on a 40 year plan to do my own translation as the version I have has some serious problems).

    Isn’t it of course the citation list goes back decades? Shouldn’t it be so? The more recent papers add some things, change some others, etc. and show the results of doing so. The current models aren’t just a matter of implementing Arrhenius’ model on a computer rather than by hand. But, as some basic results do go back that far, it’s at least reasonable to be citing that older work.

    Others have mentioned they want (someone, perhaps themselves, perhaps others) to be able to ‘drill down’ the science. These citations enable that sort of thing. Seems like a good idea (I wish that more people cited more of the relevant older literature, but … I’m not part of a majority in that, so the back-tracking is more arduous than it could be).

    Steve: you’ve misconstrued Craig’s point. Like you, I find considerable value in older literature. However, Arrhenius is not an engineering quality derivation of 3 deg C from doubled CO2.

    #197 and #199
    Since my question is ‘what would it look like’, I’ve not been asking you for ‘in detail’. And clearly you do know a fair amount about what the thing you want should look like. That’s requisite for your statement that it doesn’t exist, among other things, but also including your complaints to which you link and your description of the dozens of people, millions of dollars, years, scale of report you now say you want in 197.

    As you note, and I agree, that kind of report cannot be done by IPCC. As such, complaints about IPCC not doing accomplishing what you want are a waste of time. It’s just clubbing a seal for not being a walrus.

    Steve: IPCC is quite happy to swan around accepting accolades and was awarded a Nobel Prize. It wasn’t awarded a Nobel Prize for carrying out a literature review. If it’s not competent to do a proper report, then it should have advised its funding governments and the public that it could not do a proper report as presently constituted and that they should organize a different sort of enterprise to do a proper report. The general public presumes that that it was competent to do a proper report and presumes that due diligence was carried out. In professional fields (accounting, engineers), professionals have obligations of doing what they are supposed to do.

    Projects of that scale have been done in this general area, the AMIPs and now CMIPs, for instance (Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project, Climate Model Intercomparison Project). So be lobbying for the funding of an, oh, say 5 year, $10 million per year ‘Climate Model Documentation Project’ to be funded rather than complaining that Tobis was condescending or Gavin Schmidt doesn’t give you the answers you want (which he can’t anyhow when it’s this big project that you want).

    If you were reading Tobis closely, you’ll have noticed that he’d be interested in working on such a project.

    In the mean time, in your complaint at http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2567 about the pablum and non-explanations in the IPCC and Houghton’s reports, you seem more favorable about Goody and Yung. But it’s still not clear that Goody and Yung (on that particular topic) were
    satisfactory to you, and if not, why not. Your final comment, though, conflicts with your comment about that ‘Bechtel’ report being what you want. You want at least one more document:
    “The general public should not be required to wade through Goody and Yung at a university library to get an explanation.”

    A public that shouldn’t be required to wade through Goody and Yung certainly can’t be required to wade through a ‘Bechtel’ report.

    So you do, after all, want a document that a single person could write — one that the general public could read. That puts us in the few hundred page range, unless we find a writer who can spin out a
    ‘Wheel of Time’ (Robert Jordan’s Fantasy series) of a dozen or more 1000 page books on climate. On the other hand, that general public document will be lacking in the sort of technical detail that Goody and Yung provide. It’ll have to be somewhere between the 4th grader’s version you’re complaining about in those posts and the late college version of Goody and Yung. Where do you want it?

    That’s at least 2 documents you want. Is there a 3rd and 4th in between the monster and the general public version? What would they look like? How about more details on what you want that general public book to look like?

    Steve: There are layers and layers of issues. Personally my main interest is in a non-pablumized exposition so that I can read for myself an exposition approved by responsible people of how doubled CO2 leads to 3 deg C. I do not wish a presentation for the general public. Having said that, I think that IPCC had an obligation to explain how enhanced AGW works in something better than the arm-waving fashion of Houghton’s execrable exposition. If Goody and Yung provided an explanation of how doubled CO2 led to 3 deg C in a college level book, then I would have no complaint about one of my concerns. But if you bothered to actually read Goody and Yung, you’d find that they don’t. They have much interesting information about atmospheric radiation, but do not provide a technical version of Houghton’s “the higher the colder” heuristic or how the various water feedbacks work.

    Having said that, I find it astonishing that IPCC does not even bother to explain existing knowledge on infrared radiation and absorption. This is a different issue than the other one. It’s something that is surely relevant. A general description of this existing knowledge would not resolve the other matter; the public is looking for information, this is relevant and should have been discussed. If they had said, go look at Goody and Yung, that would be one thing. But maybe if an interested reader went to Goody and Yung and came back with questions, they’d say that they’d “moved on” – something that’s a bit of a joke around here.

    My interest is in examining a systematic presentation. I presume that the specialists in the field know how to do this. They’re the ones who say that doubled CO2 leads to 3 deg C. I have no reason to dispute this and, unlike many readers, have never suggested that such a number cannot be derived. But I’m not the one who’s made these particular claims. Once again, you’re asking the wrong person to write your table of contents for you. Why don’t you try Gavin Schmidt?

  204. bernie
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 6:00 AM | Permalink

    penguin:
    That’s a lot of words for DIY.

  205. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 7:59 AM | Permalink

    Penguindreams: you missed my point. The regress of citations goes back to papers that are primitive and certainly not adequate for basing mitigation policy on. Do you really think Arrhenius’ 1896 paper provides a complete exposition that is computably accurate? What these earlier papers provide is the history of the “concept” of greenhouse effect, but the pedigree of a concept does not make it computable or correct.

  206. kim
    Posted Jul 11, 2008 at 8:09 AM | Permalink

    204 (penguindreams) No not damning in the least. What is damning is claiming the question is answered when it isn’t. Steve calling the question is like calling a bluff in poker. Well, let’s see your hand.
    ====================================================

  207. Worse Than We Thought
    Posted Nov 20, 2009 at 6:18 PM | Permalink

    May 5 – FOI request
    May 6 – CRU Acknowledgement
    June 3 – CRU Refusal Notice
    June 4 – Holland Appeal
    June 20 – CRU Rejection of Appeal

    A new entry for the timeline:

    From: Phil Jones
    To: “Michael E. Mann”
    Subject: IPCC & FOI
    Date: Thu May 29 11:04:11 2008

    Mike,

    Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?
    Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.
    Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t
    have his new email address.
    We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.
    I see that CA claim they discovered the 1945 problem in the Nature paper!!
    Cheers
    Phil

    Prof. Phil Jones
    Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0) 1603 592090
    School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0) 1603 507784
    University of East Anglia
    Norwich Email p.jones@uea.ac.uk
    NR4 7TJ
    UK

12 Trackbacks

  1. By Niche Modeling » IPCC Fraud Solutions on Jun 28, 2008 at 11:43 PM

    [...] IPCC, and I want to suggest a constructive solution. Recently, a climate scientist was critical of freedom of information inquiries reported at ClimateAudit, but made some points that help to illustrate the current state of thinking. Below I present my [...]

  2. [...] “Fortress CRU“, Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, 20 June 2008. [...]

  3. [...] story behind Holland’s FOIA request (here and here) requires close reading of blogs, scientific papers, leaked mails, FOIA requests, IPCC [...]

  4. [...] story behind Holland’s FOIA request (here and here) requires close reading of blogs, scientific papers, leaked mails, FOIA requests, IPCC [...]

  5. [...] people may decide you have something to hide, which is exactly what Steve McIntyre is investigating here, here, here and here.  The organizations concerned are supporters of warming theory – so why [...]

  6. [...] peer-review process for the Summary for Policymakers leaves much to be desired. (LINK) (LINK) (LINK) & (LINK) (Note: The 52 scientists who participated in the 2007 IPCC Summary for Policymakers [...]

  7. [...] peer-review process for the Summary for Policymakers leaves much to be desired. (LINK) (LINK) (LINK) & (LINK) (Note: The 52 scientists who participated in the 2007 IPCC Summary for Policymakers [...]

  8. [...] peer-review process for the Summary for Policymakers leaves much to be desired. (LINK) (LINK) (LINK) & (LINK) (Note: The 52 scientists who participated in the 2007 IPCC Summary for Policymakers [...]

  9. [...] PhilPhil Jones email catre Michael MannAR4 se referă la al patrulea raport al IPCC, cel din 2007. David Holland ceruse în 2008 accesul la corespondenţa dintre doctorul Briffa şi o serie de oameni de ştiinţă de la CRU. [...]

  10. [...] peer-review process for the Summary for Policymakers leaves much to be desired. (LINK) (LINK) (LINK) & (LINK) (Note: The 52 scientists who participated in the 2007 IPCC Summary for Policymakers [...]

  11. [...] (a request curiously omitted from the Muir Russell list of FOI requests.) See contemporary CA post here. The primary excuse was that releasing the information would supposedly be an “actionable [...]

  12. [...] process for the Summary for Policymakers leaves much to be desired. (LINK) (LINK) ([/SIZE][SIZE=3]LINK[/SIZE][SIZE=3]) & (LINK) (Note: The 52 scientists who participated in the 2007 IPCC Summary for [...]

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