Yesterday, the Economist had an amusing April Fool’s joke, announcing an “Econoland” theme park that “combines the magic of a theme park with the excitement of macroeconomics”.
AS PART of a strategy designed to broaden the revenue base, leverage content over new platforms and promote The Economist brand to a young and dynamic audience, The Economist Group is delighted to announce the development of a public-entertainment facility that combines the magic of a theme park with the excitement of macroeconomics.
Sort of like the contradiction of trying to write a popular blog on paleoclimate and statistics. The combined excitement of dendrochronology and multivariate calibration. And the hair-raising adventure of going where no explorer from the civilized world has ever gone before – into the dank world of RegEM TTLS.
It reminded me of last year’s clever joke from Caspar Ammann – the Paleoclimate Challenge, aptly titled the PR Challenge announced in a webpage here, discussed at CA here (inter alia). They diagnosed one of the “PR” problems of paleoclimate as being lack of replicable data and methods, as for example here
Most concerns regarding available climate reconstructions arise from:
- The small number of proxies of acceptable quality
- Changes in proxy sensitivity to climate over time
- Small sample sizes
- Uncertainties in the ability of statistical algorithms to recognize and reproduce climate variations against the noise at various timescales.
- Differences in implementation of the “same” reconstruction algorithms
- ‘Tuning’ of algorithms and/or choice of proxy networks in order to achieve a desired result.
Such criticisms cloud efforts to provide an extended record that forms a crucial basis for climate change predictions. The paleoclimate community needs to find ways of reassessing its methods to build confidence in the reconstruction efforts.
Broader community goals and benefits”
- Transparent discussion on the state of knowledge about climate of the last 1 – 2 millennia.
- Open access to reconstruction codes, documentations, data and validation methods and stimulation of use of NOAA Word Data Center for Paleoclimatology as the repository for proxy data.
- Enhance interaction between proxy-paleo, modeling and statistics communities.
- Enable the development of novel methods through well-documented presentation of current status (including successes and deficiencies).
- Emphasize the need for new approaches in hand
The PR Challenge promised that they would “build an open reconstruction access point web site” by April 2009:
Year 1 (June 2008-April 2009)
- Form Challenge Steering Committee and launch communication for the 3 key groups.
- Broad announcement of Challenge to paleo, modeling and statistics communities (e.g., EOS, BAMS, PAGES, CLIVAR, PaleoList, AmStat, EGGS, Nature Reports).
- Collection of reconstruction codes, documentation, and related data.
- Collect existing model run data and prepare for pseudo-proxy calculation.
- Identify networks and develop forward models or off-line regression models for pseudo-proxies in consultation with key specialists. Pre-implementation review.
- Solicit input on reconstruction targets from reconstruction community. Review.
- Build Open Reconstruction Access Point Web Site.
Interestingly, in May 2005, Ammann made similar promises when UCAR announced the submission of Wahl and Ammann (to Climatic Change) and Wammann and Wahl (to GRL). As previously discussed here, Ammann and Wahl was rejected by GRL (twice) posing a bit of a conundrum for IPCC 2007 relying on then unpublished Wahl and Ammann, which relied on the rejected paper for key results. (They solved this by a bait-and-switch in a new “Ammann and Wahl” was submitted well after the IPCC acceptance deadline with all the references in the “accepted” Wahl and Ammann switched to the new paper – a history well told by Bishop Hill in “Caspar and the Jesus Paper.”) In several UCAR webpages here, here here, Ammann promised four years ago (May 10, 2005) to deliver “Community Codes in open source, incl test data” listing here the suite of paleo reconstructions regularly discussed here.
At the time of the original announcement on May 10, 2005, Ammann published their code for MBH emulation, which I reconciled to ours within a few days. Nearly four years later, the only new source code archived by Ammann is their adaptation of our RE benchmarking code here, which uses our archived code right up to the nomenclature of minor variables (my nomenclature is a bit better now than then, but variables like NM, Data1,.. which occur in the Ammann code also occur in our archived code.) Not a lot of production.
Needless to say, the PR Challenge doesn’t mention either Climate Audit or M&M though we’ve obviously been the major forces in raising these issues. Nor have they “solicited input” from the active community here. It’s also pretty obvious that Climate Audit represents by far the largest effort to collect source data and replicate results and had already established substantial interaction with a highly interested segment of the statistical community.
We’ll see how Ammann fares in getting his website up after working on this for years. Most of the work is already done at Climate Audit. I wonder if NOAA would fund me to do what they’ve failed to do.