Partial Transcript of Inquiry Press Conference

Here is a partial transcript of the Inquiry press conference, including the Boulton bits.

MR: Thank you for coming and thanks to the Science Media Centre for hosting this launch meeting. My name is Muir Russell. I have been asked to chair the Independent Climate Change Email Review set up in the wake of the leak of emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit. With me are most but not all of the team.

I know there are some questions about why it has taken a few weeks [SM: since Dec 3, 2009] to get to this stage – there’s been a lot going on.

We had to assemble the team, we’ve met a couple of times to get used to each other. Some of us have visited Norwich and met some of the people there – met the Police and the Information Commissioners Office. We’ve looked at emails and developed an initial view of questions we need to ask. And that’s in our document called issues. So quite a lot has been happening and really what the purpose of today is to give you a little bit of a flavour of the fruit of those labours and what we will be doing next.

Talks a bit about what will be going on at the press conference then …

We will be calling for evidence submission and comments on issues and putting them to members of the CRU and others.We’re also launching a website – it’s the primary way for people to follow progress, to read submissions to submit own evidence if they wish.

So who are we? There are six members of the review team. All distinguished people in their field and I’m very proud to have them on board. I have recently retired as Principal of the University of Glasgow. Before that I was Permanent Secretary for the Scottish Office and the Scottish Executive on devolution . I did physics at Glasgow but i think whatthey calapsed and have no scientific baggage in relation to this review at all.

So will begin on the left….
Geoffrey Boulton
I am Geoffrey Boulton – Professor of Geology at Edinburgh University. My research has been in glaciology and in climate change in the geological past . In essence that means that I understand a lot of the underlying science that relates to more recent and current climate change and I think that’s probably my principal contribution. I should stress that I am not involved in recent and the issues of recent and current climate nor am I part of that community. I should also add something that ought to be in my CV but is not – that I was appointed to a full-time post in the new school of environmental science at UEA at 1968 and worked there until 1980 which if you calculate correctly is 30 years ago.

EXCERPTS OF Q&A WITH JOURNOS AT END OF PRESENTATION WHERE GEOFFREY BOULTON SPEAKS
1. Question: In your issues for examination you quote a few of the emails. You don’t quote the notorious one about asking three or four colleagues to delete emails about the IPCC. I was just wondering why you didn’t single that one out or whether this is just a selection? Secondly can I ask you to expand on your comment on the importance of this review to the credibility of science as a whole.

MR: On the first one I think that the issue will be picked up within the questions. I might just ask Jim to say a word about that in a moment.
But the importance of this for the credibility of science as a whole. You’ll see we have tried to set ourselves up to run this through the filter of those questions from Geoscience and the US National Academy about stewardship of data about how research data is handled and so on. Those are questions which are going to resonate rather more loudly than just about CRU because you need to say what can science show what can it do, what confidence limits are there and you need to get a proper understanding of the sorts of questions you can then ask and how people are answering them and how their processes relate to that.
And I might just to ask Philip to say a word but Jim do you want to comment on the suppression deleting emails…

JN: There were any number of emails we could have chosen to quote from. Clearly that one is of great interest to us. Certainly of great interest to the Information Commissioners. We will work with the IC in that area you’ll find on our list of questions we are trying to establish whether it is possible to tell whether data was deleted or not. What were the sort of archiving methods, what sort of data dictionaries(?). So we are are laying the groundwork to address that and we will certainly address it to the extent that’s possible and we will share those results clearly with the team from the information commissioner.

GB: (starts low as mike is repositioned) Just as a matter of fact we quote from one of the relevant emails where we quote one of the emails which says “I can’t see either of these being in the next IPCC report Kevin and I will keep them out somehow.” So we do refer to it.

2. Q: You’ve alluded to broader context. But if you are looking specifically at CRU and how it dealt with its data management, would you not have to compare that with other similar data at other institutions… do you have access to other institutions..? Can you compare like with like. And if that then are you not slipping into a broader analysis of how data is handled?

Answers from MR and JN then GB
GB: Just to add a little to that. When I started doing science long time ago then If I did six experiments I produced six data points and plotted them on some graph paper with a pencil. I’ve got an experiment now in Antarctica which will produce 2 gigabytes of data. The way you look at that is totally different it has completely different demands upon us. My view is for many of us we haven’t really come to terms with this new digital world. What I hope is that some of our conclusions might have relevance to the way in which more broadly science operates and indeed the responsibilities that fall on individual scientists and indeed their institutions.

71 Comments

  1. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 12:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Russell’s introductory comments describes the emails as “leaked”, while the Inquiry website describes the emails as “hacked” (Home, About, FAQ twice).

    • Dr Iain McQueen
      Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 5:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Steve McIntyre (Feb 16 12:40),
      At times of stress, as at a press launch of a contentious enquiry you are thought to have charge of, what you believe in your heart can leak out although you may not have intended it.
      He may know more than we, or he may simply doubt ‘the party line’.

    • MikeC
      Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 11:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

      No, it’s because they spoke to the police and the police know it’s not a hacker.

  2. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 12:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Boulton says:

    I should also add something that ought to be in my CV but is not – that I was appointed to a full-time post in the new school of environmental science at UEA at 1968 and worked there until 1980 which if you calculate correctly is 30 years ago.

    Although this issues has been on the table for 5 days now, Boulton has taken no steps to amend his Inquiry biography, where his connection to UEA remains unreported.

    His Debretts shows him as working at UEA until 1986 (also showing him working at U of Amseterdam 1980-86). I presume that this will be clarified.

  3. Dr Iain McQueen
    Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 12:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    from the posted transcript
    “2. Q: You’ve alluded to broader context. But if you are looking specifically at CRU and how it dealt with its data management, would you not have to compare that with other similar data at other institutions… do you have access to other institutions..? Can you compare like with like. And if that then are you not slipping into a broader analysis of how data is handled?

    Answers from MR and JN then GB
    GB: Just to add a little to that. When I started doing science long time ago then If I did six experiments I produced six data points and plotted them on some graph paper with a pencil. I’ve got an experiment now in Antarctica which will produce 2 gigabytes of data. The way you look at that is totally different it has completely different demands upon us. My view is for many of us we haven’t really come to terms with this new digital world. What I hope is that some of our conclusions might have relevance to the way in which more broadly science operates and indeed the responsibilities that fall on individual scientists and indeed their institutions.”

    I’m afraid this smells already like an excuse in advance from Boulton. Not good.

    • Dr Iain McQueen
      Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 1:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Dr Iain McQueen (Feb 16 12:51),
      I should have thought it was actually a lot easier to disseminate data ‘in the new digital world’ [what... about fifteen years I've had a computer on my desk?] than the pencil and paper era. What they may not have come to terms with is the fact that they can so easily be asked to produce such huge volumes of data and meta-data, and are now in a quandary about actually doing so. Must have been easier to say “sorry the results sheet got stuck under an iceberg and I can’t tell you now. So sorry”

      • Jimchip
        Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 2:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: Dr Iain McQueen (Feb 16 13:02),

        Boulton: “My view is for many of us we haven’t really come to terms with this new digital world.”

        If a glaciologist can’t take the heat of the new digital world perhaps they should just go pound snow.

        • Dave L.
          Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 2:36 PM | Permalink

          My contention has been the lack of statistical expertise among the Team Members. I even wrote to the Team secretary to complain about this deficiency. How can they examine statistical methods for accuracy and appropriateness? I think this statement referenced in the above posting sums it up nicely — my interpretation: we call upon the statistics guys to help us out, because we know not what we do.

      • Posted Feb 17, 2010 at 8:28 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: Dr Iain McQueen (Feb 16 13:02),

        Forgive me but as I read the end of your post the phrase “Sorry miss, but a polar bear ate my homework” sprang to mind. I must use that one day.

    • Gord Richens
      Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 1:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

      “What I hope is that some of our conclusions might have relevance to the way in which more broadly science operates and indeed the responsibilities that fall on individual scientists and indeed their institutions.”

      Tail wags dog.

    • Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 3:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Dr Iain McQueen (Feb 16 12:51), It’s not the quantity, it’s the quality. Better have six properly plotted station records than two gigabytes of gridded UHI-sizzling soup. So if you think it’s an exit line I think it can be turned around.

      • Geoff Sherrington
        Posted Feb 17, 2010 at 8:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Lucy, Agreed. In meneral exploration it was important for geologists in remote, dangerous places to be able to navigate home the old way, when GPS came in. Just in case the battery failed…

        Also, one gets a much better understanding of data when working with it manually. Nothing like plotting a map by hand, then comparing it with the computer version. We are becoming too reliant on unstated, unknown assumptions built into complex software and that are potential sources of error.

        This is not a Ludddite comment, it has to do with cross-checking.

  4. Duke C.
    Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 12:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    My view is for many of us we haven’t really come to terms with this new digital world.

    Well said, GB.

    • Posted Feb 17, 2010 at 8:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

      It is right – and we should be pushing for:

      1. Open data
      2. Open source
      3. Open preprints
      4. Open review

      That’ll make the future very different from the past. Not that those simple phrases solve everything – reproducibility can be hard across different hardware, operating systems and versions of languages. All that needs to be attended to. But hopefully the world that has chosen to depend on climate science so much will begin to learn what’s possible and demand it as a right.

  5. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 12:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Boulton’s answer to the delete email was untrue. The delete email was in late May 2008 and, as CA readers know, was Jones’ request to Mann, Ammann, Wahl, Briffa to delete AR4 correspondence – which included correspondence between Wahl and Briffa that violated IPCC procedures.

    Boulton referred to an entirely different incident in which Jones talked to Trenberth about keeping McKitrick and Michaels out of AR4. Perhaps this was a mistake or perhaps Boulton thought that splicing two unrelated emails was a “good way” of answering the question. If not, the reporter had a better handle on the emails than Boulton or Boulton was trying to trick the reporter.

    • Dr Iain McQueen
      Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 1:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Steve McIntyre (Feb 16 12:53),
      Boulton knew perfectly well what he was doing.

      • geronimo
        Posted Feb 17, 2010 at 2:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

        I do too, it’s a classic methodology, you answer the question you want because there’s leverage in it. In the case of the request for AR4 emails to be deleted there are serious questions to be asked and by any rules of evidence the police in a criminal case would describe this as a piece of evidence that had Jones “bang to rights” (a police phrase, which has no meaning in the word, but putting them together in that way indicates that the evidence is clear and there’d be no way the defendant could weasel out of it). That is definitely not what someone who was looking to exhonerate the perp would want on the table, so what they put on the table is a statement of intended malfeasance, i.e. stopping the MM paper from being accepted by the IPCC, with a result that no malfeasance took place i.e. the MM paper was accepted by the IPCC. That way the interchanges become harmless banter and all the emails can be looked at in that light.

    • Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 4:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I think the questions need to be placed pointedly and in context.

      On or about May 28th, you and Palmer had decided that Holland’s FOIA request would be denied on the grounds of confidentiality. Palmer told you he feared an appeal and wanted to do things by the book. He requested that Amman be contacted to ascertain whether he considered his mails to be confidential. Ammann answered that he did not mark mails as confidential, as Briffa clearly did.
      You then proceeded to ask Dr. Mann to delete his mails, and requested that he ask Eugene Wahl to delete mails. You indicated that you would have Briffa and others delete mails. At issue was a violation of IPCC process on the part of Briffa and others. The mails show your were aware of this violation and you suggested that papers be backdated. On June 2 Holland’s request was denied. The ICO office has found that this denial was in error. Now,

      1. Were you aware that Briffa had sent Wahl a copy of the chapter 6 text even though he was not a reviewer?
      2. were you aware that Briffa had incorporated text supplied by Wahl outside the process.
      3. Given that the plan was to reject the FOIA on grounds of confidentiality why
      did you ignore Ammann’s reply?
      4. Given that the plan was to reject the FOIA on grounds of confidentiality why did you find it necessary to ask people to delete mails.
      5. Did you fear an appeal and request the deletion of the mails to thwart an appeal that Palmer believed would happen?
      6. Did you ask Briffa if he deleted his mails
      7. Did you ask Obsborn if he deleted his mails?
      8. Did Mann ever respond to your request
      9. Did you assume he would comply and hence not check back with him.
      10. Did mann know why you had asked?

      And the list goes on

      • Posted Feb 17, 2010 at 8:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

        The pragmatic question, to which I certainly don’t know the answer, is, given that it looks highly unlikely that Jones and others will be subjected to the kind of searching cross-examination that they ought to be, with no prior knowledge of where the questioning might go and a prosecutor with a deep understanding of where the weak points are … well, with Boulton’s PDF on show we know that some of that is now impossible. But the question anyhow is: will the inadequate efforts of this ‘team’ be enough for a major change in the way climate science is carried out in future? There is so much bad practice pretty much lying on the surface that that does still seem possible.

        I’m genuinely unsure, unsure as to whether to urge people to submit vast amounts on paper, when it looks so clear that less than ideal people are in charge of a wholly inadequate process. Dunno. All the best to everyone considering it.

  6. Dominic
    Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 12:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Boulton’s answer at the end sounds like he is testing out excuse for Jones regarding his sloppy data maintenance. After all, what does he mean when he talks about “6 data points” vs “2 gigabytes of data”. The point should be that you do not throw away those 6 data points, you keep them somewhere safe. Same goes for the 2GB of data. I can’t see what the “different demands” are. If Jones lost his raw data then this cannot be justified using claims Jones may or may not have come to terms with the “digital world”. The only demand is that we take care of the data whatever medium it is on. Maybe I am reading too much into these comments. But they certainly seem like he is road-testing excuses.

    • Bernie
      Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

      The tone is what got me: The terms condescending and patronizing spring to mind.

      • Patrick M.
        Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 7:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Yes we children have simply misunderstood what the grownups are doing. I’m sure they’ll set us straight with a pat on our head.

    • WillR
      Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 11:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Dominic (Feb 16 12:54),

      I did not finish my post above and was going to say a bit on this issue… I don’t think it will be “Lost data” so much as the enormous issues of organizing the data, the difficulties, trial and tribulations of a brilliant overworked scientist… SO I agree — “testing excuses” etc. I don’t think they will wash among people who handle large data volumes and large numbers of reports. tables etc in digital form. However, they are enough issues that can be discussed around the issue that they may try to use it to obfuscate the intent and direction of the inquiry. Costs, backup issues, support costs, changing formats could use up endless numbers of press releases to emphasize that the difficulties were really all technical and financial…

  7. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 12:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The Sir Humphrey approach to things – we’ve already seen this with Cicerone at NAS – is to blur the terms of reference into a generalized academic report and avoid dealing with the issues that precipitated the inquiry.

    • Dr Iain McQueen
      Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 1:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Steve McIntyre (Feb 16 12:55),
      This is a very real process and it is difficult to see a way round it especially when, as here they are allowed to set their own agenda. What is more, most people don’t realize they’ve been sidelined by this subterfuge, or ‘trick’ as we sometimes call it. I fear The Hapless One, let alone Boulton, will be well versed in Sir Humphrey’s techniques. It amounts to ‘not quite answering the questions they need answered, but looking as if we’ve addressed the issues’.

  8. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 12:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Boulton said:

    I should stress that I am not involved in recent – and issues of recent – and current climate nor am I part of that community.

    Isn’t this the same guy that’s been making presentation after presentation about recent climate and issues pertaining to recent climate?

    Pretty soon he’ll be telling us that he didn’t calculate a verification r2 statistic as that would be a foolish and incorrect thing to do.

    • John Norris
      Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 7:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

      re:”Pretty soon he’ll be telling us that he didn’t calculate a verification r2 statistic as that would be a foolish and incorrect thing to do.”

      Perhaps. But if I would have said that you would have snipped for piling on, or overreaching.

      Steve: you’re right about that. :) .

  9. Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 1:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Just to add a little to that. When I started doing science long time ago then If I did six experiments I produced six data points and plotted them on some graph paper with a pencil. I’ve got an experiment now in Antarctica which will produce 2 gigabytes of data. The way you look at that is totally different it has completely different demands upon us. My view is for many of us we haven’t really come to terms with this new digital world. What I hope is that some of our conclusions might have relevance to the way in which more broadly science operates and indeed the responsibilities that fall on individual scientists and indeed their institutions.

    That relevance does the two gigabyte reference have to temperature records. Assume 3000 temperature stations and 150 values for each. That is 450,000 values. Assume about 100 bytes each (extremely generous). That is only 45 megabytes for the entire database. This is a less than trivial amount today and it was a trivial amount for tape in the 1970s.

    As well, the reference to 2 gigabytes of data from an Antarctic experiment the LHC experiments are being interconnected by ultra-high speed optical links. These researchers are concerned with terabytes of data per day. Coming to terms with 2 gigabytes is something that was done years ago. I carry 20 gigs around in my pocket. Other people will carry 10 or 20 times that and think nothing of it. My cheap stationery store laptop has 250 gigs.

    • Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 1:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

      The way you look at that is totally different it has completely different demands upon us. My view is for many of us we haven’t really come to terms with this new digital world. What I hope is that some of our conclusions might have relevance to the way in which more broadly science operates and indeed the responsibilities that fall on individual scientists and indeed their institutions.

      The way data sets were shared in the past, at least among the people I know, was to use a student. Somebody would ask for some data. He would tell the supplier not to bother with any format change on the tape. Just give us the format and we will have a student write a program to extract what we want. I don’t know why this requires the time of an academic commission of inquiry. It was just the day-to-day routine for the transfer of data between labs. You didn’t even ask for the tape back.

      • Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 3:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

        To put the 2 gigabyte experimental data file in perspective, IBM has announced a 14 petabyte storage server. A petabyte equals one million gigabytes

        http://www.networkworld.com/news/2010/021110-ibm-announces-massive-nas-array.html?source=NWWNLE_nlt_datacenter_2010-02-16

        BM announced an enterprise-class network attached storage (NAS) array today [February 11, 2010] that is capable of scaling to 14 petabytes under a single name space.

        The array, called SONAS (Scale Out Network Attached Storage), is targeted at mid- and large-size enterprises. The rack-sized array is built in part on hardware and software developed for IBM’s supercomputing systems.

        • Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 3:54 PM | Permalink

          Petabytes of temperature records

          “Every day, the equivalent of eight-times the information that exists in all US libraries combined is created,” Doug Balog, vice president of disk systems for IBM, said in a statement. “Companies not only need to cost-effectively store that data, but they need to rapidly locate it and provide ubiquitous access to it instantly.”

          This sounds like a solution that the IPCC could implement as a web service for teh research community.

    • ThinkingScientist
      Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 6:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Suggesting 2 Gb of data is large is frankly nonsense. In geophysics we were happily working with datasets of 1 – 2 Gb of data in the early 1990’s and were able to render in 3D voxel views 0.25 Gb data sets at that time on SGI Indigo2 workstations. These days we routinely visually/manually QC 3D seismic models of 2 – 4 Gb and recently worked on 240 Million sample 3D outputs x 100 stochastic realisations. In floating point that’s 89 Gb of raw values not counting the various headers to keep track of XYZ coordinates etc. I recently processed the entire GHCN2 monthly data set (which is desperately inefficiently stored in ASCII) to look at the corrections applied recently using awk/unix shell scripts on a Windows PC. The entire v2.mean data set is only 45 Mb in size. It took longer to write the scripts to break out the columns of data (lack of white space) and check for duplicates etc than to actually process such a small data set. Even if you include the monthly min, mean, max and their adjusted files its still only 152 Mb and its ASCII.

      As a final comment, we send data back to clients on portable disk drives. Currently I buy them from my local supermarket for £45 each. They are so cheap we don’t even bother if the client forgets to return them (the courier charge would be more than the disk is worth anyway). They hold 320 Gb. As for my pair of NAS servers, they currently hold 18 Tb between them and they cost us less than a top spec PC.

      • WillR
        Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 7:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: ThinkingScientist (Feb 16 18:30),

        I had similar reactions — 2GB is not that much — we keep about 40-80GB of data per client (per five years) — geophysical, survey, lab, maps, etc. per client. I looked at a Blu-Ray writer plus disks ($500 + $25 ea). It’s simple and cheaper to buy a throw-away drive as you say.

        On the other hand — I have hourly reporting here for 700 Power stations since 2002 — the entire analysis takes up 38MB in a sql server file (IB2009). A typical query for averages or monthly sums is 1/10 sec — from query to final graph — I just checked — So 2GB is a lot of data for some things — wonder what he’s doing? :-) Maybe we will be looking forward to another independent study sliced salami thin…

        Steve: Enough on gigabytes.

  10. ZT
    Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 1:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Boulton is clearly economical with the truth when it suits him.

    Amusingly he was involved in creating a ‘Universal ethical code for scientists’, http://www.cst.gov.uk/reports/#Ethics

    (Though it appears that the UK universities weren’t that enthusiastic.)

  11. ZT
    Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 1:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It appears that Boulton is operating as defense attorney. He is blurring issues (one piece of paper 30 years ago has mushroomed into billions of bytes), leaving out inconvenient parts of his interests (AGW) or professional history (UEA), and asking and answering only selected questions (e.g. only the lesser deletions).

    The defense is going to be ‘bumbling professor(s), well intentioned, but out run by technology’. The judgment will probably be to increase their funding.

    So much for British science :-(

    • Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 4:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

      yes, you see in the mails that when their practice is challenged they see it as an opportunity for more funding.

      No harm in that, but first they need to get their house in order.

  12. Dr Iain McQueen
    Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 2:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Quote “2. Q: You’ve alluded to broader context. But if you are looking specifically at CRU and how it dealt with its data management, would you not have to compare that with other similar data at other institutions… do you have access to other institutions..?”

    This is a very perceptive question from the journalist. Does he hint at the need to actually check facts about possible deletions and actions at -for example- Penn State? Refer indeed to corroborative facts that may be available?

    We don’t know from this transcript whether MR or JN dealt with this before GB comes in to play.

    Incidentally GB seems to catch the reporters’ ear more than the others on the panel, or perhaps this is a selective transcript.

    Steve: It’s not a complete transcript. The transcriber has been following the Boulton posts and put priority on them for now.

    • Chris S
      Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 3:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I take a different reading of that question. It seems to be asking, can you make judgments on CRU data management (in general), without knowing how other institutions would handle similar data (in general).

      The review panel would have placed any comparisons between institutions datasets(even if possible) well beyond their remit.

      It sounds more like an “easy out”, friendly question to me;)

      • Dr Iain McQueen
        Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 3:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: Chris S (Feb 16 15:10),
        Ahh! a friendly journalist? You could be right.

        Steve, what do you know of the journalist whose notes we selectively peruse?

  13. Jimchip
    Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 2:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “What I hope is that some of our conclusions might have relevance to the way in which more broadly science operates and indeed the responsibilities that fall on individual scientists and indeed their institutions.”

    Hopefully, that will be true when a similar inquiry reaches the US. (Current US inquiries seem to be on a slow boat from China). A future US inquiry may learn how not to do it.

  14. Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 3:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Chambell was the sacrificial Lamb brought on board to protect Boulton.
    1 scalp is all they will give. It’s a known tactic.

    • ianl8888
      Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 3:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Already said that about a week ago

      It has often been observed that the English are the best in the world at rapier irony (John Cleese is probably the most famous current practitioner) … I’ve wondered many times if this is because they have so much to practise on

      This Inquiry is a case in point :)

      • Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 4:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I was a bit slow on this scam. I spent some time with Tom Fuller this morning who has way more experience than I do in the UK ( he lived there many years) His insight ( and yours) puts it into perspective. Also, the whole Jones interview now looks different to me once I realized how these things are orchestrated.
        I’ve just finished a piece on the interview that hints at this angle, but there was only so much I could do in 750 words. I’ll let people know when it gets posted up.

        Thanks for giving me the opportunity to credit you and Tom

        • curious
          Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 5:00 PM | Permalink

          Just opinion on my part but this Inquiry really seems to be thumbing it’s nose at the sceptical community just because it can. The whole use of the proper name “The Team” is a blatant p1ss take – read it here and chortle at their tongue in cheek irony:

          http://www.cce-review.org/Workplan.php

          “The Team wishes to focus on the honesty, rigour and openness with which CRU handled its data.”…

          “The Team will operate as openly and transparently as possible.”…

          “In making its analysis and conclusions, the Team will test the relevant work against pertinent standards at the time it was done, recognizing that such standards will have changed.”

          Yeah right – …from the good old days of graph paper in sock tops and penknife sharpened pencils… oh it’s all so tricky now, computers and all this modern technojumbery embedding metadata you don’t even know about! etc etc

          Basically they are thumbing their nose because they can. They are an irrelevant UEA appointed and paid for PR exercise:

          “The University of East Anglia (UEA) announced the Independent Review on 3 December 2009.”

          “Is the Review truly independent?
          Yes. The Review is being funded by the University of East Anglia, which wants to get to the bottom of the issues around the Climate Change Email hacking incident. Its chair, Sir Muir Russell, is wholly independent and the Review’s recommendations to the UEA – as well as all evidence submitted to the Review – will be made public.”

          The website is a hoot – for anyone new to the issues here are a few starters from the FAQ:

          “What is climate change and why is important?
          You may find the following links helpful:

          The Royal Society: http://royalsociety.org/Climate-Change/
          The Met Office: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climatechange/
          Directgov: http://www.direct.gov.uk
          BBC Weather: http://news.bbc.co.uk/weather/hi/climate
          Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change

          “Lord Lawson suggested that you needed statistical and legal advice. Why do you seem to be ignoring his advice?
          The Review is grateful to Lord Lawson for his submission and suggestions. The Review will seek any advice which it feels it needs.”

          The only way this Inquiry can redeem itself is if it turns out to be an undercover Monty Python reunion! Either way; have chuckle – a good laugh is the only worthwhile thing coming out of this!!

          end vent/ :)

        • ianl8888
          Posted Feb 17, 2010 at 5:25 AM | Permalink

          Unlike the Americans, we Aussies didn’t chuck the English out … rather, we just drank them under the table :)

          In this long-drawn affair, we learnt the art of laconic satire. Well, they are good teachers here

          Can you just imagine a John Cleese skit on Boulton ? The Falty Towers of Edinburgh ? SO much material :)

        • Posted Feb 17, 2010 at 2:03 PM | Permalink

          You might just take a peek at my post at http://box57.blogspot.com/2010/02/what-links-cru-at-uea-to-monty-python.html, John Cleese and the Monty Python Team have indeed parodied UEA, and 40 years ago at that!

        • ianl8888
          Posted Feb 17, 2010 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

          40 years ago and still apposite – Cleese et al are true comic geniuses

          Being outraged at Boulton’s antics will not discourage him – being the butt of derisive public parody will

        • Jimchip
          Posted Feb 17, 2010 at 5:39 PM | Permalink

          Re: ianl8888 (Feb 17 05:25),

          Do you think they will stick with the “1 scalp rule”? If so, maybe they can be convinced to put Campbell back in as a replacement for Boulton. That’s starting to look like the better option.

    • Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 9:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Who is Chambell?

  15. RuhRoh
    Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 4:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Please snip if redundant, but this sentence confused me;

    Calapsed?

    “Before that I was Permanent Secretary for the Scottish Office and the Scottish Executive on devolution . I did physics at Glasgow but i think whatthey calapsed and have no scientific baggage in relation to this review at all.”

    TIA
    RR

    • Tim Skinner
      Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 5:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

      whatthey calapsed = what they call lapsed

      is my guess.

      • Bernie
        Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 6:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

        “Lapsed” is probably in the statement … but I think a full transcript or actual audio is needed to make sense of it – assuming that Boulton is not related to or suffers from the same malady as Boston’s Mayor Tom “Mumbles” Menino. If the latter is the case, we may never know!

  16. geo
    Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 5:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I don’t really care if they make culture-lag excuses for Jones bad record-keeping in the past, so long as it results in better record keeping and accessibility/transparency in the future, and hopefully a strong call to re-collect and make publicly available the missing data as well. Jones head on a pike is a lot less interesting to me than getting back onto the right path.

  17. Harry Eagar
    Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 6:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Whoa, whoa, wait a minute. The years 1968-80 should have been in Boulton’s CV? I’ll say.

    Let’s say you get a resume from a job applicant, and the years 1968-80 are blank. What is your next question?

    Now I want to know, what IS in Boulton’s CV for those years? Nothing?

    • oneuniverse
      Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 8:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Harry Eagar (Feb 16 18:24),

      It’s mentioned in this CV from Xiamen University (uploaded in Oct 2007 it seems).

      1968-86: School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia. Lecturer:1968-76, Reader:1976-86 (half-time, 1982-86)

      • oneuniverse
        Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 8:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: oneuniverse (Feb 16 20:21),

        The missing link to the CV.

        • Dr Iain McQueen
          Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 8:47 PM | Permalink

          Re: oneuniverse (Feb 16 20:22),
          A revealing find – congratulations!
          He wears quite a big wig – the committee team would have a lot of difficulty sacking him. Clearly has the ear of Government maybe Ed Miliband and we know there is no bias there.

      • Harry Eagar
        Posted Feb 17, 2010 at 12:50 AM | Permalink | Reply

        ‘I should also add something that ought to be in my CV but is not – that I was appointed to a full-time post in the new school of environmental science at UEA at 1968 and worked there until 1980 which if you calculate correctly is 30 years ago.’

        So he removed UAE from his CV sometime between 2007 and his submission to Muir Russell? Why would he do that?

        And he had an apparently part-time appointment in that period to Amsterdam. I wonder if that was in the CV given to Muir Russell. Or was 1968-80 a mere blank for Boulton, the way it was for popular music?

        And does he mean that something 30 years ago is too remote to bother with? Further down in the CV you found, he takes pride in being the first to demonstrate different aspects of glaciology during the ’70s.

        The transcript also says: ‘I should stress that I am not involved in recent and the issues of recent and current climate nor am I part of that community.’

        Which is hard to square with this from the 2007(?) CV:

        5. CURRENT RESEARCH INTERESTS

        Past and future climate changes
        Climatic correlations between ice core and marine data

  18. Charles DrPH
    Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 7:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Fermilab just posted the video for Richard Lindzen’s speech “The Peculiar Issue of Global Warming,” which was delivered to a Fermilab colloquium on Feb. 10, 2010.

    Please see:

    http://vmsstreamer1.fnal.gov/VMS_Site_03/Lectures/Colloquium/100210Lindzen/index.htm

    It was a great talk to a rather contentious group of physicists! Enjoy!

    • Bernie
      Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 10:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

      This is very much OT but thanks for the link. It is similar to some of his other recent talks. What is interesting is that he is even more emphatic about (a) false precision (b) poor specification of the models and (c) failure to sufficiently specify actual physics.
      Even though there was a 20 minute plus question period and a number of folks in the audience expressed strong disapproval of Lindzen’s perspective there were no penetrating or enlightening questions.
      On reflection, I think Lindzen sees the current climate scientists doing very little that fits his model of science. Interestingly Lindzen argues for a greater focus on relatively short cycle climate/weather/geophysical processes rather than long-cycle temperature or precipitation records.
      Perhaps you or others had a different perspective.

      • Charles DrPH
        Posted Feb 17, 2010 at 12:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, I knew it was badly OT but didn’t know where else to put it!

        Please post on Steve’s “links” page.

        I agree with all of your observations (I was in the audience during the presentation). In terms of physics & science, I thought it was a bit light. I preferred Kirkby’s talk to CERN on climate change & cosmic rays, link below.

        I was surprised that Lindzen went right after the climate “cabal” & compared its structure to a religion, and then lambasted them for their hyperbole and panic-mongering. What made this interesting was the setting (Dr. Leon Lederman, nobel laureate in physics, was in the crowd), and the younger physicists really went after Lindzen on various topics.

        Lindzen’s talk is worth watching, but this one has more intriguing science & theory:
        http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1181073/

        Please move to another site if appropriate and thanks for you involvement!

        Steve: The current configuration doesn’t permit me to move comments. If you post OT comments, please understand that I’m likely to delete them. Please have the courtesy to post on Unthreaded rather than waste my time.

    • MarkR
      Posted Feb 17, 2010 at 12:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

      If you don’t want RealPlayer interfering with your system use RealAlternative for free here: http://filequake.com/audio-video-players-codecs/real-alternative/download/

      Lindzen is the man for the debate. I think he has been biding his time. He knows it’s political. Hopefully the time for the debunkinh is now.

    • Dave Dardinger
      Posted Feb 17, 2010 at 12:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Charles DrPH (Feb 16 19:53),

      Thanks, it was very good (though quite long).

    • Chris Schoneveld
      Posted Feb 17, 2010 at 12:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Can’t access the video. I get a message: “this link appears to be broken”. Could it be that the video can only be seen in the US?

  19. bobdenton
    Posted Feb 17, 2010 at 8:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

    From the Review’s FAQs:

    “Some of the blogs are saying that Professor Geoffrey Boulton is connected to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – is this true?
    No, it is not true. Professor Boulton has had no formal contact with the IPCC. He has not been a member of the Panel or made any submissions to it.”

    From Prof Boulton’s CV
    “9. CONTRIBUTIONS TO SCIENCE & RESEARCH POLICY
    ———
    As contributor to G8 Preparatory Groups and Intergovernmental Panels on climate change”

    So he has made no submissions to the IPCC, though he appears to claim to have contributed to it.

  20. bobdenton
    Posted Feb 17, 2010 at 12:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    A voice recording of the 11th Frb briefing is now available at the Review web site.

  21. intrepid_wanders
    Posted Feb 17, 2010 at 4:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

    No volume level on that MP3. It would be interesting to get transcripts of everything after the QA session was over and they thought they were “closed mic”.

    Any audioheads?…

    • bobdenton
      Posted Feb 18, 2010 at 9:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

      At 1.01.20 Muir? confirms he/they have met the scientist including Jones a couple of times- in an office – to discuss the data issues, the coordinate metadata issues – to understand what they were really doing – because these are the questions they are going to ask.

  22. bobdenton
    Posted Feb 18, 2010 at 6:10 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Although Bolton signed a letter saying:

    “we uphold the findings of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, which concludes that “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal” and that “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations”

    In the press briefing at 23.46 he clarifies that this does not represent his view.

    He is an AR3 man not an AR4 man, who believes only that human activity is implicated in recent warming but not that most of it likely due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas.

    It’s clear that the pressure was on, but there were academics who felt able to resist the pressure to put their name to document which misrepresented and exaggerated their personal view, Boulton was not one of them.

    If you lack moral fibre on one occasion you’re likely to lack it on another.

  23. Posted Feb 19, 2010 at 10:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Introductory press conference 11.2.10: “I am Geoffrey Boulton . . . I should also add something that ought to be in my CV but is not – that I was appointed to a full-time post in the new school of environmental science at UEA at 1968 and worked there until 1980 which if you calculate correctly is 30 years ago.”

    In the 15.2.10 news release on the Review website rebutting calls for Professor Boulton to resign: “Professor Boulton said: “At the Review press conference (on February 11), I pointed out that I had worked full-time in the School of Environmental Sciences at UEA from its inception in 1968 to 1980, and that I had a part-time appointment between 1980 and 1986, whilst working primarily in the University of Amsterdam.””
    I have listened to the recording posted on the Review website from start to finish and can hear no mention of him referring to the 1980-86 period.

3 Trackbacks

  1. [...] reader oneuniverse who spotted Boultons CV. This entry was written by Steve McIntyre, posted on Feb 17, 2010 at 1:18 [...]

  2. [...] Voici la transcription partielle d'une conférence de presse d'enquête, notamment les bits Boulton. MR: Je vous remercie d'être venu et merci au Centre des sciences des médias pour avoir accueilli cette réunion de lancement. Mon nom est Muir Russell. On m'a demandé de présider la Société indépendante de l'évolution du climat Email évaluation mis en place dans le sillage de la [. . . ] URL article original: http://climateaudit.org/2010/02/16/partial-transcript-of-inquiry-press-conference/ [...]

  3. [...] Feb 16, 2006, CA reader oneuniverse pointed out that a Boulton CV online in China here said that Boulton had been a “contributor to G8 [...]

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