Oxburgh’s Trick to Hide the Trick

The Oxburgh report ” is a flimsy and embarrassing 5-pages.

They did not interview me (nor, to my knowledge, any other CRU critics or targets). The committee was announced on March 22 and their “report” is dated April 12 – three weeks end to end – less time than even the Parliamentary Committee. They took no evidence. Their list of references is 11 CRU papers, five on tree rings, six on CRUTEM. Notably missing from the “sample” are their 1000-year reconstructions: Jones et al 1998, Mann and Jones 2003, Jones and Mann 2004, etc.)

They did not discuss specifically discuss or report on any of the incidents of arbitrary adjustment (“bodging”), cherry picking and deletion of adverse data, mentioned in my submissions to the Science and Technology Committee and the Muir Russell Committee. I’ll report on these issues later in the day as they’ll take a little time to review. First, let’s observe Oxburgh’s trick to hide the “trick”.

Long before Climategate, Climate Audit readers knew that you had to watch the pea under the thimble whenever you’re dealing with the Team. This is true with Oxburgh of Globe International as well.

Oxburgh of Globe International alludes to the “trick..to hide the decline” in veiled terms as follows:

CRU publications repeatedly emphasize the discrepancy between instrumental and tree-based proxy reconstructions of temperature during the late 20th century, but presentations of this work by the IPCC and others have sometimes neglected to highlight this issue. While we find this regrettable, we could find no such fault with the peer-reviewed papers we examined.

Without specifically mentioning the famous “trick …to hide the decline”, Oxburgh subsumes the “trick” as “regrettable” “neglect” by “IPCC and others”.

But watch the pea under Oxburgh’s thimble.

The Oxburgh Report regrettably neglected to highlight the fact that CRU scientists Briffa and Jones, together with Michael Mann, were the IPCC authors responsible for this “regrettable neglect” in the Third Assessment Report. They also regrettably neglected to report that CRU scientist Briffa was the IPCC author responsible for the corresponding section in AR4.

Oxburgh pretends that the fault lay with “IPCC and others”, but this pretence is itself a trick. CRU was up to its elbows in the relevant IPCC presentations that “regrettably” “neglected” to show the divergent data in their graphics.

It is also untrue that CRU authors, in their capacity as IPCC authors, “regrettably” “neglected” to show the divergent data in the IPCC graphics. The Climategate emails show that they did so intentionally – see for example IPCC and the Trick, which show awareness on the part of CRU scientists that showing the decline would “dilute the message” that IPCC wanted to send. The eventual IPCC figure, as reported here on a number of cases, gave a false rhetorical message of the veracity of the proxy reconstructions.

CA readers are also well aware that IPCC and Briffa were categorically asked by one AR4 reviewer (me) to disclose the divergent data. CRU’s Briffa refused, saying only that it would be “inappropriate” to show the data in the graphic. They didn’t “neglect” to show the divergent data from the Briffa reconstruction. This was a considered decision, carried out in AR4 despite pointed criticism.

Yes, the decline had been disclosed in the “peer reviewed literature”. Indeed, that was how I became aware of the trick – long before Climategate and why, as an AR4 peer reviewer, I asked that IPCC not use the trick once again in AR4.

IPCC presentations are how the climate science community speaks to the world. Climate scientists, including CRU scientists, have a far greater obligation of full, true and plain disclosure in IPCC reports than even the specialist literature. Oxburgh pretends that (partial) disclosure of adverse results by CRU in specialist literature is sufficient. It isn’t. There was a continuing obligation to disclose adverse results in IPCC graphics.

CRU scientists acted as IPCC authors. The complaint about the trick arose out of how CRU scientists carried out their duties as IPCC authors.

In this respect, the Oxburgh report is a feeble sleight-of-hand that in effect tries to make the public think that the “trick” was no more than “regrettable” “neglect” by the “IPCC and others” – nothing to do with CRU. In other words, Oxburgh is using a trick to hide the “trick”.

Trick me once, shame on you.

Update 9.40 am. The Daily Telegraph reports:

Professor Hand did say that “inappropriate methods” were used by a separate university to draw up the infamous “hockey stick” graph showing the rise in global temperatures over more than 1,000 years.

Uh, memo to Oxburgh. CRU produced its own hockey stick graphs in Jones et al 1998, Mann and Jones 2003, for example. For some reason, Oxburgh and his associates regrettably neglected to consider these articles.

97 Comments

  1. Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

    Your tears sustain me.

    • philh
      Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 8:42 AM | Permalink

      Great, BCL,so glad to hear you are doing well.

    • skipy
      Posted Apr 15, 2010 at 9:50 AM | Permalink

      2 down – 1 to go!

      uhhh… by the way… who is auditing “the auditor”?

  2. stan
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 8:41 AM | Permalink

    Another failure to be responsible by the climate science community. Roger Pielke, Sr. has spoken out against this type of thing in the past. I’m curious to see if Judith Curry will speak out against this. And I wonder when climate scientists will begin to see that this type of “trick” only degrades their credibility even more.

  3. deadwood
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 8:43 AM | Permalink

    Not just a whitewash, but an incompetent one at that.

    • Jim from Anaheim
      Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 12:31 PM | Permalink

      It’s an incompetent whitewash if what one is after is the truth, however, that’s not what these guys are after.

      The scientists and institutions are interested in keeping taxpayer money flowing in their direction. The politicians are interested in avoiding the appearance of scandal and getting reelected.

      This blog site is essential in distributing the truth, but the media needs to do their part. To their credit, the British media has done a pretty good job. The U.S. media, on the other hand — not so much.

      • Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 6:48 PM | Permalink

        Jim, you can fool some of the people all the time, all the people some of the time but you can’t fool all the people all the time. The simple truth is that the general public no longer care a damn about climate change. So, no matter how much they try to paint black as white, try to paint global warming as the greatest problem in the world, ordinary people have already made up their mind that it doesn’t matter.

        • Patrick Fleming
          Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 11:49 PM | Permalink

          Mike — Thanks for speaking on behalf of the “ordinary people” – we really appreciate your representation.

          “Climategate” may “prove” that the Oxburgh CRU were sloppy at best, deceitful at worst — nonetheless, most of what I am reading here is practicing exactly what is preached against: jumping to conclusions over individual pieces of (mis)information while ignoring the complete body of evidence. Reminds me of the OJ Simpson jury . . .

        • Dave Dardinger
          Posted Apr 15, 2010 at 12:41 AM | Permalink

          Re: Patrick Fleming (Apr 14 23:49),

          ignoring the complete body of evidence.

          Just how many of the threads on this site have you read, anyways? I’ve read almost all of them. I defy you to present a part of the body which hasn’t been discussed here.

  4. Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 8:46 AM | Permalink

    The paragraph Steve highlights was the one that jumped out at me. Surely its easily provable that who is responsible for the presentation of the figures in question by the IPCC. They must be saying that it is regrettable that Jones and Briffa presented the data in this way. Which at least is a slap at those like RealClimate who have argued the ‘trick’ was justified.

  5. Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

    There is something telling in both the Oxburgh-Globe Int’l report and the Willis report. In each case the people in possession of the facts of the matter, i.e. the allegations and the CRU’s responses, created review processes apparently designed to ignore, misrepresent and/or bury the facts. Gullible and partisan observers are interpreting that to mean the facts must therefore exonerate the CRU. I suspect that people with ordinary common sense will realize that putting this much effort into burying the facts and whitewashing the evidence is an admission of guilt.

    • stan
      Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

      As I wrote on another thread, it is as if they were giving us the old Groucho Marx quote, “Who you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?

      Or perhaps you’d prefer Shakespeare’s “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” (the bard using ‘protest’ to mean an over the top affirmation)

  6. ZT
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 8:49 AM | Permalink

    Tricky and dishonest – but not a torrent of whitewash. Could it be that Lord Oxburgh of Globe International turned over enough stones in 15 man days to find himself looking for a quick out?

  7. Christopher Canaris
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 8:55 AM | Permalink

    I haven’t posted on this website before – I’ve come across it only recently.

    However, looking at the conclusions, I note the following:

    …we found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganised researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention. As with many small research groups their internal procedures were rather informal…

    …it is very surprising that research in an area that depends so heavily on statistical methods has not been carried out in close collaboration with professional statisticians. Indeed there would be mutual benefit if there were closer collaboration and interaction between CRU and a much wider scientific group outside the relatively small international circle of temperature specialists.

    …we observed that there were important and unresolved questions that related to the availability of environmental data sets. It was pointed out that since UK government adopted a policy that resulted in charging for access to data sets collected by government agencies, other countries have followed suit impeding the flow of processed and raw data to and between researchers. This is unfortunate and seems inconsistent with policies of open access to data promoted elsewhere in government.

    To me, these are are strong condemnations indeed. While the Report exonerates the CRU of deliberate wrongdoing, I would personally be mortified if my work were described in such terms. Their modus operandi is characterised as disorganised and their isolation from the statistical community is portrayed as a major failing. The policies on data sharing, while not condemned are noted as having major defects.

    Basically, stripped of the feel good padding, the CRU come out look like a well-intentioned but disorganised and amateurish bunch – hardly a ringing endorsement. I fully understand Steve McIntyre’s frustrations with the obfuscations and evasions he has encountered. However, anything stronger than the report would leave the UK government with no option but to close the Unit and/or subject its investigators to a criminal investigation. I suspect reading between the lines a decision that the CRU has been punished enough by the glare of publicity. Whether this would suffice to bring about behaviour change in the climate community remains to be seen.

    • deadwood
      Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

      The only thing that would result in change of behavior would be to fully and completely admit the truth. Obfuscation and evasion will not force those responsible to do anything other than what they have been doing for 30 years, which to a large degree is obfuscation and evasion.

    • Bernie
      Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 9:17 AM | Permalink

      You make a good point though the weakness of this report does little credit to those who sat on the committee. The report certainly damns with faint praise.

      Let us hope that the rest of Alexander Pope’s admonition comes to pass:
      “Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
      And without sneering teach the rest to sneer”

      It will be interesting as to how the reputations of the CRU scientists are rehabilitated and by whom.

    • Yertizz
      Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 9:23 AM | Permalink

      You say ‘….However, anything stronger than the report would leave the UK government with no option but to close the Unit and/or subject its investigators to a criminal investigation…..’

      In my opinion this would be no bad thing. But the way the Blair/Brown mob have behaved with obfuscation and what Churchill once described as ‘terminological inexactitudes’ for the last 13 years, this report is right up their street.

    • geronimo
      Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

      @Christopher Canaris: “To me, these are are strong condemnations indeed. While the Report exonerates the CRU of deliberate wrongdoing, I would personally be mortified if my work were described in such terms.”

      This is precisely the defence put up by the CRU, they wanted the world to see a small bunch of busy, but disorganised, scientists, absent-mindedley losing data and making mistakes.

      The emails show a completely different bunch of scientists, trying to mix advocacy with science and making every effort to ensure that no contrarian views got into the literature. It was the only defence they could make given the emails, and Oxburgh and Willis bought into it because they didn’t want to upset the CAGW applecart.

      If they’d have called Pope Benedict he would have undoubtedley told them to make sure they defrocked malfeasant priests rather than try to protect the religion because these things come back to bite you.

    • Steven
      Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

      Note that the American reviews of the hockey stick (North and Wegman) stated that climate researchers needed to collaborate more readily with professional statisticians. This was, what, four years ago – so why have CRU et al not acted on this recommendation?

      I see Mann quoted as claiming that the above US reports completely exonerated him, so he was surprised at the criticism from Oxburgh.

      Hmm, I guess this “officially” calls into question all of the temperature reconstructions since MBH98 that have used their NA PC1…

      • Dave Andrews
        Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 4:03 PM | Permalink

        In some parts of the blogosphere if you mention Wegman your are treated like an idiot. Those same parts of the blogosphere will no doubt now be claiming CRU has been exonerated.

        However, despite the briefness of the Oxburgh Report, it does in its second conclusion make the very same point that Wegman made about the lack of close collaboration with professional statisticians

        This is definitely a plus!

    • TAG
      Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

      I’d like to echo and support these observations.

    • Brooks Hurd
      Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

      The major problem with what CRU and others in the climate science have done, it that their behavoir does significant harm to science – all acience. Clearly some scientists are in bed with politicians to the point where politics trumps science. These recent exonerations by universities and politicians prove this beyond a reasonable doubt.

      This is not the first time that this has happened to science, and it will not be the last time. Whenever politicians dangle enormous sums of money and large dollaps of power and fame in front of scientists, there are some who will be all too happy to prostitute their science for wealth, power and fame.

      The truth will come out eventually and descredit the guilty. The efforts of Steve, Ross, and others will no doubt hasten general acceptance that much in climate science has not been scientific. Oxburgh had the chance to bring the truth to light, but either through motivation to do otherwise, or incompetance, he did not.

  8. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 9:04 AM | Permalink

    Any one of dozens of skeptic bloggers could have produced a better report in one day. They wouldn’t have needed to have wasted taxpayer pounds in the process either. Maybe it’s time a special website was set up with a group of said bloggers with editing rights and a real evaluation of the CRU was constructed in a week or two, so that people like Bigcitylib can be linked to it whenever they come smirking in. People could suggest additions or corrections to the document as it was being constructed.

  9. Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

    Here’s the ‘deconstructed’ version of the main points:

    “the effects of long term temperature variations are masked by other more dominant short term influences and have to be extracted by statistical techniques. The Unit approaches this task with an independent mindset…”

    Read: Temperature variations are masked by other influences and only the most robust of statistical analyses stand any chance of being able to detect them with statistical significance. Like Michael Mann, CRU has little expertise in statistical analysis, so is practically incompetent in its use.

    “Although inappropriate statistical tools with the potential for producing misleading results have been used by some other groups…in the CRU papers that we examined we did not come across any inappropriate usage although the methods they used may not have been the best for the purpose.”

    Read: CRU employed lousy methods of applying well-known statistical tools. Thus the tools were ‘appropriate’, but their method of use was incorrect.

    “It is not clear, however, that better methods would have produced significantly different results.”

    Read: We didn’t bother to check that.

    “With very noisy data sets a great deal of judgement has to be used. Decisions have to be made on whether to omit pieces of data that appear to be aberrant…The potential for misleading results arising from selection bias is very great in this area. It is regrettable that so few professional statisticians have been involved in this work because it is fundamentally statistical.”

    Read: CRU don’t have the necessary statistical competence to apply an appropriate ‘cherry-picking’ of data and thus are prone to producing garbage from noisy data.

    “The Unit has devoted a great deal of effort to understanding how instrumental observations are best combined to derive the surface temperature on a variety of time and space scales. It has become apparent from a number of studies that there is elevation of the surface temperature in and around large cities and work is continuing to understand this fully.”

    Read: The Unit expended a lot of effort, but we have no idea whether that was efficient or not, or whether the results were sound. They are just beginning to realize that they have not properly accounted for Urban Heat Island effects.

    “The Unit has demonstrated that at a global and hemispheric scale temperature results are surprisingly insensitive to adjustments made to the data and the number of series included.”

    Read: The Unit claims to have demonstrated it, but we were reluctant to check the same as that would have been devastating since no-one in their right mind could believe such a thing. We will nevertheless include this sentence to deceive the unwary reader.

    “For example, CRU publications repeatedly emphasize the discrepancy between instrumental and tree-based proxy reconstructions of temperature during the late 20th century, but presentations of this work by the IPCC and others have sometimes neglected to highlight this issue. While we find this regrettable, we could find no such fault with the peer-reviewed papers we examined.”

    Read: This only related to the papers we actually examined. We didn’t examine papers that weren’t exclusively written by CRU personnel, for example collaborations of Jones, Briffa, Bradley and Hughes with Michael Mann, because then we would not be able to use this sentence. Anyway, we can always blame Michael Mann (being careful not to name him) as that part of the IPCC report was under his control.

    “We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it. Rather we found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganised researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention. As with many small research groups their internal procedures were rather informal.”

    Read: There was certainly scientific malpractice, but we charitably conjecture that it wasn’t ‘deliberate’: it was more a case of incompetence, especially in the area of data handling, which regrettably is the whole raison d’etre of CRU.

    “We cannot help remarking that it is very surprising that research in an area that depends so heavily on statistical methods has not been carried out in close collaboration with professional statisticians.”

    Read: Frankly, these men were a bunch of dedicated (statistical) incompetents who spent a great deal of taxpayers’ money to produce reports of doubtful scientific value. However, since we all have our noses in that trough, the less said the better.

    • Bernie
      Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 9:23 AM | Permalink

      Well said. But are the pundits disposed to read between the lines in such a manner.

      Perhaps you could rework your statement so that it reads like a before and after version of a report that was edited by Sir Humphrey.

  10. EdB
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

    Christopher Canaris

    Isn’t the real issue about science, and not the politics? Hasn’t the UK by this whitewash painted “climate science” as being totally political? A fish first rots from the head..

    • Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 7:16 PM | Permalink

      Edb, too true! If this was really science, and if it did really matter, then you’d expect to see the highest possible standards being applied to ensure the science is as robust as it can possibly be. Instead they have used the lowest possible standards — the kind of thing that you’d use for any old junk that has no importance and just needs sweeping under the carpet.

      This Oxburgh report’s contempt for proper scientific standards in this so called climate “science” is all the public need to see to completely demolished their credibility.

  11. Dodgy Geezer
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 9:18 AM | Permalink

    Yup. Reading the report, what they have done is consider whether the CRU behaved badly by interviewing the CRU.

    The CRU replied that they had not behaved badly, and produced their reasons. Oxburgh then said, “That satisfies me.”, and wrote a report saying exactly that. He even says that he has not considered the details of any complaints against them, commenting that it’s a bit much to have to deal with complaints as well as do your work…

    I have hopes that, in the future, this will be documented as a classic case of whitewash and used as such in textbooks….

  12. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

    Idiocy at the University of East Anglia was celebrated by Monty Python long ago (in the 1970s) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNBNqUdqm1E

    “But Mr Figgis is no ordinary idiot. He is a lecturer in idiocy at the University of East Anglia. Here he is taking a class of third-year students…. After three years of study these apprentice idiots receive a diploma of idiocy, a handful of mud and a kick on the head.”

    The Oxburgh inquiry, together with Vice Chancellor Acton’s reaction suggest that the university is now offering graduate degrees.

    • Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 9:38 PM | Permalink

      The MP crew uses UEA in several skits. As a kid watching them, I never knew UEA was a real entity. I thought it was something made up by the Pythons.

      Wait… Maybe it was!

  13. HotRod
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 9:31 AM | Permalink

    I think C Canaris makes some good points. I am not surprised that Oxburgh refuses to get drawn into whether CRU scientists are responsible, as CRU scientists, for the IPCC report. And there is surely sufficient condemnation in the report to a) at least call it a draw and b) enforce better conduct going forward.

    It’s not what Steve would have wished, and I agree that the biggest failing was not taking evidence from any of a number of rational critics who believe that CRU did in fact step over the line.

    I was pleased to see the criticism of the IPCC, also made clear in the Telegraph report, even though Oxburgh stopped well short of identifying the authors as essentially CRU.

    • Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

      As Steve has pointed out above, Jones et al were lead authors of IPCC reports – it won’t wash to exonerate them but blame the IPCC instead.

  14. Stacey
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 9:33 AM | Permalink

    “CRU accepts with hindsight that they should have devoted more attention in
    the past to archiving data and algorithms and recording exactly what they did.
    At the time the work was done, they had no idea that these data would assume
    the importance they have today and that the Unit would have to answer
    detailed inquiries on earlier work.”

    The conclusion of the above is because the your work is not to going to be inspected you can be slipshod in your approach?

    In one word unprofessional.

  15. Stacey
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

    Apologies for being slipshod?
    The conclusion of the above is because your work is not going to be inspected you can be slipshod in your approach?

    In one word unprofessional.

  16. Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 9:41 AM | Permalink

    A ‘report’ of five pages, written over three weeks – well, that, to me, shows clearly that they did this hastily, not considering anything but how to exonerate CRU.
    Even with the Easter Holidays taken into account, this is more than shabby work, it is in fact insulting.

    And the first of the AGW defenders is already at it:
    ‘Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at London School of Economics and Political Science, called for an apology from the sceptics.
    “I think those so-called sceptics who have attempted to undermine the credibility of climate change science on the basis of the hacked emails now need to apologise for misleading the public about their significance.”
    Link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7589715/Climategate-scientists-criticised-for-not-using-best-statistical-tools.html

    So, as we’re now back to ‘hacked’ e-mails, how long until sceptics will be called ‘deniers’ again?

    • Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

      Bob Ward and the Grantham Research Institute (headed by Lord Nicholas Stern, no less!) are bankrolled to the tune of tens of millions of dollars by Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham, the same people who bankroll Greenpeace, WWF, The Union of Concerned Scientists, the Woods Hole Research Center (not to be confused with the oceanographic body) and a plethora of other eco-advocates. Just remember that every time Bob Ward opens his mouth – he is the mouthpiece of his paymasters.

  17. Tony Armstrong
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

    A hurried whitewash, indeed. However, can we really, seriously believe that HMG would have allowed Oxburgh to find other than he did? To do so would have meant owning up in public that the emperor had no clothes – desirable but so remote.

  18. Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

    Once they get the MWP out of the picture, don’t they then have to disappear the Roman Warm Period(RWP)

    Temperature that uses short time frames to predict anything, just make it clear the ignorance of the authors. You need at least a few thousand years, if note 10 thousand years. I wonder why there isn’t lots of argument about the Holocene Optimum.

    One thing about truth, it relieves you from having to keep all your lies straight.

  19. Jonathan
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 10:03 AM | Permalink

    Steve you might be interested in the Telegraph article ‘Hockey stick’ graph was exaggerated quoting David Hand who is pretty critical of Mann and says nice things about you.

    It looks to me like the committee is divided, with Oxburgh providing whitewash interviews and Hand laying on the criticism; this is consistent with the report being full of detailed criticisms but with an overall pro-CRU spin.

  20. David Holland
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

    Oxburgh looked only at two areas and does not mention the CRU’s raison d’etre namely the the IPCC Assessment Report, which is supposedly a peer-reviewed study. Some of the most serious submissions to the HoC Enquiry and the ICCE Review of Muir Russell, including mine, focussed on the abuse of process that took place, particularly involving Keith Briffa and Eugene Wahl. But Oxburgh makes no mention of it.

    Two days ago I received an email from the ICCE Review saying that they do not intend to publish my submission because they are concerned that it might be actionably libelous, although most of it was said to the HoC and all of it is on the Internet. If anyone wants a personal copy on a confidential basis to judge for themselves, send me an email to crusub at tesco dot net.

    Funnily enough this came a few days after the new WGI TSU in Bern replied anonymously to an email that I had sent to Susan Solomon, Jonathan Overpeck and Rajendra Pachauri outlining the accusations that I have made and asking some searching questions.

    Before that I had asked Solomon and Overpeck for the the spreadsheet of extra comments, revealed in the leaked emails, which were a result of the retrospective change to the deadlines for in press papers and which in turn allowed Wahl and Ammann to stay in AR4. I received no reply but a week later as if by teleconnection UEA found that they did still have a copy after all.

  21. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

    In early March, Acton here gives an oral statement that differs from his written text, saying that he will be announcing the chair of panel charged to “take a look at the key work of CRU and reaffirm the [surefire?] quality of the science”.

  22. Bernie
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

    Prof Hand was the statistician on the panel. He was President, Royal Statistical Society, 2008 and 2009 I hoped that his presence on the panel would lead to a more objective and rigorous assessment. I like others are disappointed if not surprised. My email to him is as follows:

    Prof. Hand:
    I am writing to you because I, like many others, hoped that you by virtue of your statistical expertise and apparent objectivity regarding the Anthropogenic Global Warming debate would have ensured that the Panel addressed the serious issues that have plagued both CRU and the areas of climate science dealing with the instrumented and proxy temperature records in a rigorous, objective and transparent manner.

    Having read the Oxburgh Report (http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/Report+of+the+Science+Assessment+Panel ) on the research and behaviour of the Climate Research Unit scientists, I am shocked and dismayed at the shallowness of your panel’s research and findings. In particular, I am stunned at the failure to acknowledge the role that these scientists played in the writing, reviewing and editing of the IPCC reports that your report recognizes as problematic. I am also astounded and disappointed that not one member of the panel saw fit to talk to Dr. Ross McKitrick who has an intimate knowledge of just how Prof. Jones et al have distorted the climate record.

    Reading between the lines I recognize that there are a number of trenchant criticisms, but these are lost in a flood of cant that would make even Sir Humphrey wince. Science has not been well served by this Report.

  23. Svein O
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 10:12 AM | Permalink

    One thing that struck me. Both review reports vindicate the scientists. Perhaps there wasn´t much to find? The big scandal that many here seek to find appears more and more as a gas balloon without much inside.
    Why not look at recent science in the science litterature and what it brings out. Not much that changes the world according to IPCC.

    • Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

      Sadly, the data produced by Jones et al, which have been audited here in depth, have been used and re-used by other scientists who just copied them.
      So using data which are patently bad, the papers based on these data cannot possibly, suddenly, provide good and new insights.

      That is a dimension of this scientific scandal which often gets overlooked.

    • MJW
      Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 4:04 PM | Permalink

      Re: Svein O (Apr 14 10:12),One thing that struck me. Both review reports vindicate the scientists. Perhaps there wasn´t much to find?
      The problem you face with selling this interpretation is that no one has to rely on the reports; they can read the CRU emails and see for themselves whether the vindication is justified. For instance, they can look at the full context of the hide-the-decline email and decide if the “trick” was a clever method or an attempt to mislead.

    • philh
      Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 4:29 PM | Permalink

      Svein O: Catch up, man, catch up. You have some period of study before you can begin to comprehend just what a mess this is. I am beginning to think that some of the worst fantasies of Ayn Rand are upon us.

  24. Greensand
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 10:14 AM | Permalink

    “assess the integrity….in the light of various external assertions” What external assertions pray tell?

    “We have not exhaustively reviewed the external criticism of the of the dendroclimatological work….” What were the criticisms and who are the critics pray tell?

    “About fifteen person/days were spent at the University discussing the Unit’s work.” How many person/days were spent with the critics discussing their work?

    Followed by Bob Ward, who pronounces innocence on those allowed to present and guilt upon the unheard. Mr McIntyre, you have every right to be aggrieved and here in the UK, at least some of us feel ashamed.

    It is also interesting that some of the UK MSM are calling this an “official” inquiry, as I understand, this was instigated by UEA on CRU is that not just an internal review?

  25. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 10:41 AM | Permalink

    Why haven’t CRU and climate scientists acted on the recommendations of the Wegman Report? Doubtless there are several reasons. Note that IPCC and/or perhaps Briffa refused to cite the Wegman Report in the Fourth Assessment Report, even though I had submitted the Wegman (and North ) reports to the IPCC TSU in accordance with their revised rules. In a letter to David Holland, Briffa snubbed the Wegman report.

    • Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 10:51 AM | Permalink

      My guess is that this generation of soft scientists are deeply scared of statistics.
      They have probably only ever been given a lecture on how to use stats programmes on their PCs. Slinging in some numbers and pressing some buttons, that is all they know about statistics.

      The real thing just scares them silly, and their behaviour reminds me of fear-aggression in dogs.

    • Arthur Dent
      Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 11:03 AM | Permalink

      Any scientist would have adopted the relatively simple recommendations from the Wegman report as a means of improving their output. However, I think its likely that many climate ‘scientists’ are no longer scientists but have become advocates and advocates cannot afford to admit error.

      It is alarming that 5 years after the Wegman report appears it is necessary for Oxburgh to recommend precisely the same thing, i.e. more statistical expertise should be employed.

    • mpaul
      Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 11:03 AM | Permalink

      From the report:

      “We cannot help remarking that it is very surprising that research in an area that
      depends so heavily on statistical methods has not been carried out in close
      collaboration with professional statisticians.”

      ‘Surprising’ seems like the wrong word. Wegman made this very same point in 2006:

      “It is important to note the isolation of the paleoclimate community; even though they rely heavily on statistical methods they do not seem to be interacting with the statistical community.”

      CRU has actively excluded statisticians despite clear direction from previous investigations that paleo researchers should include statisticians. I doubt that the general public would accept the word ‘surprising’ to describe a mining company who ignored safety violations and then had an accident (for example).

  26. kim
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 11:07 AM | Permalink

    As you can see from the Deep Climate framing of the Wegman Report, the game is still being played post normally. Sadly, it’s a ‘Popular Delusion and Madness of the Crowd’.
    =================

  27. Bob Ward
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

    I am afraid that the suggestion that AR4 somehow “hid” the divergence problem is false. Pages 472-473 of the report of working group I states: “Several analyses of ring width and ring density chronologies, with otherwise well-established sensitivity to temperature, have shown that they do not emulate the general warming trend evident in instrumental temperature records over recent decades, although they do track the warming that occurred during the early part of the 20th century and they continue to maintain a good correlation with observed temperatures over the full instrumental period at the interannual time scale (Briffa et al., 2004; D’Arrigo, 2006). This ‘divergence’ is apparently restricted to some northern, high-latitude regions, but it is certainly not ubiquitous even there. In their large-scale reconstructions based on tree ring density data, Briffa et al. (2001) specifically excluded the post-1960 data in their calibration against instrumental records, to avoid biasing the estimation of the earlier reconstructions (hence they are not shown in Figure 6.10), implicitly assuming that the ‘divergence’ was a uniquely recent phenomenon, as has also been argued by Cook et al. (2004a).”

    And it is interesting to see that you are allowing Climate Audit to be used to make personal attacks on individuals – it is this type of aggressive and intimidatory approach that prevents most reasonable people from having any sympathy with your arguments.

    Steve: The above paragraph exists only because of my Review Comments on the Second Draft. Briffa continued the TAR non-disclosure in the AR4 First Draft and AR4 Second Drafts – climate scientists in the field didn’t object, but I did. I asked Briffa to show the inconvenient data and explain it as best that he could. He continued to refuse to show the adverse data, but grudgingly inserted the above paragraph in the AR4 Report itself. This paragraph was never presented to the IPCC peer review process. Otherwise, I, for one, would have strongly objected to some of these assertions, which I believe to be invalid. As to Briffa’s decision not to show the inconvenient data in the graphic (while burying a disclaimer in the text – something not done in TAR), the Climategate emails show a keen sense on the part of Overpeck and IPCC authors of this stratagem – see the handling of the Law Dome series, which has a high MWP. I asked that this be shown in the graphic. Once again, they refused. The Climategate letters show that the IPCC authors intentionally used text as an alternative to graphics to minimize disclosure.

    This blog is not moderated in advance. Blog policies request commenters to be polite. Obviously some readers are having trouble minding their manners in the face of such a flimsy report.

    • Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

      Burning through that 24 million pounds bunged your way by the Granthams, are we Bob?

      Ward is the PR man for his paymasters The Grantham Research Institute (headed by Lord Nicholas Stern, no less!), which with its sister body at Imperial College are bankrolled to the tune of tens of millions of dollars by Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham, the same couple who bankroll Greenpeace, WWF, The Union of Concerned Scientists, the Woods Hole Research Center (not to be confused with the oceanographic body) and a plethora of other eco-advocates.

    • Scott Brim
      Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

      Mr. Ward, the fundamental issue still remains as to whether or not temperature proxies, especially tree ring proxies, are valid substitutes for true thermometers in measuring and assessing past climate regimes.

      I take it that your position on this issue is that yes, some temperature proxies, including some tree ring proxies, are valid substitutes for true thermometers in developing paleoclimate reconstructions,and that the AR4 report has successfully defended this viewpoint.

      Is this an accurate summation the fundamental issue and also of your personal viewpoint regarding that issue?

    • Brooks Hurd
      Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

      Mr. Ward, no true scientist would try to use only part of a specific data set without explaining what was done and why. When one calibrates proxy data to part of the instrument record, it is hardly surprising that the proxies and the instrument record show reasobable conguency in that range. The recent divergence must, however, cast doubt on the assumption that certain proxies are good temperature predictors.

    • Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 10:01 PM | Permalink

      Mr McIntyre
      Steve: The above paragraph exists only because of my Review Comments on the Second Draft.

      ludicrous stuff.

      The decline is in published papers. It is in AR4, – where else should it be? it does not matter who caused its inclusion!

      If it had not been included in AR4 you would have the right to complain but not under these circumstances.

      and oncernin ad-hom attack see above:
      ScientistForTruth Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 11:37 AM | Permalink | ReplyBurning through that 24 million pounds bunged your way by the Granthams, are we Bob?

      Such stuff keeps me posting under a pseudonym!!!


      Steve:
      My point about the paragraph is correct. Read the First Draft, Second Draft and the Review COmments.

      • Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 11:42 PM | Permalink

        and oncernin ad-hom attack see above:
        ScientistForTruth Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 11:37 AM | Permalink | ReplyBurning through that 24 million pounds bunged your way by the Granthams, are we Bob?

        In what way is that an ad hominem attack?

    • Bob Ward
      Posted Apr 15, 2010 at 4:28 AM | Permalink

      Thanks for clarifying that the IPCC process, which some have alleged is fixed to exclude dissenting views, actually allowed you to have an input into the preparation of AR4. And thanks also for acknowledging that those who have alleged that AR4 ignored the divergence issue are wrong.

      However, you also imply that TAR ignored the divergence issue. Yet on page 131 it states: “There is evidence, for example, that high latitude tree-ring density variations have changed in their response to temperature in recent decades, associated with possible non-climatic factors (Briffa et al., 1998a)”. This reference is, of course, to ‘Reduced sensitivity of recent tree-growth to temperature at high northern latitudes’, which provides a discussion of the divergence problem – indeed its abstract even states: “During the second half of the twentieth century, the decadal-scale trends in wood density and summer temperatures have increasingly diverged as wood density has progressively fallen.” Page 131 of TAR then goes on to state: “Thus climate reconstructions based entirely on tree-ring data are susceptible to sources of contamination or non-stationarity of response”. So why are you alleging that TAR ignored the divergence problem?

      • Posted Apr 15, 2010 at 5:23 AM | Permalink

        There are two things obviously wrong here, your first paragraph and your second.

        The phrase “dissenting views” to describe Steve is more telling the more one thinks about it. His key point above, which you ignore, is that no climate scientist in the field objected to divergence being completely swept under the carpet in AR4. So by dint of insisting it was mentioned he became a ‘dissenter’. That says it all. To insist on minimal standards of accuracy and integrity is to dissent. But only in climate science. Exceptionally well made point, thanks.

        Steve would need to explain everything that he had in mind about TAR but one thing stands out like the proverbial sore thumb to any of us: the original Mann hockey stick, which indeed stood out, front and centre, in the IPCC’s report of 2001, including the summary for policymakers. As Steve has continually insisted and as he says again above

        The eventual IPCC figure, as reported here on a number of cases, gave a false rhetorical message of the veracity of the proxy reconstructions.

        In other words, the hockey stick presentation in itself was dishonest. No amount of secondary literature and brief paragraphs in the depth of the report can make up for that highly prominent deception. Dr. Hand seems to have got the point, if belately. McIntyre and McKitrick were right all along. They deserve the thanks of all of us – but especially any climate scientist worthy of the name.

        • Posted Apr 15, 2010 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

          In what way is Steve’s comments in AR4 were not dissenting views?

          In what way those who alleges that AR4 ignored the divergence issue are right, and not going a bridge too far?

        • Posted Apr 15, 2010 at 11:35 AM | Permalink

          Of course Steve was dissenting – the only person to complain about something woeful when no ‘real’ climate scientist seemed bothered. And clearly nobody’s saying that AR4 ignored the divergence issue in the end – in the wholly inadequate text of WG1 – precisely because Steve held them to account. What remained a major point at issue thoughout the decade (as I’m sure you are all too aware) were the various hockey stick graphs, which did so much to promote the idea of ‘unprecedented’ warming in the popular mind but were fundamentally dishonest and misleading precisely because the divergence problem was hidden from view.

          You’re missing the points by such a wide margin that it’s fair to ask if it’s wilful.

        • Posted Apr 15, 2010 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

          Bob Ward’s first two paragraphs says that it would be wrong to allege that the IPCC is fixed to exclude dissenting views and that it would be also wrong to allege that AR4 ignored the divergence issue. Richard Drake says these two paragraphs are wrong.

          When pressed, he concedes that of course, Steve was dissenting. So one is left to wonder what is wrong with the first paragraph.

          When pressed, he changes the subject regarding the second paragraph, as according to him, nobody says that the AR4 ignores the divergence issue. So the second paragraph is not wrong, it’s just a straw man, according to Drake. It should not be hard to find someone somewhere to press a bit more here and prove Drake wrong.

          So one is left to wonder who misses what points. That must an emphatic thing. De-emphasizing is a popular concept, nowadays, whatever it means.

        • Posted Apr 15, 2010 at 1:15 PM | Permalink

          Very very good points. Only one slight thing: the second paragraph of Bob Ward’s didn’t once mention AR4. It was all about TAR, the 2001 report in which the Mann hockey stick had such a starring role. You are either trying to muddy the water or succeeding by an apparent inability to read. But that’s fine. Everyone to their own.

          The first paragraph was worse. It was blatantly unfair. So I took the two words I agreed with – dissenting views – and showed how just in themselves they opened up and presented the full can of worms.

          So, a tip for next time. Try using the words that were originally there (like TAR) and not imposing ones that you think should have and could have been.

          Apart from that, thanks for the critique.

        • Posted Apr 15, 2010 at 3:06 PM | Permalink

          I mistakenly conflated paragraphs with sentences. My questions were related to the two sentences contained in the first paragraph of Bob Ward. Sorry for the inconvenience.

          As for the can of worms, we’ll see in due time, as every can of worms tends to open up after a while. I suspect coatracking here, but do not wish to argue for it, as the argument will get crushed by the right margin before we get to the next two sentences of Bob Ward’s second comment.

        • Posted Apr 16, 2010 at 1:26 AM | Permalink

          Sorry for the incovenience? Don’t mention it, my dear chap. Or did you mean sorry for the unintentional humour? Or grateful for the inconvenience? Or sorry despite the incovenience?

          Humpty Dumpty famously said that words shouldn’t be the master. Following his lead, when you wrote paragraph – which you did five times – you meant sentence. So perhaps when you said

          Richard Drake says these two paragraphs are wrong.

          you meant Bob Ward declared five words to be apt. In fact you mentioned ‘Drake’ three times. Does any reassignment of meaning apply to all instances or could Drake mean Bob Ward one moment, Winston Churchill the next, then Humpty Dumpty? Where will the joy of debating with you end?

          Pedant that I am, I feel inconvenience isn’t quite the word. “Sorry for making a spectacular fool of myself” would have shown both humility and reality. If you are really interested in the final impact on me, whom you tried to engage, then slur, I’ll have a think and let you know – at my earliest convenience.

  28. Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

    So the Oxburgh panel blames the ‘IPCC’ for hiding the decline?

    Jonathan Overpeck is going to be very pissed off.

    It really is a UK/US slanging match.

  29. Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 11:25 AM | Permalink

    RE Christopher Canaris @ 8:55 AM above,

    However, anything stronger than the report would leave the UK government with no option but to close the Unit and/or subject its investigators to a criminal investigation.

    An intermediate option would simply be to declare these “scientists” to be incompetent as scientists. Incompetence is not a crime, but it is a damning indictment.

    RE Steve, in post:

    Their list of references is 11 CRU papers, five on tree rings, six on CRUTEM. Notably missing from the “sample” are their 1000-year reconstructions: Jones et al 1998, Mann and Jones 2003, Jones and Mann 2004, etc.)

    Not to mention the recent books by Steve Mosher and Bishop Hill, plus the particularly pertinent posts on CA.

    • Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 7:29 PM | Permalink

      Hu McCulloch, there is an even simpler option which would have been to say: “yes we made errors, but those errors were purely down to a lack of funding so that it wasn’t possible to check all the temperature data in a thorough way”.

      Come on, anyone with any decent sense would have welcomed a highly critical report on the science because that would have been the surest way to force government to provide some decent funding to allow more than one absent minded prof and a couple of people to make the coffee.

      Not only were they incompetent scientists, they are just incompetent full stop (period).

      Think about it this way. The world has now been told that there is absolutely no problem having an absent minded prof and two lackies compiling the statistics for the “greatest problem facing mankind” over which trillions of dollars will be spent.

      … compare that to the standards applied to bankers where for far less expenditure we expect legions of highly paid accountants to pour over the figures and dot every i and cross every t.

      … just imagine if Enron, or some big bank were run by an absent minded prof who “lost” his figures and a couple of other lackies who don’t seem to do anything! What would the financial services agencies say about that? No problem here?

  30. MinB
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 12:04 PM | Permalink

    Although it wasn’t Steve M’s intent, this investigation devolved into a defense of Phil Jones and AGW.

    Perhaps it’s time to shift focus from the personal side and ask for a product recall?

    “The following product deficiencies have been identified and have forced UEA to recall their temperature sets and paleo reconstruction products from the market:
    1. Inability to conduct quality control because of deleted raw data and homogenization notes 2. Potential for error caused by lack of expertise in applying critical statistical techniques
    3. Admitted poor data management which may have contaminated the product
    4. Inability to account for UHI effects in an accurate and consistent manner.

    Until these items are remedied, the IPCC and policy decision makers are advised against using these products.”

  31. Bob Koss
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

    Will transcripts of the interviews be made available to the public?

  32. Disgusted of Chichester
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

    This is just adding insult to injury! They really do think we are totally stupid! snip

  33. John Hewitt
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 2:13 PM | Permalink

    Mr Ward,

    Before complaining on this site about rude comments you might like to look at the comments directed at sceptics on “realclimate” which is moderated beforehand and some of the language directed at people like Steve M in the leaked CRU emails.

    Somthing about “casting out motes” etc springs to mind.

  34. UK John
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 2:52 PM | Permalink

    Move along, move along, nothing to see here!

    Absolutely nothing!

  35. mark_y1
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 4:25 PM | Permalink

    Everyone is aware of the trick/hide fallacy but the true believers of denialism. Any fool can see the ignorance of hiding a decline that hadn’t happened yet in 1999. The fact of the matter is it still hasn’t declined. Hottest decade ever folks. That’s not a decline by any reckoning.

    • philh
      Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 4:37 PM | Permalink

      Oh, my. Try to understand, Mark, what the “decline” is; before commenting.

      • Greensand
        Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

        Re: philh (Apr 14 16:37),

        A comment left on Timesonline re Lord Ox’s internal memo “Napoleon Bonaparte is quoted as saying “never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake”

        • Thucydides
          Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 9:00 PM | Permalink

          Try, try, try to understan’, he’s a Magic Mann!

          Bowing my head, ready for the snip.

    • Posted Apr 15, 2010 at 3:27 AM | Permalink

      Mark_Y1, as the creator of the Government petition regarding the climategate events, the point I was making is that science must be conducted by impartial observers who look at the evidence in a scientific way.

      And the impartial observation is that in the 21st century the temperature according to the CRU data has cooled. So, whilst the (dubious) data available does appear to show we are currently in the hottest decade it also shows this decade has seen a downward trend (or as others put it a pause).

      Real impartial scientists (who we could trust) would simply report this fact whilst also stating that it is only 9 years. Impartial eco-politicians try to “hide the decline”.

      Moreover, the best science sets itself the highest standards. In contrast climate forecasters have hardly got a single forecast right and their standard of integrity is exactly the same as politicians: “no one can prove beyond doubt that they have lied”.

      These whitewash inquiries will have exactly the same result as the WMD inquuiries: no one (not even Blair) now believes that WMD justified going to war with Iraq, similarly the pathetic way these inquiries have dropped the bar so low anyone could claim to be a climate “scientist” means no one gives climate science any credibility any longer.

      Oxburgh has done Jones no favours by this whitewash!

    • Peter Wilson
      Posted Apr 15, 2010 at 4:50 AM | Permalink

      mark_y1, “Any fool can see the ignorance of hiding a decline that hadn’t happened yet in 1999″

      Your comment is a prime example of the studied ignorance of CAGW believers. Do you seriously mean to tell the readers of THIS blog that they don’t understand what “hide the decline” meant? While you clearly believe it relates to temperatures (hint – look at when the quote is from!)

      You display your ignorance to a wide audience when you post such drivel here.

  36. dougie
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

    Hi Steve
    you really need to get a book out/or one summing up post I/we can refer to, from your side, starting way back when you first started as IPCC reviewer/hockey stick reviewer to present (gate?).
    is anything in the pipeline? or are you waiting for all the enquiries to conclude?

    you are getting flak & misrepresented (I know doesn’t bother you personally) for being a pain in the ass (FOI) etc..

    since I know the story (I think) from your side, just would be nice to hear it stated from the horses mouth (or have I just missed this & you already have a post).

    Steve: have you read (Bishop Hill) Andrew Montford’s book?

    • dougie
      Posted Apr 15, 2010 at 5:55 PM | Permalink

      on order from my local library (not read it yet, obviously).
      from your reply i take it you are happy with it & it represents your views/position as accurately as can be expected from the Bishop.

      look forward to a good read. thanks to you & all associated for all the hard work over the years.

  37. Bob Koss
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 6:40 PM | Permalink

    Gerald Warner chimes in.

    Clearly, Lord Oxburgh is a safe pair of hands. He sounds like the kind of chap who could rehabilitate the Piltdown Man. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is having a good belly-laugh at British academic “standards”: the CRU – and now Lord Oxburgh and Co – have made our scientists a global laughing stock.

  38. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 8:20 PM | Permalink

    Report – “We agree with the CRU view that the authority for releasing unpublished raw data to third parties should stay with those who collected it.”

    This does not cover the case where the collecting parties have prohibited the modification of their raw data without permission, plus thew relase of the adjusted data to third parties, as has been dicussed on CA before.

  39. Christopher Canaris
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 11:10 PM | Permalink

    I loved ScientistForTruth’s ‘deconstructed’ version of the report.

    I notice the New Scientist article cites Oxburgh as saying elsewhere:

    As Oxburgh put it, they were “unlikely to have worked as scientists again” had the inquiry panel found them guilty of professional misconduct. That’s a powerful indictment (at least for anyone able or willing to read between the lines)- why else would Oxburgh mention it even if only as a theoretical possibility?

    Perhaps it would have been a bit unfair to have these folks’ heads on a platter while others’ whose behaviour has been equally worrying get off scot free. Bear in mind reports that Phil Jones has been said to be quite unwell since the excrement hit the fan – he might find it very hard to make a return to the field in any effective fashion.

    It will take some fifty years before the scientific community will be able to talk dispassionately about this whole affair when real world Climate will be the arbiter. I know that’s small consolation to Steve McIntyre.

    Meanwhile, let’s bear in mind that problematic conduct is rife in the scientific world at large.

  40. JRR Canada
    Posted Apr 14, 2010 at 11:26 PM | Permalink

    Steve, patience.These processes take time,try to remind yourself, the self professed experts are still in denial.Truth and mathematics will prevail.The bluster and defensive manouvers will peak over summer I think.Keep up the good fight and do not let the trolls drag you down.Hope you read Cheifio’s April 1st take on the spread of global warming, the perspective is perfectly fitting.

  41. Martin Brumby
    Posted Apr 15, 2010 at 1:37 AM | Permalink

    Apart from the usual stuff from Bob Ward most people on here seem to have found some crumbs of comfort in this report. Not too hard when your expectations of anything produced by Oxburgh are already lower than a snake’s belly.

    But people shouldn’t forget that the number of people who will actually bother to read the five pages are even lower than the number of MWh produced by all the UK’s wind turbines this Winter. That’s a seriously small number! (And 95% of THEM will be visitors to CA, WUWT and Bishop Hill)

    The message that is being enthusiastically promoted by the BBC and by virtually all the media in the UK isn’t anything about Hand’s reservations about this or Oxburgh’ veiled criticism about that.

    It is that there has been absolutely no wrongdoing by CRU and that the “Science” is absolutely 100% “correct”.

    That’s the message that is seen by the public at large, whether or not they are fed up with the whole subject and even if they are instinctively sceptical about the loudly proclaimed doom scenarios.

    What is needed is a full blown Tribunal of Inquiry under a senior (and unaffiliated) High Court Judge. OK, they don’t always work (Hutton) but when they do work (like the Inquiry into the Aberfan Disaster) they are absolutely excellent and lead to actual, much needed change in the real world.

    I wrote to Phil Willis asking for such an Inquiry into Climategate and into the whole scientific basis behind the Government’s Policies even before his HoC committee team was assembled and issued with whitewash and brushes.

    OK, it was never going to happen and (until we have had a good dose of shivering in the dark) it probably never will.

    In the mean time we need to keep reminding ourselves that Briffa and Jones, together with their apologists including Acton, Oxburgh, Willis and all the rest (even their favourite PR guy, little Bob Ward) are morally responsible for the damage that has been done to the UK (and World!) economy – damage that will increase faster than a speeding Hockey Stick Blade.

    Then there are the victims of fuel poverty, famine and lack of essential development in the Third World and the enormous, mind blowing waste of resources which are a direct result of this whole AGW scam and its perpetrators, interested only in their “reputations” and their direct financial self interests.

  42. Manfred
    Posted Apr 15, 2010 at 2:53 AM | Permalink

    An interesting note is that the parlamentary commission and Oxburgh’s team have completely different view of the “trick”. At least one of them must be wrong (and of course we know that both are wrong.)

    The parlamentary commission wrote about the trick

    “…it is obvious that it is used in the informal sense of ‘the best way of doing something’. In this case it was ‘the trick or knack’ of constructing a statistical illustration which would combine the most reliable proxy and instrumental evidence of temperature trends.”

    The best way and the most reliable combination doesn’t sound like something Oxburgh should find “regretable”.

    So the conclusion is, somebody must be wrong or both. At least combined they got it right. The parlamentary commission found correctly, that the trick was applied deliberately, Oxburgh found that this was a regretable representation.

    Or in other words, data manipulation.

  43. John McLean
    Posted Apr 15, 2010 at 3:02 AM | Permalink

    As one who was mentioned in Climategate emails as Jones et al marshaled forces to attack me and my co-authors, I find it ludicrous that the inquiry made no effort to establish the other side of the story over any matters mentioned in the emails.

    Among the pertinent emails there’s one discussing the people to nominate as reviewers and clearly they are being nominated because it is anticipated that they will be biased. Is this how science is handled at the CRU?

    Incidentally those reviewers failed to report obvious errors in the critique of our paper – one a glaring inconsistency and the other a claim that our paper said something that it did not. It should be plain to anyone that the peer review was nonsense and the journal editor was a fool for not seeing and acting appropriately to the obvious problems.

  44. bobdenton
    Posted Apr 15, 2010 at 1:00 PM | Permalink

    On a close reading this seems a very fair report.

    As a general criticism, it is terse and oblique, intended for “insiders” and not calculated to communicate with a wider public, which many would think desirable in the current context.

    They were asked to review the published, that is “peer- reviewed” literature produced by CRU. They confirm that peer-review can ensure a certain standard of work, not that the work is correct, but that it appears methodologically rational and free of obvious errors and acknowledges uncertainties. They find that the CRU staff were honest in submitting papers for peer review. Dealings with the data were disclosed and have been discussed in the literature. They confirm that the data used were noisy and that decisions to adjust and discard data are subjective, require experience and judgement and there is great potential for selection bias. They highlight the potential but explore it no further. They exonerate CRU staff of dishonesty in relation to peer reviewed publication but leave the difficult issue of selection bias hanging.

    Having said that the report doesn’t hand out any gold stars.

    CRU has committed sins in relation to peer-reviewed published work, but these were sins of omission. They failed to collaborate with statisticians on what were essentially statistical exercises. This could have helped guard against selection bias and would have ensured use of the most appropriate statistical techniques. They failed to rigorously archive data and computer code. They failed to document the judgemental decisions they made so that the work could be replicated by others.

    They deplore the tone of unidentified persons who have criticised CRU but endorse the criticism to the extent that they believe that the questioning of the methods and data used in dendroclimatology will ultimately have a beneficial effect and improve working practices.

    In interview they found the CRU staff to be objective and dispassionate in their views of the data and their results and there was no hint of tailoring results to a particular agenda. They do, however, take a thinly veiled sideswipe at Phil Jones use of Mike’s Nature trick to hide the decline. In para7 they note that CRU publications repeatedly emphasize the discrepancy between instrumental and tree based proxy reconstructions of temperature during the late 20th Century, but presentations of this work by the IPCC and others have sometimes neglected to highlight this issue. They find this “regrettable” but say they do not find this repeated in the CRU’s peer reviewed literature. They are not able to exonerate unnamed researchers at other unnamed establishments in this respect, who have used inappropriate statistical tools with the potential for producing misleading results. They presume in their favour that this was by accident rather than by design.

    Some questions are answered by this report, but another arises.

    Does scientific integrity stop with the peer reviewed literature? When a scientist puts on another hat, for instance the hat of an advocate, is he free to select , discard or intermingle data and include or exclude peer reviewed literature without fear of having his scientific integrity, and that of the institution which employs him, impugned?

    For a scientist, where is the line to be drawn between an expectation of honesty and an expectation of dishonesty?

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Apr 17, 2010 at 7:20 AM | Permalink

      It is convenient that the panel blamed the IPCC for using the trick, and other omissions about the decline, but the authors of those sections of the IPCC report 2007 were in fact CRU scientists Briffa, Jones, et al. and they did that work while on CRU paid time, not as “private citizens”.

      • bobdenton
        Posted Apr 17, 2010 at 8:21 AM | Permalink

        The panel confined itself to the peer-reviewed literature.

        I note that in Denmark a state funded scientist has legal obligation of integrity in respect of all his publications, not just the peer- reviewed literature and not just publications produced on paid time.

        Bjorn Lomborg fell foul of this law when he published his book “The Sceptical Environmentalist”. He was charged with giving an unbalanced review of the literature in this work, arguing that the sums proposed to be spent would be better spent on alleiving existing problems rather than avoiding contingent, future problems. He was acquitted, but the matter was dealt with by the Committee on Scientific Dishonesty, a state tribunal chaired by a judge.

        Given that science is international it might have been helpful if Oxburgh had looked to see what was the best standard in international terms before deciding on a benchmark against which to measure the integrity of the work of CRU. Clearly they have selected the lowest possible standard, certainly lower than that in Denmark and lower than in USA from which much of CRUs funding has originated. This may affect their eligibility for funding from the US government in future.

        It would be interesting to ask Phil Jones if he would have used Mike’s Nature trick to hide the decline if he had been subject to Danish law.

        Incidentally, in Mann’s submission to Muir he says that his Nature trick was to show the proxy and instrumental data separately and marked and labelled so as to avoid confusion. (examination of the diagram in his diagram in MBH98 neither confirms nor disconfirms this since it appears to have been drawn with smudge sticks, but blown up x 8it is possible to distinguish a clear decline in the proxy data followed by a steeply rising line representing the instrumental data) He doesn’t know of any other case than Jones of proxy and instrumental data being conflated. He cannot explain Jones’s conduct but suggests he may have been minimising the graphic to clarify the message and the decline was omitted to avoid confusing lay people.

  45. PhilJourdan
    Posted Apr 16, 2010 at 3:41 PM | Permalink

    I am not surprised. While many were popping chamgaign corks over the onslaught of errors discovered in the AR4 and of course the disgrace of the key figures, I saw that this was not over. Indeed, many of the non-Americans do not understand that for these people, these scars are badges of honor that they have been tested and won the day. Even though there is no factual basis for their belief, just ego.

    The war is far from over. A few victories in battle just means the enemy of truth fights harder and nastier than before, not that they will give up.

  46. sod
    Posted Apr 16, 2010 at 5:08 PM | Permalink

    John McLean
    Posted Apr 15, 2010 at 3:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

    As one who was mentioned in Climategate emails as Jones et al marshaled forces to attack me and my co-authors, I find it ludicrous that the inquiry made no effort to establish the other side of the story over any matters mentioned in the emails.

    there was no conspiracy involved in the destruction of your articles. just your own errors.

    the idea that the panel should question you is bizarre at best.

    ————————–

    While many were popping chamgaign corks over the onslaught of errors discovered in the AR4 and of course the disgrace of the key figures, I saw that this was not over.

    The war is far from over. A few victories in battle just means the enemy of truth fights harder and nastier than before, not that they will give up.

    the majority of those errors turned out to be completely insignificant. these were not “battles won”.

  47. Duncan Montague
    Posted Apr 16, 2010 at 10:38 PM | Permalink

    Surprise surprise. Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick don’t like the Oxburgh report. Who woulda thunk it? Poor ol’ Steve. The scientists at CRU have been vindicated by two separate, independent reports but he’s not having any of it. Climate change has to be a hoax and no amount of evidence will convince him or anyone else who visits this blog otherwise.

    Maybe it’s high time for an audit of climateaudit.org to see just how well the claims made on this blog would stand up to the kind of scrutiny and harassment to which Steve subjects legitimate climate scientists.

    • Posted Apr 17, 2010 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

      If you can provide a cite where Ross or Steve have ever said “Climate change is a hoax” or any reasonable variation thereof, we’d be very interested.

      Maybe it’s high time for an audit of climateaudit.org to see just how well the claims made on this blog would stand up to the kind of scrutiny and harassment to which Steve subjects legitimate climate scientists.

      Ah, but you see, the difference here is that you CAN audit CA, because everything is open and transparent, unlike the work of most “legitimate climate scientists”.

      So let’s see your audit…

  48. R.H. Findlay
    Posted Mar 1, 2011 at 6:23 AM | Permalink

    It seems to me that most of these posts miss the point in attempts to score a point.

    Modelling in 1895, the 1930s and the 1950s demonstrated the theoretical possibility of CO2-induced global warming through the “greenhouse” effect. This was not carried out by scientists with vested interests in selling wind-mills and biofuel diesel.

    Assuming the measurements of past and present atmospheric CO2 are correct, the amount of CO2 in our atmophere has increased considerably since the beginning of the industrial revolution.

    The population of the world and hence energy use has increased dramatically since 1745; the population of the world is rapidly heading to 7 billion, and upwards, and will soon attain a 5-fold increase on the population of 1900.

    Is or is not the tundra melting with increasing rapidity and the zero degree isotherm moving north more rapidly than it has done since the industrial revolution began, and more so in the last 40 years?

    Do you cross the M25 on foot and blindfold in the hope that a truck will not hit you?

    Should there be a probability that assorted anthropogenic greenhouse gases cause or are contributing to global warming, which has been occurring unequivocally since the 1890s, then should we not try to alleviate, mitigate or even prevent the problems it will certainly bring us socially?

    All else is irrelevant chatter.

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  7. [...] Comentario aparte merece el “trabajo” de Lord Oxburgh y compañía. Si Esperanza Aguirre montara una comisión sobre el caso Gürthel y el resultado un informe como el emitido por Oxburgh, le dábamos de palos hasta en el carné de identidad. Y seguramente con razón. No me sorprende en absoluto el cabreo de McIntyre. [...]

  8. [...] length.  Steve McIntyre, a leading critic of the IPCC report and editor of the Climate Audit blog, pointed out that the panel thought it only regrettable—and in no way acknowledged any sort of cover-up– [...]

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