The Oxburgh “Report” states that the eleven CRU publications that they examined are “representative”, “were selected on the advice of the Royal Society” and that CRU agreed that they are a “fair sample” of CRU’s work.
The eleven representative publications that the Panel considered in detail are listed in Appendix B. The papers cover a period of more than twenty years and were selected on the advice of the Royal Society. All had been published in international scientific journals and had been through a process of peer review. CRU agreed that they were a fair sample of the work of the Unit.
A “fair sample”?
To the extent that Climate Audit posts are a yardstick for CRU articles/documents that are at issue, the Oxburgh “fair sample” is almost mutually exclusive of the CRU articles discussed here. Nor were the Oxburgh articles at issue in, for example, my submission to the Parliamentary Committee and the Muir Russell “Team”.
Aside from CRU activities at IPCC (the sections in AR3, AR4 and AR4 Review Comments), the most prominent CRU articles criticized here are the following nine: Briffa et al 1992 (the Tornetrask chronology and “Briffa bodge”); Briffa et al 1995 (Polar Urals), Briffa 2000 (passim introduction of Yamal, Taimyr); Briffa et al 2002 (the famous cargo cult “assumption”); Mann and Jones 2003; Jones and Mann 2004; Osborn and Briffa 200
56; Rutherford et al 2005; Jones et al (1990) on UHI.[Oct 27: also obviously Jones et al 1998].
The Oxburgh Eleven includes five tree ring articles (Briffa et al, Nature, 1998; Briffa et al, Roy Soc Lond 1998; Briffa 2000; Briffa et al 2001; Briffa et al 2008). Four of these articles were noted relatively favorably in my May 2005 post in which I first drew attention to the “trick” A Strange Truncation of the Briffa MXD Series (see image below). I had no complaint with the original Briffa articles – it was the IPCC spaghetti graph with its false rhetorical effect that bothered me. Even for veteran watchers of peas under thimbles, it’s pretty amazing that four CRU articles – that not only had had not been the subject of criticism, but had been used to locate the trick – were chosen as somehow “representative” of the CRU corpus, while the articles that had actually been criticized here were for the most part excluded. Every CRU hockey stick article (Jones et al 1998; Mann and Jones 2003; Osborn and Briffa 2006) was excluded.
So, in addition to not taking any evidence from CRU critics or targets, the terms of reference for the execrable Oxburgh “inquiry” diverted its attention away from articles that actually were at issue to other articles that had actually been used as source material to identify the trick in the first place.
Excerpt from IPCC 2001 “trick” spaghetti graph.
This raises a few obvious questions. The Oxburgh Report states that the eleven articles were “selected on the advice of the Royal Society”. However, they did not provide any information on how the Royal Society determined that these eleven publications were “representative”. Nor did they mention who at the Royal Society actually made the selection. The report says that UEA agreed that the Royal Society selection was a “fair sample”. I wonder who at UEA actually agreed that the selection was a “fair sample” and what their criteria were.
One of the recommendations of every inquiry so far is that methodologies be properly disclosed. Oxburgh didn’t disclose how they selected their supposedly “representative” and “fair sample”. “Fair sample” and “representative” are statistical terms – terms were used in a report coauthored by a very senior professional statistician in a context where statistics are very much at issue. So I presume that the Royal Society took some care to ensure that the eleven publications actually were “representative” and a “fair sample” – and not ones that were pre-selected by UEA, rather than the Royal Society.
I’ve written to both UEA and the Royal Society seeking clarification on the selection process and will keep readers posted.
Update Apr 16: Here is my request to the UEA under the Environmental Information Regulations:
Dear Mr Palmer,
Pursuant to the Environmental Information Regulations, I hereby request correspondence between the University of East Anglia and/or its officers and the Royal Society between December 1, 2009 and April 12, 2010 concerning the selection of publications considered in the Oxburgh “report”. Thank you for your attention.
Regards, Stephen McIntyre
I received acknowledgment of this request this morning.
I sent the following inquiry to the Royal Society yesterday:
The Oxburgh Report lists 11 CRU papers in Appendix B stating: “The eleven representative publications that the Panel considered in detail are listed in Appendix B. The papers cover a period of more than twenty years and were selected on the advice of the Royal Society.”
Can you tell me who at the Royal Society was responsible for providing this advice and what their criteria were for selecting these particular 11 papers?
I have not yet received an acknowledgment.
See Andrew Montford on this as well/.