Andrew Montford has succeeded in prying some important documents from the Oxburgh “inquiry”. These raise several important issues.
The attachments here include Michael Kelly’s notes – see page 81 on.
These offer a few glimpses of sanity that were suppressed by Oxburgh in the “report”.
Here is an interesting comment about IPCC (leaving aside, for now, the lack of “humility” in Jones’ exchanges with Mann):
Up to and throughout this exercise, I have remained puzzled how the real humility of the scientists in this area, as evident in their papers, including all these here, and the talks I have heard them give, is morphed into statements of confidence at the 95% level for public consumption through the IPCC process. This does not happen in other subjects of equal importance to humanity, e.g. energy futures or environmental degradation or resource depletion. I can only think it is the ‘authority’ appropriated by the IPCC itself that is the root
Good question. How does this “morphing” take place, especially when the scientists in question act as Lead Authors and Coordinating Lead Authors of IPCC. Kelly continues:
(4) Our review takes place in a very febrile atmosphere. If we give a clean bill of health to what we regard as sound science without qualifying that very narrowly, we will be on the receiving end of justifiable criticism for exonerating what many people see as indefensible behaviour. Three of the five MIT scientists who commented in the week before Copenhagen on the leaked emails, (see http://mitworld.mit.edu!video/730) thought that they saw prima facie evidence of unprofessional activity.
“Receiving end of justifiable criticism”. I presume that Kelly is staying pretty quiet these days.
Kelly previously made a complaint that would not be opposed by the severest IPCC critic:
(i) I take real exception to having simulation runs described as experiments (without at least the qualification of ‘computer’ experiments). It does a disservice to centuries of real experimentation and allows simulations output to be considered as real data. This last is a very serious matter, as it can lead to the idea that real ‘real data’ might be wrong simply because it disagrees with the models! That is turning centuries of science on its head.
(ii) I think it is easy to see how peer review within tight networks can allow new orthodoxies to appear and get established that would not happen if papers were wrtten for and peer reviewed by a wider audience. I have seen it happen elsewhere. This finding may indeed be an important outcome of the present review.
It would have been an “important outcome of the present review” had this finding appeared in the Oxburgh “report”.
My overriding impression that this is a continuing and valiant attempt via a variety of statistical methods to find possible signals in very noisy and patchy data when several confounding factors may be at play in varying ways throughout the data. It would take an
expert in statistics to comment on the appropriateness of the various techniques as they are used. The descriptions are couched within an internal language of dendrochronology, and require some patience to try and understand.
I find no evidence of blatant mal-practice. That is not to say that, working within the current paradigm, choices of data and analysis approach might be made in order to strain to get more out of the data than a dispassionate analysis might permit.
The line between positive conclusions and the null hypothesis is very fine in my book.
I worry about the sheer range and the ad hoc/subjective nature of all the adjustments, homogenisations etc of the raw data from different places