Muir Russell – what I’ll be looking for

I don’t expect the Muir Russell report to be as much of an insult to the public as the Penn State report or the Oxburgh report – both of which set the bar pretty low. Or at least, as an insult, it will not be so contemptuous of the public as to contain
no documentation and negligible evidence that the authors had read even a few of the emails.

I’m 100% confident that they will make concessions on topics where the tide has already run against CRU – data archiving and availability, topics where the Commons Committee has already expressed its extreme impatience with climate scientists. These are easy issues for Muir Russell to concede and you can pretty much book them already. I’d pay attention to the report on these issues only if Muir Russell unexpectedly supports some forms of data petulance.

So what are possible findings of interest?

Violation of IPCC Rules and Procedures
This is not just a Climate Audit issue. Fred Pearce in The Climate Files spoke out strongly on this issue:

These back channel communications between the paper’s authors [Wahl] and IPCC authors [Briffa], including early versions of the paper, seemed a direct subversion of the spirit of openness intended when the IPCC decided to put its internal reviews online.

The most contentious violations arise out of Briffa’s communications with Eugene Wahl in summer 2006, including Briffa’s acquiescence in Wahl changing the IPCC assessment of the Hockey Stick dispute from the assessment sent to external reviewers to one that favored Mann, Wahl and Ammann. This is also the correspondence that is the subject of the later “delete all emails” request and the email saying that Briffa “should” deny the existence of the correspondence to FOI officer Palmer. So it comes up in two different contexts. (UEA recently denied my FOI request for the attachments to these emails – attachments that would show precisely how Wahl altered the IPCC text – so much for changed attitudes at UEA.)

Briffa denies that there was a violation of IPCC rules – see CA discussion here.

It’s not just CRU critics that would like a finding on this issue. Brian Angliss, a critic of Climate Audit, recently opined that he hoped that the Muir Russell inquiry would deliver an opinion on this issue.

If Muir Russell grasps this nettle – regardless of which side they come down on – it will mean that they are addressing real issues and not simply whitewashing. However, there are very strong indications that Boulton and Muir Russell have negligible interest in considering possible violations of IPCC rules by CRU scientists – even though IPCC is how climate scientists primarily speak to the public, IPCC conduct is a thread running through the entire Climategate dossier and IPCC conduct is what interests the public.

My guess is that they will pull a Sir Humphrey on this. They will say that IPCC conduct is outside their remit and point to the InterAcademy Review – knowing full well that the remit of the InterAcademy review is on IPCC policies, and not on possible past rule violations by CRU scientists. A Sir Humphrey manoeuvre will leave a sour taste for those people who had hoped against hope that some issues would be taken off the table. Given that IPCC activities were part of the employment activities of CRU employees, I think that such activities were squarely within the remit of Muir Russell and, if not, that Muir Russell had the right and obligation to expand his remit. In any event, this will be one of the first things that I’ll look for. (My supplemental submission on this topic is now online at the INquiry website.)

Yamal and Polar Urals

Yamal/Polar Urals was a big issue going into Climategate and one of the issues that I raised in my submission. This is a topic where there was a real possibility for Muir Russell to develop additional information that might actually put some questions to rest. Unfortunately, this is also an area where there has been so much disinformation from the Team that it’s going to be extremely difficult for Muir Russell to deal with the real issues, as opposed to caricatures, and where it would have been helpful for them to interview me. Since they chose not to interview me, I’ll be astonished If they’ve got the issues straight. I’d be interested in information on any of the following questions.

Did CRU, for example, ever update the Polar Urals ring width chronology (the site considered in Briffa et al 1995) using the data included in the Esper et al 2002 data set? If they did, why wasn’t this ever published, given the frequently expressed desire for long chronologies? If they didn’t, why didn’t they update it, again given the frequently expressed desire for long chronologies? Does Briffa agree that using the updated Polar Urals chronology as opposed to Yamal leads to different results in Briffa 2000? Why didn’t Briffa provide a proper technical publication of his Yamal reconstruction (simple information like core counts was unavailable until after AR4)? Why didn’t Briffa ever try to reconcile the conflicting results from Yamal and Polar Urals?

What happened to the combined Polar Urals-Yamal chronology described in Climategate email 1146252894.txt (April 28, 2006 ), which refers to a combined URALS chronology that included “the Yamal and Polar Urals long chronologies, plus other shorter ones”? What were these “shorter” chronologies? Did they include the Schweingruber Khadyta chronology, that I discussed in October 2009? Why was a short Schweingruber chronology added to the Briffa 2000 Taimyr chronology in Briffa et al 2008, but not for Yamal?

I don’t actually expect Muir Russell to deal with the issues that I actually raised. If he does, I will be pleasantly surprised, regardless of the outcome.

If he deals with Yamal-Polar Urals at all, I expect him to deal with whether Briffa had cherrypicked individual cores into the Yamal chronology – something that was never at issue at Climate Audit nor in my submission. If that’s what they do here, you can pretty well tell what the rest of the report will look like.

The Trick to Hide the Decline

Another obvious battleground issue. I don’t see how this field can rise above paleo-phrenology if they are not prepared to renounce such strategems as the “trick …to hide the decline” or adopt Gavin Schmidt’s view that deleting adverse data is a “good way” to deal with a problem. It isn’t.

Penn State took the position that deleting adverse data was “legitimate”, airily referring to non-existent authorities on the matter. However, the Oxburgh panel couldn’t abase themselves quite so low and did not agree that the trick was a good way to deal with the divergence problem, finding instead that it was “regrettable” that IPCC and others have “sometimes” “neglected to highlight” this issue (evading the obvious fact that the deletion of inconvenient data by CRU authors and their close Climategate correspondents was intentional).

Given the opposite findings of Oxburgh and Penn State on the legitimacy of the trick to hide the decline (one finding it “regrettable” and the other “legitimate”), it will be interesting to see how Muir Russell splits the difference. I wouldn’t be surprised if they find a way of avoiding the matter altogether, saying it falls into someone else’s remit.

None of the inquiries thus far have commented on CRU’s trailer-trash culture, where critics were reviled as “frauds”, ‘fraudits”, “morons”, “bozos”, etc. The attitudes represented by this private language are part and parcel of the strident public face of climate science in the blogosphere, exemplified by Hansen’s private bulldog, Gavin, and the various bulldog progeny.

While climate scientists complain about the public criticism that they are presently experiencing and are quick to blame climate blogs, the Climategate letters show a coarseness of thought and language among CRU correspondents that the public has rightly condemned.

The Oxburgh inquiry “deplored” the tone of criticism against CRU. Perhaps Muir Russell will suggest that climate scientists remove the beam from their own eye before they complain about the mote in their brother’s eye.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Michael Kelly, in notes for the Oxburgh panel that were obtained only through FOI asked the following question that Oxburgh didn’t address, but perhaps Muir Russell will:

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’m puzzled too. Wouldn’t it be a pleasant surprise if Muir Russell surprised us with some insight into this. How does the mild-mannered Dr Jekyll of the technical tree ring articles with measured caveats become IPCC’s Mr Hyde of the “warmest year” and “warmest decade”?

Lots to look for tomorrow.


  1. Posted Jul 6, 2010 at 4:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Shifted over from the previous thread…

    Prediction time:

    -This report will differ from the others in that they will have read at least some of the evidence and will actually ask some pertinent questions.

    -The major failing of the report, however, will be like the others: having asked some tough questions they will take the replies of Jones and Briffa at face value and will be too inclined to dismiss the major problems as mere disputation among academics.

    -They will criticize Jones and the CRU for not sharing their data. This one’s already in play and everyone gets to be on the side of the angels with the minimum of pain for the establishment.

    -Whenever they seem to be getting close to a real issue, they will discover that it pertains to the IPCC and they’ll punt it over to the IAC.

    -They will set the bar very high for proving fraud, then make prominent mention, in the summary, of the fact that they did not find evidence of fraud. Left unstated (or buried in the back pages) will be the issue of whether anything done by the CRU was misleading or biased, as opposed to fraudulent.

    • Kenneth Fritsch
      Posted Jul 6, 2010 at 7:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

      “-They will criticize Jones and the CRU for not sharing their data. This one’s already in play and everyone gets to be on the side of the angels with the minimum of pain for the establishment.”

      Ross McKitrick makes a good point here and one I see even skeptics very quick to give (too much, in my estimation) credit for this one.

  2. bill
    Posted Jul 6, 2010 at 4:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Regarding the comment on ‘Culture’, Energy & Environment gets it in the neck quite a lot in the CRU emails. Which is a shame, because what it wanted to do was provide a firum for debate for truly significant matters. And to a degree, in the early stages, it got that in the Castesles & Hendersons papers and the sequence of responses from the ‘other side’. All useful stuff. Then the terms of trade changed, the Leninist nonsense of ‘the science is settled’ and ‘all scientists agree’ started up, along with the ad homs and general ridiculing of anyone not on-side, Energy & Environment included. The coarseness of culture Steve refers to is people who think they are right and really don’t require discussion or debate. Should public policy be outlined by monomaniacs?

  3. Daniel
    Posted Jul 6, 2010 at 4:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Agree with Steve and Ross.

    Boats in the UK are serious items, and nobody is supposed to rock any of them, even through an enquiry !
    They will insist on the Chinese wall between academic work on one side and IPCC work on the other side, and they will turn a blind eye to the fact that the EAU/CRU (and US and UK taxpayers) were assuming the cost of any IPCC work !
    They may criticize Ph Jones for his poor raw data house keeping, and the entire CRU team for the lack of statistical expertise. FoI requests handling may also be criticized.
    They may also draw argument from the Penn State enquiry outcome to conclude that CRU team members are no worse than US hockey team players.
    It’s interesting that the Penn State enquiry report was apparently delayed by close to one month : were they waiting for Sir Russel report ? and was the latter waiting for the US report ? in the end, the two come in a close timing.

  4. Posted Jul 6, 2010 at 4:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    None of the inquiries thus far have commented on CRU’s trailer-trash culture, where critics were reviled as “frauds”, ‘fraudits”, “morons”, “bozos”, etc. The attitudes represented by this private language are part and parcel of the strident public face of climate science in the blogosphere, exemplified by Hansen’s private bulldog, Gavin, and the various bulldog progeny.

    One problem about such coarseness is that it presents the honest critic with a Hobson’s choice: get down and dirty at the level of the attacks and get pilloried for your own rudery or try to rise above it, with the danger of appearing to concede matters of real substance. As the good book says “Answer a fool according to his folly, else he will be wise in his own eyes.” And the very next verse: “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you become like him.” Or is it the other way around? That neatly sums up the dilemma.

    For world experts recognised by the IPCC to be such a major source of such ‘trailer-trash culture’, polluting the whole debate, has not, as you say, been faced up to in any sense. Compare that to the chummy politeness of Davies emailing Rees patching in Hoskins, to ensure nothing of significance reached the eyes and ears of the Oxburgh panel. All very refined – and with absolutely no regard for the vermin on the outside who dare to ask an honest question and even refuse to be impressed when for years it isn’t answered.

    Something stinks in all this and the problem for the royal and national academies is that it doesn’t even take a PhD to smell it. A sense of common decency will do fine.

  5. geo
    Posted Jul 6, 2010 at 4:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Predictions re Phil Jones –will he return to head of CRU, having largely been exonerated, or will Russell stick the final fork in him as a manager? Part of the scope is:

    “Review and make recommendations as to the appropriate management, governance and security structures for the Climatic Research Unit and the security, integrity and release of the data it holds.”

    Frankly, I think it highly unlikely they have the expertise to really give detailed security advice beyond “err, get a qualified third party to come in and do an audit and provide recommendations”, which I could have told them (actually, I just did. . . ).

    But “management and governence” and “release of the data it holds” are certainly areas they could make a significant impact of some sort.

    They have spent enough time on this that in theory at least they should have been able to come up to speed on the actual nitty-gritty science/data issues in dispute, and why the nitty-gritty actually matters. But given the last several inquiries, I just have no confidence they actually did. Love to be proven wrong to at least that degree –that whatever conclusions they come to, they at least show a mastery of the material at a very low-level.

    • Steve E
      Posted Jul 6, 2010 at 6:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

      My spidey senses are tingling.

      Surely they need someone to throw under the bus even if it’s for poor record keeping and archiving. We’ve reached the last stop and there has been enough time to take the public temperature (forgive me). Is Jones exonerated or is he sacrificed for the greater good?

      A truly effective whitewash would offer up a martyr and Jones et CRU have that written all over them. If someone goes down for minor crimes it will be easier to bury the meatier issues.

      Sad but true!

  6. Tom Fuller
    Posted Jul 6, 2010 at 5:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Sadly, I think you are an optimist about the results of this inquiry. Happily, I hope you enjoy your trip to the UK. I lived there for six years, and it’s a great place. Have fun and be sure to book some time for yourself.

    • Steve E
      Posted Jul 6, 2010 at 6:46 PM | Permalink | Reply


      See my comment to geo above. Someone going down for a minor crime now with a year or two off on the Costa del Sol will serve the “greater good” more effectively than everyone off scot free.

      But I fear you may be right. There is boldness amongst the team which may forgive and release all from transgressions–though IMHO it would be a tactical error.

    • Posted Jul 6, 2010 at 8:48 PM | Permalink | Reply


      My guess is that there must be a fair justification for optimism that we have not fully seen. I’ve got no more clues than you. Perhaps there is hope for a fair outcome. Not that it will go as far as I would like, it’s just that awful optimism that keeps rearing its ugly head.

      And a bit of time reading CA.

  7. George Barwood
    Posted Jul 6, 2010 at 5:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I don’t expect the Muir Russell report to be an insult to the public..

    I’m tempted to say that you will be sadly disappointed, but I guess we should wait to see the report first. My own expectation is that it will indeed be an insult.

  8. geo
    Posted Jul 6, 2010 at 5:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    In looking at Steve’s “late submission”, I ran across this one as well: Quite the signature list on that one, and a few interesting points and special pleadings going on, including at least one “guilty with an explanation” pleading re “being under seige”. Gee, I wonder who the defamatory redacted statements were aimed at. . .

  9. David Holland
    Posted Jul 6, 2010 at 5:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

    As a further point of interest, I was advised yesterday that the Information Commissioner intended to mail a Decision Notice on my UEA complaint to both UEA and me tomorrow. I have since been told that UEA have requested that it be emailed to them before the ICCER report is is released. I was asked and readily agreed to this. I will forward it when I get it and it will be interesting to compare what the ICO and the ICCER say about FoI.

    The DN may well be low key since so much info was released, but may establish that climate change assessment by public authorities in the UK (and that may set a precedent in Europe) is “environmental information” with more strict rules and time scales for disclosure. The Pressure will then be on the Met Office for their information, which is still undisclosed.

  10. ZT
    Posted Jul 6, 2010 at 5:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I’m not hopeful – Geoffrey Boulton trained BP’s Tony Hayward; David Eyton is the BP deep water drilling expert who seems to prefer to give talks about global warming, carbon credits, and convincing the locals to build processing plants; and Muir Russell tends to be rather well paid for his services: (even if the tasks are distasteful). I anticipate professional grade finger pointing and obfuscation. I hope I’m wrong…

  11. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 6, 2010 at 6:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I don’t expect the Muir Russell report to be an insult to the public along the lines of ….

    I didn’t express myself very well here and I’ve edited to be more exact. It’s more that I don’t expect it to be as a gross insult as the Oxburgh report with its total contempt for the public. I’ve rephrased the first paragraph.

  12. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Jul 6, 2010 at 7:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Don’t get too agitated, Steve. Hopefully the Tip Jar surplus will encourage a few days in Tahiti.

  13. mpaul
    Posted Jul 6, 2010 at 8:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Here’s my prediction:

    (1) The science is very complex and beyond the understand of all but a few published climatologists, and our mandate was not to examine the science anyway — but, none the less, we have determined with complete certainty that the basic conclusions that the climate is warming and that human activity is largely to blame remain solid.
    (2) Scientists behaved badly, but who could blame them given the relentless assault on their fine work by politically motivated deniers/bloggers
    (3) Serious process changes at CRU are needed, these include a requirement to change passwords every 60 days, encrypt all emails, eliminate backup servers and act on (ie. reject) FOIAs more quickly. Automated FOIA rejection software is highly recommended so as not to burden the fine and excellent scientists with complying with onerous laws.
    (4) During this process, we spent a lot of time with Phil. We have unanimously concluded that he is a really nice guy and has very honest eyes.
    (5) Oh … and no one, aside from a few bloggers, is to blame. But should there be any blame assigned to any fine and excellent institutions, we really think it should be Penn State. Its really all their fault — although no one is really at fault — except for the bloggers that is.
    (6) Finally, since ritualistic sacrifices are required at times like these, we will be throwing David Palmer under the bus. Please join us at 3:00 PM on June 30th outside of the main building. Refreshments will be provided afterward for PhD faculty members.

  14. Robert
    Posted Jul 6, 2010 at 9:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I know this is off-topic but I was wondering if anyone could quickly tell me how individuals should deal with data series which cover different time periods in terms of anomaly calculation. I.E. Is there a standardization formula since a reference period can’t be used?

  15. matthu
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 1:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The BBC announced that the inquiry would today report on whether the CRU had deliberately witheld information that might have contradicted the UN view of global warming.

    Did they withold information?
    Might this ionformation have contradicted the UN view of globval warming?
    Was any of this deliberate?

  16. stephen richards
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 2:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Inquiries in the UK always follow the old school tie or the old boys (schools that is) network. This will be a whiter than white whitewash.

    But I hope not

    • Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 6:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Stephen, the phrase: “greyer than grey” springs to mind with this report. This report will not say “it is white”, it will simply say “those who say it is definitely black are incorrect”.

  17. martin brumby
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 3:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I predict that, wthin a year or two, Prince Chuckles will be delighted to award Phil Jones and Keith Briffa knighthoods (at least).
    Possibly it will have to wait until Chuckles gets the top job.
    After all, the very first exhoneration of the UEA was by the Prince, when he visited UEA to give them his personal support, at a “difficult time.”

  18. Mac
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 3:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Sir Muir Russell is a member of the British establishment. He will not rock the boat.

    CRU will be found innocent of all charges, all allegations, all disputes; after all this is effectively an internal inquiry by UEA, just like Penn State.

    The finger of blame will be pointed at skeptics, in particular you Steven McIntyre. You will be castigated, your character will be trashed. It will be a very unpleasant experience.

    As everyone scratches their head in wonder at such a thing, how Sir Muir Russell could ignore all the evidence, remember this, the British establishment have long experience in setting up and carrying thru whitewash inquiries. The Widgery Tribunal and the Hutton Inquiry are good examples of such a process.

  19. toad
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 4:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Monbiot deserves a mention here. His importance must not be under-rated. He needs Jones’s scalp more than say McIntyre’s or Delingpole’s because his credibilty depends on it.
    Whatever Muir Russell says to-day (or doesn’t) George will let Steve perform the coup-de-grace next Wednesday.

  20. Johnh
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 4:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Whitewash futures are at record highs due to higher than expected demand.

  21. BillN
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 4:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The Guardian’s live blog of the Muir Report release is now up:

    Still expect release at 8 am EST / 1 pm BST

    Expect report to be around 500 pages (!)


  22. Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 4:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    BillN “The Guardian’s live blog of the Muir Report release is now up” … what a waste of my time it was reading that.

    “today’s the big day for climategate” …uh? No! the big day was when the science and technology committee were told that climate “science” wasn’t like other SCIENCE, … it had to have its own special rules and procedures. A bit like holistic medicine can’t be judged like other medicines by blind trials, I suppose because for climate science to work YOU’VE GOT TO BELIEVE IT WILL WORK.

    There is no question what the result of this inquiry will be – a mild slap on the wrist at worst. The only real question is whether Sir Muir Russell can deliver that slap on the wrist without totally loosing his own credibility.

    And to be honest, I feel rather sorry for Muir Russell. He has little choice but to deliver a mild rebuke at best, personally, he has nothing to gain from this report and everything to loose, so I will be looking with interest today to see if and how he walks away from this inquiry with his integrity intact.

    • BillN
      Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 4:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Yes, but it could indicate trepidation in certain quarters if they are so strongly leading with guns blazing three hours early.

      The comments section of the live blog should be interesting.

      Also, from the commission’s official web page:

      “The Report of the Independent Climate Change Review, plus supporting background material, will be published on this Website on 7 July 2010, at 1300 BST (1200 GMT). An audio recording of the press conference given by Sir Muir Russell and other members will be added as soon as it available.”

      I have not heard when the mentioned press conference will be, perhaps concurrent with the report release?

      Regardless, a fun day to observe the fray as I wait for REAL football to start back up. That would be SEC college football, of course ;-)


      • Wijnand
        Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 5:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

        You mean that sport played by padded and helmeted wooses where that onion of a “ball” hardly touches any foot? You mean that “FOOTball”?
        ;-) just kidding, american football is allright! (only real football is better! Especially since Holland is gonna be world champion!)

        • BillN
          Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 5:20 AM | Permalink

          We called it football to confuse the Ruskies!

          I lived in London ’96-’97 and was a Chelsea FC supporter when Ruud Gullit was player-coach. I believe this was before the Abramovich era but they won an FA and UEFA cup. Ditto on the Dutch winning, if only for a screen actors’ guild award to Robben! I can still see the HORDES of orange supporters cramming the Tube enroute Wembley Stadium for Euro96.

          Anyway, just saw that the report is in hand at the Guardian but under embargo.

          It is reportedly 160 pages, not 500.


        • Phillip Bratby
          Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 6:03 AM | Permalink

          The proper game is Rugby football.

      • Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 5:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Muir Russell is in a difficult position. He doesn’t have the excuse of “not knowing” about the way science works because he knows about the philosophy of science and what we saw in the emails contravenes any serious concept of scientific inquiry that I have ever read.

        But he is a Scottish civil servant, and the Scottish civil service are proud of their ability to act with utter integrity to maintain the status quo.

        This report will be like watching MacBeth …. we know what is going to be said, what we don’t know is how well it is going to be said nor how the (nerdish) audience who bother to watch the play will react.

  23. artwest
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 5:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

    ‘Climategate’ report – live blog

    Says it will have comments from Steve later.

  24. kim
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 6:51 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Bonne chance.

    • kim
      Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 7:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Whimper and wonder,
      Splendor of the corruption.
      Settled for certain.

  25. Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 7:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Review URL:

    • Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 7:22 AM | Permalink | Reply


      According to Dr David Viner 2000, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.

      That statement has the same truthfulness as the findings of this report

    • Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 8:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I was wondering how to write a report like this. I guessed it would dwell heavily on “we did this and we did this and we did this” and a detailed index and list of all contributors and submissions … to pad it out. I was more impressed by individual sections where it the technique was to go on about what was important and why it was important … to skip any conclusion and go onto the next issue of importance.

      I also like the way they have mixed up everything in the whole report so that like ball of tangled string …. you can find the introduction to issues, you can find the “whitewash” at the end, but somehow you can’t find the link that goes between.

      And, they are to commended on their ability to make the core criticisms sound so technical and boring that no one is going to want to get their head around what they are really saying.

      Of course we have several instances of the “this issue was the remit of another inquiry”, and no doubt if I could be bothered the other inquiry will say the same.

      All in all, another sad day for science. We could have had a report setting a very clear line in the sand over which no future scientist would dare to tread. A statement increasing confidence in science, instead we have had a report telling the work that the abysmal standards in the emails are just the normal low standard to which all scientists work.

      I.e. the public should trust all scientists as much as they now trust the climategate people.

  26. Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 7:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

    On first glance, this looks a very bright white report.

    Particularly soft on hiding declines (in both the framing of the accusations and the findings) as well as Yamal.

    Looks like they played another blinder.

  27. Varco
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 7:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Very quick initial scan undertaken. As ever, the detail of the report will need to be digested before conclusions can be reached. Check out nuggets like 7.4.37 on page 62. Chapter 10 seems to detail much criticism of FOIA practices and yet no conclusions are drawn, only some ‘recommendations for action within the CRU’, Hmmm…

  28. toby
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 7:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I think this horse already bolted:

    London, England (CNN) — An independent report released Wednesday into the leaked “Climategate” e-mails found no evidence to question the “rigor and honesty” of scientists involved.
    The seven-month review, led by Muir Russell, found the scientists did not unduly influence reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

  29. Neil Hampshire
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 7:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Hide the Decline

    Looks like Muir Russel was slightly tougher than yo thought Steve:-

    “The figure supplied for the WMO Report was MISLEADING” Wow!

    • Dung
      Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 8:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

      OK Does Al Gore own a whitewash factory?

      There are none so blind as those who will not see, and boy are there a lot of them.

  30. Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 8:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

    One thing is clear, that this report appears to have been drafted by an accomplished bureaucrat.

    It is nice and thick, leaving all sorts of statements littered through the document.

    It also allows many different interpretations. In one place making statements of “concern” etc. in other offering “complete confidence” on the same issue.

  31. Spence_UK
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 8:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Hmm. I wonder if this report will be used in training future Sir Humphreys, as an exemplar case on how to gloss over problems.

    The FOI aspects are interesting. The detailed findings underline the fact that there is clear evidence within the e-mails of a breach of FOI law. In the findings? They say that’s “a shame”. WTF? They broke the law, aw, that’s a shame. Better tighten up processes a bit. I can’t wait for the Muir Russell report into Harold Shipman. “Yeah, he killed a few people. That’s a shame. Better tighten a few processes.”

    The Wahl case is pretty bizarre as well. Russell recognises that Briffa and Wahl breached IPCC processes. He even notes the confidentiality comment indicates they knew they were breaching IPCC processes at the time. But it’s okay because in their e-mails they note concerns over the views of sceptics. WTF? Russell’s Shipman review will probably include “Yes, Shipman killed a few people, but he loved his mother, so it isn’t really a problem”.

    They recognise WMO spaghetti graph was misleading (even though, hey, it’s fine to splice two data sets, label the graphs as only one data set and not mention the splice anywhere). They gloss over the TAR graph (that wasn’t our boys) and then note that AR4, by Briffa, is much better. Actually, the FOD wasn’t any better at all, and it was only the due diligence of the likes of Ross McKitrick, Steve McIntyre and other sceptic reviewers that forced them to make it better. Doubt we’ll hear much in the way of thanks for that.

    Yamal? I didn’t read too carefully, but seemed to dodge the issues – addressing the caricature arguments put forward by the warmers instead.

    All in all: 2/10. I give them 2/4 for actually documenting some of the bad behaviour. I give them 0/3 for understanding what was going on and 0/3 for dismissing it all (including probable illegal activities) as irrelevant in the findings and conclusions.

  32. Mac
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 8:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

    What would you know – ANOTHER WHITEWASH

    “key data needed to reproduce their findings was freely available to any “competent” researcher.”

    That means that Steve McIntyre has now been labelled as “incompetent”.

    As with Lord Hutton’s Inquiry, Sir Muir Russell finds no evidence of wrong doing by CRU scientists, but, points the finger of blame at scpetics.

  33. Boris
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 8:28 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Once again, gentlemen, the vast conspiracy is deeper than we thought!

  34. Tom P
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 8:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “Yamal/Polar Urals was a big issue going into Climategate and one of the issues that I raised in my submission.”

    Just to quantify what you do get if you combine the Yamal and Polar Urals chronologies, which can certainly be justified on the correlation of each during the instrumental record to very similar growth temperatures:

    Still a sharp recent rise in the chronology, and now with plenty of cores contributing.

    • Richard T. Fowler
      Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 3:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Tom P,

      The only sharp rise I see in the combined chronology is in the very last uptick. That same tick on the core-count graph for the combined series appears to indicate approximately 5-7 trees.

      I’d be interested to see your assessment of the distribution of those particular trees, and your defense of the statistical significance of the seeming “sharp . . . rise” in that last uptick on your “RCS Chronologies” graph.

      One other matter: the Yamal and combined series seem to have the same core count during the last two ticks of the core-count graph. How then do you defend your assertion that combining the two series adds statistical significance to the seeming “sharp . . . rise” in that last uptick on your “chronologies” graph?


      • bender
        Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 9:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

        When you read the older pre-climategate threads that I pointed you to, did you notice Tom P’s contribution to the discussion?He’s “Gavin’s guru”. So anything he writes is worth, err, paying attention to. If only Steve had the time to deal with such noise.

  35. Mac
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 8:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I give this report 1 out of 10.

    Russell actually printed the evidence just as Lord Hutton did, but again like Hutton refused to acknowledge it.

    This is how the British establishment conduct whitewashes.

  36. Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 9:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

    If anyone wants a laugh read the weasel’s words from the UEA:

    “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” (CRU 2000).

  37. hunter
    Posted Jul 7, 2010 at 3:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It is clear that none of the counter evidence is going to be considered at all by any group that is appointed by CAGW promoters.
    Until you and other serious skeptics are actually heard from on an equal basis, and until full disclosure is demanded of those who wrote the crugate e-mails, no inquiry is serious thorough or fair.

  38. bender
    Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 9:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Yamal-Polar Urals
    It is the topic of vonversation that triggered the leak that led to climategate. It ought to be discussed. But it won’t be.

    Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde
    There is a loosely organized conspiracy amongst self-ascribed earth protectors to suppress uncertainty on CAGW science. There will be a failure to pull at this thread. Denial is easy when you don’t believe the uncertainty exists in the first place. Pearce called it “collusion”. Who here thinks he’s just a whacked-out conspiracy theorist?

    • Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 9:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Yup, the nature of the loose conspiracy was one of the lessons of climategate, although I think it’s generous to couch it in uncertainty. Several people seemed to recognize the uncertainty quite clearly and then chose to ignore it for the greater good. Certainty of preferred action or certainty of the science.

  39. Posted Jul 8, 2010 at 6:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    There was a short article on the TV news last night in New Zealand. It stated that as a result of the inquiry Phil Jones had been cleared of all charges. No mention of anything else. The vast majority of the population will think that a proper job was done.

7 Trackbacks

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