Phil Jones vindicated some more

The International Panel set up to examine the work of the Climate Research Unit has cleared the CRU of all charges of misconduct:

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.

They also point the finger at who is to blame for the failure to release all the weather station data. The UK government:

It was not the immediate concern of the Panel, but 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.

See also: Eli Rabett.

Comments

  1. #1 Donald Oats
    April 15, 2010

    Re #100 John Mashey,

    I agree that isn’t easy to unite statistics researchers and other scientists – not least because of the work in acquiring the background knowledge to be useful to the scientists. But, on any long term program of research the time taken for a statistician or two to get up to speed on the subject matter is surely not the most significant factor. Research statisticians do need to take some initiative here and turn up at seminars, workshops etc in scientific areas of interest to themselves, and see if they have an avenue for contributing. And plenty do, of course.

    In Australia the CSIRO (Commonwealth Science and Industry Research Organisation) have statisticians intimately involved in plant and human genomics, disease detection, finance, quantitative risk analysis, a range of medical areas and preventative health measures, ecology and wild-stock management, water, aviation, hyperspectral satellite data analysis, the list goes on. So it is certainly possible to connect up statisticians and other disciplines, but as you allude to John, there are often structural reasons making it difficult to join the dots in many institutions and universities.

    When it comes to publishing scientific work with a strong statistical contribution from a statistician, I don’t really see the choice of journal as being a substantive difficulty, or at least it shouldn’t be. The emphasis should determine the choice, and there is certainly no reason for limiting it to one class of journal or the other. Some stats journals do look at applications rather than new mathematical results or algorithms.

    As for teaching some statistics at earlier years, I have seen the video where the idea floated is to jettison calculus and replace it with statistics. I wouldn’t be too happy if that was the case, as calculus is truly foundational. Furthermore, in Australia at least, high school students can unfortunately avoid much of mathematics at senior level. At the entrance level to university however, I think every student involved in any science discipline really needs a formal grounding in statistics, and that I do support wholeheartedly.

  2. #2 Gaz
    April 15, 2010

    What’s with all the intelligent, reasoned, politely expressed comments? Something weird is going on here.

  3. #3 John Mashey
    April 15, 2010

    re: #101 Donald
    Yes, mostly.
    Entities like CSIRO have less of an issue with this than universities, for the same reason as Bell Labs did. I think teh realistic issue is that few people learn a science area to help out on 1-2 papers, because the investment is large.

    Regarding choice of journals, I’d agree that it shouldn’t make a difference, but I’ve heard this complaint a few times in different places. I don’t know how prevalent it is and of course universities vary greatly.

  4. #4 Chris O'Neill
    April 16, 2010

    frflyer:

    If El Gordo and Chris Oneill want to know about the real conspiracy,

    Looks like my poe is working.

  5. #5 Lotharsson
    April 16, 2010

    Gaz, have you been spending time at Ms Nova’s thread at The Drum or some other choice venues? ;-)

  6. #6 jakerman
    April 16, 2010

    >*jakerman: You appear to have given up your noble efforts vs Malcom Roberts over at ABC, in the “Whinge” thread. that is wise, as Roberts*

    John, I’m now back on [that job](http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2861936.htm), and pinning Malcolm down again. Obiviously his Gish Gallop has worked for him in the past, as he clings to it in an almost pathalogical fashion.

    So it’s a matter of continually bring him back to the orginal contention rather than following his attempts to lead me away.

    He’s a very intereting case study. Deeply DK affected and willing to play Gish all day long. When delusions run so deep I’m left guessing wheather its just ideology or some MH issue or a combination.

  7. #7 jakerman
    April 16, 2010

    Mikeh @67, Cheers, I’ve give it a go.

  8. #8 Gaz
    April 16, 2010

    Gaz, have you been spending time at Ms Nova’s thread at The Drum or some other choice venues? ;-)

    I believe I’ve made my own modest contribution there, yes, and on McLean’s and Lewandowsky’s threads there too, but I see your point. The tin-foil hatters are spread a bit thin, aren’t they?

  9. #9 John Mashey
    April 16, 2010

    jakerman:
    If you can stand an entire D-K organization, you may want to visit Carbon Sense Coalition, plug Roberts into the Search box, and peruse some of his past writings, adn look at the PDF under “About”.

    He seems to be located:
    Malcolm Roberts
    Pullenvale QLD Australia

    which looks about 12km from UQ.
    Maybe he could go over there and educate their physics dept?

  10. #10 Paul UK
    April 16, 2010

    Tim, I am not sure that the ‘charging’ for data sets is totally correct. It is the one part of the report that contradicts my own experience. It depends what data sets the panel refers to.

    I know for a fact that much of the tidal gauge data is largely free, you are only charged for the latest 3 months of tidal gauge data. It does mean that if you need the latest data then you have to pay, but given the noise in the data, I doubt if 3 months would be much use for climate change research!

    However what you do have to do for British Oceanographic Data Centre, is register your interests and why you want to use it.
    Ironically the registering process is for the government to justify funding the collecting of the data. The information form used in the registering process is to determine how the data is used by clients.

    British Oceanographic Data Centre:
    https://www.bodc.ac.uk/

    I had a quick look at the Argo floats section as well and it looks like that is free as well as long as you have registered.

    Maybe if you wanted the unprocessed data then you would have to pay for that??

    The issue maybe different for other data sets, I haven’t looked.

  11. #11 Lotharsson
    April 16, 2010

    Speaking of Ms Nova’s merry gang of swashbuckling adventurers in the noble arts of scientific debate, one curious facet of their behaviour seems to me that some of them emulate the form and language of scientific arguments without delivering on the substance or understanding.

    Or (very roughly) they have the syntax of the argument without the semantics to back it up.

    Ms Nova may play a key role here, at least for our home-grown practitioners. Her website appears at first glance to espouse some quite decent scientific principles. Not sure I remember these correctly, but things like: follow the evidence, ad hominem is not a valid scientific argument, scientific authority doesn’t count – only the logic and evidence do, think for yourself, avoid groupthink and confirmation bias, consensus doesn’t *prove* correctness, and so on. Some of these are stated only to apply them without the necessary corollaries (e.g. consensus doesn’t prove correctness, but correctness generally *leads to* consensus). However, disregarding the cherrypicking of principles, she subverts even her stated principles in many of her own arguments, often desperately projecting violations of these principles onto her opponents at the same time.

    Graeme Bird is probably the king of this phenomenon, but he’s a special case.

    It’s like someone parroting the form of an argument that they’ve seen successfully used in the past, without understanding that the form wasn’t the key to its success. (Cargo Cult argumentation?)

    Anyone have any other insight into how this sort of behaviour develops, other than perhaps straightforward Dunning-Kruger?

  12. #12 Clippo
    April 16, 2010

    re JamesA post #1, the Telegraph has come up with more controversial nonsense – this time an actual editorial:-

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/telegraph-view/7591286/Climate-change-always-room-for-doubt.html?state=target

    As usual, the reply posts are infested with denialist nutters using all the old same debunked arguments.

  13. #13 Dave Andrews
    April 16, 2010

    Jeremy C,

    So if point 2 of their conclusions is is not an assessment but a comment, as you claim, what are we to make of point 1 about no evidence of deliberate scientific malpractice?

    Perhaps they shouldn’t have bothered to come to any conclusions at all.

  14. #14 stepanovich
    April 16, 2010

    Shorter Dave Andrews:

    The Oxburgh review states that climate scientists should have worked more closely with statisticians! Therefore, we should ignore everything else that the Oxburgh review says!

    Then again, if we disregard that particular statement, it also means we should ignore everything else that the Oxburgh review says!

    Therefore, global warming is a hoax! Feel my logic!

  15. #15 Jeremy C
    April 16, 2010

    Dave @ 113

    “Jeremy C,

    So if point 2 of their conclusions is is not an assessment but a comment, as you claim,”

    Its not a claim on my part, its english comprehension.

    “Perhaps they shouldn’t have bothered to come to any conclusions at all.”

    If we look at it from your point of view i.e. the report didn’t go the way you wanted and you’re attempt at spinning falls well short of that master showman Monckton….then obviously yes.

    I’m sorry for you Dave, your heart must be heavy tonight.

  16. #16 Watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com
    April 16, 2010

    @ post 102

    Re quality of posts – indeed, this is impressive. Logic? Reason, respect? What is happening on the interwebz!

  17. #17 Dave Andrews
    April 17, 2010

    stepanovich,

    If you read my posts I think I only said that if you take account of Oxburgh you also have to take account of the criticism in the second of their conclusions.

    To reiterate this was that, in an area that so heavily depends on statistical methods, it is surprising that climate scientists have not collaborated more closely with professional statisticians.

  18. #18 Dave Andrews
    April 17, 2010

    Jeremy C,

    “Its not a claim on my part, its english comprehension.”

    Right, so you are in effect saying that Oxburgh should have stopped his conclusions after point 1 as the other three conclusions are only comments.

    But hang on a minute, there is a lot in conclusion 1 that you could interpret as comment.

    So perhaps he shouldn’t have come to any conclusions at all.

    Get real!

  19. #19 Jeremy C
    April 17, 2010

    Dave

    Just as I said before, its english comprehension, simply that. That you are still trying to twist stuff I wrote demonstrates that you know exactly what the report is saying and can’t bring yourself to accept and admit it.

  20. #20 davidk
    April 17, 2010

    The denialosphere have been making much of a UK journo’s assertions.

    Prof Hand praised the blogger Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit for uncovering the fact that inappropriate methods were used which could produce misleading results.

    Has anyone, I really mean anyone, seen a primary source where Professor Hand has actually been quoted verbatim as praising Steve MuckIntyre? Unless we can find this I would be more inclined to view this denialassertion as another example their spin, twist and distortion strategy.

  21. #21 Mike
    April 17, 2010

    @120. Of course in addition to that, the same article makes clear that it is a “hockey stick” all the same, and that it would make no difference to the HADCRU temperature analysis.

    But would sceptics read past the title and the first paragraph?

    Extremely unlikely. Their attention span is simply not that long when they see a headline stating “hockey stick was exaggerated”.

  22. #22 stepanovich
    April 17, 2010

    Shorter Dave Andrews:

    I’m only saying that we should pay attention to everything the Oxburgh report says. For example, the report says there was no deliberate scientific malpractice LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA I’M NOT LISTENING I’M NOT LISTENING I’M NOT LISTENING LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!!!!!!!

  23. #23 SteveC
    April 18, 2010

    @121: Has anyone, I really mean anyone, seen a primary source where Professor Hand has actually been quoted verbatim as praising Steve MuckIntyre?

    Surprisingly, no ;-)

    Even McI seems to want to distance himself from that line in the Tele article…

  24. #24 davidk
    April 18, 2010

    Even McI seems to want to distance himself from that line in the Tele article…

    I’m not so sure about that SteveC. McIntyre certainly didn’t want to distance himself from any of the hockey-stick guff he was complicit in generating.

    Keith Briffa explained McIntyre’s groupthink very well in
    this

  25. #25 SteveC
    April 18, 2010

    @124, mayhap you’re right, I based my comment on McI’s “Stranger and stranger” response on his bog blag bludge bloge.

  26. #26 Lotharsson
    April 18, 2010

    Prof Hand praised the blogger Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit for uncovering the fact that inappropriate methods were used which could produce misleading results.

    I think this came up on Ms Nova’s latest thread at The Drum as a way of determinedly ignoring the corrected hockey stick, and all the subsequent hockey sticks. Amusing for a few seconds if you find that sort of behaviour droll, but gets old rather quickly.

  27. #27 Dave Andrews
    April 18, 2010

    stepanovich,

    I agree the report said it saw no evidence of scientific malpractice. It also said that it was ‘very surprising’ that they didn’t collaborate more closely with professional statisticians.

    Why do you, and others, seem unable to accept the latter?

  28. #28 Bud
    April 18, 2010

    UEA response:

    The Report points out where things might have been done better. One is to engage more with professional statisticians in the analysis of data. Another, related, point is that more efficacious statistical techniques might have been employed in some instances (although it was pointed out that different methods may not have produced different results). Specialists in many areas of research acquire and develop the statistical skills pertinent to their own particular data analysis requirements. However, we do see the sense in engaging more fully with the wider statistics community to ensure that the most effective and up-to-date statistical techniques are adopted and will now consider further how best to achieve this.

    In other words, things were going fine as they were, but things can always be improved. Unless the results are shown to be significantly incorrect, there is no controversy about CRU’s methods.

  29. #29 Fran Barlow
    April 18, 2010

    Dave Said:

    It also said that it was ‘very surprising’ that they didn’t collaborate more closely with professional statisticians.

    I find the serious seismic activity reported in the first 4 months of this year ‘very surprising’ but unless I am going somehwere with it, it’s not all that relevant.

    One can be very surprised for all sorts of reasons, including being ignorant of the etiology of the surprise.

    One can therefore accept their substantial surprise without drawing any particular inference from it. Had they wanted us to draw one, they’d surely have developed the thought.

  30. #30 Jeremy C
    April 18, 2010

    Dave my boy.

    Your post to Stepanovich @ 127. You still seem to be stuck on the word “surprising” without seeming to structure your comments/thinking by taking the whole sentence, paragraph and context into account. I can see why you do this because it allows you to put any meaning you, Dave Andrews, want onto that one word. When reading it the whole sentence then the paragraph you can see this as something the committee may have learned and that they are suggesting that the CRU could benefit from making extra use of statistical techniques and practitioners.

    But Dave, don’t you realise that sensible people just think you have your own agenda and that such an agenda is dishonest driven by a great and heart rending realisation that Climategate has turned into an exercise for denialists of shooting themselves in the foot in view of the whole world. because of Climategate no longer will the Monckton’s in the front row and people like yourself in the 5th, nay, 12th row be able to hobble discussing the science because each time you begin to open your mouth to bring up denialist talking points your going to have ordinary members of the public like me shouting out, “what about Climategate you denialists”. And at that everyone listening, politician, journalist, member of the public will realise that once again the denialists are trying to put one over.

    I bet you weep into your pillow at night at where Climategate has gone (and of course where it was always going to go) and I bet you feel you could strangle those guys that hacked and then selected the CRU emails…….

    Its no wonder your posts have such an angry tone.

  31. #31 Dave Andrews
    April 19, 2010

    Jeremy C,

    You are just putting words into your own mouth.

  32. #32 lord_sidcup
    April 20, 2010

    This is interesting, the panel has issued an addendum:

    “Addendum to report, 19 April 2010

    For the avoidance of misunderstanding in the light of various press stories, it is important to be clear that the neither the panel report nor the press briefing intended to
    imply that any research group in the field of climate change had been deliberately misleading in any of their analyses or intentionally exaggerated their findings.
    Rather, the aim was to draw attention to the complexity of statistics in this field, and the need to use the best possible methods.”

    Presumably this is to counter the allegation made in the Daily Telegraph that David Hand agreed Mann’s Hockey Stick graph was exaggerated.

  33. #33 Dave Andrews
    April 21, 2010

    Chris O’Neill, #89

    Ah the pnas paper again.

    Unfortunately it seems that Mann used 119 oak chronologies in that paper including three from Michael Baillie of Queens University, Belfast.

    The latter, of course has just been ordered by a judge to release his data to Doug Keenan.

    Baillie is quoted by the Guardian as saying;-

    “Keenan is the only person in the world claiming that our oak-ring patterns are temperature records,”

    Meanwhile another British dendro, Rob Wilson has opined in the Times that,

    ” oaks were virtually useless as a temperature proxy”

    But, hey, Mann used them just like he used BCPs because it made his graphs look nicer.

  34. #34 Dave Barbagallo
    April 23, 2010

    If the proponents of AGW are so clever, why can’t they get any predictions right?

  35. #35 Robert Murphy
    April 26, 2010

    “If the proponents of AGW are so clever, why can’t they get any predictions right?”

    They do.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-models.htm

    Why do denialists keep bringing up claims that are clearly untrue, if they are so “clever”?

  36. #36 Only Computer Geeks rely on computer models
    April 28, 2010

    Re 134

    “Models do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields, farms and forests. They are full of fudge factors so the models more or less agree with the observed data. But there is no reason to believe the same fudge factors would give the right behaviour in a world with different chemistry, for example in a world with increased CO2.” (Freeman Dyson)”

    Dave said;
    “why can’t they get any predictions right?”

    , Jones (aka CRU), NOAA and NASA collude with their proxy temperature reconstructs to maintain their funding, and then they call it ‘peer reviewed’ (should be called ‘piss reviewed’ because they can not reproduce it to be reviewed by any other third parties).

    Anyway,if they cant get the measurements right how can they get any predictions right?

  37. #37 jakerman
    April 28, 2010

    For all the (so far unsupported) claims of improper measurement made against Phil Jones, its is worth noting that satellite measurements from the lower troposphere over the last 30 years show a [similar rate of warming](http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/mean:12/plot/rss/mean:12/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1979/trend/plot/rss/trend) as the HadCURT.

    Says a lot!

  38. #38 Only Computer Geeks rely on computer models
    April 28, 2010

    jakerman how come your satellite graph looks like a ‘hockey stick’ and the UAH one from Roy (a Senior Scientist for Climate Studies) seems to flat line?

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/04/march-2010-uah-global-temperature-update-0-65-deg-c/

  39. #39 MFS
    April 28, 2010

    You ARE joking, right?
    Have you looked at the time scales of the two graphs? I mean who can come up with such an inane question?

  40. #40 jakerman
    April 28, 2010

    Spencer’s data looks [flat line](http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/mean:12/plot/uah/mean:12/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1979/trend/plot/uah/trend) to you because you are not looking at the shaft of the hockey stick. In the context of historical records even [Spencer's error prone algorithms](http://mustelid.blogspot.com/2005/06/first-look-at-scs-msu-vn52.html) produce a hockey stick blade.

  41. #41 Lotharsson
    April 28, 2010

    Anyway,if they cant get the measurements right…

    You’ll be publishing your paper on how they get their measurements wrong then? Like Watts and D’Aleo … oh, wait, maybe not like that?

    Maybe instead you can simply post here on how you determined that they can’t get the measurements right instead, preferably not using an argument that has been comprehensively debunked already (which includes practically everything Watts and D’Aleo and some of their fellow “skeptics” claim about temperature records)?

    …because they can not reproduce it to be reviewed by any other third parties).

    Really?

    IIRC half a dozen independent groups have now independently created their own versions of one of the temperature records using some of the raw data that is freely available. This set of groups includes some who consider themselves “skeptics”. Their version of the records are in close agreement with the published version.

    RealClimate have a webpage with links to raw data, processed data and climate model code. Go create your own based on the raw dataset of your choice and compare it against the processed data that you falsely claim “can not reproduce it to be reviewed by any other third parties).” Heck, if you really want to play at science you can write a journal paper on how you created your record and how you did the comparison with other published records and let others review your work.

    Bet you don’t. Odds are you can’t even substantiate your claims on a blog like this.

  42. #42 Only Computer Geeks rely on computer models
    April 28, 2010

    “Heck, if you really want to play at science you can write a journal paper on how you created your record ”

    No, unlike your mates, I am not looking for a grant to ‘create a record’, I do not need to put my snout in the public trough to derive my income.

    All the AGW temperature record data is a proxy reconstruct that can be manipulated to say anything, you can ‘believe it’ if you want, but it is not verified by the scientific method.

    “Maybe instead you can simply post here on how you determined that they can’t get the measurements right instead”

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/03/direct-evidence-that-most-u-s-warming-since-1973-could-be-spurious/

  43. #43 Lotharsson
    April 28, 2010

    No, unlike your mates, I am not looking for a grant to ‘create a record’, I do not need to put my snout in the public trough to derive my income.

    That’s a great way to avoid the question. How do you know the measurements of temperature trends are uncertain enough to invalidate any research using them? How much uncertainty is too much?

    And you’ve failed to address the point that several other groups have created their own temperature records from raw data, thereby addressing your false claim that “they can not reproduce it to be reviewed by any other third parties”. I guess it’s too much to hope for that you acknowledge your claim was not entirely founded in reality.

    As to your latest comment, once more your assumption does not match reality. (I have no “mates” who are scientists let alone looking for a grant. Furthermore I am not a scientist either, nor am I paid out of the “public trough” – as if public funding somehow sullies the work or the motives of the workers!)

    Given your track record, maybe you have other assumptions in this area that don’t match reality either?

    Re: http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/03/direct-evidence-that-most-u-s-warming-since-1973-could-be-spurious/

    If you blindly believe Roy Spencer’s blog posts – especially in areas where there is a reasonable amount of peer-reviewed literature, then more fool you. Especially seeing as:

    1) Spencer compares apples and oranges without even the slightest consideration of whether the comparison is valid! No wonder he isn’t trying to publish this “work” in a journal. (I’ll leave that as an exercise for you to figure out to see if you’re half as capable as you think you are. If you post an identification of the issue here you’ll instantly gain more credibility than 99% of “skeptics”. But I wouldn’t put money on it.)

    2) He’s not known for reliably reaching correct and accurate conclusions all on his own – there are several examples from the past, including his apparent complete disinterest in investigating concerns about his own UAH temperature record over a period of several years, presumably because the errors created a cooling bias that suited the PR machine he was helping to feed. They were only ultimately corrected because other people dragged him into it.

    3) Spencer does not address the literature on the UHI, making no attempt to understand how others have attacked the problem or to show why they are wrong and he is right.

    4) Spencer himself half-heartedly warns readers off, but those who link to his post never seem to comprehend that bit.

  44. #44 jakerman
    April 28, 2010

    Geek Basher,

    Why do you believe Roy Spencer? Isn’t he putting his *”snout in the public trough to derive his income?”*