S+C 6.0 provisional

It seems there is a new version of the Spencer and Christy MSU product out (see here; S+C must be about the only people that still allow directory listing on their web sites). This is a provisional product and its not clear that there is any great point in talking about it, especially when RSS is likely more reliable.

However, CA have picked it up and the usual nonsense flows out again… but the bit I want to pick out is the bizarre assertion (by McI, comment 19) that of “the cooperative approach of S&C”. As far as I know, no-one has seen their computer code [Oops: see uupdate]. RSS made a major correction to S+C in fixing a sign error for them (which S+C have still not explicitly admitted) but had to do this by back-engineering, since… their code wasn’t available. TP even explicitly asks if anyone has audited this stuff… but of course, no-one is interested in doing that, especially not McI.

[Update: a bit more interestingly, there is a new Fu+J in J Climate which basically says “we still think we’re right” -W]

[Uupdate: According to a Christy email published on CA, Christy did give some – perhaps the vital parts – of his code to RSS. I’m still curious about the time frames of all this, though -W]


  1. #1 John Cross

    Hi William, looks like I will have to retract my statement on CA about S&C being open in the exchange of information! I tend to think the best of people ;). Do you have a link for the history of the RSS correction?


    [Not really. It all happened last summer, of course. See http://mustelid.blogspot.com/2005/08/what-is-point-of-ccsp-committee_21.html for some stuff; he RC post is http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=170 ; I think you’d want to re-read the Science article for the code sharing issue. My recollection is that it implies not -W]

  2. #2 Carl Christensen

    I find it funny over on CA the attempts by McI to “disprove” climate modelling because it has “parameters to tweak/tune to match the historic record” and every single parameter one can think of isn’t represented in the model. I guess you could bash any sort of modelling, from Ford cars through medical/biochem modelling. It would seem an “audit” should be from those who understand the topic a bit more than playing statistical games a la the CA crowd of anonymous (mainly) right-wing hacks?

    And then (as in the “article” you cite) they complain that scientists aren’t handing them over everything, because of course McI is the #1 “auditor” in the world etc. What a joke. Although the bashing of “Nature” as well as detection & attribution studies starts to sound like Annan’s blog! ;-)

    [McI seems to be doing his best to disprove any idea that he is just a disinterested auditor and moving over into full-fledged skeptic, complete with commenting on things he knows nothing about. I presume this is because the HS stuff is running dry and he needs something else to write about -W]

  3. #3 Lubos Motl

    I also allow directory listings, e.g. for fans of high-quality music


    This is a part why we’re open and we’re not hiding any fraud as some other people.

  4. #4 N. Joseph Potts

    The business about McIntyre being the #1 auditor rather misses the point of auditing: auditors do not (and must not) have numbers, 1, 2, or any other. There must not (and cannot) be “preferred auditor,” “my friends,” “real scientists” or any other scheme of inclusion or exclusion.

    Anyone and everyone who is interested must be an auditor, or whatever “science” you’re doing is unfit for public consumption, to say nothing of being used in the setting of what people are made to do and not do things, or getting it paid for by unwilling taxpayers.

    And open (TOTALLY open) is the only way to do that. It’s inconvenient for emperors who would exclude naive children from the crowds they gather around them, but the benefits of it are what the story is about.

    And yes (before some moderator jumps in with a pointed question for me), failure to do this IS seen on both sides of that debate Al Gore says is over.

  5. #5 Carl Christensen

    well what’s funny is that the auditing by the right-wing blowhards, from Myron Ebell down through McI is all one-sided. When those twits get audited they call it “terrorist appeasing” or “pseudo-science” or “godless atheism” (such as their scientific cause-celebre of “Creationism” or their pet war-du-jour).

    And I don’t think it’s asking too much for the auditing to be done by someone who knows what they’re talking about (i.e. a Hans van Storch type) other than amateur scientists/bloggers/”mineral consultants” who talk a good game on the Internet. There is an auditing process in the peer-reviewed literature, and although it’s fashionable for the blogosphere hoi-polloi to whinge about “Nature” and “Science” publications; I have seen no smoking gun that the process is so horrible (other than griping by jealous authors and some wanna-be’s).

  6. #6 charles


    Are Jones’ (surface temps) data and methods public so that his results can be reproduced? Do you think all data and methods should be public?

  7. #7 TCO

    William, I’ve certainly heard the opposite of what you are saying about S&C. I admit not having studied it though to sources. Do you have good sources for your claims that they are not open, or is your level of knowledge based on “what you heard, what you think” like mine is? Let’s get the facts. I will admit if wrong.

    [I’m sure you’ve been following the threads at CA. If I’m wrong, I’ll be happy to correct myself. But if you think their code is *publically* available, all you have to do is point to it… -W]

  8. #9 Hans Erren

    pots and kettles?

  9. #10 Hank Roberts

    >paid for by unwilling taxpayers
    That’s a bit naive, if you mean only willing taxpayers should pay for any particular program.

    >open (TOTALLY open) is the only way…

    Nonsense. No biologist studying endangered species can make their study information wide open. Rare plants will be immediately dug up and sold, rare animals will be hunted or trapped by poachers. No geologist or biologist working in cave areas can make their study information wide open, an undamaged cave can be wiped out by vandals and poachers as quickly as a plant or animal population. No anthropologist or archeologist wants to put all the information about a site in the public record while it’s being studied or protected, sites get stripped by pothunters. No marine biologist dares make public when a new rich seamount is found — the trawlers will go scrape it bare of life to get a few saleable fish.

  10. #11 Willis Eschenbach

    William, you’ve been asked a number of times, both here and at CA, to comment on Phil Jones’ refusal to share his data … your continued refusal to answer doesn’t look good.


    [Yes, you are getting a bit repetetive on this. Having milked MBH long past dry, I guess you’re looking for the next demon -W]

  11. #12 charles


    having now confirmed that MBH had good reason to hide data and methods everyone is wondering if Jones has reasons too.

    [Errrrm, if all you’ve got is comments like that, may I ask you to stick to CA please? -W]

  12. #13 Spence_UK

    Steve McIntyre has a response from John Christy posted up at climateaudit here.

    Now this is only one side of the story, but represents first hand evidence (rather than trying to read between the lines from a paper – you’re relying on rather weak evidence there, William, especially given your partisan viewpoint)

    Certainly seems to falsify a number of claims in this post – no “back-engineering” required, S+C provided details of their algorithms and intermediate results, which narrowed in on the disagreement, a code portion was provided and the error identified, in a process started in 2003 (at least 18mths before paper submission).

    It doesn’t represent the completely open approach that I would like to see adopted in climate science, more the “bare minimum requirement” to ensure repeatability and replication. However, “bare minimum requirement” would be a considerable improvement over the standards amongst some climate scientists today.

    It would be interesting to hear the RSS side of this story as well, and resolve any differences. Any takers? (Be best if just one person asked, to avoid bombarding them with mail, hopefully they would be willing to air their views on the subject)

  13. #14 Michael Jankowski

    ***but the bit I want to pick out is the bizarre assertion (by McI, comment 19) that of “the cooperative approach of S&C”.***
    Is this not what you would call “cooperative?”

    Correcting Temperature Data Sets
    John R. Christy, Roy W. Spencer;, Carl A. Mears, Frank J. Wentz;, Steven C. Sherwood, and John R. Lanzante
    Science 11 November 2005:
    Vol. 310. no. 5750, pp. 972 – 973

  14. #15 Hans Erren

    On the use of bristlecone proxies in NH temperature reconstructions
    Michael Mann, Stephen McIntyre
    Science 11 November 2020

  15. #16 TCO

    I don’t know that the code is public. If not, I would be interested why not. My impression though is that they shared it when requested. If they refuse to share all of it, that would also be puzzling. But we should reserve judgement a bit. Perhaps someone just wanted a specific part of it, perhaps that made things easier then getting some huge compendium. I don’t know. Let’s just figure it out. I think Bill might have had a decent point, even though he was firing a bit early. Let’s just get the scoop.

  16. #17 per

    William, you’ve been asked … to comment on Phil Jones’ refusal to share his data …
    [Yes, you are getting a bit repetetive on this. Having milked MBH long past dry, I guess you’re looking for the next demon -W]

    you are flippant, but it strikes me that there is a real issue here. How can something be part of science, if you cannot verify it ? Stuff that cannot be replicated is not science; if someone does not provide the methods and critical issues necessary to replicate, how can you repeat, and how can you show it is science ?

    there is a difference between science, and faith; and this is it.


    [But Jones *has* provided the methos: you just have to read the papers -W]

  17. #18 N. Joseph Potts

    Above, McIntyre is listed among “rightists.” Would that make his agonist, Mann, a “leftist?” I’m aware that certain political leanings seem to associate with “skepticism” and more-or-less opposite leanings with “credulity” (opposite of skepticism).

    But does (or could) one’s position in the various climate-change debates make one a rightist or leftist? I think the association is really TOO loose (unscientific?) to use in a forum like this one.

    For all that both Mann’s and McIntyre’s positions are rife with potential political ramifications, I’m buggered if I can find any actual political content in the work of either. Political MOTIVATIONS? Maybe, but that IS a matter of conjecture, even when I do it (and I do, elsewhere).

    Mann’s work seems to appeal more to lefties than to righties (although there are crossovers), and McIntyre’s to righties, but I think it confounds evaluation of their work to call them (and their many colleagues) by such labels.

  18. #19 N. Joseph Potts

    Hank, as an (American) taxpayer, I’m made to pay for many activities whose nature is concealed from me on grounds of “national security.” I resent being made payor in ANY transaction I didn’t volunteer for, but I ESPECIALLY resent being involved in this kind.

    The same goes for scientific studies whose methodology can’t be (fully) revealed to (all) the public. They shouldn’t be funded by the public. As a member of the mulcted multitudes, I am resentful and suspicious WHENEVER I’m MADE to pay for the manufacture and keeping of secrets.

    Yes, naive as it may strike you: WILLING payors. The notion of “willing taxpayers” truly IS naive – because it’s impossible. Payment of taxes, by definition, is never optional. I guess my usage was redundant. Sorry.

  19. #20 Hank Roberts

    ‘Mulcted multitudes’ — nonsense again. What you’re being charged is the investment made for the next generation or two of citizens. What you’re living on, and in, and off of was paid for by the past generations of citizens. And all of it’s out of the natural environment.

    Got a parent or grandparent who fought in World War II? They paid, you’re collecting.
    Got ancestors who worked in the fields, came over on a sailing ship or chained in the hold of one, or walked across the Bering land bridge? You’re living on what they paid.

    It takes a peculiarly myopic selfishness to imagine that what we pay for now is supposed to be consumed by us alone.

  20. #21 Steve Bloom

    See this S+C presentation to the Marshall Institute fron last April: http://www.marshall.org/pdf/materials/415.pdf . They largely repudiate the CCSP report and say that RSS is wrong due to disagreement with the sondes. Excerpt:

    “Question: Concerning the issue of global warming hysteria, there do seem to be a couple of alarmists in the U.S. government and in the science community. Hansen is sort of an über-hysteric. How is the Climate Change Science Project treating this issue of the land use change contribution versus greenhouse gases and how are they treating your research versus RSF’s (sic)? Is it a balanced approach? Are they going about it fairly? Who is in charge now that Mahoney is gone?

    “Christy: CCSP is not official yet, so we can’t really comment on that. Most of what you saw here that will be published was not considered in the CCSP because there was a cut-off date for being considered. This was an attempt to answer the question about let’s do some head-to-head comparisons here. That was not done in the CCSP because of the lateness of the publication. I think the cutoff date was November or December 1.

    “Question: That was a publication in a peer-reviewed journal?

    “Christy: Yes. Well, ‘in press’ would have counted as well, I think.”

    I wonder if the other report authors know about this. They can’t be very amused.

  21. #22 Steve Bloom
  22. #23 Carl Christensen

    I wish Dick Cheney would disclose his energy policy meeting notes, which were done on my dime as a US taxpayer. Does that have more import to the US & world as compared with a scientist whom you think isn’t making his taxpayer-paid code or data public? Where is the outrage from the freedom-loving right-wingers on that? ;-)

  23. #24 N. Joseph Potts

    Hank – We WERE on about secrets, now you bring up “future generations.” What requiring openness in publicly-funded research has to do with consuming (all of) something in the present, I just don’t see.

    Advocates of taxation and other oppressions have replaced “the afterlife” formerly used by the church with “future generations.”

    I would like to do my investing in future generations (I DO have children) myself, thank you, not with hundreds of millions of strangers, each with interests but little (even inversely) related to mine and those of my progeny. And most important, I would like to do this (or not do it) at my own initiative, not at the point of the tax collector’s gun. I should like above all to free future generations of the obligation to give money to people who won’t tell them what they’re doing with it.

    And I treasure my freedom to do things you consider “selfish” even more than I treasure your right to think (and speak) so of the actions of people of whom you know little.

  24. #25 Carl Christensen

    HAHA, the typical Libertarian screed, you whinge about the horrible oppression of being taxed for services. Yet on the left we’re never allowed to use the argument of heavy taxation for, say, George Bush’s military buildups, wars, Halliburton no-bid contracts etc. Oh no, that would be “treason” and we’d be “traitors.” And hell, these Libertarian whacks never whinge about the billions spent on particle physics, it’s always about the tiny fraction spent on climate modelling, or heaven forfend, the arts! ;-)

  25. #26 hank roberts

    No, Carl, please — don’t fall for the bait. It’s just an attempt to get the climate people into a fight with people who take seriously something they may call libertarian beliefs.

    That’s not what’s up.
    This is not a libertarian talking.

    I can — and often do — argue with my friends who call themselves l- or L-ibertarians.
    Dr. Curry of the recent hurricane research describes herself as of that predilection.

    There are a lot of people who choose that label who can be intellectually honest — they’re people I’m pleased to share a world with and argue over the details.

    Read what Mr. Potts wrote again:
    “I treasure my freedom to do things you consider “selfish”
    even more than I treasure your right to think (and speak) …”

    You recognize that political philosophy? Or that excellent troll?

    So — please, I beg you, don’t fall into an argument over labels like this.

    Like any other group who takes labels seriously, the l- and L- folks are an argumentative and fractious — and very divided — group. Some of them can talk science.

    Let’s talk science, not blame people for their labels, eh?
    This may help: http://geolib.pair.com/essays/sullivan.dan/royallib.html

    Now for catsake, can we talk about climate science?

  26. #27 TCO

    Carl can’t. He’s too much of a lightweight. I’m not a heavyweight either. But I can see how weak he is.

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