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« Understanding Oxburgh | Main | Skeptic alerts »
Monday
Apr192010

Oxburgh addendum

The Oxburgh panel have appended a short addendum to their report:

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.

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  • Response
    Response: Oxburgh addendum
    Source: Bishops Hill Now someone is getting nervous ? They have to specific tell people We have to use the best possible methods the statistics of the climate research is complex So why not ask Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick what's wrong

Reader Comments (32)

Rather, the aim was to draw attention to the complexity of statistics in this field, and the need to use the best possible methods.

All they really needed to do was read HSI to get an appreciation of the complexity of stats in the field and then consult Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick for best possible methods.

Apr 19, 2010 at 9:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin

"... the need to use the best possible methods."

Are these guys pissing in their pants or what? Do we really need a science appraisal panel to tell us that we need to "use the best possible methods"?

Apr 19, 2010 at 9:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub Niggurath

Its interesting the way its worded. If you remove the deliberate and the word intentionaly. this would have a taken on a whole new light. By using those words, in my opinion seems to imply that the results where in fact exagerated and misleading.

Just a read between the lines.

Apr 19, 2010 at 9:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterdavek

Oh for heaven's sake, wasn't the wash white enough already?

Apr 19, 2010 at 9:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeT

I smell a rat! Or is it just the Hand of Mann?

Apr 19, 2010 at 9:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

So what has rattled their cage? These are grown up 'big beasts' and (one assumes) would not be surprised by the reaction that their rather skimpily argued piece would attract. That the press wouldn't necessarily put exactly the same slant on it as they would wish was always a possibility.

But this 'clarification' reads far more like the ones that are hidden away on P14 of some newspapers. 'We would like to clarify that our opinion piece accusing Adolf Hitler of being a mass murderer referred to a deceased German politician and not to Mr A. Dolfhitler of Weybridge. And we apologise to him for any inconvenience caused' In other words, somebody demanded that it be made. And had enough clout to get them to take action. Whether by threats of legal action, or by other means,

There can't be that many people with a very thin skin and whose results could possibly be interpreted as being misleading or exaggerated. Assuming that it isn't CRU themselves (which would be extremely bizarre), then I can think of only one likely candidate.

Apr 19, 2010 at 9:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Probably they have received a threat of a lawsuit...fairly soon they will need to start defining the word 'is'.

Apr 19, 2010 at 9:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Ah, so they wanted to highlight the statistical complexity for us!? Not investigate the integrity of the work?

In 15 man minutes instead of 15 man days they could have just released a photocopy of the 2006 Wegman report.

Cheaper, quicker and more informative too.

Apr 19, 2010 at 9:52 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

"Rather, the aim was to draw attention to the complexity of statistics in this field, and the need to use the best possible methods." Napoleon, Moscow 1812

Apr 19, 2010 at 9:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterD. King

The man doth protest too much, methinks

Apologies to The Bard

Apr 19, 2010 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered Commentergreensand

Cheaper, quicker and more informative is never an objective for someone spending money from the public, legally stolen using the name tax.

Apr 19, 2010 at 10:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterRolf

Sorry, your link (up top) doesn't appear to be working.

http://localhost/blogRolf/index.php?/archives/46-Oxburgh-addendum.html

Apr 19, 2010 at 10:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterPops

I think the addendum is evidence of a febrile atmosphere of spin and counter-spin in the alarmist camp. I fear the same atmosphere applies in the Royal Society and perhaps some other 'learned' bodies these days too. It is all a bit of a degradation of scientific ideals and practices. My hypothesis is there has been a major increase in politicisation of science in the last 20 to 30 years or so, coinciding with the environmentalist lobby becoming, in effect, the new establishment courted by the political class.

Apr 19, 2010 at 10:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterJS

It is possible that some hockey team members might have made statements in interviews that could have been interpreted as less than complimentary to CRU, and that the initial wording was an attempt to lodge some displeasure at these suggestions.
This may indeed have induced transatlantic rumblings of a non volcanic nature.

Apr 19, 2010 at 10:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterChuckles

Looks like it was produced in haste too "... that the neither the panel report nor the ...". Yet another sub-standard effort.

Apr 19, 2010 at 11:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterAJC

"Anything you say may be taken down and used in evidence against you." On this basis, complete silence is the best policy (let your attorney respond, following due consultation). Since Sir Alistair Muir Russell [why "Sir Muir" rather than "Sir Alistair"?] cannot but respond to de facto accusations of Climategate deceit and fraud, what's a hapless notable to do? After the initial squirt of ink, dribble out endless trivial "clarifications" to divert comments, obscure issues of substance until the next Crisis de Regime. We give this rudimentary PR ploy perhaps ten working days before Sir (Alistair) is functionally off-the-hook.

Apr 19, 2010 at 11:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Blake

The main report states

"We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice..."

The addendum states

"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."

There can have been actual gross scientific malpractice, misleading analyses and gross inaccuracies, and these statements can still stand because they define the state of mind rather than the actual practice. Those little words 'deliberate', 'deliberately' and 'intentionally' are to do with 'mens rea' rather than 'actus reus': the panel are playing a legal game here, trying to re-cast the question in terms of criminal negligence or recklessness. They are confining the question to motives rather than actions. That's all very sneaky.

Did the panel know that they were only to confine themselves to trying to get into the minds of the actors, rather than look at what they had done? If the panel was supposed to be making its conclusions by assessing evidence of motive one wouldn't need to have scientists on the panel. That therefore is just a smokescreen. It also explains why there was no need to consider submissions, because the panel was unconcerned about actualities in fact.

To say they found no evidence of a certain mindset says absolutely nothing whatsoever about whether there has been actual misconduct.

Apr 20, 2010 at 12:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterScientistForTruth

In other news, police tonight stormed (after knocking politely) a house in Manchester on a tip-off that drugs were being manufactured and sold from the small terraced house.

Police reported that, on entering the property, they examined the contents of a shoe-box on the mantle piece in the living room of the property.

Following the raid, police asserted that they found no evidence of drug manufacture or sale in the shoe box they examined in the property.

Police later issued a further statement, clarifying that they only looked at the shoe box and did not mean to imply that they had either looked for, or found, anything anywhere else in the house that constituted evidence of drug manufacture or sale.

Apr 20, 2010 at 12:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterSimonH

Just touching up the paintwork.

N B Yet - Wegman certainly mapped out the who and how of climategate.

Apr 20, 2010 at 12:39 AM | Unregistered Commenter3x2

'3. Although inappropriate statistical tools with the potential for producing misleading results have been used by some other groups, presumably by accident rather than design.."

I believe this statement in the report may have put the mortar trowels to work. An overly sensitive mann could have taken umbridge with the wording.

Apr 20, 2010 at 1:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrant

Paragraph 3 of their main report is a corker:

"Although inappropriate statistical tools with the potential for producing misleading results have been used by some other groups, presumably by accident rather than design,..."

So they are guessing and presuming about the motives and actions of other groups not even covered by this review.

Apr 20, 2010 at 6:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

If a scientific investigation committee finds faulty scientific methods, even if it's by "some other group" isn't it their duty as scientists to highlight these faults and therefore raise the bar?

Have they communicated their findings of "inappropriate statistical tools with the potential for producing misleading results" to the "other group"? Should these findings not be made public in the interest of science?

I thought this was about "the science"!

Apr 20, 2010 at 6:59 AM | Unregistered Commenterpete

What is this all about? They appear to have issued an addendum, which to me at least, says what was said quite clearly in the report. Perhaps Oxburgh is waking up to the fact that white wash will wash away given a good scrubbing, and that his travesty of a report will be on the record books for anyone to look at and judge his motives and actions for many years to come.

Apr 20, 2010 at 7:09 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

"presumably by accident rather than design"

Now that is quite wonderful. Presumably! Someone was very pleased with himself when he got that into it without anyone noticing.

Apr 20, 2010 at 8:58 AM | Unregistered Commentermichel

Obviously Penn State are furious at the attempt by Oxburgh to exonerate CRU by blaming Mann & co.

Similarily the IPCC will be hoping mad that Oxburgh saught to mislead by erroneously separating CRU science from the IPCC process.

This addendum is an admission that Oxburgh made a mess of this UEA whitewash.

Now everyone is embarrassed.

The Oxburgh report should now be forwarded to parliament's Science and Technology Committee for comment. I would imagine that MPs on this committee will be miffed that Oxburgh has failed to resolve the problems with the science.

Apr 20, 2010 at 9:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Only problem Mac is that there are now no MP's, and no select committee in existence. Not until a new Parliament is elected and begins to sit.

Apr 20, 2010 at 9:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

The select committee made a commitment to revisit this issue if they felt that matters at hand had not been fully and publicly resolved.

A 5 page report with a one paragraph addendum goes nowhere close resolving the controversy over the science, even scientists such as Judith Curry know that.

If the Russell report simply glosses over the issue in a similar and secretive way as Oxburgh did then pressure will mount for a further and proper investigation by MPs.

Apr 20, 2010 at 10:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

The extra ungrammatical "the" in " that the neither the panel report nor the press briefing" suggests this addendum was written & sent out with very little care & certainly without being read by more than whatever member of the committee, or other person wrote it, otherwise it would have been caught.

Apr 20, 2010 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Craig

Only problem Mac is that there are now no MP's, and no select committee in existence. Not until a new Parliament is elected and begins to sit.

Golly Gee! Is this an opportunity for you Brits on May 6? Hint: It all depends on whom you elect.

If the Russell report simply glosses over the issue in a similar and secretive way as Oxburgh did then pressure will mount for a further and proper investigation by MPs.

I am little confused by "Russell" and "Muir" and all that. But I have just spent a good part of today filtering through David Holland's rather carefully written, although sometimes emotional, attempt to give evidence to Sir Muir at UEA. I didn't just read it, but analyzed it word by word.
I know it almost as well as he does at this point.

David wrote a very thoughtful and thorough indictment of the CRU. As well as the blatant attempts to foil his FOIA requests by the UEA. Well documented. I know because I spent 8 hours going through it, word by word.

And from what I saw, Sir Muir really didn't want to be bothered by David's work. It was not relevant to his requirements -- which were basically to apply the thickest coat of white wash he could as quickly as possible.

However, there is an email trail which David has carefully documented. And there is his first submittal, which was ignored. If they ignore his next submittal, they do so at their own risk. More than one scandal developed not from the original action, but from the cover up. In America, the classic example of that is Watergate. Since then the suffix of "gate" has repeatedly been used to indicate a cover up. Climategate is the one we are all focused on at this time, but I expect that there will be other "--gates" regarding this.

Me, I am going to the shop, buying a couple pounds of pop-corn and going home and sit on the couch to watch it all unfold. It could be very exciting. Who knows, that's the fun of it.

Apr 21, 2010 at 12:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Given the threat of legal action against M4GW, it does make this addendum sound like Mann might have got his lawyers working overtime.

Apr 21, 2010 at 6:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterMargaret

"Just to ensure that our position is as mealy-mouthed as possible, ..."

Apr 23, 2010 at 7:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrian H

Don Pablo;
Actually, it may not matter who's elected. The Tories are in full suck-up mode to the CAGWers, too.

Apr 23, 2010 at 8:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrian H

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