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« Science communicator, heal thyself | Main | Royal Society to investigate fracking »

Yamal in the National Review

Harold Ambler and I have written a joint piece for the National Review about the Yamal affair.

Read it here.

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Reader Comments (20)

An excellent and concise summary as to be expected from our host (and Harold). Bish, you have a way with words to lay out and explain the facts. Together with Josh, you should get much more exposure in the media. Therein lies the rub.

Whatever happened to Briffa? Did his illness cause him to take a back-seat at UEA? He's still on the faculty.

May 25, 2012 at 7:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

In praise of the writing style, excellent, clear and precise. Great work. So good in fact, I was shouting 'Guilty Guilty' before the halfway `point.

May 25, 2012 at 7:46 AM | Unregistered Commenterspence

Well done, Bishop and Harold.
Spread the word!

May 25, 2012 at 7:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

There seems to be little problem with communicating the science in this piece. Maybe Harold and yourself should offer a communications seminar to the Consensus? Just to level the playing field a little?

May 25, 2012 at 8:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy Old Man

McIntyre has shown beyond the shadow of doubt that Briffa may have committed...

Did you really write that or is it just the curse of the sub-editor?

May 25, 2012 at 8:39 AM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

Well done! Good clarification of a murky piece of the jigsaw.
'Even without the final set of data, however, McIntyre has shown beyond the shadow of doubt that Briffa may have committed one of the worst sins, if not the worst, in climatology — that of cherry-picking data — when he assembled his data sample, which his clique of like-minded and very powerful peers have also used in paper after paper.'

Must be hard to sleep at night when you are saving the planet. Either you are tossing and turning because of the awful doom you so vividly imagine coming our way, or because your own conscience keeps telling you how naughty and unprofessional you are.

May 25, 2012 at 8:47 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Yes that 'may' does jar a bit given the assurance earlier in the sentence!

May 25, 2012 at 8:49 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Nice. Should be readable by the less scientifically inclined, and I think it does a reasonable job of demonstrating that the issue in point is how to justify the selection of cores used. I think there is a fine line between dropping too far into the selection/sensitivity/validation issues, and claiming that the 'we didn't test' message was a lie.
The right message is probably in the middle ground - the science is not definitive and requires analysis to demonstrate this, and some of that analysis is both trivial and likely to have been done despite claims to the contrary.
Demonstrating this avoidance of basic statistical rigour is in itself a fairly strong argument to me that the data doesn't support the results presented in the papers published to date.

May 25, 2012 at 8:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterSean Houlihane

Elegantly written as usual. But what is with that wierd photo of Steve Mc?

May 25, 2012 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

An excellent summary, notwithstanding the rather jarring "may". One other eyebrow-raising note (as I mentioned in Unthreaded when I posted a link to this after seeing Harold's tweet):

I'm not sure Steve McIntyre would call himself a "climatologist" - as he is identified in the caption beneath his pic - or even as an "amateur climatologist" as mentioned in the text!

May 25, 2012 at 9:20 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

"However, their machinations have only succeeded in bringing renewed attention to their questionable science and ugly behind-the-scenes shenanigans, reigniting hope that more complete and more independent investigations — on both sides of the Atlantic — will yet be performed."

No such ignition took place with me. I think it highly unlikely that this matter will ever be further investigated if circumstances remain the same. The release of Michael Mann's emails, in the event they reveal anything untoward, MIGHT just conceivably cause a re-investigation.

May 25, 2012 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

From the Ecclesiastical Uncle, an old retired bureaucrat in a field only remotely related to climate, with minimal qualifications and only half a mind.

Yes, a good summary readily understood by this ex-bureaucrat.

But will not St McI wince at being described as an amateur climatologist. The truth, yes, but incomplete and, in my view, somewhat demeaning. What about his long and very relevant experience of statistics?

Surely it would have strengthened the article if the mishandling of statistics had been worked in and St McI’s picture given a linking caption.

After all There were lies, damn lies and statistics in the work at issue.

May 25, 2012 at 9:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

@ Ecclesiastical Uncle. A true definition of "amateur' is a person who does a professional job without pay. S McI fits the bill.

May 25, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy Old Man

May 25, 2012 at 5:01 AM Hilary Ostrov

Only question I have is that I'm not sure Steve McIntyre would call himself a "climatologist"

Maybe not - but he's been an IPCC reviewer - and I'd have far more confidence in anything to do with climate produced by SM than produced by the usual suspects.

May 25, 2012 at 12:36 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Does this mean that I'm due a refund on my £475 carbon emission calculated road tax?

May 25, 2012 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Blofeld

From the Ecclesiastical Uncle, an old retired bureaucrat in a field only remotely related to climate with minimal qualifications and only half a mind.

Mr Grumps.

I had not looked the word up before penning my contribution. However, I now find my Pocket Oxford Dictionary of Current English the Clarendon Press 1934 defines amateur as follows: One who cultivates a thing as a pastime (often attrib., a gardener, theatricals CF PROFESSIONAL).

I maintain my view that St McI might expect to be more appropriately described

May 25, 2012 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

May 25, 2012 at 12:36 PM | Martin A

I'd have far more confidence in anything to do with climate produced by SM than produced by the usual suspects.

No question! And it is precisely because so many of "the usual suspects" are climatologists - a term that is often used in lieu of "climate scientists" - that it struck me as being somewhat odd as a characterization of Steve M, to say the least.

I cannot imagine that Steve would ever have come to see himself "no longer as a [mathematician or statistician and stating his] occupation as 'climate scientist'' on his passport - as, for example, Mike Hulme tells us* regarding his evolution from his academic roots as a geographer.

* see p. 8 of

May 25, 2012 at 6:52 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Ecclesiastical Uncle @ 2.44pm re: Grumps earlier

I can't resist weighing in here over 'amateur' - my Nuttall's Standard Dictionary (1926 ed., revised and improved by the Rev. James Wood!) defines as follows:

"one who cultivates any study or art from mere love to it without pursuing it professionally"

I reckon that sums up Steve M's activities pretty well, and I see you've already awarded him a sainthood to go with it; I was hoping more for a knighthood for him!

May 25, 2012 at 10:06 PM | Unregistered CommentermikemUK

Wasn't Inner Party Member Briffa "too ill" to answer questions at one point, or am I thinking of someone else?

May 25, 2012 at 10:49 PM | Unregistered Commentergood news, comrades

Excellent, clearly written piece on how to hide the decline. Congratulations.

May 26, 2012 at 8:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterKen Haapala

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