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« Talkfest podcast | Main | Tying the threads together »
Monday
May282012

Hide da d.cline - Josh 169

Hopefully you've watched the video, read the posts and comments here and at Climate Audit and Watts Up With That. Basically Myles Allen has been castigating journalists for getting Climategate wrong while getting it spectacularly wrong himself. Nice one Myles. Honest error or disingenuous?

Cartoons by Josh

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References (3)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    One thing that became quite clear to me is that Allen’s interest was only in matters that affected his area of expertise and/or contributions to IPCC reports: detection and attribution. In his world, nothing else seems to matter! Curry, OTOH, has a much broader perspective.
  • Response
    - Bishop Hill blog - Hide da d.cline - Josh 169
  • Response
    - Bishop Hill blog - Hide da d.cline - Josh 169

Reader Comments (113)

Latimer Adler,

Near the end of the Climate Audit thread on Myles Allen you posted a comment asking whether anyone other than Judy Curry has any interest in upholding quality in climate science. My answer:

Latimer,

It would appear that much of science is as polluted as you fear. The recent articles about the work done by Amgen and Bayer seem to confirm it. Important new studies in cancer or biotech research get published in the most prestigious journals, yet venture capitalists and industry scientists find they can rarely replicate the work. The vast majority of these studies turn out to be badly flawed. Amgen's effort was headed by Glenn Begley who talks about one meeting with a leading academic researcher: "I explained that we re-did their experiment 50 times and never got their result. He said they'd done it six times and got this result once, but put it in the paper because it made the best story. It's very disillusioning."

I suspect that the attitude embodied in that quote sums up the attitudes of a lot of scientists. It certainly matches up very well with what we read in the climategate e-mails, the whitewash investigations, and the hockey team's behavior over the years. They publish what makes the best story. They publish what gets them funding for future work. Quality is ignored.

The answer is not to expect people to be free from temptation because they are scientists. It is to hold them accountable. We need to make certain that quality processes are in place when work has significant policy implications. We need to meet the expectations that Steve Mc had back in the very beginning when he contacted Mann seeking to take a look at the hockey stick study. We need to make scientists live up to the same quality standard we demand of mining promoters.

When that happens, studies won't be published just because they make the best story. They'll get published (or at least relied upon by policymakers) only when they are the best scientific work that scientists are capable of producing.

I believe this is what Steve Mc has been about for a long time. And I think it is pretty obvious that Myles Allen has no idea what Steve is talking about.

May 29, 2012 at 5:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterstan

stan
I wonder if Myles would care to comment on

He said they'd done it six times and got this result once, but put it in the paper because it made the best story.
It would be interesting to know if he finds this acceptable behaviour in the field of medical research and if not whether he would be prepared to ignore it, always bearing in mind that his life could depend on the outcome.
Is getting the same result six times when your pals replicate your work using the same data and the same methods in the face of evidence that the data is unreliable and the methods dubious a sound basis on which to argue for governmental intervention on which one's life also might depend?

May 29, 2012 at 6:07 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

A quite sharp-edged post on green fanaticism and the UN here: http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/05/28/global-green-agenda-continues-to-fail/. The post begins

'Remember when meetings to debate and negotiate an international carbon treaty were big news? The Copenhagen Summit was hailed as the largest assembly of world leaders ever to gather for one event; when it fizzled in waves of shame and confusion, the green movement was shocked and dismayed.'

and ends as follows:

Let the futility and failure to which all this led be a reminder to us and to them: those who guide the world’s destiny aren’t nearly as discerning as they think they are. Between the American housing bubble, the European meltdown and the climate disaster, it almost begins to look as if the Establishment consists mostly of overpaid, egotistical blowhards.

At Via Meadia we enjoy the sight of blushing emperors who suddenly realize how nude they are as much as anybody else, but we’d also point out that the world isn’t in a mess just because the Establishment is too stupid and too stubborn to take obvious steps that would set everything right. The world is in a mess because life is complicated, because both our economies and our societies are going through historically unprecedented transformations and because the interlocking political constraints and priorities of the world’s major players make solutions hard to reach — even in those rare cases where they are easy to see.

Cheap cynicism about Establishment stupidity is fun and not completely unjustified — but the real work before us is hard and in the end, sneering is more of a distraction than a solution.'

Glenn Reynolds ('http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/) writes 'Global Warming was a hothouse flower, a child of the bubble. And, sometimes, sneering is a solution. . . .'

I don't think we are sneering here, and I don't think I am when I puzzle over how unimpressive the prominent pushers of climate alarm are. They are partly responsible for an awful waste of resources and of spirits, especially those of the young and other vulnerable groups, and so one struggles to be polite about them. Yet they are not intellectual giants, nor even leaders.

They have merely coincided and helped promote a cause which is financially, ideologically, and politically extremely attractive to quite a wide range of influential categories, and they have all helped sweep each other along in a dramatic display of positive feed-forward influence. I suppose the more we understand how that all came to pass, the sooner we might be able to correct it, and that includes trying to grasp the nature of the leading proponents and their ways.

May 29, 2012 at 11:00 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Hi Josh and Andrew,

Thanks for this. I'm still somewhat mystified why I am suddenly on the blogosphere's wanted list. A lot of pretty offensive stuff has been posted about me over the past few days (and Andrew, I've checked, and it is perfectly possible to link to a YouTube clip without using the default image -- if I were linking to a talk of yours, that's what I would have done).

But here is a good way we can call it quits. In the course of correspondence with Steve M, an image occurred to me. Here is a slightly edited version of the post:

"You say that the Hockeystick is important through its central position in the blogosphere. I think you are quite right here, but the importance is almost entirely negative: it is preventing, like a hockeystick through the door-handles of the gym, many engaged members of the public from participating in the debate on why climate is changing now and what, if anything, we should do about it. My real concern (hence the “bad for democracy” remark) is that this allows discussion of climate policy to continue behind closed doors, to be pulled out with a “too late to consider any alternative” the next time we get a run of warm years."

Any chance of another cartoon? Double doors with Climate Policy Forum in mirror-writing on the glass, and a hockey-stick labelled "Paleoclimate debate" jammed through the handles so no one can get in. If you want to include some evil technocrats plotting global domination in the foreground, go for it, but you can't make them look like me. I'm the one warning against this.

I can assure you I would use it a lot.

Regards,

Myles

May 30, 2012 at 12:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterMyles Allen

@ Mules Allen

Did it ever occur to you that maybe images of you with your eyes closed were perhaps suggesting that maybe you should open your eyes as to what you have been trying to communicate. Sir, you are either wilfully blind or failing badly to communicate a propaganda program. Sadly, It appears be the latter.

May 30, 2012 at 1:09 AM | Unregistered Commentereyesonu

[Snip - manners]

May 30, 2012 at 2:08 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Myles, how about using your bot army to analyze Briffa's reconstruction algorithms?

Reverse engineering the Briffa selection - and even more impressively - explaining its rationale - could be your first (major) contribution to the field of climatology* and is probably well within the compass of your 35,000 PCs.

*climatology = the forensic study of the activities of the CRU (I think that this is the accepted meaning of the word at this point)

May 30, 2012 at 5:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterZT

It's beyond parody. I’ve read Myles Allen’s latest, slowly, forwards and backwards, and I just want to weep.

He wants us to stop talking about the hockeystick because “it is preventing ... many engaged members of the public from participating in the debate on why climate is changing now and what, if anything, we should do about it” and “this allows discussion of climate policy to continue behind closed doors, to be pulled out with a ‘too late to consider any alternative’ the next time we get a run of warm years.”

Why? How does us talking about the hockeystick prevent anything at all? What are we doing that forces climate policy to be discussed behind closed doors? Why should democracy be endangered “the next time we get a run of warm years”? (We’ve got a run of warm years now. Some say it’s the warmest run ever. Others not. But let’s not get into that).

Myles is worried that democracy is in danger. His solution is for us to stop discussing the hockeystick. And he wants Josh to draw a cartoon to his liking.
What if Josh refuses, Myles? A knock on the door at dawn? The sky falling in?

I give up.

May 30, 2012 at 6:43 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Dear Geoff,

This exactly illustrates the problem. Apparently what set this whole thing off was a post on this blog about a lecture I gave on approaches to climate policy that might impinge less on individual liberty than a global carbon-rationing system. I would have loved to have discussed that lecture with you all. But instead we have spent days arguing over the hockeystick and the interpretation of the UEA e-mails.

You may be right we just have to give up, but it is very sad.

Myles

May 30, 2012 at 7:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterMyles Allen

Myles,

Climate Scientists are a closed shop. When have you seen open condemnation from within of clearly shoddy science? Certain members of that shop are poster boys for liberal media. Those same members base their reputation on the shoddy science of the hockey stick.

Can't you draw the dots? Really?

If you want constructive policy debate, rather than saying the Hockey Stick is irrelevant, how about getting up in front of the IPCC and saying it should be expunged from the record?

The hockey stick is relevant because climate policy is being driven by people who use it as a crutch.

You couldn't trust us then, and anyway who cares about a hockey stick, but you can trust us now?

What world do you live in? Seriously? You seem to want to gain the benefits of high profile climate science without actually earning your keep.

The closed shop needs to be opened (and that means reputations have to reflect their true scientific value) before you will get any policy debate where contributors to this blog feel included.

May 30, 2012 at 7:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

Myles

First up, I agree that surface temperatures were not particularly relevant to Climategate.

You say you were merely "using the example of the confusion engendered by people thinking Climategate affected the surface temperature record...as one of the factors behind the current confusion". I can't say I understand what this means! From the context, you seem to be addressing the idea that human attribution of climate change hangs by a thread in the wake of Climategate. You dispute this, showing what you say is the effect of Climategate on the surface temperature datasets.

As I pointed out in an earlier posting, these corrections to the surface temperature datasets were not related to Climategate at all, apart from the fact that the Met Office appears to have released its data and code as part of a PR exercise prompted by the email disclosures. So you have addressed the human-attribution-now-hangs-by-a-thread-in-the-wake-of-Climategate argument by showing that something that had nothing to do with Climategate doesn’t affect the surface temperature records. A strange line of reasoning!

You sort of address this point by suggesting that people thought that the surface temperature records were so affected, having been misled by the media. However, I don't agree that they were so misled. I note your quote of James Delingpole's article:

This matters because CRU, established in 1990 by the Met Office, is a government-funded body which is supposed to be a model of rectitude. Its HadCrut record is one of the four official sources of global temperature data used by the IPCC

However, James then goes on to list specific issues arising from the emails, none of which relate to surface temperatures. The reference to HADCRUT is really only in passing.

I've examined some other reports of the Climategate disclosures and there are few if any references to surface temperatures:


Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/20/climate-sceptics-hackers-leaked-emails
Mentions attempts to get CRUTEM data

The Australian
http://www.webcitation.org/5wW7Ytt1L
No mention of CRUTEM

New York Times
http://www.webcitation.org/5wW94RV0I
Discusses divergence problem

Washington Post
http://www.webcitation.org/5wW8CtvJo
No mention of surface temperature records

Fox News
http://www.webcitation.org/65RnDwZXu
Discusses divergence problem

New York Times (again)
http://www.webcitation.org/5wW8auCux
No mention of CRUTEM


Right from the start, the actual issues were mostly reported correctly – paleoclimate, hiding inconvenient data, FOI issues, and most importantly, peer review. In fact the only exception I can find is one Myles Allen, who wrote this article about the lack of any effect on CRUTEM here! (In the comments at CA, Steve M mentions that Nature may have done something along these lines though)

I’m struggling to find anything much to support the idea that the media misled the public over what Climategate was about. However, you have clearly found much more than I have – I note your comments here, in which you say


Again and again, stories are sexed up with arch hints that these "revelations" might somehow impact on the evidence for human impact on climate.

So if you could point me to some more examples that would be good.

Nevertheless, I do think that the argument for catastrophic manmade global warming has been affected by Climategate. It just has nothing to do with detection and attribution studies or surface temperature datasets. It is a result of the loss of public trust in climatology and climatologists caused by the Climategate emails. The process that starts with the funding agencies, passes through the universities and the peer review process, and ends with the IPCC’s confident statements on attribution has been shown to be corrupt along much of the route. Nobody trusts what the IPCC says any longer. A series of moderately transparent cover-ups has done nothing to help the situation and nor has the failure of mainstream climatologists (with certain honourable exceptions) to speak out about the gatekeeping and the removal of inconvenient editors and the suppression of dissenting views.

Would you like to take this opportunity to speak out on the real Climategate issues?

May 30, 2012 at 7:34 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

I wish Myles Allen would stop with the sad, rueful, "more in sorrow than anger" posturing and astonish us with a salient nugget that would distract us all; he rather seems to tend to fall back upon this blame his interlocutor technique.

Myles Allen keeps talking about the public almost as if blogs like this are proving to be a burly line of rough security men holding back the innocent public with hockey sticks - How's that for a cartoon Myles? ;) –

I ask: Who has kept the public in the dark? Who has prevented real democracy and never risked putting anything to the vote?

We all know the truth that people like Myles Allen have the ear of all politicians and have more sway than any mandate deserves, yet Allen seems prone to blaming failures of policy and public opinion on minority blogs and "environmental communicators" whenever it suits him.

Where is a real forum for debate with the real public? And if it doesn't exist (clue: it doesn't) what should it look like?

The public if they pay attention at all would like to know how climate would affect them; the risk is though if they find they can't do anything about it because the developing nations outstrip every policy effect here by miles then I suspect they would just like cheap fuel.

The key levers in the equation are Energy=Climate. We even have a UK Ministry called this. When the public see energy interfering in their lives they will want to know more and more about climate, until now the public mainly see a confused energy policy with some abstract talk of climate in the background, but I think that the light is starting to dawn that the useless politicians only have the default position of climate to inform them. I wonder if Myles Allen is ready to tell real people, not just sceptics on specialist blogs like this, that they should a have a lower quality of life and they should shut up asking about hockey the stick?

May 30, 2012 at 7:51 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

@Myles,

I'm still somewhat mystified why I am suddenly on the blogosphere's wanted list. A lot of pretty offensive stuff has been posted about me over the past few days (and Andrew, I've checked, and it is perfectly possible to link to a YouTube clip without using the default image -- if I were linking to a talk of yours, that's what I would have done).

Oh, for heaven's sake! Don't you think it's time to stop puffing yourself up as a misunderstood martyr!?

A few days ago, Lucia very lucidly gave you some concrete suggestions as to how you might improve. Did you actually read her suggestions before you "responded"?

Frankly, my impression from your "contributions" to the threads in which you have posted, both here and at CA, is that you are someone who is so concerned with sustaining his own image of himself (however that might have been acquired) that you are bound and determined to keep your eyes wide shut.

Your pouting pettiness (viz your continuing to harp on the video still ... incidentally, have you complained yet to the organizers of the Communication 2011 site, because they are using exactly the same default image), constant whining and finger-pointing - not to mention your self-exculpatory verbal acrobatics - remind me of the behaviour of, well, a delinquent teenager who has never had to take responsibility for his own actions and words.

As others have noted, your "replies" have been non-responsive and/or diversionary.

But I'm glad you told us, as you did in the Hadcrut thread, that your presentation at Communication 2011 was merely doing a favour (although you didn't indicate to whom) and that you had written it on the train-ride to Bristol. That might explain the sloppy thinking that was evident throughout.

There are many thoughtful, articulate, knowledgeable posters here and at CA. One can learn a lot from what they say. There are others who tell us far more in what they do not say (or respond to) than in what they do. Unfortunately, you have indisputably proven yourself to be amongst the latter.

You would do well to heed Steve's comments earlier today which he had concluded as follows:

In my opinion, climate scientists, including yourself, spend far too much time blaming other people for various things – blaming the media, blaming Bishop Hill, blaming fossil fuel companies, blaming the Koch Brothers. And not nearly enough time looking into the mirror. Including you unfortunately.

Btw, I hope that when you are acting as Lead Author for WG1 Chapter 10 of AR 5, you put more effort into substantiating the validity of the claims you are making than you did wrt blaming the media for leading the public up the garden path about the temperature record. You cited James Delingpole as an example; and your claim was:

"This matters because CRU, established in 1990 by the Met Office, is a government-funded body which is supposed to be a model of rectitude. Its HadCrut record is one of the four official sources of global temperature data used by the IPCC.”

James recognised, quite correctly, that the story was interesting precisely because it potentially impacted the surface temperature record.

But you seem to have missed Lucia's response She beat me to it - and she began (as I would have) by citing the full paragraph from which you had excerpted your little snippet:

Hadley CRU has form in this regard. In September – I wrote the story up here as “How the global warming industry is based on a massive lie” – CRU’s researchers were exposed as having “cherry-picked” data in order to support their untrue claim that global temperatures had risen higher at the end of the 20th century than at any time in the last millenium. CRU was also the organisation which – in contravention of all acceptable behaviour in the international scientific community – spent years withholding data from researchers it deemed unhelpful to its cause. This matters because CRU, established in 1990 by the Met Office, is a government-funded body which is supposed to be a model of rectitude. Its HadCrut record is one of the four official sources of global temperature data used by the IPCC. [Lucia's bold, which would have been mine, too! -hro]

Which she followed with:

James reports two things they are accused of doing:
1) the fiddling affects paleo– that is the claim about “the last millenium”.
2) withholding data.

After that, he transitions and explains why what CRU does matter– and only then, mentions HadCrut. But he doesn’t say climategate letters say HadCrut is wrong.

Of course, at the time, and even now, if you thought this was misleading, you could have and still can respond by clarifying that the scientist cherrypicked tree samples not temperature records and that the data that had been with held was not HadCrut, but information that permitted people to replicate HadCrut and understand how it is constructed. You could still do that in your talk. That would help the journalists understand why what James said doesn’t affect the thermometer record.

Furthermore, the comment from Steve that I mentioned above was in reply to your rather lame:

I think it’s a bit harsh to suggest I stood idly by. I’ve been making this point ever since the story broke, both in the CiF comment on the Newsnight piece, in the letter with Hans and whenever the opportunity arose since.

I mention this here because:

a) As Steve pointed out at the beginning of that post, his actual observation was:

You and your associates should have spoken out against Muir Russell and Oxburgh. It’s your community that ultimately is paying the price for Climategate and the dissembling inquiries. But having stood idly by, you really have only yourselves to blame.

and

b) The comment to which you were "responding" was the final paragraph in a post which included:

I’ve quickly re-examined some of the contemporary news reports as the story unfolded to see how attention got shifted from the Hockey Stick to temperature. These comments are quick and do not represent a thorough canvassing, which would be interesting. Many of the very earliest comments refer to the Hockey Stick.

The earliest comments from the University of East Anglia refer to the temperature record, rather than the hockey stick. Most early coverage by Nature – which was very involved in early coverage – also drew attention to the temperature record, rather than the hockey stick. It looks to me like both the UEA and Nature were important contributors to focussing on the temperature record, rather than proxy reconstructions. I don’t think that Myles can fairly blame “mainstream media” for getting this wrong, when Nature and the UEA were busy fostering this misunderstanding. [emphasis added -hro]

I agree with Steve. And now you know why I place Myles Allen amongst those about whom one learns more from what he does not say (or respond to), than from what he does.

YMMV, but what I've learned is not pretty. Some might call his choices intellectual dishonesty. But I couldn't possibly comment.

May 30, 2012 at 7:51 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Sorry, Your Grace ... hadn't seen your post, so some of mine has duplicated yours. But now we have multiple lines of evidence from independent researchers ;-)

May 30, 2012 at 8:23 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

We don't actually know whether they cherry-pick temperature records. This is the same outfit. What would they do if they found temp data which didn't fit? Adjust it? Make the past colder (can't fix the present, what with those satellites and all). Drop the unco-operative thermometers. Cut station numbers? Make blanket adjustments dependent on dubious theories? Downplay UHI and other land use considerations? Well, maybe. If they were not doing that, what is the likelihood that all the adjustments and all the changes and updates to the record would support their case, and none would refute it in the least? No, this did not come out in climategate. Did they publish the unadjusted data? Did they release it under FOI? No, they tried to keep it out of Steve's hands. When you have a trust issue, people like me think nothing you do is untainted.

May 30, 2012 at 8:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda


'In sum, climate science is a small, incestuous, inbred little community. In no way does it represent the world’s finest scientific minds'.

Donna Laframboise: http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2012/05/29/the-ipcc-going-where-no-scientist-should/

That's how it looks to me, and I think there is work to be done to clarify how come they have had such influence. My own guess is that they have had 'greatness thrust upon them'. I think Myles, Hilary, Rhoda, Leopard, the Bish, and many others here are helping clarify some of the effect that can have on a chap.

May 30, 2012 at 8:54 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Myles, nice idea. See what I can do.

May 30, 2012 at 9:25 AM | Registered CommenterJosh

Sorry, I really do have to get back to the day job now. Given these comments, I'm happy to accept that it isn't clear who was to blame for the conflation of climategate with the surface temperature record. I've accused journalists of being to blame, and they seemed to accept it, but perhaps they were just too gentlemanly to object. And watching the early coverage, I was probably acutely sensitive to references to the instrumental record, because that is what I specifically cared about.

Several posts have suggested I was blaming the blogs, but I hope that isn't true, at least not to the best of my recollection. I was criticising the mainstream media for not keeping the affair in perspective.

Regards,

Myles

May 30, 2012 at 9:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterMyles Allen

Watch the pea (as Steve McIntyre might say):

May 28, 2012 at 12:28 AM Myles Allen
Andrew Montford then decided to dig up an unflattering image on YouTube......

May 30, 2012 at 12:05 AM Myles Allen
...and Andrew, I've checked, and it is perfectly possible to link to a YouTube clip without using the default image --

So in fact Andrew Montford's use of the default image equates to "digging up an unflattering image".

If the guy bends the truth even on a tiny inconsequential detail like that, why should we be surprised at the other things he comes up with?

I am staggered by the man's vanity. It seems he expects someone to spend time digging up a "flattering image" from somewhere rather than use Youtube's default for the vid.

I saw the image and noticed it showed someone giving a lecture in the act of blinking. What of it.

May 30, 2012 at 10:11 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

May 30, 2012 at 8:54 AM | John Shade

There are a few ironic (serendipitous?) tie-ins from that post of Donna's to this thread - and from the Gatekeeping thread. First the latter:

steveta quotes from the interview with Grundmann:

[...] the physical scientists study the climate system but make observations about society as well. Social scientists either repeat what the physicists have to say or stay calm. They understand that no trespassing is allowed.

But the physical scientists do not respect the NO TRESPASSING sign. They are dominating the debate and many climate scientists think they have the prerogative to make political suggestions which society at large should take up because scientists always know best.[emphasis added -hro]

Must be an extension of the "climatic licence" I mentioned yesterday!

As for the former, in the blogpost you mention, Donna cites a paper referenced by Adger, in which two of the authors are Greenpeace personnel:

Meinshausen M, Meinshausen N, Hare W, Raper S C B, Frieler K, Knutti R, Frame D J, Allen M R, 2009, ‘‘Greenhouse-gas emission targets for limiting global warming to 2°C’’ Nature 458 1158-1162

Although the above paper doesn't appear to be listed at http://www2.physics.ox.ac.uk/contacts/people/allenm/publications), this one does:

MN Juckes, MR Allen, KR Briffa, J Esper, GC Hegerl, A Moberg, TJ Osborn, SL Weber
Millennial temperature reconstruction intercomparison and evaluation
CLIM PAST 3 (2007) 591-609

Small world, eh?!

Oh, and here's another excellent post from Lucia, responding to Myles, that I forgot to mention in my earlier comment http://climateaudit.org/2012/05/26/myles-allen-and-hide-the-decline/#comment-335409, in which she notes:

So, let me repeat my advise: If you want to explain why the revelations in climategate do not taint tge thermometer record and do not cast much doubt on our believe that in AGW, you should directly and proactively state that climategate was more about the paleorecord and then explain your notion that paleo is unimportant to attribution. You sould do the former because it’s true and you should say the latter because you believe it to be true and it’s an argument you wish to advance. (I tend to agree paloe is not important to attribution– but you may find some people disagree. )

Because reporters have heard the names “Mann” and “Briffa”, if really want to break the link between climategate and your argument, you are going to have to say that the stuff Mann and Briffa do are unimportant to attribution and you are going to have to say this in your talk when the reporters are present. (Note just in blog comments.) And if you really want to be clear and show that the people who talk climategate agree– get quotes from SteveMc and Ross saying they think paleo is not important to attribution.

Myles reply: sounds of deafening silence. Although I see he has responded to others and succeeded in endorsing Oxburgh and Muir Russell's reports

it would be extraordinarily presumptions for me to suddenly decide I disagree with Oxburgh, Muir-Russel et al without investigating the matter as pain-stakingly as they did.

[and he's]

declining to comment on scientific process and conduct questions because I’m not best qualified to do so.

And in other news from CA ... Chris Colose has come to his rescue!

Amazing. Simply amazing.

May 30, 2012 at 11:16 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Three cheers for Hillary. The lady is in form.

May 30, 2012 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

The big question of course is exactly which "matter" was it that Oxburgh and Muir Russell investigated "painstakingly".
Part of the argument being put forward by sceptics on blogs such as this is that whatever else those inquiries did they took considerably pains to avoid investigating anything that might have cast doubt on the probity of the scientists concerned or the reliability of their science.
As we have (most of us) said before this is not a comment on either the science or the scientists. We simply do not know whether there was anything reprehensible to be found, though there is sufficient prima facie evidence that there might have been, because the inquiries made damn sure they didn't look.

May 30, 2012 at 11:27 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

RoyFOMR

"the learned contempt for Joe the plumber that academic-hubristophilliacs appear to display"

But how many of them could change a tap-washer? If and when the world's economies implode, the only jobs left will be practical ones...

May 30, 2012 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

eyesonu

"Mules Allen"

Freudian slip..? :-)

May 30, 2012 at 11:36 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

re: Climategate inquiries

btw, as a relative newbie to these issues I have only now gotten around to finding Andrew's report at GWPF on the Climategate Inquiries, and I am finding it fascinating if distressing to read about how cursory and unprofessional the various inquiries were (I had some idea from various bits and pieces but this is the most complete overview I have seen). I highly recommend this report to any who have not yet read it (I assume it will be superseded by our host's book but still worth a look now):

Andrew Montford: The Climategate Inquiries
Tuesday, 14 September 2010
PDF

A detailed assessment of the Climategate inquiries set up by the University of East Anglia and others which finds that they avoided key questions and failed to probe some of the most serious allegations. The report The Climategate Inquiries, written by Andrew Montford and with a foreword by Lord (Andrew) Turnbull, finds that the inquiries into the conduct and integrity of scientists at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia were rushed and seriously inadequate.

May 30, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

"journalists .. were just too gentlemanly to object"

I'm pretty sure that the phrase 'gentlemen of the press' is meant to be ironic!

You cannot hope to bribe or twist,
thank God! the British journalist.
But, seeing what the man will do
unbribed, there's no occasion to.

(Humbert Wolfe)

May 30, 2012 at 12:16 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

I've tried following Myles around the blogosphere but he just seem to change spades. I wonder if he'll ever have time to fill all the holes in.

May 30, 2012 at 4:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

I found this very interesting as an indication of known difficulty with Michael Mann's "error analysis" and also his temperamental "sensitivity" to being asked about it. I know scientists are human etc. but this seems like it should have been some kind of red (or at least "yellow) warning flag in 2005 about Michael Mann's work. Perhaps at least the community of client scientists should learn to be grateful to Steve McIntyre & co. for pursuing what was evidently too sensitive for the climate scientists to verify themselves (passage is hyperlinked):

cc: "Martin Juckes" ,
date: Fri, 25 Feb 2005 09:42:41 -0000
from: "Myles Allen"
subject: RE: Millenial Temperature Reconstruction Intercomparison and
to: "Keith Briffa" , "Martin Juckes" , hegerl

I floated the idea of bringing Anders Moberg and Jan Esper in on the
proposal (offering them both travel money), because one of the things I
would want to do would be to get a better grasp of their error analysis,
and it's always a lot easier to do this by talking friendlily to people
than by reverse-engineering their papers. I tried and failed to
understand Mann's error analysis using both approaches about 5 years
ago, so I don't think it is worth trying again, particularly given his
current level of sensitivity. I don't think anyone was particularly
against the idea, but we haven't done anything about it. Would people
like me to?

Can we make a deliverable of this project a piece of public-domain IDL
code (or matlab, if people prefer and someone else volunteers to write
it) that takes temperature and proxy inputs and generates
reconstructions using at least two methods (Moberg and Crowley et al,
for example, plus ideally MBH, Juckes et al, Osborne & Briffa etc etc),
providing a framework for comparison. This kind of exercise was hugely
valuable in teasing out the origins of differences between different
approaches to optimal fingerprinting prior to the TAR. If people
provide me with inputs and exact specification of algorithms, I would be
happy to produce this (if it's in IDL) as my contribution.

Myles

Climate Dynamics Group
Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics
Department of Physics, University of Oxford
Tel: 44-1865-272085/925
Fax: 44-1865-272923
E-mail:

May 30, 2012 at 6:04 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Since I'm a newbie I had been assuming that Myles Allen did not have any particular connection with the folks at CRU/UEA beyond being in climate science, attending conferences together etc. Now I find that Phil Jones was passing on sensitive info while acknowledging it might be unlawful to do so??? (I don't know if anyone has settled that point of law by now or not??) [Phil Jones to Myles Allen: "Never say you got this email from me! I probably shouldn't be passing this on - maybe it's protected under the Data Protection Act....."]

While Myles Allen is not responsible for the act of someone passing such info to him (if) unsolicited, I would say that ethically he needs to separate himself from this deed or else be implicated in it (the sheer inappropriateness of sharing such confidential info about parties to lawful data requests). At the very least perhaps some explanation is called for here, since Myles has been presenting himself as quite unconnected and unaware of "Climategate" misdeeds. I do think he has a more specific responsibility to condemn Climategate in detail, since he is not simply a distant uninterested party.

date: Thu Sep 17 08:28:03 2009
from: Phil Jones
subject: FW: Environmental Information Regulations 2004 request
to: "Myles Allen"

Myles,
Never say you got this email from me! I probably shouldn't be passing this on - maybe
it's protected under the Data Protection Act. Several other people have tried the same ploy
he has used about what the agreements we had with Met Services mean. His response contains
a very mild implicit threat, but it is very mild. Some others have been much more explicit.
As an aside some of the papers published on the CRU dataset contain more information
than you would get with the GISS or NCDC data.
The web page we put up is here - this is what he's referring to.
[1]http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/availability/
Good to see you again - and see you on Oct 15 at the UKCP09 meet.
Cheers
Phil

From: "Palmer Dave Mr (LIB)"
To: "Colam-French Jonathan Mr (ISD)" , "Mcgarvie Michael Mr
(ACAD)", "Jones Philip Prof (ENV)" ,
"Ogden Annie Ms (MAC)"
Sender: "Baker Jane Mrs (LIB)"
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 2009 13:33:59 +0100
Subject: FW: Environmental Information Regulations 2004 request (FOI_09-117;
EIR_09-14) - Response
Thread-Topic: Environmental Information Regulations 2004 request
(FOI_09-117; EIR_09-14) - Response
Thread-Index: AcocuvbRB/fNSyVpSGSv6dbZ6S0BIQKS1IxQADPsplA=
Accept-Language: en-US, en-GB
X-MS-Has-Attach:
X-MS-TNEF-Correlator:
acceptlanguage: en-US, en-GB
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 28 Aug 2009 12:34:00.0686 (UTC) FILETIME=[D1EE58E0:01CA27DB]
Dear All,
We have received an appeal from Prof. Jonathan Jones regarding our response to his
request for the following information:
"a copy of any digital version of the CRUTEM station data set that has been sent from
CRU to Peter Webster and/or any other person at Georgia Tech between January 1, 2007 and
June 25, 2009".
I have sent out an acknowledgement letter. We have until 24th September 2009 to respond.
Kind regards,
Jane
*****************************************************
Jane Baker
LaRC Co-ordinator / Blackboard support
Learning and Resources Centre (LaRC)
Library

May 30, 2012 at 6:19 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Memo to Bishop Hill Housekeeping

Please add this Josh thread to Myle's Category Archive (Climate Allen), because of the substantial nature of some of the commentary.

May 30, 2012 at 8:41 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Professor Myles "the paleo reconstructions are irrelevant" Allen was a co-author on this paper.

May 30, 2012 at 10:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil

Thank you very much for that link, Phil. Here is a verbatim quote from it:

'Climate models are instrumental in addressing both questions,
but they are still burdened with some level of uncertainty
and there is a need for more detailed knowledge
of the behaviour of the actual climate on multi-centennial
timescales both in order to evaluate the climate models and
in order to address the above questions directly.'

The two questions of interest to these 8 (!) authors are (1) How much of the climate variation in the 20th century is due to CO2? and (2) How big a deal is it, now and in the future?

Aye, there's the rub, or rubs. A bit unsettling to be asking such questions in 2007, shortly before the Climate Change Act was passed. But passed it was, so that little risk was short-lived. The answers to both questions do seem to be 'not very much', so that was a bit of a close shave. Now, what's our new agenda? What's the new spin perspective? Take 'crisis' for granted, and focus on policy options? Ask for bigger computers? Go even bigger on suppressed sustainable development?

May 31, 2012 at 12:09 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

I hope I may cross-post the following that I just posted at Climate Audit, because it is important to filling in some of the context of Climategate in relation to the IPCC and problems with process and integrity in climate science. Eduardo Zorita spoke up against the abuses. Although practitioners may feel the field has moved on, to the extent that Climategate was never really dealt with in a spirit of rigor and candor it has, well, NOT been dealt with by the field(s) of climate science.

Speaking of Zorita, who seems to have been just about unique in showing some backbone from within the climate science world, he spoke out strongly against the kinds of bullying and groupthink which he had experienced and which were evidenced in CRU emails. I don’t know what his current view may be but in Nov. 2009 he thought it a sufficient problem to call for Michael Mann, Phil Jones, and Stephan Rahmstorf to be excluded from future IPCC processes. Myles Allen wants to simply “move on” without the field acknowledging and dealing with such evident abuses of process and integrity in the scientific inquiries. Given the enormous public significance of the outcomes of these research debates, is it really enough to shrug off all these problems of the past decade and more as simply old news?? Matters which have not even been noticed or acknowledged by leaders in the field such as Myles Allen?? Have climate scientists really cleaned up their own house(s) when the whitewash inquiries didn’t even LOOK at most of the issues and evidence? (let me emphasize that the patchwork quotes below, presented here for brevity, should be reviewed in context of Zorita’s complete statement at the link):

WUWT thread on Zorita statement about CRU emails Nov. 27, 2009

[Zorita]: "...research in some areas of climate science has been and is full of machination, conspiracies, and collusion, as any reader can interpret from the CRU-files.... The scientific debate has been in many instances hijacked to advance other agendas."

"...in this thick atmosphere -and I am not speaking of greenhouse gases now- editors, reviewers and authors of alternative studies, analysis, interpretations, even based on the same data we have at our disposal, have been bullied and subtly blackmailed. In this atmosphere, Ph D students are often tempted to tweak their data so as to fit the ‘politically correct picture’. Some, or many issues, about climate change are still not well known. Policy makers should be aware of the attempts to hide these uncertainties under a unified picture. I had the ‘pleasure’ to experience all this in my area of research."

May 31, 2012 at 10:55 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Kudos to Zorita. I'm afraid that one had slipped my memory, possibly because back in november 09 one was expecting some sort of similar reaction from someone in the scientific establishment. This and Monbiot's reaction was all we got. I have invited Allen several times here to disavow the cheats. He doesn't have to answer my complaints, of course. But I went away suspecting his preferred coding language is dissembler.

All non-satellite temperature records are in the control of the team. I do not trust them. I have no reason to think their cheating or advocacy are confined to the paleo record.

May 31, 2012 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

Let me try to sum up what I’ve got out of the past few days. I suggested in the Communicate2011 talk that the 0.02K revision to the HadCRUT temperature record was the only change to any published dataset used in the detection and attribution of human influence on climate to have resulted from the UEA e-mail affair, and that this was not generally appreciated by the public. I was using this as an example of how things have gone wrong in communicating climate science: this was not a talk about “climategate” per se.

On whether the “only change” statement was strictly correct, Steve McIntyre has pointed out that the e-mails raised new questions with the treatment of paleoclimate records, Judith Curry has observed that these records are needed to check our estimates of internal climate variability and Ross McKitrick has argued that some of the e-mails showed an improper dismissal of his paper on the correspondence between patterns of warming in the instrumental record and patterns of economic development. Many other points have been raised, but I would like to address these three.

I accept Steve’s point that paleoclimate reconstructions continue to evolve and fresh sources of uncertainty continue to emerge, although my impression is that they were evolving anyway before release of the e-mails and would have continued to do so regardless. This continued uncertainty is a key factor making it difficult for scientists like myself, outside the dendroclimatology community, to make use of tree-ring based data. In trying to cope with multiple blog threads simultaneously, I probably went too far in disparaging tree-ring data, for which I apologize to any dendroclimatologists who might be reading these threads. I do believe efforts to reconstruct pre-instrumental climate represent an interesting and worthwhile challenge: my point was simply that many people seem to think it is the main point of climate research, which it is not.

In response to Judith Curry’s point about the need for proxy reconstructions to test model-simulated internal variability, again, this is a question of “it would be nice if only we were able to do so.” In my personal view, the uncertainties and potential biases in the spectrum of variability that must arise from the process of stitching together multiple tree-ring records (many of which have to be individually detrended), and the fact that we know GCM-simulated variability is deficient on the small scales that the trees are responding to, make it difficult to use proxy records to falsify GCM-simulated large-scale variability. If a GCM disagrees with a paleo-record, do we reject the GCM’s internal variability, the forcing data used to drive the GCM, or the paleo-record itself? We do have observations of variability on sub-century timescales through the instrumental record and new products like the 20th century reanalyses: I think, in the short term at least, these potentially provide more information on internal variability than the millennial reconstructions.

Since the key question for attribution is the origins of the surface warming over the past 30 years, that being the only period for which we have direct observations of forcing, it is the spectrum of internal variability on 20-100 year timescales that is essential. Variability on longer timescales is less important for attribution of causes for the current warming trend. I stress this statement applies to surface temperature. Sea level responds on different timescales, making attribution correspondingly harder.

In response to Ross McKitrick’s point (apologies for being slow on this one), I suspect what Phil Jones was referring to in the “no need to calculate a p-value” remark (although you should really ask him) was the danger of over-interpreting chance covariation. The only p-values that mean anything are those that derive from physically-based hypotheses. It is all too easy to find a high p-value from a chance correlation (sunspots and number of Republicans in the US Senate is the classic example). I wasn’t involved at all in that IPCC chapter, but I would be inclined to agree with their assessment that what you were seeing in that paper was an example of such an acausal covariation, for which the p-value of a pattern-correlation is indeed meaningless.

Then there is the much more general point, raised by Lucia, Rhoda and many others, that my talk was misleading, because “climategate” was not about the data at all, but rather about scientific process and the probity of climate scientists. As Mike Hulme observed, “climategate” meant different things to different people: for me, the implications for the instrumental record were all-important, which is why I was castigating the British press for paying far less attention to the fact that the instrumental record got an almost (in deference to Ross) completely clean bill of health than it paid to the initial allegations. There was an interesting side-thread on why the HadCRUT got dragged into this in the first place, to which I don’t have much to add apart from reassuring everyone that I don’t blame the bloggers for this confusion.

Many people have asserted that the main impact of “climategate” is that we can no longer say “trust me, I’m a climate scientist” until we all come out and condemn CRU, Muir-Russell, Oxburgh, etc. “Trust me, I’m a climate scientist” is not a phrase I have ever used, and I hope I never will. I teach a 12-lecture course to our 3rd year physics students (open to the public if anyone is interested) that starts from the premise “Don’t trust climate scientists” – the point being that, as physicists, they should be able to understand the problem for themselves, and not be expected to take the IPCC’s word for it.

The only basis of trust in science is the reproducibility of results. This is why availability of data and model source code is so important: I have always supported open data, although I have also consistently said that I don’t think Freedom of Information requests are the right way to enforce it. Journal editors can and should enforce a simple “disclose or retract” policy if a result is challenged, and almost all of them do: if any don’t, then the solution is to name and shame them, not set up a parallel enforcement system. I also think it is always better to reproduce results from equations (and, where possible, independent models and observations) rather than “auditing” computer code.

Finally, on the “bad for democracy” remark that upset a lot of people. I don’t want to suppress discussion of the Medieval Warm Period, but everything has an opportunity cost. Time spent arguing over paleoclimate research is time not spent on, for example, the merits of the two degree “goal” agreed in Copenhagen and Cancun, with remarkably little scientific justification. Yet whether we aim to limit anthropogenic warming to two, three or four degrees has far bigger implications for climate policy than the existence or otherwise of the Medieval Warm Period. Why is this not a hot topic in the blogosphere?

Ironically, this whole discussion started from a throw-away post by Paul Matthews in a discussion of a lecture I recently gave on whether it would be possible to frame an effective climate mitigation policy that did not extend the reach of the State in the way that cap-and-trade, carbon rationing or geo-engineering clearly will. Paul has apologized, which is much appreciated, but the damage may be done. If the European Commission decide to impose carbon rationing in 2020 after another record-breaking warm decade, because we spent this past week discussing Myles Allen’s interpretation of climategate (not to mention his, admittedly poor, choice of shirts) rather than coming up with a less intrusive policy alternative, your grandchildren shall know the reason why.

Apologies for cross-posting on the various threads.

May 31, 2012 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterMyles Allen

Open to the public you say? Is there a timetable? It's only fifteen miles, I may come in disguise.

May 31, 2012 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

Skiphil May 30, 2012 at 6:19 PM,

The Information Commissioner has ruled on that correspondence, and yes it did breach the Data Protection Act. (Of course Myles Allen as a recipient of the unsolicited communication was an innocent party in this regard.)

May 31, 2012 at 12:48 PM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

May 31, 2012 at 12:22 PM | Myles Allen

If the European Commission decide to impose carbon rationing in 2020 after another record-breaking warm decade, because we spent this past week discussing Myles Allen’s interpretation of climategate (not to mention his, admittedly poor, choice of shirts) rather than coming up with a less intrusive policy alternative, your grandchildren shall know the reason why.

Is that a joke? How would that fix global warmness in 8 years time!?

You really seem to be able to imagine quite easily that local national (and European, that helps Euro-sceptics! ) laws "imposed" i.e. anti-democratically, when we in the public are not stupid and can see that the international agreements that were supposed to be required were not being made.

So the war against Eastasia fails and we get bread rationing?

As of now I don't see there is a method to impose emergency rationing when the rationed commodity is not scarce, right now it would be contingent on convincing the "demos", we the public, that we would be making it cooler in Europe or that we would embarass the Chinese and they would follow our lead.

Not likely.

Lord! I read through that comment and nodded off and thought I would leave it, and yet again I get a jump when I see the last statement!

How in the hell do you think the public are going to accept anything being "imposed" on them when the governments track record is abysmal without any influence from public opinion holding it back?

What do you think a democracy is Myles?

May 31, 2012 at 12:58 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Rhoda, I assume Myles is referring to his Physics Short Option course S25 Climate Change; this has now finished for the year but will (I think) be back next April. Note that


Non-members of the University, with certain stated exceptions, may not attend university lectures (unless they are announced as open to the general public) without the payment of a fee, otherwise than by the personal invitation of the lecturer concerned. Persons who are neither reading for a qualification of this University nor otherwise exempt, and who wish to attend lectures in any term, should contact [..varies by faculty...] to request permission.

(Senior visiting scholars from other universities who wish to attend lectures, seminars, or classes should normally approach the lecturer concerned rather than apply for a permit.)


So if you want to attend you should ask Myles nicely.

May 31, 2012 at 1:35 PM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

Thanks Jonathan. I will try to attend with an open mind. No, who am I kidding?

May 31, 2012 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

Yet whether we aim to limit anthropogenic warming to two, three or four degrees has far bigger implications for climate policy than the existence or otherwise of the Medieval Warm Period.
Myles, let me suggest ...
- If you believe that there is any mechanism by which we can limit anthropogenic warming to any given figure then I think you are deluding yourself. Most of us know we cannot control the planet; only scientists have ever had the arrogance to think that one day they might (for our benefit and their reward of course).
- The existence of the Mediaeval Warm Period (and the subsequent Little Ice Age and previous warm periods for which, regrettably, we do not have accurate temperature records) is key to the question of what if anything "climate policy" is supposed to address. If the MWP was broadly at or above the current global temperature level — which we have been assured elsewhere is not a useful metric or one that can be reliably calculated anyway — then current temperatures are not outwith the bounds of natural variation and the best course of action is to carry on on living our lives and save ourselves from destroying the wealth-generating capacity of the developed world.
That way, our grandchildren might have the wealth to deal with whatever problems arise in 50 years time, problems about which we know absolutely nothing and which — on the basis of the last century's technological developments — will almost certainly bear no resembalnce to anything that you or I are guessing they might be.
Two things are certain: mankind has always succeeded in dealing with crises as and when necessary and trying to make decisions on behalf of future generations is doomed to failure.

May 31, 2012 at 2:21 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I was with Myles (almost) all the way until his last paragraph. Was it light-hearted throwaway irony, or the biggest blunder in a blunderful week of blunderbuss scattershot posts?

If the European Commission decide to impose carbon rationing in 2020 after another record-breaking warm decade, because we spent this past week discussing Myles Allen’s interpretation of climategate (not to mention his, admittedly poor, choice of shirts) rather than coming up with a less intrusive policy alternative, your grandchildren shall know the reason why.
Suggesting that a future undemocratic imposition of suffering on the people of Europe might be our fault because we dared to argue with him ???
This is called blaming the victim, and it has a long and rather unpleasant history.

May 31, 2012 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

I should worry about a couple of degrees. I should worry about a difference in average temp less than daily variation right here in Oxfordshire? A temperature like the places I go on holiday? A temperature average difference like that between this village and the one I can see up the hill? (In my favour, that one). A difference where I need NASA or the Met office to tell me what it is because I can't judge it for myself? For this I should pay more for absolutely everything? Because a bunch of untrustworthy luddites say so? I reject it. First I reject the prediction, second I reject the intimation of a disastrous outcome.

May 31, 2012 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

With regards to Myles Allen' summary; May 31, 2012 at 12:22 PM

It may be a good time to begin a fresh thread referencing this one. His response / summary is going to go over like a lead balloon.

One question in my mind. Is Allen deliberately trying to force quite an intense discussion, or, is he really failing to grasp the gravity of it all. Either way, irregardless to the motivation of Allen, a discussion is taking place and a lot of points are being brought to light yet again.

Allen's obvious attempts at misdirection are a grand example of that which has been the hallmark within the so-called 'climate science' community.

The results of the discussion over the past few days may not yield the results Allen was hoping for., that depending on his motivation.

May 31, 2012 at 4:18 PM | Unregistered Commentereyesonu

Myles may have the worst case of clueless since someone named Marie suggested they eat cake. The walls of his cocoon are really thick. He may think he's never said "trust me, I'm a climate scientist", but his opposition to FOIA is precisely that. We mere citizens should have no right to taxpayer-funded work or work that influences policy?! Oh, no. Our interests, he contends, can be sufficiently protected by journal editors! Apparently, the history of the last decade has not yet managed to come to his attention.

"I also think it is always better to reproduce results from equations (and, where possible, independent models and observations) rather than “auditing” computer code. " Excuse me, but I really don't give a damn what Myles thinks is better. Especially after having been exposed to the 'quality' of that thinking over the last few days.

Finally, I have to say that his biggest realm of clueless may not be entirely his fault. It's one shared by most scientists. He has no idea how poor the quality of climate science really is (and lots of other science, too). Some knuckleheads with PhDs publish some pal-reviewed garbage and announce 'findings'. No one ever checks the work and the 'findings' become accepted truth (unless someone like Steve Mc or Jean or Jeff or Roman manage to get their hands on enough information to be able to demonstrate just how ridiculously bad the work is). Climate science is a mess. We have Harry Read Me, the hockey stick, Rahmstorf's 'worse than we thought' mess, Steig's silly temp smearing, Briffa's magic tree, Jones' UHI mystery data, the SST wild ass guess, instrument breakdowns that the pros don't notice until amateurs explain them, the Maginot Line stand of the establishment against accountability, and on and on and on. These guys have no clue what quality is. Seriously, I don't think they have ever encountered the concept of 'quality'. People who live in the real world look at all this wreckage, read the circular reasoning, marvel at the way extensive 'findings' are teased out of butchered statistics, observe model machinations that would be laughed at where reality has consequences, and we just have to shake our heads.

Dude, get a clue. Buy one, if you have to. But open your eyes, turn on your brain, and step out of the cocoon.

May 31, 2012 at 4:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterstan

...People who live in the real world look at all this wreckage, read the circular reasoning, marvel at the way extensive 'findings' are teased out of butchered statistics, observe model machinations that would be laughed at where reality has consequences, and we just have to shake our heads.

Dude, get a clue. Buy one, if you have to. But open your eyes, turn on your brain, and step out of the cocoon.
May 31, 2012 at 4:47 PM stan

Are you by any chance an engineer Stan?

I sense the frustration that we practical folk endure when exposed to the intellectual meanderings of academia.

I used to supply quite a lot of equipment to universities, for research in thin film & semiconductor physics mainly - and I must say I enjoyed working with academic scientists.

Their lively imagination, open-mindedness and willingness to share their enthusiasms made a nice change from the cut-throat world of hi-tech industry.

The other side of the coin, of course, was a breathtaking naivete in anything to do with the practicalities of finance, timescales, unanticipated outcomes, the eventual culmination of their efforts - or indeed anything outside their own narrow field of interest.

If anyone had suggested to me in those days that academics should be put in charge of managing anything with a direct effect on people's economic, social or physical welfare - I would have wept with laughter.

Previous generations understood this and only let pure scientists off the leash in times of extreme danger - like wars, when they could knock up something terrifying fairly quickly with no regard for the consequences.

Letting academics loose on public policy is giving your Ferrari keys to your twelve year old daughter - she'll be excited and enthusiastic, but you know nobody will come out of the experience well.

May 31, 2012 at 5:25 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Foxgoose, Stan, Rhoda, and a dozen others
I’ve just come out of a long intense discussion with a warmist academic about what makes us sceptics different from normal human beings.
One difference I forgot to mention is that we can be fracking brilliant entertaining writers when we try.
You and Kissinger can keep your Peace Nobels, Myles. We’re going for Literature, like Winston Churchill and Bertrand Russell.

May 31, 2012 at 6:07 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

I should worry about a couple of degrees. I should worry about a difference in average temp less than daily variation right here in Oxfordshire? A temperature like the places I go on holiday?
May 31, 2012 at 2:50 PM Rhoda

That puzzles me greatly as well.

We're all humans and humans like warm.

One of my favourite moments in life is when the weather's crap at home so you fly somewhere warmer for a break - and there's that delicious moment when the steps have been brought up, the door seals sigh open and you get that first tantalising current of warm, fragrant tropical air wafting through the cabin.

Instant exposure to a, maybe, 10 deg C temperature differential, and amazingly people look happy - nobody writhes on the floor clutching their throat screaming "I can't take this heat".

Since climate scientists spend most of their lives flying off to exotic locations, in search of drinks with umbrellas in them - you'd think they would have noticed this.

It's also rubbish to say that people are less healthy in warmer climes. For over thirty years I've spent summers visiting my wife's family on a little island in the Med where 35 C is a regular daytime temperature and aircon was virtually unknown until the last 10 years or so. We occasionally have to go to funerals there and the departed are always well into their 90's. I've asked doctors and the local undertaker if people ever die from the heat - they look at me as if I'm mad and tell me they die of respiratory infections in the winter cold like everywhere else on the planet.

A prerequisite of climate science seems to be total isolation from the general cultural knowledge that the rest of humankind takes for granted.

May 31, 2012 at 6:40 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Myles - regarding the 'Never say you got this from me' ... email you received from Phil Jones in September 2009. This message involved an inquiry for data received from Jonathan Jones and perhaps a prior discussion between Professor Jones and yourself ('Good to see you again...').

Why was Phil forwarding this information to you - is it standard procedure in academia to handle information requests by addressing secretly the requester's colleagues?

See:

http://climategate2011.blogspot.com/2011/11/4945txt.html

At Oxford, if you receive information which you may not be supposed to receive (as Phil says 'I probably shouldn't be passing this on - maybe it's protected under the Data Protection Act.') is the standard procedure to bring this to the attention of your legal or ethics department? What did you do on this occasion?

May 31, 2012 at 6:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Foxgoose, Stan, Rhoda, and a dozen others
I’ve just come out of a long intense discussion with a warmist academic about what makes us sceptics different from normal human beings.....
May 31, 2012 at 6:07 PM geoffchambers

It wasn't friend Adam was it?

I hope you didn't let them get too familiar and mess around with your neural interconnections. Always remember not to let warmists touch you above the shoulder blades.

I also think you're being too modest about your own literary triumphs here - "Don't Put Your Carbon Up The Flue Mrs Worthington" was a match for any of Shakespeare's sonnets.

May 31, 2012 at 6:52 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

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