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Thursday
Apr172014

Lewis on radiocarbon

Nic Lewis has a very long and rather technical post up at Climate Audit about the Bronk Ramsey radiocarbon dating algorithm and its statistical problems. It's well worth perservering with though, because when he gets on to testing different statistical approaches to the problem - the Bronk Ramsey subjective Bayesian one, an objective Bayesian one, and a frequentist approach too - the failings of the subjective Bayesian approach become startingly clear.

The different approaches are also considered by means of a rather fascinating analogy, namely the recovery of a satellite that has fallen to Earth.

This is the conclusion of Nic's paper:

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr172014

Fire up the document shredder

As expected, the Virginia Supreme Court has today issued its opinion on the Mann emails FOI case. It has decided that the emails of the university are indeed deemed "proprietary" and therefore not subject to disclosure.

130934 American Tradition Inst. v. Rector and Visitors 04/17/2014 The circuit court was correct in denying a request for disclosure of certain documents under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. The purpose of the higher education research exemption under Code § 2.2-3705.4(4) for "information of a proprietary nature" is to avoid competitive harm, not limited to financial matters.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr172014

Wind speculation

There was a major power cut in the north of Scotland at 8:30pm yesterday. At one time, as many as 200,000 homes were affected. According to the Scotsman, the current theory is that there may have been a problem in power lines near Inverness.

Teams of engineers are today out checking the thousands of kilometres of power lines across the region.

A spokesman for energy firm SSE said a helicopter was also assisting in the search for the cause.

He said: “Our engineers are still investigating the cause and location of the fault. It is a large geographical areas these guys have to search.

“Some times you really need to go out an inspect the lines by eye.”

It is understood engineers are concentrating their efforts on an area between Moray and Inverness.

However, over at the Scotland Against Spin Facebook page, speculation is rife that it may be something to do with the wind turbine fleet.

...having looked at yesterdays wind data something very strange happened at about 20.27.... that may have been the power cut which triggered it .. but wind dropped sharply.

Seems to me that [National Grid] were expecting a rise in wind speeds (which did come afterwards) and started to ramp down gas & coal in expectation of it, when the sudden lull arrived.

Intriguing!

Thursday
Apr172014

Round the bend - Josh 271

It looks like Lew & crew want to continue to debate the merits of his paper.

H/t and many thanks to Jo Nova for the 'flushes itself' idea.

Cartoons by Josh

P.S. Strange Lew on 'Leakage' video here from WUWT

 

 

Thursday
Apr172014

Paterson's money

Owen Paterson seems to be putting his money where his mouth is, backing plans to develop shale gas in his home county of Shropshire.

The North Shropshire MP said without schemes like the one planned on his own doorstep “the lights will go out”.

Multi-national  Dart Energy has said it will submit plans to drill in Duddleston, near Ellesmere, if Shropshire Council waives the need for an environmental impact assessment.

The proposals have outraged campaigners who say exploratory drilling for coal-bed methane gas could open the door for controversial “fracking”, or hydraulic fracturing, for shale gas in future years. But Mr Paterson said the scheme would bring jobs to Shropshire and help provide energy to the whole of the UK.

Paterson's decision to put his money where his mouth, the task of environmental scaremongers is made much harder. I sense that we could be on the cusp of a change in the debate over shale. With Caroline Lucas distancing herself from most of the scaremongering - she says the debate revolves around climate only - and with the IPCC suggesting that shale has an important role to play, many of the weapons that have been used to prevent development in the UK may be falling away. With the world watching Vladimir Putin with a certain amount of trepidation too, it's hard to see how the greens are going to win this one.

Wednesday
Apr162014

Virginian decision

The Supreme Court of the state of Virginia is currently considering the case of Michael Mann's emails and it may be that an opinion will be offered tomorrow, as this Virginia FOI blog explains:

Later this week, probably on Thursday, April 17th, the Supreme Court of Virginia will release its next batch of opinions.  The Court hears cases in sessions, which happen about every 6-8 weeks.  By tradition, the Court releases all published opinions in cases argued at the previous session on the last day of the next session.  The Court isn’t required to follow that schedule; it can take as long as it wants.  But month in and month out, the Court follows its traditional schedule in all manner of cases, complicated and simple, controversial and not.

It is cause for raised eyebrows therefore that the Court missed its usual timeframe on one case (record no. 130934) argued in January: the entity formerly known as the American Tradition Institute (ATI) and Virginia Delegate (and Congressional candidate) Bob Marshall v. the University of Virginia and former UVA professor Michael Mann.  This is pure speculation, but there may be multiple opinions or close questions where the Court wanted to write carefully.  For our purposes, the key points are that a FOIA case has reached Virginia’s top court, with significant implications for all Virginia citizens.

 

Wednesday
Apr162014

The opinions of experts

Stephan Lewandowsky has launched the next round of the Recursive Fury saga, quoting an excerpt from the report of the expert panel that Frontiers commissioned to look into the ethical and legal issues surrounding the paper. The report says that there are divided opinions in the field as to whether analysing blog comments for a scientific paper would require informed consent, but seems to end up saying that the Fury authors' use of such comments was probably kosher.

I think I probably agree with this. I can't really see any objection to studying public blog comments. But I'm not sure that this doesn't miss the key objection to the Fury paper, namely that the authors published what amounted to diagnoses of the (alleged) psychological pathologies of identifiable individuals without their consent. I can see no way in which this could ever be acceptable practice for a reputable journal.

 

Tuesday
Apr152014

Climate Control in the Scottish Express

The Climate Control report was covered in the Scottish Sunday Express last weekend, and I have now got my hands on a copy of the article.

Although there are a few nuances that are not quite right, and they have misunderstood the relationship between GWPF and the greenhouse effect, it's excellent stuff overall.

A LEADING climate sceptic has called for an urgent government inquiry into the way pupils are brainwashed over climate change. Andrew Montford co-wrote a critical report on environmentalism in education for the think tank Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) saying the alarmist approach adopted at schools is affecting “almost every area of curriculum”. He called for the Scottish Government to take “urgent notice” of what goes on in classrooms and carry out a probe into the “disturbing way” incorrect information is force fed to pupils. The document highlights “how eco-activism appears to have captured schools’ curricula” in the UK. It suggests there are “serious errors, misleading claims and bias through inadequate treatment of climate issues in teaching materials” with the slant “on scares and on raising fears” and urges parents to question the way sustainability and climate change are taught.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr152014

More from Markram

Following on from Frontiers' recent statement about the retraction of the Lewandowsky paper, the journal's editor Henry Markram has left a comment giving his personal views of the affair (H/T Paul Matthews):

My own personal opinion: The authors of the retracted paper and their followers are doing the climate change crisis a tragic disservice by attacking people personally and saying that it is ethically ok to identify them in a scientific study. They made a monumental mistake, refused to fix it and that rightfully disqualified the study. The planet is headed for a cliff and the scientific evidence for climate change is way past a debate, in my opinion. Why even debate this with contrarians? If scientists think there is a debate, then why not debate this scientifically? Why help the ostriches of society (always are) keep their heads in the sand? Why not focus even more on the science of climate change? Why not develop potential scenarios so that society can get prepared? Is that not what scientists do? Does anyone really believe that a public lynching will help advance anything? Who comes off as the biggest nutter? Activism that abuses science as a weapon is just not helpful at a time of crisis.

There is at least some common ground.

Monday
Apr142014

Some like it not - Josh 270

H/t The GWPF story summary and link here

Cartoons by Josh

Monday
Apr142014

Reddit, dislikedit, deletedit

Stephan Lewandowsky is doing a two-day question and answer session at Reddit. The first day's questions were fired off in the great man's direction today with some eye-opening results.

As Jo Nova reports, Lew having responded to a Richard Tol question about data availability by saying that he was all in favour of it, Barry Woods decided to ask about Lew's own data, quoting the University of Western Australia's response stonewalling of an earlier request.

At which point Reddit decided to delete the comment.

Reddit, dislikedit, deletedit.

Monday
Apr142014

Regulator capture

This is a guest post by David Holland.

BH readers may recall my reporting of Peter Wadhams' unprofessional IPCC Review Editor's report, which featured his spat with MP Peter Lilley. At the time I had received in confidence, from outside the UK, a copy of his then unpublished report. I had also been reliably advised that Thomas Stocker had no intention of releasing any of the Working Group One Review Editors’ reports. For this reason I had made FOI requests at the Universities of Reading and Cambridge.

Reading promptly and fully disclosed the reports of the two Review Editors affiliated to it. Wadhams' university, however, deployed the 'Mitchell' defense, namely that he worked for the IPCC on a personal basis. Stocker did eventually release some, but not all, of the RE reports but the names of Lilley and Paxman which had been shown to government representatives were redacted from Wadhams'.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr142014

Constraining generators

There was a story doing the rounds a week or so ago about how much windfarms were receiving to switch themselves off. The levels of these "constraint payments" has now apparently reached £8.7m in a single month.

When the story appeared in the Times (£), there was a response in the Guardian which noted that constraint payments to windfarms are dwarfed by those to conventional generators.

National Grid made special payments of £300m over the last 12 months to big energy companies – sometimes for switching off their power stations in an attempt to "balance" the system.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr142014

Mackay steps down

David Mackay is to step down as chief scientist at DECC and an advertisement has gone up seeking a replacement.

With blackouts and astronomical energy price rises a possibility in the next year or so, I imagine this could be a tricky role to fill.

Monday
Apr142014

Deniers no more

In the pub on Friday night a pal mentioned that he'd seen my name mentioned in the Independent a few days ago. I think this may have been this article by Tom Bawden responding to the SciTech committee's report on climate change communication, which cites me as saying something eminently sensible about sea-level rise.

What struck me about the article was that Mr Bawden eschewed the use of the d-word, something he has not felt constrained about in the past.

Perhaps we are having an effect.