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Some thoughts on Wegman

I haven't had time to read John Mashey's report, but from what I can gather about today's excitements over the GMU investigation of Edward Wegman, there are two possibilities in play:

  • Wegman et al are guilty of plagiarism; short-centred principal components analysis is biased and can produce hockey sticks from red noise
  • Wegman et al are not guilty of plagiarism; short-centred principal components analysis is biased and can produce hockey sticks from red noise.

Is this right? Nobody is suggesting that the principal findings of the Wegman report - on the incorrect centring used by Mann - are incorrect, are they? They were, after all confirmed by the NAS panel and apparently also by David Hand during the Oxburgh panel's (brief) deliberations.

So I guess we are looking at quite an interesting investigation about how the norms of academic citation apply in expert reports (no doubt Donna LaF will be checking the IPCC reports over very thoroughly in coming days), but not much else.


Turn my back for 30 secs...

...and all hell breaks loose.

Very busy. May comment later.


Mann in WaPo

Michael Mann has an op-ed in the Washington Post.

My fellow scientists and I must be ready to stand up to blatant abuse from politicians who seek to mislead and distract the public. They are hurting American science. And their failure to accept the reality of climate change will hurt our children and grandchildren, too.

H/T Messenger


Victory for Kiwi sceptics

John O'Sullivan, via GWPF and Retephslaw.

In the climate controversy dubbed Kiwigate New Zealand skeptics inflict shock courtroom defeat on climatologists implicated in temperature data fraud.

New Zealand’s government via its National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) has announced it has nothing to do with the country’s “official” climate record in what commentators are calling a capitulation from the tainted climate reconstruction.

As the story makes clear, there are interesting parallels to Climategate, with government scientists resisting requests for data and then claiming the data was lost. With the raw data apparently showing no warming trend, something that only appears once these scientists have homogenised and adjusted the figures, it does look suspiciously as if books may have been cooked.


10:10 Comedy gold

Barry Woods emails with some very funny details of the job descriptions of staff within the 10:10 organisation.

Take Robin Houston for example:

Robin Houston
Job title: Technical director
Actual job: Making sure the web site works. Laughing too loudly at inopportune moments

Or Jonathan Brown

Jonathan Brown
Job title: Press Manager
Actual job: Making sure as many people as possible know what a great job 10:10 and its supporters are doing...

The rest of the team can be seen here.

Barry also makes the very funny observation that 10:10 board member Chris Rose is the author of a book called "How to win Campaigns".


Jones in Times top 100 scientists

Apparently Phil Jones appears in the Times top 100 people in British science (not online).

In July, Phil Jones was reinstated as Director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia after every report into the “Climategate” e-mail scandal exonerated him from any wrongdoing.

The saga of the hacked e-mails took a considerable toll on the climatologist, who has spoken of his thoughts of suicide during the outcry. Jones is renowned in the science community for his work on hemispheric and global surface temperatures. He has spent his entire career at the CRU and, as one of the most cited researchers in geosciences, he will be welcomed back to the fold.



Josh 45


New solar study

There is much excitement in the MSM today over a new paper by Joanna Haigh et al. This is Nature's take:

An analysis of satellite data challenges the intuitive idea that decreasing solar activity cools Earth, and vice versa. In fact, solar forcing of Earth's surface climate seems to work the opposite way around — at least during the current Sun cycle.

The Express asked me to comment on the story and I gave them a couple of lines that I imagine they will have found rather too cautious for their liking. I can't see their story online though.


ICO meets with universities

The Times Higher Ed Supp reports that the Information Commissioner has met with the umbrella body for UK universities to discuss their alleged difficulties with complying with freedom of information legislation.

A meeting between UUK and the body was held last week and chaired by David Eastwood, vice-chancellor of the University of Birmingham. It concluded that universities needed sector-specific guidance to comply with the law.

A spokeswoman for the Information Commissioner's Office said: "We acknowledge the challenges that research units face, often because FoI requests relate to material that may span several years of research. Nonetheless, all requests must be handled in line with the legislation."

UUK will now appoint a panel to help draw up the guidelines.

I fail to see how material spanning several years of research is a problem under FoI.


How long can this continue?

Bob Ward's efforts to smear absolutely everyone who disagrees with his position on climate change continues apace, with a shameful attack on Bob Carter on ABC radio in Australia.

Anthony Watts notes that there are a few people who might like to hear if you think this is unacceptable behaviour by ABC.

Chairman of the Board (Maurice Newman - via his personal assistant who is Angela Peters:  Peters.Angela (at)

Robyn Williams:  Williams.Robyn (at)


Josh 44


Hegerl lecture

I was in Edinburgh last night for a public lecture by Gabriele Hegerl. Hegerl, some of you may remember, is a climatologist and she appears briefly in the Hockey Stick Illusion as a witness at the NAS panel hearings.

The lecture was frankly rather disappointing, being pitched at an introductory level, and being largely a run through of the standard AGW talking points. That said, there were a few issues that I noted down as being of interest.

The first of these was when, early on in the talk, she said that the IPCC acknowledges different sides to scientific debate but that disputes are resolved, often by the author teams taking a position on the debate. As I understand it this is what happens, but it is against the guiding principles of the IPCC.

Glaciergate got a brief mention. Hegerl said in essence that Fred Pearce has misheard the number, which is not the way I remember the story at all. She also said that the figure SPM was correct in the SPM but the figure was wrong in the chapter. I hadn't heard this before.

Climategate was mentioned extremely briefly - there was an overwhelming sense of "moving swiftly on", with just enough of a pause to say that the allegations emerging from the emails had been "largely refuted".

There was little discussion of paleo although the spaghettin graph (Fig 6.13) from AR4 was shown. Hegerl said that the medieval/modern differential wasn't of particular interest - the response of temperature to drivers was more important.

She said that sceptics were "stupid" and that she wished we asked more intelligent questions.

 [Updated to correct the nuance on what was said about Glaciergate]


Lindzen on the BBC

Richard Lindzen is interviewed on the BBC. Haven't had a chance to listen myself yet.

(H/T Lubos)


Cuccinelli tries again

The Washington Post is reporting that Virginia Attorney-General Ken Cuccinelli has reapplied for the email correspondence of Hockey Stick maestro Michael Mann. Regular readers will remember that a judge quashed a previous demand, but left the door open for Cuccinelli to try again.

Cuccinelli has limited his demand to the e-mails and documents related to one state grant Mann received. The attorney general dropped requests for paperwork related to four other federal grants. But he expanded a section explaining why he sought the records, laying out in writing that he seeks the documents because Mann wrote two papers on global warming that "have come under significant criticism" and that Mann "knew or should have known contained false information, unsubstantiated claims and/or were otherwise misleading."

"Specifically, but without limitation, some of the conclusions of the papers demonstrate a complete lack of rigor regarding the statistical analysis of the alleged data, meaning that the result reported lacked statistical significance without a specific statement to that effect," the CID alleges.

(H/T Jiminy Cricket in the comments)


Still spinning...

Bob Ward has demanded and received the right to respond to Joe Brannan's review of the Hockey Stick Illusion in Geoscientist.

Joe Brannan then responds in turn here.