Over the course of the day I've made several telephone calls to the Royal Society, without being able to get a response to the simple question of who it was within their ranks who selected the eleven CRU papers for Lord Oxburgh's panel to examine. These papers, you will remember "were selected on the advice of the Royal Society".
Just after 4pm I finally got through to the person responsible and seconds later an emailed response arrived as well. This was fortuitous because I was able to ask some questions on the contents.
Steve McIntyre has followed up on the intriguing question of who selected the eleven papers for the Oxburgh panel to assess.
Oxburgh didn’t disclose how they selected their supposedly “representative” and “fair sample”. “Fair sample” and “representative” are statistical terms – terms were used in a report coauthored by a very senior professional statistician in a context where statistics are very much at issue. So I presume that the Royal Society took some care to ensure that the eleven publications actually were “representative” and a “fair sample” – and not ones that were pre-selected by UEA, rather than the Royal Society.
Doug Keenan has won his long battle to force Queen's University Belfast to release their tree ring data to him. Another long story of university academics blocking legitimate requests and flouting the law, apparently with impunity.
Full story here.
Does anyone else find it a bit odd that almost all of my big media appearances have been in what would generally be considered left-wing outlets?
- The Courier (I think - can't imagine a right wing paper would sell much in Dundee)
There have been citations in right wing outlets - Spectator, Telegraph, and so on - but the interviews and reviews have all come from the left. Isn't that strange?
John Graham-Cumming, who found what appeared to be an error in HADCRUT a couple of months ago, has had confirmation from the Met Office that his observations are correct. The effect is relatively minor, narrowing the error bands slightly IIRC, but it is another powerful demonstration of the power of audit.
The link for the live debate is here. Unfortunately my login information hasn't arrived yet. I hope this gets sorted in the near future!
Wow, that was pretty intense. Do you know, the time I put in in my first job learning to touch-type came in really handy there.
I think that was OK.
David Holland emails with the amazing news that the Russell panel is unable to publish his submission because of fears of claims of defamation claims. Here is what the panel told him:
Your submission has not yet been published as the Review's legal advice is that it could be open to a claim of defamation under English law if it publishes the current version of your submission, as it makes references to, and comments upon, a large number of individuals. The Review, unlike the UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee, does not have Parliamentary privilege.
I'm doing an online debate for the Times website tomorrow at 3pm. The theme is "The Climategate inquiry: can we trust the outcome". Opposition is to be confirmed but I understand they're trying to get Bob Ward.
From Lord Oxburgh's report, paragraph 3 of 26.
The eleven representative publications that the Panel considered in detail are listed in Appendix B. The papers cover a period of more than twenty years and were selected on the advice of the Royal Society. All had been published in international scientific journals and had been through a process of peer review. CRU agreed that they were a fair sample of the work of the Unit. The Panel was also free to ask for any other material that it wished and did so. Individuals on the panel asked for and reviewed other CRU research materials.
So, not only did the Royal Society pick the members of the panel, but they also picked the papers that were to be examined.
I wonder who it was within the Royal Society that might have done this work. I mean, one would need a pretty in-depth understanding of climatology to be able to pick a representative sample of papers from the CRU oeuvre would one not? That sort of understanding isn't found on every street corner. So who might they have turned to?
How about the Royal Society Advisory Group on Climate Change? You know, the one with Phil Jones as a member.
They wouldn't have would they?
I've just returned from Edinburgh where I did an interview for the Newshour show on the World Service. Listeners in the UK should be able to hear it again on the iPlayer shortly. They are also going to use a clip on the 1800 news too (presumably Radio 4).
The interview went much better than the last time. I made the point that the scope of the panel missed key allegations and cited Ross McKitrick's point that Jones had inserted baseless statements into the IPCC reports.
The interviewer came back asking whether sceptics would ever be satisified. I said that we would, if presented with evidence that the allegations were false. For example I pointed out that Ross McK had listed the evidence that would have to be produced to disprove the allegation that Jones had fabricated parts of the IPCC report.
At this point they cut me off, which was a pity, because I wanted to point out that the panel's point that the IPCC had misrepresented CRU science was risible, the IPCC authors in question being CRU people anyway.
Still, all in all, I'm not too unhappy with my performance.
A scientist does a study of how Arctic seabirds die. It's not a bad idea: die they do, but not from the usual diseases and predators that kill birds in more temperate zones. So what does kill them?
He pores over thousands of records from birdwatchers in the Arctic and concludes that weather-related events kill a lot of them. Fulmars run into cliffs in fog, Murres get buried in landslides when cliffs collapse. Birds get swept away in storms. And so on.
Now the scientist has two options. He can say in a paper that a lot of Arctic birds die due to `factors related to weather' and bask in perpetual obscurity. Or he can slip in, just before the word `weather', the phrase `climate and'...