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New Scientist on Russell

I hadn't seen this editorial by New Scientist, which is rather critical of the Russell Report.

Without candour, public trust in climate science cannot be restored, nor should it be.



Our best people

While looking for something else, I came across this, which is the list of names submitted by the British government to the IPCC for consideration as authors of the Fifth Assessment Report. One entry caught my eye. I noticed it because instead of the usual affiliation details - University of this, Department of that - it said:

University of Birmingham / Do It Yourself Non Governmental Organisation (DIYNGO)


Click to read more ...


The police inquiry

One Climategate inquiry we still haven't heard about is the police investigation into the release of information from CRU. It is rather extraordinary that nine months or so into the investigation, there is still no news on what the nature of the offence, if any, actually is.

This being the case, I wrote to Norfolk Constabulary to ask how much money had been expended on the case so far and how many officers were currently involved. Here's the response:

The Norfolk Constabulary’s investigation has been allocated a specific cost code. At the time of receiving your request, the total recorded cost against that cost code stood at £54,691.

The number of officers working on the case fluctuates depending upon workloads at any given time. Currently, one officer is working full time with management being provided on a part-time basis by two senior officers (as required). Other officers and staff will undertake work on the case when required but this is managed in line with the demands of other investigations.

One would hope that having expended £55k they would have worked out the nature of the crime they are investigating.


The Guardian debate

Atomic Hairdryer has produced this report of the Guardian debate.

Guardian Climategate debate, RIBA 14th July 2010


Fred Pearce
Trevor Davies
Steve McIntyre
Bob Watson
Doug Keenan


George Monbiot

A pretty full house for this debate, so approximately 300 attendees.

Monbiot got off to a good start by explaining origins of Climategate as either a "hack or a leak, who knows", releasing  email correspondence into the public domain. Those emails appeared pretty bad, with data manipulation, FOI obstruction and interference with the peer review process. Monbiot described the UEA's immediate response as catastrophic, with a failure to engage with critics or answer questions. He then moved on to suggesting the content was blown out of all proportion by the climate change denial community". He mentioned the three inquiries, the "half hearted and shoddy" Parliamentary enquiry, and the two UEA commissioned inquiries, describing the Oxburgh review as the science review with Russell reviewing conduct. The response to these reviews broadly exonerated UEA and the scientists, but still left issues unexamined.

Click to read more ...



I'm back!


HSI in the National Post

Peter Foster has written a long and very supportive review of The Hockey Stick Illusion in Canada's National Post.

The Hockey Stick Illusion leaves no doubt about Mr. Montford’s reporting abilities. He tells a gripping detective story in which the star gumshoe is semi-retired Canadian mining consultant Steve McIntyre. Mr. McIntyre, unfortunately for his opponents, happens to combine mathematical genius with a Terminator-like relentlessness. He also found a brilliant partner in Ross McKitrick, an economics professor at the University of Guelph. Their story is one of intellectual determination in the face of Kafkaesque “peer review” and Orwellian “freedom of information.”


Josh 27


Acton on the SAP

Lord Oxburgh recently told Steve McIntyre that the Science Appraisal Panel was not actually appraising the science of CRU at all but instead was looking for evidence of misconduct. Martyn in the comments notes the way Professor Acton described the panel to the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee.

Ah. Muir Russell's independent review is not looking at the science it is looking at allegations about malpractice. As for the science itself, I have not actually seen any evidence of any flaw in the science but I am hoping, later this week, to announce the chair of a panel to reassess the science and make sure there is nothing wrong.

It does look as if Professor Acton has made fools of our elected representatives. I wonder if they will take this lying down?

(H/T Martyn in the comments)


Josh 26


The ICO rules

The Information Commissioner has ruled on David Holland's EIR request - the one that was so central to the Climategate affair. This appears to be very important. In essence the Commissioner has set a wider rather than a narrower scope on EIR by ruling that information need not have a direct effect on the environment for it to be subject to the regulations. UEA have been found to be in breach of the regulations.

Full story here.


Good tricks...

A few links of interest:

Roger Pielke Jnr notes that the Russell panel has misrepresented what the IPCC is. He makes the point that it is meant to be a representation of all of the scientific literature. Russell suggests, incorrectly, that the authors can pick and choose which papers to include. This then helps them exonerate Jones on the charge of fabrication.

McKitrick's response is here.

But they seemed to take the view that any decision would be reasonable since the IPCC had the job of making a decision. The ICCER ignored the problem of conflict of interest, and took at face value claims by Professor Jones (page 73, paragraph 15) that were either untrue (i.e. our results are compatible with satellite data, contrary to his assertion) or were unsubstantiated (i.e. his claim that our results are artifacts of ocean circulation patterns, which is the whole point under controversy). Consequently their finding on this point is baseless.

Fred Pearce notes that the Russell panel failed to ask Jones if he deleted any emails.


The Russell review

I'm back in the saddle briefly. I've taken a look at the report and it looks pretty much as expected. The section on Ross McKitrick's allegation of fabrication makes for fairly jaw-dropping reading. I'm also intrigued by a section which deals with implied allegations rather than actual ones.

Nothing on the replacement of James Saiers at GRL either.

I'll add more comments as things occur to me. Feel free to add comments.

Update: Here's the bit on the fabrication allegation. Remember - the allegation is that Jones inserted a groundless statement that McKitrick's findings were "statistically insignificant". Here's what Jones said in his evidence to Russell:

The basis for this statement is that if the CRUTEM3 trend is reduced by the factor claimed by MM2004, the land-based record then becomes incompatible with the ocean and the satellite record. MM2004 make no mention of this in their paper. In writing Chapter 3 of AR4 the author team were mindful of this. MM2004‘s analysis of the land surface temperature record is completely at odds with the rest of the surface and lower tropospheric temperature records. MM2004 also fails to take into account the effects of changes in the atmospheric circulation.

And the panel said:

Having read most of the relevant papers... we observe a consistence of view amongst those who disagree with MM2004 that has been sustained over the last 6 years, that the large scale organisation of atmospheric circulation produces a spatially integrated response to forcing. Although we do not comment on the relative merits of the two views, we see no justification of the view that that this response was ―invented, or even that its various expressions in the response to reviewer Gray or the final text are fundamentally different.

 So Jones seems to have changed his argument from "McKitrick's findings are statistically insignificant" to "McKitrick's findings conflict with other evidence". Whether this is true or not is irrelevant of course. The fact remains that Jones has been unable to provide any support for the claim that was inserted in the IPCC text. This means that the allegation of fabrication stands. What is even more interesting, there seems to be an attempt to hide behind joint authorship - the finger of blame can't be pointed at Jones because everyone wrote the chapter.

The consequences are ugly: joint authorship implies joint and several responsibility for the text and allegation of fabrication that still hangs over it. I don't think this was what Sir Muir intended.

Who else is now implicated?


A break

I'm taking a break for a bit. I'll try to look in when the Russell Report comes out, but can't promise anything.

Be good while I'm away.


The auditor crosses the pond

Steve McIntyre has just posted a comment at CA saying that he's now going to attend the Guardian debate. Paying his own way too.

Why not hit the tip jar at CA and help him defray the costs?


A baseless attack on Leake

By strange coincidence, the story of an another attack on the Sunday Times' Jonathan Leake. An organisation called the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) has emailed a number of journliasts claiming that Leake breached an embargo.

Click to read more ...