Prospect magazine, the house journal of the bien-pensant centre-left is the latest media outlet to throw in the towel and start discussing the other side of the climate debate. In its current issue it publishes a broadly sceptic take on the quality of the temperature records and notes some of the Climategate revelations.
Well worth a look.
The Guardian's Leo Hickman has added his thoughts to my earlier piece commenting on his call for climate bloggers to lose their anonymity. This, he believes, will create trust in what they are saying. Many readers have responded with thoughtful contributions, and in particular I'd echo Lucia's point about the nature of the problem being one of the public not trusting the scientists rather than the other way round, as Leo seems to think. Turning Tide also points out that anonymity of commenters does encourage readers to assess comments on the arguments made rather than any spurious authority of the writer.
Fox News reports that the IPCC is on the brink of making major changes to the way it does business.
In the wake of its swift and devastating fall from grace, the panel says it will announce "within the next few days" that it plans to make significant though as yet unexplained changes in how it does business.
Brenda Abrar-Milani, an external relations officer at the IPCC's office in Geneva, Switzerland, said changes have been slow in coming because "we have to inform the governments (all 194 member States) of any planned steps, and they are the ones who eventually take decisions on any revision of procedures."
"We put everything on the table and looked at it," she said, explaining that the panel's reforms would be extensive. She refused to detail any of the changes, but she did confirm that are in response to recent scandals involving the panel.
The article quotes Steve McIntyre, whose reaction seems to have been the same as mine:
Steve McIntyre, who also worked at the IPPC and whose blog, Climate Audit, has been one of the most vocal critics of the panel, says that while cries for reform have become loud, "very little thought has yet been put into what changes have to be made."
"I don't think they plan to change very much," he said. "They just don't know how to reform it."
It looks as though Judith Curry is going to have a piece up at the Guardian in which she continues in her struggle to bridge the chasm between the sceptics and the mainstream. It's not available yet, but reader Fran Codwire, in the comments, has caught a glimpse of Graun regular Leo Hickman's response, which looks as though it will appear before Curry's original.
Hickman's contribution seems like something of a rant to me, holding McIntyre and Watts responsible for the contributions of their commenters and apparently demanding that anonymous commenters be unmasked. This is the only rational explanation I can reach when he says "I think until those that frequent these sites come out from behind the cloak of anonymity that most of them choose to hide behind very few people, particularly climate scientists, will be willing to trust the motives of this army of DIY auditors."
I mean, how will retribution be handed out if nobody knows who these people are?
These are the impressions of the global warming debate held at Wellington College of commenter Atomic Hairdryer.
The Wellington Squared debate, a sceptic's view (link)
Motion to be debated was
"The prophets of global warming are guilty of scaremongering"
The venue was interesting. An imposing college built as a monument to Wellington for his services in that old British tradition of warring with the French. The debate itself was held in the chapel, which may have been appropriate given global warming as a religion and prophets but was a somewhat awkward arrangement. The pews were at 90 degrees to the altar where the debaters and screen was placed so not as comfortable as the RI.
James Inhofe, uber-sceptic senator from Oklahoma, has called for an investigation of Michael Mann.
Just prior to a hearing at 10:00 a.m. EST, Senator Inhofe released a minority staff report from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, of which he is ranking member. Senator Inhofe is asking the Department of Justice to investigate whether there has been research misconduct or criminal actions by the scientists involved, including Dr. Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University and Dr. James Hansen of Columbia University and the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Science.
If this happens it could be quite interesting. Inhofe is pointing at major issues that are not really being touched elsewhere, such as the pressurising of scientific journals. It would be interesting to see if the Senate could get people like Famiglietti and Saiers to explain exactly what went on at Geophysical Research Letters when McIntyre and McKitrick's 2005 paper was submitted.
Fox News seems to have something of an exclusive, with a story that the Met Office is proposing creation of a new verifiable set of global temperature data. Something of an admission in there, wouldn't you say.
At a meeting on Monday of about 150 climate scientists, representatives of Britain's weather office quietly proposed that the world's climatologists start all over again to produce a new trove of global temperature data that is open to public scrutiny and "rigorous" peer review.
I am almost certainly an incorrigible cynic, because I just can't get out of my head the idea that this will mean that the existing CRU data and code will remain off limits, while scientists spend a decade or more creating this new temperature set.
The text of the Met Office's proposal (or at least the executive summary thereof) is here. Interestingly it requires the data to be publicly available and the methodology to be published in the peer reviewed literature.
I guess this means that we will have access to the data but not the code. Adjustments to remain a secret then, and remember the warming is all in the adjustments (or it is in the US at least).
The oral evidence sessions for the Parliamentary Inquiry into CRU have been announced.
Monday 1 March 2010
3.00pm The Rt Hon the Lord Lawson of Blaby, Chairman, and Dr Benny Peiser, Director, Global Warming Policy Foundation
3.30pm Richard Thomas CBE, former Information Commissioner
4.00pm Professor Edward Acton, Vice-Chancellor, University of East Anglia and Professor Phil Jones, Director of the Climatic Research Unit
4.40pm Sir Muir Russell, Head of the Independent Climate Change E-Mails Review
5.00pm Professor John Beddington, Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Julia Slingo OBE, Chief Scientist, Met Office, and Professor Bob Watson, Chief Scientist, Defra
Roger Harrabin emails to ask if I know any UK-based physical scientists who are sceptics. Not many is the answer, but then I don't know who the vast majority of my readers are anyway.
I do serve a lot of pages to readers at .ac.uk web domains, and I can see that at least some of these are from physical science departments, so it's fair to say that such people exist, although they are perhaps few in number. If so, Roger H would like to hear from you, in confidence, if necessary. He also welcomes evidence that putting one's head above the parapet in this way is a career-ending move.
Commenters have already noted Paul Dennis's remarks at WUWT to the effect that he responded to Roger H's earlier call and didn't get any reply worth the mentioning, but I would suggest that this could reasonably be interpreted as an oversight. Best to make the effort I would say.
An interesting article from the New Zealand Herald, looking at the divergence problem. What particularly fascinated me was the explanation of the issue from Andy Reisinger, who some will remember as being a man who is very close to Rajendra Pachauri.
Reisinger is a climatologist, but not, if I remember correctly, a paleo guy. It's odd then to see him being the expert interviewed on the subject of the divergence problem. It might also explain the explanation he gives for this inconvenient effect:
Dr Andy Reisinger, a climate researcher at Victoria University who has followed the progress of proxy temperature reconstructions, said it could be that a lack of rain in recent decades had stunted tree growth in some high-altitude spots - or that when temperatures reached a certain point, trees began to react differently.
Whatever the cause, "the relationships [between tree-rings and temperature] that we've developed for the last 500-100 years may not apply in the last 50," he said.
Now correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that paleoclimatologists picked trees that were sensitive to temperature rather than precipitation when they set about recreating temperatures of the past. If a drop in rainfall can cause a drop in growth now, then it could have caused a drop in the past. In other words, the paleo guys will have to admit that they know absolutely nothing about temperatures before the nineteenth century.