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Discussion > Emails relating to Rob Wilson's post "Large-scale temperature trends" 5/6/12

Re: Jul 26, 2012 at 10:23 PM | BBD

Pleeeease BBD not back to that red herring. Science simply isn't done by 'consensus' and I would have thought that by now you after all your input here you would have realised how the 'consensus' has been manufactured.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/18/about-that-overwhelming-98-number-of-scientists-consensus/

Barry Woods did an excellent post quite recently on the comments made by some of the contributors to that survey.

Perhaps you didn't see the link

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/18/what-else-did-the-97-of-scientists-say/

Besides which if you'd read the Climategate 2 emails you'd have realised the scientists themselves couldn't even agree as to where the heck is global warming (read from bottom up, same thread breaks into two)

http://foia2011.org/index.php?id=6356

http://foia2011.org/index.php?id=198

Not so much of a 'consensus' there then, so who do we believe -

The IPCC scientists and what they tell us in public and the IPCC reports, or

The IPCC scientists and what they tell each other in 'private'.

Jul 26, 2012 at 10:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

Where ever you go, there is BBD

Jul 27, 2012 at 1:46 AM | Registered Commentershub

Gixxerboy and Martin A: thank you for the summar(ies). I realise there will be more than one point of view on what has gone on but I missed almost all of that. Such retrospectives can be particularly helpful for a very sporadic lurker, as I have become.

I can imagine receiving certain kinds of nasty emails in certain contexts and not wanting to make them public. I would want to give some latitude on that.

What this does for me is emphasize what a grave crime it is to claim that you or your associates have received death threats when they have experienced no such thing. This poisons the well in a particularly horrible way - because of the insinuation the next time you deign to talk to the group that disagrees with you that this is what you people are capable of.

There is so much poisoning of the well in the climate debate, with the introduction of 'deniers' as a direct allusion of holocaust deniers the canonical example. Someone doesn't care about reconciliation and the bright light of truth that always shines as a result of it. They want darkness - they want to rule in darkness. One ring to bind them all and all that.

There is something better. My bets are that someone in the UK is going to make - has already made - a significant difference to this. I'll let you have a guess at his name.

Jul 27, 2012 at 7:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Thanks for publishing the mails, Richard, it has been very informative, a fascinating insight into how members of various organizations ie

Met Office - RIchard Betts, John Kennedy (Climate Monitoring and Research)

University of St. Andrews - Rob Wilson (Geography & Sustainable Devpt)

NCAS (NERC) - Ed Hawkins (Met Office, University of Reading)

network together and discuss the sceptic bloggers commenting on social media such as this to provide a united front on the climate science.

I was aware that it was Met Office policy so I suppose I should have guessed that it was also the policy of the universities to

Public outreach

"27/03/12 - The University published a YouTube video of me talking about 'not if, but when'

01/02/12 - Article in Significance magazine - 'Our evolving climate' (or PDF)

17/11/11 - Gave talk at Reading Skeptics in the Pub event

24/10/11 - Press release on when global temperatures might reach 2C. Followed up at The Independent.

19/08/09 - Press release on the potential to improve climate predictions. Followed up at Nature Reports Climate Change and realclimate.org.

09/05/08 - New Scientist article on the predictability of rapid changes in the overturning circulation"

http://www.met.rdg.ac.uk/~ed/home/public.html

And if the Climate Modellers can agree that

"All models are wrong"

and there are "Limitless possibilitiees"

yet still confuse 'projections' and 'predictions'

"Mark Maslin and Patrick Austin at University College London have just had a comment published in Nature called “Climate models at their limit?”. This builds on the emerging evidence that the latest, greatest climate predictions, which will be summarised in the next assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR5, 2013) are not going to tell us anything too different from the last report (AR4, 2007) and in fact may have larger uncertainty ranges."

ie "the latest, greatest climate predictions"

http://allmodelsarewrong.com/limitless-possibilities/

Then what hope for Govt ministers, MPs and the public in general?

Your Nature article on Communications was very interesting by the way.

http://blogs.nature.com/soapboxscience/2012/01/18/climate-science-%e2%80%93-moving-beyond-a-single-issue

So it's a great shame that you didn't incorporate Steve McIntyre's response on Climate Audit -

"When I see handwringing by climate scientists about “climate communications”, the commentary always overlooks one of the most obvious requisites for successful communications: honesty even to critics. Unfortunately, the proven untruthfulness of the Met Office and CRU in something as simple as FOI requests corrodes their credibility on other topics."

http://climateaudit.org/2012/01/31/geoffrey-boulton-and-ipcc-secrecy/

In your slides on the subject of Communications at the University of Exeter.

http://www.exeter.ac.uk/btg/newsandevents/archive/title_220045_en.html

And by the way, were the only attendees there the ones giving the slides or was there a target audience and if so is there a list of attendees, or was it simply for public perusal.

Jul 27, 2012 at 9:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

I've been traveling for most of this thread, so I'm a bit late to the party.

I'm also a bit baffled.

As far as I can see the plot unfolded as follows:-

1. Rob Wilson was invited to post here and got a bit stroppy when we swine ignored his pearls.

2. He decided to disengage and to enhance the drama of his departure by claiming some of the aforementioned swine had sent him disgusting, swinish emails.

3. Some of the swine had heard this sort of thing before and politely asked if they could see the disgusting emails - to prove they actually existed.

4. Official channels were invoked - and explained that there were subtle legal reasons why the swine could not be shown their own disgusting emails.

5. The swine then began to make even more swinish assertions that the existence of the emails may have been fabricated.

6. Richard then daintily stepped into to the pigsty in his immaculate cricket whites and announced that, in the interests of fair play, decency, transparency and to put an end to the general swinishness - he had persuaded his colleagues to release the relevant emails.

7. The swine gathered around gratefully and snuffled amongst the exciting crisp new emails.

8. Slowly they realised that the emails which had been alleged to prove their swinish behaviour once and for all were missing.

9. The swine got even more swinish and started rooting around in the dirt more enthusiastically than ever.

10. Richard quietly picked his way out of the pigsty, noticing with irritation that had got quite a lot of pig muck on his nice clean cricket whites.

Jul 27, 2012 at 10:35 AM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Jul 27, 2012 at 7:55 AM Richard Drake

I can imagine receiving certain kinds of nasty emails in certain contexts and not wanting to make them public.

I would imagine that, in that event, you probably would not announce to that you had received some nastygrams ... "But nobody to know what they are".

This poisons the well in a particularly horrible way - because of the insinuation the next time you deign to talk to the group that disagrees with you that this is what you people are capable of.

I think you have expressed it perfectly and I agree completely.

The sending of nastygrams and unverifiable allegation that nastygrams have been sent are both harmful to the atmosphere in which discussions are conducted.

Jul 27, 2012 at 10:51 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

BBD

Honestly, how can you–hand on heart–state the following: "over the last few decades a scientific consensus on AGW has emerged without any nudging from anyone."

LMFAO

Jul 27, 2012 at 11:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

Martin A

Thank you for the clarification, and that's not some shitty aside. I appreciate it. As to the good Bishop's promise to tightly moderate this thread...I am still unsure exactly what the feck we are talking about: ∂T or Rob's accusations of asshole emails? I thought the latter, and that remains totally unresolved.

Jul 27, 2012 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

BBD can say that because he is trying to mislead lurkers with apparent authority. My advice to the lurkers is to check for yourself using sites on the blogroll. Meanwhile BBD will probably continue to make these assertions of certainty not because he expects to influence any sceptic commenter but to fool passers-by. Do you suppose he is by any chance a known name in the climate science community?

Jul 27, 2012 at 11:42 AM | Registered Commenterrhoda

Jul 27, 2012 at 10:35 AM Foxgoose


(...)
6. Richard then daintily stepped into to the pigsty in his immaculate cricket whites and announced that, in the interests of fair play, decency, transparency and to put an end to the general swinishness - he had persuaded his colleagues to release the relevant emails.

7. The swine gathered around gratefully and snuffled amongst the exciting crisp new emails.

8. Slowly they realised that the emails which had been alleged to prove their swinish behaviour once and for all were missing.

9. The swine got even more swinish and started rooting around in the dirt more enthusiastically than ever.

10. Richard quietly picked his way out of the pigsty, noticing with irritation that had got quite a lot of pig muck on his nice clean cricket whites.

Foxgoose -

We know that Richard Betts is admirably capable of sticking up for himself. But, if I may take it upon myself nonetheless...

I would surmise that Richard was probably pretty well unaware of the squealing and grunting that had already been going on for some time, as the the swine expressed their desire to see the swinish emails their fellow swine had sent. Presumably he has other things to do at the Met Office than follow in detail every thread on BH.

After my FOI request for the "embarrassing/insulting" emails was refused, I made an FOI request to see the emails between Met Office and U Reading staff and Rob Wilson, when they reviewed the draft of his BH posting.

I imagine that Richard, perhaps, had then said to all the participants in the review, something like "Look chaps, this FOI for our comments to Rob on his draft came in out of the blue. There is nothing here to be ashamed of; why don't we post it on BH so all the world can see it? You never know, it might even provoke some discussion on climate science."

I have no way of knowing for sure, but I am guessing that the intensified outbreak of swinish squealing which then ensued may have come as a surprise to Richard, or at least caused him to raise his eyebrows and call for fair play. However, I don't think his cricket whites have actually been sullied in the slightest.

Jul 27, 2012 at 11:42 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Jul 26, 2012 at 10:20 PM Pharos

"Thank you for your considered response in defence of temperature adjustments. I appreciate that a strong technical argument can be made for manipulations of the raw data to produce smoothed interpretations, although I strongly feel that these should not then be rebranded as 'corrected', and then subsequently become morphed as the truth."

Thanks. I also dislike the term "corrected". I prefer to use "adjusted" which emphasises the fact that the data are not in their raw form and that no absolute promises can be made for their correctness. It also points up the need to make reasonable estimates of the uncertainties involved.

Jul 27, 2012 at 11:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Kennedy

Jul 27, 2012 at 11:40 AM Gixxerboy

"what the feck we are talking about: ∂T or Rob's accusations of asshole emails? I thought the latter, and that remains totally unresolved."

That's why this thread has some cross-purpose comments. Many, probably including the original poster, assumed the former but some, like you, the latter.

As you say, the latter question remains unresolved. It might be resolved by 7 August, when U of St Andrews are due to respond to my request that they review their decision not to release the "embarrassing/insulting" emails.

Jul 27, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin A

Foxgoose's yummie analogies and wild attempts at conspiracy theories aside, WTF is this all about? leave the whole bloody GAT debate aside. Where's the evidence of Rob's accusations?

Jul 27, 2012 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

Cross post Martin sorry

Jul 27, 2012 at 12:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

I have no way of knowing for sure, but I am guessing that the intensified outbreak of swinish squealing which then ensued may have come as a surprise to Richard, or at least caused him to raise his eyebrows and call for fair play. However, I don't think his cricket whites have actually been sullied in the slightest.
Jul 27, 2012 at 11:42 AM Martin A

Martin - you stand as a saintly beacon of tolerance and goodwill, head and shoulders above the grubby cynicism of the rest of us swine.

I'll try and suppress my own swinish cynicism while we await the final FOI decision on your request for the offending letters.

Jul 27, 2012 at 12:50 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Jul 26, 2012 at 11:46 AM Richard Betts

Jul 26, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Gixxerboy
I'm sure Martin A can explain for himself, but maybe he wondered whether Rob had forwarded the emails to someone else in the process of discussing the blog post?

No, it had never crossed my mind that that was a possibility.

Jul 27, 2012 at 1:45 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin A,

Thanks for clarifying (1:45 PM) and for your comments at 11:42 AM - which are pretty accurate, as it happens, especially the penultimate paragraph!

I'm on holiday for a fortnight now - I'll see how the discussion has developed when I get back.

Cheers

Richard

Jul 27, 2012 at 1:58 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Just to clarify that my "Jul 26, 2012 at 5:50 PM" comment has nothing to do with the buildup of any "consensus" and everything to do with the problem of conducting research in the modern world with a specific mandate by policymakers.

I am sure nobody here needs to learn about circumstances, outside of climate change, where policymakers have either received the advice they were looking for, or pretended not have read the advice they were not looking for, or even reinterpreted the received advice in a way supporting what they were looking for.

Jul 27, 2012 at 3:05 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Richard Drake Jul 27, 2012 at 7:55 AM

"There is something better. My bets are that someone in the UK is going to make - has already made - a significant difference to this. I'll let you have a guess at his name."

==============

Would you be referring to "FOIA"?

Jul 27, 2012 at 5:07 PM | Unregistered Commentereyesonu

In the analogy I used in my Jul 26, 2012 at 10:20 PM comment, I tried to introduce the phenomenon of interpretation bias. All scientists like to believe they are paragons of inscrutable dispassionate data interpretion, but really we are all subject to subconscious human prejudices. This really lies at the root of the atmosphere of suspicion and distrust defining the polarity of opinion in climate science. What motivated the majority of present day climate scientists to recruit themselves into climatology? Were they directly motivated by environmental concerns and AGW theory? Was the availability of grants a factor? Did they come armed with confirmation bias?

The parallel high impact of advocacy politics inevitably magnifies these suspicions.

Jul 27, 2012 at 8:12 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Richard Drake Jul 27, 2012 at 7:55 AM

"There is something better. My bets are that someone in the UK is going to make - has already made - a significant difference to this. I'll let you have a guess at his name."

==============

Would you be referring to "FOIA"?
Jul 27, 2012 at 5:07 PM | Unregistered Commentereyesonu

More to the point, would you be referring to Anthony Watts' reason for suspending activities for two days?
Paul Nurse jumped ship, perhaps?

Jul 27, 2012 at 9:07 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

hmm... thanks so far, anyway.

In the meantime for example some (loosely topic-connected but) specific questions and some broader questions:

1.a.: (It appears to me that most (of the often so-called poor) "peer reviewers" (confer below question number 6) absolutely neither need to ask nor need to check (*anything*) - in most of the diverse so-called peer review processes that are practised at different publishing organisations, but) Was anyone of you ever asked by your "peer reviewers" for un-adjusted data (not only while publishing for example on some adjustments in academic journals or the like)?

1.b.: Are - respectively in which form and to whom are - the un-adjusted data available for independent audits?

1.c.: Mostly, we (for example members of all kinds of the "public spheres") are, for instance, neither authorised to inspect all the reviews that were produced by the "peer review process" nor allowed to know the names of the reviewers, are we?

2.a.: While publishing (for example on tree rings, temperature trends, adjustments, and other things) were you asked for any raw data during the "peer review process"?

2.b.: Are - respectively in which form and to whom are - the raw data available for independent audits?

3.: While trying to assess the sciences (here outside of "peer review"), do you know any better way than to ask, for example, for the grade of transparency (here for instance: asking for transparency in un-adjusted, raw- and/or meta-data, source code, homogenisation-, parametrisation-processes and so on)?

4.: Comprehension question, because some technical reports were mentioned vaguely by John (see discussion above): Am I right that the technical reports didn't need to be and haven't been "peer reviewed"?

5.: An opinion survey: Is it, in general, v) the sciences, w) the scientists, x) the publishers, or y) the public [respectively, z) is it impossible to separate the foresaid in deciding] who profit the most from a so-called peer review that is practised down to the present-day predominantly (confer for instance above question number 1.a.)?

6.: There is no uniform definition of "peer review". How would you try to define an appropriate peer review process?
_____

(It's not exactly easy to avoid the feeling being trapped, is it?

BTW, while I've been constantly staying quiet in this *shocking* "Wilson-email-case", I see - w.r.t. older cases without Rob - some similarities to other infamous schemes; for example: While one e-mailing/communicating "side" is described, namely a "side" which seems to include overly often "threatening/nasty/corrupted/orchestrated/gang..." "members", the other "sides", or even, for instance, certain persons or "institutions/organisations" are mostly not mentioned and/or appear anyhow to be the "good/better" "sides".)

Jul 27, 2012 at 10:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterSeptember 2011

Jul 27, 2012 at 1:58 PM Richard Betts

Martin A,

Thanks for clarifying (1:45 PM) and for your comments at 11:42 AM - which are pretty accurate, as it happens, especially the penultimate paragraph!

I'm on holiday for a fortnight now - I'll see how the discussion has developed when I get back.
Cheers

Richard

I hope the weather's good for you - did you check the forecast?

I am hoping that St Andrews University, in reviewing their refusal of my FOI request for the "embarrassing/insulting" emails, will not maintain their position that Rob Wilson's BH posting was nothing to do with his job. As Senior Lecturer in Geography & Sustainable Development, whose research work focuses on Late Holocene palaeoclimatology using tree-rings, his expertise in large-scale temperature trends (the subject of his BH guest posting) is obviously central to his work.

In several aspects, his posting on BH was clearly done as part of his job, including, as just one aspect, his involvement in public engagement, outreach and knowledge exchange. Getting your professional colleagues in other establishments to review your work prior to publication is not something you normally do if you are posting on a subject unrelated to your - and their - work, such as Dinky toy collecting.

Jul 28, 2012 at 11:14 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin and Richard Betts

I don't see how it's possible to maintain this nonsense without Rob Wilson just showing WTF he's on about.

Jul 28, 2012 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

Presumably because he would not wish to embarrass anyone.

"However, some of the personal e-mails sent to me today would be rather embarrassing to some of you if I posted them on BH. "

Jul 28, 2012 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterFairy Nuff