months ago, DailyTech covered
news of "climategate",
a massive email leak from the University of East Anglia’s Climate
Research Unit. In many of the leaked emails researchers
discussed global warming research and made comments that sounded
suspiciously close to academic misconduct.The leak began with
a bang and went out with a whimper. The University of East
Anglia reported in mid-April that Phil Jones, the climatologist who
headed the CRU, was forced to temporarily
step down during the investigation. However, Jones was found
innocent of any wrongdoing by both a government panel and an
independent panel of scientists.The government panel,
conducted by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee
(part of the British Parliament), concluded that
the problems were more a result of poor documentation than
misconduct. Describes Committee Chair Phil Willis MP, "What
this inquiry revealed was that climate scientists need to take steps
to make available all the data that support their work and full
methodological workings, including their computer codes. Had both
been available, many of the problems at CRU could have been
avoided."The investigation panel, which consisted of six
scientists, looked into the leaked emails as well. Their
conclusions, found here,
also show that no wrongdoing occurred. Writes the panel, "We
saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of
the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we
believe that it is likely that we would have detected it. Rather we
found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganized researchers
who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention. As
with many small research groups their internal procedures were rather
informal."That's not to say that the scandal
hasn't had a serious impact on the field. The independent panel
admonished the researchers for not employing professional
statisticians, writing, "We cannot help remarking that it is
very surprising that research in an area that depends so heavily on
statistical methods has not been carried out in close collaboration
with professional statisticians. Indeed there would be mutual benefit
if there were closer collaboration and interaction between CRU and a
much wider scientific group outside the relatively small
international circle of temperature specialists."If
there's one clear message from the to panels, it's a direct challenge
to climatologists: pursue outside expertise and carefully document
your work (and make said work available to the public).Even
as Phil Jones prepares to resume his post, at the recommendation of
the independent panel, the echoes of the leak are still being heard.
The State of Virginia just launched an investigation [PDF] into the work of
Mann, a researcher at the University of Virginia that was
involved in the emails.Mann's "hockey stick" graph
became an icon for the global warming movement. Now the state
is pursuing an investigation over whether Mann engaged in fraud and deception to
obtain $500,000 in state funding.One can only hope that
legitimate climatologists heed the advice of the British panels and
conduct thorough and unbiased research, setting aside their personal
opinions on the topic of global warming.
quote: to those people who callowly cry out that Lord Oxburgh, who headed the investigation, also runs a carbon trading firm, as well as a renewable energy firm,
quote: Then you get the total hypocrites like Al Gore - how big is his carbon footprint I wonder, with all his properties, travel and self-agrandisment?
quote: Surely that's sufficient to investigate several decades of work by 60+ different researchers!
quote: Just because he stands to make millions from global warming alarmism in no way means he would have any conflict of interest here.
quote: We then spent 15 person days interviewing the scientists at UEA."
quote: Gah, can't you be outraged over something proper? Walmart?
quote: What kind of "investigation" talks only to the accused, and no one else?
quote: Was this a joke, or just an anti-capitalist freudian slip
quote: Where's the foundation?
quote: The investigators that said they only talked to the accused. This is why you get voted down: Not for responding to any poster in particular, but for responding with stupid shit.
quote: it is your burden to name someone they should have talked to and why.
quote: wow - nice wall of text. Are you done now? Would you care to address the question you quoted? In case you forgot in all of that rambling - here it is again:
quote: and the 'accused' were found innocent
quote: The accused were found to have conducted really sloppy research with questionable methods.
quote: Yeah, that's exactly what they found. Precisely those words.
quote: Oxburg certainly didn't state "We found absolutely no evidence of any impropriety whatsoever. That doesn't mean that we agreed with all of their conclusions, but these people were doing their jobs honestly."
quote: Unfortunately neither one of the UK investigations were in depth and detailed.
quote: The emails do show they tampered with the peer review process and that has not been addressed.
quote: What was a crime, however, was East Anglia's refusal to comply with valid FOI requests for their data. Again, lucky for them the statue of limitations had expired by the time this came to light: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/27/...
quote: BTW, one thing which the Oxburgh investigation DID find was the Mann's famous "hockey stick" graph used statistical tricks to exaggerate the rate of warming: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/162b0c58-47f5-11df-b998-...
quote: Sorry, but the investigation specifically did not address peer review tampering....nor did they even need to, since the researchers statements here are very clear. Lucky for them such acts are not crimes.
quote: The Science From East Anglia Scientists Is Sound . Always has been. Always will be.
quote: In fact, we've seen no statistically significant warming whatsoever for the last 15 years, and a slight amount of cooling for the last 8 years.
quote: Not NASA. NASS GISS ...which is James Hansen and a few of his followers in a building at Columbia University.
quote: And Belgium's Royal Meteorological Society has issued a statement saying CO2 effects have been 'grossly overstated'.
quote: changed their stance on global warming
quote: The new statement formally accepts human activity as at least one contributor to carbon dioxide increase, but does not confirm its link to climate change,
quote: Again, you fail to detail how this impacts the science from East Anglia scientists. Science that has survived the peer review process - and further examination as well from multiple sources.
quote: The irony of is that none of these researchers are actually experts in the field of statistics, and yet many folks seem to think it awkward to allow statisticians to weigh in on climatology concerns when the climatologists used research, theory, and methodology far outside their field of expertise to extrapolate their conclusions.
quote: Huh? The statistician on the panel criticized the statistical methods used, and said they were inappropriate and exaggerated the results. He didn't make value judgements about their choice of proxies.
quote: 7. Critics of CRU have suggested that Professor Jones’s use of the word “trick” is evidence that he was part of a conspiracy to hide evidence that did not fit his view that recent global warming is predominately caused by human activity. The balance of evidence patently fails to support this view. It appears to be a colloquialism for a “neat” method of handling data. (Paragraph 60)
quote: 3. Although inappropriate statistical tools with the potential for producing misleading results have been used by some other groups, presumably by accident rather than design, in the CRU papers that we examined we did not come across any inappropriate usage although the methods they used may not have been the best for the purpose. It is not clear, however, that better methods would have produced significantly different results. The published work also contains many cautions about the limitations of the data and theirinterpretation.
quote: 8. After reading publications and interviewing the senior staff of CRU in depth, we are satisfied that the CRU tree-ring work has been carried out with integrity, and that allegations of deliberate misrepresentation and unjustified selection of data are not valid.
quote: 1. We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it. Rather we found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganised researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention. As with many small research groups their internal procedures were rather informal.
quote: 9. We have not exhaustively reviewed the external criticism of the dendroclimatological work, but it seems that some of these criticisms show a rather selective and uncharitable approach to information made available by CRU.
quote: Huh? The review didn't even attempt to judge "the science itself". It merely investigated whether the ACU scientists engaged in intentional fraud and distortion.
quote: 5. Even if the data that CRU used were not publicly available—which they mostly are—or the methods not published—which they have been—its published results would still be credible: the results from CRU agree with those drawn from other international data sets; in other words, the analyses have been repeated and the conclusions have been verified. (Paragraph 51)
quote: 3. It was not the immediate concern of the Panel, but we observed that there were important and unresolved questions that related to the availability of environmental data sets. It was pointed out that since UK government adopted a policy that resulted in charging for access to data sets collected by government agencies, other countries have followed suit impeding the flow of processed and raw data to and between researchers. This is unfortunate and seems inconsistent with policies of open access to data promoted elsewhere in government.
quote: Huh? The report itself has seen countless reams of criticism.
quote: "I should point out as well that it seems the appearent FOIA violations made by the scientists were not really the fault of the scientists themselves, but rather were necessary due to restrictions imposed upon them as a precondition for being given the data in the first place:"
quote: Yes, David Hand, President of the Royal Statistical Society, man called Britain's most preeminent statistician. He was a member of the Oxburgh Panel. He is the one who said the Hockey Stick used inappropriate methods to exaggerate the extent of warming.
quote: Further note that the British press has reported that...
quote: Oops, no this is incorrect. While that was one of the many excuses offered for not sharing external data, the fact remains the scientists refused to provide their own data and methodology on many cases. In fact, the FOI Act (which the British Goverment has already said the ACU scientists were guilty of violating) refers specifically only to data and results generated with tax dollar funding.
quote: The Unit does virtually no primary data acquisitionbut has used data from published archives and has collaborated with people who have collected data.
quote: It appears the report only critisizes the scientists for failing to consult statiticians
quote: Did society pay an enormous "horse tax" cost in the 18th and 19th centuries? Or a "whale oil" tax to phase out its use in lighting? Or were they quickly and painlessly phased out as new technologies became more economic and practical?
quote: Thanks, but we've had the technology to "keep the lights on" without fossil fuels for half a century now. Google "nuclear" for details.
quote: The truth of the matter is that we've only scratched the surface of basic physics.
quote: In another century or two, we'll very likely be using some energy source no one even knows about today.
quote: But that's irrelevant, since a) we have enough fossil fuels for the next 200 years at least,
quote: and b) even if we didn't, advanced nuclear reactors could fill all our power needs for essentially forever.
quote: Nothing about that screams out for a paradigm shift. There's certainly nothing about it that suggests that we're all about to become wizards wielding nigh-infinite powers with the wave of a twig.
quote: Yes. Compared to the amount of radioactive waste left over from when Mother Nature created the planet, the infinitesimal amounts we generate from nuclear power are utterly meaningless.
quote: Because collecting that energy and concentrating into a useful form is not only extraordinary expensive, it actually results in more environmental damage than does a more advanced source like nuclear power.
quote: Nothing you say could have better demonstrated your sophomoric level of intellect.
quote: Fortunately, most people have seen through the scaremongering on these items.
quote: The reality is that humans are better off today than every before in history.
quote: Our air and water are certainly far safer than they were 200 or even 20 years ago.
quote: If you live in a New England or Rocky Mountain state, your "good old dirt" will contain massive amounts of radioactive thorium, uranium, and potassium. The first meter of topsoil in your average half-acre backyard in one of these states will contain over 7,000 pounds of these radioactive isotopes.
quote: Can you give a child the vast amounts of toxic waste generated by mining and refining the resources needed to build and maintain a Gigawatt-size solar plant?
quote: Better for the government to act ahead of the curve and give us us some consumer choice rather than industry waiting 'till $20/gal gas prices and everyone being stuck on mopeds.
quote: I really don't mind my CFLs using 1/4th the power of my old incandescents. I like the idea of LEDs that will last a lifetime. Cars running at least partially on batteries is a no-brainer -- most trips are short.
quote: If we get wind, tidal, and solar costs down to commercially viable levels now when energy is cheap due to readily available fossil fuels, guess what we get when the costs of fossil fuels rises?
quote: This is preferable to bankrupting the planet with an 11th hour Manhattan Project brainstorming how to maybe keep the lights on.
quote: History says otherwise. Government manipulation of the market has caused far more trouble than good.
quote: It's a nice idea but completely unworkable. You're talking about manufacturing a need instead of addressing an actual need.
quote: Oh yes, I am so impressed with your casual statistical sampling.
quote: The government manipulates the market with everything it does, Einstein.
quote: Planting new crops after harvesting the old isn't "manufacturing a need".
quote: Same goes for planting the seeds for a replacement to fossil fuels.
quote: We are eventually going to need that harvest.
quote: Not very often to the extent suggested. Government manipulation typically involves setting regulations and imposing fees should those regulations be broken. With regards to gasoline, I already described how a free market model will be far more effective at ushering in non-oil based power generation than clumsy government hands ever could.
quote: People eat. Typically every day. Often several times a day. I'm surprised you haven't noticed.
quote: Difference being that we know crops grow. Your "replacement to fossil fuels" is nebulous at best, overblown at worst.
quote: How does anything from "climategate" - aka the scandal that wasn't - undue 40 years of climate science?
quote: Lord Lawson [described] CRU’s treatment of the data as “reprehensible”, because, in his view, Professor Jones deliberately hid data that demonstrated a decline in temperatures.
quote: We recognise that some of the e-mails suggest a blunt refusal to share data, even unrestricted data, with others. We acknowledge that Professor Jones must have found it frustrating to handle requests for data that he knew—or perceived—were motivated by a desire simply to seek to undermine his work. But Professor Jones’s failure to handle helpfully requests for data in a field as important and controversial as climate science was bound to be viewed with suspicion. He was obviously frustrated by other workersin the field trying to “undermine” his work, but his actions were inevitably counterproductive.
quote: The disclosed e-mails appear to show a culture of non-disclosure at CRU and instances where information (disclosable or otherwise) may have been deleted, to avoid disclosure. The Deputy Information Commissioner’s letter of 29 January gives a clear indication that a breach of the FOIA may have occurred but that a prosecution was time-barred.
quote: Graham Stringer: You are saying that every paper that you have produced, the computer programmes, the weather stations, all the information, the codes, have been available to scientists so that they could test out how good your work was. Is that the case on all the papers you have produced? Professor Jones : That is not the case. Graham Stringer : Why is it not? Professor Jones : Because it has not been standard practice to do that. Graham Stringer: That takes me back to the original point, that if it is not standard practice how can the science progress? Professor Jones: Maybe it should be standard practice but it is not standard practice
quote: It's just not worth it for me to put forth the effort.
quote: But you already put forth the effort; you posted.
quote: If you had you would know that then suns output along with butt loads of normal cyclic behavior are well known and in fact are included in the conclusions of anthropogenic global warming.
quote: f one is say, near a BBQ and abnormally higher then its neighbors the data is ignored until they figure out why and move it or adjust for it.
quote: There is a wealth of fraudulent behavior documented far-and-wide from the climate change denying crowd that stretches back for decades
quote: Additionally, the purely liberal United States Republican Party (a.k.a The Grand Old Green Nazis), stated two years ago in its 2008 platform "The same human economic activity that has brought freedom and opportunity to billions has also increased the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.
quote: Lord Lawson describe(s) CRU’s treatment of the data as “reprehensible”, because, in his view, Professor Jones deliberately hid data that demonstrated a decline in temperatures. The data that he believed to be “hidden” are a set of tree ring data that disagree with other data sources regarding temperature trends. Lord Lawson said: “when the proxy series [...] departed from the measured temperature series, a normal person will say maybe thatmeans the proxy series is not all that reliable”.In that context he made two specific claims:• that the tree ring data were flawed because “for a long period before 1421 they relied on one single pine tree” and• that the divergence problem was not just for data after the 1960s, “it is not a good fit in the latter half of the nineteenth century either”. It is outside the remit of the terms of reference of this inquiry to make a detailed assessment of the science
quote: Since citing denier fraud is an entire multi-page report unto itself, here's a quickie beginning: S. Fred Singer. Mr. Singer has not, ever, produced peer reviewed climate science.
quote: To believe that climate change is a scam, one has to believe in a vast gang of thousands of scientists streching back decades that have fabricated everything from sea levels to global temperatures.
quote: it's a direct challenge to climatologists: pursue outside expertise and carefully document your work (and make said work available to the public)
quote: It's interesting to look at the history of measurements of the charge of an electron, after Millikan. If you plot them [over] time, you find that one is a little bit bigger than Millikan's, and the next one's a little bit bigger than that, and the next one's a little bit bigger than that, until finally they settle down to a number which is [correct].Why didn't they discover the new number was higher right away? It's a thing that scientists are ashamed of - this history - because it's apparent that people did things like this: When they got a number that was too high above Millikan's, they thought something must be wrong - and they would look for and find a reason why something might be wrong. When they got a number close to Millikan's value they didn't look so hard. And so they eliminated the numbers that were too far off, and did other things like that. We've learned those tricks nowadays, and now we don't have that kind of a disease.
quote: What the investigations tell me is that techniques & methodologies were not only opaque, but also developed without the aide of professional statisticians
quote: the site was targeted by organized "skeptics"
quote: However, in my opinion that was hardly enough to dismiss the other valuable information that was brought out in the article.
quote: You're describing a Style Over Substance Fallacy, where one criticizes a message based on how that message is presented, not what it contains.