Again too late;) Submissions to the Muir-Russell report closed March 1, however they are now being published at the Inquiry Web Site. The distribution of comments appears much more even than for the Parliament Science and Technology Committee Inquiry
An issue that is going to be important, is as Ray Bradley and others point out
You expressly note that your inquiry “is about proper scientific and FOI procedures and data handling within CRU” and not about “the fundamental science of climate change” yet most of the questions you pose are indeed quite specific about scientific issues, some of which are topics of current research by a number of individuals.He goes on after answering the Inquiry's question about how important the assertion of “unprecedented late 20th century warming" is
As noted earlier, this question has no bearing whatsoever on your brief to examine, “..whether there is any evidence of the manipulation or suppression of data which is at odds with acceptable scientific practice … CRU’s policies and practices for acquiring, assembling, subjecting to peer review and disseminating data and research findings, …CRU’s compliance or otherwise with the University’s policies and practices regarding requests under the Freedom of Information Act (the FOIA) and the Environmental Information Regulations (the EIR) for the release of data , or … the appropriate management, governance and security structures for CRU and the security, integrity and release of the data it holds”Perhaps, the Science and Techology Committee was right, that there should only be a single committee looking into all issues. Bradley also points out that
I note (in the FAQ section of your web site) that you have not yet read all the emails, and do not appear to find such a task essential. If that is indeed so, let me point out that the Associated Press reported the total volume of stolen material was about 1 million words, of which only a few sentences have raised any questions. I would therefore remind you of the statement attributed to Cardinal Richlieu:The Climate Research Unit has a somewhat similar point of view
“If you give me six lines written by the most honest man, I will find something in them to hang him”.
Please bear that in mind. The theft was a political act, and your inquiry should be fully aware of the context in which you are operating.
The Climatic Research Unit, at the University of East Anglia, welcomes the opportunity to answer the questions asked of it by the Independent Climate Change E-mail Review. It recognises that the theft of e-mails in November 2009 has led to many questions in the media and the blogosphere. It accepts that there are justifiable questions which may be asked, following the publication of the stolen e-mails which represented a tiny fraction of those received and sent by the Unit during the period in question. However, the justifiable questions have been swamped, we believe, by ill-informed opinion and distortion.Nick Barnes had an interesting submission detailing the interplay between GISSTEMP and the Clear Climate Code Project
Consequently, we are pleased to be able to address both the reasonable and informed concerns and the greater number of misinformed or distorted concerns through the medium of our answers to the specific questions asked of the Unit by the Independent Climate Change Email Review.
We note that, in some instances, the questions stray into areas which appear to be beyond the issues raised by the stolen e-mails, but – similarly – we welcome the opportunity to respond to them.
For this reason, many software professionals encountering science software for the first time may be horrified. How, they ask, can we rely on this crude software, developed in primitive conditions - by amateurs, working with such poor tools and such poor understanding of the field? This is a common reaction to GISTEMP, and is exactly the reaction which many critics have had, some very publicly, to the software published with the CRU emails. Such critics do have a point. Science software should be better than it is. Scientists should be provided with more training, and more support. But consider the uses to which science software is put. MostComments?
software written by scientists:
* consists of tiny programs;
* which will only ever be run a small number of times;
* over the course of a few weeks as it is being developed;
* by the scientist who wrote it;
* on data gathered by that scientist's team;
* concerning a scientific field in which that scientist is expert;
* to perform data processing on which that scientist is expert; and will be discarded, never to be used again, as soon as the paper containing the results is accepted for publication.
In comparison, commercial software has a huge range of complex requirements, which are completely irrelevant to most science software: usability, robustness, flexibility, maintainability, size, speed, compatibility, portability, consistency, documentation, and so on. Much of the software industry, and the art of computer programming, is motivated by and devoted to meeting these requirements (which, even so, it often utterly fails to do). The tools and skills which I have spent my professional life mastering are of little consequence to the working scientist, who is simply trying to get the charts ready for his or her next publication.