The Independent Inquiry headed by Lord Oxborough on the Climate Research Unit has reported. The wild charges (hi there Steve:) against the CRU were emphatically rejected by the Inquiry. To the right, Nelson well expresses our views on this failed denialist jihad. Like Tamino, Eli fears he will age waiting for apologies.
UPDATE: Eli will put up a separate post on this later but Rabett Run has many visitors at the moment. Besides the sporting aspect there is a great reason to shove these reports virgorously down the throats of some who will not be mentioned. Besides their uncalled for denigration of honorable scientists and excellent science, the alphabet soup of denialist think tanks has based their petition the US EPA for reconsideration of the CO2 Endangerment Finding on the CRU Emails. The various official inquiries reporting back on how vicious and vacuous the jihad has been strip the petitions and petitioners of standing. The more HaHa we generate leaves them standing naked in the public square. Believe Eli, an unclothed Tony Watts, is an ugly thing. (not that yrs truly is svelte, mind you, but he is cute, ask Ms. Rabett)
The charge of the Committee was
The Panel was set up by the University in consultation with the Royal Society to assess the integrity of the research published by the Climatic Research Unit in the light of various external assertions. The Unit is a very small academic entity within the School of Environmental Sciences. It has three full time and one part time academic staff members and about a dozen research associates, PhD students and support staff. The essence of the criticism that the Panel was asked to address was that climatic data had been dishonestly selected, manipulated and/or presented to arrive at pre-determined conclusions that were not compatible with a fair interpretation of the original data.Keith Briffa (dendochronology), Phil Jones (surface temperature reconstructions) and their colleagues had been accused of data murder and rape by the usual suspects. The Inquiry finds these accusations to be infamous lies.
The Inquiry first recognizes something important about tree rings
Chronologies (transposed composites of raw tree data) are always work in progress. They are subject to change when additional trees are added; new ways of data cleaning may arise (e.g. homogeneity adjustments), new measurement methods are used (e.g. of measuring ring density), new statistical methods for treating the data may be developed (e.g. new ways of allowing for biological growth trends).Much of the criticism came from the fly-in-amber school of science, where nothing ever changes, where initial publications must be perfect. The Inquiry report remarks that the nature of the dendro beast (and indeed, most other science) implies choices in data selection guided by experience, expertise and statistics. They ding the CRU for not having sufficient statistical expertise, but conclude
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. In the event CRU scientists were able to give convincing answers to our detailed questions about data choice, data handling and statistical methodology. The Unit freely admits that many data analyses they made in the past are superseded and they would not do things that way today.The Inquiry demurs,
9. We have not exhaustively reviewed the external criticism of the dendroclimatological work,Wise folk, wading into the Climate Audit swamp requires at least six months of cleaning under the nails afterwards, and they continue with extreme British understatement
but it seems that some of these criticisms show a rather selective and uncharitable approach to information made available by CRU. They seem also to reflect a lack of awareness of the ongoing and dynamic nature of chronologies, and of the difficult circumstances under which university research is sometimes conducted. Funding and labour pressures and the need to publish have meant that pressing ahead with new work has been at the expense of what was regarded as non-essential record keeping. From our perspective it seems that the CRU sins were of omission rather than commission.The last bit is the one you are going to see at Climate Audit
Although we deplore the tone of much of the criticism that has been directed at CRU, we believe that this questioning of the methods and data used in dendroclimatology will ultimately have a beneficial effect and improve working practiceswithout the first line which will be left in the quote mine.
On to Phil Jones and the CRUTEMP surface temperature reconstructions.
4. Like the work on tree rings this work is strongly dependent on statistical analysis and our comments are essentially the same. Although there are certainly different ways of handling the data, some of which might be superior, as far as we can judge the methods which CRU has employed are fair and satisfactory. . . .
All of the published work was accompanied by detailed descriptions of uncertainties and accompanied by appropriate caveats. The same was true in face to face discussions.
5. We believe that CRU did a public service of great value by carrying out much time-consuming meticulous work on temperature records at a time when it was unfashionable and attracted the interest of a rather small section of the scientific community.Reaching an overall conclusion about the CRU's work
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.The Inquiry picks up on James Annan's point that governments are insisting on charging for data they create while demanding that it be free to all. And, horrors, they come pretty close to recommending that FOI laws be modified to prevent their vexious use
4. A host of important unresolved questions also arises from the application of Freedom of Information legislation in an academic context. We agree with the CRU view that the authority for releasing unpublished raw data to third parties should stay with those who collected it.George Monbiot will call it white wash
Eli thanks Tracy and http://nelsonhaha.com for the appropriate comment