Tag Archives: University of East Anglia

Institute of Physicists under Attack

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The UK Institute of Physicists submitted a strongly worded thirteen-point memorandum to the UK Parliament commission of enquiry into the CRU.  Leading scientists promptly attacked the submission in emotive terms, without addressing any of the points in the memorandum.  The I.O.P. response to the attacks is strangely meek.  It looks suspiciously like they are backing off, and I wonder why.

Every one of the numbered thirteen points in the “Memorandum submitted by the Institute of Physics (CRU 39)” is valid. There is no need for them to publicly apologise or, cap in hand, to stress that the I.O.P. “has long had a “clear” position on global warming, namely that “there is no doubt that climate change is happening, that it is linked to man-made emissions of greenhouse gases, and that we should be taking action to address it now”.  That “no doubt” sounds more like a recital of a creed than a scientific position.

For goodness sake, the IOP made submissions about disclosure of climate data, the implications for the integrity of scientific research, and appropriate terms of reference for the UEA independnt review. Valid submissions. So why is it subjected to attacks unsupported by any specific rebuttals of any of its points of submission?  Here they are:

John Houghton: “I consider it not only inappropriate but highly irresponsible for a body like the IOP to appear to presume a judgment on what is clearly not a simple issue without having the full facts and without presumably knowing the full context,”

Stefan Rahmstorf: “I was taken aback when I first read it,” he says.  “The evidence is both misinformed and misguided.”

Arnold Wolfendale: ‘the evidence is “not worthy” of the Institute and ‘the submission “further muddies the waters regarding global warming”.’

These generalised and emotive attacks are totally inaccurate as criticisms of the IOP submissions, but ironically, would be accurate if applied to the IPCC reports.  But for some reason the IOP does not call on the critics to be specific about their problems with the submission.  Instead, it rolls over, apologises and and quietly surrenders.

That is truly sad. The forces supporting AGW are mighty indeed if a body like the Institute of Physics is compelled to recant like Galileo. Are we returning to the dark ages?

References:

I.O.P. Memorandum:  http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/uc3902.htm

WUWT Report: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/13/iop-fires-back-over-criticism-of-their-submission-to-parliament/

AGW Religion:  http://www.herkinderkin.com/2010/01/anthropogenic-global-warming-as-organised-religion/

Red Herrings in the Enquiry Fishbowl

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In the wake of “”Climategate”, a British House of Commons panel has held an enquiry into the CRU unit.  Right there before the eyes of the world, they heard what Dr Phil Jones had to say:

  • “I have obviously written some very awful e-mails.”
  • “I don’t think anything in those e-mails supports any view that I’m trying to, or CRU has been trying to, pervert the peer review process in any way.”
  • CRU’s practice, he said, was to release “gridded data” (raw information that had been processed for analysis).
  • CRU withheld raw data in part because “most scientists don’t want to deal with raw station data, they want to deal with the derived product.”

Jones is the man at the very centre of Climategate – the man whose emails caused the fuss.  The man who sent an email urging all other associated climate scientists to destroy their data.  The man who, in an email to McIntyre, asked why he should provide data, when McIntyre would try to find something wrong with it.  The man who withheld data from McIntyre on the grounds of confidentiality while at the same time supplying the requested data to a scientist who supports AGW.

After his refreshing honesty in the interview with the BBC’s environment analyst Roger Harrabin, I felt some sympathy for Dr Jones, and said so, in an earlier blog entry.  But Jones has now lost that sympathy.  His answers at the parliamentary enquiry show that he has reverted to obfuscation.  Destroying data perverts the peer review process because it prevents other scientists from testing scientific conclusions. – Jones knows that.  Withholding raw data when it is requested by another scientists cannot be justified on the grounds that most others ask for the derived product –  Jones knows that.  All scientists, when reviewing the work of other scientists, try to find something wrong with it – that’s the scientific method, and Jones knows that, too.

But Jones was not the only witness at the enquiry to apply spin.

UK chief scientific adviser John Beddington said: “I think the general issue that global warming is happening and that it is induced by human activities is also correct.  I think this is unchallenged.”

Julia Slingo, head of the Met Office, said: “We know that (climate change) is unequivocal and that as the IPCC report said, over 90 percent, it’s very likely due to human activities.”  She said that the uncertainty is in projections of future warming, not in the cause.  She at least is right about the uncertainty of the projections.

The cause also is uncertain.  That climate change is caused by human activities is certainly challenged by scientists – by Lindzen, Watts, McIntyre, Woon, and others.  The data gathered so far do not show with any degree of certainty that human activities cause global warming, or that the warming is catastrophic.  We do not know that human activities cause global warming – that is no more than theory.

The parliamentary enquiry and more importantly, Joe Public the voter represented by parliament, deserve rather more than spin and red herrings.  Science itself demands more than that.

References:

NY Times Article on UK Enquiry: http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2010/03/02/02climatewire-climategate-scientist-admits-awful-e-mails-b-66224.html?pagewanted=1

BBC Interview with Phil Jones: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8511670.stm

Phil Jones on modern Global Warming Rates

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Q&A Part Two: Prof. Phil Jones on Global Warming Rates

Phil Jones is director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA).  The BBC’s environment analyst Roger Harrabin interviewed Professor Jones recently.  Professor Jones’ answers to the first two questions reveal that there is nothing unusual about the rate of warming in the twentieth century.  They also reveal strength of character.

Here’s the question about latest rates of warming compared with other known rates:

Do you agree that according to the global temperature record used by the IPCC, the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 were identical?

Here is Phil Jones’ answer:

The warming rates for all 4 periods are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other.

Here are the trends and significances for each period:

Period Length Trend
(Degrees C per decade)
Significance
1860-1880 21 0.163 Yes
1910-1940 31 0.150 Yes
1975-1998 24 0.166 Yes
1975-2009 35 0.161 Yes

.

Here’s the question about global temperature change since 1995:

Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming?

Here is Phil Jones’ answer:

Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level.

Jones is obviously uncomfortable about the implications of the questions (“Yes (I agree), but only just..”).  But he has the integrity to answer truthfully, knowing that the answers cast yet more doubt on the AGW cause, and especially on the IPCC, the CRU and the other organisations that promote AGW.

Because the first proves that there is nothing unusual about the rates of warming we have observed, even though there are now much higher levels of atmospheric CO2 that there were in 1880.  And the second confirms what skeptics have been saying for years – there has been no statistically significant global warming since 1995.  This is in spite of increased atmospheric CO2, and contrary to the exaggerated, repeated claims of accelerated global warming by NASA, the CRU and the IPCC.  So much for the need for urgent action.  We do have time to investigate properly the climatic effects of CO2, methane and whatever other demons are conjured up.

Now, if we could show that the Medieval Warm Period was as warm or warmer than present-day temperatures, and that it was global in extent, we could finally establish that the present global temperature is nothing out of the ordinary.  And that would mean that there is no need for any action at all – at least, not in respect of climate change.  Refreshingly, Phil Jones does not deny the MWP, and is aware of its impact on the debate.  See “References” section below for another blog on Phil Jones answers to the MWP question in the same interview, and how we can test the its extent and temperature during that period.

There are other real environmental issues with which we should deal, and other concerns about depending on diminishing commodities for our energy.  We don’t need global warming baloney to help us recognise those real issues – on the contrary, all the AGW noise has obscured them.

References:

Phil Jones on the MWP: http://www.herkinderkin.com/2010/02/phil-jones-on-the-medieval-warm-period/

BBC Interview with Phil Jones: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8511670.stm