CRU to have old papers peer reviewed again
When you’ve worked in radio and television news for 30 years as I have, you get an eye for spotting rubbish. My rubbish detector went full tilt when I read this press release (see below) from UEA announcing they were going to have an “independent external reappraisal” of their peer reviewed publications.
I suppose that they think this move will be a “double plus good” public relations win for their work and for the organization. Perhaps it will be seen that way by a select few. But, review by the Royal Society, which has in the past done little if any significant questioning of its own about climate research, and in fact has a web page full of statements that are in line with the findings of many CRU papers, suggests that the Royal Society cannot be objective in this matter. It suggests that the investigation’s outcome is predetermined and only an exercise for the benefit of bolstering the appearance of high scientific standards via name dropping. It suggests a whitewash. I hope I’m wrong.
UEA/CRU would have gained much more public trust and avoided criticsms like this by choosing a truly independent review organization that has not made any public statements about their position on climate change.
Here’s what the Royal Society Climate Change web page has on it:
Scientists give their personal opinions on climate change
For example, the Royal Society has this on their web page under the heading: Misleading Arguments.
The central issue about CRU which led to the Climategate affair, which has led to this supposedly independent investigation, is that CRU wouldn’t share the temperature data and took illegal steps to suppress FOI requests from those who wanted to replicate the work to determine whether or not “Temperature observations don’t support the theory”. In fact if you follow that link at the Royal Society, they don’t question surface measurements at all, but discuss instead why satellite measurements don’t agree with surface measurements. The message is that the Royal Society does not question the surface record.
With Royal Society having statements like that on their web page which already don’t question the central issue from which the investigation arose, I suspect the outcome statement will be something like this:
“While it is clear that requests for data sharing and FOI requests were handled improperly, our independent review team found that the research conducted by CRU has been done properly, within correct standards consistent with the scientific practices recognized by the Royal Society, and the conclusions are robust”.
Meanwhile, we still don’t have what has been asked for in the first place: full data, procedures, and code. You won’t find a release like that on the UEA press page.
From the University of East Anglia press office:
Thu, 11 Feb 2010
An independent external reappraisal of the science in the Climatic Research Unit’s (CRU) key publications has been announced by the University of East Anglia.
The Royal Society will assist the University in identifying assessors with the requisite expertise, standing and independence.
“Published papers from CRU have gone through the rigorous and intensive peer review process which is the keystone for maintaining the integrity of scientific research,” said Professor Trevor Davies, the University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Enterprise and Engagement. “That process and the findings of our researchers have been the subject of significant debate in recent months. Colleagues in CRU have strenuously defended their conduct and the published work and we believe it is in the interests of all concerned that there should be an additional assessment considering the science itself.”
The independent reassessment will complement Sir Muir Russell’s Review of the key allegations about the handling of data arising from the publication of a series of e-mails hacked from CRU. Sir Muir’s Review is expected to announce its finding in Spring 2010.
The reassessment of CRU’s key publications will be completed at the earliest date the assessors can manage. The findings will be made public