Institute of Physics on Climategate

Here’s something rather astonishing.

The Institute of Physics, has made a statement about climate science.

The Institute of Physics is a scientific charity devoted to increasing the practice, understanding and application of physics. It has a worldwide membership of over 36,000 and is a leading communicator of physics-related science to all audiences, from specialists through to government and the general public. Its publishing company, IOP Publishing, is a world leader in scientific publishing and the electronic dissemination of physics.

IOP issued a no holds barred statement on Climategate to the UK Parliamentary Committee. Here’s the key passages:

What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?

1. The Institute is concerned that, unless the disclosed e-mails are proved to be forgeries or adaptations, worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research in this field and for the credibility of the scientific method as practised in this context.

2. The CRU e-mails as published on the internet provide prima facie evidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions and freedom of information law. The principle that scientists should be willing to expose their ideas and results to independent testing and replication by others, which requires the open exchange of data, procedures and materials, is vital. The lack of compliance has been confirmed by the findings of the Information Commissioner. This extends well beyond the CRU itself – most of the e-mails were exchanged with researchers in a number of other international institutions who are also involved in the formulation of the IPCC’s conclusions on climate change.

3. It is important to recognise that there are two completely different categories of data set that are involved in the CRU e-mail exchanges:

· those compiled from direct instrumental measurements of land and ocean surface temperatures such as the CRU, GISS and NOAA data sets; and

· historic temperature reconstructions from measurements of ‘proxies’, for example, tree-rings.

4. The second category relating to proxy reconstructions are the basis for the conclusion that 20th century warming is unprecedented. Published reconstructions may represent only a part of the raw data available and may be sensitive to the choices made and the statistical techniques used. Different choices, omissions or statistical processes may lead to different conclusions. This possibility was evidently the reason behind some of the (rejected) requests for further information.

5. The e-mails reveal doubts as to the reliability of some of the reconstructions and raise questions as to the way in which they have been represented; for example, the apparent suppression, in graphics widely used by the IPCC, of proxy results for recent decades that do not agree with contemporary instrumental temperature measurements.

6. There is also reason for concern at the intolerance to challenge displayed in the e-mails. This impedes the process of scientific ’self correction’, which is vital to the integrity of the scientific process as a whole, and not just to the research itself. In that context, those CRU e-mails relating to the peer-review process suggest a need for a review of its adequacy and objectivity as practised in this field and its potential vulnerability to bias or manipulation.

7. Fundamentally, we consider it should be inappropriate for the verification of the integrity of the scientific process to depend on appeals to Freedom of Information legislation. Nevertheless, the right to such appeals has been shown to be necessary. The e-mails illustrate the possibility of networks of like-minded researchers effectively excluding newcomers. Requiring data to be electronically accessible to all, at the time of publication, would remove this possibility.

8. As a step towards restoring confidence in the scientific process and to provide greater transparency in future, the editorial boards of scientific journals should work towards setting down requirements for open electronic data archiving by authors, to coincide with publication. Expert input (from journal boards) would be needed to determine the category of data that would be archived. Much ‘raw’ data requires calibration and processing through interpretive codes at various levels.

9. Where the nature of the study precludes direct replication by experiment, as in the case of time-dependent field measurements, it is important that the requirements include access to all the original raw data and its provenance, together with the criteria used for, and effects of, any subsequent selections, omissions or adjustments. The details of any statistical procedures, necessary for the independent testing and replication, should also be included. In parallel, consideration should be given to the requirements for minimum disclosure in relation to computer modelling.

Are the terms of reference and scope of the Independent Review announced on 3 December 2009 by UEA adequate?

10. The scope of the UEA review is, not inappropriately, restricted to the allegations of scientific malpractice and evasion of the Freedom of Information Act at the CRU. However, most of the e-mails were exchanged with researchers in a number of other leading institutions involved in the formulation of the IPCC’s conclusions on climate change. In so far as those scientists were complicit in the alleged scientific malpractices, there is need for a wider inquiry into the integrity of the scientific process in this field.

11. The first of the review’s terms of reference is limited to: “…manipulation or suppression of data which is at odds with acceptable scientific practice…” The term ‘acceptable’ is not defined and might better be replaced with ‘objective’.

12. The second of the review’s terms of reference should extend beyond reviewing the CRU’s policies and practices to whether these have been breached by individuals, particularly in respect of other kinds of departure from objective scientific practice, for example, manipulation of the publication and peer review system or allowing pre-formed conclusions to override scientific objectivity.

How independent are the other two international data sets?

13. Published data sets are compiled from a range of sources and are subject to processing and adjustments of various kinds. Differences in judgements and methodologies used in such processing may result in different final data sets even if they are based on the same raw data. Apart from any communality of sources, account must be taken of differences in processing between the published data sets and any data sets on which they draw.

Clearly a sleeping giant has awakened.

Andrew Bolt muses:

This submission in effect warns that this recent warming may not be unprecedented, after all, and those that claim it is may have been blinded by bias or simply fiddled their results and suppressed dissent.

I’ll repeat: Climategate reveals the greatest scientific scandal of our lifetime.

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Green Sand

Also it does not look as though UEA have made a good start to the proceedings.
Times-online story University ‘tried to mislead MPs on climate change e-mails’
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7043566.ece
Even now they still cannot tell it as it is!

Annabelle

Wow! So much for “the consensus”!

Robert Kral

Let’s hope this is the first of many such statements. Too bad so many scientific organizations are so heavily vested in the AGW narrative.

mark in austin

wow…that is fairly amazing. do they have a history of being politically motivated at all? in other words, can they be dismissed for a clear bias in one direction or another?

Sharon

Clearly a sleeping giant has awakened.
And is very, very angry.
Go Science!

Theo Goodwin

The ball is now in the Climategaters court. The IOP states that the issues are issues of adherence to scientific method, not issues about climate science. Climategaters have done everything in their power to avoid discussing scientific method. They have refused to explain why they lock away parts of their science and why they will not speak candidly about their theories. They face the daunting task of learning the vocabulary of scientific method in record time.

Rhoda R

What really surprises me about this whole thing is the lack of noise from the media. Yes – there are the occassional reports, but, frankly, given the SCALE of this thing I’d expect wall-to-wall coverage from all kinds of angles. The general collusion of the media is running in second place for the scandal of the century. At least the Piltdown man was reported.

Patrik

This is huge.

Douglas DC

I wish this would go away before most of NE Oregon is littered with the
carcasses of dead wind turbines.
Another hole in the wall of the AGW fortress…
The Keep being a house of cards…

Lon Hocker

If only the AIP were as competent.

pat

The grownups finally have a say.

Skepshasa

In true science there is only the quest. Not advocacy based on preconceived notions of how the world should work, which inevitably leads to various forms of confirmation bias. I was trained a physicist and it’s no surprise to me that they are the foundation of the movement to clean up the image of true science.

bucko36

The “crack” in the AGW dam widens. Let the “truth” flow out!

Chris Edwards

Your first line is so true, and on more than one level, who would have thought, a charity without a left wing agenda!, great news for the taxpayer, the momentum is growing, perhaps emails, and letters to all MPs/ senators and reps from as many of us as can, just incase they only read “news”papers, give them links to here and the other spearheads of this expose.

Arthur

Just WOW!

Richard M

More popcorn please.

WOW! Finally some recognition of principles that are important to science from a science organization.
pwl
http://pathstoknowledge.net

GeorgeTetley

36,000 Physicists now THAT is a real political number, lets just hope this is reading week.

Chris

Thanks to IOP

jdn

Wow! I may have to join the IOP. It sure beats the APS. Of course, they’re only saying what every other scientist says when they get the facts on this case. It baffles me what’s holding back the APS & other organizations. I guess people still want to publish in Science, Nature & Sci. Am. (of all places).

Dave Wendt

It appears that the damage that the Team has done and is doing to the credibility of all of the scientific community is finally being felt by the members of that community outside of climate science. I’ve tried to resist getting too excited by any of the numerous individual revelations that have emerged since last November because the response from general scientific community has always seemed rather muted. This one might even get a tingle going up my leg. It’s hard to see how any of the lad’s canned dismissals are going to work against this.

cbone

Finally, the broader scientific community is beginning to realize that the AGW alarmism deserves further inquiry.

derise

Obviously the IOP is a community of denialists, we must get their member list and ensure that no member get published!
All sarcasm aside, I have nothing but admiration for any scientific organization that would publically take a stand like this. Would that more thoughts like this would get past the gatekeepers that make up the “leadership” and the editors of offical publications for other organizations maybe a real dent could be made in the politics for this AGW game.

Onion

What a bunch of flat earth deniers! I bet they’re funded by Big Oil.

Linda

Now MSM, are you listening??

RockyRoad

“…unless the disclosed e-mails are proved to be forgeries or adaptations…”
And after that’s been ascertained, I’d just like to see what else is on those servers. I’m sure there’s a lot more than what has been exposed.
But wow, this is huge. I wouldn’t want to be a climate scientist right now–at least on The Team of climate scientists.

David Ball

“His eyes wide open” Darmok from “Darmok and Picard at El Adril”.

Richard Sharpe

I hope you realize that by quoting Bolt you will be regarded as a drooling, knuckle-dragging mouth-breather by all the hip, sensitive people in the world.
REPLY: Funny thing is, people say the same thing when he quotes me. – A

Fred from Canuckistan

Simplified English translation:
What these pinheads did was commit fraud.

IPCC look out, your sandcastle is in a great danger, the climate-gate tsunami is rapidly approaching !

Stephen Wilde

This shows that the younger upcoming scientists resent the effect of having an older close knit set of like minded ideologues above them controlling both the data and it’s presentation.
It is now more in their career interests to reject the establishment and forge new ways forward in the relevant scientific disciplines.
In retrospect this was inevitable. Ageing dinosaurs like Mann, Jones et al can only control the system for so long and their days are now over.

Methow Ken

Another major nail in the AGW coffin (lid starting to get pretty well attached now, me thinks).
This one is especially important, i.e.:
Even in a world where much of the MSM continues to have a major bias in the politically-correct direction, no organization which wants to maintain even a shread of credibility as a reliable source of news can categorize or dismiss the IOP as just another small bunch of ”right-wing fringe deniers in the pocket of Exxon-Mobil”, etc.
Will be interesting to see how the IPCC animal tries to spin this one; even more so the UK Parliamentary Committee. While the wheels of justice do many times grind exceedingly slow, I think (or at least hope) that they are finally in motion. And I’m guessing we’re now at the point where the question is not whether or not Pauchauri will end up being a sacrificial lamb (he’s GOTTA be toast); but rather how many others will join him on the altar. Not sure who all will get thrown under the bus, but we certainly live in interesting times. . . .

PaulH

Glad to see representatives from the ‘hard science’ of physics shining some light on the climate change superstitions.

Onion (09:13:01) :
What a bunch of flat earth deniers! I bet they’re funded by Big Oil>>
You guessed it. Over on RealClimate they’re already bashing the IOP, suggesting it is playing to business interests and so on. They would do well to read through the other submissions on the web site which include over 50 papers. Along with the IOP, there are two more papers, once from the Royal Statistics Society and the other from the Royal Society of Chemists. Neither are as blunt as the comments from the IOP, but their message is pretty clear. Science relies on complete disclosure of data and methodology, as well as promotion (not suppression) of debate.
I’ve been watching these last couple of years as one card after another is pulled from the house of cards, waiting for it to collapse, amazed that it can stand at all. Of the three organizations, none of them have actually confronted the science itself. But they have ALL stood up now and pointedly said “That’s a house of cards”.
Once those organizations get some press time too, I’m sure RC will be carrying comments tying them to big business as well. The conspiracy must obviously widen until it includes everyone on Earth except the alarmists.

latitude

Oh poot, what does a bunch of Physicists know about weather anyway? ;-D

Henry chance

Michael Mann wrote many e-mails that convince us he is unwilling and unable to comply with what these Physicists call doint science correctly. Joe Romm is all over defending him from exposure by the WSJ.
This fraud is not to be defended.
The day Mann publically admits what he admits privately, the funding for research for warming and dangerous consequences dries up. Mann is now in the hot seat.

“It is now more in their [younger upcoming scientists] career interests to reject the establishment and forge new ways forward in the relevant scientific disciplines.” – Stephen Wilde (09:34:24)
Let’s hope that they [younger upcoming scientists] learn to NOT forge their science with fraud but that they use anvils instead that can withstand the pressures of repeated batterings of verification.

D. King

13. Published data sets are compiled from a range of sources and are subject to processing and adjustments of various kinds.
I am 95% confident that this data is robust. We must act immediately,
stop breeding, and trash our economies. Come on…follow me,
I’ll save you!

Doug in Seattle

My congratulations to IOP on their honest and forthright summary of what the UEA leak has revealed.
These revelations will make it much more difficult for policy makers to sweep this issue under the rug as they have been trying hard to do since November 2009.
I hope the EPA and Congress are paying attention. I do not think Climategate is going to go away anytime soon if we see more prestigious science bodies such as the IOP making such claims.

The Institute of Physics is not just some charity – it is the main professional body for physicists in the UK and Ireland. It is incorporated by Royal Charter. It is able to grant Chartered Physicist status, and, under licence for the engineering council, Chartered Engineer status.
Considerable weight would be attached to a submission from the IoP.

Jim Clarke

This is great news, but it is still science by authority. Even before ‘climategate’ the essence of the scandal was there for all to see. The obfuscation had been ongoing for years. The ‘crime’ was obvious to anyone who cared to look! The evidence was more than circumstantial, yet no one (in the MSM, governments or large science organizations) took notice.
Climategate provided a smoking gun, and all the skeptics said “See, it is just like we said!” Still there was little reaction, with a possible exception in England. Now, because the IOP takes our side we expect the rest of the world to finally notice, and they probably will.
It is a shame that truth and evidence still account for so little, even in science. When it comes to persuasion, it appears that the ‘correct’ speaker is still more important than the words that are said.

George Turner

I’ll save RC some trouble and point out that physicists bear much of the blame for the advances that led to industrialization and the modern CO2 emitting era. 🙂

RockyRoad

I went to RealClimate and posted the IOP items listed above in the comments for three threads. I’m sure they won’t survive the scissors. And while they’re probably already aware of them, Gavin can’t say he never saw them. 🙂

vigilantfish

A miracle has happened……
Must invest in popcorn stocks!

Eric

Is Joe Romm a signatory?

JMANON

Interesting contrast to Judith’s blog experiment.
Maybe we shoule expect similar declarations from other organisations such as the Royal Society.
We’re now getting into “mission statement” territory and though it ought not to have been necessary, it would seem as if some organisations should make a written declaration of the fundemental scientific principles they adhere to and require that their members concur.
There should also be action taken by the various societies to elect memebres who fall short of the avowed principles of science and the society.
Such behaviour as we suspect has taken place at UAE shoul also be grounds for dismissal and the revocation of the right to be called “Professor”, tenured or not.
One begins to wonder, as time passes and more detailes emerge, just how computer illiterate and how methematically illiterate some of these climatologists are.
It would seem as if some of the computer programs and data processing by UAE was done on a home PC by a novice computer programmer or, at best, by a computer studies student who spends more time in the pub than working. You’d think, with £23million in grants, that they’d do a better job than this.

Pascvaks

Ref – Rhoda R (08:50:31) :
“What really surprises me about this whole thing is the lack of noise from the media…”
___________________________
When the bombs are falling all around you, you head for a shelter underground, get in as deep as you can, and pray pray pray to the ‘One And Only’ –that you’ve denied ever existed since you were 16– and swear that if you’re only allowed to live you’ll be good and go to church (or whatever) every week for the rest of your life.
The bombs are still falling. The MSM is still crouched deep underground. Still praying, praying, praying. Still promising they’ll do right and be better from now on if they’re allowed to live another day.
They do not realize that everyone in the bunker is watching them and listening to their screems to ‘Heaven Above’ and the ‘promises’ they’re making if they’re allowed to live.
The bombs are getting bigger and bigger. More and more is being destroyed above them in the city. But there is a slight change, the explosions seem to be getting farther and farther away from the shelter.
Soon the explosions are a distant rumble and no danger to those in the shelter. Soon they all know that they survived to live another day. Now, what will the MSM, the fellow praying so loud for all to hear do?
(Looks and sounds like he’s still in the shelter. Afraid to come out. Only now the loud, frightened, screamed prayers have turned to silence. And everyone can hear the “silence” as they turn their backs and walk away.)

Theo Goodwin

No doubt today’s CRU is not the CRU that Obama, Pachauri, Hansen, and the whole bunch one knew.

Richard Sharpe

Richard Sharpe (09:17:16) said:

I hope you realize that by quoting Bolt you will be regarded as a drooling, knuckle-dragging mouth-breather by all the hip, sensitive people in the world.

Anthony replied:

<bREPLY: Funny thing is, people say the same thing when he quotes me. – A

That is funny. I hope you realize that I forgot a smiley and a /sarc above …

Shorter IOP: “It’s the scientific method, stupid!”
The question in the mind of many skeptical lay-people has never been “how do we prove it isn’t happening,” it’s been “how do we know that the evidence you’re providing makes the case you’re asserting.” Most of what we’ve received in response has been of the nature of “because we said so, we’re really smart, and look at that polar bear on that ice flow!” That’s not science.
Carl Sagan said “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Unprecedented, man-induced climate change is an extraordinary claim indeed. Nobody should be surprised that reasonable people would require extraordinary evidence beyond arguments to authority, especially if we’re being asked to re-engineer our entire world economy and society to address the impacts of those claims.
I’m encouraged that more and more of the scientific community is expressing the interest in fully applying the scientific method to the AGW hypothesis. It’s long overdue.