Yamal that hurts! CRU gets touchy, responds to McIntyre and Montford without naming them

From the “he who must not be named” department, comes this sure to be future McI-fodder.

UEA/CRU responds in a press release, authored by Tim Osborn, an excerpt:

===========================================================

Tim Osborn comments on “Yamal, Polar Urals and Muir-Russell”

Recent accusations (here, leading to embellishment across parts of the blogosphere, e.g. here) that the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) promoted tree-ring results that fit some preconceived view (e.g. of modern temperatures exceeding those during Medieval times) or curtailed other work because it did not support such a view, and that CRU deceived the Muir-Russell inquiry about its work in this area, are all false. (emphasis is Osborn’s)

Two key points to begin:

1. The raw tree-ring data used in our published work are available; anyone is free to use them in any way they wish.

2. We already responded in detail to criticisms concerning the Yamal chronology. The figure on that webpage (reproduced at the end of this document) shows the impact of including additional tree-ring data (black line) compared to our previously published data (blue and red lines). The impact is relatively small, though note the caveats in the text on that webpage. We are currently working towards a new paper that incorporates additional tree-ring data from the Yamal and Polar Urals region.

It is misleading, therefore, to imply that because we have not yet published all of our work in this area, we are somehow restricting the advance of scientific knowledge in this area. A recommendation of the Muir Russell report that is directly relevant to the issue of scientific advancement and to the current accusations is: (bold mine)

We note that much of the challenge to CRU’s work has not always followed the conventional scientific method of checking and seeking to falsify conclusions or offering alternative hypotheses for peer review and publication. We believe this is necessary if science is to move on, and we hope that all those involved on all sides of the climate science debate will adopt this approach.

Full press release is here: http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/rebuttalsandcorrections/yamal

ALTERNATE LINK: http://www.webcitation.org/681asTi21

============================================================

…much of the challenge to CRU’s work has not always followed the conventional scientific method…

Oh, well that makes it OK then. /sarc What a laughable defense to cite now. What greater condemnation of CRU’s methods could be written? Do these guys understand what they are doing when they cite things like this? I think not.

Recall the bullying of CRU’s Phil Jones regarding the “scientific method” and peer review:

In July 2004, referring to Climate Research having published a paper by “MM”, thought to be Ross McKitrick and Pat Michaels, and another paper by Eugenia Kalnay and Ming Cai, Jones emailed his colleagues saying,

“I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin [TRENBERTH] and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

Source: Wikpedia on the CRU emails – Alleged exclusion of papers from IPCC report

This episode reminds me of a famous movie line:

“I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”  – General Yamamoto in the 1970 film Tora! Tora! Tora!,

Maybe the coded battle message now will be Yamal! Yamal! Yamal!

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geo

I think you missed the intended context. “. . . much of the CHALLENGE to CRU’s work” is what I think was being indicated had not followed conventional scientific methods. In other words, the challengers, aka the skeptics, aka a Certain Canadian Who Must Not Be Named.
REPLY: Yes, but I was thinking of them blocking peer review, I’ve added a CRU email quote to clarify. – Anthony

Jon in TX

It is misleading, therefore, to imply that because we have not yet published all of our work in this area, we are somehow restricting the advance of scientific knowledge in this area

Since they haven’t published all their work in this area, would it not also be misleading to use it to advance an agenda restricting economic growth and asking to spend trillions to resolve a problem which may not even be problem?

Andrew

Thats it keep hammering away at this Yamal thing its what will bring them down to be sure LOL

I read it the same way geo does–not that CRU hasn’t followed conventional scientific method, but that the challenges to it haven’t.

John W. Garrett

I can’t help but note the subject of the referenced sentence: “… much of the challenge to CRU’s work has not always followed the conventional scientific method of checking and seeking to falsify conclusions or offering alternative hypotheses for peer review and publication…”
The subject of the sentence isn’t “CRU’s work.”
With respect, that’s a fairly important distinction.
REPLY: See my note- Anthony

steveta_uk

Indeed, Geo is correct – you’ve inverted the sense in the bold section.

REPLY:
See my note- Anthony

JEM

What they are arguing is that they’re not crooks, they’re just incompetent, but no one is qualified to challenge them on their incompetence unless said individual is prepared to run the gauntlet of their protectors in order to get something in the pal-reviewed “literature”.

Glenn Haldane

Er – Have you got the right end of the stick here? Is not Muir Russell saying ‘ . . . much of the challenge (to CRU’s work) has not always followed the conventional scientific method . . .’ ?

MattN

Yes, I agree. He is saying the CHALLENGES to CRU’s work has not followed the scientific method. Which is absolutely absurd. Almost as absurd as loping off 50 years of a chronology because you don’t like what it says…

bladeshearer

Presented in boldface above is purported to be a Muir Russell inquiry quote:
CRU’s work has not always followed the conventional scientific method…
This is editing with a vengeance, completely reversing the meaning of the original statement:
much of the challenge to CRU’s work has not always followed the conventional scientific method…
I am disappointed to see such deceptive tactics on this blog.
REPLY: That was my mistake, I was thinking of the CRU challenges to peer review, and I erred in cut an paste, fixed now, with a clarifying quote added. – Anthony

Andrew

I would be not surprised in this new paper never sees the light of day. Obviously SM will be analyzing this latest graph carefully and see if it tallies with past statements and data not provided or now revealed.

Martin C

Anthony, it appeared to me that Osborn is stating that , ” . .much of THE CHALLENGE TO CRU’s work has not always followed the scientific method . . ” . I didn’t read it as Osborn stating that CRU’s work hasn’t followed the scientific method . . .
Now that still doesn’t change my mind about WHAT CRU DID nor how they have behaved. I think they have not done ‘good science’. But I think too much is being read into only the bolded words . . .
REPLY: See my note- Anthony

Don Keiller

To quote Mandy Rice-Davies “He would say that wouldn’t he”?

DirkH

“…much of the challenge to CRU’s work has not always followed the conventional scientific method…”
Wait a moment, after years of trying to get themselves a looser set of rules called Post normal Science, we want to be a Normal Science again at the CRU?
FINE! Make a prediction and when it gets falsified retract your IPCC reports!
Wonder how it’s going with the tropospheric hotspot…

Duster

Osborn apparently needs some remedial English work. The passage regarding not having “…not .. followed the scientific method…” is obscure beyond redemption. I think, as geo seems to, that “challenge” actually may refer to SM among others. Since SM has had to resort to FOI requests in order to even approach acquiring that data, and no one on the “team” has ever published an explanation of how the more modern tree-ring data were filtered, the gist of the assertion that the information is available is – ah – misleading. Also, when considering methods, peer review, and publication, perhaps if the “team” were actually willing to entertain such activities, rather resort to the behaviour documented in the Climategate emails, they might not be stinging quite so much.

If only peer review can move science forward what are they doing publishing press releases?

All of this is my personal opinion about the matter of course:
When CRU releases their data and code, they will be following internationally accepted standards for responsible conduct of scientific research.
When they explain why they:
a) excluded part of the larger Yamal data set after after
b) having first analyzed it, and
c) explain how they failed to notify the reader that they were excluding data they had access to and had already examined,
then they will be following internationally accepted standards for responsible conduct of scientific research. (However this remediation will not cure their previous failures to follow international standards, nor is denying that they materially failed to follow these standards, when they de facto failed to follow them, is anything further than an additional violation of these standards.)
In my opinion, at this point, I view them as having violated the trust of the scientific body. I do not think this public release statement helps their case and see it simply as a continuation of unethical behavior on the part of this group. Claiming that including all the additional data (which they had access to prior to publication) doesn’t materially affect the reconstructed curve is a demonstrable falsehood.
To suggest, after CRU employees have actively participated in blocking the publication of peer reviewed research, that other researchers must pass the CRU gauntlet before it can be considered to meet their “rigorous standards” for “conventional scientific methods” is snort-your-coffee-onto-your-keyboard laugh-out-loud lunacy.
Given that CRU only admitted to which subset of of the available data was used after an extended FOI fight, to suggest that CRU itself follows “conventional scientific practice” is simply beyond the pale. This information should have been available in the original peer-reviewed document.

John Whitman

Anthony,
Parody on/
Be careful, the pseudo-scientists of the Team (of CG1 & CG2 notoriety) surely are starting to draw pentagrams on the floors of their esteemed faculty lounges chanting forbidden evils curses on skeptic blog leaders. Or at least they are making wax figures of you all with locks of your hair stuck in and they are looking for pins to stick in the figures.
Do you have any good witches in Chico who can put protective counter charms on you?
Parody off/
Still, without parody, I say you should be careful. We all should not underestimate what some unbalanced people, caught up in the alarmist CAGW fanatical rhetoric, might contemplate in some sick phantasy.
John

Brian H

Someone should do a little symbolic logic run-thru of that release. There’s some very dodgy stuff happening in all that verbiage.

sailboarder

I wonder why they chose to delete most of the second graph? Why did they not include statistical ranges, ie, standard deviations? How can anyone use this “proof” to judge whether or not the tree ring chronology says anything at all of import to 1000 years of temperatures?

Duster

Wow! Anthony, things change quickly in the blogosphere. Between reading the original post and posting my comment, you apparently have had an avalanche of very similar responses and you’ve addressed them. Still I think it did the job, because there’s an agreement that Osborn might have been better to not say anything,
REPLY: My mistake was the result of time pressure due to needing to leave for work and tangential inspiration. I got the idea on the YAMAL movie poster, but didn’t finish my citation about Jones and peer review. I had it in the clipboard, but didn’t paste it. Haste makes waste, but thank goodness I have WUWT’s insta peer review to spot such mistakes so that they can be quickly corrected. Thanks everybody! – Anthony

Isn’t this the same Tom Osborne, who in the climate gate emails sought to strip the PhD of a skeptic that he did not agree with?

MikeN

So they are working on a paper which has the data Steve McIntyre requested. As it is a non-hockey-stick result, it will perhaps be reviewed harshly by Phil Jones and others as not interesting to the readers of the journal. This will be a paper that just can’t seem to get past under review status.

Phil C

Such is the issue when I try to fit in a story before heading to the office.
And it speaks loudly as to why scientific findings are subject to lengthly peer review by qualified scientists before publication.

REPLY: But what about “Kevin and I will keep them out somehow”?

Stacey

So all their data has always been freely available? That is just not true?

John W. Garrett

Mr. Watts,
One aspect of WUWT that originally gave me confidence in its intellectual integrity was its very light moderation and ( unlike a certain other well-known climate blog ) its willingness to accept criticism.
The quick recognition, admission of error and correction demonstrated in this thread reinforced my confidence in WUWT’s honesty and intellectual integrity.
“Truth will out.”

cui bono

Yep – they’re blaming blogs for criticising their work. Sniff.

Stacey:

So all their data has always been freely available? That is just not true?

An account of which subset of the data they analyzed has not always been freely available—One operating principle in science is replicability.
If you don’t tell people what you did in enough detail that it can be replicated, you aren’t following established guidelines for responsible conduct of research.
What we have here, given the disparity between the CRU Yamal reconstruction and that of Steve McIntyre ,
is the apparent cherry picking of a subset of data that gave a desirable result.
Even if they had good reasons (especially if they did), they need to have explained which data they used and which they excluded at the time of publication, and the prior reasons for inclusion or exclusion of data.
Hearing weak-minded apologists give lame excuses framed by Osborne in the context of “standard scientific practice” seriously doesn’t do anything to help Ken Briffa’s case here.
Phil C’s defense seems to be that Anthony made an editing error, corrected it and admitted that he corrected it and apologized for it.
How is that a credibloe defense? Isn’t what Anthony did after recognizing his error what CRU should have done rather than double-down and continue the claim that everything they did was on the up-and-up?

Gail Combs

I do not think Shakespeare could write a comedy as funny as the CRU Yamal saga. It would take Monty Python. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eMkth8FWno
Do not forget Willis’s tussle to get data from CRU

…I asked for your data in part because I was astounded by your answer to Warwick Hughes when he asked for the same data. You replied to Warwick at that time, “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?”
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/27/an-open-letter-to-dr-phil-jones-of-the-uea-cru/

Some choice E-mails: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/14/reading-every-one-of-the-5000-climategate-2-emails/
250 note worthy e-mails http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/06/250-plus-noteworthy-climategate-2-0-emails/

Paul Marko

Now that the citation error has been corrected. How about a Yamal-Yamal-Yamal T-shirt. That poster was as creative and funny as anything Josh has illustrated.

Gail Combs

Dennis Ray Wingo says:
May 29, 2012 at 10:21 am
Isn’t this the same Tom Osborne, who in the climate gate emails sought to strip the PhD of a skeptic that he did not agree with?
______________________________________
Team ugliness – a call to get a skeptics PhD thesis revoked: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/02/team-ugliness-an-call-to-get-a-skeptics-phd-thesis-revoked/

Climategate II: An Open Letter to the Director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research
To: Dr. Roger Wakimoto…..
….Everyone agrees that the tone and content of many of them [Climategate e-mails] is a bit shrill and occasionally intolerant (kind of like University faculty meetings), but there is one repeating thread, by one of your most prestigious employees, Dr. Tom Wigley, that is far beyond the pale of most academic backbiting.
The revoking of my doctorate, the clear objective of Tom’s email, is the professional equivalent of the death penalty.
I think it needs to be brought to your attention, because the basic premise underlying his machinations is patently and completely false. Dr Wigley is known as a careful scientist, but he certainly was careless here….

There was also this one:
Regulatory Czar wants to use copyright protection mechanisms to shut down rumors and conspiracy theories: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/20/regulatory-czar-wants-to-use-copyright-protection-mechanisms-to-shut-down-rumors-and-conspiracy-theories/

Sean Peake

Anthony, in the passge you quote from Muir Russel, I believe you highlighted the wrong sentence. It is the last one that is important: that BOTH sides must follow the established rules, seek to falsify conclusions or provide alternate hypothesies, not just the skeptic side. So it seems that MR were not just pointing to the skeptics otherwise the reccomendation would clearly have stated such–tho’ the tought part would be to get the other side’s work peer reviewed and past the gatekeeprs.

Man Bearpig

I’m sure that any paper that questions the Briffa paper will not make the peer reviewed journals even if they have to redefine the peer review process so this is an empty complaint.

jayhd

I believe that “We note that much of the challenge to”, which you left out, changes the meaning of the highlighted phrase to mean that critics of the CRU are not using the scientific method. But never mind that, I noticed the incredible shrinking population of trees in the graphs shown in the release. The population went from a high of about 75 trees up to 1930, to a low of about 7 or 8 trees around 1998 or 1999. The decline was most precipitous between 1990 (about 55 trees) to 1998-99 (7 or 8). Now I’m no statistician, just an accountant, but I do know when the population of your sample decreases, the weight of the individual units that make up that sample increases. What is the explanation for the reduction of sample size? Cherry picking?

Jim Clarke

Is there a difference between the scientific method and the ‘conventional’ scientific method? One can only assume that Tim Osborn believes there is.

Friends:
I think this is an excellent article and a good thread.
I agree with the brief post by omnologos at May 29, 2012 at 10:15 am that says

If only peer review can move science forward what are they doing publishing press releases?

And the adjacent long post by Carrick at May 29, 2012 at 10:16 am is superb. Among many other good points, Carrick says of Osborne’s press release:

In my opinion, at this point, I view them as having violated the trust of the scientific body. I do not think this public release statement helps their case and see it simply as a continuation of unethical behavior on the part of this group. Claiming that including all the additional data (which they had access to prior to publication) doesn’t materially affect the reconstructed curve is a demonstrable falsehood.

Nothing more needs to be said, really. Except, of course,
I want a Yamal, Yamal, Yamal T-shirt .
Richard

It was McKitrick and Michaels.

Peter Miller

CRU do not seem to realise that they have betrayed the trust of the British public. They have supported the insupportable actions of the Team where they deliberately lied, cherry picked data, manipulated data to meet pre-conceived conclusions.and refused reasonable requests for data and how that data was processed.
So this statement is little more than arrant rubbish.
Bottom line: They realise they have been found out and they are squealing.

eyesonu

We note that much of the challenge to CRU’s work has not always followed the conventional scientific method of checking and seeking to falsify conclusions or offering alternative hypotheses for peer review and publication. We believe this is necessary if science is to move on, and we hope that all those involved on all sides of the climate science debate will adopt this approach.
=====================
Anthony, I’m uncertain as to whether you really needed to reconsider your first interpretation of the statement with regards to the above quote by the review panel. But you have made an ethical move to reflect your integrity with regards to that ambiguous statement.
Considering the whitewash factor by the review panel that statement could have been artfully crafted with the intention of ambiguity.
This will be an interesting thread. I hope someone with more time than I have now will publish the definition of ‘ambiguous’ as that will be a cornerstone in the upcoming discussion in the comments if the first few are any indication.
But I believe Yamal! Yamal! Yamal! is ringing in the CRU and the team’s ears. They hear it loud and clear. Just take a look at the recent PR from every angle to cover-up or draw attention away from the hockey stick. It has caused a lot of twisted panties! The closet door has opened and all the players have come out in a last ditch effort to try to bail out and save the sinking ship of CAGW.

Doug Proctor

Ahh, I get it. You disagree, go out and do your own data gathering – full stop.
Review and criticism of another’s work is not permitted in the Climate sciences. If you haven’t done your own field work, you have neither the knowledge nor the scientific right to have an opinion on the subject!
And whatever you do has to go through our acceptable peer-review group before you can talk about our work relative to your work.
This is how we maintain positions and get grants, dude. We publish a paper, and if there are mistakes, we fix it with the next money we get, unless that would be embarrassing, in which case we study something else. Remember, there is no grant money for reviewing the work of others, because that is really cheap work. And by they way, why would we do it? It will just make us look incompetent, which will make the next proposal harder to sell.
Come on! It’s hard to get money to study stuff, so leave us alone and we’ll leave you alone. The last thing we need is someone suggesting we didn’t use the last tranch of money well. Don’t be so high-and-mighty. People in glass houses, and all that.

Phil

Why was YAD061 not removed as an outlier? Remember in Steig’s Antarctica paper that the slight cooling trend in Comiso 2000 was changed to a slight warming trend simply by removing outliers:

We make use of the cloud masking in ref. 8 (Comiso 2000) but impose an additional restriction that requires that daily anomalies be within a threshold of ±10 °C of climatology, a conservative technique that will tend to damp extreme values and, hence, minimize trends29.

The reference is to Reynolds 2002: An Improved In Situ and Satellite SST Analysis for Climate., which seems to be mostly about Sea Surface Temperatures and Ice concentrations and not about Air Temperatures above ice sheets as in Antarctica:

The OI.v2 analysis has a modest improvement in the bias correction because of the addition of more in situ data.

Nevertheless, it seems that when a result can be obtained that agrees with CAGW, then outliers are removed, even though it is not clear that this was justified for Steig 2009, yet in Yamal, YAD061, a clear outlier, was retained because, without it, the hockey stick shape was hard to come by.
We are not talking about picking ordinary cherries here. These are Jurassic cherries.

John A. Fleming

Here’s the deception: Osborne says “the raw tree-ring data used in our published work are available”.
That’s true. But they pre-filtered the data. The published paper was based on non-transparently selected data, the reasons for rejection of all other considered time series was not published, nor were the excluded time series made available.
So when Osborne says “are all false”, he’s being carefully true, and carefully deceptive.

Delicious. Here’s my favourite bit:
“all sides of the climate science debate”
It’s been a while since they admitted that there is a debate at all.

Jimbo

It is misleading, therefore, to imply that because we have not yet published all of our work in this area, we are somehow restricting the advance of scientific knowledge in this area

We won’t know that until you publish all of your work in this area.
Regarding restricting scientific knowledge need I remind them about efforts to get editors sacked for not following the party line. Deleting emails, re-defining the peer review process etc.

Phil.

Phil C says:
May 29, 2012 at 10:22 am
Such is the issue when I try to fit in a story before heading to the office.
And it speaks loudly as to why scientific findings are subject to lengthly peer review by qualified scientists before publication.
REPLY: But what about “Kevin and I will keep them out somehow”?

What about it, they weren’t kept out and Trenberth was quite clear that under the rules of the IPCC they could not be.

Geneke11y

I’m surprised at the respect that Muir Russell commands in this thread.
Going with the flow and bending the rules to advance science (you hope) is an error that, with group think, leads to folly.
Investigating folly with blinkers on leads to establishing a false premise as authenticated truth.
It’s Muir Russell who established the fraud (yes) and the courts will note that.

Rhoda R

Phil, I’m not a fan of deleting outlier data unless 1) the reason why the data is an outlier is known and 2) that reason has nothing to do with the affect being studies. Natural variation occurs — that is why we have 3rd SD — and even if rare it still needs to be acknowledged. Goodness knows that I’ve often wished I could just lose an outlier or two.

John

The “rebuttal” comes a good bit of the way to where McIntyre already is. The “rebuttal” (the “responded in detail” link above):
http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/people/briffa/yamal2009/
If you look at the second graphic in the “rebuttal,” you will see that temperatures as estimated by the larger group of treemometers than in the original Briffa papers now show very similar temperature peaks in the 1920s, 1930s, 1950s, 1960s, 1980s, and 1990s. VERY different that in the first graphic (the earlier Yamal chronology that McIntyre critiques), where there is a pronounced peak only in the last decade or so — in other words, a very strong hockey stick shape — and temps in the 1920s, 1930s, 1950s, 1960s, etc., are all very low, nearly as low as in the previous 1900 years (according to that graphic).
Compare on the same scale: in the second graphic, the peak temps in the new, more comprehensive analysis just noted all are between 2.5 and over 3 on the vertical scale provided. In the both graphics; however, none of the temps in these same time frames in the original article with much fewer trees, get over abourt 1.5 on the same scale, until the last decade or so.
No matter how these folks spin the results, they have now created a temperature proxy, using a more complete inventory of trees, that shows 20th and 21st C temps, starting from about 1925, with only a slight apparent temperature trend starting in the 1920s, basically what looks like an oscillation every 10 to 20 years with a similar peak at the end of the oscillation.
NOT a sudden hockey stick with a huge jump in temps in the last decade or so. See for yourself.

Louis Hooffstetter

How ironic is it that Osborn’s statement:
“We note that much of the challenge to CRU’s work has not always followed the conventional scientific method of checking and seeking to falsify conclusions or offering alternative hypotheses for peer review and publication”
at first glance appears to say: “that much of the CRU’s work has not always followed the conventional scientific method…”
which is demonstrably true beyond any shadow of a doubt.