Re: [asa] AGW discussion

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Mon Nov 30 2009 - 21:02:13 EST

More from Judy Curry, with my emphasis added (Source:


1. Transparency. *Climate data needs to be publicly available and well
documented.* *This includes metadata that explains how the data were treated
and manipulated, what assumptions were made in assembling the data sets, and
what data was omitted and why. This would seem to be an obvious and simple
requirement, but the need for such transparency has only been voiced
recently as the policy relevance of climate data has increased.* The HADCRU
surface climate dataset and the paleoclimate dataset that has gone into the
various “hockeystick” analyses stand out as lacking such transparency.* Much
of the paleoclimate data and metadata has become available only because of
continued public pressure from Steve McIntyre.* Datasets that were processed
and developed decades ago and that are now regarded as essential elements of
the climate data record often contain elements whose raw data or metadata
were not preserved (this appears to be the case with HADCRUT). The HADCRU
surface climate dataset needs public documentation that details the time
period and location of individual station measurements used in the data set,
statistical adjustments to the data, how the data were analyzed to produce
the climatology, and what measurements were omitted and why. If these data
and metadata are unavailable, I would argue that the data set needs to be
reprocessed (presumably the original raw data is available from the original
sources).* Climate data sets should be regularly reprocessed as new data
becomes available and analysis methods improve. There are a number of
aspects of the surface climate record that need to be understood better. For
example, the surface temperature bump ca. 1940 needs to be sorted out, and I
am personally lacking confidence in how this period is being treated in the
HADCRUT analysis.* In summary, *given the growing policy relevance of
climate data*, increasingly higher standards must be applied to the
transparency and availability of climate data and metadata. These standards
should be clarified, applied and enforced by the relevant national funding
agencies and professional societies that publish scientific journals.


After becoming more knowledgeable about the politics of climate change (both
the external politics and the internal politics within the climate
field),*I became concerned about some of the tribes pointing their
guns inward at
other climate researchers who question their research or don’t pass various
loyalty tests.* I even started spending time at climateaudit, and my public
congratulations to Steve McIntyre when climateaudit won the “best science
blog award” was greeted with a rather unpleasant email from one of the
tribal members. While the “hurricane wars” fizzled out in less than a year
as the scientists recovered from the external assault and got back to
business as usual in terms of arguing science with their colleagues, the
“hockey wars” have continued apparently unabated. With the publication of
the IPCC 4th Assessment report, the Nobel Peace Prize, and energy
legislation near the top of the national legislative agenda, the
“denialists” were becoming increasingly irrelevant (the Heartland Conference
and NIPCC are not exactly household words).* Hence it is difficult to
understand the continued circling of the wagons by some climate researchers
with guns pointed at skeptical researchers by apparently trying to withhold
data and other information of relevance to published research, thwart the
peer review process, and keep papers out of assessment reports.* Scientists
are of course human, and short-term emotional responses to attacks and
adversity are to be expected, but* I am particularly concerned by this
apparent systematic and continuing behavior from scientists that hold
editorial positions, serve on important boards and committees and
participate in the major assessment reports. It is these issues revealed in
the HADCRU emails that concern me the most, and it seems difficult to spin many
of the emails related to FOIA, peer review, and the assessment process. I
sincerely hope that these emails do not in actuality reflect what they
appear to*, and I encourage Gavin Schmidt et al. to continue explaining the
individual emails and the broader issues of concern.


Particularly on a topic of such great public relevance, *scientists need to
consider carefully skeptical arguments and either rebut them or learn from
them.* Trying to suppress them or discredit the skeptical researcher or
blogger is *not an ethical strategy and one that will backfire in the long
run*. I have some sympathy for Phil Jones’ concern of not wanting to lose
control of his personal research agenda by having to take the time to
respond to all the queries and requests regarding his dataset,* but the
receipt of large amounts of public funding pretty much obligates CRU to
respond to these requests.* The number of such requests would be drastically
diminished if all relevant and available data and metadata were made
publicly accessible, and if requests from Steve McIntyre were honored (I
assume that many spurious requests have been made to support Steve
McIntyre’s request, and these would all disappear).


But the broader issue is the need to increase the public credibility of
climate science. *This requires publicly available data and metadata, a
rigorous peer review process, and responding to arguments raised by
skeptics.* The integrity of individual scientists that are in positions of
responsibility (e.g. administrators at major research institutions,
editorial boards, major committees, and assessments) is particularly
important for the public credibility of climate science. The need for public
credibility and transparency has dramatically increased in recent years as
the policy relevance of climate research has increased.* The climate
research enterprise has not yet adapted to this need, and our institutions
need to strategize to respond to this need.*


If what Judy Curry is talking about with regard to these emails is
"scientists letting their hair down", then clearly the best option is to
force scientists to go bald.

All that aside. Rich, you so often make hay of the claim that "Christians in
science will not identify they are Christians". It's about time someone
asks, why? Is it because they will have that held against them by their
peers and superiors? Are you saying that their fellow, non-Christian
scientists and employers will keep them from advancing professionally,
ostracize them, and generally put pressure on them in their work and
research because of their Christian faith? And if so, *are you saying that
these scientists are justified in doing so* because of their perceptions of
Christianity? I'd really like to know.

On Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 8:04 PM, Rich Blinne <> wrote:

> On Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 3:11 PM, Cameron Wybrow <>wrote:
>> Judy Curry, an actual specialist in climate science, who presumably
>> knows the issues as well or better than you and Rich Blinne do, has said as
>> much, as I indicated in my previous post. As long as you can't say even that
>> much, I find it hard to regard you as the voice of balance and moderation in
>> the debate.
>> Cameron.
>> I agree that Judy Curry is a good source of showing why the people acted
> the way they did. Continuing to falsely accuse of political motivations when
> none exist will only decrease the transparency that's needed. The wagons
> will only be circled tighter and letting your hair down and being brutally
> honest in electronic communication will stop not only in climate science but
> throughout the entire scientific enterprise. What I haven't seen yet is the
> equivalent of her on the skeptic side that distinguishes the true skeptics
> from the politically-motivated disinformation machine and would for example
> distinguish a Tim Ball from a John Cristy. Here's what she said:
> As a result of the politicization of climate science, climate tribes
> (consisting of a small number of climate researchers) were established *in
> response to the politically motivated climate disinformation machine that
> was associated with e.g. ExxonMobil, CEI, Inhofe/Morano etc*. The reaction
> of the climate tribes to the political assault has been to circle the wagons
> and point the guns outward in an attempt to *discredit misinformation from
> politicized advocacy groups*. The motivation of scientists in the pro AGW
> tribes appears to be *less about politics and more about professional ego
> and scientific integrity* *as their research was under assault for
> nonscientific reasons* (I’m sure there are individual exceptions, but this
> is my overall perception). I became adopted into a “tribe” during Autumn
> 2005 after publication of the Webster et al. hurricane and global warming
> paper. I and my colleagues were totally bewildered and overwhelmed by *the
> assault we found ourselves under*, and associating with a tribe where
> others were more experienced and savvy about how to deal with this was a
> relief and very helpful at the time.
> She then went on to how describe how this morphed into the circular firing
> squad. She then was critical of here own community and their overreaction to
> the outside slander. She can continue to try to gain as much transparency as
> possible there and I wish here well. My concern is the misbehavior in my
> community that isn't the climate science one. The environment of easy
> suspicion of people who had nothing to do at all with these e-mails takes my
> breath away. So, Christians in the sciences will not mention they
> are Christians because Christians are closely associated with the
> politically motivated disinformation machine. And scientists will not
> mention they are such in a Christian context because so many of their
> brothers and sisters have bought the message of the politically-motivated
> disinformation machine. When I noted how this whole environment was
> unnecessarily hurting ASA members this is what I had in mind. I was met with
> derision and had the motivations of our members questioned in that they were
> just advancing their careers. This is the damage wrought by misconstruing
> motives. Sure, the climate scientists have their dirty laundry but this one
> is ours.
> Rich Blinne
> Member ASA

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Mon Nov 30 21:03:19 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Nov 30 2009 - 21:03:19 EST