Adéu a Nihil Obstat | Hola a The Catalan Analyst

Després de 13 anys d'escriure en aquest bloc pràcticament sense interrumpció, avui el dono per clausurat. Això no vol dir que m'hagi jubilat de la xarxa, sinó que he passat el relleu a un altra bloc que segueix la mateixa línia del Nihil Obstat. Es tracta del bloc The Catalan Analyst i del compte de Twitter del mateix nom: @CatalanAnalyst Us recomano que els seguiu.

Moltes gràcies a tots per haver-me seguit amb tanta fidelitat durant tots aquests anys.

dimecres, 7 de juliol de 2010

Ens han enganyat, però amb rigor i honestedat

L'informe final de la investigació sobre el "climagate" conclou que "el rigor i l'honestedat dels científics no està en dubte". Tot i això, critica que ha faltat transparència per part dels científics i incompliments de les lleis de transparència. I sobre tot, qualifica a com "enganyós" el gràfic del pal d'hoquei (que reconstruïa el clima en els darrers segles i mostrava un abrupte increment de temperatura a finals del XX).  O sigui, que ens han enganyat però, això sí, amb rigor i honestedat.

Ross McKitrick, que junt amb Steve McIntyre van demostrar que el càlcul del "pal de hoquei" era erroni, ha donat ja una primera resposta a les conclusions de l'informe Russell:

Here is Ross McKitrick’s first quick response. Readers need to remember that the Muir Russell report has been months in the preparation and that we’ve seen it for only a few hours (while fielding some media requests as well). It will take a little while to assimilate.

In comparison to previous inquiries by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, the Oxburgh Inquiry, and Penn State University, the Report of the ICCER under the direction of Sir Muir Russell has gone further in making a detailed review of the concerns arising out of the CRU emails.

Some, but certainly not all, of the concerns, have been brought to resolution.

• For example, with regard to the famous “trick” to “hide the decline”, whereas earlier investigations (including Penn State) claimed it was a valid procedure, the ICCER found otherwise, concluding (p. 60 paragraph 26) that the figure published in the WMO Report “was misleading in not describing that one of the series was truncated post 1960 for the figure, and in not being clear on the fact that proxy and instrumental data were spliced together.” It is good to finally have agreement that Jones’ graph was misleading, and the attempts to explain this away as an innocent turn of phrase are invalid.

• Likewise, the ICCER agrees that the CRU should have disclosed “an unambiguous list of the stations used in each of the versions” of their global temperature products, and their refusal to do so was “unhelpful and defensive” (p. 51 para. 32). This adds to the Science and Technology Committee’s criticism of the CRU for their secrecy and failure to attain good scientific practice.

• Moreover the ICCER correctly noted that the build-up to the flood of requests for confidentiality agreements in the summer of 2009 was the fault of the CRU: “The Review believes that CRU helped create the conditions for this campaign by being unhelpful in its earlier response” (p. 95 para. 34). In these cases, however, the ICCER seems unduly concerned to downplay the problems they found and to offer justifications. For instance, with regard to the WMO Report they state that “It does not have the status or importance of the IPCC reports” and it is an annual document, as if this in any way mitigates the publication of a misleading graph in a government report.

There are a number of disappointing weaknesses in the report, however.

• In their dismissal of the “divergence” problem the ICCER made the same error as the Oxburgh panel, by noting (p. 59 para. 23) that divergence has been “openly and extensively discussed in the literature, including CRU papers” while overlooking the fact that the real issue has been how the matter was presented in the IPCC Reports, in particular the deletion of the post-1960 Briffa data. In this regard, their claims in paragraph 21 on page 59, in support of the finding that the IPCC graph was not misleading, are simply untrue. They claim that “the depiction of uncertainty is quite apparent to any reader” and “It presents all relevant published reconstructions we are aware of”. But it is not apparent to the reader that the post-1960 Briffa data has been deleted (which is why it took many years after the publication of the TAR for the deletion to be discovered), and the graph does not present “all” the published reconstructions, since one of them was deleted after 1960. The issue here was whether the CRU staff suppressed information.

Unfortunately the ICCER switched its attention to defending the suppression of information, without first acknowledging the troubling facts of the matter.