Monday, 15 February 2010

Recommended reading

Phil Jones Interview
For the first time since the CRU-hack last autumn Professor Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia answered to questions about the affair and some of the claims made by climate sceptics in a written interview with the BBC : Q&A with Professor Phil Jones
I noticed that instead of linking to the direct source many climate sceptics prefer linking to the distorted version by Jonathan Leake in Times Online. Deltoid’s Tim Lambert takes a closer look at some of the problems with Leake’s version of the facts : Leakegate scandal gets bigger.
UPDATE There's even more : Leakegate, the case for fraud
Don’t hesitate also to compare the original version with what has been made out of it on Watts Up With Watts. The original piece isn’t quite the bombshell sceptics want to make out of it, isn’t it ?

Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick
Part of the CRU-mails involve the climate sceptical work of Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick.
Even though i think everyone who reads it can see it doesn't give the impression, many climate sceptics claim the Wegman-report is and an independent review on the Hockey stick affair. Deep Climate takes a closer look at the Wegman-report and finds that indeed is nowhere close to being independent. Very interesting reading : Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, part 1: In the beginning and Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, part 2: The story behind the Barton-Whitfield investigation and the Wegman Panel

FOI : Harassment ?
One of the things Phil Jones was most criticised for was his response towards the many requests he received under the freedom of information act and the fact the high number of FOI-requests started to feel like an harassment. The impression is even higher because many of the request were about data which CRU only processed while the raw data were available elsewhere and should be requested from the original source. Because of this, it isn’t always that easy to fulfil such a request as cthulhu explains.
Contrary to the naïve believe i read all over the internet, fulfilling a FOI can be much more work than just taking the data out of the drawer. From my own experience i can say that it can incredibly time-consuming to collect historic data. For a project at my previous job i needed to find as much interesting data as we had in our archives.
The only way to do so was literally digging in the archive and sieving out the data i could use. After i gave up looking any further, my best estimate is in two weeks i managed to collect 70-80 % of all the data available. Before you go all crazy : It does not mean the other data is missing, it just means it would have been too great an effort to find them. Some of them are hidden in metres and metres of papers and reports, other are in an old database that has been out of order for years, etc.
For the younger generation : the prehistoric thing the girl on the picture is holding in her left hand is called a floppy. It was like a USB-stick but in the times before the DVD, the CD-ROM and the 3½-floppy. They were used in the early 1990’s.
Anyway, all this just to say fulfilling a FOI-request can take an awful lot of time and it looks like indeed the FOI’s were being used to harass scientists and keep them from doing their job. Eli Rabett, Bart Verheggen and Susan of the promising new blog The Policy Lass have more to say about this.

Tim Lambert debating Christopher Monckton
It’s often hard to debate a science-sceptic (it’s not just true for climate-sceptics) as they will often try to throw as much dirt as possible as they know the opponent isn’t able to address all of it in into the time-amount of a debate, which often will give the wrong impression what they said was correct or even that they won the debate. I’ve long been planning to write a more extensive post about this actually.
Even though knowing this, Deltoid’s Tim Lambert did debate Viscount Monckton. From the parts i heard Tim Lambert did reasonably well and the McLuhan moment is an instant classic. The debate isn’t online (at least as far as i know) but you can watch a part of the final summing up

Real Climate on IPCC errors : facts and spin

edit : adding the "two weeks part" which fell off in the original post (or why the sentence was so weird)