Wednesday, September 30, 2009

That Yamal Reconstruction

I heard that people on the science-side are looking at Steve McIntyre's accusations about the Yamal reconstruction, so just wait for it.... It's hard to take seriously, though, if you're a journalist, because
  1. it's a blog post and not science. I know McIntyre tries to be rigorous -- perhaps he tries a little too hard -- but it's certainly not on any kind of level like a peer-reviewed publication; and
  2. the whole tone of the debate -- Aha! Caught you again, you thieves and liars -- is really unscientific and offputting. There's always this tone, though not explicitedly expressed, on Steve's blog, plus the Ahab after the white whale setting....but its far worse in the comments and on other blogs. Unless hardened skeptics learn to express themselves without calling everyone they disagree with liars their points are not going to be taken seriously (even if they are legitimate). It's all about scoring points in public perception, which is no way to address scientific questions.
  3. Also, wait until you see what's in the November issue of Scientific American.


Bishop Hill said...

I don't think the tone is going to change until climatologists start putting making their data and code available for public scrutiny.

Presumably we can all agree that this is a worthwhile end in itself?

Anonymous said...

Aah... peer reviewed, the holy grail to quality. Things do change ya know, intarnet for instance.

"The second major development is that traditional peer review is under reconsideration even within the heart of establishment scientific publishing. This summer, the journal Nature is experimenting with a similar system of public review. Although the journal’s articles will continue to go through the standard closed peer review process, a public version of peer review will be working in parallel: certain submissions will be posted online to solicit reader feedback, in hopes that experts will voluntarily review the articles. If this experiment shows that posted “pre-prints” receive enough attention online, Nature will apparently consider altering its traditional peer review practices. The journal is meanwhile sponsoring an ongoing online debate about peer review, with articles about the pros, cons, and future of refereeing.


Currently McIntyre's findings are being discussed on his website and the usual suspects are being invite to participate but chose to do not for whatever reason.

Anonymous said...


Now that Briffa's data is available true "peer review" is now taking place before your eyes.

Will all date and methods for what ever is in SA be available? If not, then it has not been peer reviewed.

As far as the tone .... it is justified. Any "scientist" who does not disclose all data and methods should lose all funding immediately.


Jimz said...

Maybe I should start a blog called Evolution Audit and start sending emails to biologists demanding them to send their data.

And if they don't bother, or ignore my requests (but how could they ignore me if I own a Blog which makes snide remarks about their profession?), I will accuse them of hiding the data and therefore the theory of evolution will be disproven.

Then again I suppose it could be that public data and code access is a nice ideal but one that in reality just hasn't happened because the cost of setting up such a system doesn't justify an unquantified benefit.

Perhaps the typical avenues of data distribution in many scientific field to date have been built up ad-hoc over many decades by one researcher requesting data from another researcher, both based in academic institutions.

Perhaps out of the blue public requests from outside the field are so few and far between and so alien to this system as to tend to be sidelined or ignored outright.

Or perhaps the Illuminati did it.

Anonymous said...

If the blog auditors had been auditing the bank auditors, the financial system wouldn't have collapsed.

You betcha.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the obsession with journal review being the only true way comes down to the journals being run for profit.

All these free blog sites do demonstrate the magnitide of the cost of publishing data online though.

I was under the impression that most (as in by bandwidth) scientific data was open access. Can't see the point of having to administer access when the easiest way of working with other researchers is to just dump the data direct to an ftp site.

Giving the illusion that some data is collected and then just discarded seems odd. Hasn't it been pretty common to go back to many years worth of previous research data to analyse effects which were completely unknown to the original researchers?

rhhardin said...

I didn't expact cheating; delusion, yes.

Unknown said...

"it's a blog post and not science." Is there a rule that says we can't have both.

Anonymous said...

Archiving and making data available is the cornerstone of science. Doubly so when the taxpayer is funding it. All prestigious journals require it - they just don't enforce it. Thankfully, in this case the Royal Society enforced its rules and the data was finally made available.

Jimz - your comment displays so many misstatements.
Steve McIntyre is a peer reviewed and published statistician. An IPCC reviewer. He is not just some guy with a blog. I query both Jimz and Mr Appell's reading skills if they cannot see that the language on Steve's blog is not overreaching and he is exceedingly careful not to ascribe motives. I don't know what blog you did read but it wasn't Climate Audit. Sharing data is not difficult. Computer files can be made avail in a matter of minutes. The requests were not out of the blue and were made multiple times by various scholars over a decade. Go and read Climate Audit - the math and science are probably above yr paygrade - most of it is beyond mine and I have been reading for four years. But a simpler version is avail on Bishop Hills site and is highly recommended.

Anonymous said...

"certainly not on any kind of level like a peer-reviewed publication"

Climate "science" has demolished the concept that peer review is worth much.

What you seem to not like is that climate scientists are actively destroying their profession. Climate scientists and those who defend them are doing to science what biased and corrupt journalists are doing to newpapers - killing them.

Unknown said...

"Rule #1: You can never ask too many questions."

"I know McIntyre tries to be rigorous -- perhaps he tries a little too hard"

Hmm.. My first visit to this site. Is this your normal level of consistency? Regards.

Steve Bloom said...

Pound sand, denialist trolls.

You're welcome.

TreyG said...

Jayz - I believe we have to frame the evolution and AGW debates differently. Here are a few of my thoughts:

Evolution is a fundamental principle of modern biology. It is the best scientific answer to explain the diversity of species, the building blocks of life, inheritance of traits, etc.

The AGW debate is not a fundamental science debate. We are not debating basic physics/chemistry/biology. We are instead debating the complex dynamical system known as climate. This is not denial of a fundamental scientific principle for which there is no other scientific explanation (questioning whether the Earth goes around the sun, for example).

The debate on evolution in the scientific community is not if it's occurring, but rather how. (Paraphrasing Stephen Jay Gould?)

Contrary to political pronouncements, their is still debate in the scientific community about GW. (Notice I left out the A.) The question is not so much if is it occurring, but rather how, how much, and whether it's due to A.

Jack Hughes said...

You're a bit stuck on the 'peer-reviewed journal' bit.

Either McIntyre's statements are valid - or they are not. The mannner and tone of his statements and the mechanism is not relevant.

And the obvious question: why not put your attack on McIntyre in a peer-reviewed journal instead of - shudder - a b-b-b-blog.

Jimz said...

"Jimz - your comment displays so many misstatements.
Steve McIntyre is a peer reviewed and published statistician. An IPCC reviewer. He is not just some guy with a blog."

That sounds like an admission that scientists don't have to waste their time on "just" some guy with a blog.

So for the final piece of the puzzle you just have to realize that from the perspective of a random climatologist, climate audit would appear to be "just" a guy and a blog. That's if they've even heard of climate audit. Some of them probably don't even do blogs. I've never twittered or tweeted or whatever it is for example and I am an IT professional.

And so slow/no data being provided is not surprising to me. They probably weigh up the time to put it together vs the plausible benefit (and what do they see there?) and decide the easiest course of action is to shrug the request off.

It's only the people with rose-tinted glasses who don't have to justify the cost of anything who think climate science should have "Procedures and Systems" in place specially for Blog Science.

Brian Macker said...

It's not really peer review if your supposedly skeptical reviewers do not have access to the data, and are in fact sycophants.

Don't worry it's also hard for real skeptical scientists to take journalists seriously also.

Anonymous said...

Jimz. It is clear that you have not done any homework before commenting. If you had, you would have known that Climate Audit is very very well known to the Mann Team, Briffa, Santer, Esper, Schmidt etc etc. It is also clear that you know little about scientific method.

Skeptics are seeking more and better information so we can make better judgments. AGW hysterics are attempting to hide information and censor contradictory data. This is why Yamal is important as it very clearly displays who is on the side of science.

Michael Smith said...

"Not on any kind of level like a peer-reviewed publication"?

Gosh, David, do you have a lot to learn about the climate science debate.

And Jimz: You are also simply making yourself look uninformed.

And David, as for the "tone" of the debate, see the Steve Bloom comment for an example of the "tone" set by many of the alarmists.

egp said...

Peer reviewed!

How could Briffa's work be peer reviewed as long as the data were not available?

Who were the peers? How did the peers work? Why were peers not interested in the data? Why did the peers not have the same questiones as McIntyre?

This climate peer system looks like a closed shop and self reference system.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, David, this is just like the old days on the old version of your blog.

Same denialist shit, just different denialist assholes.

Ho hum.

Cheers - Lars

Vincent Shand said...

The Briffa post was "peer reviewed", but McIntyres comments would suggest that the process was not rigorous enough. Indeed, he claims that the 20th century uptick in temperatures is heavily influenced by one tree - YAD06. In econometrics, such rogue datum are called "outliers" and should be excluded. Furthermore, McIntyre's claim that the most novel data relies on the smallest sample should have caused questions to be raised. Especially as it is the more recent, so should have been the most readily available.
It seems that these questions undermine the peer review process, just as the Enron debacle questioned the independance & integrity of "external" auditors.

thefordprefect said...

Unless hardened skeptics learn to express themselves without calling everyone they disagree with liars their points are not going to be taken seriously (even if they are legitimate). It's all about scoring points in public perception,

It is very dangerous to assume that this will not be taken seriously. A blog on the telegraph web site adds credance to the unthinking's thought and an article on the Register adds yet more substance.
To most the thought of higher taxes (look at watts site most responses mention tax) for problems that MAY appear after they are dead far outweighs scientific opinion.

To ignore these blog lies is dangerous

Anonymous said...

Copied/pasted shamelessly from the RealClimate comments section...


I’m afraid I lost my patience and have kludged Steve McIntyre’s code to do my sensitivity analysis (code is posted on Climate Audit).

First, here is the chronology without YAD061:
Whatever that tree was drinking, it looked like it shared the round.

Now for the sensitivity analysis for the CRU archive:
1) Removing the cores less than 72 years old – the drooping tail at the end of the distribution I posted on CA:
As I suspected, these cores don’t contribute much to the chronology.

2) Removing the cores less than 100 years old:
Not much difference.

3) Removing the cores less than 150 years old:
Still not much of a shift.

4) Removing the cores less than 200 years old:
This has removed YAD06 amongst other cores, but the profile remains the same. The noise is increasing but the shape is till clear. There are now 64 cores left, with an average age of 262 years, or an average of 8 cores at any one time.

5) Removing the cores less than 250 years old:
Now there are just 32 cores left with an average age of 303 years, or just four cores at any one time. The hockeystick has finally been broken, but only by removing so many cores that the noise has finally overcome the signal.

Briffa’s result appears robust to a very demanding test. I await Steve McIntyre’s response to this.

Comment by Tom P — 3 October 2009 @ 10:47 AM