Friday, November 20, 2009

Those CRU emails #2

Shug Niggurath has put the emails onto a searchable database (with a few provisos that may be fixed). As we thought, there are lots of little gems in here.

Wondering where to start, I entered "mcintyre" as a search term, which brings back a number of revealing exchanges. One of my favourites involves a Dr Don Keiller (whose email suggests him to be a researcher at Anglia Ruskin University), who wrote to Keith Briffa shortly after Climate Audit's publication of the explosive Yamal data. [I have redacted the email addresses.]
From: Keiller, Donald

Sent: 02 October 2009 10:34

To: 'k.briffa@xxx.xx.xx'

Cc: 'p.jones@xxx.xx.xx'

Subject: Yamal and paleoclimatology

Dear Professor Briffa, my apologies for contacting you directly, particularly since I hear that you are unwell.

However the recent release of tree ring data by CRU has prompted much discussion and indeed disquiet about the methodology and conclusions of a number of key papers by you and co-workers.

As an environmental plant physiologist, I have followed the long debate starting with Mann et al (1998) and through to Kaufman et al (2009).

As time has progressed I have found myself more concerned with the whole scientific basis of dendroclimatology. In particular;

1) The appropriateness of the statistical analyses employed

2) The reliance on the same small datasets in these multiple studies

3) The concept of "teleconnection" by which certain trees respond to the "Global Temperature Field", rather than local climate

4) The assumption that tree ring width and density are related to temperature in a linear manner.

Whilst I would not describe myself as an expert statistician, I do use inferential statistics routinely for both research and teaching and find difficulty in understanding the statistical rationale in these papers.

As a plant physiologist I can say without hesitation that points 3 and 4 do not agree with the accepted science.

There is a saying that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof".

Given the scientific, political and economic importance of these papers, further detailed explanation is urgently required.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Don Keiller.

Having had no reply from Keith Briffa after some 26 days, Dr Keiller tried again.
Subject: FW: Yamal and paleoclimatology

Date: Wed, 28 Oct 2009 15:39:48 -0000


From: "Keiller, Donald"


Dear Professor Briffa, I am pleased to hear that you appear to have recovered from your recent illness sufficiently to post a response to the controversy surrounding the use of the Yamal chronology; ([5] and the chronology itself; ([6]

Unfortunately I find your explanations lacking in scientific rigour and I am more inclined to believe the analysis of McIntyre ([7]

Can I have a straightforward answer to the following questions

1) Are the reconstructions sensitive to the removal of either the Yamal data and Strip pine bristlecones, either when present singly or in combination?

2) Why these series, when incorporated with white noise as a background, can still produce a Hockey-Stick shaped graph if they have, as you suggest, a low individual weighting?

And once you have done this, please do me the courtesy of answering my initial email.

Dr. D.R. Keiller

Unfortunately, Dr Keiller might have been doomed to disappointment—the next email in this series is from Phil Jones, who wrote the following to Keith Briffa on the same day.
From: Phil Jones

To: k.briffa@xxx.xx.xx

Subject: FW: Yamal and paleoclimatology Date: Wed Oct 28 16:04:00 2009


There is a lot more there on CA now. I would be very wary about responding to this person now having seen what McIntyre has put up.

You and Tim talked about Yamal. Why have the bristlecones come in now. [1]

This is what happens - they just keep moving the goalposts.

Maybe get Tim to redo OB2006 without a few more series.



This is not, by any means, one of the most damaging of the conversations; I like it, though, because it does show that the work of Steve McIntyre is leading scientists and researchers to question the orthodoxy.

The failure of Briffa to respond after nearly a month—I have no idea whether he replied to Keillor at all: I shall look—is also indicative of the... ah... reticence of these climate "scientists".

More to come...

UPDATING: a list of The Kitchen posts, so far, concerning this is posted below:
  1. Climate Alarmism revealed

  2. A selection of emails: Dr Keiller complains

  3. Real Climate responds

  4. Summarising the salient points of the emails

  5. The Englishman speculates

  6. Follow the money

  7. Harrabin leads the BBC fightback

  8. Random scandals: a conversation on dendroclimatology

  9. A note on the authenticity of the data

  10. Hacked? Or leaked?

And, just as a reminder, feel free to browse the searchable database.


AndrewSouthLondon said...

Interesting how when the game is up, the priority becomes "saving face" not "saving the planet"?

I suspect they are facing the black abyss. As a scientist your most precious asset is your integrity and credibility.

Expected response: blanking, denial, smearing opponents, black propaganda ("the text might have been altered" - ah, but what if it hasn't? ). AGW is politics and business not science any more.

Someone once said you should change your opinions as you change your underwear - when it gets dirty. Only crooks and liars demand consistency (as in "I've always been Labour") Things change. Knowledge moves on. Right is the new Left. Yesterdays warming is tomorrows cooling. "We don't know" is the only honest answer.

Anonymous said...

I expect their next priority will be hanging onto their funding. An xls document reveals that Prof Jones and his colleagues have received nearly £14million since 1990. Interesting to see the sources, as well.

Bishop Brennan said...

Love it... keep up the posts!

I've had a load of stick from climate change fanatics for simply saying that I'm not sure who to believe (this is firming up my views!) - I'm looking forward to asking them about this :-)

Having worked a lot with scientists though, the idea that they are neutral and never have a vested interest is complete bollocks... naive in the extreme for people to believe that, just as these emails show.

I wonder if this will persuade Polly that it is OK after all for her to fly to her Tuscany pad..... But I'm happy to give her a fiver for it if she isn't.