The Independent Climate Change Email Review not so bad for CRU…

The final of the three UK reports that resulted from the CRU email leak/theft was published today. It all sounds pretty good for CRU.

Their first of 3 key findings is very positive:

“Climate science is a matter of such global importance, that the highest standards of honesty, rigour and openness are needed in its conduct. On the specific allegations made against the behaviour of CRU scientists, we find that their rigour and honesty as scientists are not in doubt.”

The second of the three key findings is also positive for CRU:

“In addition, we do not find that their behaviour has prejudiced the balance of advice given to policy makers. In particular, we did not find any evidence of behaviour that might undermine the conclusions of the IPCC assessments.”

As suspected, they do find that there are issues relating to openness. The third key point:

But we do find that there has been a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness, both on the part of the CRU scientists and on the part of the UEA, who failed to recognise not only the significance of statutory requirements but also the risk to the reputation of the University and, indeed, to the credibility of UK climate science.”

They also say later in the document:

“We find that CRU’s responses to reasonable requests for information were unhelpful and defensive.”

It looks like there’s lots of other interesting things in there – that the tree-ring proxy reconstructions and peer-review issues didn’t seem to worry the review panel much caught my eye.

Perhaps the biggest criticism relates to the infamous 1999 WMO report:

…the figure supplied for the WMO Report was misleading. We do not find that it is misleading to curtail reconstructions at some point per se, or to splice data, but we believe that both of these procedures should have been made plain – ideally in the figure but certainly clearly described in either the caption or the text.”

I need to read through the report properly but at first glance it looks very supportive of the CRU scientists.

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One Response to “The Independent Climate Change Email Review not so bad for CRU…”

  1. Ideal Says:

    For me, the biggest criticism in the report is in Chapter 7, paragraph 20 where it states that, to date, no IPCC report has performed hypothesis testing in a mathematically rigourous manner. It also states that qualitative statements are made based on probability criterias laid down by the IPCC; at the same time, it states in the first sentence that confidence levels require the rigourous testing that has not yet been performed.

    “20. Understanding requires proper statistical interpretation, i.e. to determine the confidence level associated with a statement such as ‘the present is likely warmer than the past’. To do this as objectively as possible would require a complex (and difficult) study to perform hypothesis testing in a mathematically rigorous way, taking proper account all of the uncertainties and their correlations. We are not aware that this has been done in the production of IPCC reports to date, but instead qualitative statements have been made based on definitions of ‘likely’, ‘very likely’ etc according to criteria laid down by the IPCC (‘Likely’ means a probability greater than 66%, and ‘Very Likely’ means a probability greater than 90%).”

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