Thursday, February 25, 2010

APS seeks member input on "clarity and tone" in view of ClimateGate

Curtis Callan, President of the American Physical Society [APS], sent out an email to APS members on 24 Feb. 2010, including the following text:

I am writing to request your attention to an important matter regarding the 2007 APS Statement on Climate Change.

An ad hoc subcommittee of the APS Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) recently prepared a Commentary on the 2007 Statement in response to a charge to POPA from the APS Council to " the 2007 APS Council Statement (07.1 Climate Change) with a view to addressing the issues of clarity and tone raised in the report of the Kleppner committee" to the APS president.

You are invited to express your views on the proposed Commentary. It will be available online for APS member input until March 19, 2010. You may access the site using the link below. This link is exclusive to you, and you may only submit comments one time. Once submitted, your comments cannot be edited.

Separately, the Financial Times noted the University of East Anglia [UEA] published an eight-page response tackling each of the key claims. It will be submitted to an influential committee of MPs that has launched an inquiry into the scandal.

Of the FOIA issue, FT said:

In some cases, data had been supplied, it said, but in other cases the data was incomplete because some of the data used by the university in its research was owned by institutions that refused permission for its disclosure.

This raises an interesting issue: should one be publishing results on interpretations of data in a situation in which the underlying data is NOT in the public domain and available for inspection?

Cross-reference: ClimateGate, GlacierGate, retraction of sea level paper from Nature


Post at physicstoday titled Opinion: Can scientists rebuild the public trust in climate science? identifies the role of bloggers in the climate discussion:

McIntyre started the blog so that he could defend himself against claims being made at the blog with regards to his critique of the “hockey stick” since he was unable to post his comments there. Climateaudit has focused on auditing topics related to the paleoclimate reconstructions over the past millennia (in particular the so called “hockey stick”) and also the software being used by climate researchers to fix data problems due to poor quality surface weather stations in the historical climate data record. McIntyre’s “auditing” became very popular not only with the skeptics, but also with the progressive “open source” community, and there are now a number of such blogs. The blog with the largest public audience is, led by weatherman Anthony Watts, with over 2 million unique visitors each month.

So who are the climate auditors? They are technically educated people, mostly outside of academia. Several individuals have developed substantial expertise in aspects of climate science, although they mainly audit rather than produce original scientific research. They tend to be watchdogs rather than deniers; many of them classify themselves as “lukewarmers”. They are independent of oil industry influence. They have found a collective voice in the blogosphere and their posts are often picked up by the mainstream media. They are demanding greater accountability and transparency of climate research and assessment reports.

IPBiz notes the following "insert" to the opinion:

[Editor's note: Some of the datasets at CRU are not owned by the university, nor do they have permission to release proprietary information into the public domain. However, the announcement today [Feb. 24] that the world's major meteorological organizations are going to open access to some of their climate data may reduce the likelihood that this will happen in future.]

**UPDATE from 'Climategate' Scientist Admits 'Awful E-Mails,' but Peers Say IPCC Conclusions Remain Sound

And one scientific group, the U.K.-based Institute of Physics, submitted evidence to the House of Commons panel also expressing concern about the CRU's scientific integrity.

"Unless the disclosed e-mails are proved to be forgeries or adaptations, worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research in this field and for the credibility of the scientific method as practised in this context," the Institute said.

"The principle that scientists should be willing to expose their ideas and results to independent testing and replication by others, which requires the open exchange of data, procedures and materials, is vital."


Tips & Notes to WUWT


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