Scientific Appraisal Panel chaired by Lord Oxburgh

Posted 15th April 2010

No sooner had one expressed doubts about the prospects of a thorough review of the science supporting the man-made global warming hypothesis, than another report is announced.  The Oxburgh panel has been investigating the work of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU).  Contrast, if you will, the conclusions reached by the Wegman Committee in respect of the MBH98 paper produced by Dr Michael Mann and colleagues, with the conclusions reached by Lord Oxburgh and his panel.

The Wegman Report, produced in 2006, concluded: “It is important to note the isolation of the paleoclimatic community; even though they rely heavily on statistical methods they do not seem to be interacting with the statistical community.  Additionally, we judge that the sharing of research materials, data and results was haphazardly and grudgingly done.  In this case we judge that there was too much reliance on peer review, which was not necessarily independent.  Moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicised that this community can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility.  Overall our committee believes that Dr Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium, cannot be supported by his analysis.” The body of the report refers to basic errors in the use of statistical methods and highlights subversion of the peer review process: “at least 43 authors have direct connections to Dr Mann by virtue of coauthoring papers with him”

Whereas Lord Oxburgh’s panel states: “Although inappropriate statistical tools with the potential for producing misleading results have been used by some other groups, presumably by accident rather than design, in the CRU papers that we examined we did not come across any inappropriate usage although the methods they used may not
have been the best for the purpose. It is not clear, however, that better methods would have produced significantly different results.” Continue reading

House of Commons Science and Technology Committee CRU Inquiry

Posted 13th April 2010

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published its report into “The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia” on 31st March 2010.

It is difficult to reconcile the conclusions of the Inquiry with the evidence presented to it.   Clearly the Inquiry was conducted with undue haste in order to publish its findings before the election was announced and parliament suspended.  It could be further argued that contentious findings would have had the potential to disrupt the election.

The oral sessions were woefully inadequate and failed to probe witnesses on the substance of the written submissions.  The balance of the oral sessions was heavily weighted in favour of the man-made global warming lobby and had no representation from those who’ve studied the science of climate change in depth across the many scientific disciplines, such as Peter Taylor who made a comprehensive written submission.

Climate change science has played a major role in formulating public policy with many ramifications: economic, social and political.  The Inquiry, as constituted, could never have hoped to achieve what is required, a full independent assessment, of the current state of climate science, independent of the IPCC.  The scope of the Inquiry was drawn sufficiently narrowly so as to avoid many important issues and the Committee seemed to accept the notion that the “science is settled” without probing inconsistencies and contradictions in the evidence. Continue reading