Sunday, February 14, 2010

Back peddling by Phil Jones

Phil Jones, the former head of the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University, and the guy responsible for most of the exaggerated claims about global warming, and the leader of a wolf-pack of scientists who went through the scientific review process attacking anyone who would let a critical paper through to publication, is engaging in some back-peddaling.

An interview with the BBC has some interesting tidbits.

But he agreed that two periods in recent times had experienced similar warming. And he agreed that the debate had not been settled over whether the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than the current period.

These statements are likely to be welcomed by people sceptical of man-made climate change who have felt insulted to be labelled by government ministers as flat-earthers and deniers.

Darn tootin' it is nice not to be considered a kook; and it only took a monumental hacking job to get the data out on the table for one and all to see how abysmally poor were the claims of those who said everything was settled.

He also says that there has been no statistical warming since 1996. Many of the sheeple-thinking global warming beleivers have denied the recent cooling, yet here is the main scientist saying what critics have been saying for years. How sweet.

The political fallout is occurring rapidly, with the mistakes and quotations of non-scientific opinions in the IPCC reports being dug up daily. New Scientist has an interesting editorial which finally allows that critics should be listened to in the climate debate. After pointing out that the job of a scientist is to "test theories to destruction", they go on to finally say:

"So let the IPCC embrace such debates, rather than retreat from them in the name of spurious consensus. Climate scientists have felt under siege from critics, as leaked emails last year amply demonstrated. But that is no reason to dismiss all criticism as necessarily unwarranted, uninformed or politically motivated."

"Some argue that the views of an untutored blogger, or even a scientist from another discipline, should never carry the same weight as those of someone with a lifetime's expertise in a relevant field. But if occasionally the emperors of the lab have no clothes, someone has to say so. The wider review of science made possible by the blogosphere can improve science and foster public confidence in its methods. Scientists should welcome the outside world in to check them out. Their science is useless if no one trusts it."
"Let the sunlight in on climate change," New scientist, Jan 30, 2010, p. 5

Finally some sense on the pages of a scientific journal. This is an implicit admission that critics were suppressed and that outsiders do have a role to play in scientific criticism. It is truly amazing.

We are now winning the battle for free expression and open researh--something needed very badly by governmentally funded science.


  1. Underneath the mask is fear. They are afraid to put their head above the parapet, and say that their knowledge is limited,it's all guess work. The problem today is peopkle are attracted to academic delivery, thinking it's superior we don't know who to trust. The trap door should be knocked down and allow people like you to voice and debate.

  2. I spent about 40 minutes and wrote a long comment but blogspot just threw it away. Illustration of a software bug. Remember that the models are software. Am very frustrated. Lets hope this one goes.

    Dave W

  3. Hi Dave and UB, Darn right we can't trust them. Sorry about the software bug, but like climate models, blogspot is a software and it has bugs. I like the following quote about models.

    "Our industry, like many others, uses various types of models--business models, reservoir-engineering models, and geologic models-and although they are important, they should not be confused with reality."John C. Lorenze, "Geology, Models and AAPG," President's Column, AAPG Explorer, 31:2:Feb 2010, p. 3

  4. I haven't checked out your blog for a while, Glenn! (I'm the unpleasant dude from CF...thaumaturgy) Glad to see you jumped on the Phil Jones wagon.

    I have been fascinated by the comments various agw skeptics have had about Phil Jones' interview with the BBC. It got me thinking about some of the stuff we talked about on CF. I realized I was doing something wrong. (Don't get me wrong, I'm still solidly in the AGW camp, just learned a bit more about how the real climatologists like Jones and others do their work). My mistake in our discussions was that I was often plotting time-series data with a linear trend and doing to statistical significance tests on that. When I read Jones' comments in the BBC I went back to the data to see if the trends were or weren't statistically significant. Then I realized that even Jones et al weren't apparently doing just the "linear least square regression" thing. They apparently utilize some fancey REML method to account of features of time series. While Jones et al found no statistically significant warming since 1995, when I tried my "linear regression" of the HadCRUT data it looked like it was finding a line. So I knew something was up with my technique.

    I had failed to take into account the problems that autocorrelated data introduces into the tests for significance on linear least squares regressions. It tends to increase the error rate (Type I error).

    So you see, the agw skeptics like you do serve a significant purpose for those of us like myself who are very interested in learning how the data is actually processed.

    I learned a lot simply because I wanted to check out what the skeptics were saying about Jones' comments.

    Happy 2010!

  5. Oh yeah, one more point: I realize you are not on the Jones' wagon, I merely meant that it was nice to see you, like all other agw skeptics, jumped on the story. :)