During two days of listening to House members and talking with staffers of House and Senate and lobbyists, mainly from the GOP (Republican) side, we perceived the situation as such:
1) The democrats consider the "scientific evidence" sufficient for political action. They hockey-stick does not play a particular relevant role in the argument, since other independent evidence would sufficiently support the assessment that we are presently, and will continue to do so in the future, changing climate. They presented the usual cocktail of alarmist/real impacts as reason why regulation is urgently needed.
No urgent need for further research was voiced; not critique of the scientific process. Instead scientific claims were used in a populist manner.
2) Most Republicans did not deny the existence of emerging man-made climate change, but likely considered the intensity and the impacts less severe than the Democrats. In fact, the consequences of anthropogenic climate change could be insignificant and could be dealt with the normal adaptation process. Some few Republicans were not convinced that the present warming was not natural at all, and referred to the cooling debate in the 1970s.
The Republicans were very interested in the hockey-stick, not as a scientific result but in the process of arriving at, and quality controlling, the result. They considered the NRC (North) report as well as the Wegmann-report, commissioned by the US Representatives Houses Committee on Energy and Commerce, as strong evidence that the statistical procedure adopted in the MBH study was questionable or outright false, and therefore the prominent usage of the hockey-stick would not be warranted. Based on this unfavourable example, knowledge claims from climate change studies are questioned in general, because in the case of the hockey-stick the dominant science (IPCC-related?) groups failed to guarantee a sufficient level of quality control in the scientific process and did not allow replication by independent groups (i.e., McIntyre and McKitrick and Wegmann).
We consider it probable that after having now seen the questioning of the replicability (and thus, validity) of paleo-climatic reconstructions, similar doubts concerning other key arguments in the climate change debate, in particular climate models, will be voiced in some future.
An interesting detail was that one staffer spoke about a "discounting" of scientific results conditional upon in which journal the result was published. Science is associated with a low level of credibility whereas GRL is considered a generally "good" source. The same staffer explained that the political system would be able to deal with uncertainties. Thus, it would be best for science to present the full range of uncertainties to policymakers, so that they can come up with their choice of best action. The alternative, namely to present a "consensus"-science would not be that well received.
Our major conclusion of the situation is that we are facing a crisis of credibility of climate change studies in the US political arena. In the US, one group, favouring action, is manly interested in evidence not necessarily bound by good quality but which supports their political agenda of regulation, whereas the other group, reluctant to regulatory action, is voicing concern about the ongoing ability of science to be an "impartial, objective" advisor (to the extent possible).
We expect that a similar attitude towards environmental sciences will also arise in Germany with a certain time lag.
Posted on July 31, 2006 06:25 AM
I find it humorous that Repubs are allegedly worried about these fine nuances of science, and "conspiracies" of scientists --- considering they are the party of "Creationism," "intelligent design," not to mention they swallow all sorts of stuff with no evidence such as Iraq WMDs etc.
Posted by: Carl Christensen at August 1, 2006 03:06 AM
Hans von Storch and Eduardo Zorita assertion "Our major conclusion of the situation is that we are facing a crisis of credibility of climate change studies in the US political arena" shows a lot of arrogance. Both seem to believe that if scientist find ‘consensus‘ among their fellows, that they are “unbelievable good”. Only yesterday a ‘Sacramento Bee’ article reminded about their consensus only 35 years ago, which “was about global cooling and the potential onset of a mini-ice age, akin to the one that chilled the Northern Hemisphere between 1600 and 1900." Science than discussed a cooling which had started winter 1939/40 and lasted until the end of the 1970s. The clue is that presumably naval war during World War II had started this climatic shift. And when Northern Europe fell pray to arctic winter conditions only four months after WW II had started, the coldest winter for more than 100 years, a chief warmonger, Hitler’s Vice-Chancellor Herman Goering, could get away with the statement reported by The New York Times on 16th February 1940: “Nature is still more powerful than man. I can fight man but I cannot fight nature when I lack the means to carry out such battle. We did not ask for ice, snow and cold – A higher power sent it to us.” (Cited on: www.warchangesclimate.com). He didn’t see that naval war had caused the extreme weather conditions. Science didn’t see it either. They didn’t recognised that global naval war from 1940 to 1945 caused a global cooling for four decades. They are not even interested to discuss and explain the most dramatic climatic shift during last century. Is global warming debate a too cosy cushion for them?
Posted by: M. Kauso at August 1, 2006 08:18 AM
Creationism and intelligent design are not falsifiable, so they are not science. One accepts them or rejects them on a matter of faith. Also, there was a 'consensus view' among the global intelligence community that Saddam had WMDs. If a consensus view is good enough to act on the much more complex issue of AGW, then why was it not good enough to act on Saddam?
Also, I do not recall anyone in the article speaking about a conspiracy, just a lack of quality control.
Both sides have their belief systems that operate independently from facts. The religious beliefs of many on the right have a very minor impact on society. The social beliefs of the left, on the other hand have a huge impact. Despite the hundreds of worldly examples of the failure of socialist programs and centralized decision making, many on the left still believe we should head more deeply in that direction! The point is that both sides can ignore evidence when it suits their belief system to do so.
Are you suggesting that we should not be concerned about the quality of the science of AGW?
A brief look at the website in question did not produce any explanation or mechanism on how naval warfare produced a warming after WWI and a cooling after WWII. What would you say if I argued that the increase in the production of black and white movies caused the early warming and the gradual switch to color films prompted the global cooling? Now that everyone is going digital...look out!
Correlation is not causation!
Posted by: Jim Clarke at August 1, 2006 11:19 AM
I find the views of Mr Von Storch and Mr Zorita to be accurate from what could be seen in the congress hearing.
About the other comment:
We have seen in the last 20 years that fear attracts money. The fear of Iraq and terrorism got a lot of money, so is the fear of environmental disaster from GW which bring huge amount of donation to advocacy group like Greenpeace, WWF, Sierra club, and the like. (I like that one: The fear of DHMO:
Is this money well spent?
Was it worth to reduce the fund that was allotted to the levee's in New Orleans so that security were tighter at the airport?
Posted by: Sylvain at August 1, 2006 12:05 PM
the "consensus view" of Iraq WMDs was only if your consensus was trumped up reports from the Bush klan. RepugliKKKans & science just don't mix.
Posted by: Carl Christensen at August 1, 2006 12:29 PM
The more that we allow scientists, journalists, and publications to be baselessly accused of bias and thus written off, the less able we will be to successfully address our common problems.
As the public and policymakers to continue to retreat to factless but ideologically convenient positions, we can only expect policies that fail to address the problems they are meant to solve. But we won't know for sure, because any ability to accurately evaluate those policies will have already been tossed aside as partisan.
If politicians and political hacks continue to erode public trust in the professional media, scientists, and scientific journals, future U.S. policies -- in areas as far afield as the environment, energy, economic, health, and security -- will be uniformly inneffective.
Posted by: Ian at August 1, 2006 02:28 PM
I find that VS and Z express a proper concern for the credibility of climate science. Like many politically interested Americans I was confident that scientists were a cut above the humanities in rigor and honesty, and that AGW was pretty solid.
We've had our share of disappointments with the countries leaders, and our fill of antics from politicians BUT the ordinary fellow thought some area of human endevor might be professional and honest...after getting into the details of the withholding of data and results (let alone the unreal tone of the debate), its clear that politics and ego strongly taints the lauded "scientific method".
Von Storch & Zorita occupy a lonely middle-ground, one that is based on their adherence to ethics, untainted by their belief in AGW. If their peers were so disposed, I would have more confidence in "the consensus".
At this point, I think its safer to trust Ron Poppiel or the Shopping Channel.
"Our major conclusion of the situation is that we are facing a crisis of credibility of climate change studies in the US political arena" shows a lot of arrogance.
Posted by: Mark H. at August 1, 2006 04:33 PM
You make a good point there.
Very poor "consensus" conclusions were reached about WMDs in Iraq.
As you quite rightly identified, this consensus was founded on data and analysis that was not fully disclosed or audited, by others. Rather it was kept classified.
Now, that sounds awfully familiar in the field of historical temperature reconstruction, doesn't it?
Posted by: Paul at August 2, 2006 02:44 AM
‘Correlation is not causation!’ (Jim Clark, 1st Aug.). Does it contribute to explain the arctic winters during the first three WW II years? At least one time witness expressed his surprise: “The present century has been marked by such a widespread tendency towards mild winters that the ‘old–fashioned winters’, of which one has heard so much, seemed to have disappeared for ever. The sudden arrival at the end of 1939 of what was considered to be the beginning of a series of cold winters was therefore all the more surprising. Since the winters of 1878-79, 1879-80 and 1880-81, there have never been such severe winters, three in succession, as those of 1939/40, to 1941/42.” (Drummond, A.J.; ‚Cold winters at Kew Observatory, 1783-1942’; Quarterly Journal of Royal Met. Soc., No. 69, 1943, pp 17-32, and: Drummond, A.J.; Discussion of the paper: ‚Cold winters at Kew Observatory, 1783-1942’; Quarterly Journal of Royal Met. Soc., 1943, p. 147ff). The time witness further points to another significant aspect with regard to snow conditions in SE England: “Since comparable records began in 1871, the only other three successive winters as snowy as the recent ones (1939-1942) were those during the last war, namely 1915/16, 1916/17 and 1917/18, when snow fell on 23%, 48% and 23% of the days, respectively”. When it was not the war, what was it than? Adolf Hitler’s deputy came up with the explanation “A higher power sent it to us.” And what is our explanation today?
Posted by: M. Kauso at August 2, 2006 03:59 AM
Wow. This "pile on the scientists" party is going a little too far for what I would consider, as Mark H. puts it, the "middle ground."
As far at the Hockey Stick having become a symbol for all that is wrong with the scientific process... lets step back a little and consider the original paper because I think people have (already) forgotten some basic elements of what is at issue here.
"Mann, M.E., R.S. Bradley, and M.K. Hughes, 1999: Northern Hemisphere temperatures during the past millennium: inferences, uncertainties, and limitations. Geophysical Research Letters, 26, 759-762."
NOTICE: "...uncertainties, and limitations."
In fact, the conclusions of the North (NRC) study and the Wegmann report were actually quite consistent with the conclusions of Mann et al. Also, as we learned from the NRC report, redoing Mann et al 1999 using more sound statistical methods produces very similar results and leads to similar conclusions.
So, the NRC report was useful because somewhere along the line the caveats and uncertainties were forgotten. That happened, in part, on the way to the policy makers in the IPCC TAR. So, the NRC study was a good idea and I think it put the scientific and public debate wrt the Hockey Stick back on proper footing.
IMHO, the Wegmann report was somewhat redundant with the NRC report and I object to it because, from the start, the rhetoric surrounding it sounded a lot like scaffolding for a Congressional game of "pile on the scientist." Also, I felt that some of the conclusions were unfair:
"Overall, our committee believes that Dr. Mann's assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis.'"
This is basically a straw man. Here is the actual statement in the *abstract* of the Mann et al, 1999 paper (note that the conclusions section contains much more detail in terms of caveats, etc.):
"Though expanded uncertainties prevent decisive conclusions for the period of record prior to AD 1400, our results suggest that the latter 20th century is anomalous in the context of at least the last millennium. The 1990s was the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, at moderately high levels of confidence."
So, I'll agree that the IPCC process needs work. No question. But "pile on the scientist" seems to have become the favorite game of the posters here at Prometheus. I don't blame Roger entirely for this. In fact, I generally appreciate what Roger is trying to do. But I think his quest to bring more integrity and honesty to the *policy* debate can produce fodder for those who only wish to undermine the science by sowing fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD).
I also greatly appreciate that von Storch and Zorita have shared with us their thoughts and observations on this subject, directly from Capitol Hill. However, I believe that statements like the following were all too predictably going to be the outcome when Barton begin his inquiry:
"We are facing a crisis of credibility of climate change studies in the US political arena."
F.U.D. I'm shaking in my boots. My head is spinning. And I don't know what to do! (sarcasm alert)
Go ahead... pile on the PhD candidate.
Posted by: James Bradbury at August 2, 2006 07:48 AM
'Wow. This "pile on the scientists" party is going a little too far for what I would consider, as Mark H. puts it, the "middle ground."...'
I think this is a partial view of the whole story. The main problem, in my opinion, were not the original papers by MBH, but what happened after their publication. Two "Canadians" "non-climatologist"
"funded by the oil industry" discovered errors in those papers, but the paleoclimate community reacted basically with scorn. Now, that criticism by McIntyre and McKitrik turned to be correct, according to the NAS and Wegman reports. Is this not something which we should learn from?
Posted by: eduardo zorita at August 2, 2006 08:41 AM
Your argument is a combination of ‘the ends justify the means’ ("redoing Mann et al 1999 using more sound statistical methods produces very similar results and leads to similar conclusions...") and a ‘re-adjustment’ of the interpretation of the conclusions.
For years, the hockey stick was the AGW icon. It was held up as a symbol of the terrible human influence on climate. Now you can say that the original paper never made that claim, but the authors made no effort to clarify their uncertainties as they were elevated to AGW super-stardom and supposedly 'misinterpreted' throughout the media and by every environmental organization on the planet.
But the real issue is not that they made some mistakes of a statistical nature, it is that they closed ranks and became vindictive at the strictly analytical questioning of their methods. The fact that most of the AGW community circled the wagons around the Hockey Stick Team is an indication that the community at large may have other motives than the pure desire of scientific knowledge. (Note: By 'motives' I do not imply a conspiracy, but a commonly shared, preconceived idea of what should be regardless of, or in spite of the evidence.)
The NRC study ignored the real issue, which was not a statistical error (we all make mistakes), but the problems of the underlying climate change culture revealed in the Wegmann Report.
Such cultures are not rare in the history of science, but it is still important that we recognize and deal with them as they are revealed, particularly when major policy decisions are in play! Otherwise, the science will not move forward and less effective policies may be employed.
Posted by: Jim Clarke at August 2, 2006 09:32 AM
Thanks for your comments. There are several issues at work here.
1. A personal battle between different camps, motivated by politics, ego, fame, power, etc. Much of the RC vs. CA debate has, unfortuantely, taken place at this level as Eduardo refers to. Far worse however are many (most?) of the commenters on those sites who take on the issue as the latest in realty-based internet entertainment ;-)
2. Very real and substantive issues of science in policy and science in politics, having to do with the IPCC, the role of scientists in debates that become politicized, and the use of scientists as pawns by politicians.
It is unfortunate, but not at all unexpected, that those engaged in the dynamics of #1 take issue with those focused on #2 (e.g., "if you are not with us, then you must be against us"). Your own comments about FUD (never saw that spelled out, thanks!) speak exactly to this point. Hans von Storch's exchange with the Rep. from IL also speak to this point. Should we restrain our discussions of integrity of science? I don't think so.
Scientists, like doctors, lawyers, generals, teachers have historically had, etc. have an ever more important role in society. That is a good thing. But is also means that scientists are going to be treated like these same folks have, e.g., put under a microscope. Many scientists aren't used to such behavior. I understand why folks at CA and RC, and their fellow travelers, might sometimes not like to be discussed or get upset. Some don't distinguish between #1 and #2 above.
My advice to scientists in the midst of such debates would be to carefully distinguish the #1 stuff from #2 stuff above, and in general, grow a nice thick skin ;-) Above all, focus on the long-term sustainability of your science and the scientific enterprise.
Posted by: Roger Pielke, Jr. at August 2, 2006 09:50 AM
Thanks for replying...
1) The vast majority of the people (scientists) I know agree that Mann could have and should have handled his dealings with M&M better... especially at the outset. But why does his handling of this incident automatically reflect on all climate scientists?
2) Please don't gauge your understanding of climate scientists' views strictly on the perspectives of those in the blogosphere.
"Is this not something which we should learn from?"
Absolutely... and many of us are learning a great deal from it. Again, thank you for your insights.
Jim (and Eduardo),
"...strictly analytical questioning of their methods?"
Um... ever spend any time perusing comments or trying to engage in this "strictly analytical" discussion over at Climate Audit? The tone of this debate became sour and highly politicized looooong before M&M surfaced.
I cannot deny that some scientists reacted to questioning from M&M with some degree of scorn, etc. That is true. The "wagon circling" was knee-jerk... but that reflex existed for a reason. Recall that most previous efforts (pre-M&M) to "break" the Hockey Stick were highly dubious and intellectually dishonest. Interestingly, many of those waging such attacks were funded by fossil fuel lobbies. Some of those efforts included op-ed articles that were full of slanderous statements about Mike Mann and many contained all sorts of spurious unsupported claims about the quality of his research. I recall Legates writing that there was no overlap between the proxy and instrumental records and that Mann had just stuck the two together with no regard for calibration. Nonsense.
I'm not defending the circling of the wagons, necessarily, but I do think that it was basically understandable in the context of the *reality* of the debate at the time. For some context, read Chris Mooney's Mother Jones article on Exxon Mobile funding for anti-AGW propaganda.
So, who started it? Who cares? That is an unproductive debate.
Still, I agree with your concern about less effective policies and I also agree that the scientific process of peer review has its flaws. But these problems are not isolated to the climate research community... they are basically true for all specialized scientific fields.
Again, I think that climate scientists can learn from this experience and many of us are taking it very seriously. However, I agree with Roger that finger pointing from either side is fundamentally unproductive and prevents people from working on finding a middle ground on policy issues. Also, if we get too busy engaging in "pile on the scientist" (by this I mean, accusing individuals of being human... to one degree or another) then they won't come out to play in the future... and maybe (just maybe; tongue in cheek) that is what some people were hoping for all along.
Posted by: James Bradbury at August 2, 2006 10:53 AM
My last post went up before I read your response.
As usual, you boil it down much better than I could. So, I'll just say that I agree 100% that we should be engaged in a discussion of the integrity of science. However, I think that the very public and political targeting of individuals (Mann et al) and the paleoclimate community specifically is fundamentally misguided.
Perhaps I misread von Storch and Zorita's letter, but if Republicans are really prepared to question all climate research on the basis of a flare up over the Hockey Stick in the context of what had already become a politically charged (and largely spurious) debate... then we are in bad shape.
This is not the road to fixing the peer review process or to fixing the problems that exists at the nexus between policy and science. Targeting individuals and individual communities will not pave the way for an open debate on these subjects. The tactics and rhetoric used by Barton et al only make scientists defensive and, if anything, less open to changing toward more open policies and procedures.
This is especially true when you consider the end result: the Wall Street Journal Editorial page tells us that climate scientists are all socialists with anti-capitalist motives.
Roger, this debate needs redirection and I hope you can help make that happen.
Posted by: James Bradbury at August 2, 2006 11:23 AM
Huh... I guess my second post got lost in cyberspace.
So, I'll attempt to recreate part of it to justify my point that the Hockey Stick debate *prior* to M&M was largely spurious... here goes:
It is clear that some scientists reacted to questioning from M&M with some degree of scorn, etc. That is true. The "wagon circling" was knee-jerk... but that reflex existed for a good reason, IMO. Recall that most previous efforts (pre-M&M) to "break" the Hockey Stick were highly dubious and intellectually dishonest. Interestingly, many of those waging such attacks were funded by fossil fuel lobbies. Some of those efforts included op-ed articles that were full of slanderous, unsupported claims about the poor quality of Mike Mann's research. E.g., I recall Legates writing that there was no overlap between the proxy and instrumental records and that Mann had just stuck the two together with no regard for calibration. Total nonsense.
I'm not defending the circling of the wagons, necessarily, but I do think that it was basically understandable in the context of the *reality* of the debate at the time.
I agree with concerns about less effective policies resulting from poor quality science and I also agree that the scientific process of peer review has its flaws. But these problems are not isolated to the climate research community... they are basically true for all specialized scientific fields.
I think that climate scientists can learn from this experience and many of us are taking it very seriously. However, I feel strongly that finger pointing from either side is fundamentally unproductive and prevents people from working on finding a middle ground. Also, if we get too busy engaging in "pile on the scientist" (by this I mean, accusing individuals of being human... to one degree or another) then they won't come out to play in the future... and maybe (just maybe; tongue in cheek) that is what some people were hoping for all along.
Posted by: James Bradbury at August 2, 2006 11:59 AM
A very interesting debate. But was scientific honesty ever challenged? The problem presumably lies somewhere else. Prof. Roger Pielke Jr. stated correctly: “Scientists, like doctors, lawyers, generals, teachers have historically had, etc. have an ever more important role in society. That is a good thing. But is also means that scientists are going to be treated like these same folks have, e.g., put under a microscope.” This is the baseline where ‘views get confused’. Big climate science started only 30 years ago, concentrating on global warming. Meteorologists have not yet explained the extreme warming that suddenly started around Spitsbergen in 1919, leading to the expression “Greening of Greenland” lasting only until the early 1930, and the “Warming of Europe” lasting until first war winter 1939/40. The first to recognise it was the eminent Norwegian scientist B.J. Birkeland, who described his findings as probably the greatest yet known statistical temperature deviation on earth only in 1930. (Source: as indicated in my previous comment). Neither has meteorological science ever given a reasonable explanation why this two long decade warming trend ended so suddenly with commencement of WWII. Modern law, medical and military science are at least two hundred years old, or much older. Everything is checked and controlled ever since. Can climate science claim the same? What is “scientific evidence” worth (see: Hans von Storch and Eduardo Zorita) as long as the two major climatic shifts during last century have not been explained?
Posted by: M. Kauso at August 2, 2006 03:26 PM
It's understandable that one would not wish to drive into a swamp of the 'who-what-why' of the Mann vs. M&M debacle, but for those that do it is an unpleasent eye opener - as least for the engaged lay observer.
In any case, a number of questions linger, many of which do have serious political repercussions:
A) Is climate science "a cut below" the ethical and peer review standards of other sciences?
Among the few 'others' I know engaged in Marine Sciences and Econometrics I get two answers: a) no big deal, climate science is like many others BUT b) "my own speciality" has far more integrity than climate science (a sort of circle the wagons).
B) Being human is understandable, but being dishonest and/or covering up is niether understandable nor acceptable. Critics of global warming have a whole new weapon, one feeds into the popular suspection of institutional authority and academics as being (like everyone) politically driven. At one time, the George Wallace types could only chide intellectuals as 'pointy heads who can't park their bicycles straight', but the new stereotypes are pretty scathing (feeding off the public trough, grant chasers, arrogant elites, etc.). Unfortunitly we can now add a perception of fraud and coverup to that mix.
C)It is an open question if climate science has learned anything from this. Having just reviewed McIntyre's latest troubles in getting data and methods from other study authors it does not seem so - in fact McIntyre indirectly complimented Mann by noting that the others are much more obstructionist than Mann was.
The worse thing climate science and its journals could do would be to begrudgingly acknowledge a few faults and to send the guards back up on the fortress walls - I fear that is exactly what they are doing.
And until those walls comes down, global warming skeptics need only ask the public "Many climate researchers say we are undergoing human caused warming, but given their on-going coverups, why should anyone trust them"?
Posted by: Mark H. at August 2, 2006 09:55 PM
As far as I can tell, the major lesson that the Hockey Team has learned is that Mann actually let out too much data, thus giving traction to replication; however, if they systematically stonewall on data, no one can analyse their reports.
The issue of data access was discussed in the dendro conference in Beijing - some people suggesting that withholding data was giving the trade a black eye. Industry leaders, such as presumably Briffa, said that they were going to continue stonewalling.
For example, can anyone tell me what sites are used in the MXD network of Briffa et al 2001 (used in the IPCC TAR spghetti graph and many others); also reported in at least 5 other articles in different journals and most recently used in Rutherford et al 2005 (coauthored by Mann)? Didn't think so. How can authors publish so often and never provide a SI saying what sites were used? I've been trying for a couple of years to get these sites identified and am no further ahead today than when I started.
While people say that others in the "community" are not to blame for actions of the few, no one stood up when Mann was quoted on the front page of the Wall Street Journal as saying that he would not be "intimidated" into disclosing his algorithm Did the National Academy of Sciences write to Mann saying that this was reckless course of behavior and he should change his tune? Did AAAS?
How about individual scientists? James Bradbury, why didn't you email Mann?
Why don't some of you email Keith Briffa or Phil Jones right now and tell them that they are needlessly dragging others through the mud? Ask Briffa for site identifications for Briffa et al 2001? While you're at it, ask him for the measurement data for Taimyr, Tornetrask update and Yamal? Ask Jones to archive his station data and methodology. Ask Briffa why he didn't publish the updated Polar Urals results. Ask Hughes to archive the 2002 Sheep Mountain data.
Posted by: Steve McIntyre at August 3, 2006 09:22 PM
I agree with Mark H. I for one do not even trust the reported land temp record until all the data and methods have been disclosed and audited.
Posted by: charles at August 4, 2006 08:33 AM
"The vast majority of the people (scientists) I know agree that Mann could have and should have handled his dealings with M&M better... especially at the outset. But why does his handling of this incident automatically reflect on all climate scientists?"
The whole point of the scientific process is replicating the results of others. "Handled his dealings" better is an incredibly softball wording for refusing to provide the data and methodology for MBH98. This wasn't a social faux pas. To be able to reproduce another's methodogy is basic science. Mann actively prevented McIntyre from obtaining the data and methodology to reproduce MBH98 and then publicly derided him for not being able to do so. Equally telling, you say Mann made a mistake in his dealings -- has Mann ever admitted that? Even today, eight years after the study, the Wegman report concluded that MBH98 can not be replicated. Eight years later Mann has still not provided sufficient data and method to replicate his graphs. Has Mann learned anything from this? I have seen no indication that he has. One of the reasons Mann has not changed is because the community continues to make his excuses.
Mann's failure is human, it happens. That the failure was undetected by the community for eight years is a failure of community and its processes (including editorial). Consider that it took outside agents and a congressional committee to expose the failure. Of course this incident reflects on all climate scientists. They either saw the problems and did not speak up or they did not see the problems -- pick your poison. Worse yet, best I can tell nothing has changed. With comments like "circling of the wagons... was basically understandable" nothing will change. Based upon the lack of media coverage, circling of the wagons is still happening. Stifling the truth is a damning indictment of any community. The climate community has to fix itself or it will happen again and its credibility will suffer yet again. Don't think it can't happen again. If you are worried about AGW you should be worried that its being supported by a broken process.
Posted by: Mike Carney at August 4, 2006 10:28 AM
Although I am more than happy to write the hockey team demanding the release of data I am not sure that it would do much good.
There is not anyway to force the issue except through the political process. The academic institutions, peer journals, UCAR, and alumni contributers really don't care.
If the Roger Pielke's can't get it done, I find it disturbing that he chastise those who cozy up to politicians. There is no choice BUT to make it a public issue, at least for anyone using public monies.
When is enough, enough?
Posted by: Mark H. at August 5, 2006 09:33 AM