by Judith Curry
I just received this email via Peter Webster from a friend in the UK:
Woke up this morning to hear on the News that Judy is dismayed about something. What is Judy upset about?
Last week I spoke with David Rose of the Mail about the BEST publicity and PR, and Richard Muller’s public statements. The resulting article is [here].
I discussed some concerns I had about the BEST PR on this previous thread.
In David Rose’s article, the direct quotes attributed to me are correct.
To set the record straight, some of the other sentiments attributed to me are not quite right, I will discuss these here.
“Hiding the truth” in the title is definitely misleading, I made it pretty clear that there was uncertainty in the data itself, but the bigger issues are to analyze the data and interpret it. I made it clear that this was not a straightforward and simple thing to do.
I told Rose that I was puzzled my Muller’s statements, particularly about “end of skepticism” and also “We see no evidence of global warming slowing down.”
I did not say that “the affair had to be compared to the notorious Climategate scandal two years ago,” this is indirectly attributed to me. When asked specifically about the graph that apparently uses a 10 year running mean and ends in 2006, we discussed “hide the decline,” but I honestly can’t recall if Rose or I said it first. I agreed that the way the data is presented in the graph “hides the decline.” There is NO comparison of this situation to Climategate. Muller et al. have been very transparent in their methods and in making their data publicly available, which is highly commendable.
Added note: I have dug into my memory. Rose brought up hide the decline in our first interview, in the context of the plot that ends in 2006. He called me back specifically to discuss this and teased the “hide the decline” out of me. The hide the decline discussion was in this particular context.
My most important statement IMO is this: ‘To say that there is detracts from the credibility of the data, which is very unfortunate.’ My main point was that this is a very good data set, the best we currently have available for land surface temperatures. To me, this should have been the big story: a new comprehensive data set, put together by a team of physicists and statisticians with private funds. Showing preliminary results is of course fine, but overselling them at this point was a mistake IMO.
I arrived in Santa Fe yesterday. More on the Conference in a forthcoming post. Muller and Rohde will be at the conference, I will be meeting them for the first time and I will try to understand what is going on here.
And finally, this is NOT a new scandal. An important new data set has been released. Some new papers have been posted for comments, which are not surprisingly drawing criticism and controversy. The main issue seems to be Richard Muller’s public statements. All this does not constitute a new scientific scandal in any way.
My continued collaboration on this project will be discussed this week with Muller and Rohde. My joining this group was somewhat unusual, in that I did not know any of these people prior to being invited to join their team (although I very quickly figured out that they were highly reputable scientists). I thought the project was a great idea, and I still do, but it currently has a tarnish on it. Lets see what we can do about this.
Update: A few days ago, I received an email from Liz Muller, asking for suggestions for issues to deal with on their FAQ. I suggested dealing with the issue of whether there has been a stop/slowdown in the warming. Their response is posed here. The state “This exercise simply shows that the decadal fluctuations are too large to allow us to make decisive conclusions about long term trends based on close examination of periods as short as 13 to 15 years. ” Which I agree with. But take a look at the graph. The year 1998 shows up as relatively cool, starkly different from say CRU.
I also suggested a FAQ on their “end of skepticism” claim, see their response here: “Our study addressed only one area of the concerns: was the temperature rise on land improperly affected by the four key biases (station quality, homogenization, urban heat island, and station selection)? The answer turned out to be no – but they were questions worthy of investigation. Berkeley Earth has not addressed issues of the tree ring and proxy data, climate model accuracy, or human attribution.” This is a reasonable statement, but comes across very differently from the WSJ editorial.