Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Doing Science in Court

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  • giovanni tiso,

    Heres the paper.

    Since by your own admission you're an "intrigued New Zealander", could you also give us the source for the claim that this paper disproves the theory that CO2 is responsible for global warming? There is no single mention of CO2 or carbon or dioxide in the paper itself, nor is such a conclusion spelt out in the abstract.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Mordaunt,

    Giovanni, I think David might be referring to an unpublished paper available from the author's website (due to be published by Atmospheric Science Letters):

    McKitrick, Ross R., Stephen McIntyre and Chad Herman (2010) "Panel and Multivariate Methods for Tests of Trend Equivalence in Climate Data Series" in press at Atmospheric Science Letters.


    The author's provide some background here:

    http://rossmckitrick.weebly.com/index.html


    David, to be honest, it seems like a bit of a waste of time posting about an article like that here- making absolutist claims on the basis of an, as yet, unpublished paper. A paper which the authors themselves have pointed out, has been difficult to find a journal which will publish it. Being a peer-reviewed article doesn't assure that their science is correct either, it simply allows the ideas to be tested in an open forum and to be disputed, disproven, elaborated, or improved upon.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Mordaunt,

    The other point is that NIWA are public servants. We pay for their work. So they are the ones beholden to us to justify their research.

    Therefore, shouldn't the methodology be easily obtained through an OIA request?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    Did Euan Mason "test" the data or has he just expressed an opinion without backing it up?

    I don't believe he has to "back up" a statement that essentially says "put up or shut up". AKA the normal scientific process. If you have an opposing theory, write a paper and submit it for peer review. Going to court would be what you would do if you already knew that there is no merit to your theory.


    ETA:

    The question remains.

    Not really.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    The other point is that NIWA are public servants. We pay for their work.

    Hmmm... yeah.... How's the tax cut going then?... nice is it? Get to keep more of your "Hard Earned Money" eh?... cos that's the important thing eh?.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    By the way David, maybe you're not in the pocket of big oil, but when McKitrick (who's an economist by trade) spoke to the senate commission on global warming he was sponsored by these guys.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Homer,

    Here is the paper from the International Journal of Climatology: Rhoades, D.A. and Salinger, M.J., 1993: Adjustment of temperature and rainfall measurements for site changes. Int. Journal of Climatology 13, 899 – 913.. I haven't read it yet, but have at anybody who's interested.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    The other point is that NIWA are public servants. We pay for their work.

    I don't understand your attitude here. The problem is what exactly?

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    The kinds of adjustment NIWA have done are completely transparent, and not remotely controversial, to anyone with even a basic knowledge of statistics. When challenged to explain themselves they have done, and they've also released long term records from places that have not been moved and have no urban effects - Raoul Island, anyone? These show the same trends quite clearly.

    Needless to say, the C"S"C and their new front-project have lied openly about adjustments.

    I'm actually most pissed off about NIWA, who fired Salinger for having the cheek to discuss science with the media unfiltered through their PR officers. But the C"S"C come a close second.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Mike Graham,

    The other point is that NIWA are public servants. We pay for their work.

    and for their defence in the Court case.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    ...they allow room to have policy decided by the tried and true systems of graft and political favour. Essentially the only purpose is to allow policy that favours businesses...

    Like setting up a 'working group' of carefully selected right-wingers to 'review' the tax system or welfare or retirement funding, for instance.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Like setting up a 'working group' of carefully selected right-wingers to 'review' the tax system or welfare or retirement funding, for instance.

    And not all that long ago, Tricky Dick Prebble put on his tin-foil hat and ranted about an "industrial Gestapo" of "retired trade union officials" and "failed Labour and Alliance candidates".

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5418 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Sorry if this has been posted before, but this was interesting.

    Climate Shifts.

    First I found Bob Carter, which lead me to this.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Something that I'm having difficulty understanding in relation to the court action is: what are the grounds? Under what law are CSC bringing their action?

    It doesn't seem to be fully explained in any of the press I've read.

    The Penguin/Irving case, and the Simon Singh/BCA case, were fought out under UK libel law (I assume NZ libel law is significantly different).

    So what are the legal grounds for their complaint?

    If some PAS legal type with a more mainstream legal background than me can shed some light on this, I'd be grateful.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • JLM,

    Judy Martin's southern sl… • Since Apr 2007 • 239 posts Report Reply

  • Kim Sokolich,

    A fairly on-topic link that I thought might be enjoyed round these parts. Not our Tom Scott but I'm sure he would appreciate it.

    http://www.tomscott.com/warnings/

    Since Oct 2008 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • James,

    Its very mathematical though, which is appropriate as so was Santer et al 2008.

    I wonder sometimes if there's a genuine 'two cultures' disconnect on the modelling. Econometricians like McKitrick are determined to run ever-fancier regression models on the data, and therefore distrust series that leap away from historical trends (which may have something to do with their inability to predict or even believe in financial crashes and other such Black Swans). Are they simply trained not to comprehend structural models, where (for example) a long slow increase in CO2 can trigger sudden changes away from previous equilibria?

    New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 34 posts Report Reply

  • JP Hansen,

    If Mr Leyland is this guy (whom I remember lecturing me at University), it's Bryan, not Brian.

    Waitakere • Since Nov 2006 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • uroskin,

    Will this trial be New Zealand's version of the Scopes Monkey trial?

    Waiheke Island • Since Feb 2007 • 178 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Something that I'm having difficulty understanding in relation to the court action is: what are the grounds? Under what law are CSC bringing their action?

    IANAL, but it seems to be a straight out judicial review, reviewing certain NIWA decisions for illegality, irrationality, or procedural unfairness. It will hinge on the central ground - "irrationality" - which will likely require a court to find that appointing a highly qualified, profssional scientist to do work in their area of expertise was somehow "unreasonable" or defied logic. And that I think is highly unlikely to succeed.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    David

    If the science is to be robust then let other scientists test it.
    Whats to fear?

    Making your data, results and methodology available is generally considered sufficient to allow this. THis has been the case for some time.

    And as has been pointed out, the upward trend is backed up by unadjusted data from stations that haven't moved (and the 'unadjusted' graph the CSC is using now shows a very little warming).

    I suspect people new to the debate will tend to be disappointed by the dismissal they get, most of these things have been hashed out ad nauseam many moons ago. Though that doesn't seem to have happened here.

    As regards this particular case, the more I see the more it looks like a publicity stunt. Judging by the was the release about NIWA everyone's reading on Scoop concerns an underwater volcano, it doesn't seem to have been hugely successful.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I suspect people new to the debate will tend to be disappointed by the dismissal they get, most of these things have been hashed out ad nauseam many moons ago. Though that doesn't seem to have happened here.

    Well, it has, but in bits and pieces.

    The zombie-argument nature of the debate is very familiar to me. Genetic modification advocacy tends to be heavily zombiefied, but the climate deniers tend much more towards pasting in screeds of jargon they don't really understand, but which is quite tedious to argue with, because you have to parse what's being said (which might not make sense) then go and find its original lair. In that sense, it's oddly effective

    As regards this particular case, the more I see the more it looks like a publicity stunt.

    Arguing about this on Kiwiblog yesterday was weird. The merest suggestion that it was a publicity stunt, or anything other than a bold quest for the truth prompted people to roll around screaming like they'd had their kneecaps shot off. It's an odd combination of slandering scientists then complaining about "ad hominem arguments" when anyone is even mildly pointed in response.

    But if it was a publicity stunt, it was bloody poorly organised. The CSC's inability to send Scoop a press release, Leyland's claim to be ignorant of any support from Alan Gibbs ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    This is why I often think the cock-up theory of history is more plausible than the conspiracy theory alternative. I've met Vincent Gray; he really does believe that Anthropogenic Climate Change is a fraud put upon us by Socialists. I knew Augie Auer when he was alive and a parishioner at the church I used to attend, and he was quite sincere; these are not Machiavellian men seeking to do wrong. No, what they are are piss-poor scientists (in the field of Climatology) who, having failed at the game of arguing in the peer-reviewed literature, think that persuading the public to believe them will grant them their victory anyway.

    That being said, Leyland seems like he might be trying to be the Kissinger of the group. Now there is a man who exemplifies the conspiracy theory of history.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    This is why I often think the cock-up theory of history is more plausible than the conspiracy theory alternative

    The first cock-up probably gave birth to the first conspiracy stories. And the pattern seems to have stuck.
    Pure conjecture. OK

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    But if it was a publicity stunt, it was bloody poorly organised.

    Agreed. These guys seem increasingly desparate.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 821 posts Report Reply

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