Mea Culpa : IPCC and “Gray” Literature

A mea culpa. I’ve heard repeated the statement that the IPCC is supposed to only use “peer-reviewed” literature in its reports so many times, I assumed it was true.

ETA: I’ll use this post to record the other mea culpas out there from media and bloggers who repeated the misinformation.

Here, thanks to Climateprogress, are the facts in relation to the claims on the denialosphere.

Here’s the quote on Science News:

The IPCC report was supposed to reflect only peer-reviewed science. Not the speculation of scientists, which the initial source of that 2035 figure (Indian glaciologist Syed Hasnain) recently acknowledged it was. Nor should magazine articles or gray literature reports – like the World Wildlife Fund document that repeated the speculative 2035 figure – become the foundation for IPCC conclusions.Which is why IPCC specifically prohibits reliance on such documents.

Climateprogress posts about Lal’s “admission” that the 2035 claim was used despite knowing it was false in order to sway opinion:

Interestingly, I thought that was true, too, but I decided to check with two top IPCC scientists, and they both confirmed to me that in fact, the IPCC does allow gray literature reports. And the IPCC explains this here (see Annex 2).

Lal told me:

“We were allowed to cite gray literature provided that it looked to us to be good science.” [my emphasis]

So the IPCC is able to use gray literature as long as it looked to be “good science”.

Here is a quote from the IPCC Annex on process:

PROCEDURE FOR USING NON-PUBLISHED/NON-PEER-REVIEWED SOURCES IN IPCC REPORTS

Because it is increasingly apparent that materials relevant to IPCC Reports, in particular, information about the experience and practice of the private sector in mitigation and adaptation activities, are found in sources that have not been published or peer-reviewed (e.g., industry journals, internal organisational publications, non-peer reviewed reports or working papers of research institutions, proceedings of workshops etc) the following additional procedures are provided. These have been designed to make all references used in IPCC Reports easily accessible and to ensure that the IPCC process remains open and transparent.

1. Responsibilities of Coordinating, Lead and Contributing Authors

Authors who wish to include information from a non-published/non-peer-reviewed source are requested to:

a. Critically assess any source that they wish to include. This option may be used for instance to obtain case study materials from private sector sources for assessment of adaptation and mitigation options. Each chapter team should review the quality and validity of each source before incorporating results from the source into an IPCC Report.

b. Send the following materials to the Working Group/Task Force Bureau Co-Chairs who are coordinating the Report:

- One copy of each unpublished source to be used in the IPCC Report

- The following information for each source:

- Title

- Author(s)

- Name of journal or other publication in which it appears, if applicable

- Information on the availability of underlying data to the public

- English-language executive summary or abstract, if the source is written in a non English

language

- Names and contact information for 1-2 people who can be contacted for more information about the source.

Responsibilities of the Review Editors

The Review Editors will ensure that these sources are selected and used in a consistent manner across the Report.

3. Responsibilities of the Working Group/Task Force Bureau Co-Chairs

The Working Group/Task Force Bureau Co-Chairs coordinating the Report will (a) collect and index the sources received from authors, as well as the accompanying information received about each source and (b) send copies of unpublished sources to reviewers who request them during the review process.

4. Responsibilities of the IPCC Secretariat

The IPCC Secretariat will (a) store the complete sets of indexed, non-published sources for each IPCC Report not prepared by a working group/the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (b) send copies of non-published sources to reviewers who request them.

5. Treatment in IPCC Reports

Non-peer-reviewed sources will be listed in the reference sections of IPCC Reports. These will be integrated with references for the peer-reviewed sources. These will be integrated with references to the peer reviewed sources stating how the material can be accessed, but will be followed by a statement that they are not published.

Fair enough — there are no doubt documents that would be of use to IPCC reviewers and editors that are not in the peer-reviewed literature that might be included in the reports, so long as they are available for reviewers and as long as their provenance is clear.

So, in other words, this tempest about the IPCC using WWF materials and shouts that they are wrong to do so is on the face of it wrong. Of course, the particular WWF document including the error (2035 vs 2350) should not have been used because it was just plain wrong, but that’s another issue.

Critics were claiming that the IPCC disobeyed its own rules — and I chimed in, assuming wrongly that it was IPCC process to only use peer-reviewed literature.

So mea culpa. I take it back. The IPCC lead authors and reviewers were in their rights to use “gray” literature so long as they made sure to follow the procedures outlined in the IPCC annex for such use. Of course, they should always double check to make sure the non-peer reviewed sources are in fact good science.

Thanks to Climateprogress for the follow-up that others failed to do, me included.
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53 Responses to “Mea Culpa : IPCC and “Gray” Literature”

  1. Susann, do you know the date of Annex 2? I am pretty certain the original mandate for the IPCC was to use only peer-reviewed literature. This has the look of the IPCC changing the rules of the game so it could include suspect literature and the alarmist claims that could not pass peer-review.

    At any rate, the IPCC is in big trouble. I am certain you have read Steve McIntyre’s post on Jan. 26 on “Trends in Disaster Losses.” Steve does not do any of the analysis but links to Roger Pielke Jr who assumes the IPCC just made up one graph.

    • “amended at the Twentieth Session
      (Paris, 19-21 February 2003) and Twenty-first Session (Vienna, 3 and 6-7 November 2003)”

      WELL before AR4.

      Pielke Jr has been in a perpetual fight about the disaster losses with his peers, and the IPCC has already reacted to several of the media reports (not published on their homepage, though).

      • Susann,
        Thank you for that bit of info. So, the amendment happened after TAR but before AR4. Now it looks like the IPCC was planning ahead to get catastrophic claims into the report by asking their friends at WWF and like organizations to publish such claims.

        Of course, I could be wrong. Are there any documents about why the organization came to the conclusion gray literature citations were needed? What was the defect in the peer-reviewed literature that they could not stick with it any longer?

  2. “Critics were claiming that the IPCC disobeyed its own rules”

    The IPCC did disobey its own rules.

    They did not “Critically assess any source that they wish to include.”

    They admitted this in their statement: “In drafting the paragraph in question, the clear and well-established standards of evidence, required by the IPCC procedures, were not applied properly.”

    If they had done the slightest bit of critical assessment they would have seen that the statement was false.

    • I have repeatedly admitted this was unacceptable. How many times do people have to repeat this before you accept it? They were not wrong to use gray material, but in not properly vetting it. That was my point, which you seem unable or unwilling to acknowledge. Sent from my iPhone

  3. Which statement was false?

    • I think he is referring to the 2,035 figure re the Himalaya glaciers melting. Obviously a mistake to have trusted the WWF document — should have vetted the number. I agree with that, but I think this kerfuffle about “Amazongate” is just plain wrong.

  4. Susann,

    Tough then to consider a future statement false before its time.

    • Willard,
      What? I read your comment three times and it didn’t make any sense four times.

      • Let’s say we talk about:

        “In 3 days, it will rain.”

        How one could say that that statement is false before the time it is supposed to rain?

        My bet is that saying “This statement is false” is the wrong way to put it. Possible alternatives of what we would like to say:

        – it is not what it was supposed to be written;
        – it is not backed up by the evidence;
        – it is quite inexact;
        – it is quite exagerated;
        – it is irresponsible;
        – it is unbelievable;
        – it is irrelevant.

        And there are more for sure.

        We are having problems dealing with a sentence. Imagine now wanting to discuss all IPCC’s statements, or say a theory (say AGW) which could be interpreted as a set of statements. Or AGW could actually be a set of theories, which would even be even complicated.

        • Willard,
          The original projection was for the glaciers to be gone by 2350. Someone transposed the numbers to 2035. There is no evidence to back that claim. Never was.

  5. Susann,
    So how much trouble is the IPCC in? Have you any idea how to measure it?

    One indicator is Andrew Weaver is heading for the exit. Weaver says there has been some “dangerous crossing” of the line between advocacy and science at the IPCC. Pretty amazing statement for someone who has made some outlandish statements himself.

    http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/story.html?id=90f8dd19-4a79-4f8f-ab42-b9655edc289b&p=1

    So, what do you think this means for policy and for the future of the IPCC?

    • I don’t know if he’s heading for the exit. Here’s another version of the story (I’m not sure how CANWEST works, it’d be good to see what they provided to news outlets).

      http://www.windsorstar.com/technology/Canadian+scientist+says+global+warming+panel+crossing+line/2487264/story.html

      Clearly he sees a need for some major changes. I might be surprised at his honesty, but I don’t think the “dangerous crossing” is that amazing a statement, even from him. From the above story:

      “And he says IPCC officials must cease being “over enthusiastic” in pushing for policy changes.

      “Nobody should be using particular pieces of information to advance an agenda,” says Weaver. “The IPCC cannot be an advocate, because it’s not tasked to do that.”

      I think as a scientist, he’s relying on the IPCC to be a totally neutral source of factual information, perhaps in the same way the medical profession has their PDR (Physician’s Desk Reference). I do think his criticism of the IPCC should be taken to heart by AGW proponents. It’s one thing to dismiss skeptics/deniers/contrarians as so much noise, but you can’t just dismiss the Andrew Weavers of the world out of hand.

      I did wish the article would have gone into more depth about his views on the IPCC.

      • UAN2001, thank you for the link. I like the first sentence:

        “A senior Canadian climate scientist says the United Nations’ panel on global warming has become tainted by political advocacy, that its chairman should resign, and that its approach to science should be overhauled.”

        Weaver must be betting Pachauri will be replaced. Either that or Weaver doesn’t care to be associated with the IPCC if Pachauri continues to lead it. There is no way Weaver will get a lead author role in the future is Pachauri is still there.

        It is good to see that someone in the AGW camp is in touch with reality. It sounds strange to say that about Weaver because he has said some “overly enthusiastic” comments himself.

    • Ron, I don’t much trust the NP – it’s our right-wing anti-government rag in Canada. Corcoran isn’t very high in my estimation of journalists. In other words, I take what Corcoran or the NP publishes with a huge salt lick – in fact, I tend to see what the NP and Corcoran publishes as mere propaganda for the right and business interests rather than news. I’d prefer to read a transcript of the interview with Andrew Weaver and until I do, I won’t bother with the NP or Corcoran. What’s interesting is that Weaver is a strong proponent of global warming, believes we need to make emissions cuts, and also commented on a paper on geoengineering, believing we need to consider it as a policy option as long as it doesn’t stop emissions cuts. So his opinion on whether the IPCC crossed lines is interesting and worth more exploration and I would consider it if I could find a credible source. I can accept that there may be parts of the assessment reports that should have been better written or vetted. That doesn’t mean the IPCC has to be scrapped.

      • Susann, what does it mean that you consider NP and Corcoran unreliable? Do you expect Weaver will sue for liable?

        How about the link provided by UAN2001? See http://www.windsorstar.com/technology/Canadian+scientist+says+global+warming+panel+crossing+line/2487264/story.html

        Or is Canwest News Service also unreliable?

      • Susann, by the way, I think it is fascinating that if someone is “a strong proponent of global warming” then you consider their opinion is “interesting and worth more exploration.” This is the way a closed mind works. If you can only be persuaded by people who agree with you in the main, then you are not thinking for yourself.

        By refusing to consider a news report from an organization you consider “right wing,” it also shows you are not open to learning facts which may be inconvenient to your current worldview. What if all the “left wing” news organizations spiked news stories they found inconvenient, how would you see the world?

        • Please, Ron, if my mind is closed, then surely yours is cemented up.

          You haven’t showed me any “facts” — most of what you’ve shown are opinions and spin that are unconvincing.

          BTW, can you tell me what my current worldview is? I’m dying to learn…

          • Susann, I thought it would be helpful to point out evidence of a closed mind. Honesty from a friend is usually appreciated.

            If anyone needs an open mind, it is a policy analyst. Of course, if you disagree and believe a closed mind serves you better, then you are welcome to your opinion.

            • Ron, my mind *is* open but it prefers evidence and facts to spin and propaganda, although I do like to look at both because they are very informative about what is taking place.

              Let me tell you about policy analysts — we understand the political games that are played on the way to writing and implementing public policy and we are — shall I say — suspicious about the facts that various “stakeholders” place in front of us, understanding that when people are trying to build a case, they present what supports it and rarely if ever what does not support it — I see this on both sides of the AGW divide on the part of the advocates. They’re already convinced of the rightness of their position and are only trying to push it, promote it, and see it prevail.

              The reason I am interested in the players and the politics as well as the science itself is that you have to understand all those elements before you can understand what is really taking place.

              • Susann,
                The evidence for a closed mind had nothing to do with the thought that you should have changed your mind by now and become an AGW skeptic.

                The evidence for a closed mind came from your stated reliance on group think and your stated mistrust of your ability to evaluate stories coming from a “right wing” news organization.

                You still have not said if you mistrust the Canwest News Service also or dealt with the inconvenient criticism of the IPCC by Weaver.

                I’m sorry if this conversation is making you uncomfortable but sometimes friends do that.

                • Ron you are mistaking a “discriminating mind” for a “closed mind”. There is a difference.:)

                  I can tell the difference between an objective media organization and one that is clearly biased.

                  • Susann,
                    Let me give you my definitions.

                    An open mind is one that is open to new ideas and information, able to assess and evaluate them regardless of source because the open mind is free of any prejudice or bias.

                    A closed mind is not open to new ideas, has already prejudged people, motives and sources of information and does not want to spend time and energy evaluating inconvenient claims.

                    A discriminating mind is one that seeks to evaluate ideas and separate the better from the good and the best from the better.

                    • The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

                      I’ve read the National Post for many years and have discovered that they are biased and their opinion pieces slanted one way, That evidence is then taken into consideration when a new opinion piece is posted. Prejudging in that case is not evidence of a closed mind — just one that can predict what happens next.

                      To expect something objective after that is to have a trash can for a mind.

    • Here is Andrew weaver in his own words:
      http://www.edmontonjournal.com/technology/Prof+clarifies+position+climate+panel/2504952/story.html

      And here is what I wrote:
      http://mind.ofdan.ca/?p=2841

      Heading for the exit? I think not. Neither is he calling for Pachauri to be replaced.

  6. Not to worry. In time, Susan will come around. She is too clever to be irredeemably lost.

    • There is no question that Susann is very bright and very articulate. What concerns me is the evidence of a closed mind – group think and willingness to exclude some sources of information from the discussion.

      Critical thinking skills are rarely taught and when they are the importance and skill of evaluating your own mental processes is usually not well explained.

      Very bright people fall victim to group think quite often. They are usually busy and assume other very bright people have fully examined the issues without bias, an assumption which is rarely true. When politics or policy is involved, it complicates matters even more because emotions often enter the fray.

      • Let’s oppose “groupthink” to “individualthink”. Let’s show an example of individualthink at work:

        http://bit.ly/9Qvn3q

        James Delingpole is certainly the epitome of an individualistic thinker. Let’s let the reader decide by himself if he practices individualthinking; let’s contend that this episode shows that a part of his readership does not.

        • Willard, I read that Monbiot article and was disgusted by what it shows about Delingpole and his readership — some of the same tactics I’ve seen at CA and WU.

          The manufactured moral panic on the right about environmentalists and the environmental movement is a sad episode but very informative at the same time to social scientists interested in political discourse.

  7. Susann,
    So you are saying you cannot learn anything from a news source you disagree with? Really? Is that common among policy analysts? Are you all that closed-minded?

    On the Andrew Weaver story, in addition to rejecting the fact-filled opinion piece from National Post, you have also neglected the straight news story from Canwest News Service.

    I think you are saying “I do not respect NP’s opinion and I cannot assume the facts they present are accurate.” To me, that is a silly position to take because it makes you irrelevant to the debate. Without doubt a large number of people read the NP and you really marginalize yourself when you act as if the NP does not exist.

    You said you would prefer to read the transcript of the interview with Andrew Weaver, but I do not think a transcript exists or that an interview ever happened. It appears Andrew Weaver issued a press release that NP and Canwest ran with.

    Even though you have been provided with a straight news story, you are ducking the question of how Weaver’s statement may impact AGW policy and the future of the IPCC.

    • So you are saying you cannot learn anything from a news source you disagree with? Really? Is that common among policy analysts? Are you all that closed-minded?

      Ron, I read NP all the time. It’s important for people with an interest in the truth to read all views in order to judge them. That’s why I bother to read at CA and WU, the NP and DM. I learn a great deal when I read the NP about the temperature of the right, the climate of denialism, and the interests of the conservatives in Canada. These sources give me an insight into the tactics and strategy of the denialists and points me to useful intelligence. Rarely do I find any actual science there of merit or any insight into it. But I do read it and am very familiar with it.

      As to Andrew Weaver, well, everyone is entitled to their opinion on this matter. I read his with interest and give his opinion its due.

      • Susann,
        I am trying, with great difficulty, to resolve your earlier statement (Jan 28 8:22 am) with your most recent comment.

        Earlier you write: “I take what Corcoran or the NP publishes with a huge salt lick – in fact, I tend to see what the NP and Corcoran publishes as mere propaganda for the right and business interests rather than news. I’d prefer to read a transcript of the interview with Andrew Weaver and until I do, I won’t bother with the NP or Corcoran.”

        Now you write: “Ron, I read NP all the time…I learn a great deal when I read the NP about the temperature of the right, the climate of denialism, and the interests of the conservatives in Canada. These sources give me an insight into the tactics and strategy of the denialists and points me to useful intelligence.”

        One point that is consistent between the two is the “us vs. them” attitude, which is also evidence of a closed mind. Of course, if you are a policy analyst for a particular party, then it makes sense. But if you are seeking the best policy regardless of party, it does not.

        What is strikingly different about the two quotes is the value you attribute to NP in each. In one you “won’t bother with it.” In the other you “read NP all the time.” It is difficult for me to resolve these two statements.

        Regarding Andrew Weaver you say you have given his opinion its due. How so? What is the measure of its due? Has it changed your perspective on the IPCC in the least? Or have you written Andrew Weaver off as a reliable scientist?

        • “I believe in an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.” Sulzberger.

          Ron, as a policy analyst, I work for whatever party is in power for I am part of the professional civil service and not a political appointee. That means I work whatever political party gets elected. My role is to provide advice but ultimately, to implement the government’s policy agenda. Since we have a parliamentary system, the party that wins the majority gets to implement policy as long as it is able to maintain the confidence of the legislature.

          I’m lucky I work in an area of public policy where there isn’t too much debate or conflict – health. Believe it or not, the policies I work on are pretty much necessary regardless of the party in power. It’s non-partisan. I feel quite able to work with whatever party gets elected because the vast majority of Canadians value their public health system and want it preserved and improved. No government is going to mess with it — in fact, they trip over themselves trying to prove how much they are improving it vs the other guy.

          I’m pretty confident in my assessment of Corcoran and the NP thanks. I read the NP as well as the other national paper — The Globe and Mail on almost a daily basis but I also know what to expect from long acquaintance with both and I know not to trust Corcoran on the issue of global warming since he has made his position clear. You want to talk about a closed mind?.

          As to Weaver, I have no worse or better view of him as a scientist based on his opinion about the IPCC. It’s just one opinion.

          • I agree it is possible to have too open a mind. But what does that look like exactly? There are only two types I can see. The first is someone who wants to keep his options open and as a result he cannot make a decision when time for a decision has come. One example of this is a juror who still wants more information after all the evidence has been presented. Another example is the man who is interested in two different women. Eventually, he is going to have to make a choice or he gets into trouble.

            Another type is someone who will listen to and be persuaded by people without evidence or people who are certifiably insane. I submit NP is not without evidence and the writers and editors are not certifiably insane. The evidence they present may be uncomfortable for you, but reject listening and evaluating their stories at your peril.

            The Democrats in the US are in terrible trouble because they have completely rejected FOX News as a viable news source. Yet FOX News is the most watched and most trusted news source in the country. They understand the issues Americans care about. By rejecting FOX News, they are completely disconnected from what the people want. This year the Dems will lose 60 seats in the House and 6 or 7 seats in the Senate.

            You say you know you cannot trust Corcoran or the NP on global warming. Why is that? What stories have they gotten wrong? Have they violated any ethics of journalism? Have they broken any laws?

            It seems funny to me that you distrust Corcoran and NP (who have done none of the things above) and you continue to trust Jim Hansen, Michael Mann and Phil Jones who have done all of them.

            What did you think of the story that Phil Jones broke the law but will not be prosecuted because the statute of limitations had expired? Was that cheering news?

            Did you ever watch this news report by the founder of The Weather Channel? http://www.kusi.com/weather/colemanscorner/81559212.html

            One of the problems with an “us vs them” outlook is that it negates the possibility of a third way and can block the possibility of an honest broker. If everyone stands in their own camp and calls names at the people in the other camp, no information exchange happens and no progress is made. Let me give you an example.

            Regarding Weaver, earlier you wrote you had given his opinion its due. Now you write that it is “just one opinion” which seems to mean it does not have much value at all.

            I think it is important to ask why Weaver would issue a press release like this. What is he trying to accomplish? To me, the answer is clear. He is trying to align himself with Hans von Storch, Eduardo Zorita and others who believe in AGW but are fed up with the partisanship of the IPCC. (Oh, by the way, the opinion of Weaver is not “just one opinion.”)

            The significance of the Weaver announcement is that these disclosures of wrongdoing by climate scientists coupled with IPCC incompetence are still gaining new converts among AGW believers.

            • Ron, you are making a fool of yourself by referring to a report by Coleman (who’s about as big a conspiracy believer as you can find) referring to Smith and D’Aleo. These latter guys really don’t know what they are doing, unless fooling people is their aim. If you TRULY are open-minded, you would have known about the incompetence of these people, and be MUCH more skeptical about their claims.

              Make no mistake, the likes of Hans von Storch and Eduardo Zorita will try and steer around cranks like John Coleman (or D’Aleo, Smith and Watts) as much as e.g. Phil Jones would. Weaver should know as well as any other that getting rid of some people will a) change nothing about the science, and b) change nothing about the attacks on the science. At best there will be a few less areas of attack.

              • Marco,
                I do not expect Storch, Zorita or Weaver to embrace Anthony Watts, Joe D’Aleo, EM Smith or John Coleman anytime soon. This actually was part of my point regarding a third way being led by S, Z and W.

                Have you read the data put together by Smith, D’Aleo and Watts? The Compendium Report can be found at http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/surface_temp.pdf

                I fully expect this report to rock the climate science community once people begin to read it and confirm its findings. The statement made by GISS regarding the Coleman report lacked any specifics and any credibility.

                • I’ve read the report, yes, and it is filled, FILLED with nonsense. John NG has also already exposed some of the nonsense:
                  http://tinyurl.com/yec3ads
                  Menne et al has already exposed the incompetence of Watts and his surfacestation project:
                  http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ushcn/v2/monthly/menne-etal2010.pdf
                  (the best exposure of Watts’ incompetence are his complaint about the number of stations, the paper explicitely discusses that, and using homogenization, the paper also explicitely discusses its influence).
                  Recently even many of the WUWT crowd showed a rare bout of real skepticism when E.M. Smith showed yet another round of incompetence, claiming the warm anomalies in Iran and Alaska were due to ‘faulty’ ocean infills ‘shining through’.

                  The fact that you put ANY credibility on these three, who have been shown wrong on so many occasions, and then dismiss GISS so easily, shows me you do not have the open mind you so demand Susann develops.

            • Ron, when I say it’s just one opinion, I mean exactly that — one opinion. It’s not a scientific body. It’s one scientist. I have to give it that much weight in the greater scheme of things. I could point you to many others who feel differently and so we are still left with the issue of who to trust in this.

              I have to agree with Marco — I’ve read over at John Coleman’s place and the Chiefio and I read over at NASA about GISS and its methods and frankly, I feel more comfortable with NASA explanations that are based in the peer reviewed scientific literature rather than the public musings of a weatherman who said “global warming is the greatest scam in history” or a BA Econ computer guy whose ramblings are practically incomprehensible.

              If you want to play the game — analyze GISS — rather than just raise the rabble, get a freaking science education and write scientific papers based on credible empirical evidence.

  8. You’ve got quite an infestation here.
    Have you Googled your persistent poster? Do check.

  9. Ron,

    After chiding Susan for being close minded and nit-picking her judgment on sources, you write this.

    “I fully expect this report to rock the climate science community once people begin to read it and confirm its findings.”

    You have decided – without any laborious analysis of your own, I’m guessing (you may correct me on that. My mind is open to the possibility you’ve spent many hours applying a critical, skeptical mind to the claims and tested them intrinsically and extrinsically) – that this document is foolproof. Absolutely true. Unimpeachable. On the money.

    I have for the past few weeks followed with interest blogging groups of skeptics who have analysed GHCN data and produced temperature records based on the raw values. They unanimously confirm that the adjusted records differ little from the raw. GISS shows the lowest trend of all the centennial re-analyses as well as the other official surface records. The CRU product is in the middle of the rather narrow range.

    The document you reference says:

    In the words of two of the authors frequently mentioned in the paper, we need:

    “…independent groups doing new and independent global temperature analyses—not international committees of Nobel laureates passing down opinions on tablets of stone.”

    Dr Spencer appears to be unaware (he’s not, so you’re reading propaganda) that there are three major surface records that use different methods, and another two less well-known in Japan and Russia, not to mention two well-known and several less well-known satellite temperature records for the last 30 years, one of which he is responsible for. The agreement between these sets is pretty good.

    I count 3 formal surface records easily accessible to the public. I count 6 informal (blog) reanalyses of GHCN data, confirming the global surface records. Three of these have been done at skeptical blogsites, three at proponent websites.

    The possibility that the surface records are very wrong becomes increasingly remote. The reanalyses I mentioned happened within the past two months. It would be surprising if your energetic interest in the surface records, coupled with your inquiring, skeptical attitude, failed to make you aware of this ongoing work easily discoverable by using the most obvious search terms on google. Here’s one link to start with.

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2010/comparing-global-land-temperature-reconstructions/

    That’s a ‘skeptical’ blogsite, by the way.

    The statement made by GISS regarding the Coleman report lacked any specifics and any credibility.”

    Your dismissal of GISS is much bolder than Susan’s leeriness of NP. I doubt> you are qualified to lecture anyone on how to operate with an open mind. You seem rather too eager to credit the Watts/D’Aleo report absolute correctness. This is especially deplorable considering their woeful track record. The mind-numbing dross that appears daily at WUWT, with Anthony’s blessing, should give any rational thinker pause before swallowing his pdf work.

    (fingers crossed the formatting works)

  10. Is there a page recording the tracks of Watts/D’Aleo?

    If not, boo hoo.

    While metaphors are good, a real track record would be nice.

  11. There are numerous records of Watts tracks – enough analysis to leave little doubt of the paucity of his abilities – examples of his inability to understand the meaning of ‘baselines’ and how to compensate for them, and not understanding the difference between absolute temperatures and anomalies. Of course, nothing beats going to source. He claims that the global and US temp record is biased. He’s done the work for neither, instead cherry-picking weather stations that flow with hisw narrative. I checked the recent publication thoughtfully provided by Ron. He’s had, for a year now, the data he considers sufficient to do an analysis of good US stations to compare with official records. He’s been asked repeatedly to make good his claims as promised. This latest publication was a golden opportunity to settle the matter once and for all. As expected, he hasn’t crunched numbers, just repeated the cherry-picking exercise. As there is an equal and sizable number of weather stations that have been adjusted both up and down, there are plenty of sites for him to bolster his lop-sided case, while ignoring the other half of that number that tell the opposite story.

    Not sure where you’re coming from willard, but I’d be happy to provide numerous links if anyone shows an interest in reading some critical opinion on Watts. Unfortunately, his acolytes are not skeptical, and not in the least bit interested in bringing an open mind to it.

  12. Watts’ promise to run an analysis on USHCN 1 & 2 stations is in the 8th post here:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/11/16/nevada-ushcn-station-surveys-are-done/

    75% of stations have been in for a year. 2 publications later and still he’s failed to keep his promise. No prizes for guessing why.

  13. Barry,

    Yes, I’d be much obliged if you provide links. I’d even post it!

    Maintaining lists of links: I love that idea! At the same time, I fear link rot.

    What the hell, shoot!

  14. As you wish:

    http : // tamino.wordpress.com/2008/03/02/whats-up-with-that/
    http : // tamino.wordpress.com/2008/03/27/how-not-to-analyze-data-part-1/
    http : // tamino.wordpress.com/2008/03/30/how-not-to-analyze-data-part-deux/
    http : // tamino.wordpress.com/2008/04/01/how-not-to-analyze-data-part-3/
    http : // tamino.wordpress.com/2008/04/07/how-not-to-analyze-data-part-4-lies-damned-lies-and-anthony-watts/
    http : // tamino.wordpress.com/2008/02/03/exclamation-points/

    There’s even a website devoted to analysing posts at WUWT:

    http : // wotsupwiththat.wordpress.com/

    And there are many more, which I haven’t bothered to bookmark.

    I had to space out the links as this site doesn’t seem to want to admit so many of them.

    (apologies for thread drift, Susan)

  15. Very late to the game, but you say, “The IPCC lead authors and reviewers were in their rights to use ‘gray’ literature so long as they made sure to follow the procedures outlined in the IPCC annex for such use.”

    Isn’t the point that the IPCC didn’t follow the procedures? As you quoted, “Non-peer-reviewed sources will be listed in the reference sections of IPCC Reports….These will be integrated with references to the peer reviewed sources stating how the material can be accessed, but will be followed by a statement that they are not published.”

    And here’s the WWF reference as printed:

    “WWF (World Wildlife Fund), 2005: An overview of glaciers, glacier retreat, and subsequent impacts in Nepal, India and China. World Wildlife Fund, Nepal Programme, 79 pp.”

    There is no “statement that they are not published.” Same deal with the Amazon reference:

    “Rowell, A. and P.F. Moore, 2000: Global Review of Forest Fires. WWF/IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, 66 pp. http://www.iucn.org/themes/fcp/publications /files/global_review_forest_fires.pdf.”

    The New York TImes:

    “Wilgoren, J. and K.R. Roane, 1999: Cold Showers, Rotting Food, the Lights, Then Dancing. New York Times, A1. July 8, 1999.”

    Greenpeace:

    “Hoegh-Guldberg, O., H. Hoegh-Guldberg, H. Cesar and A. Timmerman, 2000: Pacific in peril: biological, economic and social impacts of climate change on Pacific coral reefs. Greenpeace, 72 pp.”

    Friends of the Earth:

    “Buitenkamp, M., H. Venner, T. Wams, 1993: Action Plan Sustainable Netherlands. Dutch Friends of the Earth, Amsterdam.”

    And apparently many, many others. In fact, when I did a search within AR4 for the word “unpublished” I came up with just 6 “gray” references that were cited correctly as dictated by the IPCC’s procedures. If the recent report is correct and there were in fact 5,600 references to “gray” literature in AR4, the IPCC appears to have followed procedure about one-tenth of one percent of the time. Hardly worthy of a mea culpa in my opinion.

  16. @Galileonardo:
    Welcome to the world of library-definitions of “gray literature”.

    Gray literature is often defined as “foreign or domestic open source material that usually is available through specialized channels and may not enter normal channels or systems of publication, distribution, bibliographic control, or acquisition by booksellers or subscription agents.”

    Alternatively, it is “information produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body.”

    In many of the cases you cite above, the first definition means that these are not “gray literature” (you will find several even having ISBN numbers). The second is slightly more problematic for some.

    The “peer reviewed” is yet another issue, as many reports *are* actually “peer reviewed”, although I also think the IPCC procedures are not as clear as they could be. There is some mixing of “non-published” and “not peer reviewed” which makes it problematic to understand what they exactly mean.

  17. Ron Cram wrote —
    // So how much trouble is the IPCC in? Have you any idea how to measure it?
    One indicator is Andrew Weaver is heading for the exit. Weaver says there has been some “dangerous crossing” of the line between advocacy and science at the IPCC. //

    Update —
    http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Climate-Scientist-Sues-National-Post-for-Libel-1151667.htm
    VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwire – April 21, 2010) – University of Victoria Professor Andrew Weaver, the Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling and Analysis, launched a lawsuit today in BC Supreme Court against three writers at The National Post (and the newspaper as a whole), over a series of unjustified libels based on grossly irresponsible falsehoods that have gone viral on the Internet.

  18. Ron Cram :Willard,The original projection was for the glaciers to be gone by 2350. Someone transposed the numbers to 2035. There is no evidence to back that claim. Never was.

    There is also the further problem that they would apparently be not gone by 2350 either (or at least, no serious study appears to show any solid grounds for that forecast).
    I am still to see any unfortunate little mistake in the AR4 that points against the main conclusions of the said report. All those discovered (surely by coincidence) tend to enhance those conclusions.

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