Guest Post By A.T.J. de Laat (Jos)

Jos de Laat is sharing with us his comments on the Muir-Russell report (see also).  Thank you Jos for your constructive contribution on this climate science issue.

Guest Post by Jos de Laat

Dear Roger,

While seeing several official investigations related to the ClimateGate emails coming by, sifting through some of their reports and through commentary in newspapers, magazines and on the internet, I came across a blog by Richard Horton in the Guardian in the aftermath of the recent British Muir-Russell report.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2010/jul/07/climate-email-inquiry-revolution

Horton is not a climate scientist but a medical doctor and chief-editor of the well known medical journal the Lancet. He contributed to the Muir-Russell report, mainly for explaining what peer-review actually consists of.

His Guardian blog is well worth reading and reminded me of a paper that was published 10 years ago in BAMS, and has been stuck to my notice board ever since.

“On the lack of accountability in meteorological research”, Bulletin of
the American Meteorological Society (BAMS), Vol. 81, No. 6, June 2000.

BAMS is obviously not the least of the Climate Science journals(http://sciencewatch.com/dr/sci/10/jan31-10_1/). The paper is a little editorial comment and analysis that worries about the “sloppy” (my words) state of checks and balances in publishing meteorological research. In the introduction, the paper notes that:

… OUR EVALUATION PROCESSES ARE CURRENTLY FUNCTIONING SO POORLY THAT THE INTEGRITY OF THE SCIENCE AND ITS TIMELY PROGRESS ARE ACTUALLY BEINGJEOPARDIZED … [emphasis added]

Apparently it was already observed 10 years ago that there were issues with regard to accountability and the peer-review process in meteorological research – and presumably throughout climate science. One might look at what is going on right now and wonder if what we see happening is actually what the editorial already warned for 10 years
ago.

And remember, this paper was published long before any ClimateGate emails, before the start of the “science” blogs, before any Hockeystick issues, even before the release of the third report of the IPCC, which played a major role in the advancing climate change as a political and public topic.

The paper is freely available here:

http://www.atmospheric-chemistry-and-physics.net/pr_on_the_lack_of_accou
ntability.pdf

The recommendations put forward at the end of the paper are also well worth reading.

A.T.J. de Laat (Jos), Ph.D
Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI)
The Netherlands

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