While we’re waiting for John Mashey’s magnum opus on the Wegman report (and believe me, it is well worth the wait), let’s take a look at what Edward Wegman and his protege and report co-author Yasmin Said have been up to recently (again, a big hat tip to John).
The Interface Symposium (an annual statistical computing conference dating back to 1967) held its 2010 edition in Seattle June 16-19, with Wegman and Said as program chairs. And what a program it was!
The program book [PDF] is now available online. So, without further ado, here are the two “invited sessions” that we all wish we could have attended.
Inv – 4 Perspectives on Climate Change
Organizer: Yasmin H. Said, Session Chair: Edward J. Wegman
- Testing the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming: A continuing
controversy, S. Fred Singer, Science & Environmental Policy Project
- Extracting information from large-scale computer model output, Mark Berliner, Ohio State
Inv – 15 Policy Issues on Climate Change
Organizer: Yasmin H. Said, Session Chair: Edward J. Wegman
- Global warming: Nexus of politics, economics and science, Jeff Kueter, The Marshall Institute.
- Global warming–fact, fiction, and fraud, Don Easterbrook, Western Washington
- Climate change policy and the climategate scandal, Yasmin H. Said, George Mason
Poor Mark Berliner, stuck in that less than illustrious company. Interestingly, neither session was listed in the advance list of sessions as of March 12, just three months before the conference.
Here are the abstracts of the presentations (except for Berliner’s which is too long, boring and reasonable):
Testing the Hypothesis of Anthropogenic Global Warming: A Continuing Controversy
S. Fred Singer, Science and Environmental Policy Project
The preferred test compares observed temperature trends with those derived from (greenhouse) climate models. I will discuss the statistical and other uncertainties of both sets of data.
Global Warming: Nexus of Politics, Economics and Science
Jeff Kueter, President, George C. Marshall Institute
The United States Congress is actively considering legislation to cap greenhouse gas emissions. Independently, the Environmental Protection Agency is moving to impose regulations on emissions as well. Pursuit of an international agreement to limit emissions continues. The belief that anthropogenic activities are negatively transforming the Earth’s climate motivates each of these efforts. Debate over the certainty of that conclusion as well as the economic cost and consequences of proposed mitigation efforts is generating opposition to these legislative, regulatory and international efforts. The presentation will review the economic and scientific aspects of the ongoing public policy debate.
Global Warming, Fact, Fiction and Fraud
Don Easterbrook, Western Washington University
The global warming debate is filled with facts, fiction, and fraud. The facts are that (1) the Earth has experienced natural global warming and cooling 4 times in the past century, 40 times in the past 500 years, and 60 times in the past 5000 years, long before CO2 could possibly have been a factor, (2) at least 10 warm/cool climate fluctuations between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago were far more intense than recent warming, including warming of 15°F in 40 years, (3) from 1945 to
1977, while CO2 was soaring, we had 30 years of global cooling, (4) although we’ve had global warming (1977 to 1999), Antarctic ice is not melting, (5) nothing that humans are doing can significantly affect global climate. The fiction is that (1) CO2 is capable of producing warming of
the atmosphere 10°F by the end of the century, (2) sea level will rise 20 feet this century, (3) global warming is causing extinction of polar bears, (4) carbon cap and trade will reduce atmospheric CO2, (5) carbon cap and trade will affect global warming. The fraud is (1) faking data, (2) changing climate data to make it appear warmer, (3) lying about Himalayan glacier retreat, (4) deliberate suppression of data that doesn’t support CO2 as the cause of global warming.
Climate Change Policy and the Climategate Scandal
Yasmin H. Said, George Mason University
The release of emails from the East Anglia University Climate Research Unit just before the Copenhagen Climate summit has had a damaging effect on public support for action on global warming. The lack of transparency by some climate researchers, the willingness to bend the peer review process, and the willingness to destroy data rather than share it with researchers of a different perspective all raise fundamental issues of climate change policy. Perhaps the best thing to come from the climategate scandal is the formal recommendation of engaging statisticians. In this talk I will discuss some of the implications of climategate on climate change policy.
Perhaps the best thing to come from the climategate scandal is the formal recommendation of engaging statisticians.
If this symposium is what we can expect from “engaging statisticians” in climate science, maybe we had better rethink how to implement that recommendation.
The fact is there are large numbers of statisticians, and statistically sophisticated scientists, already hard at work in climate science. The last thing climate science needs is Wegman, Said and their gang of think tank retreads.
The elevation of Edward Wegman as an expert on the integration of statistics in climate science is an unspeakable travesty, and represents nothing less than an attack on the entire field. To say the least, the statistical profession has some serious soul searching to do.
Update: Aug 3 – Various links for further reading and contemplation.
- Besides co-chairs Wegman and Said, the 25-person program committee includes Wegman report co-author David Scott of Rice University, and no fewer than three Wegman PhDs (Jeff Solka, David Marchette, and Rida Moustafa).
- Deltoid on Easterbrook hides the decline (also Wikipedia)
- Sourcewatch on Jeff Keuter and the George C. Marshall Institute
- Sourcewatch on Fred Singer and the Science and Environmental Policy Project (also you can get in touch with Singer and get a preprint of his latest, Claimed Consistency of Modeled and Observed Temperature Trends is Invalid).
Update: Aug 4
An interesting contrast with the Wegman/Said invited sessions is the2007 ASA/NCAR workshop, “A Statistical Consensus on Global Warming”. Here is the list of presentations. Wegman’s presentation on PaleoClimate is distinguished by its demonstration of ignorance of the field. (Some commentary on Wegman’s presentation is here on the previous thread to this one). One wonders what PaleoClimate writing leader Peter Bloomfield (a statistician who served on the NRC “hockey stick” panel and is well versed in paleoclimatology) could possibly have made of it.
Update: Aug 5
The Interface 2010 home page lists an alphabet soup of co-operating organizations, but the leading one of those is clearly the American Statistical Society. In fact, grant support is listed as follows:
- ASA Section on Statistical Computing
- ASA Section on Statistical Graphics
- NISS (National Institute of Statistical Sciences)
Remember that one of the conference co-chairs, Yasmin Said, accused climate scientists of “the willingness” to “bend the peer review process” and “destroy data”. And one of the invited presenters, Don Easterbrook, goes further and accuses climate scientists of outright scientific fraud:
The fraud is (1) faking data, (2) changing climate data to make it appear warmer, (3) lying about Himalayan glacier retreat, (4) deliberate suppression of data that doesn’t support CO2 as the cause of global warming.
How can the ASA allow itself to be associated with, let alone give financial grant support to, such a symposium?