By Deep Climate
David Ritson, emeritus professor of physics at Stanford University, has updated Steve McIntyre and the rest of the world on a key controversy concerning the Wegman Report, namely Edward Wegman’s ongoing failure to release supporting material related to the analysis within the Wegman report, more than four years after his promises to do so.
Here is Ritson’s complete comment, addressed to McIntyre at ClimateAudit.
Ritson Posted Oct 23, 2010 at 5:44 PM
Your posts on alleged plagiarism by Wegman have been more than exhaustive. Last August I acquainted you with the matter below. Your readers should have been informed by you, but weren’t, that Wegman’s own conduct is at least as reprehensible as that imputed to the “hockey-team”. It is now over four years since the appearance of the Wegman report. At the time I tried to get some confirmations relative to the numbers he had used. RC had a brief posting on the lack of any response to my requests from Wegman et al. At that time you posted at CA on August 31 2006, “Take a Ritalin Dave” chiding me for my impatience. You pointed out that comparable requests from yourself had not, in many instances, been honored for years. Wegman et al were chided by Congressman Waxman’s Office. Finally Wegman replied on Sept 1, 2006 to Waxman. The key paragraph in Wegman’s reply was
“I would make the following distinction. The works of Mann et al. we discussed in the report were federally funded, peer-reviewed journal articles. Our report was review of those papers and was not federally funded. Our report called for disclosure of federally funded work. Material based on our report is being prepared for peer review journals at present. It is not clear to me that before the journal peer review process is complete that we have an academic obligation to disclose the details of our methods. Nonetheless, I assure you that as soon as we are functional again, I will create a website that fully discloses all supporting material related to our report to the extent possible. (Some of the code we used was developed by former and current students working at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia and may not be disclosed without approval through the Navy’s public release process.)”
This is hardly the openness in scientific communication so eloquently called for by the Wegman report. His letter was not communicated directly to me but was forwarded on by Waxman’s office. Congressman Waxman wrote a personal follow-up letter chiding Wegman and again requesting the items of information. The second request was never responded to. It is now four years since Wegman wrote the above. Wegman never took any one of the steps he had so readily promised. namely publication, a website and public disclosure of all information with the exception of classified code. He never provided either to me or to Waxman any reason for his inaction. Waxman at that time was the ranking minority leader of the congressional oversight committee that had requested the report and he is today the chairman of that committee. As regards congressional credibility Wegman has dug his own grave. The question of plagiarism is trivial compared with the above. [Slightly edited to correct typos.]
The supporting materials related to Michael Mann’s testimony at the July 27, 2006 hearing of U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce include a letter from Ritson to Rep. Henry Waxman, and a transcript of email requests sent by Ritson to Wegman.
Here is Ritson’s original request, from the first email sent on July 23, 2006 (nine days after the official release of the Wegman report). Ritson raises a number of very pertinent issues.
Dear Dr. Wegman,
I read with interest you report to the Barton congressional committee. I am very familiar with the work and controversies surrounding the generation of “hockey-sticks” from trend-less red noise. Your Section 4 showed several figures, accompanied by discussion. I have read it carefully, and would appreciate some clarifications as to factual details.
1). Which of the figures derive from M&M work and which were independently derived by you?
2). M&M used ARFIMA persistent red-noise throughout their published work. You state that your figure 4.4 results from AR(1) .2 red-noise? If so did you otherwise follow M&M using short-span normalization and 70 member Monte Carlo generated ensembles? Did you use the same AR(1) .2 noise to generate all your figures?
3). If you indeed used similar persistent red-noise to that used by M&M do you believe it to be in accord with real-world proxy-specific noise?
4). Any of my colleagues would have routinely checked their results to see if their derived PC1 (etc) derived from a systematic signal or from random noise. For example for a 70 member population, all that is required is to use the extracted PC1 vector from the 70 members, and apply it to each member to project out its relative sign (and amplitude). For signal dominated results one sign will predominate and for noise dominated results both signs will be roughly equally present. Needless to say when, a couple of years ago, I checked the M&M work, I did just that. The questions raised by your report are clearly of importance, and I would very much appreciate your clarifications of the above,