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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A letter to the Institute of Physics

Dear Sir/Madam

As a member of the Institute of Physics I would like to register my extreme displeasure and unhappiness at the IOP submission to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee regarding the leaking of e-mails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (reproduced here) . In my view this submission will damage the scientific reputation of the Institute amongst scientists and other learned societies. This submission will prejudice my future confidence in any policy statements that the IOP makes.

My specific complaints of the submission are as follows:
1. Item 2 mis-represents the current scientific practice of sharing of data and methodologies. Currently methodologies are generally shared by publication in scientific journals not by the explicit sharing of computer source code. Raw experimental data from third parties is not routinely shared. To imply that the researchers at CRU are acting out of step with current practice is false. 
2. Item 4 specifically casts doubt on the historical temperature reconstructions based on proxy measures whilst not acknowledging that such reconstructions have been repeated by a range of research groups using a range of methodologies, as described in the IPCC 2007 report.
3. Item 5 accuses the researchers at CRU of "suppression" of the divergence between proxy records and the more recent thermometer based record. This is ridiculous, the CRU has published on this very divergence in Nature.
4. Item 6 makes no recognition of the un-usual circumstances that CRU found themselves in, subjected to a large number of Freedom of Information requests, culminating in the publication of a substantial fraction of their private e-mail correspondence.

The subject of climate science and it's relationship to anthropogenic climate change is an area subject to political interference, in my view the IOP's submission is a political attack on the CRU at East Anglia University dressed in a flimsy scientific cover.

I expect the Institute to fully withdraw this submission to the Science & Technology Committee. I feel that the subsequent explanatory statement by the IOP is insufficient in addressing the shortcomings of the original submission. It also takes no cognisance of the fact the IOP position will be taken publicly to be the sum of all it's published statements, and indeed that this submission will be preferred, over all others, as a presentation of the IOP's policy by those who wish to deny the position on climate science that the IOP claims to hold.

I will be cancelling my direct debit mandate to the IOP now, I may decide to continue with my membership when it comes up for renewal.

yours sincerely,

Dr Ian Hopkinson

8/3/10: update, corrected some typos

1 comment:

Jack Kelly said...

Great work.