Wegman-gate: Readers, please alert Congress and the Media!
by Scott Mandia, September 28, 2010
There are some that that wish to delay action on climate change and some that refuse to accept the scientific consensus that humans are causing significant global warming with possible devastating impacts. These delayers and contrarians often hang their hats on the Wegman Report as proof that climate scientists are either corrupt or incompetent. The Wegman report, commissioned by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) and Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), is central to the infamous Hockey Stick Controversy and was promoted as “independent, impartial, expert” work by a team of “eminent statisticians.” It was none of those.
- Of 91 pages, 35 are largely plagiarized text, often injected with errors, bias and changes of meaning. 3 pages are a mathematical appendix that seems to be the only contribution of the report’s 2nd author (David Scott). 7 pages are a padded bibliography (see below). That leaves barely half the report as actual original material from Wegman and Said.
- A sketch of central England temperatures for the past 1000 years from the first (1990) IPCC report was highlighted in the Wegman report, but the report’s version was altered, at least by shifting the time axis and truncating the recent temperature rise (already truncated at 1975 in the original). An unaltered version of the same sketch can be found in the NAS report; until now nobody seems to have noticed that Wegman (or a source or associate) had distorted the graph.
- Of 80 references in the bibliography, 40 are never cited in the report.
- Many of the science papers in the remaining 40 are, while cited and sometimes summarized, otherwise ignored in the analysis
- Wegman sent the report to a few statisticians; all known to him. Some were given only a few days to comment. Some gave strong advice that was simply ignored. This was claimed as peer review by Representative Whitfield
- Some commenters were surprised to be listed as reviewers
- Wegman and Said promised to publish their analysis in the peer-reviewed literature, but other than one paper in a journal where Said was associate editor (accepted 6 days after receipt), none have appeared
- Incriminating documents associated with Said have disappeared from websites in recent weeks