Thursday, June 14, 2012


date: Fri Sep 4 17:27:25 1998
from: Keith Briffa <>
subject: Thematic Proposal-something to chew on

Hi everyone,

Following my and Paul's meeting with John Mitchell, Simont Tett and Peter
Cox at the Hadley Centre and the general earlier discussions at Henrietta
Street and Cambridge, I've come up with a first draft of a proposal. This is attached as a WORD file. Thanks to Simon ,Peter , John and Nick for contributions. Obviously what we have now is not that different in concept from the earlier proposal , which was good, but here I stress the novelty of a link with The Hadley Centre and put emphasis on climate change detection and attribution.
It is not finished but I wanted to get something to you all by this weekend. Next week I am tied up with a conference we are organising here . Do not therefore expect something polished or very sharp!

What we eventually need is a 3-page ( 6 sides) single-spaced document . We will need to squeeze up and prune the text therefore to make room for for additions and changes.Note then that your contributions need to be somewhat pithy or our pruning harsh.

Obviously, it is easier to focus and refine our ideas when there is some-
thing in print to attack, add to, or modify. That is the purpose of the
attached text. I am far from happy with it because it needs better definition and organisation of the 'Research Programme' section and a good shake out of the specifics. I expect you all to do the relevant bits on your areas of the 'Specific Palaeo Context ' section. I have just put in some text to start us off . This needs obvious expanding (Rick,Frank,Geoff) and what about Palynology/plant macros?

You will see that I've kept bits of the earlier proposal objectives and some sections such as 'deliverables' are pretty much the same. My main effort has been directed towards trying to overcome the'lack of originality' jibe of the earlier attempt. The emphasis is now on the Unified model, but I need Paul and Alan especially to work on the specific nature of the relationship with UGAMP, which is not yet in (perhaps in collaboration with John). Also, John, I want you to
redo the bit about 'climate sensitivity'. We still need to be able to bring
in a more explicit rationale for comparing slow response systems like vegetation dynamics.

Nick, I'm not sure to what extent you wanted the relevance of late glacial or
other pre-Holocene processes made explicit. The present proposal
appears to stress high-resolution data and variability in the Holocene, but it's not meant to exclude other periods. I have a note in my records that says we agreed not to specify time periods as was done before but I think everyone should reconsider this.

When you've all digested this attempt, I suggest you copy your comments (no matter how vicious) to all on the 'writing team'. That way, we can get all get a feeling for where the concensus lies. Let me say that I know this is hardly likely
to please a large section of the Earth Science body, but we clearly agreed the need to push the variability issue up front.

Neville has said we need a meeting in September to discuss this. He will
contact you about it. There are some sections I can't write - Requested
Resources and a Gannt chart of scheduling - until we agree the specific
objectives. These can be finalised, and the criticisms discussed, at Neville's

If we are going to finalise this by the end of September, you need to give me actual text, along with general comments, in time for me to try and assimilate everything and provide a review at this meeting.

Best wishes,


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