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ClimateGate: (1) Breaking news; (2) memorable responses,
(3) corrupt reviews
and (4) seekers of justice
FOIA leaves messages | Breaking news at Watts Up With That | Delingpole reports the stunning email contents | "It's hard for non-scientists to understand the outrage" | Reactions of a climate scientist with integrity | Dr Costella's brilliant, meticulous analysis of the emails | Climategate: the CRUtape Letters (book) | Corruption of reviews shown by Stringer's deleted paragraph | Andrew Montfort's report on the corrupt reviews | Ross McKitrick's report on the corrupt reviews

See I feel pretty passionate about defending the integrity of Science so I put all the goddesses of justice up here!

FOIA said
November 17, 2009 at 9:57 pm | Reply w/ Link

We feel that climate science is, in the current situation, too important to be kept under wraps.

We hereby release a random selection of correspondence, code, and documents.
Hopefully it will give some insight into the science and the people behind it.

This is a limited time offer, download now: http://ftp.tomcity.ru/incoming/free/FOI2009.zip

Sample:

0926010576.txt * Mann: working towards a common goal
1189722851.txt * Jones: “try and change the Received date!”
0924532891.txt * Mann vs. CRU
0847838200.txt * Briffa & Yamal 1996: “too much growth in recent years makes it difficult to derive a valid age/growth curve”
0926026654.txt * Jones: MBH dodgy ground
1225026120.txt * CRU’s truncated temperature curve
1059664704.txt * Mann: dirty laundry
1062189235.txt * Osborn: concerns with MBH uncertainty
0926947295.txt * IPCC scenarios not supposed to be realistic
0938018124.txt * Mann: “something else” causing discrepancies
0939154709.txt * Osborn: we usually stop the series in 1960
0933255789.txt * WWF report: beef up if possible
0998926751.txt * “Carefully constructed” model scenarios to get “distinguishable results”
0968705882.txt * CLA: “IPCC is not any more an assessment of published science but production of results”
1075403821.txt * Jones: Daly death “cheering news”
1029966978.txt * Briffa – last decades exceptional, or not?
1092167224.txt * Mann: “not necessarily wrong, but it makes a small difference” (factor 1.29)
1188557698.txt * Wigley: “Keenan has a valid point”
1118949061.txt * we’d like to do some experiments with different proxy combinations
1120593115.txt * I am reviewing a couple of papers on extremes, so that I can refer to them in the chapter for AR4

FOIA posted these words:
* on Jeff Id's blog thread "Open Letter on Climate Legislaion" at The Air Vent
* on Warren Meyer's blog thread "Bummer. I Didn’t Make the List" at Climate Skeptic
* and having "broken in" to the "secure" area of the warmist blog Real Climate, the same divine hacker posted as RC to say
"A miracle has happened" at Steve McIntyre's blog thread "Miracles and Strip Bark Standardization" at Climate Audit

Personally I think it is highly possible that a miracle did happen. Certainly it was a blessing. And as you can see, the thread titles are extraordinarily apt; FOIA's language is courteous, precise, and apt; not the work of a hack under pressure. Miracles can happen, as any honest scientific investigator can discover.

Steve Mosher realized that here was an utterly extraordinary, and possibly dangerously suspect offer, a download of quantities of emails from climate scientists at the heart of the scam and bad science. Two days elapsed before he dared release his discovery; meanwhile FOIA's other messages lay unopened. Then news ran round the skeptics' blogs like greased lightning; Anthony Watts ran the longest-ever thread as we watched History unfold. Steve McIntyre's blog crashed with overload; he above all, together with his blog team, had guessed correctly, again and again, the malpractices and bad science which the stash of emails and documents simply confirmed. The ordinary media, the alarmist blogs, and Wikipedia, in contrast to the skeptics' blogosphere, showed the most extraordinarily un-reporterly reticence to even admit the existence of Climategate.

Mosher is author of Climategate: The CRUtape Letters

James Delingpole reports the story:

When you read some of those files – including 1079 emails and 72 documents – you realise just why the boffins at CRU might have preferred to keep them confidential. As Andrew Bolt puts it, this scandal could well be “the greatest in modern science”. These alleged emails – supposedly exchanged by some of the most prominent scientists pushing AGW theory – suggest:

Conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organised resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more.

One of the alleged emails has a gentle gloat over the death in 2004 of John L Daly (one of the first climate change sceptics, founder of the Still Waiting For Greenhouse site), commenting:

“In an odd way this is cheering news.”

But perhaps the most damaging revelations – the scientific equivalent of the Telegraph’s MPs’ expenses scandal – are those concerning the way Warmist scientists may variously have manipulated or suppressed evidence in order to support their cause.

Here are a few tasters.

Manipulation of evidence:
I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.

Private doubts about whether the world really is heating up:
The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.

Suppression of evidence:
Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis. Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address. We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.

Fantasies of violence against prominent Climate Sceptic scientists:
Next time I see Pat Michaels at a scientific meeting, I’ll be tempted to beat the crap out of him. Very tempted.

Attempts to disguise the inconvenient truth of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP):
……Phil and I have recently submitted a paper using about a dozen NH records that fit this category, and many of which are available nearly 2K back–I think that trying to adopt a timeframe of 2K, rather than the usual 1K, addresses a good earlier point that Peck made w/ regard to the memo, that it would be nice to try to “contain” the putative “MWP”, even if we don’t yet have a hemispheric mean reconstruction available that far back….

And, perhaps most reprehensibly, a long series of communications discussing how best to squeeze dissenting scientists out of the peer review process. How, in other words, to create a scientific climate in which anyone who disagrees with AGW can be written off as a crank, whose views do not have a scrap of authority.

“This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the “peer-reviewed literature”. Obviously, they found a solution to that–take over a journal! So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board…What do others think?”

“I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor.”“It results from this journal having a number of editors. The responsible one for this is a well-known skeptic in NZ. He has let a few papers through by Michaels and Gray in the past. I’ve had words with Hans von Storch about this, but got nowhere. Another thing to discuss in Nice !”

From Delingpole's Telegraph article

A business-as-usual patter that we should not trust our lying eyes
was delivered by a Harvard Professor in the Boston Globe:

James McCarthy, a respected Harvard professor who was a former Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change lead author, sent a letter to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) today stressing that e-mails stolen from climate scientists do not undermine the evidence for manmade global warming.

McCarthy is board chair of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

The letter reads “The scientific process depends on open access to methodology, data, and a rigorous peer-review process. The robust exchange of ideas in the peer-reviewed literature regarding climate science is evidence of the high degree of integrity in this process. The body of evidence that human activity is prominent agent in global warming is overwhelming. The content of these a few personal emails has no impact what-so-ever on our overall understanding that human activity is driving dangerous levels of global warming.”

And then comes this response (comment 13):

I am a climate scientist, and it is clear that the evidence that “human activity is prominent [sic] agent in global warming” is NOT overwhelming. The repeated statement that it is does not make it so. Further, even if we accepted the hypothesis, cap-and-trade legislation does not do anything about it.

Here are the facts. We have known for years that the Mann hockey stick model was wrong, and we know why it was wrong (Mann used only selected data to normalize the principal component analysis, not all of it). He retracted the model. We have known for years that the Medieval Warm period occurred, where the temperatures were higher than they are now (Chaucer spoke of vineyards in northern England).

Long before ClimateGate it was known that the IPCC people were trying to fudge the data to get rid of the MWP. And for good reason. If the MWP is “allowed” to exist, this means that temperatures higher than today did not then create a “runaway greenhouse” in the Middle Ages with methane released from the Arctic tundra, ice cap albedo lost, sea levels rising to flood London, etc. etc.), and means that Jim Hansen’s runaway greenhouse that posits only amplifying feedbacks (and no damping feedbacks) will not happen now. We now know that the models on which the IPCC alarms are based do not do clouds, they do not do the biosphere, they do not explain the Pliocene warming, and they have never predicted anything, ever, correctly.

As the believers know but, like religious faithful, every wrong prediction (IPCC underestimated some trends) is claimed to justify even greater alarm (not that the models are poor approximations for reality); the underpredictions (where are the storms? Why “hide the decline”?) are ignored or hidden.

As for CO2, we have known for years that CO2 increases have never in the past 300,000 years caused temperature rise (CO2 rise trails temperature increase). IPCC scientists know this too (see their “Copenhagen Diagnosis”); we know that their mathematical fudges that dismiss the fact that CO2 has not been historically causative of temperature rise are incorrect as well. We have also known for years that the alleged one degree temperature rise from 1880 vanishes if sites exposed to urban heat islands are not considered.

We have long known that Jones’s paper dismissing this explanation (Jones, et al. 1990. Assessment of urbanization effects in time series of surface air temperature over land, Nature 347 169- 172) is wrong and potentially fraudulent (see the same data used to confirm urban heat islands in Wang, W-C, Z. Zeng, T. R Karl, 1990. Urban Heat Islands in China. Geophys. Res. Lett. 17, 2377-2380). Everyone except Briffa knows that the Briffa conclusions are wrong, and why they are wrong; groups in Finland, Canada (lots of places actually) show cooling by this proxy, not warming; the IPCC even printed the Finn’s plot upside down to convert the fact (cooling) into the dogma (warming).

Prof. McCarthy is, of course, part of the IPCC that has suppressed dissenting viewpoints based on solid climate science. His claim to support by “peer review” is nonsense; he has helped corrupt the peer review process. We now have documentary evidence that Jones, Mann, and the other IPCC scientists have been gaming peer review and blackballing opponents. On this point, the entire IPCC staff, including Prof. McCarthy, neither have nor deserve our trust.

We have tolerated years of the refusal of Mann and Jones to release data. Now, we learn that much of these data were discarded (one of about 4 data sets that exist), something that would in any other field of science lead to disbarment. We have been annoyed by Al Gore, who declared this science “settled”, refused to debate, and demonized skeptics (this is anti-science: debate and skepticism are the core of real science, which is never settled). The very fact that Prof. McCarthy attempts to bluff Congress by asserting the existence of fictional “overwhelming evidence” continues this anti-science activity.

All of this was known before Climategate. What was not known until now was the extent to which Jones and Mann were simply deceiving themselves (which happens often in science) or fraudently attempting to deceive others. I am not willing to crucify Jones on the word “trick”. Nor, for that matter, on the loss of primary data, keeping only “value added” data (which is hopelessly bad science, but still conceivably not fraud).

But the computer code is transparently fraudulent [or at the very least, transparent evidence of intention to commit fraud - Ed]. Here, one finds matrices that add unexplained numbers to recent temperatures and subtract them from older temperatures (these numbers are hard-programmed in), splining observational data to model data, and other smoking guns, all showing that they were doing what was necessary to get the answers that the IPCC wanted, not the answers that the data held. They knew what they were doing, and why they were doing it.

If, as Prof. McCarthy insists, “peer review” was functioning, and the IPCC reports are rigorously peer reviewed, why was this not caught? When placing it in context made it highly likely that this type of fraud was occurring?

The second question is: Will this revelation be enough to cause the “global warming believers” to abandon their crusade, and for people to return to sensible environmental science (water use, habitat destruction, land use, this kind of thing)? Perhaps it will.

Contrary to Prof. McCarthy’s assertion, we have not lost just one research project amid dozens of others that survive. A huge set of primary data are apparently gone. Satellite data are scarcely 40 years old. Everything is interconnected, and anchored on these few studies. Even without the corruption of the peer review process, this is as big a change as quantum mechanics was in physics a century ago.

But now we know that peer review was corrupted, and that no “consensus” exists. The “2500 scientists agree” number is fiction (God knows who they are counting, but to get to this number, they must be including referees, spouses, and pets).

The best argument now for AGW is to argue that CO2 is, after all, a greenhouse gas, its concentration is, after all, increasing, and feedbacks that regulated climate for millions of years might (we can hypothesize) be overwhelmed by human CO2 emissions. It is a hypothesis worthy of investigation, but it has little evidentiary support.

Thus, there is hope that Climategate will bring to an end the field of political climatology, and allow climatology to again become a science. That said, people intrinsically become committed to ideas. The Pope will not become a Protestant even if angel Gabriel taps him on the shoulder and asks him to. Likewise, Prof. McCarthy may claim until the day he retires that there remains “overwhelming support” for his position, even if every last piece of data supporting it is controverted. As a graduate student at Harvard, I was told that fields do not advance because people change their minds; rather, fields advance because people die.

Posted by Sean December 2, 09 11:26 PM

I can only hope that more people in the climate field stick their heads
above the parapet and tell it like it is.

Adapted from Watts Up With That guest post by John A

It's hard for non-scientists to understand the outrage, says John Costella
He has also written a long, outstanding, meticulous, inspired analysis of the emails

Costella: The most difficult thing for a scientist in the era of Climategate is trying to explain to family and friends why it is so distressing to scientists. Most people don't know how science really works: there are no popular television shows, movies, or books that really depict the everyday lives of real scientists; it just isn’t exciting enough. I’m not talking here about the major discoveries of science—which are well-described in documentaries, popular science series, and magazines—but rather how the process of science (often called the “scientific method”) actually works.

The best analogy that I have been able to come up with... is the criminal justice system—which is (rightly or wrongly) abundantly depicted in the popular media. Everyone knows what happens if police obtain evidence by illegal means: the evidence is ruled inadmissible; and, if a case rests on that tainted evidence, it is thrown out of court. The justice system is not saying that the accused is necessarily innocent; rather, that determining the truth is impossible if evidence is not protected from tampering or fabrication. The same is true in science: scientists assume that the rules of the scientific method have been followed, at least in any discipline that publishes its results for public consumption. It is that trust in the process that allows me, for example, to believe that the human genome has been mapped—despite my knowing nothing about that field of science at all. That same trust has allowed scientists at large to similarly believe in the results of climate science.

Until Climategate...

Paragraph from the 2011 Parliamentary review of three suspect "reviews":
Stringer's deleted words (
crossed-out), and what replaced it (
italics, small):

98. The disclosure of data from the Climatic Research Unit has been a traumatic and challenging experience for all involved and to the wider world of science. There are proposals to increase worldwide taxation by up to a trillion dollars on the basis of climate science predictions. Much rests on the accuracy and integrity of climate science. This is an area where strong and opposing views are held. The release of the e-mails from CRU at the University of East Anglia and the accusations that followed demanded independent and objective scrutiny by independent panels. This has not happened. The composition of the two panels has been criticised for having members who were over identified with the views of CRU. Lord Oxburgh as President of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association and Chairman of Falck Renewable appeared to have a conflict of interest. Lord Oxburgh himself was aware that this might lead to criticism. Similarly Professor Boulton as an ex colleague of CRU seemed wholly inappropriate to be a member of the Russell panel. No reputable scientist who was critical of CRU’s work was on the panel, and prominent and distinguished critics were not interviewed. The Oxburgh panel did not do as our predecessor committee had been promised, investigate the science, but only looked at the integrity of the researchers. With the exception of Professor Kelly’s notes other notes taken by members of the panel have not been published. This leaves a question mark against whether CRU science is reliable. The Oxburgh panel also did not look at CRU’s controversial work on the IPPC which is what has attracted most series allegations. Russell did not investigate the deletion of e-mails. We are now left after three investigations without a clear understanding of whether or not the CRU science is compromised.” It is, however, important to bear in mind the considered view of the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Sir John Beddington, that “the general issues on overall global temperature, on sea level and so on, are all pretty unequivocal”.132 While we do have some reservations about the way in which UEA operated, the SAP review and the ICCER set out clear and sensible recommendations.In our view it is time to make the changes and improvements recommended and with greater openness and transparency move on.

See Heated Climate Change Politics in the UK

Two reviews have been written about the abysmal failure so far of all the official reviews to begin to deal with the core issues of corruption at the heart of Climate Science, that the emails reveal. Andrew Montford wrote The Climategate Enquiries for the Global Warming Policy Foundation; Prof Ross McKitrick wrote Understanding the Climategate Enquiries for SPPI

updated 6th February 2011

 

 

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