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The CRU hack: Context

Filed under: — gavin @ 23 November 2009

This is a continuation of the last thread which is getting a little unwieldy. The emails cover a 13 year period in which many things happened, and very few people are up to speed on some of the long-buried issues. So to save some time, I’ve pulled a few bits out of the comment thread that shed some light on some of the context which is missing in some of the discussion of various emails.

  • Trenberth: You need to read his recent paper on quantifying the current changes in the Earth’s energy budget to realise why he is concerned about our inability currently to track small year-to-year variations in the radiative fluxes.
  • Wigley: The concern with sea surface temperatures in the 1940s stems from the paper by Thompson et al (2007) which identified a spurious discontinuity in ocean temperatures. The impact of this has not yet been fully corrected for in the HadSST data set, but people still want to assess what impact it might have on any work that used the original data.
  • Climate Research and peer-review: You should read about the issues from the editors (Claire Goodess, Hans von Storch) who resigned because of a breakdown of the peer review process at that journal, that came to light with the particularly egregious (and well-publicised) paper by Soon and Baliunas (2003). The publisher’s assessment is here.

Update: Pulling out some of the common points being raised in the comments.

  • HARRY_read_me.txt. This is a 4 year-long work log of Ian (Harry) Harris who was working to upgrade the documentation, metadata and databases associated with the legacy CRU TS 2.1 product, which is not the same as the HadCRUT data (see Mitchell and Jones, 2003 for details). The CSU TS 3.0 is available now (via ClimateExplorer for instance), and so presumably the database problems got fixed. Anyone who has ever worked on constructing a database from dozens of individual, sometimes contradictory and inconsistently formatted datasets will share his evident frustration with how tedious that can be.
  • “Redefine the peer-reviewed literature!” . Nobody actually gets to do that, and both papers discussed in that comment – McKitrick and Michaels (2004) and Kalnay and Cai (2003) were both cited and discussed in Chapter 2 of 3 the IPCC AR4 report. As an aside, neither has stood the test of time.
  • “Declines” in the MXD record. This decline was hidden written up in Nature in 1998 where the authors suggested not using the post 1960 data. Their actual programs (in IDL script), unsurprisingly warn against using post 1960 data. Added: Note that the ‘hide the decline’ comment was made in 1999 – 10 years ago, and has no connection whatsoever to more recent instrumental records.
  • CRU data accessibility. From the date of the first FOI request to CRU (in 2007), it has been made abundantly clear that the main impediment to releasing the whole CRU archive is the small % of it that was given to CRU on the understanding it wouldn’t be passed on to third parties. Those restrictions are in place because of the originating organisations (the various National Met. Services) around the world and are not CRU’s to break. As of Nov 13, the response to the umpteenth FOI request for the same data met with exactly the same response. This is an unfortunate situation, and pressure should be brought to bear on the National Met Services to release CRU from that obligation. It is not however the fault of CRU. The vast majority of the data in the HadCRU records is publicly available from GHCN (v2.mean.Z).
  • Suggestions that FOI-related material be deleted … are ill-advised even if not carried out. What is and is not responsive and deliverable to an FOI request is however a subject that it is very appropriate to discuss.
  • Fudge factors (update) IDL code in the some of the attached files calculates and applies an artificial ‘fudge factor’ to the MXD proxies to artificially eliminate the ‘divergence pattern’. This was done for a set of experiments reported in this submitted 2004 draft by Osborn and colleagues but which was never published. Section 4.3 explains the rationale very clearly which was to test the sensitivity of the calibration of the MXD proxies should the divergence end up being anthropogenic. It has nothing to do with any temperature record, has not been used in any published reconstruction and is not the source of any hockey stick blade anywhere.

Further update: This comment from Halldór Björnsson of the Icelandic Met. Service goes right to the heart of the accessibility issue:

Re: CRU data accessibility.

National Meteorological Services (NMSs) have different rules on data exchange. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) organizes the exchange of “basic data”, i.e. data that are needed for weather forecasts. For details on these see WMO resolution number 40 (see http://bit.ly/8jOjX1).

This document acknowledges that WMO member states can place restrictions on the dissemination of data to third parties “for reasons such as national laws or costs of production”. These restrictions are only supposed to apply to commercial use, the research and education community is supposed to have free access to all the data.

Now, for researchers this sounds open and fine. In practice it hasn’t proved to be so.

Most NMSs also can distribute all sorts of data that are classified as “additional data and products”. Restrictions can be placed on these. These special data and products (which can range from regular weather data from a specific station to maps of rain intensity based on satellite and radar data). Many nations do place restrictions on such data (see link for additional data on above WMO-40 webpage for details).

The reasons for restricting access is often commercial, NMSs are often required by law to have substantial income from commercial sources, in other cases it can be for national security reasons, but in many cases (in my experience) the reasons simply seem to be “because we can”.

What has this got to do with CRU? The data that CRU needs for their data base comes from entities that restrict access to much of their data. And even better, since the UK has submitted an exception for additional data, some nations that otherwise would provide data without question will not provide data to the UK. I know this from experience, since my nation (Iceland) did send in such conditions and for years I had problem getting certain data from the US.

The ideal, that all data should be free and open is unfortunately not adhered to by a large portion of the meteorological community. Probably only a small portion of the CRU data is “locked” but the end effect is that all their data becomes closed. It is not their fault, and I am sure that they dislike them as much as any other researcher who has tried to get access to all data from stations in region X in country Y.

These restrictions end up by wasting resources and hurting everyone. The research community (CRU included) and the public are the victims. If you don’t like it, write to you NMSs and urge them to open all their data.

I can update (further) this if there is demand. Please let me know in the comments, which, as always, should be substantive, non-insulting and on topic.

Comments continue here.


1,074 Responses to “The CRU hack: Context”

  1. 401
    Andy says:

    Given that the tree ring studies are so controversial (rightly or wrongly) as regards the extent and magnitude of both the MWP and the “Little Ice Age,” what other methods are, or could, be used to put this issue to rest with the non-scientific public? I’m particularly thinking of something similar to the ice cores but with greater resolution on the small (relative) timescale involved. For example, can historic CO2/Temperature data be pull from soil?

  2. 402
    Jose says:

    Gavin,

    Since it is apparent that you’re trying to be as open and transparent as possible, could you please address my concern as a tax paying citizen (in a small way, your employer) and your involvement during business hours on this site?

    The following statement tends to run counter to your evident involvement as a labor of love on Real Climate:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/about/

    “The contributors to this site do so in a personal capacity during their spare time and their posts do not represent the views of the organizations for which they work, nor the agencies which fund them. The contributors are solely responsible for the content of the site and receive no remuneration for their contributions.”

  3. 403
    Pete Ridley says:

    PS: PS: As is said at climatechangefraud.com (Note 8) QUOTE: If the leaker/whistleblower is one of the CRU staff members listed below, it seems that they may enjoy protection under the UK’s Public Interest Disclosure Act of 1998, which was enacted to protect whistleblowers. UNQUOTE.

    It has often been suggested by sceptics (ridiculed by their opponents) that data is manipulated by climate researchers. Well, the UEA CRU does have a member of research staff with specific rsponsibility for this (Note 9) QUOTE: Mr. Ian (Harry) Harris .. Dendroclimatology, climate scenario development, data manipulation and visualisation, programming UNQUOTE.

    NOTES (cont.):
    8) see http://climatechangefraud.com/editorials/5657-if-the-cru-leak-was-an-inside-whistleblower-heres-the-line-up-of-potential-suspects-heroes
    9) see http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/people/

    [Response: Really, don't you get tired playing semantic word games? And you wonder why we don't pay you any attention? - gavin]

  4. 404
    James Tait says:

    RE: point 206.
    The FOI may be seen to have been whitewashed…such comments suggesting the appeals judge was a friend of the defendents does not help the case.

    Can’t you see this is not good conduct?

  5. 405
    Ike Solem says:

    Here’s an interesting point on the CRU hack – but it requires a little history.

    Here’s a quote from the pre-Kyoto days, courtesy of Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon, 1997

    Temperature records from the Arctic

    One demanding test [their words] of the validity of the computer simulations of the climate of the earth is based on temperature records from the Arctic. According to the computer forecasts, the polar areas are very sensitive to global warming…

    That was twelve years ago – but since a handful of denialists and “science reporters” are claiming that the earth hasn’t warmed in 11 years, nothing must have changed in the Arctic? Here was the situation in 1997, according to Soon and Baliunas:

    …the temperature measurements show that there has been no net warming over the last several decades, especially in the winter, which is the season projected by the computer simulations to have the fastest increase in temperature. Specifically, the observational evidence shows that “greenhouse-induced warming is not detectable in the Arctic troposphere for the 1958-1986 period” (Kahl et al. 1993: 825)…

    This was a legitimate issue in 1993:
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v361/n6410/abs/361335a0.html

    Kahl et. al “Absence of evidence for greenhouse warming over the Arctic Ocean in the past 40 years”

    However, they didn’t have access to the ice thickness data collected by the US Navy, which was released in the late 1990s. That’s published in Rothrock 1999 (pdf), Thinning of the Arctic Sea Ice, Figure 3 – which clearly shows a downward trend over that 40 year period.

    Of course, since 2000 the Arctic warming has become ever-more-evident – So, have Soon & Baliunas ever acknowledged that climate models did indeed pass that, quote, demanding test?

    Just to check (the answer is no), I looked at Google News – and what popped out but this email, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal…

    “The Soon & Baliunas paper (2003) couldn’t have cleared a ‘legitimate’ peer review process anywhere. That leaves only one possibility—that the peer-review process at Climate Research has been hijacked by a few skeptics on the editorial board…”

    Shocking? For comparison, here is an ‘urgent alert’ sent out over Peter Duesberg’s publications on HIV and AIDS.

    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
    Office of the Secretary
    MEDIA ALERT
    April 28, 1987

    An NCI grantee scientist, Dr. Peter Duesberg of California/Berkeley, has published a paper in a scientific journal which concludes that the HTLV-III/HIV virus identified by Dr. Gallo and Dr. Montagnier is not the cause of AIDS and that the disease is caused by “a still unidentified agent” which may not even be a virus…

    Dr. Duesberg has been an NCI grantee doing research in retroviruses and oncogenes for 17 years and is highly regarded. He is the recipient of an “outstanding researcher” award from the Department. The article apparently went through the normal pre-publication process and should have been flagged at NIH…

    The point here is that if climate journal editors start twisting the peer review process in order to get their pet articles into the scientific literature, then climate science journals will end up in the same pit that a lot of the medical science journals did – heavily beset by conflict-of-interest issues. Editors who take part should be asked to resign – particularly when the paper’s authors have track records like those of Soon & Baliunas.

  6. 406
    David Kane says:

    In 239, you cite P.D. Jones et al.: “High-resolution palaeoclimatology of the last millennium.” I am trying to get a sense of just how the peer review process works in climate science. Could you share with us the original manuscript that was submitted so that we can compare it with the published version? If not, why not?

    Can you also share the comments (feel free to delete the names of the reviewers if they were not anonymous to you)? If not, why not?

    The best way for outsiders to get a sense of the rigor of the peer-review process in climate science is to look at it in action. If the reviewers made substantive comments which led you to improve the article, that would tell us one thing. If the reviewers made limited comments and you had to make almost no changes, that would tell us something else.

    [Response: Hmm... I can't really do that without asking the other authors, but I will tell you that the end-product was a better paper than the first submission. There were three reviewers (two of whom signed their reviews and are acknowledged in the credits), and their comments were very helpful (generating about 4 pages of responses as well as numerous edits). This paper might have been special since it had a lot of internal reviews among the author team though. - gavin]

  7. 407

    Tom #275:

    I’m sure others have thought of this, but here is one way to put the current tempest back in its teapot: ….

    I don’t think there’s any way to do that. The “skeptics” are now utterly convinced that they’ve found conclusive, irrefutable proof that the whole thing is a scam. There’s no logic in that, but no words, sites, papers, speeches, books, or movies are ever going to change their minds. Only actual warming is going to do that, and not before it gets very bad. I’m very much afraid that this is a disaster of the first magnitude.

  8. 408
    TJ says:

    Steve said:Best wishes to RC and the relevant scientists – no professional deserves the violation of privacy done by these virtual thugs.

    Please persevere; knowledge and information beats special interests in the long run.

    ################

    No citizen deserves the deliberate withholding of data because it is “inconvenient” to your cause….of course, I don’t expect you’ll approve this post.

    [Response: No data is being withheld because it is inconvenient to some supposed cause. Evidence? - gavin]

  9. 409
    Foobear says:

    I love how Real Climate.org filters even reasonable comments that disagree with them. I need to start recording the posts I made on here that were moderated away – it’ll make for a good article some day.

    I posted a comment that says that the CRU hack validates Michael Crichton’s claim in State of Fear that the “establishment” alienates and excludes opposing viewpoints, which I believe Gavin (or another RC.org editor) said was a ridiculous claim in the State of Confusion comment thread.

    [Response: It is still ridiculous. 'Opposing viewpoints' on huge arrays of subjects exist within the ''establishment' without being alienated. People who do bad science are alienated for sure, and they are often oppositional, but your claim reverses the causality. - gavin]

  10. 410
    Daniel says:

    Thank you for all the clarifications.
    I have heard about this hacker fiasco briefly in the news talking about our country’s stance on global warming, and of course they mentioned that perhaps global warming is a scam. I’m not really surprised of the lies and half-truths of our media, but it’s a shame that most of the people out there will simply believe what they’re told, due to lack of awareness or interest to find correct information.
    I live in Israel by the way, so there is a very strong right-wing bias in most of the medias. No surprise that the main owners of that TV channel are a family that also owns most of our chemical industry that has a long history of bribing the authorities and concealing its toxicity data alongside with failing to submit to international regulations.
    It’s practically a mafia, sadly.

    Truly a shame, but the ones who can see the whole picture try to fight back and at least stay positive.

    Good day.

  11. 411
    DLaurentz says:

    If you look for solar effect that’s what you find, but if you look for CO2 its pure and objective? I know of two instances, plate tectonics and cataclysmic floods of the Columbia, where paternalistic attachment to a theory delayed finding the truth.

  12. 412

    Joel Shore #340:

    I am not sure if 2009 is still in the running to be one of the top 5 warmest years globally but it is certainly running a fair bit warmer than 2008 and, just eyeballing the data available, it looks like the year will at least be in the top 10…and might still be in the running for the top 5.

    So far (Jan-Oct), it’s #4 in GISTEMP’s hot 100. With a bullet: May-Oct is #1.

  13. 413
    Rod B says:

    Martin Vermeer (new 81), you struck on my primary area of skepticism. You say, “….irrespective of parameter values, …. you ain’t seen nothing yet.” That’s a contradiction in terms. You’re saying we don’t know the [precise] values (to which I concur), but none-the-less they are really going to be big. Huh?

  14. 414
    Paul Swanson says:

    Could you direct me to papers that discuss the ability of the atmosphere to store energy based on its composition?

    Thank you in advance.

  15. 415
    Allen Mullen says:

    Not a scientist at all but just wanted you to be aware that a meteorologist named Chuck Weis has just accused RC of deleting comments and even entire threads whenever a skeptic asks a question or challenges data that would discredit AGW. This was done on the Lars Larson radio program (just before 2 pm PST). There seems to be a very intense campaign to completely undermine the credibility of climate change science and scientists.

  16. 416
    Jonathan Day says:

    Ok, I’ll bite. The CRU was clearly in a catch-22 situation. If the e-mails had been encrypted, it would be published as “proof” of some great vast conspiracy. If the e-mails had been boring, it’d be “proof” the real conversations were taking place in backroom deals. Either that, or we’d be getting soundbite versions that sounded juicy to the tabloids.

    We all know that. We’ve all seen media manipulation in one form or another, be it spiced-up news reports, doubiously-edited Wikipedia pages or snake-oil salesmen. This attack really isn’t anything new. It’s more dangerous than most forms of con-artistry, be it a Nigerian Scam or a politician’s promises, but ultimately it boils down to editing facts to make them the sort of fiction people want to see.

    My challenge to the climate scientists, and all others interested in the field, is therefore this: to get more people interested in seeing what’s really there than in seeing what’s fictionally comforting.

    (And that’s all AGW is about – the fiction that everything’s ok, that even if there was a problem, Hollywood will solve it somehow. Confronting this fiction with truth won’t help, because illusionary comfort still feels comforting. People won’t change, they will always go towards what feels safest and easiest. It follows that the only solution is to show AGW to be unsafe and disturbing and that solving the problem is easier and simpler than ignoring it. Since AGW likes Hollywoodesque happy endings, it’s safe enough to say whether they took the red pill or the blue pill.)

  17. 417
    Eli Rabett says:

    #298, #255, Mike Powell has looked at a slightly later version of Soon and Baliunas in detail with pictures.

  18. 418
    Thor says:

    Re: 148
    [Response: Context is all. The published Amman and Wahl paper had (has?) a typo in the "Received By" date, saying that it was received on 22 August 2000, when that was actually received in 2006. Amused? ;) - gavin]

    I stand corrected, and am slightly less amused of course. I’d like to withdraw my comment and offer my apologies.

  19. 419
    Dr.Harry Borlsachs says:

    This is sooo depressing. We have just witnessed the spawning of a million bull$hit memes. This is a major PR victory for the denialists in their war on science. They will be muddying the waters with this dishonest character assasination for years. Without actual science, PR and character assasination is all they have but the time wasted by scientists defending themselves from these attacks will make it just that more difficult to communicate. Meanwhile the media will side with the scandal rather than the truth. I feel deep sympathy for all those scientists who have dedicated their lives to such an honourable cause, having their reputations trashed by a bunch of sociopathic greasy hacker-nerds that have never done an honourable thing or worked for something meaningful in their pointless little lives.

  20. 420
    The Lawyer with a physics degree says:

    I looked at the CRU website, and specifically the staff list. Discounting research students, support staff and individuals whose email implies they are primarily affiliated elsewhere, they have 19 staff on climate research. 19! And some of them are listing their primary interest as ’social and economic consequences’. So one of the four primary contributors to the science that is intended to justify the bet on what happens in the future which affects *everyone* is based on the work of 19 people! For expletive’s sake! How many people are working on the LHC? How many people are supporting the space shuttle? How can anyone in their right mind say that the work of 19 people is enough. Even if it is 4 x 19!

    [Response: I don't see anyone stating the CRU is the only research institute in the world. It's not even close to the only one in the UK. There are literally thousands of people working on this stuff. Could still be a lot more though! - gavin]

  21. 421
    Anne van der Bom says:

    Anand,
    24 November 2009 at 11:21 AM

    You seem to be thinking that papers are confined to some CIA bunker after peer review. No. After peer review they are PUBLISHED. As in: out there in the open for everyone to see and verify and falsify. Tell me, if AGW is the scam that you are so certain of, where is the proof in all those thousands of PUBLISHED papers? You make an accusation, you prove it. You sound awfully confident of yourself, so it shouldn’t be hard.

    The ultimate peer reviewer is nature. If scientists publish a number like 1.5-4.5 degrees per doubling, that doesn’t mean: “pick a number that conforms your political view”. That means: “nature will pick a number to her liking”. And nature WILL make that choice. The only chance we have is finding out in time what the choice will be.

  22. 422
  23. 423
    Garry S-J says:

    Prince_Prospero (3##), you say: “The preceding e-mail implies that Jones is recommending referees, to the Chief Editor of IJC..”

    Umm, didn’t the stolen email say this: “Anyway you’ll likely get this for review, or poor Francis will. Best if both Francis and Myles did this. If I get an email from Glenn I’ll suggest this.”

    So, he’s saying IF the chief editor of the journal asks him for advice he will actually give advice, right?

    Not that I can see any evidence that actually happened, but what would you recommend he do in that situation, tell the editor to go take a running jump?

    And what would you have done if an editor had emailed you and asked you to suggest referees? Lectured him about the moral depravity of actually seeking advice?

    And when you were an editor of a journal, did you just routinely accept whatever referees were proposed by an author? or did you ask for advice from people who you thought might be able to help? And, when you did, how did you feel when, exhibiting the highest ethical standards, they presumably told you to get lost?

  24. 424
    Chris says:

    5 years ago some of my friends were pushing
    the idea that global warming would soon
    lead to world wide catastrophe.

    I asked them to make a bet:

    Choose 5 weather stations from the publicly available
    sites in North America. Put down $100. If after 5 years
    the average temperature went up, I pay them. If it
    went down they pay me.

    No one took me up on it.

    That says two things: Even the believers don’t believe,
    and I would today be $100 richer.

    Would you like to take the bet?

  25. 425

    This call for more data keeps coming up and I’ve addressed it here before but once again in more detail … I moved from general computer science to bioinformatics just over a year ago, and in that time I’ve run into the following problems:

    no consistent standards for similar kinds of data
    programs made available as part of the supplementary information for a paper not the same version as was used for the results (and hence giving different answers)
    wrong versions of data files uploaded to repositories
    a pointer to data in a paper no longer works because the academic who set it up has since changed jobs
    more than one publicly available program to do data analysis with the same name, that does something different

    And this was with only three data sets.

    From what I read here, the state of climate data is vastly better. Sadly, data curating is an extra, often not explicitly funded in science projects. Yet somehow we still get good cross-checking of results. Why? Because people check on each other and repeat experiments (as Gavin has often pointed out) with different data sets, a vastly superior way of checking reproducibility than using the same data set (with the same errors in deriving the data).

    There’s been quite a feeding frenzy (predictably) on the letters pages of The Australian, including online comments: I’d appreciate any follow-ups on my blog commenting on them.

  26. 426
    Daniel J. Andrews says:

    lol! Read Hans satire post at 309. Then jump down to Larry T’s post at 315. I’d like to nominate Hans for the Nostradamus Clairvoyant Award. Well done, Hans.

  27. 427
    Dormammu says:

    The Deniers will not publish the fact that the major funding of anti-science hysteria on human accelerated climate change is from Exxon Mobil. Fred Singer!!!??? Give me a break…This is the harlot that fought for the tobacco industry for years saying there was no proof nicotine is dangerous. Recently he was advocating the “safety” of GMO foods. He now has found some new suckers in the religious fanatical anti-science stance of “Global Warming is a scam” nonsense. The politics of the situation is this… “Cap and Trade” vs “Global Warming is not real”

    The science says something different than Rush Limbaugh, James Inhofe, and Al Gore.

  28. 428
    Deech56 says:

    RE: Paul K2

    Gavin, help is on the way; The ‘Keystone Cops’ are on the case!

    I can see the Mystery Van pulling up now, fresh from their latest caper, “The Yamal Chronology.” It’s a guy in a ghost suit!

  29. 429
    Brian Dodge says:

    @J. Bob — 24 November 2009 @ 11:59 AM”Now go to these and check sea ice levels. For whatever reason they seem to have stabilized.”
    By “stabilized”, J. Bob means “after recovering from record low in 2007, 2008 and 2009 are still below the OLS projection of declining ice” http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seasonal.extent.1900-2008.jpg

  30. 430
    charles monneron says:

    @Anne van der Bom 310

    Maybe the formulation of my question was too difficult to read. To be clearer :
    0.1W/m2 precision is the target , it would be enough to prove directly a radiation unbalance.
    1% existing precision came from the GERB design specification. Unless I misinterpret the document, of course
    High end digital camera have a better dynamic range than 0.01%, so I wondered why the dynamic range of satellite captors was so low.

  31. 431

    Where goes the credibility of the realclimate blog, as it can be seen influenced by those same scientists involved in this scandal, read this piece below, one of the emails sent by Michael Mann, regarding the article of BBC’s Paul Hudson questioning the GW on the face of the current cooling trends:

    Michael Mann wrote:
    Subject: BBC U-turn on climate
    extremely disappointing to see something like this appear on BBC. its particularly odd, since climate is usually Richard Black’s beat at BBC (and he does a great job). from what I can tell, this guy was formerly a weather person at the Met Office.

    We may do something about this on RealClimate, but meanwhile it might be appropriate for the Met Office to have a say about this, I might ask Richard Black what’s up here?

    Source:
    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=1048&filename=1255352257.txt
    They are discussing about this article:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8299079.stm

    [Response: What's your point? Is Mike not allowed an opinion about a blog post? Is he not allowed to think about what RC might post on? (we didn't do anything on Paul Hudson specifically, though we did do a post on the general topic). Weird. - gavin]

  32. 432
    007 says:

    Gavin says “there is debate a-plenty at science conferences and workshops across the world.”

    Evidently he’s not paying attention. If you don’t go along, you get shut out. (READ THE EMAILS.)

    Many of the skeptic ‘crack pots’ were part of the establishment, before they dissented. Landsea, Gray, Spencer, Lindzen, etc, etc.

    [Response: Reference to anyone calling these people 'crack pots'? And how has Landsea been shut out? He quit IPCC of his own accord. Gray is emeritus. Spencer and Lindzen both publish in standard journals (GRL, JGR, JCLIM). What is your point? - gavin]

  33. 433
    JTHC says:

    I’m not a “skeptic,” insofar as I’m not a scientist and have no way to say whose claims are correct, but I’m dismayed by the overly secretive and combative attitudes of the climate change science community. Is there a reason for the bunker mentality? Why is transparency and openness so difficult for you guys? I can’t help but think of contrast between this issue and the evolution vs. intelligent design “debate.” There, there’s no dispute over releasing raw data or anything of the sort, there’s no secret fossil record that a few scientists refuse to reveal. I’m far more apt to accept that there is no credible challenge to the theory of evolution because, well, you don’t see stuff like this CRU hack. In the end, the defensiveness, deception, and derision hurt your credibility.

  34. 434
    Eric Hansen says:

    quoting @1091 from the original thread:

    “Gavin, you’ve done good work on this thread. Well done.

    [Response: Thanks. But I don't know what comment response you are referring to, and your claim that WUWT and CA have no agenda is laughable. - gavin]”

    two things:
    1. he didn’t claim that they don’t have agenda, obviously they do, as do you; only that they aren’t well funded or highly organized.
    2. I don’t think he is referring to a specific comment response, but instead he is commending you for totality of your actions in response to this whole fiasco.

    I agree, you have done a very respectable job responding to this very difficult situation. And I don’t normally appreciate your efforts ;-)

    You have won some grudging respect. For what it is worth…

    best wishes & happy Thanksgiving!

  35. 435
    Bud says:

    Re #399

    I’m sure it’ll be fascinating reading. I’m considering a book myself – just one of those little novelty ones normally found between the chicken soup books and the mini-collections of dirty sexist jokes – consisting of a collection of all the posts on RC which claim “I bet this gets censored”, or “you never print my posts, but…” or “Time for Glasnost, RC”. Or my favourite, “if you will not let me through moderation this post will be all over teh internetz in 24 hours”. I’m a bit to late for this Christmas, but I’m sure there’ll be plenty of material to keep me going until next.

  36. 436
    jerryg says:

    Re: 373
    I’ve noticed the emphasis changing to a whistleblower who released a file that was set up for FOI purposes.
    Now looking at some of the comments which included snippets of these emails (I haven’t looked at or for them), I get
    the impression that some of the scientists had an unfavorable opinion of Mr McIntyre.

    So, my question is, why would these people who supposedly want to do all these terrible things to keep him from
    getting this data all of a sudden decide to stop working, gather all this data, and place it in a file just in
    case his FOI request is approved?

    Oh, and this previous leak. What was that about? Would that be a file that was inadvertently left in a directory
    where it wasn’t protected from unauthorized access?

  37. 437
    David B. Benson says:

    Paul Swanson (410) — Your question does not seem to make much sense, at least to me. The total heat content of the atmosphere is about the same as a mere 2.5 meter depth of ocean, so look to the oceans. If you are looking for basics about climatology, try reading “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart:
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html
    after Andy Revkin’s review:
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F04E7DF153DF936A35753C1A9659C8B63

  38. 438
    dhogaza says:

    Is there a reason for the bunker mentality?

    How about a constant stream of personal attacks claiming that leading climate scientists are guilty of scientific fraud (for instance, recently by McKittrick in Canada’s “FInancial Post”, regarding work by CRU scientist Keith Briffa).

    How about Michael Mann being harassed by Senator Joe Barton?

    How many examples would you like?

  39. 439
    debreuil says:

    regarding the chart at NOAA http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/pcn/ you mention that “there is no blending in that figure” (wrt adding temperature data to proxy data). Maybe I misunderstand, but the caption says:

    “IPCC Figure 6-10b, comparing published annual temperature reconstructions.”

    and then in the blurb is says the reconstructions are:

    “Individual temperature recalibrations of reconstruction time series files are available. These files contain the PCN reconstructions calibrated to HadCRUT3v 5×5 degree temperature data”

    and
    “[The recalibrations were fitted by ordinary least-squares (OLS) regression using all years that had both reconstruction data and spatially-averaged HadCRU data appropriate to the spatial coverage of the reconstruction. ..."

    Being that HadCRUT3v is temperature data (and the convergence in the final years), I assumed there had to be blending - is that something else? Maybe just calibration (where all data in a set stays the same relative to itself, but changes in absolute terms)? What would explain the converging in the final years if that is the case? I could see that in measured data (say standardizing ways of data collection over time), but not in proxy data which should be a single pass on historical data.

    [Response: The issue is that different records may be more or less sensitive to different seasonal windows. Doing a different calibration to summer or winter temperatures allows for a different balance of proxies to inform those seasonal changes in the past. Calibration in this case is simply finding the best OLS regression for a scaling of the proxies. - gavin]

    Also I noticed Biffa98 is in that set which we can see has been manually adjusted from looking at the code… It would be really great to see the code that generated the other data given that, but I understand that generally may not be available (but just in case it is : ).

    Thanks again for the data links, it is actually fairly fun coding for/playing with it : ).

    ((As an aside, you guys should think about putting out a call for the volunteer help with things like what Harry went through. Regardless of strong opinions all around, this is an important issue and I’m sure you would get a great response from the whole community. Programmers are used to working together on these types of tasks and I think you would get a much higher quality data set in a much shorter time. Also you get the million eyeballs thing going on the data and process, which I think would help a lot with the perceptions/credibility of the whole endeavor. Just a thought)).

  40. 440
    caerbannog says:

    Dunno if this has been posted here before, but if it has, here it is again!.

    An individual who goes by the handle of “nonhomogenized” has gone through the emails and has demonstrated that most of the email messages have been subjected to creationist-style quote-mining: http://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/a6zdw/summary_of_notable_emails_from_the_cru_hacking

    “Really pissed off” can come across as something more sinister when things are lifted out of context.

  41. 441
    caerbannog says:

    Oh gawd, it ain’t never gonna stop. I almost wish I were a science teacher just so I could flunk some denier’s obnoxious little brats!

    http://spectator.org/blog/2009/11/24/climate-gate-development-cei-f

  42. 442
    Larry Saltzman says:

    the publishing of these e-mails and the out of context conspiracy theorizing by the various bloggers has been unfortunate. But sooner or latter these denialist folks would have found something they could take out of context to bolster their paranoid ideas, and alowing them to continue denying global warming is happening.

  43. 443
    Prince_Prospero says:

    Ray Ladbury says, “Prince Prospero, Far be it for me to lob incendiary rhetoric at someone who clearly has a reading comprehension problem…”

    Your conduct on this site is deplorable. The vast majority of your comments on these threads are abusive, elitist, confrontational, and exclusionary. Regarding the dissemination of scientific knowledge to the general public — your unprofessional behavior is harmful, and constitutes a disservice to the stated goals of our professional societies. You should step back, take a moment to reflect, and contemplate whether your actions are in accord with your professional ethics.

    That brings me to the topic at hand – ethics and the scientific method. In fifty years the current predictive models for climate change will either be validated or consigned to the waste-bin of history. We, as scientists, do not control this aspect of our legacy, but we do have control over our ethical behavior now, decisions that will shape how we are perceived in the future.

    Case in point: do the actions, depicted in this recent e-mail release, constitute ethical scientific behavior? If your sense of ethics says no, then you’d better get on the right side of history now…or let the historians of science decide for you.

  44. 444

    Paul K2:

    I responded to your comment about 2 hours after you made it:

    Quoted as follows.

    Paul K2

    Are you certain that people associated with McIntyre didn’t release the information?

    Uh, yeah, because I am the one that told him about the existence of the file, and my roommate spent hours on the phone with Steve reading the contents of the emails to him because I wouldn’t even forward a copy or forward the link to the Russian ftp server. As I noted in the original post, we only began to even refer the to file publicly after, and only after it began circulating on the Internet and CRU was in the process of notifying its personnel internally.

  45. 445
    Neil22 says:

    Guys. In terms of PR…..it’s, er, like…..game over.

    FIRSTLY: this is a PR DISASTER. I don’t know about climate change. But I know about PR. Enter the word ‘climategate’ on Googletrends and weep.

    All the UEA whistleblower (let’s dispense with this delicate nonsense about ‘hacking’) did was take a pin to the balloon.

    So this has happened for three reasons (I thought of other reasons too but after consideration I put these at the top):

    1. The arrogance of the AGW evangelists (and I don’t mean you, the contributors to the above posts or even the chaps at UEA)
    2. The greed and hypocrisy of government with regard to environmental and climate issues
    3. The nanny brigade [edit] so prevalent in this country (UK), who, with ever more shrill voices over the last twenty years, have taken it upon themselves to remind citizens of environmental duties (as well as the usual stuff they harass people with)

    We might not like people acting on these reasons, like we don’t like people voting for the BNP. But ignoring the reasons whilst continuing to pontificate and deliver infallible dogma from ivory towers is very, very dangerous.

    SECONDLY: it’s too late to do anything about it!

    Prognosis: I’m probably right about the first bit, and my predictive models suggest that I could be right about the second bit. But personally I’m not arrogant enough – yet – to deny that there may be an alternative to the future I foresee.

  46. 446
    debreuil says:

    Thanks Gavin for taking the time to answer all four of my questions in what must be long days for you. Much appreciated.

  47. 447
    inks says:

    I’m struggling to get my head round one of, if not the, main allegation arising from the hacked emails.

    The claim is Phil Jones of the CRU deleted emails discussing the AR4 IPCC review, because of a Freedom of Info Act request for all his emails mentioning AR4. The evidence for the claim is an undeleted email with AR4 in the title.

    So the claim is we know he deleted emails because he didn’t delete an emails.

    apologies if this has already been flagged up – I’ve read a lot of the comments but didn’t make it to the end – great thread and great site too.

  48. 448
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Prince Prospero, Sorry, Dude, but your eagerness to accuse real scientists of fraud when in fact they are doing their jobs just pisses me off. In fact, you were so eager to levy this charge that you didn’t even bother to read the email you cited, missing that critical word IF. And frankly, I don’t care to make nice with those who would charge scientists with fraud merely for doing their job.
    RC is an educational site. Most of us who regularly frequent it are here to benefit from the experts. I have always been more than ready to help folks learn when I can. However, your agenda of character assassination is inconsistent with fostering education. Feel free to come back if you ever find yourself actually wanting to learn, though.

  49. 449
    David Horton says:

    #426 Daniel – you should nominate me for a much earlier “Nostradamus Clairvoyant Award” – see my comment at #39. Perhaps the satire was too close to the bone, judging by Larry, and you all thought I was serious!

  50. 450
    Ray Ladbury says:

    JTHC says: “Why is transparency and openness so difficult for you guys?”

    Ferchrissake, dude, the research is published in open journals. Most of the data from NASA, NOAA and other US Govt. organizations is available on the Internet. And as has been said REPEATEDLY, the reason the Hadley center cannot release their raw data is because of prior agreements. Why do you want even more data you wouldn’t know what to do with if you were buried in it?


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