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Close Encounters of the Absurd Kind

Filed under: — group @ 24 February 2010

Guest commentary from Ben Santer

Part 2 of a series discussing the recent Guardian articles

A recent story by Fred Pearce in the February 9th online edition of the Guardian (“Victory for openness as IPCC climate scientist opens up lab doors”) covers some of the more publicized aspects of the last 14 years of my scientific career. I am glad that Mr. Pearce’s account illuminates some of the non-scientific difficulties I have faced. However, his account also repeats unfounded allegations that I engaged in dubious professional conduct. In a number of instances, Mr Pearce provides links to these allegations, but does not provide a balanced account of the rebuttals to them. Nor does he give links to locations where these rebuttals can be found. I am taking this opportunity to correct Mr. Pearce’s omissions, to reply to the key allegations, and to supply links to more detailed responses.

Another concern relates to Mr. Pearce’s discussion of the “openness” issue mentioned in the title and sub-title of his story. A naïve reader of Mr. Pearce’s article might infer from the sub-title (“Ben Santer had a change of heart about data transparency…”) that my scientific research was not conducted in an open and transparent manner until I experienced “a change of heart”.

This inference would be completely incorrect. As I discuss below, my research into the nature and causes of climate change has always been performed in an open, transparent, and collegial manner. Virtually all of the scientific papers I have published over the course of my career involve multi-institutional teams of scientists with expertise in climate modeling, the development of observational datasets, and climate model evaluation. The model and observational data used in my research is not proprietary – it is freely available to researchers anywhere in the world.

The 1995 IPCC Report: The “scientific cleansing” allegation

Mr. Pearce begins by repeating some of the allegations of misconduct that arose after publication (in 1996) of the Second Assessment Report (SAR) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). These allegations targeted Chapter 8 of the SAR, which dealt with the “Detection of Climate Change, and Attribution of Causes”. The IPCC SAR reached the historic finding that “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate”. Information presented in Chapter 8 provided substantial support for this finding.

I served as the Convening Lead Author (CLA) of Chapter 8. There were three principal criticisms of my conduct as CLA. All three allegations are baseless. They have been refuted on many occasions, and in many different fora. All three allegations make an appearance in Mr. Pearce’s story, but there are no links to the detailed responses to these claims.

The first allegation was that I had engaged in “scientific cleansing”. This allegation originated with the Global Climate Coalition (GCC) – a group of businesses “opposing immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.

In May 1996, a document entitled “The IPCC: Institutionalized ‘Scientific Cleansing’?” was widely circulated to the press and politicians. In this document, the Global Climate Coalition claimed that after a key Plenary Meeting of the IPCC in Madrid in November 1995, all scientific uncertainties had been purged from Chapter 8. The GCC’s “scientific cleansing” allegation was soon repeated in an article in Energy Daily (May 22, 1996) and in an editorial in the Washington Times (May 24, 1996). It was also prominently featured in the World Climate Report, a publication edited by Professor Patrick J. Michaels (June 10, 1996).

This “scientific cleansing” claim is categorically untrue. There was no “scientific cleansing”. Roughly 20% of the published version of Chapter 8 specifically addressed uncertainties in scientific studies of the causes of climate change. In discussing the “scientific cleansing” issue, Mr. Pearce claims that many of the caveats in Chapter 8 “did not make it to the summary for policy-makers”. This is incorrect.

The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) of the IPCC SAR is four-and-a-half pages long. Roughly one page of the SPM discusses results from Chapter 8. The final paragraph of that page deals specifically with uncertainties, and notes that:

“Our ability to quantify the human influence on global climate is currently limited because the expected signal is still emerging from the noise of natural variability, and because there are uncertainties in key factors. These include the magnitude and patterns of long term natural variability and the time-evolving pattern of forcing by, and response to, changes in concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosols, and land surface changes”.

Contrary to Mr. Pearce’s assertion, important caveats did “make it to the summary for policy-makers”. And the “discernible human influence” conclusion of both Chapter 8 and the Summary for Policymakers has been substantiated by many subsequent national and international assessments of climate science.

There were several reasons why Chapter 8 was a target for unfounded “scientific cleansing” allegations. First, the Global Climate Coalitions’s “scientific cleansing” charges were released to the media in May 1996. At that time, Cambridge University Press had not yet published the IPCC Second Assessment Report in the United States. Because of this delay in the Report’s U.S. publication, many U.S. commentators on the “scientific cleansing” claims had not even read Chapter 8 – they only had access to the GCC’s skewed account of the changes made to Chapter 8. Had the Second Assessment Report been readily available in the U.S. in May 1996, it would have been easy for interested parties to verify that Chapter 8 incorporated a fair and balanced discussion of scientific uncertainties.

Second, the “pre-Madrid” version of Chapter 8 was the only chapter in the IPCC Working Group I Second Assessment Report to have both an “Executive Summary” and a “Concluding Summary”. As discussed in the next section, this anomaly was partly due to the fact that the Lead Author team for Chapter 8 was not finalized until April 1994 – months after all other chapters had started work. Because of this delay in getting out of the starting blocks, the Chapter 8 Lead Author team was more concerned with completing the initial drafts of our chapter than with the question of whether all chapters in the Working Group I Report had exactly the same structure.

The reply of the Chapter 8 Lead Authors to the Energy Daily story of May 22, 1996 pointed out this ‘two summary’ redundancy, and noted that:

“After receiving much criticism of this redundancy in October and November 1995, the Convening Lead Author of Chapter 8 decided to remove the concluding summary. About half of the information in the concluding summary was integrated with material in Section 8.6. It did not disappear completely, as the Global Climate Coalition has implied. The lengthy Executive Summary of Chapter 8 addresses the issue of uncertainties in great detail – as does the underlying Chapter itself.”

The removal of the concluding summary made it simple for the Global Climate Coalition to advance their unjustified “scientific cleansing” allegations. They could claim ‘This statement has been deleted’, without mentioning that the scientific issue addressed in the deleted statement was covered elsewhere in the chapter.

This was my first close encounter of the absurd kind.

The 1995 IPCC Report: The “political tampering/corruption of peer-review” allegation

The second allegation is that I was responsible for “political tampering”. I like to call this “the tail wags the dog” allegation. The “tail” here is the summary of the Chapter 8 results in the IPCC Summary for Policymakers, and the “dog” is the detailed underlying text of Chapter 8.

In November 1995, 177 government delegates from 96 countries spent three days in Madrid. Their job was to “approve” each word of the four-and-a-half page Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC’s Working Group I Report. This was the report that dealt with the physical science of climate change. The delegates also had the task of “accepting” the 11 underlying science chapters on which the Summary for Policymakers was based. “Acceptance” of the 11 chapters did not require government approval of each word in each chapter.

This was not a meeting of politicians only. A number of the government delegates were climate scientists. Twenty-eight of the Lead Authors of the IPCC Working Group I Report – myself included – were also prominent participants in Madrid. We were there to ensure that the politics did not get ahead of the science, and that the tail did not wag the dog.

Non-governmental organizations – such as the Global Climate Coalition – were also active participants in the Madrid meeting. NGOs had no say in the formal process of approving the Summary for Policymakers. They were, however, allowed to make comments on the SPM and the underlying 11 science chapters during the first day of the Plenary Meeting (November 27, 1996). The Global Climate Coalition dominated the initial plenary discussions.

Most of the plenary discussions at Madrid focused on the portrayal of Chapter 8’s findings in the Summary for Policymakers. Discussions were often difficult and contentious. We wrestled with the exact wording of the “balance of evidence” statement mentioned above. The delegations from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait argued for a very weak statement, or for no statement at all. Delegates from many other countries countered that there was strong scientific evidence of pronounced a human effect on climate, and that the bottom-line statement from Chapter 8 should reflect this.

Given the intense interest in Chapter 8, Sir John Houghton (one of the two Co-Chairs of IPCC Working Group I) established an ad hoc group on November 27, 1996. I was a member of this group. Our charge was to review those parts of the draft Summary for Policymakers that dealt with climate change detection and attribution issues. The group was placed under the Chairmanship of Dr. Martin Manning of New Zealand, and included delegates from the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Kenya, the Netherlands, and New Zealand. Sir John Houghton also invited delegates from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to participate in this ad hoc group. Unfortunately, they did not accept this invitation.

The ad hoc group considered more than just the portions of the Summary for Policymakers that were relevant to Chapter 8. The Dutch delegation asked for a detailed discussion of Chapter 8 itself, and of the full scientific evidence contained in it. This discussion took place on November 28, 1996.

On November 29, 1996, I reported back to the Plenary on the deliberations of the ad hoc group. The Saudi Arabian and Kuwaiti delegations – who had not attended any of the discussions of the ad hoc group, and had no first-hand knowledge of what had been discussed by the group – continued to express serious reservations about the scientific basis for the detection and attribution statements in the Summary for Policymakers.

On the final evening of the Madrid Plenary Meeting, debate focused on finding the right word to describe the human effect on global climate. There was broad agreement among the government delegates that – based on the scientific evidence presented in Chapter 8 – some form of qualifying word was necessary. Was the human influence “measurable”? Could it be best described as “appreciable”, “detectable”, or “substantial”? Each of these suggested words had proponents and opponents. How would each word translate into different languages? Would the meaning be the same as in English?

After hours of often rancorous debate, Bert Bolin (who was then the Chairman of the IPCC) finally found the elusive solution. Professor Bolin suggested that the human effect on climate should be described as “discernible”.

Mr. Pearce – who was not present at the Madrid Plenary Meeting – argues that the discussion of human effects on climate in the IPCC Summary for Policymakers “went beyond what was said in the chapter from which the summary was supposedly drawn”. In other words, he suggests that the tail wagged the dog. This is not true. The “pre-Madrid” bottom-line statement from Chapter 8 was “Taken together, these results point towards a human influence on climate”. As I’ve noted above, the final statement agreed upon in Madrid was “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate”.

Is “suggests” stronger than “points towards”? I doubt it. Is “The balance of evidence” a more confident phrase than “Taken together”? I don’t think so.

The primary difference between the pre- and post-Madrid statements is that the latter includes the word “discernible”. In my American Heritage College Dictionary, “discernible” is defined as “perceptible, as by vision or the intellect”. In Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, one of the three meanings of the verb “discern” is “to recognize or identify as separate and distinct”. Was the use of “discernible” justified?

The answer is clearly “yes”. Chapter 8 of the IPCC’s Second Assessment Report relied heavily on the evidence from a number of different “fingerprint” studies. This type of research uses rigorous statistical methods to compare observed patterns of climate change with results from climate model simulations. The basic concept of fingerprinting is that each different influence on climate – such as purely natural changes in the Sun’s energy output, or human-caused changes in atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases – has a unique signature in climate records. This uniqueness becomes more apparent if one looks beyond changes averaged over the entire globe, and instead exploits the much greater information content available in complex, time-varying patterns of climate change.

Fingerprinting has proved to be an invaluable tool for untangling the complex cause-and-effect relationships in the climate system. The IPCC’s Second Assessment Report in 1995 was able to draw on fingerprint studies from a half-dozen different research groups. Each of these groups had independently shown that they could indeed perceive a fingerprint of human influence in observed temperature records. The signal was beginning to rise out of the noise, and was (using Merriam-Webster’s definition of “discern”) “separate and distinct” from purely natural variations in climate.

Based on these fingerprint results, and based on the other scientific evidence available to us in November 1995, use of the word “discernible” was entirely justified. Its use is certainly justified based on the scientific information available to us in 2010. The “discernible human influence” phrase was approved by all of the 177 delegates from 96 countries present at the Plenary Meeting – even by the Saudi and Kuwaiti delegations. None of the 28 IPCC Lead Authors in attendance at Madrid balked at this phrase, or questioned our finding that “the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate”. The latter statement was cautious and responsible, and entirely consistent with the state of the science. The much more difficult job of trying to quantify the size of human influences on climate would be left to subsequent IPCC assessments.

Mr. Pearce’s remarks suggest that there is some substance to the “political tampering” allegation – that I was somehow coerced to change Chapter 8 in order to “reflect the wording of the political summary”. This is untrue. There was no political distortion of the science. If Mr. Pearce had been present at the Madrid Plenary Meeting, he would have seen how vigorously (and successfully) scientists resisted efforts on the part of a small number of delegates to skew and spin some of the information in the Summary for Policymakers.

The key point here is that the SPM was not a “political summary” – it was an accurate reflection of the science. Had it been otherwise, I would not have agreed to put my name on the Report.

A reader of Mr. Pearce’s article might also gain the mistaken impression that the changes to Chapter 8 were only made in response to comments made by government delegates during the Madrid Plenary Meeting. That is not true. As I’ve mentioned above, changes were also made to address government comments made during the meeting of the ad hoc group formed to discuss Chapter 8.

Furthermore, when I first arrived in Madrid on November 26, 1995, I was handed a stack of government and NGO comments on Chapter 8 that I had not seen previously. I had the responsibility of responding to these comments.

One reason for the delay in receiving comments was that the IPCC had encountered difficulties in finding a Convening Lead Author (CLA) for Chapter 8. To my knowledge, the CLA job had been turned down by at least two other scientists before I received the job offer. The unfortunate consequence of this delay was that, at the time of the Madrid Plenary Meeting, Chapter 8 was less mature and polished than other chapters of the IPCC Working Group I Report. Hence the belated review comments.

The bottom line in this story is that the post-Madrid revisions to Chapter 8 were made for scientific, not political reasons. They were made by me, not by IPCC officials. The changes were in full accord with IPCC rules and procedures (pdf). Mr. Pearce repeats accusations by Fred Seitz that the changes to Chapter 8 were illegal and unauthorized, and that I was guilty of “corruption of the peer-review process”. These allegations are false, as the IPCC has clearly pointed out.

The 1995 IPCC Report: The “research irregularities” allegation

The third major front in the attack on Chapter 8 focused on my personal research. It was a two-pronged attack. First, Professor S. Fred Singer claimed that the IPCC’s “discernible human influence” conclusion was entirely based on two of my own (multi-authored) research papers. Next, Professor Patrick Michaels argued that one of these two papers was seriously flawed, and that irregularities had occurred in the paper’s publication process. Both charges were untrue.

On July 25, 1996, I addressed the first of these allegations in an email to the Lead Authors of the 1995 IPCC Report:

“Chapter 8 references more than 130 scientific papers – not just two. Its bottom-line conclusion that “the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate” is not solely based on the two Santer et al. papers that Singer alludes to. This conclusion derives from many other published studies on the comparison of modelled and observed patterns of temperature change – for example, papers by Karoly et al. (1994), Mitchell et al. (1995), Hegerl et al. (1995), Karl et al. (1995), Hasselmann et al. (1995), Hansen et al. (1995) and Ramaswamy et al. (1996). It is supported by many studies of global-mean temperature changes, by our physical understanding of the climate system, by our knowledge of human-induced changes in the chemical composition of the atmosphere, by information from paleoclimatic studies, and by a wide range of supporting information (sea-level rise, retreat of glaciers, etc.). To allege, as Singer does, that “Chapter 8 is mainly based on two research papers” is just plain wrong”.

In the second prong of the attack, Professor Michaels claimed that a paper my colleagues and I had published in Nature in 1996 had been selective in its use of observational data, and that our finding of a human fingerprint in atmospheric temperature data was not valid if a longer observational record was used. Further, he argued that Nature had been “toyed with” (presumably by me), and coerced into publishing the 1996 Santer et al. Nature paper one week prior to a key United Nations meeting in Geneva.

My colleagues and I immediately addressed the scientific criticism of our Nature paper by Michaels and his colleague Chip Knappenberger. We demonstrated that this criticism was simply wrong. Use of a longer record of atmospheric temperature change strengthened rather than weakened the evidence for a human fingerprint. We published this work in Nature in December 1996. Unfortunately, Mr. Pearce does not provide a link to this publication.

Since 1996, studies by a number of scientists around the world have substantiated the findings of our 1996 Nature paper. Such work has consistently shown clear evidence of a human fingerprint in atmospheric temperature records.

Disappointingly, Professor Michaels persists in repeating his criticism of our paper, without mentioning our published rebuttal or the large body of subsequently published evidence refuting his claims. Michaels’ charge that Nature had been “toyed with” was complete nonsense. As described below, however, this was not the last time I would be falsely accused of having the extraordinary power to force scientific journals to do my bidding.

A Climatology Conspiracy? More “peer-review abuse” accusations

Mr. Pearce also investigates a more recent issue. He implies that I abused the normal peer-review system, and exerted pressure on the editor of the International Journal of Climatology to delay publication of the print version of a paper by Professor David Douglass and colleagues. This is not true.

The Douglass et al. paper was published in December 2007 in the online edition of the International Journal of Climatology. The “et al.” included the same Professor S. Fred Singer who had previously accused me of “scientific cleansing”. It also included Professor John Christy, the primary developer of a satellite-based temperature record which suggests that there has been minimal warming of Earth’s lower atmosphere since 1979. Three alternate versions of the satellite temperature record, produced by different teams of researchers using the same raw satellite measurements, all indicate substantially more warming of the Earth’s atmosphere.

The focus of the Douglass et al. paper was on post-1979 temperature changes in the tropics. The authors devised what they called a “robust statistical test” to compare computer model results with observations. The test was seriously flawed (see Appendix A in Open Letter to the Climate Science Community: Response to A “Climatology Conspiracy?”). When it was applied to the model and observational temperature datasets, the test showed (quite incorrectly) that the model results were significantly different from observations.

As I have noted elsewhere, the Douglass et al. paper immediately attracted considerable media and political attention. One of the paper’s authors claimed that it represented an “inconvenient truth”, and proved that “Nature, not humans, rules the climate”. These statements were absurd. No single study can overturn the very large body of scientific evidence supporting “discernible human influence” findings. Nor does any individual study provide the sole underpinning for the conclusion that human activities are influencing global climate.

Given the extraordinary claims that were being made on the basis of this incorrect paper, my colleagues and I decided that a response was necessary. Although the errors in Douglass et al. were easy to identify, it required a substantial amount of new and original work to repeat the statistical analysis properly.

Our work went far beyond what Douglass et al. had done. We looked at the sensitivity of model-versus-data comparisons to the choice of statistical test, to the test assumptions, to the number of years of record used in the tests, and to errors in the computer model estimates of year-to-year temperature variability. We also examined how the statistical test devised by Douglass et al. performed under controlled conditions, using random data with known statistical properties. From their paper, there is no evidence that Douglass et al. considered any of these important issues before making their highly-publicized claims.

Our analysis clearly showed that tropical temperature changes in observations and climate model simulations were not fundamentally inconsistent – contrary to the claim of Douglass and colleagues. Our research was published on October 10, 2008, in the online edition of the International Journal of Climatology. On November 15, 2008, the Douglass et al. and Santer et al. papers appeared in the same print version of the International Journal of Climatology.

In December 2009, shortly after the public release of the stolen emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, Professors David Douglass and John Christy accused me of leading a conspiracy to delay publication of the print version of the Douglass et al. paper. This accusation was based on a selective analysis of the stolen emails. It is false.

In Mr. Pearce’s account of this issue, he states that “There is no doubt the (sic) Santer and his colleagues sought to use the power they held to the utmost…” So what are the facts of this matter? What is the “power” Fred Pearce is referring to?

  • Fact 1: The only “power” that I had was the power to choose which scientific journal to submit our paper to. I chose the International Journal of Climatology. I did this because the International Journal of Climatology had published (in their online edition) the seriously flawed Douglass et al. paper. I wanted to give the journal the opportunity to set the scientific record straight.
  • Fact 2: I had never previously submitted a paper to the International Journal of Climatology. I had never met the editor of the journal (Professor Glenn McGregor). I did not have any correspondence or professional interaction with the editor prior to 2008.
  • Fact 3: Prior to submitting our paper, I wrote an email to Dr. Tim Osborn on January 10, 2008. Tim Osborn was on the editorial board of the International Journal of Climatology. I told Dr. Osborn that, before deciding whether we would submit our paper to the International Journal of Climatology, I wanted to have some assurance that our paper would “be regarded as an independent contribution, not as a comment on Douglass et al.” This request was entirely reasonable in view of the substantial amount of new work that we had done. I have described this new work above.
  • Fact 4: I did not want to submit our paper to the International Journal of Climatology if there was a possibility that our submission would be regarded as a mere “comment” on Douglass et al. Under this scenario, Douglass et al. would have received the last word. Given the extraordinary claims they had made, I thought it unlikely that their “last word” would have acknowledged the serious statistical error in their original paper. As subsequent events showed, I was right to be concerned – they have not admitted any error in their work.
  • Fact 5: As I clearly stated in my email of January 10 to Dr. Tim Osborn, if the International Journal of Climatology agreed to classify our paper as an independent contribution, “Douglass et al. should have the opportunity to respond to our contribution, and we should be given the chance to reply. Any response and reply should be published side-by-side…”
  • Fact 6: The decision to hold back the print version of the Douglass et al. paper was not mine. It was the editor’s decision. I had no “power” over the publishing decisions of the International Journal of Climatology.

This whole episode should be filed under the category “No good deed goes unpunished”. My colleagues and I were simply trying to set the scientific record straight. There was no conspiracy to subvert the peer-review process. Unfortunately, conspiracy theories are easy to disseminate. Many are willing to accept these theories at face value. The distribution of facts on complex scientific issues is a slower, more difficult process.

Climate Auditing – Close Encounters with Mr. Steven McIntyre

Ten days after the online publication of our International Journal of Climatology paper, Mr. Steven McIntyre, who runs the “ClimateAudit” blog, requested all of the climate model data we had used in our research. I replied that Mr. McIntyre was welcome to “audit” our calculations, and that all of the primary model data we had employed were archived at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and freely available to any researcher. Over 3,400 scientists around the world currently analyze climate model output from this open database.

My response was insufficient for Mr. McIntyre. He submitted two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for climate model data – not for the freely available raw data, but for the results from intermediate calculations I had performed with the raw data. One FOIA request also asked for two years of my email correspondence related to these climate model data sets.

I had performed these intermediate calculations in order derive weighted-average temperature changes for different layers of the atmosphere. This is standard practice. It is necessary since model temperature data are available at specific heights in the atmosphere, whereas satellite temperature measurements represent an average over a deep layer of the atmosphere. The weighted averages calculated from the climate model data can be directly compared with actual satellite data. The method used for making such intermediate calculations is not a secret. It is published in several different scientific journals.

Unlike Mr. McIntyre, David Douglass and his colleagues (in their International Journal of Climatology paper) had used the freely available raw model data. With these raw datasets, Douglass et al. made intermediate calculations similar to the calculations we had performed. The results of their intermediate calculations were similar to our own intermediate results. The differences between what Douglass and colleagues had done and what my colleagues and I had done was not in the intermediate calculations – it was in the statistical tests each group had used to compare climate models with observations.

The punch-line of this story is that Mr. McIntyre’s Freedom of Information Act requests were completely unnecessary. In my opinion, they were frivolous. Mr. McIntyre already had access to all of the information necessary to check our calculations and our findings.

When I invited Mr. McIntyre to “audit” our entire study, including the intermediate calculations, and told him that all the data necessary to perform such an “audit” were freely available, he expressed moral outrage on his blog. I began to receive threatening emails. Complaints about my “stonewalling” behavior were sent to my superiors at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and at the U.S. Department of Energy.

A little over a month after receiving Mr. McIntyre’s Freedom of Information Act requests, I decided to release all of the intermediate calculations I had performed for our International Journal of Climatology paper. I made these datasets available to the entire scientific community. I did this because I wanted to continue with my scientific research. I did not want to spend all of my available time and energy responding to harassment incited by Mr. McIntyre’s blog.

Mr. Pearce does not mention that Mr. McIntyre had no need to file Freedom of Information Act requests, since Mr. McIntyre already had access to all of the raw climate model data we had used in our study (and to the methods we had used for performing intermediate calculations). Nor does Mr. Pearce mention the curious asymmetry in Mr. McIntyre’s “auditing”. To my knowledge, Mr. McIntyre – who purports to have considerable statistical expertise – has failed to “audit” the Douglass et al. paper, which contained serious statistical errors.

As the “Climategate” emails clearly show, there is a pattern of behavior here. My encounter with Mr. McIntyre’s use of FOIA requests for “audit” purposes is not an isolated event. In my opinion, Mr. McIntyre’s FOIA requests serve the purpose of initiating fishing expeditions, and are not being used for true scientific discovery.

Mr. McIntyre’s own words do not present a picture of a man engaged in purely dispassionate and objective scientific inquiry:

“But if Santer wants to try this kind of stunt, as I’ve said above, I’ve submitted FOI requests and we’ll see what they turn up. We’ll see what the journal policies require. I’ll also see what DOE and PCDMI administrators have to say. We’ll see if any of Santer’s buddies are obligated to produce the data. We’ll see if Santer ever sent any of the data to his buddies”

(Steven McIntyre; posting on his ClimateAudit blog; Nov. 21, 2008).

My research is subject to rigorous scrutiny. Mr. McIntyre’s blogging is not. He can issue FOIA requests at will. He is the master of his domain – the supreme, unchallenged ruler of the “ClimateAudit” universe. He is not a climate scientist, but he has the power to single-handedly destroy the reputations of exceptional men and women who have devoted their entire careers to the pursuit of climate science. Mr. McIntyre’s unchecked, extraordinary power is the real story of “Climategate”. I hope that someone has the courage to tell this story.

Benjamin D. Santer

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellow
San Ramon, California
February 22, 2010*

*These remarks reflect the personal opinions of Benjamin D. Santer. They do not reflect the official views of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory or the U.S. Department of Energy. In preparing this document, I would like to acknowledge the assistance of Tom Wigley, Myles Allen, Kristin Aydt, Graham Cogley, Peter Gleckler, Leo Haimberger, Gabi Hegerl, John Lanzante, Mike MacCracken, Gavin Schmidt, Steve Sherwood, Susan Solomon, Karl Taylor, Simon Tett, and Peter Thorne.

1,047 Responses to “Close Encounters of the Absurd Kind”

  1. 251
    Completely Fed Up says:

    Andreas, and we hate you for it. Ha ha ha ha.

  2. 252
    votenotokyoto says:

    I am amused at the use of the term denialist by many contributors to this website. Most seem to be in denial themselves that the wheels are coming off the agwarmer bus, and that there is plenty of science in WUWT, unlike this ‘sainted’ blog. The last 5 articles (over 2 weeks) have been 3 attacks on English newspapers including 2 incomprehensible attacks on the Grauniad, (previously without sin) a description of an i-fone App confusingly described as sceptical when it isn’t and another rehash of climategate etc.

    Where is all the climate science? Answer in WUWT, Climate Audit, Roy Spencer, Pielke Sr and Junior, etc. Most recent scientific evidence demonstrates that the agwarming case has been at least a mite over-egged. Based on the current state of knowledge most reasonable observers would conclude that burning fossil fuels is not going to cause catastrophe.

    We need to conserve energy because it is valuable and scarse. But the current anti-carbon policies have distorted the market with scarse natural gas (higher H, lower C) preferred to plentiful coal so electric companies can improve their ‘carbon footprint’. Who does that distortion benefit?

  3. 253
    Nick Gotts says:

    I see John Peter is now trying to turn the discussion to sovereign debt. Why? His justification appears to be:

    I’m only trying to get you to think about what’s on the minds of a lot of other folk these days.

    Actually, John Peter, most people no more spend their time thinking about sovereign debt than about AGW or the pseudogates, as I’m sure you know.

    If scienttists would work for $10/hr, I expect Sonja (whoever she is) wouldn’t bother to share her views. She’d work on someone else.

    That you don’t know who Sonja is indicates that you are ignorant about the interface between climate science and politics which you have been pontificating about. Why not take the time to learn a little? The issues have nothing to do with scientists’ salaries (no-one goes into science, let alone climate science, to get rich); everything to do with fossil fuel industry profits. Moreover, your frequently repeated implication that “We pay your wages, so you have to placate us” is absurd and self-defeating. If your physician says you should stop smoking, lose weight, take more exercise, do you get all huffy and tell them they need to show you all their intermediate calculations? Only if you’re a fool.

  4. 254
    Luke Silburn says:

    CFU @176:

    “MapleLeaf, funny Luke hasn’t been around to decry the uncalled for comment from Pielke.”

    I pulled you up on the other thread because I respect and agree with a lot of what you post here and I thought that your comment to Charlie Chutney was unworthy of you.

    Would you rather I put you on the internal ignore list I reserve for Pielke and others of his ilk?


  5. 255
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “Putting the link here causes rejection as spam.”

    Probably because it is.


  6. 256
    Completely Fed Up says:

    John Peter says:
    25 February 2010 at 11:07 PM

    Reasonable Observer (179)

    Hi, glad to meet a reasonable person.

    Good post. I guess you are someone who does know what sovereign debt is.”

    If you think post 179 is indicating anything to do with sovereign debt, then you do not know what it means.

    This does however concord with your normal apparent knowledge of just about everything.

  7. 257
    Dave G says:

    Bob Close says:
    26 February 2010 at 12:13 AM

    “Now that various gross errors have been detected in the IPCC political reports, particularly the temperature data manipulation to eliminate the Little ice age and other modern cooler periods, and the obvious person bias to AGW shown by the Jones clique of “Climategate” scientists; the educated public suspects it has been duped by climate change experts- political spin merchants and wants the evidence verified.”

    In reality they have been duped by sceptic bloggers and the rightward-leaning sections of the media, as the LIA (and the MWP, for that matter) is clearly visible in graphs in IPCC reports. A scientist like yourself should know that.

  8. 258
    Completely Fed Up says:

    John Peter says:
    25 February 2010 at 11:03 PM

    Sufferin’ Succotash (180)

    Where do you get the $$ to pay for bulldogs. PR is expensive.”

    Indeed it is, and there’s nowhere near the money for PR in climate research that there is overflowing in the fossil fuel industry. Never mind the rest of large industry that is sick-scared of any government intervention in the normal business of companies (which seems to be “screw over the customer as hard as possible”).

    Which is why so many pitbulls attacking climate science are seen.

    Lots of money in that black gold…

  9. 259
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Bob Close@225,
    I do not know what scientific articles you have read, but you clearly do not understand the science. CO2 is a known greenhouse gas. Arrhenius predicted anthropogenic CO2 would warm the climate way back in 1896. This is not an argument by correlation, it is a confirmation of a prediction based on physics. You need to unlearn what you think you know and start over.
    Start with this:

  10. 260
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Doug Bostrom,
    Thanks, but Isaac Asimov said it better and more succinctly than I did:

    “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not Eureka! (I found it!) but rather, ‘hmm… that’s funny…’”
    - Isaac Asimov

  11. 261
    Andreas Bjurström says:

    156Barton Paul Levenson says:

    Wow, severe misundrstandings (but I do not say Sonja are right, only that you fail understanding what she is saying) and intellectual crap logic:
    A is friend with B -> therefore is analysis X wrong because A do not like it. It is the logic of a denialist. And you guys are NOT a tight knit community of peers defending each other (tribalism). Come on! Please, a little bit more honesty [edit] from you guys. I am afraid I have to say, again, that many of you are very ignorant of a great many issues of importance outside of your limited fields of expertise …

  12. 262
    JMurphy says:

    Bob Close wrote :

    “The IPCC practice of sexing up conclusions in legitimate research studies to suit particular political goals and frighten the public into submission is not to be condoned.
    Now that various gross errors have been detected in the IPCC political reports, particularly the temperature data manipulation to eliminate the Little ice age and other modern cooler periods, and the obvious person bias to AGW shown by the Jones clique of “Climategate” scientists; the educated public suspects it has been duped by climate change experts- political spin merchants and wants the evidence verified.”

    Can you give any examples of that ‘sexing up’ and those ‘gross errors’ ? You mention ‘temperature data manipulation’ and ‘obvious person bias to AGW’ but it is not at all clear what you are going on about. Could you be more specific ?
    What evidence would you like verified ?

  13. 263
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Gee, voteno, no wonder you are confused if you are looking for your climate science on the intertubes. Why not try the peer-reviewed journals–you know, the ones where McI, micro-Watts et al. don’t publish.

    Funny thing. Ice is still melting. January was the warmest ever–even by MSU measurements. 2009 was the 2nd warmest year on record. Huh, looks to me like the world’s still warming. Maybe drop reality a line now and again. She misses you.

  14. 264
    dhogaza says:

    Bob Close sez:

    I agree with Reasonable Observer, the Climate science community similar to my own geologist community tend to live in their own academic world and their studies are not understood by 90% of the rest of humanity.

    I have no problem with the notion that speci-alists in your field of geology understand things that lay people, including scientists in other fields, do not.

    To single out and blame CO2 as a major driver in this AGW process is only an educated guess based on the evidence I have seen…

    You’re not a physicist, yet you’re arguing that you understand physics better than physicists do, and that all this work that’s been done starting with Tyndall is nothing but “educated guessing”.

    Think about what you said in my second quote in light of what you said in my first quote.

    Of course, your claim that 150 years of physics which show that without CO2 in the atmosphere the earth would be extremely cold is wrong is no more that a statement of personal incredulity.

    To a physicist, your claim is equivalent to someone telling you, a geologist, that the earth is only 6,000 years old.

    Think about it…

  15. 265
    Nelson says:

    Bill McKibben wrote an inreresting piece on yesterday. He compares the attack on climate science to the tactics OJ lawyers used to sow doubt among the public and the jurors in his murder trial.The paradox is that the more evidence that science produces, the more ammunition, in the form of science language, the denialists have against it (not because they are correct, but because like lawyers they use its complexity to abstract partial information for their owon purposes.) Instead of admitting that they have no real arguments against climate science (other than their political ones), the Lord Exxons of the world disguise their propaganda as a form of ‘scientific’ discrepancy and objections against teh ‘proces.’ OJ was acquitted, but he finally ended up in jail after all those years. Climate science may lose the political battle; although in the end it will be vindicated (at a big cost as the right decisions continue to be postponed).

  16. 266
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Philip, fwiw I linked to your cool petition: Petition: Stand up for Climate Science. Luck to us all!

  17. 267
    John Mason says:

    Re #265 – yes that McKibben piece was a good read – an exploration into what is going on here. I’m certain the science will be vindicated (to me it is right now), but I don’t want to have to wait until predictions become horrifically expensive reality for those calling for vindication to give up on that front!

    They are gambling in a card-game with civilisation as the stake.

    Cheers – John

  18. 268
    CM says:

    Andreas #261: The apparent c**p logic at #156 was allusion to an American political quote. Actual c**p logic involves errors such as the ad hominem, e. g. questioning a person’s scientific work on the irrelevant personal grounds of his religious beliefs. As Sonja appeared to do at #107.

  19. 269
    Lotharsson says:

    Now, try and imagine a gang of doctrinary, unrepentant marxists-leninists insisting on ‘auditing’ the bankers… just try. Actually the mental image is quite entertaining ;-)

    LOL :-) Thanks for that image!

  20. 270
    Allen C says:

    “Incidentally, are you seriously comparing yourself, or other denialists, to Galileo and Einstein?”

    I will ignore your classification of me since you know nothing about me.

    I do believe that the situation Galileo faced in his time is similar, in many respects, to the situation surrounding the hypothesis of AGW. Galileo was fighting the religion of the day which hypothesized that the earth was the center of the Universe. Today, many (some would say, “the consensus”) believe that humans are the main (only?) cause of Global Warming (or is it Climate Change?. Galileo was castigated by the Church in much the same manner as many on this thread (and numerous others on this website) castigate those who aren’t members of the AGW “church”. But once Galileo’s hypothesis was tested, it became the current model upon which much of science is based today.

    The hypothesis of AGW is still being tested. (Although I suspect many on here don’t believe that.) The AGW hypothesis was the foundation upon which the IPCC developed its climate models. So if the hypothesis is true, then the forecasts produced by those models should be highly accurate. So far actual observation isn’t strongly correlated with the forecasts. That isn’t to say that in time this correlation might strengthen. But for now, no conclusions can be drawn about the hypothesis of AGW.

    This is normal science. A hypothesis is developed. Experiments are conducted to test the hypothesis. If the results of the experiments are the same or highly correlated to the predicted results of the hypothesis, then the hypothesis is accepted.

    Is there any other way to test the hypothesis of AGW?

    Please don’t give me a long list of anecdotal evidence of melting ice caps, more severe storms, etc.. These are just observed climate events without any proof of what caused them (man or nature). These pieces of anecdotal “evidence” would never stand up in a criminal court because there is no trace of their source.

    (btw, your Wikipedia “evidence” still doesn’t support your contention that Einstein had any University Degree in Physics)

    [Response: Sorry for bothering you with inconvenient red herrings, such as say...long lists of evidence, or the actualities of what the IPCC did (it didn't develop any climate models for one). If you think Galileo was in an analogous position to climate change deniers, you seriously don't know the science or the history. And thanks for informing us on the methods of science--Jim]

  21. 271
    John Peter says:

    Dan 23 MapleLeaf 171

    I agree, climategate does remind me of McCarthy at Ft Monmouth. The charge was only symphony for communism and was never proved. Attacks on (Jewish) scientists, false accusations, biased MSM reporting, viscous public reaction, etc., etc.

    What I remember most were the rocks thrown through innocent scientists’ windows by “neighbors”. All this happened in a few days between the scientists’ suspension and reinstatement. Suspension was front page news in the MSM, reinstatement was never even mentioned.

    An example can be found at It includes a report with is representative of MSM reporting then.

    There is a paper rebuttal a year later by Yale biological physics people at

  22. 272

    #252 votenotokyoto, I am amused about your apparent ignorance of climate, while you adhere to websites
    who do just that, profess competence while denigrating reality, the Arctic Ice cap is on the verge of disappearing during the summer season. I do understand that ignorance loves company, but shed your eyes elsewhere:

    behold a sea never seen by humans, opening on their own planet.

  23. 273
    Completely Fed Up says:

    Andreas, you’re not understanding: Sonja is talking bollocks.

    Several people have tried to explain exactly HOW this conclusion is reached, but you seem to miss it.

  24. 274
    michael schlabig says:

    I’m not a scientist though i believe strongly in the scientific method. I would love to see someone make a show for one of the discovery channels or all of them explaining in terms everyone can understand just what these documents mean. You see, I also believe that the truth when explained is still the truth. Showing the truth to the public on a show like this would eliminate manipulation by the media by making it common knowledge, common truth. Showing the rest of us just what the scientists are looking for, chemical markers, climate history of the planet etc. would set right anyone with doubts about the data. Even a show on BBC would work well for this purpose.

    [Response: I agree. Where are the educational filmmakers on this whole topic? Why aren't say Nova, or National Geographic, doing series on this? But not being much of a TV watcher, maybe I've just missed them.--Jim]

  25. 275
    Completely Fed Up says:

    Like Silborn: I couldn’t give a monkeys.

    Where were you earlier? Hmm?

    Missing In Action.

  26. 276
    Completely Fed Up says:

    gavin, maybe you misunderstood #249.

    It was intended as basically the same post as:

    Jiminmpls says:
    26 February 2010 at 12:19 AM”

    I.e. if there is supposed to be “heavy moderation”, how come so many cranks are seen?

  27. 277
    Mark says:

    To #236.

    How boorish. Einstein is talking about human dependence on the food chain. Which is correct. And besides don’t you like wild flowers? And the quote is indeed correct, it’s in “How I see the World.”

    [Response:Sorry to disappoint. You've missed the point obviously.--Jim]

  28. 278
    SecularAnimist says:

    Allen C wrote: “Galileo was fighting the religion of the day which hypothesized that the earth was the center of the Universe.”

    And the legitimate climate scientists of today are fighting the “religion” today’s fossil fuel corporations, which has as its central article of faith a ruthless, relentless, rapacious GREED for the trillions of dollars in profit that continued business-as-usual consumption of fossil fuels will bring.

    To that “religion”, the truth about anthropogenic climate change, with its implication that fossil fuel industry profits are not the center of the Universe, is blasphemy.

    If ExxonMobil could simply drag the world’s climate scientists into the Inquisition and “show them the instruments of torture” as was done to Galileo, in order to silence and suppress the “inconvenient truth” that these courageous, brilliant and diligent scientists are trying to tell humanity, I’m sure they would do it. It would be simpler and cheaper than funding all the bogus denialist cranks and frauds.

  29. 279
    Deech56 says:

    RE Andreas Bjurström

    I am afraid I have to say, again, that many of you are very ignorant of a great many issues of importance outside of your limited fields of expertise …

    Climate science is outside my area of expertise, which is why I, like most people here, seek out information from reliable sources. Besides my day job (coming up with stuff for people to take in case of a nuclear holocaust) I have a family, a mort gage, college to pay for, taxes to pay, and all the rest, but that does not mean that I can safely ignore the unintended consequences of an energy-intensive civilization, as indicated by the best science we have. All the framing, all the behavior analysis cannot change physical laws. Stuff happens whether we study it or not.

  30. 280
    Nick Gotts says:

    I will ignore your classification of me since you know nothing about me. – Allen C.

    On the contrary, Allen C., your comments here have told me plenty about you. The usual denialist rubbish about the theory of AGW being a “religion”, the failure to look at the actual record of predictions from GCMs (readily available on this site) or at the multiple consilient lines of evidence supporting the theory, the mistaken ideas about what the IPCC is and does: together, they scream denialist so loud I have to cover my ears when I read your comments.

  31. 281
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Allen C.,
    OK, first on Einstein:

    Note it says he did get his degree in physics in 1901 and his doctorate in 1905. Dude, you can look this stuff up. Don’t you ever get tired of being wrong?

    Now on to you other error-ridden swill. First, Anthropogenic Global Warming is not a hypothesis, but rather a prediction in 1896 by Svante Arrhenius. This prediction is confirmed by mountains of evidence, including the temperature record, melting ice, earlier springs, a simultaneously cooling stratosphere along with the warming troposphere (try that with a solar mechanism), polar amplification…

    And in the case of Galileo, correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it Galileo who had the evidence and the church had the dogma. In this case, dude, it’s the climate scientists who have the evidence and you who have… well, bupkes.

    It is clear that you have not made the slightest effort to understand the science, but instead argue against a straw man of your own construction. What’s the matter, Allen C., are you afraid learning something would spoil your objectivity?

  32. 282
    John Mason says:

    Blimey! Daily Mail now goes 180 degrees (not temperatures)!

    “Doomsday: How 4C temperature rise this century will change world beyond recognition and threaten human survival”


    Cheers – John

  33. 283
    Dale says:

    Allen C #270, “I do believe that the situation Galileo faced in his time is similar, in many respects, to the situation surrounding the hypothesis of AGW. Galileo was fighting the religion of the day which hypothesized that the earth was the center of the Universe.”

    While AGW scientists are fighting the Ayn Rand religion of these times that says unfettered capitalism is as true and pure as anything Jesus could have come up with. You believe that those who are pragmatic are apostates.

  34. 284
    jonesy says:

    What are the most current and definitive fingerprinting papers?

  35. 285
    flxible says:

    Allan C@270 – Maybe you didn’t read enough [any?] of the Wikipedia reference on Einstein to find “evidence” that Albert graduated in 1900 with a degree in physics – or maybe you don’t consider the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich a university?
    Of course he did develop the foundation for his theories well before obtaining a degree, which may be further indication that comparison of your understanding of anything to him is colored by something other than “skepticism”.

  36. 286
    Tim Jones says:

    Re: 252
    votenotokyoto says: 26 February 2010 at 6:17 AM

    “I am amused at the use of the term denialist by many contributors to this website. Most seem to be in denial themselves that the wheels are coming off the agwarmer bus…”

    You come across like Tokyo Rose. “Yankee dog, the wheel come off your bus. Soon all you will die.”

    Do you expect anyone to fall for that drivel? The fact is that the dissent you’ve manufactured will soon turn against you as the tactics you use are exposed. That’s what the last few RC topics are doing, bringing to light the sleazy manner in which
    you climate denialists are confusing the public.

    Roy Spencer, one of your idols has himself published the graph of recent warming that as it’s expanded month by month will unravel your bogus science and frivolous accusations.
    Daily global average temperature at: Sea Surface
    Read it and weep.

    Here’s the broader trend.
    Not so cool is it?

    Propagandize as you will. The facts speak for themselves.
    You doing real harm you know, keeping the world from getting on with damping down emissions. You should focus your talents on doing the right thing.

  37. 287

    #270 Allen C

    If you won’t accept evidence. What will you accept? Belief?

    You seem to have succumbed to the common fallacies spread on the intertubes that science knows nothing about this particular global warming event. Science is pretty good actually on the last million years or so.

    And by the way, the individual in #247 (Nick Gotts) asked you a question, he did not classify you.

    There are many things that are not well understood in climate science, the general constraints of climate sensitivity are fairly well bounded at this time. It’s not about belief.

    As pointed out already, the IPCC does not develop climate models.

    You need to understand some basics. Weather is not climate and prediction has ranges.

    I find it interesting that you pass off evidence as anecdotal.

    Please do use your full name on this web site. I find it shows that you have the gumption to back up what you say with fact.

    You seem to have fallen into the trap that your opinion can overturn mountains of evidence. That is interesting.

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  38. 288
    AxelD says:

    @238 “As loathsome as a court case sounds you need to vigoursly [sic] defend your hard earned reputations and hit the sources of the worst allegations where it will hurt them the most, in their back pockets.

    Anyone who seriously thinks that a libel case (or appeal to the Press Complaints Commission, as other posters have suggested) is even a faint possibility is completely out with the fairies.

    It’s quite obvious that Dr Santer’s case is not quite as clear cut as you all want to believe it is. Do you really want sceptics’ arguments getting an airing in court, as they inevitably would? And in the current climate that’s what’s going to get reported, not a nicely balanced appraisal.

    As for the PCC, are you serious? Come on! They wouldn’t touch this with a bargepole.

  39. 289
    Reasonable Observer says:

    Just to answer a couple of questions / remarks:

    1) I take everything I read on blogs like CA and WUWT with a huge grain of salt. These are clearly issue advocacy blogs and I think any rational person understands that they are written with a certain viewpoint.

    2) Six months ago, I think many people (including the press) thought that this blog was something more than that. They believed that this blog represented the mainstream view of climate scientists and that gave this blog a whole lot more credibility.

    3) The release of the CRU e-mails caused a whole lot of people to take another look at the AGW issue. While I don’t believe that there were any real smoking guns in those e-mails, they did paint a bit of an ugly picture of climate science. I think even the bloggers here would have to agree that these e-mails have hurt (rightly or wrongly) the credibility of climate scientists in the minds of the general public.

    4) I believe that this blog is contributing to the further deterioration of the credibility of climate science in a couple of ways. This lack of willingness to “show your work” as frequently supported by this blog is just crazy. It makes it look like you have something to hide. I fully understand that it probably started out of frustration with skeptics, but I am telling you that it has done a ton of harm to your cause. While the science is hard to understand, it is very easy to understand this issue.

    [Response: Been discussed to death already. Nobody here's advocating hiding anything. Rather, you focus on the very small and inconsequential amount of data that various interests have blown completely out of proportion both as to cause of its being withheld, and it's importance to the reality of the temperature record.--Jim]

    5) A fair minded person who reads the European Referendum blog post on Amazon Gate and then reads the posts here will come to the conclusion that the IPCC got it wrong. Don’t take my word for it. Just ask yourself why all these stories are getting written in the MSM and even the more left leaning outlets. These are not crazy people and many are even sympathetic to your cause.

    [Response:This statement reveals a completely biased viewpoint on this topic. If you think the blog post you reference is a better account of the Amazon drought sensitivity issue, you have very serious problems with your ability to separate fact from fiction. In our piece on the attacks on the IPCC we linked directly the statement by Daniel Nepstad at Woods Hole RI, who very clearly explained that the supposed issue boiled down simply to incorrect citation, and that the IPCC's discussion was in fact a reflection of the science. And anyway, I thought you took all these various blogs with a "huge grain of salt"--Jim]

    6) Furthermore, when you try to defend the IPCC despite the facts, it destroys your credibility. It brings you down to the same level as the skeptic blogs. You may not like that, but I think you have to read the papers and essentially acknowledge that is what has happened. Times reporters are now asking Phil Jones questions essentially scripted by the skeptic blogs. That is where we are right now.

    [Response: Apparently you seem to feel entitled to your own facts. Read the post, and the relevant parts of AR4.--Jim]

    7) You can rail all you want about the skeptics and the press, but you should really look at yourselves. There is a reason your credibility is in the tank. Maybe the whole world is just too ignorant to understand or maybe you should look at yourselves.

    [Response: Or...maybe you should try to actually understand the issues, which you do not.--Jim]

    8) It is clear that the IPCC and various scientific bodies are starting to take a hard look at what happened. Participants here can either be a part of that process and the solution or continue to right screeds about how unfairly you have been treated. The longer you deny the problem the worse it will be.


  40. 290
    kenneth says:


    I find it strange that you all are so angry at McIntyre. It is normal scientific procedure to be able to reproduce other scientists results.

    Otherwise it isnt science.

    So in the future, I would suggest that you organise the raw data on the
    web, and code for download. Then there will be no requests for data or code.

    After all, this is the property of taxpayers. And there is nothing to be afraid. The worst that can happen, is that a colleguae might correct some mistake. And that would be of the best for everyone.


    [Response: First, RealClimate is not a data depository and has no control over those entities which are. Second, there is an enormous amount of climate data available freely via the web. See the "Data Sources" tab on the top of the main page. Third, you are wrong on "the worst that can happen"--it can be used by those without the proper training and understanding of the issues, whose goal is to find fault and defame rather than improve understanding, as McIntyre is an outstanding example of. This is, combined with his demanding attitude and tactics, are why he engenders animosity--Jim]

  41. 291

    #274 michael schlabig

    I’ve been trying for sometime to get funding for a commercial communication steam for climate, just have not made the right connections yet.

    My career started in Hollywood but, I was just at a meeting down there a couple days ago and their is so damn much confusion about climate they don’t know what to think either. Most think Hollywood is a liberal bastion, it’s not true in my experience. The face of Hollywood is the actors. The people that develop and run the shows are just people and no one know their faces, but they are not all liberals.

    It’s the confusion level that is working against us.

    BTW I just updated my Arctic Ice Melt video to HD!

    Please feel free to comment. As I understand it, these videos can also be played on iphones

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  42. 292
    Doug Bostrom says:

    My, what a lot of posts from selective skeptics and outright rejectionists here.

    Everything is information. When RC does a straight science piece that does not involve personality-based controversy, we usually see a handful of regular contrary-minded individuals joining in the discussion. When a post is not about science per se but instead is process driven with theatrical flair, we see the drama queens come out in droves.

    Dr. Santer seems to be the subject of overweening fascination in some quarters, to the exclusion of other more productive avenues of inquiry. All sorts of unfounded conjectures about climate change are hanging in the air, waiting for attention, but priorities don’t seem to include following up on any of that. Nope, it’s all about Dr. Santer. Watt’s up with that?

  43. 293
    JRC says:

    #218 John Peter

    I posted a few links to cases in which people were convicted a different cybercrimes including unauthorized access. So yes I know of cases in which there were convictions for these crimes.–a-computer-crime.aspx?ref=rss

    I think if you want just type in “found guilty unauthorized access” in google and/or “cybercrime found guilty unauthorized access” and you’ll find plenty to read about convictions and particular websites with Federal laws concerning cybercrime.

  44. 294
    Pasteur01 says:

    Further to my earlier post, I created the following timeline from the leaked emails and from CA posts.

    On November 10, 2008 McIntyre receives refusal to release intermediate data from Dr. Santer.

    McIntyre files FOIA request for the intermediate data and related emails on the same day, November 10, 2008.

    November 10 or November 11, 2008 Thomas Karl informs Dr. Santer of Mr. McIntyre’s request.

    Dr. Santer cc’d his immediate superior, Dr. David Bader, among others in a response to Thomas Karl in an email dated November 11th, 2008.

    Thereafter, but before December 16, 2008, Dr. Santer sends an email to his co-authors indicating that he learned of Mr. McIntyre’s FOIA request “earlier this morning.” In that same email Dr. Santer indicates that he had been discussing the “FOIA Issue” with others including Dr. Bader for “several weeks.”

    On January 30, 2009 Dr. Bader sends an email to Mr. McIntyre indicating that the decision to release the intermediate data was made before the FOIA request was received.

    In his recent statement on this blog Dr. Santer indicated that the decision to release the intermediate data was made after receiving the FOIA request.

  45. 295
    Dave G says:

    John Mason says:
    26 February 2010 at 12:42 PM

    !Blimey! Daily Mail now goes 180 degrees (not temperatures)!

    “Doomsday: How 4C temperature rise this century will change world beyond recognition and threaten human survival””

    Thanks for the link. Judging from the outrageously ignorant comments, it looks to me as if the Mail wanted to post something which included what they regard as outrageous predictions, so that the brainwashed deniers could all pile in and tell us all what nonsense AGW is and, even if it is true, how killing off billions of the world’s population would actually be a good thing.

    Deniers seem to have multi-layered positions, don’t they? They shift from “it’s not warming” to “it may be warming, but it’s not man’s fault” to “warming would be good for humanity”, like a child inventing successive excuses when caught doing something wrong.

    [Response: It's truly sad that anyone reads such crap for anything other than a glimpse of the absurd.--Jim]

  46. 296
    Chris Dunford says:

    wayne davidson #272:

    behold a sea never seen by humans, opening on their own planet.

    Behold, also, an island never seen by humans, revealed by melting ice:

    (OK, strictly speaking, we’ve seen it before. We just didn’t know what it was we were seeing. The fact that it is an island was unknown, because the straight that separates it from the mainland was ice-covered.)

  47. 297
    Tim Jones says:

    UN to commission independent scientific inquiry into IPCC
    UN climate body to appoint scientists to review climate change panel as UK climate change secretary writes to Rajendra Pachauri to express concern over ‘damaging mistakes’
    David Adam,
    Friday 26 February 2010
    “The UN is to commission an independent group of top scientists to review its climate change panel, which has been under fire since it admitted a mistake over melting Himalayan glaciers.

    “The experts will look at the way the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) operates and will recommend where they think changes are needed. The panel will be part of a broader review of the IPCC, full details of which will be announced by the UN next week.

    “Nick Nuttall, of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) told Reuters: “It will be [made up of] senior scientific figures. I can’t name who they are right now. It should do a review of the IPCC, produce a report by, say, August and there is a plenary of the IPCC in South Korea in October. The report will go there for adoption.”


    Count on skeptics howling that the findings are a colossal whitewash intended to perpetuate the global warming hoax. It’ll come up in giant bubbles of hot air as they bloviate through the storm surge this Fall, trying to keep from drowning in the evidence.

  48. 298
    Wildlifer says:

    You might have a point if McIntyre actually tried to reproduce the work of others rather than crying because they won’t do his work for him.
    He can get raw data from the same place the scientists do.

  49. 299
    Mark A. York says:

    A list of sceptic demands.

    1. The specific AGW model that accounts for all of the global warming up to 1995 and also accounts for the lack of warming since then, while CO2 concentrations have increased the whole time.

    2. Peer-reviewed and independently corroborated proof that lowering atmospheric CO2 concentrations to a specific level will result in a specific average global temperature – meaning that there exists a particular CO2 concentration that will hold temperatures steady.

    3. The rates, to within a 50% margin or error, at which CO2 is respectively absorbed by and released by, the Earth’s oceans, which hold more than 50 times the CO2 than the atmosphere holds.

    4. An AGW model that accounts for the elevated temperatures of the Medeival Warm Period, the depressed temperatures of the the Little Ice Age, the most global warming trend that ended in 1995 and also accounts for the atmospheric CO2 concentrations during all of these periods.

    Of course given the answers they just declare then null and void based on charges of fraud. That’s the denier manifesto, but perhaps four quick links would run that experiment one more time? Sigh. Have at it.

  50. 300

    #289 Reasonable Observer

    Who here is advocating hiding things?

    Do you actually think you are a reasonable observer?

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