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Two-year old turkey

Filed under: — gavin @ 22 November 2011

The blogosphere is abuzz with the appearance of a second tranche of the emails stolen from CRU just before thanksgiving in 2009. Our original commentary is still available of course (CRU Hack, CRU Hack: Context, etc.), and very little appears to be new in this batch. Indeed, even the out-of-context quotes aren’t that exciting, and are even less so in-context.

A couple of differences in this go around are worth noting: the hacker was much more careful to cover their tracks in the zip file they produced – all the file dates are artificially set to Jan 1 2011 for instance, and they didn’t bother to hack into the RealClimate server this time either. Hopefully they have left some trails that the police can trace a little more successfully than they’ve been able to thus far from the previous release.

But the timing of this release is strange. Presumably it is related to the upcoming Durban talks, but it really doesn’t look like there is anything worth derailing there at all. Indeed, this might even increase interest! A second release would have been far more effective a few weeks after the first – before the inquiries and while people still had genuine questions. Now, it just seems a little forced, and perhaps a symptom of the hacker’s frustration that nothing much has come of it all and that the media and conversation has moved on.

If anyone has any questions about anything they see that seems interesting, let us know in the comments and we’ll see if we can provide some context. We anticipate normal service will be resumed shortly.


666 Responses to “Two-year old turkey”

  1. 501
    ZT says:

    Hi Gavin, I’m not trying to divert anything. Could you possibly succinctly explain when people are longer free to make ‘their own judgements on papers’ and when collective action against editors becomes necessary?

    [Response: This really isn't very difficult. You always have the right to make your own judgement about papers. See, it's easy! RC is full of posts making judgements about papers that vary across the scale from great work, to interesting but flawed, to basically useless. It is a slightly different issue when papers are actually deceptive, or plagiarised, or have had obvious flaws passed through review. These things of course sometimes happen. But when a single editor makes it a habit, or a journal (like E&E) becomes a regular conduit for that kind of thing, the reputations of the editor and the journal are going to suffer. If you are associated with that journal and you are concerned about your reputation, I imagine some collective self-reflection is in order. You appear to forget that people can vote with their feet - why submit work to a journal that is sub-par? unless your work is also, and that is the only place to get it published. It doesn't take much to make a big difference in what gets submitted. So you can end up in a bind - act to stem the problem, or if that is impossible for whatever reason, wash your hands of it. The reasons why von Storch resigned are clearly articulated on his website, as are the reasons Wolfgang Warner resigned from Remote Sensing. In neither case was the 'right to form judgements on papers' remotely challenged. - gavin]

  2. 502
    Jon says:

    @460, 461, 469, 470, 472, 474, 478: yep, I deserved that: pompous; phoney; fuzzy; yes indeed. If you sound like one of the cockroaches, you get squished.

    But I’m not /exactly/ tone-trolling (so, go easy on the butt-kissing), and I do agree that the moderators of this site do an excellent job. If I’m too critical about treatment of agnostics here (and evidently my view is a minority one), then it’s because I’m deeply pessimistic about public engagement with science and the impact of the hack. Polls after the last one – in the UK, anyway – suggested there’d been a strong negative impact (no doubt my false recollection will now be corrected in triplicate…). There’s sufficient precedent for the power of anti-authoritarian fear-mongery not to let oneself think this isn’t a problem: vaccination uptake after the MMR debacle being a case in point (in which the power of a minority was completely disproportionate to its numerical size). If I’m conscious of the irony that as a non-scientist the best I can do is defer to authority, then this is exacerbated not by ignorance (I’ve been living with climatology for my whole life) but by the fact that the ready supply of climate scientists to whom I’m exposed at my place of work tends to steer me away from quiet acquiescence — and to see that a more critical position lies very far indeed from denial. (Which is why I linked to the article I chose, which I think could be a really useful model.) Other laymen are not so lucky and the distinction often remains less obvious. So, yes, tone does matter — if the point of the site you’re on is not merely to confirm the converted ignoramus like me. If that makes me a troll, then the only thing I can do is go back to lurking…

  3. 503
    timg56 says:

    @163 Ray,

    RE your comment about supporting a global population of 10 billion and the planet’s carrying capacity – the track record on claims of doom from overpopulation isn’t very good. Paul Erlich got it wrong, as did Tommy Malthus before him. It wasn’t that long ago that we were hearing that the planet couldn’t support 6 billion people. Were that true, we would never have made it to the curent 7 billion.

    I have to wonder at the lack of faith in mankind’s ability to adapt. That track record is well established. You say we are doing irreversible harm to the carrying capacity of the planet. Yet we have seen a reduction in the amount of land being used for agriculture and an increase in crop yields. That tells us we are in fact increasing the carrying capacity, not reducing it.

    You say “Climate change–due to drought and the general downward trend of crop yields with temperature–will be decreasing productivity.” Disregarding the fact that there is no identified link between increasing drought conditions and climate change, the fact is research is showing that plants do better at higher concentrations of C02 and additionally become more drought resistent. For example, go check on a couple of recent papers dealing with impacts of climate change on the wine industry of Portugal.

    You say fossil fuels will likely be becoming scarce and expensive. At some point perhaps, but not anytime soon, thanks to man’s ability to adapt and create technology that increases our ability to utilize resources. Have you not heard about recent estimates on the amount of recoverable oil and natural gas just in the US alone? Or about the amounts of oil believed to lie off shore and now accessable due to deep water drilling methods? And coal certainly isn’t considered a scarce resource. Besides, we already have a source of long term energy with a proven 60 year history of reliability and safety. It’s called nuclear power.

    You ask “How do you expect our progeny to react to increasing scarcity, insecurity and threats from other nations reacting to the same trends?” My answer is I don’t expect them to. The trends are going in the other direction, with more and more people on this planet gaining access to resources and an improving quality of life.

    Maybe I’m being too optimistic, but I don’t think so. History so far has been on my side when it comes to predictions of doom caused by over population. I’m fairly sure it will prove to be so with climate change predictions of doom as well.

  4. 504
    Paul Briscoe says:

    Jon @ #501

    “Polls after the last one (ie. “Climategate”) – in the UK, anyway – suggested there’d been a strong negative impact (no doubt my false recollection will now be corrected in triplicate…).”

    You are certainly correct in saying that polls showed a fall in support for the science. However, I seem to remember that it was shown to have a lot more to do with the very cold winter in the UK, illustrating the extraordinary level of ignorance regarding science amongst the general public!

    [Response: I think you are perhaps unfortunately correct. Public opinion on this issue to coupled to recent weather experiences (of whatever sign), and so is rather volatile on short time scales. People should perhaps instead focus on the climate of climate pollng, not the weather noise... - gavin]

    [Further response: Just for fun - gavin]

  5. 505
    flxible says:

    timg56:

    It wasn’t that long ago that we were hearing that the planet couldn’t support 6 billion people. Were that true, we would never have made it to the curent 7 billion.

    Half of which are not “supported”.

    reCAPTCHA: since tighta

  6. 506

    #491 Ros

    I don’t have a membership in an ivory tower and I can be as stupid (lacking intelligence in specific areas) as the next guy. The simple fact is I don’t know even the tinniest fraction of what is knowable. So in my stupidity of not knowing things I keep asking questions so I can know more about those things that I don’t know. I ask these questions from those that have expertise in my fields of inquiry and I examine the literature that has survived peer review of ‘many’ critical eyes.

    My understanding increases but I’m far from expert.

    What I find surprising is that people that don’t have expertise and in depth understanding, such as yourself, often claim a conclusion is wrong rather than just say I don’t know.

    You contradict your self in your own post and feel somehow comfortable with your contradiction.

    I have been reading Realclimate for a long time now and am still at best think man has influenced climate but cAGW isn’t proved

    If you think AGW isn’t proven then why to you also think man has influenced climate? The two statements contradict each other directly. The problem is that you appear comfortable with your own contradictions.

    If I find a contradiction like that in my own thinking, I really would reexamine my perspectives to resolve the issue, otherwise I might say something that falls into the stupid category… and sometimes I do. And then when I am corrected I learn. That seems to be a problem for some people though. Likely be cause people like to think they are right, rather than admit they may be wrong. But that is belief, not science.

    And just because no one knows everything does not mean that some people don” know a lot about something.

  7. 507

    #498 Number9

    First, I’d have a lot more respect for you if you used your real name and not hide behind a moniker. Care to step up and post with your full name?

    Second, you are missing the point entirely. A model describes processes to determine validity of a conclusion and the range of confidence in said conclusion. You are merely offering opinion as if it is a verifiable conclusion. It is not.

  8. 508
    J Bowers says:

    timg56 —

    “I have to wonder at the lack of faith in mankind’s ability to adapt. That track record is well established.”

    Yep. It’s called solar, wind and tidal. Look at the calorie benefits;

    Coal w/o CCS: 5.5
    Coal with CCS: 1.5
    Gas w/o CCS: 3.5
    Gas with CCS: 2.2

    Solar thermal elec.: 9.9
    Nuclear: 10.9
    PV: 8.3
    Tidal range: 115.9
    Tidal stream: 14.9
    Wind: 25.0
    Wave: 12.0
    * The Coolest New Solar Manufacturing Technology You’ve Never Heard Of
    * Fishing for wind: Nature inspires more efficient wind turbines
    * Solar power plant operates in the dark

    Less heart attacks, too.

    “Yet we have seen a reduction in the amount of land being used for agriculture and an increase in crop yields. That tells us we are in fact increasing the carrying capacity, not reducing it.”

    The per capita amount of arable land has halved in 50 years

    “You say “Climate change–due to drought and the general downward trend of crop yields with temperature–will be decreasing productivity.” Disregarding the fact that there is no identified link between increasing drought conditions and climate change,…”

    The 2010 Amazon Drought. Tentative, but perhaps indicative.

    “the fact is research is showing that plants do better at higher concentrations of C02 and additionally become more drought resistent. For example, go check on a couple of recent papers dealing with impacts of climate change on the wine industry of Portugal.”

    Wine is not a staple food and vines are not grasses, aka cereals and pulses.

    * Carbon Dioxide Enrichment Inhibits Nitrate Assimilation in Wheat and Arabidopsis. Bloom et al (2010).
    * Sharply increased insect herbivory during the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. (Currano 2007)
    * Insects Will Feast, Plants Will Suffer: Ancient Leaves Show Affect Of Global Warming.
    * Grassland Responses to Global Environmental Changes Suppressed by Elevated CO2. (Shaw 2007)
    * Photosynthetic inhibition after long-term exposure to elevated levels of carbon dioxide. (DeLucia 1985)
    * Insects Take A Bigger Bite Out Of Plants In A Higher Carbon Dioxide World.
    * Crock of the Week – Don’t it make my Green World Brown

    “Have you not heard about recent estimates on the amount of recoverable oil and natural gas just in the US alone? Or about the amounts of oil believed to lie off shore and now accessable due to deep water drilling methods?”

    When Royal Dutch Shell had their reserve estimates audited, the estimate dropped by ~43%. OPEC don’t even allow audits.

    You ask “How do you expect our progeny to react to increasing scarcity, insecurity and threats from other nations reacting to the same trends?” My answer is I don’t expect them to. The trends are going in the other direction, with more and more people on this planet gaining access to resources and an improving quality of life.”

    National Security Implications of Climate Change for U.S. Naval Forces

  9. 509

    #501 Jon

    Call me and let’s talk: +1-202-470-3299

  10. 510
    MARodger says:

    JPR @505
    I think you’ll find the c in cAGW stands for “catastrophic” or some such equivilant. So Ros @491 is likely not presenting an incompatable belief system, rather something like ‘Mankind is affecting climate but not enough to really mess it up.’ The chances are that there’s a big dollop of doubt in such a statement coz why else would Ros be “…reading RealClimate for a long time…” if climate were of no concern.

  11. 511
    Hank Roberts says:

    “What astounds me …” was Ray Ladbury, not me. I agree with Ray and with Eric. Simultaneously asserting “no consensus” and “conspiracy” is a contradiction, of course.

    The “anything but the IPCC” believers happily embrace many quite contradictory ideas uncritically. You can look them up.

    See the list at http://www.skepticalscience.com/contradictions.php

    (Ray, you might want to add this one, it’s not there explicitly yet.)

    Ros, you’re complaining that scientists do hard argument but shouldn’t do it outside “the ivory tower” — but why is it public?

    Because the data thieves (and echo-bloggers) took hard argument from private email between scientists, and persistently have tried to make tskandal* of them — pretending to be shocked, shocked, to find scientists writing the way scientists talk.

    As a former academic administrator, you can’t be surprised.

    I grew up a faculty brat; as a little kid I sat under tables, behind furniture, and in cargo spaces of station wagons on field trips, and heard scientists talking with no fear their conversations would show up in the New York Times the next day. It’s refreshing to hear it.

    It works.

    Please, read Peter Watts’s Climategate posting.
    ————–
    * see also “pearl-clutching”

  12. 512
    Hank Roberts says:

    Briefer Peter Watts, for those unable or unwilling to read the whole page:

    “… what I want to address here is the attitude of the scientists, and how that relates to the way science actually works.

    I keep running into recurring commentary on the snarkiness of the scientists…

    This is how it works: you put your model out there in the coliseum, and a bunch of guys in white coats kick the shit out of it. If it’s still alive when the dust clears, your brainchild receives conditional acceptance. It does not get rejected. This time….

    Science is so powerful that it drags us kicking and screaming towards the truth despite our best efforts to avoid it. And it does that at least partly fueled by our pettiness and our rivalries. Science is alchemy: it turns shit into gold. Keep that in mind the next time some blogger decries the ill manners of a bunch of climate scientists under continual siege by forces with vastly deeper pockets and much louder megaphones.”

  13. 513

    #502 timg56

    Yet we have seen a reduction in the amount of land being used for agriculture and an increase in crop yields. That tells us we are in fact increasing the carrying capacity, not reducing it.

    Following this line of reasoning, we should not make overly broad assumptions, but that is a two edged sword. We need to weigh more factors including risks. Less land, increased capacity (via innovation) must also now be weighed against loss of productivity due to increased radiative forcing and socioeconomic capacity.

    Your model does not have enough inputs to achieve a meaningful conclusion.

  14. 514

    Jon:

    As I said — when it comes to communicating climate science — clarity is more important than sweet-talking.

    And nowhere is this more apparent than your ‘rebuttal’ to my point. Because, even though you praise the RealClimate moderators to the high heavens, I had trouble figuring out what your actual line of argument was.

    For example, you wrote:

    If I’m conscious of the irony that as a non-scientist the best I can do is defer to authority, then this is exacerbated not by ignorance (I’ve been living with climatology for my whole life) but by the fact that the ready supply of climate scientists to whom I’m exposed at my place of work tends to steer me away from quiet acquiescence — and to see that a more critical position lies very far indeed from denial.

    My response: please translate that into Plain English.

    So, my point remains. It doesn’t take a Nobel Prize physicist to figure out that ‘Global warming, I mean climate change, was invented by Al Gore!’ is pure, unadulterated, counter-factual nonsense. Climate inactivism is rife with such mind-bogglingly stupid stupidity. I see every reason for climate scientists to point out such absurdities at every turn — and do so clearly, succintly, and frequently.

    In contrast, I see no reason for climate scientists to sugar-coat their message with lots of sweet-talking and pleasantries, to the point that the message itself is obscured.

      * * *

    (For the rest: do also check out Orwell’s 1946 essay if you haven’t done so.)

    – frank

  15. 515

    #508 Hank Roberts

    One of my very favorite contradictions is the warming is natural, but we are cooling…

    Can’t even beat that with a stick.

  16. 516
    David Wright says:

    Regarding cost/benefit.

    It’s often argued that CO2 reduction should be viewed as an insurance policy.

    From the skeptical viewpoint, taxing CO2 emissions is the equivalent of insuring your home for the specific event of leaving the stove on and blowing up the house. The policy would not pay for any other event which would destroy the home, such as a wiring failure.
    That sort of policy, like accidental death/dismemberment polices, are a very bad buy. CO2 mitigation is but one possible cause that we might want to insure ourselves against, but IMHO the risk is too slight to warrant the proposed poloicy.

    I suppose to a non-skeptic, it might seem more like flood insurance where the home is below sea level.

    I doubt that skeptics and non-skeptics will work out their differences of opinion any time soon.

    [Response: That may well be so, especially if you keep making things up. Taxing CO2 emissions would do more than just reduce CO2 emissions by whatever marginal amount the demand/supply curve produces - it would change how people use, produce and transport energy. It would make investment in efficiency more lucrative (and thus favored), it would reduce other pollutants associated with the practices that produce CO2 emissions, it would likely move transportation towards electrical power over internal combustion. The very fact that this is a complicated problem is precisely because of all the knock-on effects and linkages, and your previous arguments have used these precise facts. You can't simply assume that they suddenly don't exist because you want to make a rhetorical point. Well, you can, but don't expect it to be taken seriously. - gavin]

  17. 517
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Timg56,
    Wow, how do you get so many facts wrong in a single post. First, you fail to comprehend that the Green Revolution is the only thing that stood in the way of Ehrlich being proved tragically right. And what was the Green Revolution–the discovery of how to turn one-time windfalls–petroleum and aquifers–into food crops. Yes, Tim, we’re surviving because we are eating petroleum in the form of corn and soy.

    What happens when the petroleum is gone or when the aquifers dry up (once they dry, water never flows there again)?

    No link between climat change and drought? WTmotherF? Dude, one of the predictions of the climate models is that more of Earth’s land mass will experience drought as temperatures rise. What is more, the trends Palmer Drought Index show this to be precisely the case. What is more, rice, most wheat and many other crops all yield lower as temperature rises.

    So, where do the calories come from to feed 10 billion people, Tim? Not the oceans–they’re degradaing even faster than agricultural land. Genetic engineering holds some promise, but if rains are unreliable,crops will not grow–genetically engineered or not.

    You express boundless faith that technology will save us. My lack of faith stems from the fact that I understand technology. Technology requires investment in science. The US and most of the world stopped doing that years ago. You see hope in the development of techniques like deepwater drilling. I see desperation. Desperation and potential for environmental disaster. Nukes–all for ‘em. But they won’t feed anyone, and fissionable isotopes are also a finite resource.

    There are two types of population biologists–Malthusians and those who are bad at math. Malthus was “wrong” because the new world introduced new crops to Europe and allowed calories per hectare to be increased dramatically. The year 1848 is an example of what happens when thos crops failed. Ehrlich was “wrong” because we figured out howto eat petroleum. We will see what happens once the petroleum runs out and there is no longer a new world to take up the refugees.

  18. 518
    Hank Roberts says:

    Deep Climate dissects Ross McKitrick’s deceptive quoting from the emails stolen from CRU in 2009

    in which he notes he has

    “… some misgivings about rehashing these emails in such depth, as some of the details may be hurtful to the individual scientists discussed. There are good reasons why the private deliberations of authors working through the construction of a major scientific assessment should remain so, and such concerns are reflected in the safeguards of most FOI protocols.

    But in a toxic environment where selective quoting and fanciful interpretation of fragments from stolen emails are considered proof of malfeasance, the record should be set straight to the extent possible.”
    http://deepclimate.org/2011/11/28/mckitrick-hides-the-context/#comment-10229

    Hat tip to Deltoid

  19. 519

    #513 frank — Decoding SwiftHack

    Precisely, you see I had been contemplating the potential effect of that which I find entirely obtuse in order to postulate if a baseline of reasoning can be determined through the variable degrees of validity determined by the capcity of opinion to establish a perspective truth that needs not establshment through facts that can only be derived from those that think the observations they are making have anything to do with the reality of what the mind can fathom in the realm of perspective bias which ultimately determines the truth that one sees in relation to the truth that one can not see.

    See what I am talking about here?

    Maybe, just maybe, to the point clarity makes sense when trying to evaluate what is real.

  20. 520
    Hank Roberts says:

    for timg56:
    http://www.algebralab.org/practice/practice.aspx?file=Reading_CarryingCapacity.xml

    See also, among many other examples of looking it up, these corrections to others avowing the same mistaken notion about endless improvement:

    “http://earlywarn.blogspot.com/2011/02/climate-change-wrecks-agricultural.html?showComment=1297871877341#c3352612984313875067
    “If you don’t harvest it, the yield is not zero, it’s just not counted. So if a million acres of wheat in Russia wasn’t worth harvesting, it doesn’t get recorded as 0 yield for a million acres, it gets recorded as no harvest, and ignored for yield purposes.”

    and
    Nonlinear temperature effects indicate severe damages to US crop yields under climate change “We find that yields increase with temperature up to 29° C for corn, 30° C for soybeans, and 32° C for cotton but that temperatures above these thresholds are very harmful. The slope of the decline above the optimum is significantly steeper than the incline below it.”

    Apology to the hosts for again sniffing after an old red herring. When they drag that sort of thing out again, seems like they’ll get me every time ….

  21. 521

    #515 David Wright

    You still don’t seem to see your logical fallacy.

    You ‘think’ that policy should be based on your humble opinion.

    You obviously did not read the Field.pdf I mentioned earlier.

    http://republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/Media/file/Hearings/Energy/030811/Field.pdf

  22. 522

    #509 MARodger

    My bad, thanks for the correction.

    I thought the c was a mistype?

    The problem with using the word catastrophic is that it is in and of itself ambiguous.

    Without context it is meaningless. People should only use the word if they are ready to step up and give the context in a relevant fashion.

  23. 523
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Regarding David Wright:

    The Dunning-Kruger is strong in this one!

  24. 524
    ZT says:

    Hi Gavin, Many thanks. I think I am beginning to see now. Using your terminology: ‘You always have the right to make your own judgement about papers.’ However, when ‘collective self-reflection’ reaches a defined threshold, then a person’s own judgement about papers is bad. Is that correct? Perhaps it is the ‘collective self-reflection’ part which I am having a hard time understanding. Could you provide a little more context on this term?

    [Response: Happy to continue to play. Journals are, by necessity, collective enterprises. For which (one assumes) there is a collective pride (otherwise why be involved?). If your journal, for which you offer time and energy, starts to lose its reputation through the actions of a rogue editor acting without oversight, might you not be concerned? Might you not share your concerns with the other editors, and the publisher? And might not that lead to a a reflection on procedures, practices and performance? Thus it would be a collective conversation, and it would involve reflecting on their own enterprise. Question for you; of the ~40 papers published by Climate Research 1997-2006 by, lets say, well known contrarians, how many were steered through the process by de Frietas? (Answer soon). - gavin]

  25. 525
    DrTskoul says:

    From Wall Street Journal:

    That’s where the Climategate emails come in. First released on the eve of the Copenhagen climate summit two years ago and recently updated by a fresh batch, the “hide the decline” emails were an endless source of fun and lurid fascination for those of us who had never been convinced by the global-warming thesis in the first place.

    But the real reason they mattered is that they introduced a note of caution into an enterprise whose motivating appeal resided in its increasingly frantic forecasts of catastrophe. Papers were withdrawn; source material re-examined. The Himalayan glaciers, it turned out, weren’t going to melt in 30 years. Nobody can say for sure how high the seas are likely to rise — if much at all. Greenland isn’t turning green. Florida isn’t going anywhere.

    The reply global warming alarmists have made to these dislosures is that they did nothing to change the underlying science, and only improved it in particulars. So what to make of the U.N.’s latest supposedly authoritative report on extreme weather events, which is tinged with admissions of doubt and uncertainty? Oddly, the report has left climate activists stuttering with rage at what they call its “watered down” predictions. If nothing else, they understand that any belief system, particularly ones as young as global warming, cannot easily survive more than a few ounces of self-doubt.

    Meanwhile, the world marches on. On Sunday, 2,232 days will have elapsed since a category 3 hurricane made landfall in the U.S., the longest period in more than a century that the U.S. has been spared a devastating storm. Great religions are wise enough to avoid marking down the exact date when the world comes to an end. Not so for the foolish religions. Expect Mayan cosmology to take a hit to its reputation when the world doesn’t end on Dec. 21, 2012. Expect likewise when global warming turns out to be neither catastrophic nor irreversible come 2017.

    And there is this: Religions are sustained in the long run by the consolations of their teachings and the charisma of their leaders. With global warming, we have a religion whose leaders are prone to spasms of anger and whose followers are beginning to twitch with boredom. Perhaps that’s another way religions die.

    Journalism at its best.

  26. 526
    DrTskoul says:

    … And people are asking us not to get enraged!! “…2232 days since a category 3 hurricane has hit the U.S.”. That is the metric of climate change for some moronic idiots and idiotic morons.

  27. 527
    ZT says:

    Hi Gavin, Many thanks for your patience. Sorry I’m still confused – wasn’t the publisher (Otto Kinne) happy with de Frietas’ work? Or are you referring to a ‘collective self-reflection’ that does not include the publisher and the editor? I’m also confused as to the tipping point between ‘You always have the right to make your own judgement about papers’ and becoming a ‘rogue editor’ that will be on the receiving end of ‘collective self-reflection’. For example, was the editor who steered the Mann and Jones paper which was ‘truly pathetic and should never have been published’ (as Bradley said) a ‘rogue editor’ – or was that an example of an editor’s ‘own judgement’ and therefore ok?

    [Response: There you go again...trying to change the subject. Going back to the actual issue, though... I don't know Kinne and I have never had any contact with him, so I couldn't say how happy he was/is. There is only the written record - his initial (supportive) email of July 3, 2003, and his (not-so-supportive and rather unhappier) editorial on August 2, 2003. He was clearly part of the collective self-reflection at CR, which involved all the editors (incl. von Storch and de Freitas) and the publisher. It was their inability to move forward together that led to the resignations. But again you miss the point. The S&B paper was just a trigger for this, not the be-all-and-all. There really was a systematic issue here. On that note, I notice that you didn't hazard a guess at answering my question - do try, it'll be fun. - gavin]

  28. 528
    james dayton says:

    Just a few observations.

    Some comments seem to highlight the fact that the emails were stolen. Agreed, not good, but truth also provides some clarity,these emails are an issue, when people say somthing then do it, intent is established.

    I keep reading about “context”, hell, the post itslf offers to provide context should any queries arise. We are not talking about 10 or 20 or 30 emails, we are talking about 100′s. I try to keep it simple, I listen to what people say, then I watch what people do, these emails are a serious issue, because quite frankly, context is obvious in many cases.

    I have NO DOUBT, some of you folks could provide a context explanation for many if not all of these emails, I have NO DOUBT that in some cases you would be both accurate and correct.

    I also have NO DOUBT that these emails clearly establish a pattern which would lead an honest man to question the procedures and opinions of the people involved.

    You are willing to explain the “context” of these emails, explain them away? Are we all at a point in time where ignorance is bliss, where we accept less than the “truth” for the good of the cause?

    I have no doubt some queries could be explained bt way of context, but this is WAY beyond that, its a pattern, please don’t think we are all, well, lets say to dumb to read somthing and then form our own conclusions. Context, is not needed when somthing is written in plain english, in what can only be described as a clear pattern.

    Warmist, denier, how about we just stick to the truth, because both sides of this arguement have serious issues in this regard.

    [Response: Sticking to the truth is to be recommended, but the pattern you claim to see is just not there. There is a lot of context in the emails - very little of it is being looked at, and even less is being headlined at WUWT. If you think there is a pattern of scientists being human - emotional, judgemental, quick on the trigger, sensitive, sometimes angry, sometimes confused, etc. then you would be correct. Scientists are all those things. If you see some other pattern, then be specific, because I don't. - gavin]

  29. 529
    Ivan says:

    Gavin Schmidt email 3343:

    “Frankly, I would simply put the whole CRU database (in an as-impenetrable-as-possible form) up on the web site along with a brief history of it’s provenance (and the role of the NMSs) and be done with it.”

  30. 530
    SecularAnimist says:

    DrTskoul quoted the Wall Street Journal: “On Sunday, 2,232 days will have elapsed since a category 3 hurricane made landfall in the U.S., the longest period in more than a century that the U.S. has been spared a devastating storm.” [Emphasis added.]

    That’s a blatant lie. The USA experienced TWO “devastating storms” this summer.

    Hurricane Irene caused damages that could exceed $12 billion — as reported by the Wall Street Journal — and caused at least 27 deaths, and caused unprecedented, historic flooding, and left several million homes and businesses without electricity, some for days.

    Tropical storm Lee caused another billion dollars in damages, spawned at least 20 confirmed tornadoes, and again caused unprecedented, historic flooding.

    And this is against the background of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season coming to a close as the 3rd most active year for tropical storms in 160 years of records — only 2005 and 1933 had more named storms. And the 2010-2011 seasons together make up the second most active two year period on record — following 2004-2005.

    According to meteorologist Jeff Masters, while an “unusually low percentage of its named storms” attained hurricane strength, 2011 still had three major hurricanes (one more than average) and the total Accumulated Cyclone Energy was 20 percent above average. Masters notes that “the rare combination of near-record ocean temperatures but unusually dry, stable air over the Atlantic is no doubt at least partially responsible for 2011′s unusually high count of named storms, but near-average number of hurricanes and ACE.”

    The Wall Street Journal editorial writers must believe that their readers are (1) stupid and (2) don’t read the paper’s news reports.

  31. 531
    Salamano says:

    @ 524

    In other fields of competitive enterprise, it is possible that someone comes up with a patent idea or a song idea or a new hit TV show and makes a pitch to the powers-that-be… they reject the pitch, but end up taking the idea instead and making lots of money off of it (and sometimes the originator of the idea loses in court because the best way to establish ownership is to have it published.

    Is it even remotely possible that through the collective enterprise of journal reputation preservation, that the powers-that-be for a journal become reduced a subset of the larger population of publishers, and that they by themselves can work to keep in or out what they see fit (in the interests of preserving its reputation), and then further if they come across a potential submission that they find interesting (contrarian or not), they can reject it for publication and then simultaneously put through a pre-buttal, or make use of its data, methodology, or conclusions for a similar work but under authorship of this group instead?

    It just seems like there should be some journal that arises, perhaps call it the “Contrarian Peer-Reviewed Journal of Climate Science” where contrarians can publish contrarian conclusions based on reproducible methodologies and non-consensus model assumptions, etc. and it will have a place of visibility and codification among peer-review — even if that journal is scored with a low-impact factor. I know there’s been talk at times of scientists collusively refusing to cite papers from Journal A to reduce its reputation, or refusing to review any potential publications from author B, but that might just shut them out of the system entirely.

    Obviously in reality those examples have more going on with them than just what is being published, but if it were just about what is being published, it seems that there shouldn’t be too much threat to the science if contrarian papers saw the light of day in peer-review. Has there been as it is, even with these 40-or-so papers at Climate Research?

  32. 532
    David Wright says:

    Secular Animist:
    “And this is against the background of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season coming to a close as the 3rd most active year for tropical storms in 160 years of records — only 2005 and 1933 had more named storms. And the 2010-2011 seasons together make up the second most active two year period on record — following 2004-2005.

    According to meteorologist Jeff Masters, while an “unusually low percentage of its named storms” attained hurricane strength, 2011 still had three major hurricanes (one more than average) and the total Accumulated Cyclone Energy was 20 percent above average. Masters notes that “the rare combination of near-record ocean temperatures but unusually dry, stable air over the Atlantic is no doubt at least partially responsible for 2011′s unusually high count of named storms, but near-average number of hurricanes and ACE.”

    Where does one locate this “Accumulated Cyclone Energy” metric? I don’t doubt it, but wouldn’t you agree that having more weak storms which stay out over the ocean is much better than having a fewer storms which are more catastrophic?

    Statistics don’t lie, but it sure seemed like a very mild hurricane season. Maybe it has something to do with our greater ability to monitor small storms giving rise to more named storms.

  33. 533
    Number9 says:

    You continue to amaze me. Are you arguing that you have some super secret model that indicates that injecting ( $800bn into the economy | 9 GtC/yr into the atmosphere ) have no impacts on ( economic activity | radiative transfer )?
    ….

    My ‘super secret’ model goes back to Sargent (Nobel Prize Economics 2011) and Lucas (Nobel Prize 1995) article “After Keynesian Economics” (1978) which notes that Keynesian multiplier models a) made a tremendous contribution but b) ultimately their predictions were “wildly innacurate” and their shortcomings of the Keynesian models are “fatal”. (These problems extend to the monetarist models as well.) The models were incomplete, explained the past but weren’t able to make predictions that held up in real time.

    What’s more, IMF research in 2009 into “multipliers” (a static concept that some reject) can take negative (value detracting) values as well. Thanks for asking, but you can inject $800bn and get less in return than you were looking for.

    See here for all the caveats:
    http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/spn/2009/spn0911.pdf

    The point is a different approach to modeling between us. My belief is that big models that are incomplete models aren’t a platform for making policy with lives and hundreds of billions in the balance. Whether its blowing $800 bn on a recession that’s already over, or spending trillions to reconstitute our energy system for an imagined benefit 100 years in the future.

    Consider Hansen’s 1988 model; we are tracking below Scenario C even though that Scenario assumed no net new emissions after 2000 (obviously didn’t happen, but yet temps trended below them). Clearly, that model wasn’t good enough for policy making; we saved hundreds of billions by not using it.

    The choice isn’t “use a model because its the best we have” but rather “use a model that has demonstrated a reasonable forecasting track record in real time” It should be true of economics, but at least its just a sunk cost of $800bn and three years that can be absorbed and reversed. However, trillions to change our energy sources can’t be so easily reversed.

    As an aside, you might be interested in the economic battles between New Classical (skeptics like Nobelists include Sims, Sargent, Lucas, Prescott, Kydland, and Mundel) and the Keynesians (represented in the left consensus by Krugman, Stiglitz and Solow).

    [Response: Actually I'm not much interested in economic modelling, precisely because there is very little underlying physics. I was using it earlier merely as an analog. But now you have come clean, we see that you do have a model for what you expect to happen with an intervention in the economy, and so you do not reject the concept of 'modelling' in general. That moves us further in the conversation, because now we get to discuss how one deals with competing models and how credible model predictions are. It might not seem like it, but that is a huge conceptual step.

    Now to talk specifics, you have a very odd idea of the influence of the details on climate policy that models have. The Hansen et al 1998 predictions did actually have substantial skill - you would have been better off using them to guide policy than any other model (including persistence, or no change) that was being discussed at the time. The only information relevant to policy making that came out of Hansen et al - but also Manabe etc. was that the rate at which GHGs were being emitted was going to lead to significant warming - which it did. No policy has ever been predicated on exactly matching the long term trends - the difference over 25 years between 0.26 deg C/decade and 0.20 deg C/decade, while distinguishable over the noise, is completely irrelevant for policy. For the time being Scenario C 'looks' better, but it is right for the wrong reasons, and that is never any good for policy making except by dumb luck. Scenario B was closer to observed forcings, slightly higher than what actually happened, and because the model sensitivity was slightly on the high side, it has overshot. The sensitivity that would have had it be almost perfect? ~ 3 deg C. Now that is a policy relevant number.... - gavin]

  34. 534

    DrTskoul@525. That’s not journalism, pal — that’s opinion. Show us that you know the difference by citing real reporting that advances your thesis.

  35. 535
    Number9 says:

    You continue to amaze me. Are you arguing that you have some super secret model that indicates that injecting ( $800bn into the economy | 9 GtC/yr into the atmosphere ) have no impacts on ( economic activity | radiative transfer )?
    ….

    Let me quote from that IMF paper:

    There are four broad methodologies to calculate fiscal multipliers

    Model simulations. Models with an underlying ISLM structure and little or no forward looking behavior result in positive multipliers by construction. An increase in the deficit leads to an increase in
    demand, which leads to an increase in output

    I was trained in the New Classical method; having a model that tells you exactly what you want to see (as above) is not useful for policy.

    BTW, someone asked me for my name. I’m just a humble economist, who eats what he kills. My ideas stand on their own, not as an argument by authority. I’m no authority, I’m grinding my way through the data held back by my own biases. Hopefully, I am learn from experience As Keynes said “When facts change, I change my beliefs. What do you do?”

  36. 536

    I doubt “Number 9″ is an economist. He/she states: “The big models said that spending another $800 bn would deliver a recovery.”

    Which “big models” were those?

  37. 537
    ZT says:

    Hi Gavin, Many thanks again for your response. I cannot say how many, papers ‘contrarian’, or otherwise, were published by CR in any time period because I do not have a definition of your term ‘contrarian’. Could you possibly provide such a definition? Would this be someone (or something) who (or that) questions ‘settled science’? (I’m just guessing here – so forgive me if I am jumping to conclusions).

    [Response: Use whatever definition you like. How about papers with authors associated with George Marshall and Cato Institutes. - gavin]

    And would you mind awfully if I were to ask you again: [edit - yes]

  38. 538
    MARodger says:

    David Wright @532
    Wikipedia’s a good in-depth source for ACE & other hurricane info. Easier on the eye, I maintain a graph of North Atlantic annual ACE data two clicks down the link below. As for expecting hurricane strength or numbers for whatever ocean basin to stand as an indicator of climate change (or the length of time since a category 3 hurricane hit the US coast – Irene was category 1 at landfall), that’s as daft as saying the Mayan predicted doomsday for 21/12/12. The Mayan long count ends 23/12/12 & its not the Mayan doomsday but a time to celebrate the new age.

    https://1449103768648545175-a-1802744773732722657-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/marclimategraphs/collection/G10.jpg?attachauth=ANoY7cr8xZo6jgPxHromP0AjD1u6jRzhrehhGgWvKAbhfdmF7mveN4WempBcXXkCuMabiiBYNg5y5N9N-HyJurs1dzU99KqwvhH4eQBrN6VWlWfKyrPaa7ECBJM-82dzJeAny9cdgRfRqLkS9CHTGJW-e9tRGSnug2FvOCw_exUwkqtKaHr7ZG1mtlEhvYolJjxjudA8MY2POgCZlOsnOAZlSxC-V7B_-A%3D%3D&attredirects=0

  39. 539
    Number9 says:

    The Hansen et al 1998 predictions did actually have substantial skill

    Definition? Thiel’s U? I’d love to run those numbers.

    Perhaps I’m missing the point, but Scenario C assumed no net emissions. We didn’t have no net emissions and yet we have lower temps.

    Not much skill.

    Having said that, I have presented negative examples of the failure of models; in fact, I don’t believe models (climate or economics) are at the point to make more than one or two year ahead forecasts. And the skeptics have been right. Can’t base 100 year policies on that.

    “it (Scenario C) is right for the wrong reasons”

    See, here’s the difference between us; the data say that it’s right and the reasons don’t matter. We were better off for not spending hundreds of billions to achieve Scenario C b/c we achieved Scenario C temps anyhow. The money would’ve been wasted.

    Scenario B is closer on forcings; so? Scenario C is closer to the data. That says that Scenario B’s model has a problem.

    [Response: As we discussed last year:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/01/2010-updates-to-model-data-comparisons/

    "...it seems that the Hansen et al ‘B’ projection is likely running a little warm compared to the real world. Repeating the calculation from last year...we could use this mismatch to estimate a sensitivity for the real world. That would give us 4.2/(0.27*0.9) * 0.19=~ 3.3 ºC. And again, it’s interesting to note that the best estimate sensitivity deduced from this projection, is very close to what we think in any case. For reference, the trends in the AR4 models for the same period have a range 0.21+/-0.16 ºC/dec (95%). So to conclude, global warming continues. Did you really think it wouldn’t?" -eric]

  40. 540
    DrTskoul says:

    @534. You wouldn’t know sarcasm if it hit you on your head. If you had taken 30 sec and saw my positions above you wouldn’t make such a comment – pal.

    My point was very clear. Such pieces of crap as the so called article/opinion I cited, keeps appearing in so-called prestigious newspapers to blatantly manipulate the naive.

    Next time do not rush to judgement.

  41. 541
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Salamano, OK, dude, when you write a single sentence with 104 words in it, then it is definitively time to take your meds!

    Try to understand this. There is no contrarian science. There is no “warmist” science. There is science–which advances understanding of its subject–and there is crap–which does not. If a journal rejects a paper that provides an important advance–for whatever reason–they will find very quickly that their readership has switched to read their competitor. Science is an intensely competitive, cut-throat enterprise. It is a gonads-out race to understand your subject better than the guy in the next office. No one remembers the name of the guy who confirms the important result–but if he can build on it and further advance understanding he stays alive. Any scientist who cries scientific censorship is an idiot.

  42. 542

    DrTskoul@539. I might not even recognize sarcasm if it walked up and kissed me on the lips. My apologies.

  43. 543
    Nibi says:

    Number9

    My ‘super secret’ model goes back to Sargent (Nobel Prize Economics 2011) and Lucas (Nobel Prize 1995) article “After Keynesian Economics” (1978) which notes that Keynesian multiplier models a) made a tremendous contribution but b) ultimately their predictions were “wildly innacurate” and their shortcomings of the Keynesian models are “fatal”. (These problems extend to the monetarist models as well.) The models were incomplete, explained the past but weren’t able to make predictions that held up in real time.

    A whole lot of name dropping, assertions, and dismissals with no citation or argument relevant to the specific questions at hand.

    The point is a different approach to modeling between us. My belief is that big models that are incomplete models aren’t a platform for making policy with lives and hundreds of billions in the balance.

    So, in the case of imperfect information you believe inaction is the best risk management policy? I guess we can just sit back passively and let whatever happens, happen, secure in the knowledge that we didn’t interfere with the natural order of things. Who could have known? is always a convenient excuse and often a lie.

    Whether its blowing $800 bn on a recession that’s already over, or spending trillions to reconstitute our energy system for an imagined benefit 100 years in the future.

    That the $800 billion spent on the stimulus is wasted is an assertion for which you have yet to provide an actual argument. Please properly cite any specific portions of the IMF statement you linked to which you feel supports your position. All I see are generic abstract observations without specific analysis relevant to our current situation. I can easily cherry pick a handful of statements from the IMF note that favor support of stimulative policies and imply that our stimulative efforts were not optimal. That the recession was declared over by assessment of various metrics such as GDP trend and unemployment trends is a red herring. The fact that we have not recovered from the recession is clear from the current unemployment stats. Also, the stimulus was meant to be part of an economic recovery act, not merely an economic stop-the-recession act.

    And when you bring up the “trillions of dollars” bogeyman, this is meaningless scary-stuff without defining exactly how the expenditures are implemented, over what time span, and accounting for any economic benefits from the shift in our energy economy. Also, 100 years might seem like a long time except to those of us who have been around half that long and wondered how it all passed so quickly.

  44. 544
    Number9 says:

    Nibi It’s not an assertion. The recession ended in June 2009. $800bn to stop a recession that already ended is a fact. It’s value detracting policies that explain why we haven’t had a recovery, as many predicted (longer UE leads to longer duration of unemployment; temporary tax cuts aren’t stimulus (life time consumption theory); shovel ready projects have already been rejected for having too low RoIs to fund).

    Note, that I did cite in the following post the IMF article which states that the models deliver what they expect to see.

    I’ll also note they say that multipliers can be negative, or ‘value detracting’; let me provide the quote if you can’t be bothered looking at the paper:

    Can the fiscal multiplier be negative?
    Yes, fiscal expansions can be contractionary if they decrease consumers’ and investors’
    confidence, especially if the fiscal expansion raises, or reinforces, fiscal sustainability
    concerns

    As for name dropping, the argument against Keynesian models was cited “After Keynesian Economics” (1978). Happens to have been written by Nobel winners; what can I say?

    At the time, they were skeptics, against the Consensus

    They were proven right.

    That is, it’s a fact.

    [Response: Economic theory as metaphor? - vaguely on-topic. Actual economic theory? not so much. No more on the stimulus funding thanks. - gavin]

  45. 545
    Number9 says:

    Nibi I cited the IMF article. Did you read it?

  46. 546
    Jon says:

    I still look like a cockroach? I sense another flaming coming on: but this isn’t a pissing contest, and that wasn’t a rebuttal. So no need for inverted commas.

    So.

    1. I’m no scientist (that much I believe you’ll agree on).

    2. I recognize that my understanding of the science relies to a larger extent on trust would be the case if I had expertise in any relevant field. Trust in the scientific process displayed by those who work within it is qualitatively different from mine. I have to look ‘backwards’ at the science, often without being able to penetrate far beyond its interim conclusions. I don’t get to look ‘forwards’ into the process of inquiry in the same way. It’s like having a brain injury that leaves you with no executive function.

    4. If I were more ignorant, I would be less aware of this difficulty.

    5. But I get to talk to climatologists from different disciplines as frequently as I choose. I find this rewarding. (More rewarding than this. I’ll never do it again: I think I prefer talking to the climate scientists I can see. They’re less determined to make me bleed.)

    6. Talking to these people informally gives me a different perspective on the science than I get from reading it, or summaries of the stuff, or collations of the summaries of the stuff. They tend to be non-egotistical and very forthcoming: sometimes critical or cautious, sometimes speculative, always interesting, always interested in where the limits are, what the problems are, never complacent. And never ever insistent that you swallow everything you’ve read because it’s all equally good for you.

    7. This puts me in a strange position: I am more informed (in some respects), but I’m no more a scientist than I would be otherwise.

    8. As a result I find myself increasingly interested in accounts of current work that help focus attention on where the areas of difficulty lie (yes, all science does this, all the time — but refer back to point 3, and you can intuit the rest: I’ve given up being bothered). My comprehension of what it is that has been done, and my faith in it, is often better served by the material that draws attention to the gaps than programmatic summaries of research.

  47. 547
    DrTskoul says:

    @542. No worries m8!! :)

  48. 548
    Nibi says:

    Number9

    The recession ended in June 2009

    The fact that I didn’t dispute this assertion is evidence enough that your reading comprehension is defective. Since Gavin has issued the official enough-is-enough on this off-topic diversion, I’ll ignore the rest of your nonsense.

  49. 549
    Jimi Bostock says:

    Is “turkey” in the title because it was thanksgiving? :)

    [Response: Guess!]

  50. 550
    Steve Fish says:

    Kudos to Gavin for hanging in with ZT. This back-and-forth series has provided an excellent tutorial, for general readers, for understanding the difference between the scientific process and the conspiracy theory process. Steve


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