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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. 201
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    David @ 159, a treat. Arctic climatology is a great example of climate science being much more than general circulation models, and a lot of Arctic data is readily visualized once you get used to it. David, I present the Arctic Graphs Page.

  2. 202
    A physicist says:

    Associated to the release of these emails has been the imposition of stricter ideological censorship at sites like Watt’s Up With That (WUWT). Here’s an example of the kind of post that now receives instant censorship from WUWT’s moderators:

    “Science and skepticism equally serve humanity best when the most rational forms of skepticism are directed against the strongest scientific evidence.”

    Mariss posts: I cannot make any sense of that quote. Is it a plea to stop examining weak and shoddy science like the AGW theory?

    Mariss, the answer to your question is given in one of the most personal, illuminating, and celebrated descriptions ever written of science as a creative process:

    Naturalist
    by Edward O Wilson

    Without a trace of irony I can say that I have been blessed with brilliant enemies. They made me suffer (after all, they were enemies), but I owe them a great debt, because they redoubled my energies and sent me in new directions. We need such people in our creative lives. As John Stuart Mill once put it, both teachers and learners fall asleep at their posts when there is no enemy in the field.

    The key point is, Mariss, that among the very best things that could happen to humanity in the 21st century would be for climate change scientists and skeptics to serve as each other’s “brilliant enemies.” — and this requires that the most rational forms of skepticism be directed against the strongest scientific evidence.

    If some of the posts and comments here on WUWT have beautifully exemplified the most rational forms of skepticism, it is regrettably true none-the-less that too many other WUWT posts and comments have focused narrowly upon those forms of skepticism that (in the long run) are the weakest and most useless : slogan-chanting, cherry-picking, and witch-hunting.

    The point of Ed Wilson’s celebrated essay is the paradoxical fact that in scientific debate, whenever one side weakens, both sides lose. That’s why we can all hope — skeptics and nonskeptics alike — that WUWT as a forum evolves to be far more effective in fostering solid science and brilliant skepticism.

    The bottom line is that hopes like Ed Wilson’s will not be fulfilled at skeptical sites like WUWT. Sadly for humanity, the moderators of these skeptical sites have missed their opportunity to commit their sites broadly to Wilsonian skeptical brilliance, and instead have publicly embraced a narrow brand of skepticism that does not merely encourage slogan-chanting, cherry-picking, and witch-hunting, but requires it.

    Is there a “war on science”? If sites like WUWT formerly waged a “cold war on science”, their strengthening censorship policies may be the opening salvos of a disastrous “hot war on science”.

  3. 203
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Number9,
    Thank you for your real-life illustration of my contention that denialists are ignorant of the proper use of scientific models.

    Models do not drive policy. The insights gleaned from models ought to, in an ideal world, drive policy. If you do not understand this distinction, then not only are you not qualified to make pronouncements on matters of science, I wouldn’t even want you managing my 401k.

  4. 204
    Chris says:

    Re My 186 and your comments.

    … for those of us trying to make sense of this, it is a shame that two “camps” appear to be so polarised and unyeilding towards each other.

    The WUWT and Climate Audit sites seem genuinely excited that there are some revelations, previously undisclosed concessions, confirmation of the righteousness of many of their “complaints” about certain points/issues in the past. An example would be the refusal to accept some analysis carried out by Mcintyre on the way a “Hockey Stick” graph would inevitably produce that shape because of the way that it is constructed (please do not assume that I know what I am talking about here!).

    Most RealClimate’s contributor’s comments are equally convinced that there is nothing of any import, nothing new and that, for instance, where the emails suggest (albeit out of context) disagreement on issues between scientists, that this is the normal to and fro of robust and evolving scientific debate – rather than evidence of a contrary view being suppressed.

    For what it is worth, whilst accepting that many of the email extracts are not in context (and maybe this is the point of the way that they have been released), to the likes of me, some of the extracts do read very badly.

    It would be hard to deny that one is left with a feeling that there is an “inner circle” that appears to have an unhealthy “control” of who and what gets published. That some scientists appear to be in a position to influence who reviews their work (maybe it twas ever thus) and encourage fast favourable reviews – whilst also using their influence to attempt to prevent other papers from being published.

    Alternatively, there are clearly some off the wall conspiracy theorists on WUWT that assume that if anyone from the RC side of the argument expresses a doubt about something or questions the work of another – then this is clear evidence of wrongdoing.

    … clear as mud!

  5. 205
    Kevin C says:

    From Jones’ clarrifications:

    Email 1577: “Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get – and has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder…in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.”

    ‘Hidden’ refers here to some of the work on data collection and management. This is a common issue in some areas of climate research and refers to issues of an operational nature and research aspects. An obvious example is updating earlier data sets within a new project. Most funders are fully aware that this is common practice.

    The clarification is almost as confusing as the quote!
    I’m guessing, from my own grant experience, that he trying to say the following:
    “Grant funders generally only provide funding for original research. However, that original research cannot be performed without the long term curation and management of datasets. This falls outside the scope of the grants, and yet the grants cannot be fulfilled without it, and so the curation has to be performed by grant funded staff working outside the scope of their funding (i.e. the work is ‘hidden’).”
    If so, it’s a problem not confined to climate science.

  6. 206
    François GM says:

    Post 160: I should have been clearer. To me, “The Team” refers to those who select and display the “appropriate” science for “the cause”. But I digress.
    So, the climate models are ALL wrong (but useful), yet Santer et al in a 17 author paper around 2008 (I can provide the exact reference if you wish) defended the validity of models as evidence for AGW. And now in this very thread Gavin writes that models predict extreme events. How useful would a wrong prediction of extreme events be ? If so, useful for whom or for what?

    [Response: You are misinterpreting these statements. A model is *always* an imperfect rendering of reality. That is what is meant by the statement "all models are wrong". But models can still provide skillful forecasts. This is not contradictory because 'skillful' means better than the alternative methods of forecasting (i.e. assuming no change, or persistence) - it does not mean perfect. Imperfect hurricane models provide good forecasts of hurricane tracks all the time - and these are extremely useful for preventing loss of life. Your other statements are just strawmen - models are not 'evidence' for AGW, rather they provide explanations of the evidence gained from observations in ways that are very robust. How can you do attribution without a model of some sort? - gavin]

  7. 207
    David Wright says:

    dhogaza # 165;
    “No, but the 787 design was tested with a flight crew flying the exact 787 that’s being sold today”
    Yes, that’s their job. We don’t flight test new planes with innocent civilians aboard.
    “Your willingness on rejecting science means that you believe that *YOUR* model, which isn’t of course a real mathematical one but rather a prejudicial model based on your gut or “lower male appendage”, is the right one.”
    Why do you assume I reject science? I enjoy science.
    “You want society to fly based on your gut, not science, because, you know, comparing science-based models isn’t fair, and fairy-based models … are, apparently?”
    I guess this is some sort of metaphor, so I’ll play along here. Society is flying just fine. We don’t understand economics any better than aerodynamics, and the “plane” is certainly not the most stable one, but it has gotten us somewhere. We are living longer healthier lives thanks to cheap energy. It might be a bad idea to replace the turbojets with electric fans at this stage of the game, with so many passengers aboard. I have no problem with experimentation, but it should not be done with a plane full of passengers. Furthermore I should not have to pay the cost of R&D for these new engines. Test pilots usually volunteer for the job.
    DrTSkoul:
    “Predictions made so far by climate models and scientific intuition are coming true”
    Sure they are. The predictions are no different that what climate has always done…..change. Extrapolating an existing warming trend is nothing to crow about. A model which predicts that the sun will come up tomorrow will likely be a successful model, but not one deserving of any hoopla.
    Pete Dunkelberg;
    “David, we are deciding and determining what sort of world people will inhabit in the not too distant future. We do this in many ways including making war and changing our planet’s climate. We also do it by sitting home and not bothering to take positive action.”
    With regard to making war, thanks to the two-way conversation of the internet, we may be reducing the war factor significantly. We no longer have to listen to a one-way “conversation” directed by big media. Most articles now have comment capability so that readers can debunk falsehoods in the article. That is changing the world as we speak. Several dictators have toppled recently thanks to our ability to communicate. Of this I am confident and thankful.
    With regard to changing our planet’s climate, that is still the subject of “heated debate” (pardon the pun). I expect that land use changes have a greater effect on our local climates than CO2 emissions. Convection is a powerful factor in our atmosphere, and it’s not modeled well, if at all.
    To respond to your reply, I don’t think that we are “deciding” what sort of climate our children will enjoy. Their climate (physical and economic) will either be more or less comfortable than ours, (which btw agrees with model projections).
    No one is “sitting home” that I know of. Most folks are out there working to produce useful products and services, and saving for the future so that our children and grandchildren will have better lives.
    “Nevertheless it is globally clear that people will be better off if we stop burning carbon and use other energy sources.”
    I disagree. People will be better off when they have strong economies and can set aside funds to deal with any sudden tragedy that nature may bring. Physically gathering diffuse energy makes no sense when nature has already done the gathering. Gathering diffuse energy is also harmful to the environment.

  8. 208
    TrueSceptic says:

    Gavin,

    You say

    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

    Surely the same applied to the original hack, where all the file dates had been set to 1 Jan 2009?

    Also, weren’t all emails in Phil Jones’s mailbox at UEA made available to the enquiries already conducted? What could new in this batch?

  9. 209
    Mikel says:

    Hi Gavin,

    I’d greatly appreciate some context for 4235.txt (Santer et al 2008 responding to Douglas et al 2007):

    Osborn to Santer and Jones:
    “…I’m on the editorial board of IJC. Phil is right that it can be rather slow (though faster than certain other climate journals!). Nevertheless, IJC really is the preferred place to publish (though a downside is that Douglass et al. may have the opportunity to have a response considered to accompany any comment).
    I just contacted the editor, Glenn McGregor, to see what he can do. He promises to do everything he can to achieve a quick turn-around time (he didn’t quantify this) and he will also “ask (the publishers) for priority in terms of getting the paper online asap after the authors have received proofs”. He genuinely seems
    keen to correct the scientific record as quickly as possible. He also said (and please treat this in confidence, which is why I emailed to you and Phil only) that he may be able to hold back the hardcopy (i.e. the print/paper version) appearance of Douglass et al., possibly so that any accepted Santer et al. comment could appear alongside it. Presumably depends on speed of the review process…”

    Also 0455.txt:
    Santer:
    “…The editor of IJoC, Glenn McGregor, has agreed to treat our paper as an independent submission rather than as a comment on Douglass et al. This avoids the situation that I was afraid of – that our paper would be
    viewed as a comment, and Douglass et al. would have the “last word” in this exchange…”

    Many thanks!

    [Response: Santer asked Osborn (who was not an author on the paper but who was on the IJC editorial board) how the submission (that ended up as Santer et al, 2008) would be handled by IJC, and made a case that it should dealt with as a stand-alone submission rather than a comment (see email 4316 as well). The main arguments were that i) there was a lot of work that was done that went beyond simply demonstrating that Douglass et al (2008) used completely inappropriate statistical tests, ii) that the Douglass et al had in fact been rejected twice from other journals with comments that had been ignored by those authors, iii) that the Douglass paper itself was basically a comment on an earlier Santer paper. Osborn asked Glenn McGregor and he agreed that it would processed as a stand-alone submission.

    In general, there is a tension between submitting comments and submitting a new paper - the former can be faster (though not always), but are generally short, aren't as well cited, and can be a bit of waste of time. New papers allow you to do more work and you don't have to deal with the original authors, except when they are reviewers (which happens sometimes) - depending on who they are that can be useful or excruciating. Dealing with Douglass and Singer is very much the latter. I've been involved in both comments and standalone rebuttals and I don't have strong feelings either way. Note too that whatever happens there is very rarely a 'last word' (see here for some related discussion).

    As for the scheduling of the hard copy printing, that is an editorial decision but doesn't matter in the slightest. It wasn't requested by Santer or the other authors. These days the only thing that matters is the electronic submission. Indeed, I don't think I've even ever seen a hard copy of the IJC (no disrespect to the journal intended). - gavin]

  10. 210
    Radge Havers says:

    Chris @ 186

    “When I read WUWT comments I am left thinking that they seem to be making valid points – when I read RC comments on the same topic I am left floundering.”

    I hear you. It’s a growing problem, IMO, of people becoming more adept at deploying specious argumentation– attractive nuisances at best. In other words, WUWT is a sticky trap with pretty wrapping. If you’re not a scientist with a decades to spend mastering the subject of climate, then it may help to get meta. It’s still an investment of time and effort, though not nearly so demanding.

    Digging into it, you’ll see that RC is more hard nosed (which is why people, myself included, sometimes flounder here) and WUWT tends to spend more time presenting disguised rhetorical tropes, NOT science. Skeptical Science may help you get the lay of the land regarding the Magical Realm of Climate Rhetoric.

  11. 211
    Robert Murphy says:

    Kevin C @203:

    That makes more sense; I think Jone’s explanation assumes the reader has more knowledge of how grants work than most of us do, so things that should be better explained are not said. It’s clear the email is concerned with the difficulty of dealing with the many FOIA requests that the CRU was being flooded with, particularly the lack of money to fulfill them. The sentences right before the quoted mine makes this obvious:

    “CRU is considered by the climate community as a data centre, but we don’t
    have any resources to undertake this work. Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get – and has to be well hidden.”
    (email 1577)

    In other words, in the past when people/groups came to the CRU for data and the CRU released it (because the CRU is thought of as a data centre). the work done in collecting the data and releasing it was done with money from a grant they had received for something else – it’s done on “the backs” of preexisting funds. Jones says that most funders are aware of this and take it into account. Another “scandal” bites the dust.

  12. 212
    Hardy Cross says:

    “We excluded records that did not show a *positive* correlation with their local temperatures.” Tim Osborn and Keith Briffa 29 Mar 2006 14:36:50 at 0237.txt.

    Some of us have suspected cherry-picking in climate studies to show warm periods only — but isn’t this admission a bit of proof?

    [Response: Please read the paper in question and understand what they were trying to test. They were looking at proxies that been used previously for a priori reasons and which had coherence with local instrumental temperatures (so that there could be some criteria for interpreting them as temperature changes in the past). Their principle aim was to see whether medieval temperatures showed the same coherence as the modern warming - and they didn't. The issue of potential selection bias was addressed in a comment/response a few months later. There is not much in the emails that extends this particular issue. - gavin]

  13. 213
  14. 214
    Marcus says:

    #205 boldly utters:


    Convection is a powerful factor in our atmosphere, and it’s not modeled well, if at all.

    It is sometimes really astonishing how much self confidence some people have.

    How can one write a longish “sceptical” text on whatever site without even having read some introductory text on the subject? I plainly do not understand.

    That shows clearly how far your interest in the science of climate goes

    Marcus

  15. 215
    DrTskoul says:

    DW @ 205

    So you believe that the current climate change is part of a natural variation ..”this what has always done”. That is where we strongly disagree. Take CO2 forcing out of the current climatic models and you will not see the variation that we are currently experiencing. Explain that… So you assume that diffuse energy gathering (e.g. every building a solar capture device) or geothermal energy are worse for the environment than burning fossil fuels?? Even excluding the CO2 you have nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, mercury, heavy metals, radiation (see oil extraction…), polluted water (see tar-sands) and on and on and on…this mode of energy production is more environmental friendly than geothermal???

    And you have nooooo idea about models, what they do, how they are used. Otherwise your reference to them will be different.

    Nature has always changed…what we do now is to decide the direction of change. You’d rather hang on some sense of purpose (nature will do what it will do..) rather than see the current science for what it is. The best explanation for what is going out there, offering the best predictions that can be offered. You don’t want to heed to that message fine… That is where my freedom begins. I am going to proceed with what I see to be true and won’t listen to any of your right GOP-like propaganda.

  16. 216
    just me says:

    @Mikel

    I am not sure, but Christy and Douglass had an article in the American Thinker about this, in which they claimed, that there was an interference with the Review process by Santer et al. However, Santer cleared it up. The most interesting part was: Christy and Douglass claimed their publication was deliberately hold back because of political reasons. They forgot to tell the readers, that on the day of electronic publication Singer used the publication in a political press conference. Ironic.

    Sources:
    the claim
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/a_climatology_conspiracy.html

    the response
    http://www.desmogblog.com/sites/beta.desmogblog.com/files/SanterOpenLetter3_v5.pdf

    PS: but this is real two-year old turkey.
    PPS: hope you enjoy thank giving and the football gams. Go Niners Go

  17. 217
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Dr. Jeff … page last updated 8 November, 2005
    Emeritus peer group?

  18. 218
    Occupied Territory says:

    dhogaza #165: all models aren’t created equal. The flight simulators used for the 787 and other aircraft are far more verified and verifiable than any global climate model. They have thus earned our trust as a predictive tool. My understanding of global climate models is, however, that they are not too good at accounting for the effects of water vapor. If the atmospheric compostiiton includes roughly 3% water on average, I believe the GWP for this is about 200x that of CO2. How reliable can a model be if it does a poor job on 99.5% of that which it is trying to model? Do we want to base hugely consequential decisions on such models?

    [Response: Huh? This is just nonsense. Models incorporate water vapour and the fields validate well against observations and the sensitivities as a function of ENSO, Pinatubo and long term trends - see Soden et al (three paper), Santer et al (PNAS, two papers) etc. There is no 'GWP' defined for water vapour (though technically it would be indistinguishable from zero because of the extremely short perturbation time). For the climatological greenhouse effect, water vapour is roughly 50% of the long wave trapping, clouds provide about 25% and CO2 provides about 20% (Schmidt et al, 2010). A better question is whether we want to base hugely consequential decisions on mis-information? - gavin]

  19. 219
    flxible says:

    Francois:

    How useful would a wrong prediction of extreme events be ? If so, useful for whom or for what?

    Exactly the question you should be asking of the contrarians. I’d bet the insurance industry will be paying more attention to it as extreme weather events continue to accrue.

    David:

    People will be better off when they have strong economies and can set aside funds to deal with any sudden tragedy that nature may bring

    How’s that “model” working out?

  20. 220
    David Wright says:

    marcus:
    “That shows clearly how far your interest in the science of climate goes”
    Is this a question? Are you saying that convection is well modeled or that it does not matter?

    Anyway, this is getting OT in a thread thread about the email release. The main reason I posted was to dispute the usefulness of the aerodynamic analogy. I find no valid disagreement here.

  21. 221

    TrueSceptic:

    Surely the same applied to the original hack, where all the file dates had been set to 1 Jan 2009?

    Not so. Only the e-mails in FOI2009.zip (under FOIA/mail/) were all made to read 1 Jan 2009.

    Many of the code and data files (in FOIA/documents/) retained their original modification times (e.g. the 1990s), which probably correspond to the times the code and data were originally written by their authors (e.g. Briffa).

    What’s more, FOI2009.zip uses an enhancement of the .zip format. The classical .zip format only stores modification times in the local time zone of the machine creating the .zip. But with the “UX” feature (which is enabled on default by certain zip programs), each .zip entry also records the file’s modification time as UTC, as well as an access time in UTC (roughly, what time the file was last written or read).

    The access times mostly range from Sep 2009 to Nov 2009, and the difference between the UTC and local modification times suggest a time zone of -0500/-0400. More here and here.

    The latest SwiftHack 2.0 release (at least the front half of it) avoids these information leakages by suppressing this particular .zip format enhancement — only local modification times are stored throughout, so not even time zone information can be gleaned.

    – frank

  22. 222
    David Wright says:

    Francois:
    “How’s that “model” working out?”

    The short answer is that life expectancy has gone from just over 50 in 1960 to just under 70 years in 2010. The Human Development Index has also risen steadily during that period.

    Things are pretty good it seems.

    [Response: This is off topic. Enough thanks. - gavin]

  23. 223
    Mike Lewis says:

    Thank you all for your kind rebuttals. I am neither arrogant nor an idiot, just someone who has reviewed the scientific data and made an informed decision. I am not a conspiracy theorist either. Just to enlighten some of you, the term AGW means anthropogenic global warming, i.e. man-made warming. Mankind contributes a miniscule amount to the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

    [Response: Not true. We have more than doubled CH4, increased CO2 by 40%, increased N2O by 15%, are responsible for the entirety of the CFCs and HFCs. The net forcing from this is ~2.5 W/m2 since the pre-industrial - equivalent to an increase of 1% in the sun's radiation. This is not miniscule - at least on this planet. - gavin]

    I don’t doubt that the earth has been warming but WE ARE NOT the main driver. That’s it in a nutshell. Oh, and the warming has been stopped for over a decade now, even as CO2 continues to increase. Do you understand the implications? Why did Trenberth claim that it’s a “shame” they can’t account for the missing heat? I thought he supported a cooler earth and would welcome it. Guess he’d rather we all burn up if it supports his theory.

    [Response: Now you are just being silly. Trenberth actually said it was a travesty that we didn't have good enough monitoring of the Earth's radiation budget to know where the energy is going (and coming) on decadal time scales. And that is a shame - surely even you would welcome more accurate observations? - gavin]

  24. 224
    dhogaza says:

    Occupied Territory:

    dhogaza #165: all models aren’t created equal. The flight simulators used for the 787 and other aircraft are far more verified and verifiable than any global climate model.

    Flight simulators aren’t the models used to actually design aircraft, of course, my point was that those models were accurate enough to allow for the creation of accurate flight simulators from them (as opposed to early simulators which were designed based on observations from actual flying aircraft).

    Now, when it comes to the models used to design aircraft, if you claim they’re “more verified and verifiable than an GCM”, my response is:

    “On what scale?”

    It’s a serious question.

  25. 225
    Ray Ladbury says:

    You know, in a perverse way, these releases of emails could be a good thing. It gives the loons a chance to come out and display their tinfoil hats, allowing those few denialists who still possess some vestigial sanity a chance to wonder whether they really want to be associated with these guys.

  26. 226
    dhogaza says:

    In which David Wright demonstrates his ignorance of what climate models have predicted:

    DrTSkoul:
    “Predictions made so far by climate models and scientific intuition are coming true”

    DW:
    Sure they are. The predictions are no different that what climate has always done…..change. Extrapolating an existing warming trend is nothing to crow about.

    If your claim was true, your conclusion would be true, but your claim is not even wrong, David.

    What do you think your public display of your ignorance of GCM predictions that are seen in the real world will convince us of?

    1. you’re ignorant

    2. the models are useless

    Think about it …

  27. 227
    anna haynes says:

    An incorrect ReCaptcha shouldn’t cause RC’s comment form to vaporize one’s comment. I really do not like this feature. (when submitted via the popup window)

    From: Tom Wigley on Sat, 25 Jun 2005 – “… If I were on the greenhouse deniers’ side, I would be inclined to focus on the wide range of paleo results [prior to 1850] and the differences between them as an argument for dismissing them all. …”

    ?

    (Wigley does also say “On the science side the key point is that the M&M criticisms are unfounded.”)

  28. 228
    dhogaza says:

    David Wright, in a classic goal-post move, defends his feeling about climate science …

    I guess this is some sort of metaphor, so I’ll play along here. Society is flying just fine. We don’t understand economics any better than aerodynamics, and the “plane” is certainly not the most stable one, but it has gotten us somewhere.

    By shuffling off into an economic argument, which has absolutely nothing to do with the correctness of the major conclusions reached by those researching our earth’s climate.

    Furthermore I should not have to pay the cost of R&D for these new engines.

    You do every time you fly, my friend. Such costs are amortized into the sales price of the resulting airliners, and the costs of purchasing airplanes are passed on to you, the flying public, by the airline companies …

    Not to mention that a lot of the basic research is funded by tax money, through the typical research money granted to academic researchers and direct spending on research by the military, the KC-135 tanker being just one example …

  29. 229
    dhogaza says:

    David Wright:

    Convection is a powerful factor in our atmosphere, and it’s not modeled well, if at all.

    Again, you’re just displaying your ignorance of GCMs in public, which is sad, in so many ways …

    “… if at all” ???

    Denialists scream that they want “the source to be free! the source to be free! the source to be free!”. The source to GISS Model E is online along with documentation and supporting papers.

    “if at all” ???

    NASA GISS Model E documentation sayeth:

    “Cloud processes

    CONDSE is a driver that sets up the vertical arrays for the column models for moist convection and large scale condensation, and accumulates diagnostics and output for the radiation and other modules.

    Moist convection

    The moist convection routine is a plume based model (Yao and Del Genio, 1995) that incorporates entraining and non-entraining plumes, downdrafts (which can also entrain environmental air), subsidence (using the quadratic upstream scheme).

    Hey, lookie, a module that models convection!!!! Who woulda thunk it. Looks like you’re wrong, David.

    Now … we’re left with whether or not we should trust your claim that convection’s “not modeled well”, given that you’re flat-out wrong about convection not being modeled at all (at least in Model E – and this was the version for AR4, BTW, 7 years old, you’ve had a *long* time to education yourself if that were something you’re actually interested in).

    Anyway, why should I believe your claim that convection’s “not modeled well”. Please support this claim by critiquing either the moist convection module itself or the paper that describes it.

    Teach us, oh master ..

  30. 230
    anna haynes says:

    John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) #211, please see Cook & Lewandowsky’s The Debunking Handbook Part 2: The Familiarity Backfire Effect
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Debunking-Handbook-Part-2-Familiarity-Backfire-Effect.html
    (“…The often-seen technique of headlining your debunking with the myth in big, bold letters is the last thing you want to do…”)

  31. 231
    TrueSceptic says:

    217 frank,

    I should have been clearer: I was referring only to the files in ‘mail’. The files in the respective ‘documents’ folders were indeed treated differently.

    A related question: in the 2009 hack, the email files were in time sequence, the filenames being made up of the original Unix timestamps. The current batch are not only not named that way, using a simple 4-digit number instead, but appear to be in no obvious sequence at all. I wonder why they did that? To obscure context?

    Is there a properly ordered list somewhere? If not, I’ll see if I can produce one, based on the grep output I have.

  32. 232
    dhogaza says:

    Chris:

    The WUWT and Climate Audit sites seem genuinely excited that there are some revelations, previously undisclosed concessions, confirmation of the righteousness of many of their “complaints” about certain points/issues in the past. An example would be the refusal to accept some analysis carried out by Mcintyre on the way a “Hockey Stick” graph would inevitably produce that shape because of the way that it is constructed (please do not assume that I know what I am talking about here!).

    The problem, Chris, is the bulk of what you read at WUWT is posted by people who are ignorant of the issues they’re writing about.

    David Wright, above, is a classic example. He claims that GCMs aren’t any good because they possibly don’t model convection, which is just flat-out wrong. His back-up claim is that, if they do model convection, they don’t model convection “well”. But it’s clear he knows absolutely nothing about GCMs. He’s pontificating about stuff he knows nothing about.

    So, Chris, if you need open-heart surgery, will you:

    1. Place your life into the hands of a college-dropout TV weatherman (Watts) -or-
    2. a surgeon

    if you want to learn about climate science, will you:

    1. study the topic as misrepresented by a college-dropout TV weatherman who, among other things, believes that using differing baselines when presenting climate anomaly data will lead to differing trends (which means he doesn’t understand 9th grade algebra) – or -
    2. professional scientists who’ve spent years earning their PhDs and spend every workday advancing science (except when they’re in departmental meetings :) ).

    If your answer to my first question is different than your answer to my second one, I must ask:

    “why?”

  33. 233
    dhogaza says:

    Chris:

    An example would be the refusal to accept some analysis carried out by Mcintyre on the way a “Hockey Stick” graph would inevitably produce that shape because of the way that it is constructed (please do not assume that I know what I am talking about here!).

    McIntyre, of course, *depends* on your not knowing what you’re talking about here, if you did you probably wouldn’t be fooled.

    For starters, the “hockey stick” effect McIntyre says was inevitably produced by the form of PCA analysis used by Mann’s first paper which is 13 or 14 years old now was 10x LESS than the actual “hockey stick”.

    When he showed his results graphically, he changed the Y axis for the “Hockey stick” from the random data to make it look as thought the magnitude were the same.

    tch tch. That’s dishonest, Chris.

    Also, as it turns out, he generated a very large set of random data. Most of the individual random sequences *do not* show a “hockey stick”. So much for the ‘inevitable” claim.

    He sorted the results by “hockey-stickedness”, cherry picked those that showed the most pronounced results, and presented those as though they were representative of the *full set* of random data (that “inevitable” bit again).

    tch tch. That’s also dishonest, Chris.

    And, of course, many researchers have worked on proxy reconstructions and the results are always a “hockey stick” – regardless of the statistical treatment that’s chosen. So even if McI were right about the particular form of PCA used by Mann, the fact is that other statistical treatment of other proxy datasets all show the same thing.

    McI, at least, has a BS in mathematics, as do I (he’s much better at BSing than I am, though), so he’s not as ignorant as college-dropout, algebra-challenged Watts. But he’s no more honest …

  34. 234
    Stephen Baines says:

    @ 195 As for Jeff Short’s qualifications as an ecologist, I don’t doubt them. But as an ecologist and biogeochemist(although one who doesn’t work on climate change issues often) I must contend his contention that most ecologists do not believe species are responding to climate change. All one has to do is look at the themes for several of the last two Ecological Society of America meetings (www.esa.org), which have centered on climate, land use change and stewardship of ecological resources. Clearly it is taken as a given by the body of ecologists that climate change is and will be occuring, and that it represents a real challenge to management of natural resources and species. The science is playing catch-up.

  35. 235
    François GM says:

    Gavin, here’s your response to 204:
    [Response: You are misinterpreting these statements. A model is *always* an imperfect rendering of reality. That is what is meant by the statement "all models are wrong". But models can still provide skillful forecasts. This is not contradictory because 'skillful' means better than the alternative methods of forecasting (i.e. assuming no change, or persistence) - it does not mean perfect. Imperfect hurricane models provide good forecasts of hurricane tracks all the time - and these are extremely useful for preventing loss of life. Your other statements are just strawmen - models are not 'evidence' for AGW, rather they provide explanations of the evidence gained from observations in ways that are very robust. How can you do attribution without a model of some sort? - gavin]

    That’s exactly my point. Doesn’t the fact that GCMs fail mean that the CO2 attribution (sensitivity) has been much overestimated ?

    [Response: No - how does that follow? Sensitivity and attribution are two different things though - one is an intrinsic property of the climate system - potentially constrainable by observations, while attribution depends on any particular event and the different drivers and the internal variability that might be relevant. The fact that GCMs are imperfect implies no attribution can be 100% certain, but many attributions are indeed very robust. Do you doubt for instance that the 1992-1993 cooling seen in surface temperatures was related to the aerosol layer in the stratosphere produced by Pinatubo? What is the basis for that attribution in your opinion? - gavin]

  36. 236
    dhogaza says:

    François GM:

    Doesn’t the fact that GCMs fail mean that the CO2 attribution (sensitivity) has been much overestimated ?

    Why not underestimated rather than overestimated?

    The “fact that GCMs fail” is one reason why climate sensitivity (not attribution) is given a consensus range of 2.5-4C more or less, rather than much tighter bounds (of course model results aren’t the only bits of the science that constrain sensitivity, not in the least).

    You’re saying that sensitivity must be much less than 2.5, rather than lie in that rather large range, because models aren’t perfect? What is your basis for this amazing claim? Why would’t better model performance simply tighten that range rather than lead to a value that, in your mind, must be *below* that range???

    Makes no sense, dude …

  37. 237
    dhogaza says:

    And of course, “fail” implies that they’re totally wrong, rather than imperfect. That’s just baloney …

  38. 238
    dhogaza says:

    Clearly it is taken as a given by the body of ecologists that climate change is and will be occurring

    One just has to skim a few volumes of “Bioscience” (which focuses on “whole-organism biology”, frequently in an ecological context) to see that this is true …

  39. 239
    John McManus says:

    I have read the first 100 emails so far. Don’t give me a hard time for being lazy Tony, I’m not being financed by an oil industry stink tank.

    So far I have found one cherry hiding in a longer( and clearer) email. Maybe If I work hard I can pick enough cherries to have with ice cream.

    I have learned a lot so far.

    The millions climate scientists have extorted must have gone to someone besides Briffa. I have to admit that I felt a little Murdocky reading his bank statement.

    Fascinating to see a denier try to bully Jones , then append an ” I’ll sue your ass if you broadcast this email” disclaimer. One would almost think that the denier worked for a big corporation with expensive legal advisors.

    I don’t think I have ever learned as much about climate science as I did reading about the church group that dealt with missionaries.

    John McManus

  40. 240

    #222 Mike Lewis

    You are exhibiting very typical examples of misunderstanding the science, probably due to ‘believing’ facts out of context.

    One of the best things anyone can do to get things back in context is to check the scientific certitude of a claim.

    It does take time though. I recommend the journey highly though as it is highly educational.

    Not studying the material that has survived peer review/response can be likened to various levels of ignorance as in ignoring the actual evidence.

  41. 241
    Mikel says:

    Re 208 Thanks again for the context Gavin, but if the hard copy scheduling doesn’t matter in the slightest, why did Osborn write to Santer and Jones:
    “He also said (and please treat this in confidence, which is why I emailed to you and Phil only) that he may be able to hold back the hardcopy (i.e. the print/paper version) appearance of babylo at irrelevant information in confidence? Why should Osborn take care of sharing it with Santer and Jones only? Does it not look and sound like the editor of of IJoC, Glenn McGregor, was favoring Santer so that his comment would appear alongside Douglass’ paper “to correct the scientific record as quickly as possible” (Osborn-sic)?

    [Response: I think if you look at this from the editors point of view. He has published a truly terrible paper (based on a statistical method that rejects 80% of examples when it should only reject 5%). Having the rebuttal appear at the same time, could appear appropriate- but as I said, this is of ever diminishing importance. The electronic version of Douglass et al came out a year before the santer paper, and of course, the rebuttal got far less attention. Such is life. -gavin]

  42. 242
    Eve says:

    Nor old stuff at all. New email messages showing the
    leading lights of the AGW supporting scientists, working together to deny access to publicly funded climate data, and twisting, bending and breaking the scientific norms, FOI regulations, and possibly the law in the process.
    date: Wed, 25 Apr 2007 08:48:36 -0400
    from: “Michael E. Mann”
    subject: Re: [Fwd: Jones et al]
    to: REDACTED

    thanks Phil, Tom is probably even more vulnerable being in the states. He could become a
    new center of attack if NCDC indeed revises in a way that substantially increases the
    trends…
    mike
    [1]REDACTED wrote:

    Mike, Gavin,
    Managed to read your message Gavin. I knwo this
    isn’t going to stop and will get worse as the WG1
    report publication nears.

    Another issue that may overtake things is new work
    at NCDC, which is likely to raise recent temps (as the
    impact of the greater % of buoys is accounted for) and
    also reduce earlier temps (pre -1940) for reasons that
    aren’t that clear. Tom Peterson will be presenting this
    here tomorrow, so will learn more. Upshot is that
    their trend will increase….

    Cheers
    Phil

  43. 243
    Daniel J. Andrews says:

    I need to apologize for questioning Jeff’s credentials as an ecologist. I could have made my point–that ecologists as a group accept climate change and that Jeff’s experience is atypical–without throwing mud at his name. That was wrong of me, and I’m sorry.

  44. 244
    FundMe says:

    If we examine the motives leading to the release of these emails it is clear that the purpose is to influence the general public and lead them to a guilty verdict of Climate Scientists. The accusation being that they have acted fraudulently.

    What they have presented as evidence is all circumstantial and rather thin gruel. Whoever acts on their (climate scientists) behalf will be able in most cases to diminish the evidence or even discredit it altogether line by line.

    The problem lies with the sheer weight of the evidence or should I say mass. There are so many emails each needing to be explained and however well it is done the Jury will be overwhelmed. They will be able to dismiss part of the evidence but will eventually succumb and return a guilty verdict.

    [Response: Which is of course why 'trial by public opinion based on tabloid 'journalism' should be ignored.--eric]

  45. 245
    Edward Greisch says:

    This subject is generating a lot of attention at http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/
    “Another Treaty Negotiation, Another Batch of Climate Science E-Mail”
    66 comments already.

    [Response: Indeed, and I made my views of Revkin's journalism clear to him there, as I did 2 years ago. I was proven right of course, but he appears to have learned only a bit from it. Same old 'these emails raise questions.' Yes, and it raises questions in my mind why Revkin continues to provide a forum for such red baiting tactics.--eric]

  46. 246

    Tamino @ 46

    The emails show something about the nature of an empirical science that you will not admit to. There is room for considerable doubt over the magnitude and likelihood of prospective climate change. One of the aims of this tranche of e-mails (5,000/20,000) would appear to show the admission of errors in the work.
    For example on the upside down Tiljander, Darrell Kaufman to Keith Briffa Sept 09.
    ” I think it’s important that we publish an erratum to correct my error in reversing the Finnish lake-varve series.”

    Another is to show that the doubts of the public images of global warming. Here in 5315.txt is Prof Phil Jones
    “I’ve heard Lonnie Thompson talk about the Kilimanjaro core and he got some local temperatures – that we don’t have access to, and there was little warming in them.”

    [Response: Tamino is well aware of the nature of empirical science. those emails you quote from are exactly the point -- scientists talk about uncertainty all the time, and publish on it too (Kaufman did publish and erratum, and it is well known (and has been discussed here at RC) that Kilmanjaro is not a simple temperature signal.--eric]

  47. 247
    David Wright says:

    Gavin,

    I was asked by other visitors here about how the economic model was working out, and I replied. I agree it’s OT in terms of the email discussion. I even said so.

    Other posters continue to ask questions of me regarding economics (which does relate to the overarching topic of your website). I see no comment below those posts that they are OT. Unlike the regulars, who apparently get a pass on OT posts. I do have answers to those questions for anyone here who is willing to admit that we are all ignorant, but I will respectfully refrain from reply at your request.

    [Response: If you feel you are being singled out it's because you started out by saying things that were both on topic and wrong. But we don't read and approve/dispprove and comment on every single email -- there just isn't time. Our lack of comment on something should not be taken as an endorsement of it.--eric]

  48. 248
    David Wright says:

    ““On what scale?”

    It’s a serious question.

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Nov 2011 @ 1:05 PM”

    On the full scale of the object being modeled, (the entire aircraft in this example) and for the time period of the flight, and for the myriad of conditions through which the aircraft may fly.

    Aerodynamic models are practical because they are testable.

    No climate model has predicted which way a desert may expand, where crops may fail or where snow may fall. One poster above eluded that insurance companies will one day use climate models as actuarial tools. That would certainly be easier for them than crash testing, but the fact that they are not widely used by actuaries should tell you something.

    In case you have forgotten, the intial point I made was that aerodynamic models are a poor analogy for climate models. Don’t you agree?

    One ignorant soul to another.;-)

    [Response: All analogies are wrong (at some level), but some analogies are useful. In making blanket claims about the pointlessness of models, aerodynamic models are a reasonable example to demonstrate that the general statement cannot be true. Thus it should (in a rational discussion) serve to move the conversation on to the specifics that indicate why modelling is useful in any particular case. However, for people who are already determined to refuse to even consider the issue, the discussion moves towards why aerodynamics is not exactly like climate as if that was the argument. It isn't. - gavin]

  49. 249
    Michael Hauber says:

    (place tongue in cheek) If the flight simulation models are so much more accurate than the climate models then maybe we should be using the flight simulation models to predict our future climate.

    Or perhaps we just stick with the best tool that we happen to have for the job.

  50. 250
    Peter Backes says:

    I confess to deriving a certain perverse pleasure from this second release of hacked emails. I missed the rapid-fire skewering of denialists and conspiracy theorists that Gavin and company provide. I think the hackers are unwittingly serving the public interest.

    Now if we could just have a release of the hackers’ emails – that would be a party!


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