RealClimate logo

The CRU hack

Filed under: — group @ 20 November 2009

As many of you will be aware, a large number of emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia webmail server were hacked recently (Despite some confusion generated by Anthony Watts, this has absolutely nothing to do with the Hadley Centre which is a completely separate institution). As people are also no doubt aware the breaking into of computers and releasing private information is illegal, and regardless of how they were obtained, posting private correspondence without permission is unethical. We therefore aren’t going to post any of the emails here. We were made aware of the existence of this archive last Tuesday morning when the hackers attempted to upload it to RealClimate, and we notified CRU of their possible security breach later that day.

Nonetheless, these emails (a presumably careful selection of (possibly edited?) correspondence dating back to 1996 and as recently as Nov 12) are being widely circulated, and therefore require some comment. Some of them involve people here (and the archive includes the first RealClimate email we ever sent out to colleagues) and include discussions we’ve had with the CRU folk on topics related to the surface temperature record and some paleo-related issues, mainly to ensure that posting were accurate.

Since emails are normally intended to be private, people writing them are, shall we say, somewhat freer in expressing themselves than they would in a public statement. For instance, we are sure it comes as no shock to know that many scientists do not hold Steve McIntyre in high regard. Nor that a large group of them thought that the Soon and Baliunas (2003), Douglass et al (2008) or McClean et al (2009) papers were not very good (to say the least) and should not have been published. These sentiments have been made abundantly clear in the literature (though possibly less bluntly).

More interesting is what is not contained in the emails. There is no evidence of any worldwide conspiracy, no mention of George Soros nefariously funding climate research, no grand plan to ‘get rid of the MWP’, no admission that global warming is a hoax, no evidence of the falsifying of data, and no ‘marching orders’ from our socialist/communist/vegetarian overlords. The truly paranoid will put this down to the hackers also being in on the plot though.

Instead, there is a peek into how scientists actually interact and the conflicts show that the community is a far cry from the monolith that is sometimes imagined. People working constructively to improve joint publications; scientists who are friendly and agree on many of the big picture issues, disagreeing at times about details and engaging in ‘robust’ discussions; Scientists expressing frustration at the misrepresentation of their work in politicized arenas and complaining when media reports get it wrong; Scientists resenting the time they have to take out of their research to deal with over-hyped nonsense. None of this should be shocking.

It’s obvious that the noise-generating components of the blogosphere will generate a lot of noise about this. but it’s important to remember that science doesn’t work because people are polite at all times. Gravity isn’t a useful theory because Newton was a nice person. QED isn’t powerful because Feynman was respectful of other people around him. Science works because different groups go about trying to find the best approximations of the truth, and are generally very competitive about that. That the same scientists can still all agree on the wording of an IPCC chapter for instance is thus even more remarkable.

No doubt, instances of cherry-picked and poorly-worded “gotcha” phrases will be pulled out of context. One example is worth mentioning quickly. Phil Jones in discussing the presentation of temperature reconstructions stated that “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.” The paper in question is the Mann, Bradley and Hughes (1998) Nature paper on the original multiproxy temperature reconstruction, and the ‘trick’ is just to plot the instrumental records along with reconstruction so that the context of the recent warming is clear. Scientists often use the term “trick” to refer to a “a good way to deal with a problem”, rather than something that is “secret”, and so there is nothing problematic in this at all. As for the ‘decline’, it is well known that Keith Briffa’s maximum latewood tree ring density proxy diverges from the temperature records after 1960 (this is more commonly known as the “divergence problem”–see e.g. the recent discussion in this paper) and has been discussed in the literature since Briffa et al in Nature in 1998 (Nature, 391, 678-682). Those authors have always recommend not using the post 1960 part of their reconstruction, and so while ‘hiding’ is probably a poor choice of words (since it is ‘hidden’ in plain sight), not using the data in the plot is completely appropriate, as is further research to understand why this happens.

The timing of this particular episode is probably not coincidental. But if cherry-picked out-of-context phrases from stolen personal emails is the only response to the weight of the scientific evidence for the human influence on climate change, then there probably isn’t much to it.

There are of course lessons to be learned. Clearly no-one would have gone to this trouble if the academic object of study was the mating habits of European butterflies. That community’s internal discussions are probably safe from the public eye. But it is important to remember that emails do seem to exist forever, and that there is always a chance that they will be inadvertently released. Most people do not act as if this is true, but they probably should.

It is tempting to point fingers and declare that people should not have been so open with their thoughts, but who amongst us would really be happy to have all of their email made public?

Let he who is without PIN cast the the first stone.

Update: The official UEA statement is as follows:

“We are aware that information from a server used for research information
in one area of the university has been made available on public websites,”
the spokesman stated.

“Because of the volume of this information we cannot currently confirm
that all of this material is genuine.”

“This information has been obtained and published without our permission
and we took immediate action to remove the server in question from

“We are undertaking a thorough internal investigation and we have involved
the police in this enquiry.”

Update II: Please comment on the next thread.

1,092 Responses to “The CRU hack”

  1. 301
    Donald Oats says:

    Re: #151:

    Use of the word tricks in mathematical research papers:

    Check the preview page of Symmetries of distributions and quadrature of ODEs.

    The Jacobi Last Multiplier and its Applications in Mechanics.

    Section 3, second last paragraph (page 9 of 10):
    General Criterion of Invariance for Integro-Differential Equations

    Or Peter Olver’s book (see bottom of preview page):
    Application of Lie Groups to Differential Equations

    These are research papers and a book review of a graduate text in mathematics.

    No shortage of the word tricks being used without scare quotes or irony in mathematics. Be nicer.

  2. 302
    J says:

    The explanation above for not sharing data appears disingenuous when we find Phil writing:“I had some emails with him a few years ago when he wanted to get all the station temperature data we use here in CRU. At that time, I hid behind the fact that some of the data had been received from individuals and not directly from Met Services through the Global Telecommunications Service (GTS) or through GCOS.

  3. 303
    Skookum John says:

    @sloop: “Many in the global environ. management and governance community globally are trained and experienced in analyzing science outputs regardless of the particular field (it comes down to a matter of sufficient time which is increasingly scarce, but that’s our problem and responsibility); many in this community also know how science works and that scientists are actually humans with all attendant emotions and proclivities. This episode is worrisome no doubt to those in the trenches dealing with the science and the denialists; and it will no doubt create another time sink.”

    I was not aware that there is a monolithic “global environmental management and governance community”. That explains a lot. Looks to me like it’s heavy on the governance and light on the environment.

    “But it also may motivate governments to deal a little more forthrightly with fringe denialism which is ideologically, not scientifically, driven.”

    Scary. What are you going to do, throw us all in jail?

  4. 304
    Ross Sheehy says:

    What might have helped in retrospect during the late 90s would have been greater transparency on the lack of certainty in research at that time.

    The general public does not know how much data analysis and transformation is required to prepare a scientific paper. Any scientist knows that there is layer upon layer of transformation before any sense can be made of the raw data. When the newsreader says “scientists say we are going to fry” and documentary makers scare half the world, scientists must speak out on the limits of their research.

    The alternative is that the politicians get hold of research conclusions, ignore the warnings that results cannot be extrapolated, ignore the warnings about lack of predictive power in the results and just blaze away.

    When an incident like this occurs and scientists respond correctly by saying that data transformations and modelling techniques are perfectly standard, you will get the present response “waddayamean you’ve been cooking the books all this time”.

    Scientists must also speak out when it is clear that predictive models are going wrong as they appear to have done in the last decade. Scientists may have been trying to figure it out, but in the meantime the mantra “the science is settled” has been repeated ad nauseum with barely any discernable response.

    I am sad to say that the leading climate scientists have made their own bed and must now lie in it.

  5. 305
    Bob Tisdale says:

    Niels A Nielsen: In the quote you provided, I can read the discussion of the 1940s “blip” two ways.

    The first is the 1945 discontinuity discussed in Thompson et al (2008). Personally, I believe the discontinuity might be a missing El Nino because the 1945 discontinuity also appears in the COADS cloud cover, Hadley Centre’s marine air temperature, and COADS air temperature datasets, discussed here:
    and it also appears in the COADS Global Wind Speed data, except inverted, discussed here:

    Which makes more sense, that the entire dataset is in error or that the equatorial Pacific is in error? Refer to:

    The second topic that “blip” might represent is the spike in the Indian Ocean SST anomaly data…
    …that shows up exceptionally well with a 37-month filter. It’s most apparent in the tropics, Bay of Bengal, and Arabian Sea SST anomaly data. Refer to:
    (I do realize the post uses ERSST.v2 data, but there’s not that much of a difference between it and HADSST2. And I’m not going to redo that post just for this comment.)

    So I can read the quote you posted two ways. They’re either going to fix the discontinuity they blame on sea surface temperature sampling methods (which also appears in datasets that are not impacted by those sampling methods) or they’re going to suppress that spike in the Indian Ocean data.

    I’m not sure which they’re talking about.

  6. 306
    Andy says:

    “Trevor, I gather you’re going to collect the free lunch(?) with Esso! I agree
    with Mike’s analysis : i.e. there’s room for some constructive dialogue…”

    – 0959187643.txt

    Who said there’s no such thing as a free lunch, especially when paid for by Esso (ExxonMobil)?

  7. 307
    Hank Roberts says:

    Aside: I poked around a bit being naturally nosy.
    I found several people saying they did get and read the stuff.
    I also found what were identified as links to the whole multi-gigabyte file, either as ZIP or RAR format. At one time they might have been that.

    So far each time what’s been at the link has been a 35K (yes, K) file that Mac OS identified as an application; it shouldn’t have been one.

    I did not open it.
    Be careful out there.
    This stuff could, by now, just be very tempting bait.

    Catch a little fish, put it on a bigger hook, put it back in the water.

  8. 308
    sarath says:

    Those of us with actual experience in modeling know how tenuous these models actually are. These are the same sorts of folks who claimed AGW in the early 20th century. It’s all speculation built on bias. Many of them don’t even recognize the bias.

  9. 309
    Eric (skeptic) says:

    People who are interested only need to google for realclimate and censored to see large numbers of censored comments duplicated elsewhere. Many of these asked about the origins and processing of data, including what may be untrue allegations. Rather than continue that tradition, RC has a chance with the inadvertent release of the data to explain what data was used and how, what data was not used, and reasons why. A good start would be the yamal directories.

  10. 310
    Reg Rets says:

    In a shouting match between rational science and feral politics, science has no chance. If you believe as I do that runaway climate change is unavoidable due to the prevailing political climate, then you should do as I am doing. Move north of 56 degrees, buy some arable land, learn to grow perennial crops on that land and prepare to defend it.

  11. 311
    WAG says:

    Does anyone think it’s a little suspicious that just hours before this story broke on Thursday, Sen. Inhofe made these remarks (on Wednesday)?

    “I proudly declare 2009 as the ‘Year of the Skeptic,’ the year in which scientists who question the so-called global warming consensus are being heard…

    “Until this year, any scientist, reporter or politician who dared raise even the slightest suspicion about the science behind global warming was dismissed and repeatedly mocked…

    “Today, I have been vindicated.” 2009/ 11/ is-jim-inhofe-behind-hacking-into.html

    Why was he so confident he would be vindicated? Not saying Inhofe was involved – I just ask questions! (Pulling out my Glenn Beck hat)

  12. 312
    Rich says:

    Thank you for your response, Gavin. Unfortunately, the Nature blog link you provided (#213)creates more questions than answers for me. The UN IPCC wants to inflict massive taxes and penalties on the west based on data Jones et al have produced. The data has been changed, lost, left out, and what is avaialble, is being challenged. The response from them has been nothing more than a flippant dismissal with a promise to release “soon”. Its been 7 years.

    The issues of confidentiality given by jones should not aply given the massive cost implications to every man, woman, and child on this planet. He also seems to have disregarded that particular issue when he provided data to Webster at Ga. Tech.

    Admittedly, I am no scientist…so maybe this is more about the bad PR abilities of Jones and his team, but I wouldnt know…I keep hearing the phrase “trust us” in my head. I need a little more than that.

  13. 313
    Peter Gehring says:

    What I read in many of the GW scientist/support comments posted here is:
    1. Defensiveness (vs. “wow, they were colluding to delete emails to cover their tracks”),

    2. Denial of a problem,

    3. Unwillingness open the science/models to the light of day (when worked on my MS in Environmental Science they didn’t teach me that).

    4. Attacking the perceived “enemy” (Fox News, Heartland Inst, etc)

    These pervasive attitudes indicate that the science is far from settled, way too much money has been given in grants to study this problem (it has created corruption amongst you), and the science is questionable.

    I recommend you proceed with a completely transparent approach henceforth if you expect to be taken seriously by anyone who does not stand to profit from this ‘movement’.

  14. 314
    DudeMang says:


    You seem like a really honest person. I’m glad that you’re the one in charge of commenting on this.

    The deleting and purposeful manipulation of information that seems to be hinted at is rather discouraging. If it did take place, I’m sure that not everyone was involved. Scientists are people just like everyone else.

    I’m of two minds about this.

    First off, I’ve long been of the opinion that rather than investing heavily into what might happen, we’d be better served in aiming our scientific might at improving our current environmental footprint. We can always decide whether or not the planet would have blown up later. Now would be the time to research new technologies to improve our situation, and all the models can be simulated later once we have more data.

    Seriously, if it’s bad, then it’s more important to do everything we can to fight it than it is to find out “just how bad.”

    Second, while I think that we need environmental reform, I think we should do it because it’s the responsible thing to do and because it improves the quality of life. If there is a hoax involved in the data used to justify global warming being affected by human interaction, it does nothing other than undermine the cause.

    Which brings me to the opposing point; if this was a hoax and it gets unmasked now, then it will undo the recent strides made towards protecting the environmental. That, more than anything, pisses me off. Many people started being more environmentally friendly (almost as a fad) because of global warming science. These people won’t stick with it if it’s proven false.

    Anyway, good luck. Please encourage your fellow scientists to be more forthcoming in their work, quickly releasing data before it has to be FOIA’ed and providing all statistics in their paper, even when it’s detrimental to their cause (just stick it in a separate section). Science is all about the method, since the goal will just get rewritten in a few years when we understand things better.

  15. 315
    WAG says:

    Gavin –
    I feel sorry for you scientists. You’re in quite the double bind. If a climate model doesn’t accurately hindcast past climate, skeptics accuse the models of being wrong. But if you adjust the models to match observations, they accuse you of “fixing” the results to fit preconceived conclusions. Not sure there’s a solution to the dilemma, but keep up the good work!

  16. 316
    James McDermott says:

    Gerard Harbison wrote (20 November 2009 at 2:11 PM):
    > So, for example, when the emails are clearly discussing manuscripts sent to various climate scientists in confidence for peer-review, and coordinating responses by email, how does that square away with journal policies?

    > By the way, I’m an active researcher, and I certainly don’t do this. The ‘everybody does it’ response is nonsense. We don’t.

    [Response: Huh? You don’t collaborate with your co-authors on responses to reviews? Really? And you don’t suggest potential reviewers to journal editors when they ask for suggestions? Really? – gavin]

    Gerard Harbison clarified (20 November 2009 at 2:36 PM):
    > I’m not talking about published responses, Gavin, I’m talking about manuscripts sent to referees for peer review. Those are sent in confidence. Collusion in preparing such reviews is completely unethical.

    [Response: I have no idea to what you are referring. – gavin]

    Gavin’s confusion here happened because Gerard didn’t refer to his previous comment. Is it now clear? The accusation is that referees colluded.

  17. 317
    cheddar says:

    If people saw the emails they would see that skeptics conspiracy theories are vacuous. They would also see how scientists were being harassed and inconvenienced unnecessarily by the likes of CA.

    Unfortunately people will only see the parts that the skeptics have cherry picked. The skeptic interpretations of these selective parts don’t jive with the bulk of it, which indicates these parts are out of context.

    Skeptics cannot write off anything in these emails they don’t like as propaganda..

  18. 318
    dean says:

    re #140;


    Federal employees do have a right to privacy, but only at home. Here is the disclaimer from a prominent federal website:

    “This is a contractor operated website on a U.S. Government computer. This website is for the use of AUTHORIZED users only. By accessing this website you are consenting to system monitoring with no expectation of privacy.”

    When logging into work computers, flash screens appear that also display this lack of right to privacy. All the work is subject to a FOIA request and guidelines exist as to how to respond to the request.

  19. 319
    Dale Power says:

    I think the rebuttal here is too long and will not hold up well.

    It isn’t that the information has not been explained well, but that, once again, we have proof that climate scientists just… Fail as Public relations experts, especially when faced with dirty tricks.

    Make no mistake, this is NOT about someones efforts to “get at the proof of the conspiracy” but instead is a part of long term campaign designed to protect the profits of certain large corporations and protect them from litigation later.

    The Message should be simplified and repeated often. (with real data given in links for those who are willing to check intot he whole situation.)

    Try the following:

    1. A hacker stole data and is using it in an attempt to hide the reality of climate change from the public.

    2. When you understand the “industry lingo” the data in the e-mails is all innocent and this is clearly seen by anyone reading the e-mails objectively.

    3. If you speak enough, or in this case write enough, some one will be able to take your words out of context to make you look bad. This isn’t expected once out of high school, but most people are familiar witht he technique.

    This information (Or something similar in the words of a Climate professional.) Need to be repeated laud and clear, over and over again, by as many voices as possible.

    To lose the PR WAR on this issue is to LOSE. Facts don’t matter. Proof won’t factor into things…

    Only the “hearts and Minds” of the public count now.

    And right now the Oil and Coal companies are handing the real scientists their behinds on a platter.

  20. 320
    Jack says:

    “Clearly no-one would have gone to this trouble if the academic object of study was the mating habits of European butterflies.”

    Oh please – I’m so sick of hearing this “excuse” from climate scientists. We are talking about fundamentally restructuring human society at the cost of trillions of dollars. If a comet was heading toward earth would require FOI requests to check and audit the data?

    I work for a govt-funded research organization and it is clear to everyone that EVERYTHING is discoverable, even personal emails sent from work computers. All data/correspondence funded by the taxpayer belongs to the taxpayer and should be readily available.

  21. 321
    Paul says:

    Well, I am sure that the denialists will release their emails, just to show how pure they are….But seriously, why is it that 10% percent of every thread consists of complaints/accusations that you censor opposing views, while 20% consists of opposing views?

  22. 322
    Seth says:

    #239 I think that was in context of the postponement of the Cap and Trade Bill.
    I know the scope of this post is usually restricted to science only so I wonder the fate of this thread. I do appreciate the time Dr. Schmidt has taking in putting some things back in to context. But I would like to again express my concerns for the appropriate handling of the AGW issue. It looks like it has gotten out of the scientists hands.

  23. 323
    Magnus says:

    In internal mails the team show some more uncertainty: ‘we are no where close to knowing where
    energy is going or whether clouds are changing to make the planet brighter’.
    Different story than the usual ‘we know it all’ here at RC
    From: Michael Mann
    To: Kevin Trenberth
    Subject: Re: BBC U-turn on climate
    Date: Wed, 14 Oct 2009 10:25:25 -0400
    Cc: Tom Wigley , Stephen H Schneider , Myles Allen , peter stott , “Philip D. Jones” , Benjamin Santer , Thomas R Karl , Gavin Schmidt , James Hansen , Michael Oppenheimer

    Kevin, that’s an interesting point. As the plot from Gavin I sent shows, we can easily
    account for the observed surface cooling in terms of the natural variability seen in the
    CMIP3 ensemble (i.e. the observed cold dip falls well within it). So in that sense, we can
    “explain” it. But this raises the interesting question, is there something going on here w/
    the energy & radiation budget which is inconsistent with the modes of internal variability
    that leads to similar temporary cooling periods within the models. I’m not sure that this
    has been addressed–has it?


    On Oct 14, 2009, at 10:17 AM, Kevin Trenberth wrote:

    Hi Tom
    How come you do not agree with a statement that says we are no where close to knowing where
    energy is going or whether clouds are changing to make the planet brighter. We are not
    close to balancing the energy budget. The fact that we can not account for what is
    happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering quite hopeless as
    we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not! It is a travesty!

  24. 324
    David says:

    There is also the issue of secrecy concerning the data. Why purposely delete the data when you are so VERY aware of FOI requests concerning it? The removal of data is what did Arthur Andersen in, and it is conceptually no different here. Actually, I take that back. Because this data is nothing more than temperature data, and it is, to be generous, weird that they are so concerned about it getting ‘in the wrong hands’.

    When you read between the lines, that is what many of these emails seem concerned about, and there is much hand wringing about the data being public. Now what is the good reason for that? I would appreciate no more slippery answers, since I have highlighted the most concerning part of this ordeal.

  25. 325
    JCH says:

    In there anything in these emails that will postpone the next El Nino?

  26. 326
    chainpin says:

    Richard Feynman on Honesty in Science:

    It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty–a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid–not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked–to make sure the other fellow can
    tell they have been eliminated.

    Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can–if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong–to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.

    In summary, the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.

    I hope that all those involved with this debacle reflect on Feynman’s words.

  27. 327
    J Buote says:

    “Pride is before a crash”

    to Real Climate team,

    Chin up fella’s. The “bad” guys just gave you a global audience in their zeal to tear you down.

    The spotlight will be on them too. Now is your chance to get the sordid details of the other side out into the global media. I suspect there are a whole number of proment scientists and institutions that will weigh in.

    This may advance the cause of real science far faster than blog sparring ever could.

    I’d see it as an opportunity and get some high profile press then send a big thank you note to “you know who”.

    Don’t get mad, get even.

  28. 328
    Ed says:

    Thank you for opening up comments. A quick observation – the anonymous provider of the original .zip file said that this was a “random selection” of emails and documents. I wonder if the perpetrator might be planning to release more documents/emails at a future date? The people behind the ACORN story have taken that approach, releasing, so far, 7 videos over many weeks. The story could evolve yet …

  29. 329
    Steve Fish says:

    sarath (~#236, 20 November 2009 @ 8:46 PM):

    A bold but empty statement.

    Eric (skeptic)(~#237, 20 November 2009 @ 8:47 PM):

    The blogosphere is full of disinformation. Why not just ask a simple question without the vitriol and grandiose, already debunked misinformation that is bleeped here. Be specific.


  30. 330
    Dialla says:

    Most of the junk on these sites can be explained easy enough. Out of Context whatever.

    The thing my friend is nailing me on is the bunker mentality of the emails. Use against the world. We smart, you dumb. etc.. on and on.

    The other thing he nailed me on, the guys didn’t do any statistical tests on their own selections to determine if they were introducing their own bias even if it was not intentionality.

    The rabid defensiveness in the emails and the willingness to shoot first and ask questions later in the face of any critical review is scary. Knocking off you peers papers, making sure they don’t get reviewed, trying to knock off an entire scientific journal.

    Man, this is scary stuff and hard for me to defend.

  31. 331
    Leo G says:

    Yeah, sometimes some people sounded like bufoons, but in the end, it is the science that counts! If your science stands up to ALL scrutiny, you have nothing to fear. from now on, release all data openly, to whomever. Have some cajones about your work for Chr###s sake…..

    Leo G

  32. 332

    Several Heroes of Science in the above, hiding behind anonymity, have declared themselves to be Scientists (no really), and that they are shocked, Ricky, SHOCKED! to discover that there was incivility and rough language in the CRU hacked emails.

    It wouldn’t take much in the way of a penetrating intelligence to figure that these Heroes of Science were not working in a field that was being regularly trampled by the willfully ignorant and the viciously ideological. In fact, it is rather transparently obvious that these Heroes of Science weren’t working in an area with anything like and actively controversial set of interactions going on at all.

    People being people — even genuinely scientific people, whether Heroes or not — tend to get steamed in such exchanges. And the steam gets more intense when (1) the controversy is a gratuitous fabrication of lying hypocrites who are too lazy to do real research, and (2) the communication is thought to be private.

    Said Heroes have never seen anything like these emails? In addition to the dubious integrity of these individuals making such a declarations while variously cowering behind anonymity, there is the issue of where they’ve been hiding such that it has so thoroughly shielded them from how real people act when enveloped in #’s 1 and 2 immediately preceding.

  33. 333
    mommycalled says:

    #48 Gerard Harbison

    I going to have to call you on this one. Having submitted papers in computer science and meteorology for review I AM ALWAYS ASKED for a list of five possible reviewers. This does not mean the editor of the journal will not select others as possible reviewers. Most often there is a mix of the reviewers I submit and others. You do not consult with your co-authors in responding reviewers? All of the my published papers REQUIRE that the co-authors agree on the responses to reviewers IN WRITING. When asked to review a paper, if you need more information about a section of the paper you are reviewing you don’t consult other journal articles or researchers in the can explain the context? What kind of “active researcher” are you?

  34. 334
    Leighton says:

    Re # 239 (WAG). No, it doesn’t seem suspicious. Sen. Imhofe has been skeptical for a long time. You could match the release of the hacked messages against some public statement of his on this topic, regardless of when the messages came to the surface.

    I agree that hacking the database is illegal and should be condemned. The extent of the illegality may depend on whether any of the material should have been public already, as a result of rules relating to transparency and disclosure. It may not be a crime to disclose material that was unlawfully concealed, for example, or to reveal conduct constituting a conspiracy to violated public disclosure laws. It would be nice if the RC sponsors were as quick to condemn that conduct as they are to take umbrage at the public revelations. In the final analysis, whistleblowers are often forgiven based on the benefit to society from the disclosure of misconduct.

    Early in this group of comments, a poster offered that opinion that while of course business people should expect to communicate as though anything they say could be publicly disclosed, scientists need freedom to express views candidly. That attitude epitomizes the problems with the True Believers here. Every profession or occupation can and does benefit from candor in communications with colleagues. “Science” occupies no special place in that regard. It is also true that every profession or occupation is subject to legal regulation and ethical obligations, and that sometimes candor in communications reveals unlawful or unethical actions or intentions. There appears to be some of that here.

  35. 335
    Steve Fitzpatrick says:

    I expect that you are by now a bit tired, and I do not know how many of the email messages you have actually read; certainly you were not copied on many of them. I have taken the time to read over a hundred or so, and two things really trouble me. I will much appreciate if you could offer some comment.

    1. There is an incredible level of arrogance and hubris in these messages that speaks poorly of those involved.

    2. There is an apparent willingness to subvert the same peer-review process that RC has for so long claimed to be the gold standard in science. Particularly glaring are: a) the coordinated effort to pressure a publisher to delay publication of an already approved peer reviewed paper so that it could be immediately refuted when published (clearly outside the normal process); b) the rigging of the reviewer selection to insure rapid approval; c) a reviewer asking for help from a third party on the review of a paper that refutes an earlier publication, when the person being asked asked is none other than the author of the paper being refuted; d) discussion of how to “get rid of” a journal editor who allows publication of papers you disagree with. This is by no means a complete list, but I think it enough to raise serious questions about the commitment of many well known climate scientists to actually adhere to the peer review process.

  36. 336

    Per WAG, 239: As a general rule, if you simply reject any and all conspiracy theories out of hand and dismiss those who propagate them (whether explicitly or ala Glenn Beck), you will be proven right for dismissing them so many more times than you might ever be proven wrong that people will think you are some kind of friggin’ psychic.

    Inhofe is a fool, a ranting, viciously ideological, willfully ineducable fool, who spends a great part of his life ranting (with all the previous adjectives appropriately doubled up). That he should happen to once again be ranting hours, or even minutes, before the CRU hack is scarcely evidence of anything other than the fact that he spends his life ranting (many of which include his self-righteous declaration of his imanent vindication.) Nothing going on here other than a post hoc ergo propter hoc line of argument/suggestion.

  37. 337
    S. Molnar says:

    I agree with those who dislike RC’s moderating policies, but my complaint is that far too many crank comments are allowed; I no longer read the comments thoroughly because of the low SNR. On the other hand, it’s not my website, so I cn hardly expect it to be run exactly as I like.

    By the way, I am not the Molnar of comment 83 – you would think there wouldn’t be a multiplicity problem in a non-Hungarian language setting. And speaking of Hungarians and tricks, here are a few examples.

  38. 338
    Paul G. Brown says:

    Sympathies. In the long run, the release of these e-mails won’t matter. Truth is like the chair in the dark. It will break your shin regardless of whether you believe it’s there, or no . . .

    There is an argument that all our e-mail, indeed our ever utterance, should be considered public, because eventually it all will be. David Brin’s “The Transparent Society”.

    This situation seems like a point in that debate. Pro or con, I’m not sure.

  39. 339
    WAG says:

    And Gavin –
    This whole hacker business helped me realize another double bind you guys are in. Explain science in scientific terms, and the public ignores, misunderstands, or misinterprets the evidence. But take efforts to make sure the public doesn’t misunderstand the science, and you get accused of “playing politics.” But then again, you guys already know this.

    Kobayashi Maru. *Sigh*

  40. 340
    spool32 says:

    it certainly does seem like the sequence (you can find it here: ) regarding efforts to foil FOIA and suggestions to destroy data is quite damning.

    I don’t understand how anyone could condone or excuse this sort of mindset.

  41. 341
    Danny Bloom says:

    Jeeez, I hope my “polar cities” project emails to homeland security officials, CIA ops and top scholars around the world weren’t hacked, too. That would be the end of me! In case, you missed them, it’s all here:

  42. 342
    Joe V. says:

    From: xxxxxxxx To: xxxxx , “xxxxxxx” Subject: Re: FW: Temperatures in 2009 Date: Mon Jan 5 16:18:24 2009 Cc: “xxxxxxx” , xxxxxxx

    xxx, xxxxx,

    I hope you’re not right about the lack of warming lasting

    till about 2020. I’d rather hoped to see the earlier Met Office

    press release with Doug’s paper that said something like –

    half the years to 2014 would exceed the warmest year currently on record, 1998!

    Still a way to go before 2014.

    I seem to be getting an email a week from skeptics saying

    where’s the warming gone. I know the warming is on the decadal

    scale, but it would be nice to wear their smug grins away.

    I would like to preface any comment by stating my beliefs in AGW. Climate change is unrefutable, but to the extent that mankind is the driving factor behind its variablity recently is naive. To believe that a complex system such as our climate can be predicted by a set number of variable inputs, when the number is infantesimal. We have enough problems predicting global weather conditions seven days in advance as supposed to 30 years. That said, you are to be commended for your open dialog today with the participants in this forum. I may not agree with you but you have earned my highest respects.
    Now to the meat, how can unbaised research be conducted when one “hopes” for different outcomes. How can AGW be certain when researchers hope as opposed to research?

    [Response: Actually I hope the exact opposite. I hope that we’ve over-estimated climate sensitivity, that we’ve underestimated ocean uptake of CO2, that we’ve overestimated GHG growth rates, and that money grows on trees. Yet the science indicates that none of those things are likely to be true. That’s the difference between science and wishful thinking. – gavin]

  43. 343
    Leo G says:

    you want to know what really drives Joe and Jane Six Pack really crazy about this global warming debate? How so many of the skeptics/denihilists/pro-warmers/greenies, etc., resort to personnal attacks.

    DROP IT!

    We want to know, before we send our last plug nickel to any governing body, DOES THE SCIENCE STAND UP?

    That’s it. Simple. Let real science happen, answer the opposing questions with science! Show me that what you are pedalling is true.

    Cuz in the end, it is us Joe and Jane Six Packs that will decide the fate of this planet!

    Leo G

  44. 344
    BJ says:

    Seems to me that this is a really simple issue to sort out. Just provide ALL the data that was used for anything and let the results stand on their own merits.

  45. 345
    Nathan says:

    Im just a layman and couldnt conclude anything even if i saw the raw data. I count on our scienctists to do that for us. What is so troubling with all this, the emails, some reponces here and skeptics is that it appears they are looking for data for their sides theory.

    I expect sciectist to be unbiasly look for the truth regaurdless of what it is. If a juror is found to be biased the ruling get thrown out. I think the arguement for and against global warming have been tainted.

    The last thing the public is going to want is legislation that changes our lives or creates tax increases.

    I think coppenhaggen will be DOA, because of this.

    Its sad the some of the most educated people in the world have acted so unprofesionally.

    Some of you directly involved a bit of personal advise, Prepare yourself. This is going to turn into a media and political hurricane.

  46. 346
    robert says:

    Dr. Mann,

    You’ve got to do a full explanation of the “trick” comment. Preferably in a video. It has to be done now.

    I live in the most conservative state in the country. Obama stole our progressive Republican governor and sent him to China. His replacement is less, shall we say, enlightened. Between the new governor and the legislature, I swear to God their going to start burning more coal. My head. Is going. To explode.

    I’m emploring you to provide a full accounting of the comment as quickly as possible and as publicly as possible.

  47. 347
    penn says:

    The biggest accusation I have seen is the intentional encouragement of deleting information to avoid it’s publication in an FOI request. I don’t know what there is to it, though. I haven’t searched out the actual emails, and I don’t know the context. The very worst interpretation of the whole temperature plotting “trick” is that a figure was massaged to better illustrate the author’s point. If the author clearly indicates what was done, why it was done, and the raw data is available then I don’t think it is that big of an issue. There is an ethical grey area between presenting a figure in the best format to show the most pertinent information and manipulating a figure to hide information that you don’t like.

  48. 348
    Fran Barlow says:

    re: Gavins response to ccook@102 — usage of “trick”

    sense of “the art of doing something” is first attested 1611. The verb is first attested 1595.

    Here in Australia, the use of the word “trick” in this sense (overcvoming a thorny problem) is very common. This is from the Austrialin Information Industry Association:

    Don’t smother the golden cloud goose. Avoid the temptation to impose the full baggage of legacy IT expectations, requirements and regulation upon cloud services.

    The cloud is by definition the standardisation and simplification antithesis of in-house IT. The trick is to apply cloud logic to those areas where in-house IT is failing your enterprise – rather than seeking to apply it (unjustifiably) to areas where in-house IT is already adequate.

    There’s also a song … the trick is to keep breathing by Troy Cino

    Here’s one I like, because it comes from the right-wing ideologue and climate change delusionist Janet Albrechtson. The usage is almost punning in this context:

    The Left has a gift for using clever language to push its causes. The trick is to start with a literal truth, a platitude so steeped in emotion it tugs on the heartstrings of human nature, something that just about every sane person will agree on. But what makes the use of a literal truth so seductive is the way it is used to hide a substantive untruth. A bit of intellectual rigour lifts the cloak on these dishonest word games. Just a few quick examples before we move to something far more serious.

    Albrechtson asserts, in effect trickery by the left but the usage of the word trick is still about a method for accomplishing something.

    It really is telling that once again, the delusionists on this issue have chosen to make the issue about something other than the basic science explaining the current climate anomaly, which is beyond serious demur.

    Satellite-based spectral analysis shows exactly what one would expect to find: a reduction of outgoing longwave radiation in the bands absorbed by CO2. Simple physics says that that radiation has to go somewhere and indeed, where it has gone has been into heating of the lower troposphere. No fiddling about and quote mining in emails can change that, more’s the pity.

  49. 349
    Llama Cheese says:

    Hey Gavin-
    I commend you on what you’ve done in this thread.
    I hope someone will read this, here past comment #240.
    Here is a report I’ve conducted on several of the main denialist quotes.
    Final Conclusions:
    Very few, if any, of the quotes I’ve analyzed have any kind of meaning at all, and are simply taken
    completely out of context by the denialists. However, the main thing Hockey Team themselves have to address as the FOIA issues brought up, as well as some other questionable quotes.

    Denialists make the same 3 basic mistakes over and over:
    A. They do not understand that the presentation and interpretations of scientific data are subjective; there
    is nothing wrong with changing an interpretation of the data, as long as it is still accurate.
    B. They have no sense of humor.
    C. They use quote mines sometimes so blatant that they must realize they are being purposefully misleading.

    So, let’s start.
    *Also, I better get a thank you for this*

    1. On “John Daly dead”

    In an odd way this is cheering news ! One other thing about the CC paper – just found
    another email – is that McKittrick says it is standard practice in Econometrics journals
    to give all the data and codes !! According to legal advice IPR overrides this.


    Phil was clearly joking. Even if he was partially serious, what does this have to do with the integrity of his research? What a pathetic attack.

    2. On “Diagram for WMO Statement”, or “Mike’s Nature trick”.
    From: Phil Jones
    To: ray bradley ,,
    Subject: Diagram for WMO Statement
    Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 13:31:15 +0000
    Cc: k.briffa@xxx.xx.xx,

    Dear Ray, Mike and Malcolm,
    Once Tim’s got a diagram here we’ll send that either later today or
    first thing tomorrow.
    I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps
    to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from
    1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline. Mike’s series got the annual
    land and marine values while the other two got April-Sept for NH land
    N of 20N. The latter two are real for 1999, while the estimate for 1999
    for NH combined is +0.44C wrt 61-90. The Global estimate for 1999 with
    data through Oct is +0.35C cf. 0.57 for 1998.
    Thanks for the comments, Ray.


    This is completely and totally explanable; the quote is taken completely out of context by the denialists. As explained by climateprogress:
    No doubt, instances of cherry-picked and poorly-worded “gotcha” phrases will be pulled out of context. One example is worth mentioning quickly. Phil Jones in discussing the presentation of temperature reconstructions stated that “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.” The paper in question is the Mann, Bradley and Hughes (1998) Nature paper on the original multiproxy temperature reconstruction, and the ‘trick’ is just to plot the instrumental records along with reconstruction so that the context of the recent warming is clear. Scientists often use the term “trick” to refer to a “a good way to deal with a problem”, rather than something that is “secret”, and so there is nothing problematic in this at all. As for the ‘decline’, it is well known that Keith Briffa’s maximum latewood tree ring density proxy diverges from the temperature records after 1960 (this is more commonly known as the “divergence problem”–see e.g. the recent discussion in this paper) and has been discussed in the literature since Briffa et al in Nature in 1998 (Nature, 391, 678-682). Those authors have always recommend not using the post 1960 part of their reconstruction, and so while ‘hiding’ is probably a poor choice of words (since it is ‘hidden’ in plain sight), not using the data in the plot is completely appropriate, as is further research to understand why this happens.

    3. On “letter to the Senate”, or “Private doubts about Climate Change

    Hi all – I’m not too comfortable with this, and would rather not sign – at least not
    without some real time to think it through and debate the issue. It is unprecedented and
    political, and that worries me.

    My vote would be that we don’t do this without a careful discussion first.

    I think it would be more appropriate for the AGU or some other scientific org to do this –
    e.g., in reaffirmation of the AGU statement (or whatever it’s called) on global climate

    Think about the next step – someone sends another letter to the Senators, then we respond,

    I’m not sure we want to go down this path. It would be much better for the AGU etc to do

    What are the precedents and outcomes of similar actions? I can imagine a special-interest
    org or group doing this like all sorts of other political actions, but is it something for
    scientists to do as individuals?

    Just seems strange, and for that reason I’d advise against doing anything with out real
    thought, and certainly a strong majority of co-authors in support.

    Cheers, Peck

    This is simply a scientist speaking his opinion about a political petition; he simply doesn’t want to sign it because it is too political, and it may require a more indepth discussion. That is all. It is absolutely bizarre that the denialists are citing this quote as if it is relevant to their claims.

    4.On “The Rules of the Game”

    Despite being called “Propaganda” and other such names by denialists, this is simply a pamphlet retrieved from the servers that gives scientists some tips on how to talk to the public about climate change. The pamphlet is on communication, something that traditionally, at least, scientists have been notoriously poor at. The fact that denialists have spoken out against this is obviously explained: They do not want the scientists communicating to the public; they’d rather have a monopoly on the media sources that the public listens to.(While, of course, the scientists have a monopoly on the only sources which matter: Scientific journals.)

    5. On “Private doubts about whether the world really is heating up”
    The idiot at the tabloid The Telegraph, James Delingpole, took the following quote completely out of context:
    The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a
    travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008
    shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing
    system is inadequate.

    The entire quote from Kevin shows just how out-of-context Delingpole’s example was:
    The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a
    travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008
    shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing
    system is inadequate.
    That said there is a LOT of nonsense about the PDO. People like CPC are tracking PDO on a
    monthly basis but it is highly correlated with ENSO. Most of what they are seeing is the
    change in ENSO not real PDO. It surely isn’t decadal. The PDO is already reversing with
    the switch to El Nino. The PDO index became positive in September for first time since
    Sept 2007. see

    In other words, Kevin explains himself fairly well.
    Even more damning is the fact that Kevin cites an article by himself a few lines beforehand. From that article:
    While a long-term trend is for global warming, short-term periods of cooling can occur and have physical causes associated with natural variability.
    The article by Kevin was written to, in fact, explain what he posts above.
    (this can be found here:
    Thus, Kevin is completely and totally secure in his acceptance of global warming; he is making a note about the recent, short term, effectively irrelevant decrease in temperature according to some data sources.
    Two notes:
    A. The evidence indicates beyond any doubt that the world has, in fact, warmed since 1998.
    B. Kevin is entitled to his opinion. It is absolutely bizarre that denialists are criticizing scientists to being open to the evidence at hand, and it says a lot about the pathetic, radical psyche of the denialist.

    6. On “Violence and Pat Michaels”
    Next time I see Pat Michaels at a scientific meeting, I’ll be tempted to beat
    the crap out of him. Very tempted.

    It is blatantly clear that Ben is not being serious. He is sending a personal email to a personal friend, and has every right to keep a light tone of humor in anger. It is obvious that legitimate anger is being expressed, but perfectly clear it is done so in a humorous way. Anyone interpreting this differently is making a blatant fool of themself.

    7. On “Attempts to disguise the inconvenient truth of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP)”

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

    This is, of course, absolutely bizarre. The “MWP” is not an “inconvenient truth”, and has very little to do with the scientific theory behind global warming. Additionally, of course, the denialist claim is a complete lie: The 2k timeline WILL contain the MWP in broad daylight! It will show ALL of the data for the past 2,000 years, which would include the MWP, but also properly show its irrelevance to the recent modern warming.
    It takes someone as insane as the denialist Delingpole, from whom this absurd idea steams, to somehow twist this to suggest that data is being concealed or withheld.

    8. On “Squeezing dissenting scientists out of the peer review process”
    “This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the “peer-reviewed literature”. Obviously, they found a solution to that–take over a journal! So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board…What do others think?”“I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor.”“It results from this journal having a number of editors. The responsible one for this is a well-known skeptic in NZ. He has let a few papers through by Michaels and Gray in the past. I’ve had words with Hans von Storch about this, but got nowhere. Another thing to discuss in Nice !”

    This is completely bizarre. Phil is simply suggesting that the group boycott/protest Climate Research due to the poor quality of the paper being discussed which was published within the journal. It is completely within his legitimate right to do so.

    9. On “Withholding information”, or “The Matlab Code”
    Dear Phil and Gabi,
    I’ve attached a cleaned-up and commented version of the matlab code that I wrote for doing the Mann and Jones (2003) composites. I did this knowing that Phil and I are likely to have to respond to more crap criticisms from the idiots in the near future, so best to clean up the code and provide to some of my close colleagues in case they want to test it, etc. Please feel free to use this code for your own internal purposes, but don’t pass it along where it may get into the hands of the wrong people.

    The code was used by Mann in a freely available peer review research paper, and the supplemental data was also supplied. Mann has released matlab code publicly in a more recent paper on a similar topic. To assume that there is something genuinely suspicious here is absurd.

    10. On “Reinterpreting the Record”, or “Modifying data”

    The Korttajarvi record was oriented in the reconstruction in the way that McIntyre said. I took a look at the original reference – the temperature proxy we looked at is x-ray density, which the author interprets to be inversely related to temperature. We had higher values as warmer in the reconstruction, so it looks to me like we got it wrong, unless we decided to reinterpret the record which I don’t remember. Darrell, does this sound right to you?

    Scientists interpret and reinterpret results all of the time; this is the point of science. It has absolutely nothing to do with the data. It is clear that the local kook at the Examiner, Tony Hake, understands little about science at all, which, of course, isn’t a surprise.

    11. On “acknowleding”* the Urban Effect
    From Tom Wigley (acknowleding the urban effect):

    We probably need to say more about this. Land warming since 1980 has been twice the ocean warming — and skeptics might claim that this proves that urban warming is real and important.

    *Nice spelling, Hake. Not only are you completely uneducated in the scientific field at hand, but you aren’t that good at grammar either, are you?

    It takes, quite simply, a denialist on the level of inanity of Hake to draw such bizarre conclusions from this quote. Wigley is simply suggesting that they should prepare for the denialists to run around screaming: “LOL URBAN EFFECT!1111”. Of course, numerous studies into the effect of urban heat island effect and microsite influences find they have negligible effect on long term trends, particularly when averaged over large regions. Apparently Hake is unaware of this, or, just possibly, he’s being a purposefully misleading scum bag.

    12. On “Not about the Truth”
    Note created November 20, 2009 • Last edited November 20, 2009 by
    Perhaps we’ll do a simple update to the Yamal post, e.g. linking Keith/s new page–Gavin t? As to the issues of robustness, particularly w.r.t. inclusion of the Yamal series, we actually emphasized that (including the Osborn and Briffa ’06 sensitivity test) in our original post! As we all know, this isn’t about truth at all, its about plausibly deniable accusations.

    Wait a second. What’s Hake’s idea here? That Mann is an evil, sadistic maniac who is knowingly lying to the public and is here conversing with his evil henchmen about their latest plan to fool the public?
    It is not quite clear from the wording what Mann is referring to; the wording is vague. Most likely, he is talking about the denialist psyche: the rest of the E-mail thread is talking about a reply to the denialist McIntyre.
    Ironically, Hake’s proved Mann’s point here. For Hake, this, of course, has nothing to do with truth: He doesn’t even come close to understanding the science at hand, and certainly doesn’t try to learn. It has everything to do with smearing a few scientists who have reached conclusions he disagrees with without even understanding.

    13. On Real Climate
    Anyway, I wanted you guys to know that you’re free to use RC [ – A supposed neutral climate change website] Rein any way you think would be helpful. Gavin and I are going to be careful about what comments we screen through, and we’ll be very careful to answer any questions that come up to any extent we can. On the other hand, you might want to visit the thread and post replies yourself. We can hold comments up in the queue and contact you about whether or not you think they should be screened through or not, and if so, any comments you’d like us to include.

    Hake makes the error in assuming that Real Climate is neutral. It certainly is not: Real Climate is biased very much so towards science, rationality, and applied reason. In other words, it is biased against Hake’s insane psyche. Does he even have a point here?

    14. On “Deleting it as appropriate”
    Hake’s quote:
    The skeptics seem to be building up a head of steam here! … The IPCC comes in for a lot of stick. Leave it to you to delete as appropriate! Cheers Phil
    And the real quote:
    Also ignored Francis’ comment about all the other series looking similar
    to MBH.
    The IPCC comes in for a lot of stick.
    Leave it to you to delete as appropriate !

    Ah, a classic, obvious, blatant quote mine from the pathetic scum bag who is Tony Hake. When we look at the whole quote, it becomes obvious that Phil is talking about a comment on his blog, and not some mysterious, evil data.

    15. On a “Freedom of Information Act”
    PS I’m getting hassled by a couple of people to release the CRU station temperature data. Don’t any of you three tell anybody that the UK has a Freedom of Information Act !

    What. Hake is actually serious.
    Here, ladies and gentlemen, we see the climax of Hake’s stupidity.
    Phil is joking. All of the CRU station data is available online.
    Hake is unbelievably stupid.

    16. On the ‘1940s blip”

    Phil, Here are some speculations on correcting SSTs to partly explain the 1940s warming blip. If you look at the attached plot you will see that the land also shows the 1940s blip (as I’m sure you know). So, if we could reduce the ocean blip by, say, 0.15 degC, then this would be significant for the global mean — but we’d still have to explain the land blip. I’ve chosen 0.15 here deliberately. This still leaves an ocean blip, and i think one needs to have some form of ocean blip to explain the land blip (via either some common forcing, or ocean forcing land, or vice versa, or all of these). When you look at other blips, the land blips are 1.5 to 2 times (roughly) the ocean blips — higher sensitivity plus thermal inertia effects. My 0.15 adjustment leaves things consistent with this, so you can see where I am coming from. Removing ENSO does not affect this. It would be good to remove at least part of the 1940s blip, but we are still left with “why the blip”. Let me go further. If you look at NH vs SH and the aerosol effect (qualitatively or with MAGICC) then with a reduced ocean blip we get continuous warming in the SH, and a cooling in the NH — just as one would expect with mainly NH aerosols. The other interesting thing is (as Foukal et al. note — from MAGICC) that the 1910-40 warming cannot be solar. The Sun can get at most 10% of this with Wang et al solar, less with Foukal solar. So this may well be NADW, as Sarah and I noted in 1987 (and also Schlesinger later). A reduced SST blip in the 1940s makes the 1910-40 warming larger than the SH (which it currently is not) — but not really enough. So … why was the SH so cold around 1910? Another SST problem? (SH/NH data also attached.) This stuff is in a report I am writing for EPRI, so I’d appreciate any comments you (and Ben) might have. Tom.

    The 1940s warming blip is a legitimate error in the historical data that needs to be fixed. It has been explained and corrected on the blog, Real Climate.

    17. On “Refusing to send McIntyre data”

    We should be able to conduct our scientific research without constant fear of an “audit” by Steven McIntyre; without having to weigh every word we write in every email we send to our scientific colleagues. In my opinion, Steven McIntyre is the self-appointed Joe McCarthy of climate science. I am unwilling to submit to this McCarthy-style investigation of my scientific research. As you know, I have refused to send McIntyre the “derived” model data he requests, since all of the primary model data necessary to replicate our results are freely available to him. I will continue to refuse such data requests in the future. Nor will I provide McIntyre with computer programs, email correspondence, etc. I feel very strongly about these issues. We should not be coerced by the scientific equivalent of a playground bully. I will be consulting LLNL’s Legal Affairs Office in order to determine how the DOE and LLNL should respond to any FOI requests that we receive from McIntyre.

    Karl refuses to send McIntyre data, because, as he explains in the next sentence, ” all of the primary model data necessary to replicate our results are freely available to him.”. Not to mention that McIntyre has consistently harassed him about data which he is hardly qualified to comment on.

    19. On “Bad Behavior”
    Proving bad behavior here is very difficult. If you think that Saiers is in the greenhouse skeptics camp, then, if we can find documentary evidence of this, we could go through official AGU channels to get him ousted.

    And here is the full context:
    >> > This is truly awful. GRL has gone downhill rapidly in recent years.
    >> > I think the decline began before Saiers. I have had some unhelpful
    >> > dealings with him recently with regard to a paper Sarah and I have
    >> > on glaciers — it was well received by the referees, and so is in
    >> > the publication pipeline. However, I got the impression that Saiers was
    >> > trying to keep it from being published. Proving bad behavior here is very difficult. If you think that
    >> > Saiers is in the greenhouse skeptics camp, then, if we can find
    >> > documentary evidence of this, we could go through official AGU channels to get him ousted. Even this would be difficult.

    It is clear that Mike is suggesting that the discussed poor quality of GRL may be due to bias on the part of Saiers, and shining light on this bias might fix the problem.

  50. 350
    Timothy Chase says:

    MC wrote:

    Yes, we all know the meaning of the word ‘trick’. That’s not a particularly interesting word in that sentence. I’m much more interested in the word ‘hide’. Perhaps you should stop this inane discussion of the word trick and focus more on defending the appropriateness of massaging the data with a techniques to hide a divergence problem?

    Inline, Gavin responded:

    [Response: How is publishing a result in Nature ‘hiding’ it? – gavin]

    MC, you might actually want to check out the “divergence problem” that they were trying to “hide.” It turns out that some studies with some populations of trees show it, others do not. Its been suggested that at least some of the divergence problem may be the result of drought related stress. Ozone is another possible culprit. What I myself find most interesting is the possibility that it is related to the phenomena of global dimming. We know that as the result of fossil fuel combustion aerosols (reflective and non-reflective) reduce the amount of sunlight that reaches the surface — and would adversely affect plant growth.

    Here is one paper:

    R. D’Arrigo et al.(2008) On the ‘Divergence Problem’ in Northern Forests: A review of the tree-ring evidence and possible causes, Global and Planetary Change 60, pp 289–305

    … but there are others which — like the above — are accessible through Google Scholar.

    Global dimming is an interesting phenomena — both scientifically and in terms of its implications. Such as the fact that at least in part it has masked the global warming effects increased greenhouse gasses by reducing the sunlight that reaches surface prior to its conversion to thermal energy and thermal radiation. The trend towards global dimming appears to have been reversed for a time during the 1990s — as the result of more effective pollution laws I believe — but more recently reversed again, possibly with the effects of the Asian Brown Cloud.

    But as I have said, it is only one possibility. There are other potential causes of the divergence problem. I suspect that each plays some part, although some may be more important than others. Personally I would expect global dimming to be a bigger factor than ozone. But it is still an open question, it would appear that each credible factor is anthropogenic in origin, and each has implications which reach well beyond tree rings.