Can we leave out the -gate trash? We had a big argument on wiki about this, and the wacko POV-pushers lost, hurrah. So none of that here, thanks.

Keith “baby killer Kloor strokes my ego so outrageously that I can’t find it in me to rage much that apparently I failed to use [my] influential corner of the climate blogosphere to foster a healthy discussion of the salient issues, be it the integrity of the peer review process, FOIA evasion, CRU data storage, or the “tribalism” that Curry notes. Connolley appears to be taking a nothing to see here, move along attitude. (don’t miss comment #1, BTW).

Anyway, its been a while now, I’ve forgotten what I wrote (ah, while I’m there, I should point out that it has been categorically denied that James was anywhere near the gonads in question). So I see I palmed off all the heavy argument to JEB, and I still think that was a good idea. I’ve been busy with the wacko’s on wiki, as you’ll see if you visit [[Talk:Climatic Research Unit e-mail hacking incident]].

But since Keith raises some specific issues, I’ll answer them briefly:

* integrity of peer review: nothing very interesting there. We have the CR scandal, but that is from the other side. There is the > ahem < of McLean et al. – I keep mentionning that, but no-one is ever interested :-(. Go on Keith, have a look, don’t be tribal :-). There are indeed interesting issues around peer review, but the current excietment has not illuminated those issues. You’ll find more interesting discussion within the narrow compass of JEB, and previous than you will in the mess of reaction to the hacking.
* FOIA evasion: I’m still not seeing this, though I accept views are somewhat polarised. McI and fanboyz made an unreasonable number of FOI requests, largely for data that wasn’t CRU’s. CRU, correctly, refused.
* CRU data storage: same again, sorry. CRU, rather a long time ago, threw away some data that wasn’t theirs. If you read the more eccentric frothy parts of the blogosphere, this is whipped up into a conspiracy to… well, I don’t know.
* Tribalism. I suppose I’m tribal because I don’t agree this is a scandal (well, the hacking was scandalous, we’re all agreed on that, of course, not that you’d know it if you read certain blogs). So, Keith can have his tgribalism test: what does he think about Zorita calling for Rahmstorf to be banned from IPCC? Remember: be forthright; no weaselling.

[Update: read Nurture -W]

Comments

  1. #1 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2009/12/03

    W,

    What is your reference for the claim of an unreasonable number of FOI requests to CRU? If true it would be a reason to stop responding or at least be slow about it.

  2. #2 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2009/12/03

    And I don’t think CRU ever claimed that the vast majority of the data wasn’t theirs to release, just a small percentage from places with confidentiality agreements. What is your basis for saying that the FOI requests couldn’t be honored?

    [Some *could* not be honoured, due to confidenitality. But all requests for the *raw* data were spurious, since the raw data isn't CRU's. For those, CRU has the option of responding. They respond nicely to serious people -W]

  3. #3 Eli Rabett
    2009/12/03

    No weaseling on Stoat. What happened, the relatives are no longer welcome? According to Gavin Schmidt the number was about 50.

  4. #4 kkloor
    2009/12/03

    William, you still disappoint me. Since I mentioned Curry and Hulme in my original post yesterday, they have appeared in multiple other forums, offering some very interesting and candid commentary on this affair. In short, they are not as charitable as you are. And they obviously cannot be dismissed or waved away as frothing “denialists.”

    In sum, they believe what has been revealed in the emails should serve a “wake-up call” for climate science. I’m not going to sum up their arguments, as I’m sure most, if not all of your readers are familiar with them.

    So perhaps in another post, or in a comment on this thread, I’d be curious to know what you make of what they’ve been saying.

    Now as to those specific issues I raised–and your counters–well, I’m not so sure it’s as open and shut as you make it out to be. Let me be clear, I’m not taking sides here, I was just wondering out loud if there was anything to all this that deserved some frank discussion at your site. You seem to think not. So I raised a few of the main issues. It especially surprises me that you can’t even bring yourself to engage the “tribalism” charge. Of all the issues brought to light, that just seems the most plainly obvious one. Again, nothing here worth debating?

    As for the Zorita test, I honestly don’t get the question. Is this supposed to be a case of another kind of tribalism? I’m not familiar with the particulars of the case, so perhaps that’s why I’m having trouble with the question. So let me weasel out of that one for the moment.

    [The Zorita test is very simple. I thought I'd made the trail easy enough to follow. Allow me to simplify it for you. Zorita (http://coast.gkss.de/staff/zorita/myview.html) "explains" Why I think that Michael Mann, Phil Jones and Stefan Rahmstorf should be barred from the IPCC process. Laying aside Mann and Jones for the moment, the question for you to consider is Rahmstorf. Do you think that Z lays out a strong (or even a weak) case for R to be banned from IPCC? Do you, indeed, see any case at all for R to be banned from IPCC? This is your tribalism test. You've failed it once (apparently, I'm obliged to be interested in questions that interest you, but you have no reciprocal obligation - isn't that curious?), don't fail it again. Once you've taken the test, I'll address your other points -W]

    I do agree that the term “climategate” is a lazy and loaded term. However, it’s been fairly widely adopted in the media, so it serves as a convenient shorthand, like it or not. You may not like what it implies, but I suspect that generalist readers are interpreting it more as a feverish controversy than an actual “scandal”– for the time being.

  5. #5 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2009/12/03

    ER,

    You can’t count repeated requests for the same information, and Gavin is hardly a reliable primary source. How many FOI requests were positively responded to. It is pretty predictable that if an FOI request is stonewalled there will be another one.

  6. #6 Paul Kelly
    2009/12/03

    I’ve been calling it Climataopia. Gate should apply to political scandals. This one is scientific. Can we borrow a suffix from in academia? Climagradeinflation?

    Love the typo in the update link. Nature or nurture, that is the question. The editorial is as overheated and hyper partisan as a Joe Romm post.

  7. #7 Eli Rabett
    2009/12/03

    Let’s see. Eli and his hundreds of bunny friends each write to the University of Colorado to demand all the data, drafts, Email comments and communications with the editors used in the production of Klotzbach. Nah, that would be just peachy keen.

    FWIW, the 50 that Gavin used is less than the 100 that has kicked around.

  8. #8 Tom C
    2009/12/03

    #7 Eli Rabett

    [Cut. Politeness, please]

  9. #9 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2009/12/03

    ER,

    Let’s assume that you first asked for the data from Colorado and then were stonewalled. Then you issued a FOIA request, which probably wouldn’t apply in this case, and the response was negative based on some technicality. And then you issued fifty more requests for the same information. I don’t see the problem.

    This whole thing strikes me like the person who kills his parents throwing himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan. All they had to do was make the data available in the first place, which was their responsibility, and none of this would have happened.

    I’m looking for a documented case of what they are complaining about. An information request came in. They fully complied. No foot dragging or partial responses. Then they keep getting bombarded with incremental follow on requests. Where is the evidence for that?

    The emails make it pretty clear that neither Jones or Mann can claim that.

  10. #10 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2009/12/04

    Tom,

    Actually McIntyre did request emails that had to do with deliberations on AR4. His contention was that those were supposed to be public records, not done in secret.

    It might seem unreasonable, but now that we see the emails we find out that indeed Jones et al were trying to “redefine what peer reviewed means” in order to keep out papers that they didn’t agree with. It was reasonable for the chapter authors to select the papers that they wanted to include, but they needed to do it in the open, not in smoke filled rooms.

    On this issue it reminds of Elaine on Seinfeld being accused of throwing a coat out a window (after she in fact through the coat out the window). She is upset because the person making the accusation couldn’t know that she was the one who through the coat out. Jerry replies “but you did throw it out.”

  11. #11 Dale Husband
    2009/12/04

    Are you for real? None of your arguments make sense to me, and I used to be a strong supporter of the man-made global warming hypothesis. Now I’m becoming a skeptic about it.

    * integrity of peer review: nothing very interesting there. We have the CR scandal, but that is from the other side. There is the (ahem) of McLean et al. – I keep mentionning that, but no-one is ever interested . Go on Keith, have a look, don’t be tribal . There are indeed interesting issues around peer review, but the current excietment has not illuminated those issues. You’ll find more interesting discussion within the narrow compass of JEB, and previous than you will in the mess of reaction to the hacking.
    You are supposed to be BETTER than your opponents. If you are not, how can we ever be certain which side is more credible?

    [I've deleted some of your emphais. Please don't shout. We are indeed better than our opponents. You are missing the point: that very little of interest re peer review has come up. For papers directly related to this question, the major points of interest are the absurdly easy treatment various rubbishy septic papers receive. Oddly, you don't seem very interested in that (nor it would seem is Keith). JEB has a discussion of a number of other interesting issues around peer review. You should go there and read them -W]

    * FOIA evasion: I’m still not seeing this, though I accept views are somewhat polarised. McI and fanboyz made an unreasonable number of FOI requests, largely for data that wasn’t CRU’s. CRU, correctly, refused.

    Which is exactly why data should not be considered owned by ANY person or institution. The very idea impedes scientific progress and make fraud more likely.

    [I agree with this idea. In this instance, however, you need to take your case not to CRU, which is innocent, but to the national meteorological servies who paid for this data to be gathered and who assert ownership -W]

    * CRU data storage: same again, sorry. CRU, rather a long time ago, threw away some data that wasn’t theirs. If you read the more eccentric frothy parts of the blogosphere, this is whipped up into a conspiracy to… well, I don’t know.

    Data should NEVER be thrown away by anyone for any reason!

    [Sorry, but this is an extremely silly thing to say. Data is contsantly and correctly being thrown away by large numbers of people -W]

    * Tribalism. I suppose I’m tribal because I don’t agree this is a scandal (well, the hacking was scandalous, we’re all agreed on that, of course, not that you’d know it if you read certain blogs). So, Keith can have his tgribalism test: what does he think about Zorita calling for Rahmstorf to be banned from IPCC? Remember: be forthright; no weaselling.

    Well, I support the man-made global warming theory and yet I agree that what the people of CRU did was wrong. So I guess I am not “tribal”. Instead, I am objectively HONORABLE!

    [Self-decalred honour is not interesting -W]

  12. #12 Paul Middents
    2009/12/04

    Dale, [cut] Calm down.

    Have you ever done any science? Have ever been or are you now a member of anything that might be considered a tribe?

    [Cut] you add nothing to the debate. Maybe when the investigation at UEA is complete we might be able to learn something.

    Give due process a little chance.

    [Folks, debate gets heated. Sometimes even I get a little heated, but its my blog. I'll try harder to set an example but pelase keep comments focussed as far as possible on science not people, and when on people be polite -W]

  13. #13 Eli Rabett
    2009/12/04

    FWIW Colorado has a strong Public (Open) Records Law, with some interesting twists

    http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives/open/00openrec.htm

    They define state institution to specifically include the University. So you get this weird dichotomy (to Eli at least) that Email is probably subject to Open Record requests

    “24-72-204.5. Adoption of electronic mail policy.
    (1) On or before July 1, 1997, the state or any agency, institution, or political subdivision thereof that operates or maintains an electronic mail communications system shall adopt a written policy on any monitoring of electronic mail communications and the circumstances under which it will be conducted.
    (2) The policy shall include a statement that correspondence of the employee in the form of electronic mail may be a public record under the public records law and may be subject to public inspection under section 24-72-203.”

    while research projects may not be

    “(2) (a) The custodian may deny the right of inspection of the following records, unless otherwise provided by law, on the ground that disclosure to the applicant would be contrary to the public interest:

    (III) The specific details of bona fide research projects being conducted by a state institution, including, without limitation, research projects undertaken by staff or service agencies of the general assembly or the office of the governor in connection with pending or anticipated legislation;”

    Note the word MAY. It was a guess to be honest, but states in the US can have very strong open record laws. The opportunities for mischief could be endless.

  14. #14 Eli Rabett
    2009/12/04

    It gets stranger. The CU policy on electronic mail is

    https://www.cu.edu/policies/policies/IT_Email.html

    F. Public Inspection, Retention, and Archiving of Electronic Mail

    1. Public Inspection of Electronic Mail

    Communications of University employees in the form of electronic mail may constitute “correspondence” and therefore may be a public record subject to public inspection under C.R.S. 24-72-203 of the Colorado Public Records Act.

    2. Retention and Archiving of Electronic Mail

    Electronic mail messages produced or stored using state-owned equipment or software generally are excluded from the definition of “records” subject to the provisions of the State Archives and Public Records Act, C.R.S. 24-80-101, et seq.

    Note, however, that if the recipient of electronic mail messages has previously segregated and stored such messages as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the University or because of the value of the official University data contained therein, then such messages must be retained, archived, and destroyed in compliance with the relevant portions of the State Archives and Public Records Act.

    Also somewhere it said that CU does not archive all incoming mail, probably for this reason. And so to bed

  15. #15 James Annan
    2009/12/04

    Am I allowed to rage that Keith “No I’m not going to read Superfreakonomics because I’d rather snipe at people from a position of invincible ignorance” Kloor didn’t even mention my humble blog where there have been several discussions on related topics? I suppose that’s one more thing he didn’t want to read.

    :-)

    [That is part of what I find rather irritating about all the shouts of "tribal"; you have (let me say it again, and stroke *your* ego) a far more interesting and readable account of peer review problems on your blog than has appeared within the froth of the "scandal". But since you aren't saying what the froth want to hear, they won't listen or even read. I did try to point that CM at you too, not sure if that did any good -W]

    I do like “Fascist of Wikipedia” though. You should adopt that one as your by-line.

    [There was a proposal that I adopt "No Bullshit" as my arbcomm slogan -W]

  16. #16 Steve Bloom
    2009/12/04

    The SF non-reading business was because Keith doesn’t like sniping at fellow members of the journalism tribe. That Dubner has yet to be exiled to the post of copy boy at the Nome Muskeg-Yakherder is an indictment of the journalism “profession.” (Stop to note that I quite like and respect a number of individual journalists.) Actually I think they’re all quite jealous of him for getting rich on popular pseudo-journalism, but won’t breathe a word of criticism since they all dream of doing the same.

    What’s especially depressing about Keith and a few other journos is that they can read a piece of crap like Hulme’s WSJ piece and think it’s incisive. That’s evidence of some majorly fuzzed-out brains IMHO.

  17. #17 Patrick Caldon
    2009/12/04

    http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090812/full/460787a.html

    (quote:)

    Between 24 July and 29 July of this year, CRU received 58 freedom-of-information-act requests from McIntyre and people affiliated with Climate Audit, requesting access to the data or information about their use. In the past month, the UK Met Office, which receives a cleaned-up version of the raw data from CRU, has received ten requests of its own.

  18. #18 Douglas Watts
    2009/12/04

    There are indeed interesting issues around peer review, but the current excitement has not illuminated those issues.

    One of the most succinct and accurate assessments of the entire kerfluffle.

  19. #19 Eli Rabett
    2009/12/04

    Douglas, there were a set of interesting comments on peer review at the Empty Place about a week ago. It was almost as much fun as watching Ein Nordegren smash Tiger Wood’s head in with a wedge

  20. #20 Tom C
    2009/12/04

    #10 Nicholas

    Eli gave an example of demanding E-mails relating to the publication of a technical paper in a journal. McIntyre did not do this for any of Mann’s papers. Requesting E-mails relating to the AR4 review process is another matter entirely.

  21. #21 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2009/12/04

    Tom,

    I agree with that point.

    W,

    I don’t see any evidence yet for your assertion of an unreasonable number of FOI requests.

    [Perhaps we have a different idea of "unreasonable". 50+ requests for - well, for what, are you asserting that you know what is in them all? - sounds unreasonable to me -W]

    I don’t agree about their need to disclose the data. [Cut. Sorry, this comes under "if you have nothing new to say, don't say it". Sorry, its my blog, I get to have the last word if I want to. If you have anything new though, please say it -W]

    If in fact that long ago they lost this original data, then a simple reply would have been that they no longer had the data being requested. That would have saved a whole lot of trouble. They never sent that reply for some inexplicable reason.

    [I think it is quite clear that you are very trusting of the McI side. Your belief that McI would have quietly been satisfied with this strikes me as deeply naive, at best. But you aren't. Please - if you have new things, say them. But not otherwise -W]

    If you say they didn’t want people to know they had lost the data, then your item about data storage isn’t quite right either.

  22. #22 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2009/12/04

    Patrick,

    The July requests are repeated requests for the same information. This doesn’t fit the meme of reasonable scientists who had openly responded to a series of requests and then get bombarded for incremental information that they finally tire of.

    They stuffed the FOI requests with various excuses about who was making the request. So the obvious response was that lots of people with various backgrounds turned around and made the request.

  23. #23 Harold Brooks
    2009/12/04

    The July requests are repeated requests for the same information. This doesn’t fit the meme of reasonable scientists who had openly responded to a series of requests and then get bombarded for incremental information that they finally tire of.

    If they were repeated requests for the same information, then McIntyre was completely out of line. 58 requests during 32 working hours (assuming an 8 hour work day) is bombardment. I can’t imagine that the receipt of the request doesn’t require the recipient to do some record-keeping that the request came in. In my organization, at least a few people would have to be notified and take some kind of action (even if it’s just to say no). I’d be surprised if it isn’t a minimum of 2 person-hours, or ~15 person-days generated by McIntyre’s requests. That’s not even considering that he most likely made those requests from Canada and that there’s a good chance many of them arrived outside of working hours in the UK.

  24. #24 carrot eater
    2009/12/04

    22, NN: And just like that, harassing behavior is made into the fault of the harassed.

    One thing that is clear from the emails is that nobody involved was particularly inclined to do Steve McIntyre any favors. Bare minimum, and that’s it. Is that bad? It isn’t great, I say, but it has little to do with anybody being afraid of SM finding any major error, and everything to do with a perception of a lack of good faith. I’m guessing most people unfamiliar with the whole history would not know that context.

  25. #25 Eli Rabett
    2009/12/04

    Anyone know who the FOI requests were sent to? In most situations the proper place is to send them to the public relations office or the general counsel and the information can be found on the website for the organization. Sending them directly to the person who you assume has the information can easily be harassment.

  26. #26 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2009/12/04

    Carrott and Harold,

    Phil Jones had no intention of every releasing information or complying with the FOIA. This email is from 2005, long before the first FOI request was filed. Jones makes it clear his intention to delete the file rather than turn it over if an FOIA request is filed. And guess what they now claim that it has been deleted.

    And Carrot Eater, I think you need to document a history of “bad faith” pre 2005, to make your statement work.

    Jones comments that McIntyre and McKitrick have been “after the data for years.” Jones has no intention of giving it to them, even if they figure out that about the UK FOIA.

    [Email deleted. I'm a little wary of quoting these things here, please don't -W]

  27. #27 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2009/12/04

    W,

    Ok what about a link? You have to read this stuff to really get the idea.

    [Sure, write it up on your blog and post a link for those interested -W]

  28. #28 NicolasNierenberg
    2009/12/04

    I am planning to blog about this. But I already included the link in the prior post. :-)

  29. #29 wildlifer
    2009/12/04

    Nicolas Nierenberg,

    What part of they had no right to release the raw met service data, are you failing to grasp?
    I read the rhetorical bluster in the emails as Jones adhering to CRUs obligations to the met services.

    McIntyre accepts donations on his website and he easily could have had a fund raiser to collect funds with which to purchase the data from the met services (if his purpose was really to “audit the data” CRU was prohibited from releasing rather than just make noise). No brainer.

    [Actually this isn't really fair. While the problem with releaasing the data is confidentiality, which is probably related to a paranoid desire on the part of the NMS's to reserve the right to make money, in practice many of them would be so clueless about this that they likely wouldn't know what to do with a request to buy the data if it were made. Not our own glorious Met Office, of course, which is fully geared up to waste money on its commercial division -W]

  30. #30 P. Lewis
    2009/12/04

    Frankly I don’t see any upside to this affair, at least at the moment, not when you get Copenhagen attendees saying the following:

    Saudi Arabia’s lead climate negotiator told BBC News that the e-mail row will have a “huge impact” on next week’s UN climate summit in Copenhagen.

    Mohammad Al-Sabban said that he expected it to derail the single biggest objective of the summit – to agree limitations on greenhouse gas emissions.

    “It appears from the details of the scandal that there is no relationship whatsoever between human activities and climate change,” he suggested.

    Granted, IIRC, this is somewhat in line with the past experiences with Saudi Arabian delegates’ involvements with the IPCC policymakers’ summaries, but this seems to have hardened their attitude somewhat.

    If I were a conspiracy theorist …

    Was that right? [Rumour, started by me] MI5/6 have been called in to investigate aspects of the hack?

  31. #31 thomas hine
    2009/12/04

    Did I see “FOI request” and “colorado” . . . um, nice knowing you.

  32. #32 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2009/12/04

    wildlifer,

    I’m afraid you aren’t keeping up. He says he would delete the data rather than turning it over. Why would he need to delete the data if he can’t turn it over? Why is it even an issue at all? Confidentiality agreements, if there really were any, applied to an incredibly small amount of the data.

    [Yeeeessss - that is in one of the hacked texts. However, he may have been joking; something of a rhetorical figure of speech. I do not believe that he could possibly have meant that seriously, in regard to any raw irreplaceable data in his care. As to the idea that only a small fraction of data was covered - I dno't think you understand the practicalities. It wasn't in some database carefully tagged by licence agreement, allowing a trivial selection by free or not. It would have been necessary to pick through and work out what was covered by what, not an easy task at all. Or, at least, that would be my best guess -W]

    Secondly Jones refused to even release a list of the stations used.

    [Probably because it was in a paper -W]

    Anyway if you can read that email and not understand what the problem is then I’m not sure anything I will say will make any difference to you.

    [Aren't we all in a similar position? We've all read stuff, and at least in terms of teh vocal people, no-one is changing their minds. Poissonally (but I would say this, wouldn't I?) I think this points to this being a manufactured controversy: it is being used by misc people to prop up what they already wanted to think. Can you point to anyone who has (credibly) said "I used to believe in GW, now I don't"? (this is not a rhetorical question) -W]

  33. #33 thingsbreak
    2009/12/04

    From Kloor: Megan McArdle’s serious grappling of the affair

    This made my entire week. Thanks for bringing the lulz, KKloor!

  34. #34 P. Lewis
    2009/12/04

    NN seems to be perpetually pushing the straw man of the CRU avoiding the FoI requests. It’s tiresome. True, the UEA/CRU had thus far failed to release the requested information (with stated reasons, as they are bound by law to do), but had the requesters followed up their requests as far as they are allowed to by UK law? I think not. Therefore, everything done so far in not releasing the information is entirely legal. Is it not?

    For the umpteenth time here and elsewhere, this is what they can do, and what they should have done if they had “really” wanted the info:

    If your request is refused, you should first ask the public authority for an internal review of their decision. Someone in the authority who was not connected with the initial decision should carry out this review.

    If you have already done this, or the public authority refuses to review their decision, you can appeal to the independent Information Commissioner. He has the power to investigate the way the public authority handled your request and the answer they gave. If he agrees that they have wrongly withheld information, he can order them to disclose it to you.

    But no, it’s easier to carp and to destroy by innuendo and calumny.

  35. #35 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2009/12/04

    P. Lewis,

    I don’t’ even understand your point. The only reason for all those appeals processes is when the organization doesn’t do what they should have done in the first place.

    And to the extent that those appeals are actually utilized everyone screams bloody murder over the terrible harassment that the CRU scientists are subjected to.

  36. #36 kkloor
    2009/12/04

    William,

    Thanks for the do-over. I’ve got my #2 pencil in hand now. And my answer is: Zorita makes absolutely no case whatsoever in his open letter for Mann, Jones and Stefan Rahmstorf to be banned from IPCC. In fact, I’d go so far to say that the Zorita open letter is as vapid and content-free as Curry’s “circling of the wagons” letters are incisive and substantive.

    [OK, you pass. Thanks :-) -W]

    She lands direct hits in a measured fashion. He’s obviously lashing out in a way that comes off as unprofessional. But he doesn’t even make a case, which is puzzling. It’s like he was doodling or something. Very weird.

    Anyway, I never said this tribalism thing was monolithic. Obviously, there are tribes within tribes (or are they clans?). But to Curry’s larger point, the reaction by you and most others in the climate science community–which is to play down the significance of this affair–seems evidence of her tribalism charge.

    [This bit I can't agree with. You are, I think, attempting a rhetorical point here: I hold a certain point of view - that view hasn't been modified by these emails - therefore I'm tribal. But that position can't be distingusihed from me correectly not changing my views, because these emails are indeed of no scientific importance. Actually I think that is slightly unfair because I don't think you're saying these emails are of any scientific importance - you don't assert that any results change, or our interpretation of any results change - do you? -W]

    And let’s leave climate advocates out of the equation for the moment, people like Steve Bloom, who (as he does in a comment in this thread) simply dismiss out of hand a well argued WSJ column by Hulme as “crap.” That kind of response just shows another type vapidity.

    I had expected a little soul searching from you and your peers, but it seems Curry and Hulme are among the few truly troubled by what has emerged thus far. The dominant attitude seems to be, “I can’t believe we have to deal with this…”

    [The results of soul searching aren't necessaily public; you simply can't tell how much soul searching has gone on. I've searched my soul but haven't found very much :-). Again, ref my point re tribalism -W]

    Guess what: it aint going away. So denial of its import will not serve the climate community well. But a larger discussion taking up Curry’s and Hulme’s points would help, methinks.

    [I need to actually read their points some time. Mail me the links (yes, again :-() and I will -W]

  37. #37 Marco
    2009/12/04

    @Nicolas Nierenberg: What’s your evidence to claim the 50+ FOI requests were “appeals”? Only the original applicant can file an appeal, not the 50+ others…

    Moreover, Jones’ remark about rather deleting the file is a very good example of sarcasm. People say similar things on a daily basis (I’d rather smash my car then give it to my ex-wife; I’d rather bite my tongue off; I’d rather cut off my hand; etc.). How many do you know that actually follow up on such remarks?

  38. #38 carrot eater
    2009/12/04

    “And Carrot Eater, I think you need to document a history of “bad faith” pre 2005, to make your statement work.”

    Anybody want to take this task on? I haven’t the time, nor the proximity to do it justice. I’d guess our host doesn’t want to host a McBashing party, either. But I think there has been a presumption of bad faith for quite some time, and that your reputation precedes you. To the extent that you see or don’t see ‘tribalism’, it’s wrapped up in this matter. If you see Steve McI as some sort of honest and competent crusader, you’ll see the scientists as being venal and vindictive. If you see him as something rather less than that, you’ll have a different view.

  39. #39 Tim Lambert
    2009/12/04

    NN says: “Jones refused to even release a list of the stations used.”

    Untrue. They released the list of the stations used. The data for 95% of them is available from GHCN. Their method is described in the paper cited on their web site. So why didn’t the skeptics just see if they could reproduce CRU temps using the publicly available data?

    I think we all know the answer to that question.

  40. #40 dhogaza
    2009/12/04

    You can’t count repeated requests for the same information

    .

    Of course you can. Each has to be handled individually by the assigned information officer, each takes university resources to address and answer, etc.

  41. #41 dhogaza
    2009/12/04

    Dale Husband says:

    Data should NEVER be thrown away by anyone for any reason!

    Well, the UK Met Office disagrees with you, Dale.

    If you receive data from them, you must adhere to the following:

    Once the project work using the data has been completed, copies of the datasets and software held by the end user should be deleted, unless permission has been obtained for them to be retained for some alternative use.

    They *require* you to delete your copy of the data and code, unless they explicitly give you permission to keep it.

  42. #42 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2009/12/04

    Tim Lambert,

    To the extent the CRU station list was eventually released, and I think it was post 2005, it was under pressure. It is my understanding that it was very grudging.

  43. #43 Hank Roberts
    2009/12/04

    > The only reason for all those appeals processes is
    > when the organization doesn’t do what they should have done

    You imagine that the appeals process exists only because the organization can be wrong, but the requester is never wrong.

    You’re wrong about that.

  44. #44 carrot eater
    2009/12/04

    However begrudged you think it was, the list is available. Has anybody in the other ‘tribe’ done anything useful with it?

    The GHCN is there to play with, as the USHCN. If somebody doesn’t like GISS or CRU’s methodology, they’re quite free to develop their own product, and publish their methods and results for all to see. It isn’t the last 2% of raw data used by HadCru (or whatever it is), that’s holding you back.

  45. #45 Ian
    2009/12/04

    @ kkloor: “a well argued WSJ column by Hulme…”

    I thought the Hulme piece was pretty vapid – it’s written in such vague language that almost anyone with any prior position can think Hulme is supporting them.

    For instance, he says that humans are influencing climate, but then adds “…we don’t know the full scale of the risks involved, nor how rapidly they will evolve, nor… the relative roles of all the forcing agents…” Then, further down, he says “It is a false hope to expect science to dispel the fog of uncertainty so that it finally becomes clear exactly what the future holds and what role humans have in causing it.”

    [I'd support Hulme there. Don't lean on science as a crutch to make your policy decisions for you -W]

    These statements may be technically true, but they elevate uncertainty without being clear that we are quite sure about a range of outcomes. It’s easy to conclude, if you’re so inclined, that Hulme says we’ll never really know much about climate – all the more convincing because it’s a climate scientist with ties to CRU talking.

  46. #46 Raging Bee
    2009/12/04

    All they had to do was make the data available in the first place, which was their responsibility, and none of this would have happened.

    That’s exactly what the birthers say; and it’s said with the same total disregard for the data that’s already been made available. If the AGW-denialists are aping the birthers’ shrieking-points, then we should just treat them the same way we treat the birthers: kick them to the curb as the delusional liars they are.

  47. #47 Hank Roberts
    2009/12/04

    Looks like each individual FOI request is treated separately and probably rec’d a rejection letter and then may have been appealed. I don’t see any provision for merging multiple requests even if they’re copypaste duplicates
    http://www.uea.ac.uk/polopoly_fs/1.2750!uea_manual_draft_04b.pdf
    but see #28.

    … When UEA Does Not hold the Information …. redirect the applicant to enable him or her to pursue his or her request.

    They have a Sanity Clause:

    28. Handling Requests for Information which Appear to be Part of an Organised Campaign. The UEA is not required to comply with a number of related requests where the cumulative cost of complying with the requests would exceed the “appropriate limit” (i.e. cost threshold) prescribed in the Lord Chancellor’s Fees Regulations….

    There’s a list of all of them somewhere:

    30. Tracking Requests. For monitoring purposes the UEA Information Policy Officer will keep a record of all applications. This will include applications where all or part of the requested information is withheld. In addition to a record of the numbers of applications involved where information is withheld, senior managers in the UEA need information on each case to determine whether cases are being properly considered, and whether the reasons for refusals are sound. The UEA Information Policy Officer will also keep a record of all complaints and of their outcome.

    Here’s the next likely bone of contention:

    30. Tracking Requests. For monitoring purposes the UEA Information Policy Officer will keep a record of all applications. This will include applications where all or part of the requested information is withheld. In addition to a record of the numbers of applications involved where information is withheld, senior managers in the UEA need information on each case to determine whether cases are being properly considered, and whether the reasons for refusals are sound. The UEA Information Policy Officer will also keep a record of all complaints and of their outcome.

    31. Review Process. The Code of Practice and Procedures will be reviewed each January, by the Information Framework Board, as part of the review of the UEA Information Strategy. The review will also monitor appropriate statistics, complaints and be responsible for reviewing, and, if necessary, amending, procedures for dealing with requests for information where such action is indicated by more than occasional reversals of initial decisions.

    ——

    I’d bet someone has made a round of CRU FOI requests for all information about files on prior CRU FOI requests, and perhaps also a tertiary round of FOI requests for all information about prior FOI requests requesting information about FOI requests. They can loop it as many times as they want to, I guess.

  48. #48 Paul Kelly
    2009/12/04

    I really wish people would let go the chimera of “the deniers”. Curry, Hulme and Monbiot are not deniers. The Pielkes, with their emphasis on land use, are not deniers. McIntyre and Id aren’t deniers either. They do dispute, rightly or wrongly, what they think is faulty science.

    Dr. Hansen has come out strongly against the Copenhagen/Waxman-Markey approach. Does that make him a denier? W apparently doesn’t think the Arctic ice will disappear in ten years. Is he a denier?

    All this matters only insofar as it affects political and policy agendas. The question is whether we should,for whatever reason, as rapidly as possible move away from carbon fuels. Whether you answer yes because of climate or some other equally valid reason is immaterial.

    I’m old enough to come at it from a pre-climate environmental perspective. It is very exciting that technology has finally advanced to make energy transformation possible. IMO climate catastrophe alarmists and those obsessed with “deniers” are slowing the process, not advancing it.

  49. #49 Carl C
    2009/12/04

    well the gauntlet has really been throw down — Sarah Palin is now encouraging Obama to boycott the Copenhagen conf due to “Climategate”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/04/sarah-palin-climategate-c_n_379961.html

  50. #50 Nick Barnes
    2009/12/04

    This storm in a teacup is breathtaking. At least it’s generating some interest and momentum in the Clear Climate Code project. I am trying to get some sceptics interested, on the grounds that “trillions of dollars of human prosperity” is at stake, and if they don’t believe global warming is happening, CCC is one way to prove it. We will take all-comers: anyone who can read Fortran and write Python can come and write code with us; anyone who can read English and imagine how programs work can come and read code and tell us where it’s unclear.

    [Do you want a guest post here to push people off towards you? Or I could just write you a puff-piece. And are you planning to step into the snake-pit of reproducing any of the palaeo stuff? -W]

  51. #51 koanhead
    2009/12/04

    Phil Jones had no intention of every releasing information or complying with the FOIA.

    It’s the ICO that upholds information rights, not Phil, and its decisions are catalogued and enforced.

  52. #52 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2009/12/04

    Hank,

    Your argument fails basic logic. If courts were never wrong you wouldn’t need an appeals process. The appeals process has as its only purpose the possibility that the organization making the request has refused to the provide the information for the wrong reason. Of course the existence of an appeals process doesn’t mean the requester could never be wrong, that’s ridiculous.

    Carrot,

    I don’t know what was done with it, and actually I don’t care. Any number of people may have found that information handy in the long run. Jones had all this information freely at his fingertips. The email discusses the fact that it is being routinely sent around by FTP. They are actively trying to keep people from accessing it. All they had to do to satisfy these requests was to stop making that effort. If the people they didn’t like didn’t wind up doing anything with it, then everybody goes home happy.

    Marco,

    You assume that his remarks were sarcastic. And that might be reasonable. But his remarks could also reasonably be interpreted to mean that the data existed at that time. Now apparently they don’t.

    Dhogaza,

    Arguments are starting to go in circles. There never would have been the flood of requests if they had done the right thing in the first place.

    In any event I don’t actually see any new arguments being made. So I will get ahead of W for once and stop. I will be writing about his on my blog. But as always, only for my own enjoyment.

    Just as a parting remark. What you all may not know about me, or lost track of, is that I believe in greenhouse warming. I think the amount of CO2 that man is putting into the atmosphere is a really bad idea. I also tend to think that climate sensitivity is probably within the IPCC range.

    I am more skeptical of our ability to predict secondary effects, and I feel that because of a basic concern by many people about the fundamentals there is a tendency to exaggerate our certainty about the secondary effects.

    I also think that our ability to infer paleo temperatures is much less accurate than some studies would infer. This probably increases the uncertainty a bit about climate sensitivity, but maybe not in any particular direction.

    What I really hate is bad science for the purpose of influencing policy. It is a little too close to the police planting evidence and withholding evidence when they are “sure” they have the right guy, but they are afraid of what a jury will decide.

  53. #53 Hank Roberts
    2009/12/04

    > The appeals process has as its only purpose the possibility
    > that the organization making the request has refused to the
    > provide the information for the wrong reason. Of course the
    > existence of an appeals process doesn’t mean the requester
    > could never be wrong, that’s ridiculous.

    The appeal process is there to evaluate the request and the initial response.

    Look at this exact situation — you’re ruling out of your imagination what happened: the appeal process decided the requests were appropriately refused.

    The requests were refused.
    The appeal supported the refusal.

    The appeal process considers the merits of both the request and the agency’s response.

    As it did.

    Each time.

  54. #54 Hank Roberts
    2009/12/04

    Ah, looking more closely at your wording, I see the confusion.

    You wrote:
    > If courts were never wrong you wouldn’t
    > need an appeals process.

    There’s your problem. This is not about a “court of appeal” and the review on appeal is not done by a court. This is a regulatory process and the appeal is an “administrative appeal” and the review is done by the agency, not by a court.

  55. #55 Hank Roberts
    2009/12/04

    > huffingtonpost.com

    Oh, please. That site gets as anti-science as anything you’ll find online.

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/03/the_huffington_post_delves_deeper_into_t.php
    “It’s not for nothing that I have totally scoffed at the idea of a science section in the HuffPo. …There’s some woo just so ridiculous that even HuffPo wouldn’t touch it. Or so I thought….”

    http://skepticalteacher.wordpress.com/2009/04/26/huffington-post-medical-woo-political-ideology-vs-science-redux/
    “In my last post, Global Warming Denial: Full of Hot Air, I took pseudoscientists who allow their conservative ideology to cloud climate change science to task. In that same entry, I also warned that the political left is just as guilty of woo-mongering & anti-science. Sadly, I didn’t have to wait long to get a good example of this very thing….”

  56. #56 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2009/12/04

    Hank,

    I’ve lost track of the discussion and I don’t see what your last two posts have to do with your comment.

    “You imagine that the appeals process exists only because the organization can be wrong, but the requester is never wrong.”

    I don’t believe I said anything of the kind. And I never thought that this had to do with courts, although that is, in fact open to a requester as a last resort. That was an example for illustration.

  57. #57 Eli Rabett
    2009/12/04
  58. #58 dhogaza
    2009/12/04

    Of course the existence of an appeals process doesn’t mean the requester could never be wrong, that’s ridiculous.

    And in this case, the appeals process did say the requester was wrong, seeing as the initial finding was upheld when McIntyre appealed.

  59. #59 carrot eater
    2009/12/04

    56 Eli: I got bored reading that. He said/she said about moderation on blogs – who cares.

  60. #60 Steve Bloom
    2009/12/04

    Keith: “And let’s leave climate advocates out of the equation for the moment, people like Steve Bloom, who (as he does in a comment in this thread) simply dismiss out of hand a well argued WSJ column by Hulme as ‘crap.’ That kind of response just shows another type vapidity.”

    Wow, that just pegged the irony meter. Keith, have you forgotten that your posts are riddled with similar judgements? For that matter, didn’t you just render yourself vapid by endorsing Hulme’s piece without stating your reasons?

    But let’s see, what had I previously written about Hulme elsewhere (at RC as it happens, after Gavin approvingly cited Hulme)? First the Hulme quote:

    “[S]cience has clearly revealed that humans are influencing global climate and will continue to do so, but we don’t know the full scale of the risks involved, nor how rapidly they will evolve, nor indeed—with clear insight—the relative roles of all the forcing agents involved at different scales. (…)

    “The central battlegrounds on which we need to fight out the policy implications of climate change concern matters of risk management, of valuation, and political ideology. We must move the locus of public argumentation here not because the science has somehow been ‘done’ or ‘is settled’; science will never be either of these things, although it can offer powerful forms of knowledge not available in other ways. It is a false hope to expect science to dispel the fog of uncertainty so that it finally becomes clear exactly what the future holds and what role humans have in causing it.”

    Then my comment:

    “(E)arly on the science became a target of a denial industry whose skills had been perfected in campaigns dating back many decades to the efforts to keep lead in paint and gasoline, and more lately to obscure the ill effects of tobacco. I don’t know about risk management, but for a long time it’s been an ineluctable fact that when valuation and political ideology enter into it, the side on whose side the science isn’t will attack it in order to obscure the case for action. What we need is advice about how best to move forward under those circumstances, and Hulme provides none.

    “But beyond being merely useless, a couple of Hulme’s comments had the flavor of throwing his UEA colleagues under the bus (e.g. when he states that the science has been undermined). Neither they nor their correspondents have been demonstrated to be bad actors to any degree, and Hulme’s insinuations otherwise are offensive.”

    I’ll add the observation that the “tobacco wars” were only finally resolved (more or less) after the focus of the debate shifted from the science to the lies of the industry and their mouthpieces. There’s a lesson there, and Hulme doesn’t seem to have picked up on it.

  61. #61 Steve Bloom
    2009/12/04

    William, in a reply to Ian you wrote:

    “I’d support Hulme there. Don’t lean on science as a crutch to make your policy decisions for you.”

    Of course that idea isn’t original with Hulme, but it’s heard often enough (from science policy types like RP Jr.) that I think it’s worth examining more closely. While it’s true that science will seldom point to a specific policy response as optimal, I think it’s the case that increasing precision tends to narrow the range of policy options. This is why it’s not possible to ever disentangle science from policy. Do you agree with this reasoning, and if so what does it mean to use (or not use) science as a crutch?

    [There are two strands to this. Firstly, I really don't think the precision is going to get substantially better very soon (though that may depend on what you want to be precise about). Secondly, I sense a strong desire amongst a ot of people to be told the science is sufficiently certain that the policy response *must* be X -W]

  62. #62 Eli Rabett
    2009/12/04

    As usual “Don’t lean on science as a crutch to make your policy decisions for you.” gets it more or less backwards. Rely on science to tell you when you are spitting into the wind.

  63. #63 kkloor
    2009/12/05

    Steve (59)

    How am I supposed to keep up with your inveterate commenting at all the other blog sites? But for the benefit of William’s readers, who also may not be keeping track of your commentary, I’m glad you reposted your critique of the Hulme op-ed here. It definitely expands on your one-word assessment to me at my blog.

    Also, please don’t put words in my mouth, as you are wont to do: I never “endorsed” the Hulme column; I said it was “well-argued.” And I don’t see why I should take up people’s time in this thread stating why I feel its “well-argued,” since I I assume that many interested Stoat readers have seen it.

    Lastly, (62) I’d advise you to stay on topic here and not involve Stoat readers in your petty, on-going battle with my many blog posts that you take issue with. But for the record, You got it wrong: you’re dreaming if you think you “caught” me “asserting something that isn’t even true” in that comment (and post) you link to. You obviously didn’t read it closely enough.

    Apologies, William, for going off track here.

    Let me get right back on and point you and your readers to a very interesting post and related comment thread by Michael Tobis, one of my favorite climate bloggers. (How’s that for an endorsement?) I do so, because I think Michael engages with the CRU hacker affair in a way that I find refreshing. Some of what Michael says may unwittingly lend ammunition to the skeptics, as one commenter in the thread points out, but Michael responds that it’s high time people stopped constraining themselves with such notions.

    Michael expresses what I’ve failed to articulate well about the tribalism issue. Anyway, definitely worth a read: http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2009/12/andrew-sullivan-on-swifthack.html

  64. #64 Paul Kelly
    2009/12/05

    Eli,
    A person who had to rely on science to know which way the wind is blowing would have a hard time understanding the science and a very wet face.

    It’s illustrative that the catastrophists attack Hulme. Policy is their priority. They really don’t care about the science since they exaggerate it at every opportunity.

  65. #65 Rattus Norvegicus
    2009/12/05

    Olive Hefferman at Nature indicates that between 2009-07-25 and 2009-07-29 CRU received 58 FOI requests from Steve or people associated with his site. Steve even posted up a comment with a template request to make (I believe that this was originally in the post and that he moved it down to the comments to hide it a little bit, Steve is well known for these sorts of unacknowledged changes to posts). These requests would clearly fall under the “vexatious” exemption.

  66. #66 Steve Bloom
    2009/12/05

    For the record, here’s an example from earlier today of me catching Keith vapidly asserting something that isn’t even true. Oddly, he has yet to thank me for one of these corrections. :)

  67. #67 kkloor
    2009/12/05

    William writes:
    “I don’t think you’re saying these emails are of any scientific importance – you don’t assert that any results change, or our interpretation of any results change – do you?”

    Correct. For the moment. My take so far is pretty much in line with Sheril Kirshenbaum’s:
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2009/12/02/why-climategate-is-something/

    Be sure to watch the Jon Stewart clip she references, too. It’s equally hilarious and perceptive.

    Oh, a minor correction: it was Bloom’s comment 16 in this thread where he referred to Hulme’s WSJ column as “crap”–not my blog. As I said earlier, I’m glad to he has since expanded on that for the benefit of your readers.

  68. #68 Rattus Norvegicus
    2009/12/05

    Steve Bloom:

    That should be “Nome-Muskeg-Oxherder”. No Yaks in Alaska.

  69. #69 spangled drongo
    2009/12/05

    Will we now find out who the true deniers are?

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6945445.ece

    [I think it is sweet that the UKMO has come round to the idea of open data, if indeed they have. In the past, they (pushed by the Thatcherite types) have been one of the worst offenders for pushing commerciality.

    If they want an open analysis, though, they are behind the times: see http://clearclimatecode.org/

    And I'm sure the McI's of the world will soon be trumpeting http://clearclimatecode.org/we-find-bug-in-gistemp-giss-fixes-it/ :-)

    -W]

  70. #70 Rattus Norvegicus
    2009/12/05

    Nicholas, I suggest you read this comment on CA before you argue for McIntyre’s good intentions.

  71. #71 Steve Bloom
    2009/12/05

    (Apologies for the redundant comment.) For the record:

    Keith, I do think people can read for themselves. You made a specific claim: “That was how mainstream green groups like the Sierra Club traditionally swelled membership rolls, by selling imminent eco-collapse.” I pointed out that the Club’s periods of greatest membership increase had not been associated with any such thing, but rather with a fairly obvious backlash effect early in the Reagan and Bush II administrations. I should add that the only period during its history when the Club could be described as having sold “eco-collapse” has been the last few years with the global warming issue (although the “imminent” bit is still an exaggeration), and during that time membership has been in a steady decline. So, Keith, you got it wrong in a predictable Breakthrough Institute kind of way.

    Re the Hulme piece, you called it an “absolute must-read” in addition to saying it was “well-argued.” Not an endorsement? Really?

  72. #72 Rattus Norvegicus
    2009/12/05

    A couple of points on the FOI requests.

    The 2005 message.

    This message appears to have been written after UEA had some sort of FOI training. At the time Steve had been trying to get the data for quite some time even though he had been told why it could not be released. For all of you trying to give a name to the “delete the data” statement, this is clearly hyperbole not sarcasm or a joke.

    Not releasing the data

    As it turns out Jones was right in his assumption that Steve would use FOI to harass him for the data, even though McIntyre knew full well that the data could not be released. Ironically, it was not Steve himself who filed the first FOI, but rather an acolyte, Willis Eschenbach.

    The UK FOI provides an out if the data is available through other means, even if the requester would have to pay for it. Since 95% of the data was available via GHCN and the rest from the NMS services, this was the initial reason given for denying the FOI request. My reading of Eschenbach’s account on WUWT indicates that over repeated requests he worked on his request until one was made that could be fulfilled. This request was for the station list which was released.

    What would Steve have done with the data

    Just having the raw data would not have told him much. In order to make sense of it he would have had to go through the rather painful process outlined in the HARRY_READ_ME.txt file. He would have had to eliminate duplicate stations, homogenize the remaining stations, correct for UHI and finally grid them. Steve and his crowd don’t seem to be up to this, since I never saw any evidence that they got the GISTEMP code up and running after they were given the code by GISS. If they could have gotten anything going by reading the papers describing the CRU methods seems unlikely.

    Of course all of this work is really not worth it, since NASA, NOAA, UAH and RSS all reproduce with a high degree of fidelity the HadCRU results for the late 20th (all four groups), the 20th (NASA and NOAA) and 21st century using different datasets and analysis methods. The only reason I can see for this effort was the hope that McIntyre could find a tiny error, such as the one he found in the assimilation of data from USHCN by examining data from a single station and using that correction as a way to draw the CRU results into question.

    Jones also knew that Steve would want a lot of handholding which could well lead to a further stream of FOI requests as demonstrated in his exchanges with Santer at LLNL. Quite frankly, Steve comes off as being a bit lazy and wanting other people to do his homework for him. Not exactly the mark of a scientist do legitimate research.

  73. #73 Marco
    2009/12/05

    @Rattus Norvegicus:
    Let’s also remember that McIntyre is quoted as “not being interested in making a global temperature reconstruction”. Unless he’s paid for it…
    All he wants is to ‘prove’ the other wrong by finding something that can be constructed as an error.

  74. #74 guthrie
    2009/12/05

    For the foreigners, it might be useful to have more background on the commercialisation of government agencies encouraged by Thatcherites and Blairites. As William alluded to, thats the sort of thing that helps gum up even well intentioned FOI requests.

    [Well you're not a jonny foreigner so you could have done it. In brief: successive govts, starting with Thatchers, have tried to hive expenses off the public balance sheet by making various bits of govt try to pay for themselves. In many cases the results have been stupid - Ordanance Survery (wot does our maps) is the most obvious example. The Met Office was another victim, although it was always quite Ministry of Defense-ish, so paranoia was never far away (I was once told off for taking a picture of their new HQ in Exeter, for example. Mad, I tell you -W]

  75. #75 bigcitylib
    2009/12/05

    1) J. Curry’s sentiments are nice, but I have read some of her interactions with MCI’s crowd. It seems to me that whenever she says something that may be interpreted as going against the concensus she is lauded; otherwise abuse is heaped upon her (not by MCI, but in his comments). So I would love to hear what she thinks she has actually accomplished.

    2)Some folks within the climate science community seem to be treating this affair as a stand-in for their possibly legitimate complaints re cliqueish-ness of the IPCC authors. But that seems a very different thing entirely. I can’t imagine that “greater openness” would ever involve having Lord Monckton’s papers appealed to in any final document.

  76. #76 thom
    2009/12/05

    Keith, you want to get over the claim that you are not taking sides. Anyone who reads what you write can see the contrary.

    You’re raised a whole lot of issues about FOI evasion without having any sense of what the FOI rules are in England and how they apply to someone at CRU. What are they?

    And since you keep highlighting the comments by Judith Curry, have you or any other journalist asked her to turn over her emails for the last ten years to see if there is any evidence of “tribalism” or any other behavior that can play as fodder for Fox News? We need transparency, right?

  77. #77 kkloor
    2009/12/05

    Thom,

    If it’s so obvious to you (and others) which side I’m on, please clarify: which side would that be? And how did you arrive at that conclusion?

  78. #78 Hank Roberts
    2009/12/05

    Keith, it’s “taking sides” plural, as there are many.

    All I know about your writing is what I’ve seen online and recently. You likely have much else I haven’t happened on.

    Online and recently, you’re keeping the issues lively, repeating the major points. Keeping all the balls in the air. Keeping the pot boiling.

    That’s “taking sides” — taking all sides — but only from the shallow edges. I don’t see investigative reporter stories, no ‘deep’ or background or weight-of-the-evidence stories.

    It comes across as though you’re writing without knowing much about the subject. Maybe that’s just hands-off-reporting? But at some point most journalists will give some hint to the reader that there’s more to a story.

    I don’t see you doing that on this subject. Again, it’s all I’ve seen that you’ve written. If you do depth, pointer?

    I’m just an ordinary reader, but I’ve been reading from interest in biology and ecology for at least 50 years and studied the subjects a bit, which does give me some notion of what in a news story has roots, and what’s just froth.

    That’s what I wish I saw more of — some sense for the new naive reader that you are helping tell the science from the foamy froth, with each story.

  79. #79 Hank Roberts
    2009/12/05

    Further for Keith re ‘taking sides’ — I realize this thread is here because you were more or less asking William to come out with some definite strong ‘taking sides’ response and he’s said ‘nothing to see here’ — but I want to emphasize that’s the point I’m trying to make.

    I wish you recognized what’s frothy foam and what’s solid.
    William has told you his opinion of this CRU thing. You can report that, if you don’t want to opine yourself.

    But he’s right, it’s more interesting to actually report the real solid stuff. Have a look at what he’s pointed you to; the first handful of hits from this, for example, including James’s comments:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=McLean+et+al.+climate+Connolley

  80. #80 Former Skeptic
    2009/12/05

    #62: Keith:

    Thanks for the link to Tobis. And he says this about your endorsement:

    Update: In a very complimentary link to this article, (Thanks!) Keith Kloor suggests that

    Many of the people he admires are shrugging off “climategate” (yes, I don’t like the term either) as “a tempest in a teapot” or an “artificial” scandal. Not Tobis. He recognizes it’s much more than that, and to his credit, he’s trying to figure out how to engage it.

    Unfortunately, since I hate to turn down compliments, this is not exactly what I am saying.

    From the point of view of science I actually believe that it is a tempest in a teapot and an artificial scandal.

    There is much to be learned from the instrumental and proxy records of the past.

    Still the exact bumps and wiggles of global mean temperature aren’t necessarily where we should be looking, and for all I know (and I don’t claim to be an expert) might in fact be more or less indeterminate in principle.

    Politically, though, it’s obviously a big deal.

    I should make this clear. I think the main thing that has happened, the most important aspect of the EAU email release, is that a criminal act has been perpetrated and is having a desired effect on a political process. This is a very unfortunate and destabilizing outcome, and people ought to think twice about celebrating it.

    Oh dear. Hoisted by your own petard, Mr. Kloor?

  81. #83 Dave Rado
    2009/12/05

    re. Nicolas Nierenberg, #10:

    but now that we see the emails we find out that indeed Jones et al were trying to “redefine what peer reviewed means” in order to keep out papers that they didn’t agree with.

    Not so.

    First, he expressed a desire to keep out two papers not because he disagreed with them, but because he considered them to simply be very bad science. One of those papers had been so flawed that three editors of the journal that had published it resigned in protest because of the break-down of the peer review process.

    Second and more importantly, despite his initial and only ever privately expressed desire to exclude those papers, he did not act on that desire. Both papers were discussed in detail in the IPCC reports. Which is all that matters. I might say all sorts of silly things in private and in the heat of the moment, but what matters is whether I act on my impulses or not.

  82. #84 kkloor
    2009/12/05

    Hank,

    In my original post, which really just included an aside that I had wished William would engage the issues raised by Curry and Hulme, I was mostly addressing the tendency by journalists and liberal pundits to overlook the significance of this story.

    In his recent analysis of the press coverage thus, CJR’s Curtis Brainard accurately reflects my views on this:

    “the press still hasn’t lived up to its responsibilities. With national and international policy on the line, this story deserves more and better coverage. To assess what it has done well and poorly so far, it’s useful to group criticism of the e-mails into two categories: what they say about the science of climate science, and what they say about the politics of climate science.”
    http://www.cjr.org/the_observatory/hacked_emails_and_journalistic.php

    I happen to think there is much to discuss “about the politics of climate change,” courtesy of those emails.

    Also, contrary to what some commenters here have said about Hulme’s op-ed, I do believe he offers incisive perspective about the limits of climate science in advancing political action. Hulme argues:
    “The central battlegrounds on which we need to fight out the policy implications of climate change concern matters of risk management, of valuation, and political ideology.”
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704107104574571613215771336.html

    I think it’s obvious to everyone that the “central battleground” is climate science. After all, many sympathetic commentators to the scientists involved in the affair have said that Jones et al acted and spoke the way they did precisely because they were “embattled.”

    So here we have Hulme, a respected voice suggesting, especially in lieu of this controversy, that climate science not be the “central battleground.” That idea seems worth taking up, no?

    Climate advocates like Bloom are not interested in taking it up, I suspect, because they believe that climate science should be the leading front in the political and policy battles. What seems worth debating, to me–at the very least–is the appropriate role for climate science with respect to the formation of public policy.

  83. #85 Nick Barnes
    2009/12/05

    Do you want a guest post here to push people off towards you? Or I could just write you a puff-piece. And are you planning to step into the snake-pit of reproducing any of the palaeo stuff? -W

    Too busy to write a guest post, although thank you. A post about us would be very welcome. Having finally pulled my finger out and started the blog, I’m posting quite often to get it off the ground.

    I would love to get into paleo stuff, sea ice stuff, GCMs, all sorts of climate code. My colleague David sees even that as the precursor to fixing all science software, including things like bio-informatics which is apparently pretty parlous. However, we’ve found with GISTEMP that it’s pretty tough work thoroughly understanding even one tiny science Fortran code base. So much background, so many undocumented assumptions (and such a ghastly language too). So if we get loads of volunteers, then sure.

    I am trying to stimulate (provoke?) sceptics into joining the project. I would think that any true sceptic would be even more strongly motivated to improve climate science results, and their public understanding, than I am. They’re certainly welcome.

  84. #86 Hank Roberts
    2009/12/05

    Keith, this is the perspective I wish I were seeing from you:

    http://scienceblogs.com/islandofdoubt/2009/12/science_as_a_contact_sport.php

    “I read this book a few weeks ago, before the purloined emails found their way onto a Russian server, which helps explains why I used words like “banal” to describe the correspondence that so many climate change pseudoskeptics find so shocking.

    It also helped that I have spent several years actually working along actual scientists. So the notion that they can sometimes be arrogant, hypersensitive, snarky and impatient with their critics did not exactly comes as a surprise. Schneider’s book, however, provides some rare insight into the challenges that face climatologists who are being asked to do much more than just scientific research.”

  85. #87 dhogaza
    2009/12/05

    I would love to get into paleo stuff, sea ice stuff, GCMs, all sorts of climate code. My colleague David sees even that as the precursor to fixing all science software, including things like bio-informatics which is apparently pretty parlous

    Warning – rewriting a GCM into Python isn’t going to be much of a fix, because even in a compiled language like FORTRAN they literally spend months running them on supercomputers to build the kind of ensemble results you see in the IPCC reports, etc.

    The Python interpreter just won’t compete in this arena.

    Then again, I don’t find the GISS Model E code to be that bad, frankly, despite what I’ve read in certain venues. Of course I learned to program in machine code for the PDP-8, graduated to assembly, then became a compiler writer …

    On the other hand there’s a lot of stuff done that’s not so computationally intense. GISTEMP seems like a good place to start – should run in reasonable time, and if the descriptions I’ve heard (including from level-headed folks like yourself) are at all accurate, a huge mess.

    [Ha. See the new post. Perl, and I presume Python, contain a provision for writing / linking-to stuff in C if you must, so the inner loops / routines could probably go into c and the rest be in Python. The problem, though, is that a decent GCM is *much* bigger than a temperature-record-processor -W]

  86. #88 Deep Climate
    2009/12/05

    W. said:

    * integrity of peer review: nothing very interesting there. We have the CR scandal, but that is from the other side. There is the > ahem < of McLean et al. - I keep mentionning that, but no-one is ever interested :-(. Go on Keith, have a look, don't be tribal :-).

    Couldn’t agree more. And interestingly, both tie back to the founding of “astroturf” group Friends of Science and its early sponsor/supporter Talisman Energy.

    In the beginning: Friends of Science, Talisman Energy and the de Freitas brothers

  87. #89 Deep Climate
    2009/12/05

    John Christy on peer review:

    [Christy] says he has trouble getting some of his results published.

    “I’ve done a pretty thorough study of snowfall of the Southern Sierra mountains of California, and the Southern Sierra find no downward trend in snowfall,” he says.

    That’s important because snowfall is forecast to decline because of global warming, and that would seriously affect California’s water supply. Christy says he has tried three times to get his paper published. So far, it’s been rejected, and he suspects it’s because scientists are trying to stifle his message.

    Sounds … ominous. We can almost hear the tribal drumbeat.

    But hold on:

    But climatologist Philip Mote at Oregon State University says Christy’s paper is not being suppressed for its conclusions. He is one of the scientists who reviewed the paper, and he says the science in the paper was fine.

    “To my knowledge, there’s no suppression going on. It’s just that it’s not news,” Mote says.

    Mote himself published a paper four years ago showing that snowfall in the Southern Sierra hasn’t diminished. In fact, he says there are about 10 papers on the subject. They are not identical to Christy’s, but they reach the same broad conclusion. [Emphasis added]

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120846593

    (Note to W. – pesky arrows in the quote in #86 cut off your ref to McLean et al. in case you want to restore your original pearl of wisdom).

  88. #90 Steve Bloom
    2009/12/05

    Oddly the NPR story failed to comment on Christy’s peculiar focus on the southern Sierra. Here in California we care much more about the northern Sierra.

    It also didn’t mention Christy’s one prior (and very embarrassing) venture into California climate studies. That one involved the front page of Eos being devoted to making him look like an idiot.

  89. #91 Steve Bloom
    2009/12/05

    Back to Hulme:

    I happened to run across a re-post of the infamous American Petroleum Institute memo (key portion pasted below) from the late ’90s laying out plans for campaign against climate science. Notice the similarity with Hulme’s points, especially as regards the first two measures for success. Reaching back even farther, recall the tobacco company memo: “Doubt is our product.” You’re a big help, Mike.

    ———————————————

    Victory Will Be Achieved When

    Average citizens “understand” (recognize) uncertainties in climate science; recognition of uncertainties becomes part of the “conventional wisdom”

    Media “understands” (recognizes) uncertainties in climate science

    Media coverage reflects balance on climate science and recognition of the validity of viewpoints that challenge the current “conventional wisdom”

    Industry senior leadership understands uncertainties in climate science, making them stronger ambassadors to those who shape climate policy

    Those promoting the Kyoto treaty on the basis of extent science appears to be out of touch with reality.

  90. #92 Deep Climate
    2009/12/05

    Judith Curry on what she calls “Climate tribalism” (at Climateaudit):

    As a result of the politicization of climate science, climate tribes (consisting of a small number of climate researchers) were established in response to the politically motivated climate disinformation machine that was associated with e.g. ExxonMobil, CEI, Inhofe/Morano etc. The reaction of the climate tribes to the political assault has been to circle the wagons and point the guns outward in an attempt to discredit misinformation from politicized advocacy groups. The motivation of scientists in the pro AGW tribes appears to be less about politics and more about professional ego and scientific integrity as their research was under assault for nonscientific reasons …

    So far, much that many here would agree with, I think.

    But then she goes on to excuse McIntyre (and others like Lucia), since they are more “technically” oriented, and not so obviously politically motivated.

    In summary, the problem seems to be that the circling of the wagons strategy developed by small groups of climate researchers in response to the politically motivated attacks against climate science are now being used against other climate researchers and the more technical blogs (e.g. Climateaudit, Lucia, etc).

    http://www.google.ca/#hl=en&source=hp&q=Judith+Curry+climateaudit

    However, I’m not sure that Curry understands the entire background of the “hockey stick graph” controversy. McIntyre and McKitrick co-operated closely with the Cooler Heads Coalition/CEI and their Republican allies, like Joe Barton, in 2005. McKitrick is a Senior Fellow at Fraser Institute (foremost contributors: Canadian oil and gas giant Encana, and its ex-CEO Gwyn Morgan), as well as a charter member of the Friends of Science “scientific advisory board”. The pair contributed key interviews to the execrable Friends of Science film “Climate Catastrophe Cancelled”, produced by then APCO Worldwide consultant Tom Harris (with seed money from Talisman Energy’s James Buckee).

    In other words, McIntyre and McKitrick have played a key role in what Curry calls the “politically motivated climate disinformation climate machine”.

  91. #93 WhiteBeard
    2009/12/05

    Nicolas Nierenberg # 52,

    “There never would have been the flood of requests if they had done the right thing in the first place.”

    carrot eater @ #38 sums-up nicely what, as a lay observer of both the hack and the larger climate issue, I’ve been viewing for the last 3 or so years.

    To join the chorus, if there were a bit of openness from McI, Whatt, etc, which seem to me, in varying degrees, handly more than advocacy organs with a vener, don’t you think there would be more an expectation of willingness on the part of data holders to comply with requests? If, in the blog posts, there was more display of Feynman’s points – that are quoted in so many blog comments decrying lack of openness – about including inconvient data supporting counter argument to one’s thesis? That the fundamental debate was about the data, not an adjunct to foiling the plot for a one world government’s craving to regulate toilet paper usage?

    “I also think that our ability to infer paleo temperatures is much less accurate than some studies would infer.”

    Seems likely, but isn’t the topic here more the instrument record?

    “What I really hate is bad science for the purpose of influencing policy.”

    So do I. Then, I’m involuntarly exposed multiple times a week to hours of Fox Radio’s twisting, folding, spindling and outright lying in service of an agenda (making Ruport Murdoc the world’s richest person and arbiter of all things?) and claiming to have blown-up the science.

    # 67 Rattus Norvegicus,

    To be as pedantic as others in this thread, the Nome area has a reminant of the Caribou herding started in the late 19th century and Muskox range freely in the area, with collection of qiviut, the inner portion of their shed winter coat, helping support a small kraft knitting enterprise with a retail outlet in Anchorage. Muskox are “farmed” for qiviut in fenced pasturage abutting the direct road between Palmer and Wasilla in “far Sara Palin Land”, a bit north of Anchorage.

    http://www.qiviut.com/store/index.cfm?target=home

    Muskeg is the common descriptor for wet tundra.

    As a figure of speech, Nome-Muskeg-Yackherder, works OK, but the Muskox response to threat precption is interesting in terms of the raging tribalism.

  92. #94 Tom C
    2009/12/05

    …”Can you point to anyone who has (credibly) said “I used to believe in GW, now I don’t”? (this is not a rhetorical question) -W]”

    Framing the question this way is misleading and yet another reason that reasonable people have come to distrust you and your alarmist allies. The real question is “have certain scientists engaged in unethical behavior in order to portray an imminent catastrophe that is not warranted by the evidence”. The answer here is easy and did not depend on the CRU E-mails. They are merely confirmatory.

    “I’ve searched my soul but haven’t found very much :-). Again, ref my point re tribalism -W]”

    My understanding was that you didn’t believe in souls, so why search?

  93. #95 guthrie
    2009/12/05

    Tom C – calling us warmists is an automatic fail at both science and debating tactics.

    What imminent catastrophe are you on about anyway?

  94. #96 Tom C
    2009/12/05

    guthrie -

    I didn’t call anyone a warmist, I called you alarmists.

    More technically, though, Stoat, Annan, Mann et. al. enable the alarmists (Romm, Gore) by providing “scientific” cover for alarmist claims.

  95. #97 kkloor
    2009/12/05

    Former skeptic (79)
    “Hoisted by your own petard, Mr. Kloor?”

    Nah, I don’t think so. I might have read too much into Michael’s words, but the parts I quoted from him in my post speak for themselves.

    Best I leave it at that, as I’m still trying to figure out how to square his “update” with his original post and the related thread.

  96. #98 Steve Bloom
    2009/12/05

    Off to the new thread for my response re Hulme, Keith. ‘ware the yaks.

  97. #99 ehmoran
    2009/12/05

    In the late 1800’s, Arrhenius built upon Fourier’s assessment of atmospheric properties by plotting CO2 and temperature data collected in industrialized England. Arrhenius’ plots and calculations showed a relation between CO2 and ambient temperatures. In 1930’s, Callendar extended the analysis using long term observations from 200 stations arguing that there was a link between CO2 and climate warming. Keeling began collecting atmospheric CO2 samples from the Mauna Loa Observatory Hawaii in the late 1950’s and is the most complete record.

    The USGS reports that all volcanic activity produces nearly 200-million tons CO2 annually; much less than that produced by human activity. Mauna Loa, near the Observatory and the world’s most active volcano erupting 39 times since 1832, had major eruptions in 1950, 1975, and 1984. Atmospheric CO2 levels measured at volcanoes indicate the degree of activity and estimates of heat flow from one volcano have been reported at140-mW/m2. Correlating CO2 and temperatures from data collected near an active volcano should be significant but not show a cause and effect relation; however, correlating world-wide data significantly shows CO2 lagging temperature by approximately two years. The data analyzed by Arrhenius and Callendar similarly could be significantly biased owing to the urban heat-island effect and extensive coal burning at the time, as CO2 is an abundant byproduct of burning.

    Apparently, no laboratory control experiment to date, such as in a biodome, has shown CO2 levels influencing ambient temperatures. Tyndall (1861) measured the absorptive characteristics of CO2 followed by more precise measurements by Burch (1970). Absorbance is a measure of the quantity of light (energy) absorbed by a sample (CO2 molecule) and the amount of absorbed energy can be represented as specific heat of a substance. Specific heat of CO2 ranges from 0.791-kJ/kgK at 0-degrees F to 0.871-kJ/kgK at 125-degrees F and average atmospheric concentrations are 0.0306-percent. As revealed, the specific heat of CO2 increases as ambient temperatures increase showing CO2 likely is an ambient temperature buffer.

    The atmosphere generally contains 4-percent water vapor in the troposphere to 40-percent near the surface. The specific heat of water vapor is relatively constant at 1.996-kJ/kgK. Water absorbs energy (heat) and evaporates to water vapor. During condensation (precipitation), latent heat is released to the atmosphere thus increasing ambient temperatures. Water vapor holds the majority of atmospheric heat and regulates climate and temperature more than any compound. Historically, however, the characteristics of water vapor related to climate were much less appreciated but investigations into the significance that water vapor plays in global climate-dynamics are just beginning.

    The amount of energy not stored in the atmosphere is released into space through radiation. Re-radiation is the emission of previously absorbed radiation by molecules. The specific heat of water vapor and CO2 molecules shows that water vapor reradiates significantly more energy back to the surface and the atmospheric quantities for each compound further justify this case. Thus, this and other publications suggest that the minute variability in atmospheric CO2 concentrations likely results in an insignificant affect on climate change; whereas water vapor is the significant factor.

    [That was rather a long-winded way of getting to your final viewpoint. Which is wrong: see http://mustelid.blogspot.com/2005/01/water-vapour-is-not-dominant.html amongst others -W]

  98. #100 James Annan
    2009/12/06

    “arrogant, hypersensitive, snarky and impatient”

    I think I just found my new by-line :-)

    [Brian has "Cheap, tawdry, and useless" - did you consider borrowing that ;-? -W]

  99. #101 Rattus Norvegicus
    2009/12/06

    But James, that’s why I read your blog!

  100. #102 guthrie
    2009/12/06

    ehmoran #98- did you copy paste that or write it yourself?

  101. #103 Hank Roberts
    2009/12/06

    I don’t understand why WordPress, or Scienceblogs, doesn’t maintain a blocklist/killfile for the IPs and names used by blogspam bots like “sikis”– December 6, 2009 7:56 AM — which is posting its crap everywhere lately.
    —-

    Here’s a pointer to a couple of bloggers whose refusal to join the septic tankers has led them to leave the conservative tribe– It seems to combine several themes that have surfaced above:

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/12/leaving-the-right.html
    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/35243_Why_I_Parted_Ways_With_The_Right

  102. #104 Hank Roberts
    2009/12/06

    Whoever wrote what ehmoran posted above, it’s certainly been posted a lot of places recently.

    The author, at least, has “insignificant affect” — being anonymous — in several of the places I found it posted.

  103. #105 P. Lewis
    2009/12/06

    Wow, Hank, that’s a lot of “I cannot”s.

    Perhaps there is an upside then.

    Ah but … these people, they weren’t true believers in the first place, were they? They were sleepers. They’re part of the anti-conservative conspiracy. They were really pinko liberals/reds all along, put there by their extreme left-wing puppet masters years ago, to surface in times of great danger to the sacrosanct principles (cough!) of the one path to truth and enlightenment that is the domain of the conservative right thinker (cough, cough) … or something like that, probably.

  104. #106 Adam
    2009/12/08

    “I was once told off for taking a picture of their new HQ in Exeter, for example.”

    You can get told off for taking pictures of stations, high streets, fields (if there are bases nearby) and many other things these days.

    The MOD paranoia was part of the stupidity that is the official secrets act too. We’re just a very paranoid nation really, that the UKMO exhibits the same symptoms is hardly surprising.

  105. #107 Hank Roberts
    2009/12/16

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/12/agu-copenhagen-qa/

    “… 650 climate scientists have signed up to assist journalists covering the Copenhagen climate talks through an on-call email service. For three different shifts, day and night every day from Dec. 7 to Dec. 18, between three and six experts are available to the media to answer science questions related to the negotiations…. service, organized by members of the American Geophysical Union …

    … . But the AGU scientists only heard from around 20 media outlets during the first week of the talks, and some days there were almost no inquiries at all….
    … We can be fairly certain it’s not because the science is easy, and journalists don’t need much help with it.
    ———-

  106. #108 dhogaza
    2009/12/16

    Apparently they can’t get into the hall to hear anything that might lead to questions … what a clusterf*** this has turned out to be.

    Seth Borenstein waited in line 7 hours, no bathroom break (they weren’t allowed to leave the line), apparently some sandwiches were handed out.

    I’m not sure journalists would typically e-mail a pool where they’ll get answered by an expert more or less at random. Journalists are used to developing their own sources.

    Amusingly, to me at least, over at WUWT Borenstein’s been castigated for e-mailing CRU scientists asking questions – apparently in their world journalists aren’t supposed to ask scientists questions about science. Tierny got responses from Gavin Schmidt and Eric Steig when he blogged on McKittrick’s “tax based on the thermometer” proposal. I’m sure he solicited their opinion and has been in occasional contact in the past, and again, proactive cultivation of sources is typically what journalists do.

  107. #109 John McManus
    2009/12/22

    I followed the links for Hadley and ended up on their data access agreement. They require users to delete the data after the project’s completion.

    If this is data deleted by Phil Jones he is indeed a man of his word.

  108. #110 John McManus
    2009/12/22

    I followed the links to Hadley’s data and ended up reading their user agreement ( you know the thing we all agree to without reading). They require their data to be deleted at the end of any project. Deletion is irrelavent, Hadley stores the data.

    If this is part of the data Phil Jones deleted, he is indeed a man of his word.

  109. #111 dhogaza
    2009/12/22

    I followed the links to Hadley’s data and ended up reading their user agreement ( you know the thing we all agree to without reading). They require their data to be deleted at the end of any project. Deletion is irrelavent, Hadley stores the data.

    If this is part of the data Phil Jones deleted, he is indeed a man of his word.

    Well, no, that’s not the copies of data that have been deleted. Apparently there are two instances of deletion – one, accidently back in the 1980s during an office move, and secondly, they have a quality control analysis they’ve been applying to stations in the network, and some stations have removed from the HadCRUT analysis as a result. When they were removing stations, they deleted the copies of the data they had because they were no longer using it.

    Neither instance is meaningful in the “guilty of fraud and misconduct” sense the denialsphere wants people to believe.

    However, that legal agreement the Met uses makes clear that yes, indeed, some national met offices do keep tight control over their data, and that when the CRU has said “we can’t legally release about 5% of the data that’s made available to us”, they’re telling the truth.

    And ongoing FOIA requests trying to get them to release data they have no legal right to release is outright harassment.

    As to how one might lose data during an office move, in the early 1980s 200 megabytes of disk storage looked like this:

    http://www.retrocomputing.net/vax11-780_2.jpg

    Each of those two “washing machine” disk drives to the right stored 200 megabytes (not *gigabytes*). My laptop stores 600 times as much on its little disk drive than you could store on those monsters (which cost $36,000 each BTW).

    And if you look at the tape drives, it took something like 5-10 of those large tapes to make a backup of a single 200 MB RPO6 drive.

    While I have no idea what brand(s) of computer/disk drive/tape drive were being used by CRU back in the 1980s, that photo gives you a good idea of state-of-the-art technology circa 1980.

    So you can easily imagine how many tapes several years of daily weather data for the world climate network would take. Boxes and boxes and boxes. If you’ve ever been involved in an office move, the fact that a handful of boxes got misplaced by the movers is not likely to be a surprise to you.

    And of course, back then they didn’t realize that 25 years or so in the future there’s be a huge “scandal” because a few old tapes were lost.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.