Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sorting Through the Stolen UEA Emails

On a second reading of the stolen UAE UEA emails leaked today, and just reading the README file emails, these sound worse than I thought at first – their impact will be devastating.

Much of this is "inside baseball" stuff, but all of us eat that kind of stuff up and form powerful impressions from it. Cardinal Richelieu said
"Give me six lines written by the most honest man in the world, and I will find enough in them to hang him."
The caveat, of course, is if these emails are accurate. I’ll assume for now that they are.

To be sure, it’s very easy to take nearly any email out of context and use it for ulterior purposes. Of course, the majority of the public doesn’t care about that and wouldn’t understand the context anyway. And to be honest, I really don't either, and neither do you. But that's the problem: we all are tempted to interpret them anyway.

Even trying to guess at the context and keeping it in mind, some of these excerpts are inexplicable. Some seem innocuous. Others seem just scientists being people, gabbing and gossiping and blowing off steam the way we all do.

In what I’ve culled below, the ones in red seem, to me, to be the most damaging (damning?); those in green as scientists being scientists and being naturally skeptical, and those in blue as scientists being simply human.

The red ones strike me as probably devastating. The original release of emails 2 years ago had a significant impact. My guess is that these are going to throw the science off-kilter for perhaps the rest of this decade, and may well lead some people to rethink how they are doing business (including certain journalists). That diversion would be a tragedy, for everyone, because there are still very, very good, scientifically proven reasons to think that humans are altering the climate and this will only get more pronounced in the coming decades.

Troublesome:

<5131> Shukla/IGES:
["Future of the IPCC", 2008] It is inconceivable that policymakers will be
willing to make billion-and trillion-dollar decisions for adaptation to the
projected regional climate change based on models that do not even describe and
simulate the processes that are the building blocks of climate variability.

<1939> Thorne/MetO:
Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical
troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a
wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the
uncertainty and be honest. Phil, hopefully we can find time to discuss these
further if necessary [...]


<3066> Thorne:
I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it
which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.


<1611> Carter:
It seems that a few people have a very strong say, and no matter how much
talking goes on beforehand, the big decisions are made at the eleventh hour by a select core group.

<2884> Wigley:
Mike, The Figure you sent is very deceptive [...] there have been a number of dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by IPCC [...]

Update (11/23/11): I fell into FOIA's trap of taking this excerpt out of context. See my post here.

<4755> Overpeck:
The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guid[e] what’s
included and what is left out.


<4241> Wilson:
I thought I’d play around with some randomly generated time-series and see if I
could ‘reconstruct’ northern hemisphere temperatures.
[...] The reconstructions clearly show a ‘hockey-stick’ trend. I guess this is
precisely the phenomenon that Macintyre has been going on about.



<3373> Bradley:
I’m sure you agree–the Mann/Jones GRL paper was truly pathetic and should
never have been published. I don’t want to be associated with that 2000 year
“reconstruction”.



<1104> Wanner/NCCR:
In my [IPCC-TAR] review [...] I crit[i]cized [...] the Mann hockey[s]tick [...]
My review was classified “unsignificant” even I inquired several times. Now the
internationally well known newspaper SPIEGEL got the information about these
early statements because I expressed my opinion in several talks, mainly in
Germany, in 2002 and 2003. I just refused to give an exclusive interview to
SPIEGEL because I will not cause damage for climate science.


<2009> Briffa:
I find myself in the strange position of being very skeptical of the quality of
all present reconstructions, yet sounding like a pro greenhouse zealot here!



<4716> Adams:
Somehow we have to leave the[m] thinking OK, climate change is extremely
complicated, BUT I accept the dominant view that people are affecting it, and
that impacts produces risk that needs careful and urgent attention.



<3062> Jones:
We don’t really want the bullshit and optimistic stuff that Michael has written
[...] We’ll have to cut out some of his stuff.



<1485> Mann:
the important thing is to make sure they’re loosing the PR battle. That’s what
the site [Real Climate] is about.



<2267> Wilson:
Although I agree that GHGs are important in the 19th/20th century (especially
since the 1970s), if the weighting of solar forcing was stronger in the models,
surely this would diminish the significance of GHGs.
[...] it seems to me that by weighting the solar irradiance more strongly in the
models, then much of the 19th to mid 20th century warming can be explained from
the sun alone.



<2440> Jones:
I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI Acts. One way to cover yourself
and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the
process.



<2094> Briffa:
UEA does not hold the very vast majority of mine [potentially FOIable emails]
anyway which I copied onto private storage after the completion of the IPCC
task.



Scientists-being-scientists:


<1788> Jones:
There shouldn’t be someone else at UEA with different views [from "recent
extreme weather is due to global warming"] – at least not a climatologist.



<5111> Pollack:
But it will be very difficult to make the MWP go away in Greenland.


<0310> Warren:
The results for 400 ppm stabilization look odd in many cases [...] As it stands
we’ll have to delete the results from the paper if it is to be published.



<2775>Jones:
I too don’t see why the schemes should be symmetrical. The temperature ones certainly will not as we’re choosing the periods to show warming.


<1682> Wils:
[2007] What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multidecadal natural
fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably [...]



<4693> Crowley:
I am not convinced that the “truth” is always worth reaching if it is at the
cost of damaged personal relationships



<2733> Crowley:
Phil, thanks for your thoughts – guarantee there will be no dirty laundry in
the open.



<2095> Steig:
He’s skeptical that the warming is as great as we show in East Antarctica — he
thinks the “right” answer is more like our detrended results in the
supplementary text. I cannot argue he is wrong.



<0953> Jones:
This will reduce the 1940-1970 cooling in NH temps. Explaining the cooling with
sulphates won’t be quite as necessary.



<4944> Haimberger:
It is interesting to see the lower tropospheric warming minimum in the tropics
in all three plots, which I cannot explain. I believe it is spurious but it is
remarkably robust against my adjustment efforts.



<4938> Jenkins/MetO:
By coincidence I also got recently a paper from Rob which says “London’s UHI
has indeed become more intense since the 1960s esp during spring and summer”.



<0896> Jones:
I think the urban-related warming should be smaller than this, but I can’t
think of a good way to argue this. I am hopeful of finding something in the
data that makes by their Figure 3.



<1583> Wilson:
any method that incorporates all forms of uncertainty and error will
undoubtedly result in reconstructions with wider error bars than we currently
have. These many be more honest, but may not be too helpful for model
comparison attribution studies. We need to be careful with the wording I think.



<4165> Jones:
what he [Zwiers] has done comes to a different conclusion than Caspar and Gene!
I reckon this can be saved by careful wording.



<3994> Mitchell/MetO
Is the PCA approach robust? Are the results statistically significant? It seems
to me that in the case of MBH the answer in each is no



<4369> Cook:
I am afraid that Mike is defending something that increasingly can not be
defended. He is investing too much personal stuff in this and not letting the
science move ahead.



<0999> Hulme:
My work is as Director of the national centre for climate change research, a
job which requires me to translate my Christian belief about stewardship of
God’s planet into research and action.



<3653> Hulme:
He [another Met scientist] is a Christian and would talk authoritatively about
the state of climate science from the sort of standpoint you are wanting.



<2423> Lanzante/NOAA:
While perhaps one could designate some subset of models as being poorer in a
lot of areas, there probably never will be a single universally superior model
or set of models. We should keep in mind that the climate system is complex, so
that it is difficult, if not impossible to define a metric that captures the
breath of physical processes relevant to even a narrow area of focus.



<1982> Santer:
there is no individual model that does well in all of the SST and water vapor
tests we’ve applied.



<0850> Barnett:
[IPCC AR5 models] clearly, some tuning or very good luck involved. I doubt the
modeling world will be able to get away with this much longer



<5066> Hegerl:
[IPCC AR5 models]
So using the 20th c for tuning is just doing what some people have long
suspected us of doing [...] and what the nonpublished diagram from NCAR showing
correlation between aerosol forcing and sensitivity also suggested.



<4443> Jones:
Basic problem is that all models are wrong – not got enough middle and low
level clouds.



<4085> Jones:
GKSS is just one model and it is a model, so there is no need for it to be
correct.



FOI, temperature data]
Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we
get – and has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder (US
Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original
station data.





Scientists are people too:



Jones:
The jerk you mention was called Good(e)rich who found urban warming at
all Californian sites.



<0810> Mann:
I gave up on Judith Curry a while ago. I don’t know what she think’s she’s
doing, but its not helping the cause



<4184> Jones:
[to Hansen] Keep up the good work! [...] Even though it’s been a mild winter in
the UK, much of the rest of the world seems coolish – expected though given the
La Nina. Roll on the next El Nino!

78 comments:

Barry Bickmore said...

David,

You need to check out this debunking of some of the quotes.

http://mediamatters.org/blog/201111220024

Anonymous said...

Yes you need to wade through the labored sophistry and legalistic explanations by AGW partisans explaining why things said in plain English do not in fact mean what they seem to.

That'll fix the problem. That'll turn public skepticism around.

Anonymous said...

I rather trust a 'conspiracy theorist' with common sense then media matters.

JoeBlow said...

You think that sentences cut out of context with no dates attached discussing complex scientific issues can be parsed by Joe Six-Pack with a bit of 'common sense' do you? You're an ignorant partisan fruit-loop. Yeah, conspiracy theorists, they're the greatest...

bacontime said...

What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multidecadal natural
fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably


Well, at least they considered it as an option !!

MartinM said...

<4755> Overpeck:
The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guid[e] what’s
included and what is left out.


Really? You find that 'probably devastating'? Did you even read the email from which it's excerpted? They were trying to cut down a draft to half a page, an issue familiar only to those few people who have ever written anything, ever.

bob said...

"I think the hardest, yet most important part, is to boil the section down to 0.5 pages. In looking over your good outline, sent back on Oct. 17 (my delay is due to fatherdom just after this time), you cover ALOT. The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guide what's included and what is left out. For the IPCC, we need to know what is relevant and useful for assessing recent and future climate change. Moreover, we have to have solid data - not inconclusive information."

Devastating?

bob said...

1485, notice how the part the hacker has quote starts mid-sentence...

"I've personally stopped responding to these, they're going to get a few of these op-ed pieces out here and there, but the important thing is to make sure they're loosing the PR battle. That's what the site is about. By the way, Gavin did come up w/ the name!"

You see if you know what Mike was talking about (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4066189.stm) it would be clear what the PR battle is.

Steve Bloom said...

Sorry, Barry, once devastated a reporter, even one with a real (albeit non-climate) background, cannot undevastate.

It's some sort of rule, I think.

David has been known to devastate on occasion before. I've corrected him on a few of those, but he generally doesn't respond.

It does make me less hopeful about the ability of the human race to successfully grapple with the set of problems it's created for itself. But it is a sweet deal for the media, as if push finally does come to shove there'll be no one left to report on the role they played.

Steve Bloom said...

Erratum: Insert "science" before "background" in my prior.

Hank Roberts said...

"Give me six lines written by the most honest man in the world, and I will find enough in them to hang him."

[But no more than six, because having context ruins the rush to judgment]

Anonymous said...

David: because there are still very, very good, scientifically proven reasons to think that humans are altering the climate and this will only get more pronounced in the coming decades.
JK: And just what would these "proven reasons" be in light of these emails revealing (as if we didn’t know) that the models are crap?

(Hopefully you recall that the models requiring man's CO2 to match reality was YOUR only argument for man's CO2 causing dangerous warming.)

The question is: in what way are you going to change your argument to get your predetermined outcome htat man is guilty and society needs re-ordering into a socialist paradise?

Thanks
JK

David said...

OK, just two questions, if the science was OK then why would a single person need to try and fiddle with it?

Secondly unlike most of the last lot these include blatant admissions of guilt which everyone with an open mind could see as nothing else. Trying now to defend the undefendable will make anyone who does look exactly the same by defending open dishonesty. These say they cheated, pretty much end of.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for being a stupid joe sixpack who doesn't understand the subtle ways of my intellectual superiors. What appears to me to be merely grubby charlatanism in service of embezzling uncounted millions of tax payer's dollars is, in fact: SCIENCE!

That's what we mean when we discuss suppression evidence, manipulation data and placing operatives sympathetic to our 'cause' on influential panels, right? Science? I mean, that's how it's done, right? Or am I just too stupid to understand?

Please explain, superior beings!

Anonymous said...

David "OK, just two questions, if the science was OK then why would a single person need to try and fiddle with it?"

More to the point if the criticism of the science by blog scientists is valid (rather than bogus) why does it have to resort to parading thieved private correspondences?
And as for your second question, I'm glad you don't defend open dishonesty - like thieving emails I suppose...

Anonymous said...

"Sorry for being a stupid joe sixpack who doesn't understand the subtle ways of my intellectual superiors. What appears to me to be merely grubby charlatanism in service of embezzling uncounted millions of tax payer's dollars is, in fact: SCIENCE!

That's what we mean when we discuss suppression evidence, manipulation data and placing operatives sympathetic to our 'cause' on influential panels, right? Science? I mean, that's how it's done, right? Or am I just too stupid to understand?

Please explain, superior beings!"

I don't trust thieves. The emails were stolen. There is a motive, a law breaking motive, behind the theft of them.

Anonymous said...

<0810> Mann:
I gave up on Judith Curry a while ago. I don’t know what she think’s she’s doing, but its not helping the cause

CAUSE?! That is a very 'devastating' admission.

Kooiti Masuda said...

That's University of East Anglia, not UAE.

Anonymous said...

I remember a similar reaction like yours 2 years ago from the Guardians most prominent green correspondent. I think, it may be a bit naive to think the reaction will be differently this time after 4 deliberately failed investigations.

Though this experience may at least leave a trace on this blog and your understanding of todays democracy in Britain and elsewhere.

Neven said...

David, have you relocated your pants yet? :-)

eveningperson said...

Cardinal Richelieu said

"Give me six lines written by the most honest man in the world, and I will find enough in them to hang him."
****

Exactly. You can claim anything using selected words taken out of context. And the people who do this know perfectly well that this has nothing whatsoever to do with the truth, as Richelieu made clear.

Climate scientists are on the receiving end of quote-mining, a trick that has been used by creationists against evolution for years.

If you don't use the whole context (including the whole email, the rest of the correspondence and the circumstances that applied at the time the words were written - what was being discussed, who knew what, and so on) then you are simply proclaiming your own dishonesty. As was made clear by the first round of stolen emails.

Robert of Ottawa said...

One cannot talk of "being taken out of context". Climategate 2.0 IS THE CONTEXT of 1.0.

RobH said...

anonymous... The "cause" is helping people understand the overwhelming evidence on global warming.

Neven said...

One cannot talk of "being taken out of context". Climategate 2.0 IS THE CONTEXT of 1.0.

Why, for God's sake, are we getting that context two years later? Think of all the damage the ecofascists have been able to perpetrate on the poor of the world in those two years! FOIA has blood on his hands!

Brian G Valentine said...

Thanks for publishing this David, shows you are a scientist; the "scientist being scientist" stuff is certainly not anything "science" that I'm familiar or associated with.

The Mann "hockey" graph could yield nothing but an exponential function of temperature with time - the statistical method weights data points for time rate of change of temperature proportional to the temperature. That defines an exponential function of temperature with time. There's nothing mysterious about it.

I saw that right away, wrote a letter to the editor, never published or acknowledged

Kooiti Masuda said...

The context of the message by Shukla is the then-ongoing discussion about near-future focus of climate modeling and its relationship with IPCC.

It is well known that both mitigation of climate change and adaptation to it are important. But, assessment by IPCC has had more weight on mitigation, and efforts of projection of climate change by numerical models also mainly aims at demonstrating the need for mitigation. It seems to work well as such, for regional details do not matter so much.

Climate projection for adaptation is another matter. Since people need to adapt to local climates rather than the global average, projection of regional climate with sufficient accuracy is needed. Shukla doubted usefulness of contemporary (as of 2008) climate modeling efforts for this purpose. But he hoped that scientists can make useful projection if they work together under a well-designed international initiative. He also thought that IPCC should encourage such activities and review them.

I generally agree what Shukla said, but I am not confident whether scientists will be able to provide sufficiently useful regional climate projections. (They may, but they may not.) Also, I think that providing concrete information of regional-scale climate projections for adaptation is the role of "climate services" discussed by WMO (and implemented by NOAA for the USA) rather than the role of IPCC.

Anonymous said...

After taking about a minute to google for the full document surrounding the quote, reading the full copy, and repeating this exercise for the first five excerpts, it is clear that the snippets distort what was meant. Context is everything.

So I've decided to spare myself wading through this swag of innuendo and blog-generated bollocks - if the quote doesn't come with a link to the full document, I'm definitely not going to bother. However, I may take the time to to call the blogger/commenter/poster out for not providing the link.

David - links to the full docs for each quote are easily sourced, and your failure to include that here just helps muddy the waters, when a few more minutes work would have helped shed light.

barry

Peter Thorne said...

Repeating much of my post on realclimate ...

It seems that a couple of my mails have been highlighted by people wishing to take them out of context. Both related to a very early draft of the IPCC fourth assessment observations chapter that I was asked to review informally as part of the accepted report preparation pathway. This would have been in 2005 or 2006 not 2011. IPCC has several review cycles and numerous lead authors on each chapter to ensure balance and representivity. However, the very earliest drafts inevitably reflect the individual contributor’s perspectives. The review which I undertook was and still is intended to catch such cases and rectify before the formal reviews. I would note that none of the formal review versions retained the vast majority of the text that was being discussed in this email. In other words the process worked. I would note in passing that my understanding is that US FOIA precludes early drafts of papers and discussions thereof precisely because it is vital to be able to discuss fully and frankly scientific work prior to publication, peer review being a necessary but not adequate condition. It is good that scientists care about issues and imperative that they are allowed to discuss report and paper drafts openly if we want the best reports and papers possible.

As to the tropical hotspot issue I raised it was correct … in 2005/6! Here’s some headline news (if a second email tranche release also constitutes news then the bar is set very very low) … science does not stand still. In the past five years there have been multiple new studies using satellites and weather balloons, including the thermal wind evidence. These studies have highlighted even more than was the case then the substantial uncertainty in tropical tropospheric temperature records. We never made these measurements for climate, they are bedevilled by non-climatic artifacts that are poorly understood. The observational evidence is so uncertain as to include anything from somewhat less warming than at the surface to substantial amplification of surface changes aloft. So, no there is no longer anywhere near as strong evidence for a lack of a tropical hotspot as was the case then. Although of course absence of evidence is not equivalent to evidence of absence for some kind of discrepancy between observations and models. The large observational uncertainty and strong inter-model consistency make the observational uncertainty a far more plausible explanation … which was also the state of the science in 2005/6.

Also, to correct a mis-conception (zombie argument?) that the tropical upper-troposphere hotspot is somehow a unique signature of anthropogenic warming this is frankly baloney. The tropical troposphere is dominated by convective mixing processes. Although its not as simple as just a moist adiabatic lapse rate adjustment the net effect is that the tropical tropospheric column simply amplifies whatever changes occur at the surface. If it warms the troposphere warms with greater warming aloft. If it cools the troposphere cools at an increasing rate aloft. Models and observations concur on monthly to inter-annual timescales. So, a forcings run with a net +ve surface radiative effect will have a tropical hotspot and one with net -ve surface radiative effect will have a tropical coldspot. Single forcing model runs can easily verify this and show that the hotspot is no unique signature of CO2 forcing. It just doesn’t stack up physically. The unique anthropogenic signal is a warming troposphere / cooling stratosphere … something that we see very clearly.

Anonymous said...

<1485> Mann:
the important thing is to make sure they’re loosing the PR battle. That’s what
the site [Real Climate] is about.

gah, I can't believe he said "loosing".

I thought "loosing" was used by pimple faced 12 year olds pwning the internets, not college professors.

Dark Eden said...

Post wikileaks, the 'thieved private emails' dog won't hunt. Our greatest national secrets have been gleefully pulled into the public spotlight with nary a word from those who now think private emails are sacred.

Where were these concerns for private emails when Sarah Palin's email was broken into?

You can't have it both ways forever.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, no matter how much more spin the climate "science" community tries to apply to them, these "out of context" quotes and their supporting emails are in the aggregate totally indefensible.

But defend them you will, and the more you do so, the more credibility you are guaranteed to lose.

There are only 250,000 more emails to go.

Are you ready for them?

Brian Macker said...

"I gave up on Judith Curry a while ago. I don’t know what she think’s she’s
doing, but its not helping the cause"

This is devastating admission that he is not doing science. It should not be classified under "Scientists are people too" but under "Politicians pretending to be scientists".

Anonymous said...

Your take on climate change while political charged is tied to humans to some degree, I would like to give you my take. Excluding urban heat island effects and pollution in cities like New Delhi and in China mega cities; rural areas are not showing climate warming but cooling. In fact the oceans since 2007 have been lowering some 20 mm.

I have attached my research into what I believe is a very natural cycles of short and mid to long term climate change. Cycles of 20-30 years are tied to the pacific decade oscillation (PDO) which has just shifted to cold...so expect weather like the mid 1950s to mid 1970s. Our Sun like all stars are wobbled in its orbit by the gravitational forces of orbiting gas giant planets Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus.

The planets drive the sun into and out of higher and lower energetic states which is expressed in its sunspots cycle of about 12 years, which is Jupiter's orbit cycle. When the sun is more energetic, more sunspots, more UV radiation (10%), more solar wind which limits cloud forming and earth cooling Cosmic Rays and the pacific warms. When the suns is in a less energetic state (lowest level of sunspots in over 100 years) the inverse occurs and the pacific cools as it has. Record snow falls and sea level declines, which is occurring after the last warm PDO.

In the past 10,500 years since the end of the last ice age, it has been warmer 9800+ years more than today's relatively cool period. Humankind has much more to fear from the next ice age cycle than alarmist banging global warming..no...climate change...no make that extreme climate change. Humanity has so much better uses of its resources to fund this hoax any longer.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: "I don't trust thieves. The emails were stolen. There is a motive, a law breaking motive, behind the theft of them."

There's also a motive, a law breaking motive, behind the deliberate attempts by these "scientists" to delete or relocate incriminating email to (illegally!) avoid the reach of the FOIA. I find that more disturbing than the "thieving" of emails that should have been subject to open release under the FOIA anyway.

Fearsome Tycoon said...

Peter, while I am absolutely sympathetic to the way some of these remarks are being taken out of context, as a fluid dynamicist, you have unfortunately ensured that you are going to lose this war by representing results produced by immature models as inerrant, demanding trillion-dollar action by governments, and requiring near-complete destruction of the productive apparatus of society as we have known in in order to avoid armageddon.

Never do you or your colleagues present results with the necessary margins of error, caveats, or uncertainties. Rarely do you even wait for your modeling results to be vetted and run straight to the press. And frequently, you have hidden them from those who would like to examine them for flaws, on the grounds that trying to find something wrong with the models and reconstructions is somehow untoward, despite those of us in every other scientific field having to deal with this all the time.

So yes, there are some remarks taken out of their immediate context. However, the rather larger context of your unscientific behavior is not going away. You have lost the PR battle with the public, and you have no one to blame but yourselves. Here is some advice, although I am but a junior scientist--until your code is directly solving all the governing PDEs for your system with sufficient resolution to capture all the nonlinear dynamics and chemical kinetics, lay off the press releases. I know it's not as sexy, and it won't make you as famous, but you won't get egg on your face, either.

MartinM said...

The Mann "hockey" graph could yield nothing but an exponential function of temperature with time - the statistical method weights data points for time rate of change of temperature proportional to the temperature.

...what? No, it doesn't.

Anonymous said...

I love the people screaming about theiving emails when the emails show the blatant disregard the scientists show toward the FOIA laws. Gimme a break. If that's what you want to argue, it drowns out any other more salient points you might try to make. The scientists are purposely trying to subvert their nation's laws. To me that speaks volumes about the "righteousness" of their cause. And I would also throw out how the same people trying to protect the scientists are often the same ones screaming for FOIA in the first place when it suits their interests.

Anonymous said...

The people who are tutoring us nitwits about the subtleties of "context" are also the same ones lamenting the fact that these "stolen" emails were published. As if the emails don't provide context?

<4716> Adams: Somehow we have to leave the[m] thinking OK, climate change is extremely complicated, BUT I accept the dominant view that people are affecting it, and that impacts produces risk that needs careful and urgent attention.

It didn't work.

Dandapani said...

"its not helping the cause"

What happened to the SCIENCE?

MartinM said...

And now for the context:

If I am candid, my aim for the session is to help secure and encourage this move, while at the same time helping them understand something of the complexity of climate variability (i.e. education not conversion!).

The problem here is that the delegates are a pretty bright bunch, who are used to pushing through uncertainty to identify the core of arguments.

This is great, but it makes for a world seen in black and white. It can be hard to get grey tones across. Somehow we have to leave them thinking OK, climate change is extremely complicated, BUT I accept the dominant view that people are affecting it, and that impacts produces risk that needs careful and urgent attention.

Or something like that!

Kirk Hawley said...

After spending a few hours with the original batch of emails it was quite obvious that the emails were not stolen, but leaked.

-Kirk

New Class Traitor said...

I have, with my own eyes, seen highly regarded scientists --- who had a big emotional investment in a pet theory about [some abstruse physical or chemical effect] --- engage in behavior extremely similar to what I read here.

It hardly comes as a surprise to me that scientists behave in ways that have very little to do with dispassionate "search for the truth wherever it may lead" when the stakes are THIS high, and the subject is one where political passions get mixed in.

It also squares with my observation that some people who are loudly proclaiming a message for public consumption will express doubts when they think nobody they need to convince is within earshot.

Scientists are human, and nothing human is alien to them ;-) --- especially not when enormous amounts of money and influence are at stake. (Not to mention 'rescue fantasies'.)

Anonymous said...

I have a degree in chemistry and work with researchers daily. I do not need to understand climate modeling to know that Mann and his like are frauds. In no serious area of science would their behavior be accepted. Denigration of other researchers, fine; not professional but not uncommon. But refusing to disclose and actively hiding data? refusing to supply the model supporting a public paper? Unheard of; a real scientist is happy to throw his data in the face of a challenger.

teapartydoc said...

Getting caught with your pants down can be real hard to overcome, but if really great liars like Bill Clinton can get away with it, maybe a scientist can, too.

jac said...

I think that deleting email in response to a FOIA request is illegal in the US and probably in Britain. I guess I'd like to see Jones sweated by a prosecutor about his part in deleting email that he knows will make his cause look bad if made public.

Skookum John said...

Those of you clucking about "theft" of emails should keep in mind that every single one of these were produced by government-funded scientists working on their office computers. They are subject to FOIA inquiries on both sides of the Atlantic. If you think this is going to make any difference in peoples' opinions, you are quite deluded.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, first we have some AGW proponents who thing "stealing emails" is bad, but deleting emails requestable is good.

Second, for anyone feeding at the public trough, it is ludicrous to consider emails placed on their employer's servers "their property." More properly, barring classified information, this principle is enshrined in the FOIA. You know, the one that Phil Jones counseled his peers to feloniously violate. So who is the real law-breaker here ?

Thirdly, anyone who holds the public in suck contempt as to call them "Joe Sixpack" does not deserve any graduate degree they may currently possess. (Can you tell I truly detest the polarization of intellectual snobbery ?)

And lastly, those who decide on the narrative, and then cherry-pick the data to include in a "scientific paper," do not understand the null hypothesis, and thus fail utterly as scientists. Any person do doing should be deeply ashamed to have ever called themself a "scientist."

Deliberate omission of data, destruction of FOIA materials, and back-channel suppression of opposing points of view are ANTI-science. A Pox on the pseudoscientific True Believers who engage in any of those things.

gregq said...

"That diversion would be a tragedy, for everyone, because there are still very, very good, scientifically proven reasons to think that humans are altering the climate and this will only get more pronounced in the coming decades."

No, there isn't.

Please show us the paper giving temperatures for the last 100 years that is verifiable by outside individuals. Which means the writers of the paper have released all the data behind the paper, and all the methods, such that anyone with sufficient computing power can exactly recreate their work.

You can't because such a paper doesn't exist. To the best of my knowledge there are NO papers on land based temperature measures that 1: show significant warming, and 2: include everything needed to replicate the results.

You can call those papers whatever you want, but that's not science, and that's not scientific evidence.

Let's compare real science to fake science.

Real science: Physicists believed their experimental results showed neutrinos moving fast than light. Knowing this was controversial, they released all their data on a web site, so anyone who wanted to could download it, and then go about trying to prove them wrong, and / or figure out where they screwed up.

Fake science: Climate "scientists" refusing to release the data behind their studies, because "you're just trying to prove me wrong." "Scientists" destroying records to try to keep them out of critics hands. The East Anglia CRU announced after ClimateGate 1.0 that they could not replicate the work behind many of their papers. Non of those papers have been retracted.

The Anthropogenic Global Warming fantasy relies on three beliefs:

1: The world is warming
2: The warming is caused by human activity
3: The warming is a bad thing.

Let's consider them in order:
1: Are we warmer now than we were in the 1700s? Yes. Are we warmer now than we were in the 1100s? Unlikely. Do we have ANY scientific proof that we are warmer now than we were in 1950? No, because not one of the papers claiming that has released information sufficient for non-club members to replicate the work.

2: All the human inputs that were supposedly causing the claimed warming have stayed the same or grown between 1998 and 2008, yet the warming reversed / stopped /greatly slowed down (pick your claim). none of the people confidently making predictions about AGW and its effects predicted that to happen. Models that only correctly "predict" the past are worthless. At best, there is no evidence that humans are causing the temperature change. And "worst" the last decade or so can be taken to prove that it is not human activity that is causing the changes.

3: Cold kills a lot more people than does warm. The Medieval Warming Period was, IIRC, a good time for crops and life in general.

Climate "science" is a sad, pathetic joke. It is a field dominated by whores willing to sell whatever scientific principles and pretensions they might have in exchange for government grants. The bureaucrats who hire them need to all be fired. Any "scientist" who's destroyed data (including most certainly emails) should receive a life-time ban on getting any government grants to study or do ANYTHING. Anyone who's published a paper in the field should be told "release every bit of data and method behind this paper in the next six months, or retract the paper. If your paper quotes any papers that get retracted because of this, you must rewrite your paper to excise all reliance on the retracted papers, or you must retract your paper."

If that happened, we'd have the beginnings of a real scientific field that could possibly give worthwhile data. So if you think the field has something to offer, show it, by pushing for the above.

Because nothing less will remove the stink of corruption that permeates the field now.

tom swift said...

"because there are still very, very good, scientifically proven reasons to think that humans are altering the climate and this will only get more pronounced in the coming decades."

Even if true, this is nowhere near good enough. The phenomenon MUST be understood quantitatively if one hopes to control it. Otherwise, we'll have draconian government action which will cripple industry, development, and finance in an effort to affect some physical quantity (in this case, CO2 emissions). So, how do we know when to stop? How much is enough? We know how the bureaucratic mind works - if a small amount is good, a large amount is better; and next year's regulations practically write themselves with no intelligent input needed. On the other hand, if a small amount is ineffectual, then more is needed. The inevitable end result is that controls, once imposed, constantly increase and are never relaxed, no matter how effective or ineffective, or how expensive (in both financial and social terms), they turn out to be.

In other words, without a solid quantitative understanding of a physical phenomenon, hysterical reaction can come to no good end.

This is just classical control theory. You have to keep track of your control variables and your observable variables, and you have to understand how they interact. (If you have to make an ad hoc invocation of, say, a La Nina event to explain why your model is off, you don't understand how the variables interact.) People don't study it as much as they should nowadays, as it's out of fashion compared to digital. Any you have to know your calculus, which gives some a headache. Unfortunately, the study of digital control doesn't seem to lead to the same intimate understanding of the dynamics of analog systems.

David Appell said...

gregg wrote:
Please show us the paper giving temperatures for the last 100 years that is verifiable by outside individuals. Which means the writers of the paper have released all the data behind the paper, and all the methods, such that anyone with sufficient computing power can exactly recreate their work.

BEST, at Berkeley.

Besides, the ability for laypeople to reproduce results isn't the standard for good science. Have you reproduced the supernova data that established dark energy and just won a Nobel Prize?

Anonymous said...

"Reputations may rise and fall. But in the end, this is a victory for science. No theory is carved in stone. Science is merciless when it comes to testing all theories over and over, at any time, in any place. Unlike religion or politics, science is ultimately decided by experiments, done repeatedly in every form. There are no sacred cows. In science, 100 authorities count for nothing. Experiment counts for everything."
Michio Kaku

Brian G Valentine said...

No, it doesn't.

It doesn't, huh?

Identify yourself! David Appell and I have used complete names and you can be proud enough of yourself to do it too.

Adrian Hope said...

Re: BEST

How has BEST managed to reproduce CRU Results when CRU themselves can't?

How has BEST overcome the problem that the use of Yamal tree ring data as a temperature proxy is not valid science?

I'm guessing they chose to ignore these issues but I could be wrong.

MartinM said...

It doesn't, huh?

No, it doesn't. If you have a case to make, make it. Should be easy enough, since you already wrote it up for the editor.

MartinM said...

How has BEST managed to reproduce CRU Results when CRU themselves can't?

Science works by replication, not rote reproduction. Anyone with the relevant skills can replicate the CRU's work in a few hours.

How has BEST overcome the problem that the use of Yamal tree ring data as a temperature proxy is not valid science?

BEST is an instrumental temperature record; it contains no proxies. There's also the minor detail that the Yamal proxy is fine.

Anonymous said...

"I gave up on Judith Curry a while ago. I don’t know what she think’s she’s
doing, but its not helping the cause"

This is devastating admission that he is not doing science.


The 'cause' in this case = objective public outreach on the actual state of scientific understanding.

Don't believe me? Well, you could check the link to the full email you provided with your comment....

Oh.

Any case, we don't need no steenking context. We can just be oh so certain about our interpretations and batter each other with ever-wittier retorts. Skepticism was only ever a sideshow after all.

Anonymous Coward (not the original one)

Adrian Hope said...

MartinM

CRU have lost the raw data from which their dataset is constructed. It could be completely faked. No one can tell. Science works by making sure people can't fake results.

Plant physiology gives no support to the connection between tree ring data and global temperature. It can go no further than inform about local effects and cannot clearly infer solely temperature conditions. That's science too.

MartinM said...

CRU have lost the raw data from which their dataset is constructed. It could be completely faked. No one can tell. Science works by making sure people can't fake results.

Nonsense. The vast majority of the data used in HadCRUT is freely available online, for anyone to download.

And it's pretty damn rare for anyone to bother checking that results haven't been faked. We only tend to do it if there's a reason to suspect that they have.

Plant physiology gives no support to the connection between tree ring data and global temperature. It can go no further than inform about local effects and cannot clearly infer solely temperature conditions. That's science too.

Surely one as well versed in plant physiology as you has heard of Liebig's law of the minimum.

Brian G Valentine said...

You've got a big mouth, there, Marty.

Too bad everybody isn't as gullible as you; maybe, since you're an apologist, you would be one of the chosen few who the Government would let have a car or take airplane rides - if the CO2 maniacs had their way with the Government.

Something like the Communist government in in the old Soviet Union, wouldn't that make ya happy, huh?

For a statistical treatment of red noise and the weighting used to analyze it to reproduce Mann's data as an exponential function independent of initial data, write to me

bgvalentine@verizon.net

MartinM said...

No need to be shy, Brian. I'm sure everyone's very interested in your analysis.

Brian G Valentine said...

Lots of people already have, Marty, the only thing they didn't do is to show that the time derivative of the function generated from the analysis of the red noise reproduced - the function.

There's just one real continuous (and differentiable) function with that property, guess which one that is.

So Mann's assertion that "lots of people have reproduced what is known as the Hockey Stick Curve" is completely accurate. Absolutely beyond question.

MartinM said...

You seem to like talking about it without actually showing it.

gregq said...

"BEST, at Berkeley."

BEST? That would be the one where the climate change alarmist is claiming the data "proves" global warming", and his co-authors are saying it proves no such thing?


Besides, the ability for laypeople to reproduce results isn't the standard for good science. Have you reproduced the supernova data that established dark energy and just won a Nobel Prize?

No, I haven't. But lots of people whose funding isn't dependent upon "dark energy" HAVE.

OTOH, I'm a computer programmer, and own multiple high powered machines (esp by the definition of 2006). Given their data and tools, I COULD replicate their work. And if you gave Anthony Watt the data and tools, he could

1: Replicate the work

2: Show where they are dishonestly picking weather stations that should have been rejected for various reasons

3: Show where they cherry-picked stations that showed what they wanted, whereas picking other stations in the same area would have given different answers

4: Showed where they "adjusted" the data in unreasonable ways

5: Showed where their results were entirely dependent upon "adjustments". And that while those "adjustments" were "reasonable", a different set of equally "reasonable" adjustments would come up with different answers.

There is science, and then there is religion. Religion is carried out by priesthoods who claim authority over the masses. Science is carried out by researchers, and no one is privileged.

Go back again to the FTL neutrinos. They didn't require downloaders to have a Ph. D. in Physics, or any other sort of credential. They just said "here's the data, here are our methods, tell us where we screwed up." That is what real science looks like. It's not who you are, it's what you can do.

Climate "science" is instead a religion. They have a high priesthood (Phil Jones, Mann, Hansen, etc.), a priesthood (various researchers in the field, many represented in ClimateGate 2.0), lay ministers (various pro- climate change bloggers), and then the rest of us, many believers, some people who are coming to their senses.

In real science, when your biggest competitor / worst enemy calls you up and wants everything needed to validate the claims in a paper you published, you give it to him. No ifs, and, maybes, or buts. If you don't, then everyone else in your field assumes you're engaged in fraud, and treats you accordingly. That's the cost of publishing a paper.

Take a look at GenBank: "Most journals expect that DNA and amino acid sequences that appear in articles will be submitted to a sequence database before publication." Read "most" to equal "any reputable publication that is worth publishing in." There's at least as much money in the biotech, medical and pharmacological fields as there is in climate change, nevertheless, everyone has to share their information with everybody else.

But that's because those fields are real fields where getting the right answer matters.

FrancisChalk said...

There is no science in climate science, only scientific fraud.

MartinM said...

BEST? That would be the one where the climate change alarmist is claiming the data "proves" global warming", and his co-authors are saying it proves no such thing

No. That would be the one where the formerly somewhat sceptical scientist discovered, to his surprise, that the other groups that had already produced temperature records actually knew what they were doing.

Given their data and tools, I COULD replicate their work.

BEST's data and code are freely available. GISTEMP's data and code have been freely available for years. The vast majority of HadCRUT's data has been freely available for years, the remainder was recently released, and they've published their algorithm in sufficient detail that anyone with the required skills could easily implement it. Knock yourself out.

For all the clamouring about releasing code and data, the 'sceptics' have been oddly reticent about actually doing anything with it. How peculiar.

Kooiti Masuda said...

The issue of global versus regional climate change is compounded with the issue of restriction on distribution of climate data.

National meteorological services of the world which participate in the World Meteorological Organization agree that they make basic meteorological data publicly open. But whether they make additional data public or commercial depends on decision of each national government.

The observational data which CRU used for production of their globally analyzed data include both free ones and restricted ones.

It turned out, as GISS, NCDC and also recently BEST showed, it is sufficient to use free data only to calculate representative values of global mean, or hemispheric mean temperature.

CRU included non-free data sources, partly because they started global analysis early (in the 1980s) when they did not expect that some readers of their works request exact reproducibility. But there is another important reason. CRU not only makes global-scale records and contribute to IPCC Working Group 1, but also makes data sets for regional-scale climate change to be used by researchers contributing to IPCC WG 2. The latter data sets have higher spatial details, and to construct them the coverage of free data is not sufficient for some countries.

Steve Bloom said...

All libertarians are deranged. Everything they say is wrong.

OK, that cancels out most of this thread. Next?

Dave said...

poorly understood

Every post on RC summed up in two words.

Nonsense. The vast majority of the data used in HadCRUT is freely available online, for anyone to download.

Not the raw data.

The same problem exists with the amusing attempts to pretend the siting quality issues don't matter by using the homogenized GISS data -- "Look, the temperatures we smeared together are still smeared together when we remove some of them!" Bravo.

Also, even when obvious mistakes are identified, those that are inconveient are often just waved off, sometimes with conspiracy theories about oil companies, other times with no explanation at all. For instance, Mann is still inverting the Tiljander series, despite being told by the original authors of the data that it is upside down. And let's not even talk about the Yamal debacle.

These are the sorts of things AGWers really needed to work out BEFORE they decided to branch out into multi-trillion dollar global policy consulting. Had they been playing by the usual scientific rules instead of behaving like political activists, ClimateGate would never have happened.

Anonymous said...

BEST? That would be the one where the climate change alarmist is claiming the data "proves" global warming", and his co-authors are saying it proves no such thing?

Nope, that would be the one where the skeptic discovered to his surprise that the instrumental records were robust, that global warming was evident over the 20th century, and where Anthony Watts said real skeptics never denied that the globe has warmed during the 20th century, they were skeptical about something else.

Some skeptics didn't get the memo, though.

Anonymous said...

Dave, the Yamal debacle would be the one where McIntyre made a boo-boo, and never corrected.

It started with McIntyre claiming for years he could not get the data from Briffa, while having the data all along. Then he removed a few trees he didn't like, added a poor sample of other trees, and then claimed Briffa did things wrong. Yep, a debacle indeed, unfortunately some pseudoskeptics didn't quite see the devastating rebuttals.

Marco

Anonymous said...

"BEST's data and code are freely available. GISTEMP's data and code have been freely available for years."

And the quality of the data is not what is required, it is not raw data. Even with the adjustments made by the climate scientists, the BEST study confirms no AGW model is accurate and that warming has not been statistically significant for the last 14 years.

Muller, one of the authors of the study who is popularizing the lie that the BEST study confirms AGW, has so angered his co-authors by his lies they are demanding that their names be taken off the study unless he retracts his lies.

-- Tom Perkins

Anonymous said...

The red comments about greater solar influence in the 19th and early 20th century are on the money. There is simply no way for humans to have influenced climate with the level of emissions during that time frame. The entire industrial revolution for the entire 19th century was occurring ONLY in the temperate band of one quadrant of the northern hemisphere straddling the N. Atlantic. A completely inadequate amount of GHG output to have any effect whatsoever on climate.

Anonymous said...

Scientists are very human, so the "out of context" criticisms here are largely disingenuous. One needn't be a scientist to have the intelligence and perceptivity to reconstruct the general atitude reflected in these e-mails. They show a flawed and corrupted process; so flawed that some e-mailers are discounting their own honst misgivings in order to "not betray th cause; and they call it a "cause" in a t least a couple of e-mails. THAT alone is very telling, and should be considered devastating and disgraceful.

Anonymous said...

Tom Perkins, please provide evidence that the co-authors (plural) are threatening to remove their names from the articles.

Even Curry has not done so, and she's the only one complaining.



Marco

Anonymous said...

Anonymus just above my previous post:
My cause as a scientist is to do good science to get insight into the physics of the world around us.

Oops, I used the word "cause".

My cause is also to protect scientists from ideologicy-based attacks.

Oops, I used the word "cause" again!

Both causes must be really troublesome to those who see their ideology under attack by reality.

Marco

Anonymous said...

There is some pretty rich commentary here. It is usually a valid point to argue context but I sure would like to see what context would preclude the following from being nefarious:

<2440> Jones:
I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI Acts. One way to cover yourself
and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the
process.


<2094> Briffa:
UEA does not hold the very vast majority of mine [potentially FOIable emails]
anyway which I copied onto private storage after the completion of the IPCC
task.

Surely, this is indefensible. It points to what is the greatest concern coming from this whole mess, integrity or rather the seemingly complete lack of it. If they seek to deceive it would be foolish of anyone to trust anything that comes from them. Science without integrity is better described as chicanery. It would be completely reasonable to doubt the word or the work of anyone who could defend such actions.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to sound naive, but is Joe Six Pack, Tupac's brother or cousin?

shamraiz said...

Besides, the ability for laypeople to reproduce results isn't the standard for good science. Have you reproduced the supernova data that established dark energy and just won a Nobel Prize?
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