Posts Tagged ‘Climategate’

Finale! Climategate 3.0 released and speculation about Mr. FOIA is rife

March 14, 2013

The anonymous disseminator of the Climategate emails (Climategate and Climategate 2.0) has been dubbed Mr. FOIA in the blogosphere. He still remains anonymous but he has now released the password for the large email dump he released under CG2.0. The password has been released to some selected bloggers  in the hope that they will have the time to sift through them, leave out any personal or irrelevant indiscretions and focus on the unprofessional and unethical manipulations of data by the “climate science” clique/hierarchy that was first revealed in Climategate.

We shall no doubt be hearing much over the next few weeks as this “crowd-sourced” analysis of the emails proceeds.

Mr. FOIA has probably achieved more than any other single individual in applying some brakes to the runaway train that was the global warming orthodoxy before Copenhagen. There is much speculation as to the identity of Mr. FOIA and my current speculative summary of his profile is:

    • not resident in the US or UK (>99%)
    • unlikely (<30%) to be usually resident in one of the old Commonwealth countries (Australia, Canada, S. Africa, India, N. Z., ….)
    • probably (>99%) not a native English speaker but with a formidable command of English
    • has possibly (>60%) been assigned to the University of East Anglia for some time (any faculty)
    • may have been (c. 30%) temporarily assigned to the CRE of the UEA
    • high probability of being resident in Europe (>70%)
    • could possibly (>30%) be originally from Scandinavia/Baltic States/N. Europe
    • has spent considerable time in the IT/programming fields (>99.9%)
    • IT experience perhaps only as support for his mainstream activities (>60%)
    • probably (>95%) male
    • probably (>75%) “white”
    • probably (>80%) aged under 50
    • probably (c. 80%) now agnostic/humanistic
    • probably (>50%) brought up as a Protestant/Lutheran
    • probably (> 50%) prefers wine to beer
    • probably (>50%) prefers beer to whiskey
    • probably (>60%) prefers soccer to baseball
    • probably (>80%) does not play golf

A photograph of Phil Jones – one of the Climategate stars – in his office from Tom Nelson’s blog.  I can see why FOIA requests are far too time consuming for him! A good thing that the science is settled. If only Phil had learnt to use Excel.

Phil Jones in his office with his data. Good thing the science is settled.


Searchable data base for Climategate 2 emails already online

November 23, 2011

I am not quite sure who put this together but its appearance within about 24 hours of the original data dump on a Russian server is pretty impressive.

Climategate 2 | FOIA 2011 Searchable Database


This website is provided as a research resource for mining the recently leaked climate communications. Every effort has been made to redact personal contact information such as email addresses and telephone numbers. The redaction algorithms are currently tuned to be quite stringent, and they will inadvertantly obfuscate other details as well. We will continue to tune the software to improve the quality of the results.

This database was assembled in a very short space of time, and at present only provides the most rudimentary tools for exploring this vast trove of material. We will be improving the quality of the search tools and adding further metadata to the database over the course of the next few weeks.

The investigative capabilities of the on-line community when engaged is quite formidable (as I have remarked on earlier).

Penn State whitewash of Michael Mann exposed

March 9, 2011

Two things which were were always pretty clear have now been proven.

  1. Michael Mann of the Hockey Stick Illusion and the cherry picking of data did indeed ask his friends and colleagues to delete incriminating emails, and
  2. The so-called Penn State inquiry into Mann and his actions cherry picked the evidence to give a pre-determined result.

A federal government inspector general has revealed prima facie proof that the so-called independent inquiries widely if implausibly described as clearing the ClimateGate principals of wrongdoing were, in fact, whitewashes. This has been confirmed to Senate offices. It will not be released to the public for some time because the investigation is ongoing.

The document, an interview transcript, will put an end to the foolish talk of anything resembling a ClimateGate “inquiry” having taken place. It will also invite a real inquiry into the affair. Expect fireworks, as the one such effort, by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, is being fought hysterically by Big Science and Big Academia.

Critically, it also begs questions of Penn State University, which conducted one of the three supposed inquiries into ClimateGate. The key point is that the Penn State investigators never interviewed a principal who was able to confirm or deny a key charge against “Hockey Stick” lead author of “Hide the Decline” infamy Michael Mann. This individual has now been interviewed, and what he told federal investigators has indicted Mann and Penn State. The inspector general’s report specifically reveals Penn State’s wagon-circlers to have been at best comically negligent/inept in allowing Mann to not answer the damning charge they were tasked with examining: did he delete or ask others to delete records? At worst, they were complicit in the cover-up.

Simply by interviewing Mann’s colleague Eugene Wahl, PSU would have exposed Mann’s “answer” for what it was (and wasn’t). Such an interview was obviously necessary for any inquiry. Penn State chose not to conduct it, for its own reasons. A federal inspector general has now conducted it. And the result is damning of both Mann and the parties that chose not to interview Wahl.

As background, Phil Jones in the United Kingdom asked Mann, now at Penn State, by email to delete records being sought under the UK’s Freedom of Information Act, and to get a colleague to do so as well:

Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment — minor family crisis.

Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address.

We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.

“Gene” is Eugene Wahl, who now works for the federal government.

Mann’s terse reply included in pertinent part:

I’ll contact Gene about this ASAP

Now, from Penn State’s supposed inquiry and exoneration of Michael Mann:

Allegation 2: Did you engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions with the intent to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails, information and/or data, related to AR4, as suggested by Phil Jones?

Finding 2. After careful consideration of all the evidence and relevant materials, the inquiry committee finding is that there exists no credible evidence that Dr. Mann had ever engaged in, or participated in, directly or indirectly, any actions with intent to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails, information and/or data related to AR4, as suggested by Dr. Phil Jones. Dr. Mann has stated that he did not delete emails in response to Dr. Jones’ request. Further, Dr. Mann produced upon request a full archive of his emails in and around the time of the preparation of AR4. The archive contained e-mails related to AR4.

If the above excerpt accurately reflects Mann’s testimony, both Mann’s “answer” and his peers’ acceptance of it ought to raise red flags. Penn State asked Mann and only Mann if he destroyed records or was indirectly involved in destroying records. Mann said only that he did not destroy records. And that did it. Even though Phil Jones asked Mann to instruct Wahl to do so as well.


To serve Mann

Wahl Transcript Excerpt

Peer review becomes incestuous when it comes to Global Warming

February 17, 2011

The Climategate emails revealed the extent to which the global warming establishment were prepared to go to pervert and doctor the peer review process to inhibit the publication of any papers challenging global warming orthodoxy.

Fraser Nelsonthe editor of the Spectator relates the story in his blog of how a critique of faults in a paper written by one of the establishment (Eric Steig) was sent to the criticised Steig himself for peer review!! He writes:

Debunking the Antarctica myths

In January 2009, Nature magazine ran the a cover story (pictured) conveying dramatic news about Antarctica: that most of it had warmed significantly over the last half-century. For years, the data from this frozen continent – with 90 percent of the world’s ice mass – had stubbornly refused to corroborate the global warming narrative. So the study, led by Eric Steig of the University of Washington, was treated as a bit of a scoop. It reverberated around the world. Gavin Schmidt, from the RealClimate blog, declared that Antarctica had silenced the sceptics. Mission, it seemed, was accomplished: Antarctica was no longer an embarrassment to the global warming narrative.

He spoke too soon. The indefatigable Steve McIntyre started to scrutinise his followings along with Nicholas Lewis. They found several flaws: Steig et al had used too few data sequences to speak for an entire continent, and had processed the data in a very questionable way. But when they wanted to correct him, in another journal, they quickly ran into an inconvenient truth about global warming: the high priests do not like refutation. To have their critique (pdf) of Steig’s work published, they needed to assuage the many demands of an anonymous ‘Reviewer A’ – whom they later found out to be Steig himself.

Lewis and Matt Ridley have joined forces to tell the story in the cover issue of this week’s Spectator.

It’s another powerful, and depressing tale of the woeful state of climate science. Real science welcomes refutation: with global warming, it is treated as a religion.

As they say in their cover story:

“Nature’s original peer-review process had let through an obviously flawed paper, and no professional climate scientist then disputed  it – perhaps because of fear that doing so might harm their careers. As the title of Richard Bean’s new play – The Heretic – at the Royal Court hints, young scientists going into climate studies these days are a bit like young theologians in Elizabethan England. They quickly learn that funding and promotion dries up if you express heterodox views, or doubt the scripture. The scripture, in this case, being the assembled reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. …… So has Antarctica been warming? Mostly not – at least not measurably. Retreat of the floating Antarctic ice shelves is a favourite story for the media. But, except in a very few peripheral parts, Antarctica is far too cold to lose ice by surface melting.”


Shooting the messenger to discredit the message

November 27, 2010

From ancient times, envoys, messengers, heralds and town criers have all had to live with the risk of the messages they delivered incensing their audiences sufficiently to cause a backlash against the messenger. “Shooting the messenger” is then the metaphoric expression of this illogical but understandable lashing out against the bearer of bad news. Envoys and heralds were sometimes arrested or beheaded and sent back not just because the message was disliked but to create and transmit a new message by the action itself.

But it is only in modern times with the advent of readily available duplication (micro-film, photocopiers, magnetic tapes, electronic scanning and now cut-and-paste) and of easy dissemination across the globe (fax, computers, email and internet) that the leaking of confidential documents has come into its own. That confidential documents have always existed and will always exist is axiomatic and it is not only governments that have an interest in keeping documents secret. While the act of keeping some information secret may well be to hide some wrongdoing, it is not in itself indicative of illegality. Nevertheless the judgement that something needs to be kept secret is in itself  acknowledgement that the information would cause harm – to someone – if disclosed.

“Whistleblowing” – defined as revealing wrongdoing which is being kept secret – is now taken to be  admirable whether the wrongdoings are by politicians or governments or corporations.  Legislation is in place in many countries ostensibly to “protect” whistleblowers but is usually quite ineffective in preventing reprisals against the whistleblower. Often the legislation is intentionally ineffective and the only purpose is to project an image of “open government” but not actually to permit the disclosure of government secrets. Reprisals have often been crude and violent. In India, whistleblowers have even been killed out of hand. So-called Freedom of Information legislation also strives to maintain this balance of creating an impression of openness but where what is desired to be kept secret can be maintained secret (either by rejection of the request or by introducing delays or by deletion of sensitive information).

The messengers today are often a part of the message. Whistleblowing may have a political agenda. Whistleblowers may be political activists trying to mobilise the forces of public opinion. “Shooting the messenger” in the form of discrediting the messenger or his objectives has now come to be seen as a legitimate method of trying to discredit the message. This was attempted in the Climategate disclosures. Numerous articles were written to label the disclosure the work of a “hacker” (and therefore an illegal act) rather than that of a “leaker” (and therefore the act of an internal whistleblower). In the event the substance of the revelations carried their own weight and even so called “whitewash” enquiries carried out to downplay the substance of the revelations have not been very successful.

Logo used by Wikileaks

Wikileaks: image via Wikipedia

In October this year Wikileaks disclosed the Iraq War Logs. Governments around the world first tried to prevent the release by claiming that people would be in danger of their lives and security would be undermined. Nobody denied that the information was authentic. Once the material had been released, the objectives of the release and the people behind the release were attacked. Governments across the world cooperated to try and discredit the messages. “National Security concerns” became the common theme for the governments in the US and Australia and the UK. The Swedish authorities have accused the Wikileaks founder (Julian Assange) of rape and attempted rape in a crude and rather bizarre incident – but presumably as part of a concerted effort to prevent further revelations. But the information revealed about the number of civilians killed in Iraq and the manner of their killing can no longer be kept secret.

Now, further revelations of confidential US State Department information are expected from Wikileaks. The attacks on the messenger have started. The US government has contacted scores of other governments to try and defuse and discredit the information before it is disclosed. As the BBC writes:

The plan by whistleblower website Wikileaks to release millions more classified US documents will put lives at risk and damage national security, the state department has warned. A spokesman said it would do harm to US international relations if the leaks contained diplomatic cables.

The Pentagon said US military interests could also be damaged. The Wikileaks website said the US authorities were afraid of being held to account.

The state department spokesman, PJ Crowley, said the release of confidential communications was “harmful to our national security. It does put lives at risk. It does put national interests at risk”. Mr Crowley said that diplomatic cables involved discussions with governments and private citizens, and their release could erode trust in the US as a diplomatic partner. “They are going to create tension in relationships between our diplomats and our friends around the world,” he said. “When this confidence is betrayed and ends up on the front pages of newspapers or lead stories on television or radio, it has an impact,” Mr Crowley said.

It is notable that when information is disclosed there is not much effort expended in denying the authenticity of the information. Instead the focus is more and more on attacking the purpose of the disclosure and on attacking the messengers. But even the most horrifying disclosures do not seem to have increased the accountability of governments or their desire to justify their behaviour. “National Security” is the new mantra they can hide behind.

But I cannot help thinking that this tendency of governments, politicians and officials increasingly to attack the messenger is ultimately due to an inability to stand up for one’s own behaviour. It boils down to a lack of courage.

“Warriors of the Faith”: Global warming zealots declare jehad

November 8, 2010

The Chicago Tribune runs with the latest example of faith-based zealots declaring war!

Warriors of the Faith: image Jesus Christ Superstar


Faced with rising political attacks, hundreds of climate scientists are joining a broad campaign to push back against congressional conservatives who have threatened prominent researchers with investigations and vowed to kill regulations to rein in man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

The still-evolving efforts reveal a shift among climate scientists, many of whom have traditionally stayed out of politics and avoided the news media. Many now say they are willing to go toe-to-toe with their critics, some of whom gained new power after the Republicans won control of the House in Tuesday’s election.

On Monday, the American Geophysical Union, the country’s largest association of climate scientists, plans to announce that 700 climate scientists have agreed to speak out as experts on questions about global warming and the role of man-made air pollution.

John Abraham of St. Thomas University in Minnesota, who last May wrote a widely disseminated response to climate change skeptics, is also pulling together a “climate rapid response team,” which includes scientists prepared to go before what they consider potentially hostile audiences on conservative talk radio and television shows.

“This group feels strongly that science and politics can’t be divorced and that we need to take bold measures to not only communicate science but also to aggressively engage the denialists and politicians who attack climate science and its scientists,” said Scott Mandia, professor of physical sciences at Suffolk County Community College in New York.

This new Rapid Response Team has so far recruited 39 Warriors of the Faith!!!

A rapid-response team, however, is willing to delve into politics. In the week that Abraham and others have been marshaling the team, 39 scientists agreed to participate, including Richard Feely, senior scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research; and Michael Oppenheimer, professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University.

“People who’ve already dug their heels in, we’re not going to change their opinions,” Mandia said. “We’re trying to reach people who may not have an opinion or opinion based on limited information.”

It is difficult to take any Global Warming “Science” or “Scientists” seriously as long they continue the shenanigans revealed in Climategate and behave like a bunch of religious fanatics. It remains to be seen how many real scientists will join these religious fanatics in committing scientific and political suicide.

Climategate leads to Wikipedia action (finally)

October 15, 2010
Image representing Wikipedia as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

There are some small encouraging signs that science may be returning to the subject of climate and man-made effects and carbon dioxide forcings and solar influences. This is one of them.

Lawrence Solomon pointed out back in December 2009 that:

The Climategate Emails describe how a small band of climatologists cooked the books to make the last century seem dangerously warm. The emails also describe how the band plotted to rewrite history as well as science, particularly by eliminating the Medieval Warm Period, a 400 year period that began around 1000 AD.

The Climategate Emails reveal something else, too: the enlistment of the most widely read source of information in the world — Wikipedia — in the wholesale rewriting of this history.

U.K. scientist and Green Party activist William Connolley took control of all things climate in the most used information source the world has ever known – Wikipedia. Starting in February 2003, just when opposition to the claims of the band members were beginning to gel, Connolley set to work on the Wikipedia site. He rewrote Wikipedia’s articles on global warming, on the greenhouse effect, on the instrumental temperature record, on the urban heat island, on climate models, on global cooling. On Feb. 14, he began to erase the Little Ice Age; on Aug.11, the Medieval Warm Period. In October, he turned his attention to the hockey stick graph. He rewrote articles on the politics of global warming and on the scientists who were skeptical of the band. Richard Lindzen and Fred Singer, two of the world’s most distinguished climate scientists, were among his early targets, followed by others that the band especially hated, such as Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, authorities on the Medieval Warm Period.

All told, Connolley created or rewrote 5,428 unique Wikipedia articles. His control over Wikipedia was greater still, however, through the role he obtained at Wikipedia as a website administrator, which allowed him to act with virtual impunity. When Connolley didn’t like the subject of a certain article, he removed it — more than 500 articles of various descriptions disappeared at his hand. When he disapproved of the arguments that others were making, he often had them barred — over 2,000 Wikipedia contributors who ran afoul of him found themselves blocked from making further contributions. Acolytes whose writing conformed to Connolley’s global warming views, in contrast, were rewarded with Wikipedia’s blessings. In these ways, Connolley turned Wikipedia into the missionary wing of the global warming movement.
The Medieval Warm Period disappeared, as did criticism of the global warming orthodoxy. With the release of the Climategate Emails, the disappearing trick has been exposed. The glorious Medieval Warm Period will remain in the history books, perhaps with an asterisk to describe how a band of zealots once tried to make it disappear.

But now over a year after the Climategate revelations, Watts Up With That reports that

in a vote of 7-0, the most prolific climate revisionist editor ever at Wikipedia, with over 5400 article revisions has been banned from making any edits about climate related articles for six months. Here’s the details at Wikipedia.

Researchers show that peer review is easily corrupted

September 18, 2010
PhysicsWorld reports on a new paper:
Peer-review in a world with rational scientists: Toward selection of the average
by Stefan Thurner and Rudolf Hanel
1Section of Science of Complex Systems, Medical University of Vienna, Spitalgasse 23, A-1090, Austria

Just a small number of bad referees can significantly undermine the ability of the peer-review system to select the best scientific papers… Scholarly peer review is the commonly accepted procedure for assessing the quality of research before it is published in academic journals. It relies on a community of experts within a narrow field of expertise to have both the knowledge and the time to provide comprehensive reviews of academic manuscripts.Stefan Thurner and Rudolf Hanel at the Medical University of Vienna created a model of a generic specialist field where referees, selected at random, can fall into one of five categories. There are the “correct” who accept the good papers and reject the bad. There are the “altruists” and the “misanthropists”, who accept or reject all papers respectively. Then there are the “rational”, who reject papers that might draw attention away from their own work. And finally, there are the “random” who are not qualified to judge the quality of a paper because of incompetence or lack of time.Within this model community, the quality of scientists is assumed to follow a Gaussian distribution where each scientist produces one new paper every two time-units, the quality reflecting an author’s ability. At every step in the model, each new paper is passed to two referees chosen at random from the community, with self-review excluded, with a reviewer being allowed to either accept or reject the paper. The paper is published if both reviewers approve the paper, and rejected if they both do not like it. If the reviewers are divided, the paper gets accepted with a probability of 0.5.

Peer review gauntlet

Thurner and Hanel find that even a small presence of rational or random referees can significantly reduce the quality of published papers. Daniel Kennefick, a cosmologist at the University of Arkansas with a special interest in sociology, believes that the study exposes the vulnerability of peer review when referees are not accountable for their decisions.

Kennefick feels that the current system also encourages scientists to publish findings that may not offer much of an advance. “Many authors are nowadays determined to achieve publication for publication’s sake, in an effort to secure an academic position and are not particularly swayed by the argument that it is in their own interests not to publish an incorrect article.”

(This could have been written about Marc Hauser —

But Tim Smith, senior publisher for New Journal of Physics feels that the study overlooks the role of journal editors. “Peer-review is certainly not flawless and alternatives to the current process will continue to be proposed. In relation to this study however, one shouldn’t ignore the role played by journal editors and Boards in accounting for potential conflicts of interest, and preserving the integrity of the referee selection and decision-making processes,” he says.

In fact Journal Editors have much to answer for in the perversion of the peer review process which was revealed by Climategate. (The Hockey Stick Illusion by Andrew Montfordreviewed here)

Thurner argues that science would benefit from the creation of a “market for scientific work”. He envisages a situation where journal editors and their “scouts” search preprint servers for the most innovative papers before approaching authors with an offer of publication. The best papers, he believes, would naturally be picked up by a number of editors leaving it up to authors to choose their journal. “Papers that no-one wants to publish remain on the server and are open to everyone – but without the ‘prestigious’ quality stamp of a journal,” Thurner explains.

When reviewers show bias (in acceptance or in rejection) or misuse and hide behind the cloak of anonymity and are not required to be accountable then Hausergate and Climategate become inevitable.

Oliver Manuel comments: The most basic problem with ANONYMOUS peer-review is this: “That methodology is flawed and those flaws have been gradually undermining, corrupting, and trivializing American science for decades.” Anonymous peer review of papers and proposals has been steadily “undermining, corrupting, and trivializing American science” since I started my research career in 1960.

The evolution of peer review with the use of open servers in now overdue but is beginning.

Oxburgh “Inquiry”: Defendants decide on admissibility of evidence

September 16, 2010

Steve McIntyre is upto his admirable sleuthing again.

The question as to who chose the super-11 “peer-reviewed” papers  has been solved.

Dear Mr McIntyre
In response to your recent enquiry I can provide the following information.

I understand that the list of 11 papers for the Oxburgh review was collated by Prof Trevor Davies, in consultation with others. He was also the author of the statement at the bottom of the list.

Yours sincerely,
Lisa Williams

So the list was not selected by the Royal Society after all, but by Trevor Davies, the pro-VC of the University and former director of CRU. In consultation with “others”. Dare one hypothesize that these mysterious “others” will turn out to be Jones and Briffa after all?

An impartial objective inquiry? Where the defendant decided which evidence would be admissible.


IPCC: Self adulation or just simple plagiarism

September 7, 2010

It would appear that large sections of the IPCC 1995 Working Group 2 report has just lifted sections from a book published by its lead author.

It could be just simple plagiarism or is perhaps the self-adulation to be expected from lead authors – or the IPCC report being used for marketing the book??

The Book the IPCC Plagiarized

by Donna Laframboise.


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