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«Edited and Annotated by John Costella The Lavoisier Group March 2010 About the Author John Costella was born in East Melbourne in 1966. After being ...»

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June 21, 2008: email 1214228874 Brian Lynch writes to Caspar Ammann, regarding the loopholes used to avoid the

Freedom Of Information (FOI) request for the IPCC emails:

Subject: IPCC FOI Request Dear Sir, I have read correspondence on the web about your letter … in relation to expert comments on IPCC’s Chapter 6 sent directly by you to Keith Briffa, … outside the formal review process.

The refusal to provide these documents tends to discredit you and the IPCC in the eyes of the public.

Could I suggest that you make your letter and documents public. I would be very glad if you gave me a copy and oblige.

Ammann forwards the request to Keith Briffa, Tim Osborn, and Phil Jones. Jones


It doesn’t discredit the IPCC!

Osborn writes:

I’ve just had a quick look at Climate Audit. They seem to think that somehow it is an advantage to send material outside the formal review process. But anybody could have emailed us directly. It is in fact a disadvantage! If it is outside the formal process then we could simply ignore it, whereas formal comments had to be formally considered. Strange that they don’t realise this and instead argue for some secret conspiracy that they are excluded from!

It is remarkable that he assumes that anything sent outside the formal process would be ignored, rather than actually considered! The implication is that even things that had to be formally considered would ultimately be rejected.

He continues:

I’m not even sure if you sent me or Keith anything, despite McIntyre’s conviction! But I’d ignore this guy’s request anyway. If we aren’t consistent in keeping our discussions out of the public domain, then it might be argued that none of them can be kept private. Apparently, consistency of our actions is important.

This is an intriguing comment, and perhaps suggests the possibility that whistleblowing sentiments were already circulating in mid-2008.

Keith Briffa:

I have been of the opinion, right from the start of these FOI requests, that our private, inter-collegial discussion is just that—private. Your communication with individual colleagues was on the same basis as that for any other person and it discredits the IPCC process not one iota not to reveal the details. On the contrary, submitting to these “demands” undermines the wider scientific expectation of personal confidentiality. It is for this reason, and not because we have or have not got anything to hide, that I believe none of us should submit to these “requests”.

An interesting choice of words by Briffa: he argues that the refusals should be based on his opinion of the privacy of email communications—even work emails—“and not because we have or have not got anything to hide”. In other words, he is not denying that they have things to hide.

June 21, 2008: email 1214229243 Phil Jones writes to Tim Osborn, Keith Briffa, and Caspar Ammann, about David Holland’s Freedom of Information requests regarding Met(eorological) Office director

John Mitchell’s involvement as a Review Editor for the IPCC:

This is a confidential email.

Have a look at Climate Audit. Holland has put all the responses and letters up.

There are three threads—two beginning with “Fortress” and a third later one.

It is worth saving the comments on a Jim Edwards—can you do this, Tim?

Tim Osborn:

So is this (confidential).

I’ve saved all three threads as they now stand. I have no time to read all the comments, but I did note in the topic “Fortress Met(eorological) Office” that someone has provided a link to a website that helps you to submit Freedom Of Information requests to United Kingdom public institutions, and subsequently someone has made a further Freedom Of Information request to the Met(eorological)Office and someone else made one to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). If it turns into an organised campaign designed more to inconvenience us than to obtain useful information, then we may be able to decline all related requests without spending ages on considering them. It is worth looking out for evidence of such an organised campaign.

The search for loopholes continues!

July 10, 2008: email 1215712600 Ben Santer writes to Phil Jones and others, regarding their response to the Douglass


Reviewer 2 was somewhat crankier. The good news is that the editor (Glenn McGregor) will not send the paper back to Reviewer 2, and is requesting only minor changes in response to the Reviewer’s comments.

Once again, Reviewer 2 gets hung up on the issue of fitting better mathematical models to the temperature data used in our paper. As noted in our response to the Reviewer, this is a relatively minor technical point.

… The Reviewer does not want to “see the method proposed in this paper become established as the default method of estimating uncertainties in climatological results”. We do not claim universal applicability of our approach. There may well be circumstances in which it is more appropriate to use the better models in estimating uncertainties. … I have to confess that I was a little ticked off by Reviewer 2’s comments. The bit about “wilfully ignoring” expert mathematical literature was uncalled for. Together with my former Max Planck Institute colleague Wolfgang Brueggemann, I’ve fooled around with a lot of different methods of estimating uncertainties …. One could write a whole paper on this subject alone.

Phil Jones:

From a quick scan below, Myles does seem to be a pain! As we both know he can be.

Ben Santer:

Myles (if it is Myles) was a bit pedantic in his second review. Karl (who is a very-mild-mannered guy) described the tone of the review as “whining”.

It seems like the Reviewer was saying, “I’m a lot smarter than you, and I could do all of this stuff much better than you’ve done”. I was very unhappy about the “wilfully ignoring” bit. That was completely uncalled for.

It sounds as if Myles Allen (if it was Myles) is a lot smarter!

“Fooling around” with different methods is no substitute for actually understanding what you should be doing.

The continuation of Jones’s technique of surreptitiously determining the identity of anonymous reviewers—and spreading this news widely, so that the “culprit” can be bastardized—is abhorrent.

August 20, 2008: email 1219239172

Phil Jones writes to Gavin Schmidt and Mike Mann:

Keith and Tim are still getting Freedom Of Information (FOI) requests, as are the Meteorological Office Hadley Centre and the University of Reading. All our FOI officers have been in discussions and are now using the same exceptions not to respond—advice they got from the Information Commissioner.

Yet another loophole!

As an aside, and just between us, it seems that Brian Hoskins has withdrawn himself from the IPCC Working Group 1 Lead nominations. It seems he doesn’t want to have to deal with this hassle.

It is intriguing that outside scrutiny should cause such drastic changes of heart.

The FOI line we’re all using is this: The IPCC is exempt from any country’s FOI Act—the skeptics have been told this. Even though we (the Meteorological Office Hadley Centre, the Climatic Research Unit and University of East Anglia) possibly hold relevant information, the IPCC is not part our remit (mission statement, aims etc.); therefore, we don’t have an obligation to pass it on.

It is this attempt at evading domestic law that may provide a basis for legal action against the perpetrators.

October 26, 2008: email 1225026120

Mick Kelly writes to Phil Jones:

Hi Phil I just updated my global temperature trend graph for a public talk, and noticed that the level has really been quite stable since 2000 or so, and 2008 doesn’t look too hot.

Anticipating the skeptics latching on to this soon, if they haven’t done so already … It would be awkward if we went through another early-1940s-type swing!

Phil Jones:

Mick, They have noticed for years—mostly with respect to the warm year of 1998. The recent coolish years we put down to La Nina. When I get this question I have 1991–2000 and 2001–2007/8 averages to hand. Last time I did this they were about 0.2 degrees different, which is what you’d expect.


Yeah, it wasn’t so much 1998 and all that that I was concerned about, I’m used to dealing with that, but the possibility that we might be going through a longer—10-year—period of relatively stable temperatures beyond what you might expect from La Nina, etc.

This is speculation, but if I see this as a possibility then others might also.

Anyway, I’ll maybe cut the last few points off the graph before I give the talk again, as that’s trending down as a result of the end effects and the recent cold-ish years.

In private, they admit that there could be significant cooling; in public, they hide it.

Again: when the results don’t fit your preconceptions, fraudulently adjust them so that the public doesn’t get the wrong idea!

October 31, 2008: email 1225462391

Steve McIntyre writes to Ben Santer:

Dear Dr Santer, Could you please provide me either with the monthly model data … used for the statistical analysis in the Santer and co-workers 2008 paper, or a link to a website containing the data. I understand that your version has been collated from the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison; my interest is in a file of the data as you used it (I presume that the monthly data used for statistics is about 1–2 megabytes).

Thank you for your attention, Steve McIntyre

Ben Santer forwards this request to a large number of colleagues:

Dear folks, While on travel in Hawaii, I received a request from Steven McIntyre for all of the model data used in our International Journal of Climatology paper (see forwarded email). After some conversation with my Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison colleagues, I have decided not to respond to McIntyre’s request. If McIntyre repeats his request, I will provide him with the same answer that I gave to David Douglass … November 10, 2008: email 1226337052 Following a second request by Steve McIntyre, Ben Santer writes his promised

response, copying in his many colleagues:

Dear Mr. McIntyre, I gather that your intent is to “audit” the findings of our recently-published paper in the International Journal of Climatology (IJoC). … You should have no problem in accessing exactly the same model and observational data sets that we employed. You will need to do a little work in order to calculate synthetic Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) temperatures from climate model atmospheric temperature information. This should not pose any difficulties for you. Algorithms for calculating synthetic MSU temperatures have been published by ourselves and others in the peerreviewed literature. You will also need to calculate spatially-averaged temperature changes from the gridded model and observational data.

Again, that should not be too taxing.

In summary, you have access to all the raw information that you require in order to determine whether the conclusions reached in our IJoC paper are sound or unsound. I see no reason why I should do your work for you, and provide you with derived quantities (zonal means, synthetic MSU temperatures, etc.) which you can easily compute yourself.

Santer is placing as many impediments in McIntyre’s way as possible.

I am copying this email to all co-authors of the 2008 Santer and co-workers IJoC paper, as well as to Professor Glenn McGregor at IJoC. I gather that you have appointed yourself as an independent arbiter of the appropriate use of statistical tools in climate research.

Just in case McIntyre didn’t get the message that he is black-balled.

Please do not communicate with me in the future.

This last sentence seems to be a standard statement of Santer’s. We will see it again.

November 11, 2008: email 1226451442 Tom Karl writes to Ben Santer, regarding Steve McIntyre’s Freedom Of Information (FOI) request:

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