«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 ...»
I am going to be writing about this on my Climate Science Watch Website as soon as I think I can do so appropriately. I am most interested in what you have to say to set the record straight and put things in perspective—either on or off the record, whichever you wish. Will someone please explain this to me?
First, there was no intentional destruction of the primary source data. I am sure that, over 20 years ago, Phil Jones could not have foreseen that the raw temperature data might be the subject of legal proceedings by the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Pat Michaels.
Just as Santer would not have predicted receiving an email from Rick Piltz on October 8, 2009. But they most definitely should have known that they could be asked to justify their claims, at any time—especially given the extreme public policy implications.
The critics are applying impossible legal standards to science.
Santer supports critical legislation being enacted on the basis of the science, but denies the applicability of legal standards? His naivety is extraordinary.
They are essentially claiming that if we do not retain—and make available to self-appointed auditors—every piece of information about every scientific paper we have ever published, we are perpetrating some vast deception on the American public.
I support that claim: All information should be archived.
I think most ordinary citizens understand that few among us have preserved every bank statement and every utility bill we’ve received in the last 20 years.
Santer’s comparing what is arguably the most important scientific data in the history of mankind to the electricity bill of a labourer in outback Wyoming must go down as one of the more ridiculous arguments of the Climategate perpetrators.
Michaels should and does know better. I can only conclude from his behavior—and from his participation in this legal action—that he is being intentionally dishonest. His intervention seems to be timed to influence opinion in the run-up to the Copenhagen meeting, and to garner publicity for himself.
Remember: only the “good guys” are permitted to influence opinion or receive publicity.
In my personal opinion, Michaels should be kicked out of the American Meteorological Society, the University of Virginia, and the scientific community as a whole.
Santer’s tantrum, yet again.
He cannot on the one hand engage in vicious public attacks on the reputations of individual scientists (in the past he has attacked Tom Karl, Tom Wigley, Jim Hansen, Mike Mann, myself, and numerous others), and on the other hand expect to be treated as a valued member of our professional societies.
You’re either for us, or against us. “Our” professional societies are for our team only.
The sad thing here is that Phil Jones is one of the true gentlemen of our field. I have known Phil for most of my scientific career.
They deserve medals as big as soup plates—not the kind of crap they are receiving from Pat Michaels and the CEI.
Are American Geophysical Union Fellowships awarded with soup plates? Maybe that should be added to the privileges of the award.
October 9, 2009: email 1255095172
Ben Santer to Phil Jones:
I’m really sorry that you have to go through all this stuff, Phil. Next time I see Pat Michaels at a scientific meeting, I’ll be tempted to beat the crap out of him. Very tempted.
October 11, 2009: email 1255298593
Phil Jones to Rick Piltz and Ben Santer:
The original raw data are not lost either. I could reconstruct what we had from some United States Department of Energy reports we published in the mid-1980s. I would start with the Global Historical Climatology Network data.
Jones is admitting that he does not have the raw data, and that he would need to work backwards to “reconstruct” it—or some of it, at any rate—from printed reports. This is patently unacceptable: there is clearly no way of verifying that this “reconstruction” is correct!
I know that the effort would be a complete waste of time, though. I may get around to it some time. As you’ve said, the documentation of what we’ve done is all in the literature.
Even as Climategate is about to break, Phil Jones still believes that the world will accept explanations of what they did, rather than the actual data itself.
October 11, 2009: email 1255352257 Narasimha Rao, a Ph.D. student at Stanford University in the United States, writes to
Stanford’s Stephen Schneider:
Steve, You may be aware of this already. Paul Hudson, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)’s reporter on climate change, on Friday (October 9) wrote that there’s been no warming since 1998, and that Pacific oscillations will force cooling for the next 20–30 years. It is not outrageously biased in presentation as are other skeptics’ views.
(includes links) The BBC has significant influence on public opinion outside the United States.
Do you think this merits an op–ed response in the BBC from a scientist?
Intriguingly, Hudson claims that he received the first tranche of emails from the Climategate whistle-blower on October 12.
Schneider sends the email on to many of his colleagues. Mike Mann responds:
It is extremely disappointing to see something like this appear on the BBC.
It’s particularly odd, since climate is usually Richard Black’s beat at the BBC (and he does a great job). From what I can tell, this guy (Hudson) was formerly a weather person at the Met(eorological) Office.
It seems that their “man on the ground” at the BBC (Richard Black, an environmental correspondent) has been displaced by a person with a scientific background who worked for the Met(eorological) Office for ten years.
Usually, we would expect a chorus of agreement with Mann. But something has
changed. Kevin Trenberth, of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research:
Well I have my own article on “where the heck is global warming?” We are asking that here in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record. … The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The … data published in the August … 2009 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.
The belief system of these scientists is undergoing crisis. For decades, they have predicted catastrophic, accelerated warming—but someone forgot to tell the Earth about it.
Rather than draw the obvious conclusions—that their predictions are wrong; that the models that their predictions come from are inadequate—they instead start to question the measured temperatures themselves!
It is not clear whether Trenberth realizes that, if true, his assertions would absolutely destroy climate science, not save it; for the measured temperature data is the very best and most direct data that we have (albeit almost impossibly intractable to analyse);
and if he throws out all of that data, then all that remains is a hopelessly anaemic and ragtag collection of rotting tree stumps and melting ice tubes, without any hope at all of calibrating these souvenirs against real-world temperature measurements.
October 14, 2009: email 1255523796 Kevin Trenberth, responding to Tom Wigley’s criticism of his comments, is beginning
to sound like a skeptic:
How come you do not agree with a statement that says we are nowhere close to knowing where energy is going or whether clouds are changing to make the planet brighter?
We are not close to balancing the energy budget. The fact that we cannot account for what is happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geo-engineering quite hopeless, as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not! It is a travesty!
Mike Mann responds:
Kevin, that’s an interesting point. … But this raises the interesting question:
is there something going on here with the energy and radiation budget which is inconsistent with the … models? I’m not sure that this has been addressed—has it?
Rather than dispute Trenberth’s remarkable statements, Mann acknowledges that
there may be something fundamentally wrong with their climate models. Trenberth:
Here are some of the issues as I see them:
Saying it is natural variability is not an explanation. What are the physical processes? Where did the heat go? … As a physicist, these are questions that I would have been asking thirty years ago—not stumbling across in October 2009. But I suppose that’s the difference here: these guys are simply not physicists; and they ensured that any physicists who did wander into their field were quickly chased off.
Trenberth admits that there are three sets of vital data that are “wanting” before they
can understand how the climate functions:
But the resulting evaporative cooling means the heat goes into atmosphere and should be radiated to space: so we should be able to track it with sky temperature data. That data is unfortunately wanting, and so too are the cloud data. The ocean data are also lacking, although some of that may be related to the ocean current changes, and burying heat at depth, where it is not picked up. If it is sequestered at depth then it comes back to haunt us later, and so we should know about it.
In other words, even the direct temperature measurements are indeed suspect—there are plausible reasons why they are giving an incomplete picture.
October 14, 2009: email 1255532032
Mike Mann responds to Kevin Trenberth:
Thanks Kevin, yes, it’s a matter of what question one is asking. To argue that the observed global average temperatures of the past decade falsify the model projections …, as the contrarians have been fond of claiming, is clearly wrong. But that doesn’t mean we can explain exactly what’s going on.
Mann is almost right, but his logic is slightly muddled. Not being able to “explain exactly what’s going on” does invalidate their model projections, without any doubt.
What it doesn’t do is “prove” any opposing view, either.
The simple fact of the matter is that the incompetence of these “scientists”—covered up with decades of manipulation and “stacking the deck” of peer review—has left us with absolutely no idea whether the Earth’s climate has been affected to any appreciable degree by mankind.
That is the real travesty.
October 14, 2009: email 1255550975
Tom Wigley weighs in:
I didn’t mean to offend you. But what you said was “we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment”. Now you say “we are nowhere close to knowing where energy is going”. In my eyes these are two different things—the second relates to our level of understanding, and I agree that this is still lacking.
We are now debating how quickly the ship is sinking. But why didn’t any of these scientists speak up when their paymasters said to the world, “the science is settled”?
October 27, 2009: email 1256735067 It is appropriate that Mike Mann’s last words in the Climategate repository explain
what it’s all about. To Phil Jones and Gavin Schmidt:
As we all know, this isn’t about truth at all; it’s about plausibly deniable accusations.
And again: it’s tough when even your allies are starting to turn:
Be a bit careful about what information you send to Andy Revkin of The New York Times and what emails you copy him in on. He’s not as predictable as we’d like.
October 28, 2009: email 1256765544 And, finally, we turn to Phil Jones’s final actions in the Climategate repository, still
attempting to silence his critics by bullying tactics. He writes to Sonja BoehmerChristiansen’s head of department at the University of Hull:
Subject: Dr Sonja BOEHMER-CHRISTIANSEN Dear Professor Haughton, The email below was brought to my attention … It was sent by the person named in the header of this email. I regard this email as very malicious.