Santer and the 4 NOAA Coauthors

Apparently none of Santer’s four NOAA coauthors either received or sent any correspondence to Santer regarding the monthly data series used in Santer et al 2008. What a strange way to run a railroad.

The reply was coordinated by Tom Karl. Karl to the other NOAA Coauthors:

NOAA has tasked NESDIS (NCDC) with responding to a Freedom of Information Act Request submitted on November 10, 2008, by Steve McIntyre. In this request, Mr. McIntyre requests two types of NOAA records:
(1) any monthly time series of output from any of the 47 climate models sent by Santer and/or other coauthors of Santer et al 2008 to NOAA employees between 2006 and October 2008; and
(2) any correspondence concerning these monthly time series between Santer and/or other coauthors of Santer et al 2008 and NOAA employees between 2006 and October 2008.

At this time, I am only requesting confirmation as to whether you have any of the above NOAA records that would need to be submitted in response to this request. A process for submitting these items will be communicated once there is confirmation that such records exist.

I have searched my records and have no monthly time series from any of the 47 climate models used in our paper and thus no correspondence concerning monthly time series that were neither requested by me nor distributed by Dr. Santer.

A reply is requested by November 19, 2008, even if negative, in order to meet time requirements for FOIA requests.
Tom Karl

Melissa Free:

Dear Tom,
I have searched my records and have no monthly model output time series used in the Santer paper, and thus no correspondence concerning monthly time series that were neither requested by me nor distributed by Dr. Santer.
Melissa Free

Susan Solomon:

Tom
I have examined my files and have no monthly time series from climate models used in the paper referred to, and no correspondence regarding said time series.
best
Susan Solomon

John Lanzante:

Tom,
I have no monthly time series from any of the 47 climate models used in
the Santer et al. (2008) paper since none were provided to me during the
course of this project and thus I have no correspondence regarding these
time series.
Regards,
John


87 Comments

  1. Henry
    Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

    The next obvious step to to see if there was any correspondence at all regarding the paper.

  2. John A
    Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 5:30 PM | Permalink

    There’s a startling incuriosity amongst the co-authors as to what was written with their agreement. In case they’re watching I have a lovely bridge for sale in New York at a very special price – one careful owner.

  3. Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 5:37 PM | Permalink

    Some comments on the peer review system that seem relevant here.

    Being published does not turn fiction into fact.

  4. Joe Black
    Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 5:41 PM | Permalink

    Apparently there are no monthly time series. Decadal? Annual? Weekly? Daily? Hourly? Other time periods?

  5. Joe Black
    Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 5:42 PM | Permalink

    Well, there is also aperiodic.

  6. Jeff Alberts
    Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 5:51 PM | Permalink

    I suspect they’re dancing around loopholes in terminology. Otherwise, why were they co-authors if they had no correspondence?

  7. Frank Ch. Eigler
    Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 6:20 PM | Permalink

    There seem to be a few too many negations in Melissa Free’s blurb. If quoted accurately, it seems that either she messed up the grammar in her reply, or she’s answering a question not answered (“Do you have anything not requested by you or not distributed by Santer?”).

  8. Demesure
    Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 6:30 PM | Permalink

    Being coauthor in climate “science” is definitely a nice assignment.

  9. catilac
    Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 6:47 PM | Permalink

    too cute by half?

    acting as a hindrance with respect to FOIA requests:

    “agency personnel acted arbitrarily or capriciously with respect to the withholding, [a] Special Counsel shall promptly initiate a proceeding to determine whether disciplinary action is warranted against the officer or employee who was primarily responsible for the withholding.” [2] In this way, there is recourse for one seeking information to go to a Federal court if suspicion of illegal tampering or delayed sending of records exists.

  10. Terry Carruthers
    Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 6:47 PM | Permalink

    The Free response is a direct quote of the response of Karl included in his request. Such awkward wording suggests they are trying very hard to not say something. I am not familiar with the FOI request process, is it possible to ask more generally for all data and correspondence regarding the paper or does it have to be very specific?

    • Pat Keating
      Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 7:11 PM | Permalink

      Re: Terry Carruthers (#10),

      Yes, I think the word “monthly” is the key point in these responses.

  11. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 7:19 PM | Permalink

    Oh come on, why is it so difficult to accept that these coauthors merely signed a consensus authors list to lend added standing to the paper. It says more about the consensus concept than anything about the science involved.

    • Rejean Gagnon
      Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 7:28 PM | Permalink

      Re: Kenneth Fritsch (#12),
      No, I would agree that the blatantly scripted responses are an attempt at hiding something. No proof of course, but enough reason to push on. A similarly worded FOI which closed the loophole could be more difficult to resist – but then again one can contort language to no end.
      Also, I think there was some mention previously on this site of a rule about when FOI become a burden on the agency that would allow them to balk eventually…

    • PhilH
      Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 7:36 PM | Permalink

      Re: Kenneth Fritsch (#12), I guess the obvious question is whether a reputable scientist should have signed on as a co”author” without ever seeing the data Steve has requested. What role could they have played? Fixing the coffee? Talk about ghost writers!

  12. curious
    Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 7:27 PM | Permalink

    I make it 17 coauthors (the above 4 inc.) in total for this paper? Am I looking at the wrong one? – “Consistency of modelled and observed temperature trends in the tropical troposphere” accepted 20July2008 Int. J of Climatology. Does this matter? Is the work broken up so only certain authors would handle the “data”?

  13. curious
    Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 7:34 PM | Permalink

    re:me at #13 – Sorry, reread the top of the post and the reference it to “NOAA Coauthors”. They are as listed in the post.

  14. PhilH
    Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 8:01 PM | Permalink

    It appears that Karl sent you a message. I suppose it would be a waste of time to e-mail him a nicely worded request asking him to explain just exactly what role the four of them did play in the production of this paper and when did they first become acquainted with it, assuming they ever did. By the way, all the reponses, except the last one, leave open the possibility that they may have had the data and the correspondence at one time but now have deleted it or thrown it away. The first two are grammatically strange.

  15. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 8:23 PM | Permalink

    I sought data from two other coauthors who said that they had never seen any data. “That’s Ben” – was the comment. So I’m not especially surprised that none of the NOAA coauthors ever saw any data. But I was interested in confirming this.

  16. Paul Penrose
    Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 8:42 PM | Permalink

    Do they realize how foolish they look with this kind of non-response?

  17. RonH
    Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 8:44 PM | Permalink

    How come two of the responses make the same highly unusual grammatical error:

    “I have no … that were neither … nor … .” ???

  18. jae
    Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 9:06 PM | Permalink

    sought data from two other coauthors who said that they had never seen any data. “That’s Ben” – was the comment. So I’m not especially surprised that none of the NOAA coauthors ever saw any data. But I was interested in confirming this.

    Gawd, this again shows the truth of Wegman’s analysis of the “networks.” Back in the good ole days, co-authors had an active part in the paper. This is another black eye for “peer reviewed science.” It is truly disgusting. Modern science sucks.

  19. jae
    Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 9:17 PM | Permalink

    OK, I’m too negative. I guess I cannot blame these feeble, starving scientists too much. It is a fact that it is a publish-or-perish world in the ivory tower kingdom (I’ve been there). So, if I come up with a publishable paper and enlist 4-5 co-authors (regardless of whether they even read my manuscript), then they OWE me co-authorship in each of their papers. Thus, I get a 4-5 x return on my paper. I guess I would play the same game, under the circumstances.

  20. jae
    Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 9:43 PM | Permalink

    But, when you get past 10 co-authors, it gets glaring, and the Dean might well notice the scam (if he cares).

  21. jim edwards
    Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 11:12 PM | Permalink

    Steve M.

    Apparently none of Santer’s four NOAA coauthors either received or sent any correspondence to Santer regarding the monthly data series used in Santer et al 2008.

    According to their responses, your statement is only true for John Lanzante.

    Notice that Tom Karl, Melissa Free, and Susan Solomon didn’t say they never received anything. They merely asserted they did not have these records in their personal files at this time.

    I have searched my records… I have examined my files…

    What constitutes personal records / files ?

    Are they looking at e-mails ?
    Is there an archive or other common set of files that might hold these records ?

    Your FOIA request asked for records that NOAA held, and it appears from your account that Karl conveniently chose to ask only three people out of a possible hundreds whether they currently held the requested documents in their personal files.

    A conspiracy theorist might suspect Karl of warning his three co-workers that he would be sending them a written request for documents in their actual possession. “Now if the documents don’t happen to be in your possession when you get my written request, limit your response to that fact…”

    Note what Karl DIDN’T ask:

    He didn’t ask if they EVER received these documents.

    He didn’t ask if they KNEW where these documents might exist within NOAA.

    In addition to the weird use of the double-negative, the co-authors appear to be using a highly constrained definition for your requested correspondence (the second half of your request). The doctors appear to be equating correspondence about time-series to the time series, themselves:

    I have no monthly time series … and thus I have no correspondence regarding these
    time series.

  22. Bob North
    Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 11:47 PM | Permalink

    Steve – I went back and looked at your original request. I think you may have been too specific in the request thus providing a reasonable means for limiting the response from the NOAA employees(if these authors did ever receive any data).

    Here is your original request:

    I request that a copy of the following NOAA records be provided to me: (1) any monthly time series of output from any of the 47 climate models sent by Santer and/or other coauthors of Santer et al 2008 to NOAA employees between 2006 and October 2008; (2) any correspondence concerning these monthly time series between Santer and/or other coauthors of Santer et al 2008 and NOAA employees between 2006 and October 2008.

    I think you should have requested any output from any of the models, particularly any time series data, used (not sent) in the preparation of the paper and any correspondendce between the NOAA employees and other authors regarding the paper (not just “monthyl time series”).

    YOu may have received a bit more info than you were looking for but it wouldn’t provide as much semantics wiggle room and would help eliminate some of the conspiracy theorizing that seems to go on with these matters.

    • Eric Anderson
      Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 12:07 AM | Permalink

      Re: Bob North (#26),
      Definitely agree — the request was very narrow and specific, giving them lots of opportunity to skirt around the substance.

  23. mugwump
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 12:24 AM | Permalink

    As an ex-academic, I find the deliberate evasiveness of these so-called scientists quite disgusting.

    Steve, have you thought about using a lawyer familiar with FOI requests? Most major newspapers retain them. A good lawyer will be able to craft the requests in such a way that this kind of BS response would be grounds for prosecution.

    • Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

      Re: mugwump (#28),

      Seems to me that a possible follow up FOI would be to each of the publicly funded coauthors.

      Please identify what content you provided to the paper co-authored by you and produce any correspondence concerning it.

      One suspects that the result of this will be that about 15 or the 17 co-authors will have to admit that they actually did bugger all beyond “Dear Ben, yes I would be delighted to have my name attached to your paper. It looks good to me. Best XXX”

  24. Norm
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 12:39 AM | Permalink

    I request that a copy of the following NOAA records be provided to me: (1) any monthly time series of output from any of the 47 climate models sent by Santer and/or other coauthors of Santer et al 2008 to NOAA employees between 2006 and October 2008; (2) any correspondence concerning these monthly time series between Santer and/or other coauthors of Santer et al 2008 and NOAA employees between 2006 and October 2008.

    I disagree, the answers given do not answer the above questions, all they have done is say they do not have any time series currently, not specifically the end scientist who replies ‘I don’t have it’.

  25. kazinski
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 12:54 AM | Permalink

    Steve may well have formulated his request to narrowly, but the responses still reflect terribly on NOAA and the individual scientists. There is probably a fair amount of blame on both sides, a little too much glee on this side when the gotchas crop up, and a quarry of stonewalling on the other side anytime any data or methodology is requested. But it resoundingly reflects more on “The Team”, because while the skeptics are definitely playing a game of gotcha, a cover-up is not a rational or seemly response from government funded scientists.

    If their data and methodology is correct, then a rational response is to provide everything that Steve is asking for and let him make a fool of himself when everything checks out. I’m quite disappointed in their response.

    • Mark T
      Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 1:30 AM | Permalink

      Re: kazinski (#30),

      If their data and methodology is correct, then a rational response is to provide everything that Steve is asking for and let him make a fool of himself when everything checks out.

      He wouldn’t be making a fool out of himself unless he had already made up his mind about their conclusions and stated so publicly. No, instead, he’d be providing them with the validation they are sorely lacking if everything did check out, i.e., he’d be lending them credibility.

      Mark

  26. genejockey
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 1:15 AM | Permalink

    Is there not a level of participation that must be satisfied to be a coauthor? One contributes funding, benchwork, analysis, original ideas, or technical expertise to become an author, at least in the biochemical world. Readers and editors of manuscripts get acknowledged, they do not get authorship.

  27. RobR
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 3:21 AM | Permalink

    These guys are basically thumbing their noses at those who have the temerity to want to scratch below the surface. They have no interest in real peer reveiw and are seeking to avoid same. They have no interest in validation of the research. They have moved on because the science is apparently “settled”. They also realise that Steve M seems to be able to routinely expose flaws in published climate research. These are the fundamental flaws they didn’t realise they should be avoiding. So there is an avoidance of embarassment going on. They are stonewalling because the evidence as it stands is that it could be many months, or even years before they are forced to cough up. This smug attitude is highly unprofessional in my opinion. It just reeks of poor quality science and it degrades the entire climate science field. These guys need to stop playing silly games and simply provide the information. End of story.

  28. Andy
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 3:49 AM | Permalink

    Can I just state I have received no correspondence either…..so can I be a coauthor please;)

  29. kim
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 5:39 AM | Permalink

    Ah, breathing double negatives together. This is direct evidence of collusion. If the intent is to foil the public policy benefit of Freedom of Information laws, then this is bordering on criminality. I’m not saying which side of the border.
    ======================================================

  30. kim
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 5:42 AM | Permalink

    Just as it has been suggested that Steve needs a FoIA lawyer, so I might suggest that these authors need one. I doubt that a lawyer representing them would like to see this correspondence in evidence.
    ========================================================

  31. Pierre Gosselin
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 5:50 AM | Permalink

    FoIA is the law. Sometimes a lawsuit is necessary in assuring the Law gets enforced. Steve, have no law firms or watchdog groups approached you willing to do some legal work on the public’s and your behalf pro bono?

  32. Imran
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 7:28 AM | Permalink

    The very similar style and use of grammar and sentence structure tells that this is a coordinated blanking manoever. Clearly a very well coached group of scientists. Who was it who said “why should I give you my data when all you want to do is find something wrong with it ?”

    • KevinUK
      Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 7:58 AM | Permalink

      Re: Imran (#40),

      Who was it who said “why should I give you my data when all you want to do is find something wrong with it ?”

      That’ll be the UK’s very own ‘Wizard of UEA’.

      Kevin UK

  33. JimB
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 8:27 AM | Permalink

    “He wouldn’t be making a fool out of himself unless he had already made up his mind about their conclusions and stated so publicly. No, instead, he’d be providing them with the validation they are sorely lacking if everything did check out, i.e., he’d be lending them credibility.

    Mark”

    Exactly. And isn’t that SCIENCE?

    Again, they should be scolded. They are acting out well below what is expected of them by a public that relies, albeit somewhat unwittingly, on them and their research.

    There must be a way to tell them, directly, that their childish, schoolyard approach to this is not appreciated?

    JimB

  34. ladygray
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 8:49 AM | Permalink

    I have actually had formal training in how to undergo an audit, as they happen quite frequently at the facility where I work. The cardinal rule of being audited is to not only answer the question truthfully, but also answer as concisely as possible. The burden is placed on the auditor to ask the precise questions that need to be asked. It is then not my fault, if the auditor gets a false impression of the conditions being audited.

    The co-authors have obviously had this training also.

  35. Mike C
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 8:50 AM | Permalink

    Dear Tom,
    The dog ate my files.

  36. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 9:21 AM | Permalink

    The answer so far is to a somewhat different question than the one that I asked. If they deleted records 10 days ago, then their answers would be accurate on their face, but unresponsive as to NOAA.

    However, as noted above, I don’t exclude the possibility that the authors had no correspondence with Santer about the results from the climate models. Free and Lanzante are radiosonde specialists are may well be coauthors because their data was used, as opposed to making any substantive contribution.

    Santer is at a DOE lab and I’ve sent an FOI request to NOAA. I’ll see what they say before deciding what to do with NOAA.

    Aside from FOI, DOE made representations to a GAO inquiry about data availability and I’m going to contact the official who made representations on behalf of DOE.

  37. MattN
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

    The inventors of the modern scientific process are spinning in their graves….

  38. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

    I think that Steve will keep facing stonewalling tactics. But that’s not because those people are dishonest or want to hide something. The main problem is that they are constrained to play by the rules of peer-reviewed papers. Those rules are well established, including informal or implicit rules about who can be a co-author, how do you criticize a paper, etc. Playing by those rules means there’s an orderly debate, with some level of trust. It also means that if someone disagrees with you, the criticism is done in a polite way, that does not question the credentials or the professionalism of the people involved. Of course, there’s always an implicit subtext, and there can be fierce and nasty debates, but an outsider couldn’t tell.

    But now they’re facing someone who doesn’t play by those rules. Blogs have their own set of rules, and each individual blogger has his/her own set of rules. For a professional scientist, that’s a very dangerous and threatening environment. Furthermore, professionally, they have no interest in playing that game. So as much as possible, they will avoid feeding the enemy.

    • Kenneth Fritsch
      Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 10:54 AM | Permalink

      Re: Francois Ouellette (#47),

      Francois, I do not see this issue as one of peer review, but simply of a nonauthor attempting to obtain the critical data that was used in forming/making the conclusions of the paper.

      I would think it would be a simple task for the authors to provide the data if they had or had ever seen it. Like you say, I see no reason to believe that they are dishonest or are attempting to cover up anything. In fact if they had the data to give it would make them look less informed (and bad) about a critical part of the paper. I will assume that a number of the coauthors and probably the reviewers had no exposure to the model results. They no doubt trusted that Santer had it “right” and that is part of the consensus forming process as I see it.

      Unfortunately, I think we as posters often lose sight of the original issue here with all the suppositions and conjectures (including mine). The data being requested would, or at least could, allow an analysis of the temperature trend differences/ratios between the troposphere and surface in the tropics beyond the 1999 end point used in the paper. That is a very critical point since I judge we all feel the results over the longer time periods trump those from the shorter ones.

  39. RomanM
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

    If the authors can use semantics to avoid disclosing any information, then it seems to me that semantics can be used to get around the roadblock. From section 2.2 of the Santer paper:

    To facilitate the comparison of simulated and observed tropospheric temperature trends, we calculate synthetic MSU T2 and T2LT temperatures from gridded, monthly mean model data using a static global-mean weighting function.

    It is clear that the paper itself refers specifically to these time series (in a number of places) and therefore ANY communication among the authors regarding the paper (e.g., even sending draft copies to each other) constitutes “correspondence concerning monthly time series”. A denial would be equivalent to having no contact with the other authors and playing no role in the writing of the document.

  40. Geo
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 10:29 AM | Permalink

    I haven’t read the underlying paper, but I’d think the FOI request should reference the material in the exact same manner that the paper did. This leaves them no room to dodge. If the paper called it a “monthly series”, then so should the FOI request. If the paper called it something else, then so should the request. To really nail it down you could say “all materials received supporting graph so and so on page such and such labeled xyz in paper thus and so listing you as a co-author and published in journal so and so in volume x issue y”.

    Tho I suspect they aren’t dodging. . .they took the basic work at face value and just checked the conclusions/analysis of what it meant was reasonable and well-communicated.

    Still, if they won’t confirm unoficially that they just don’t have anything at all (and never did have) then a revised FOI might be worthwhile.

  41. Dodgy Geezer
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

    “…The inventors of the modern scientific process are spinning in their graves……”

    I reckon that would be Roger Bacon (1214-1294). Here is what he had to say about the equivalent of climate science in his own time:

    “Quatuor vero sunt maxima comprehendendæ veritatis offendicula, quæ omnem quemcumque sapientem impediunt, et vix aliquem permittunt ad verum titulum sapientiæ pervenire: videlicet fragilis et indignæ auctoritatis exemplum, consuetudinis diuturnitas, vulgi sensus imperiti, et propriæ ignorantiæ occultatio cum ostentatione sapientiæ apparentis.”

    (There are four barriers blocking the road to truth: submission to unworthy authority, the influence of custom, popular prejudice, and concealment of one’s ignorance with a technical show of wisdom.)

  42. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 11:12 AM | Permalink

    “The stuff I looked through that I own didn’t have monthly time series from those 47 models. Therefore, there’s no correspondence about monthly time series. (Ones that I didn’t ask for and Dr. Santer didn’t hand out.)”

    Besides the being nonsense, that doesn’t deal with Steve’s request

    “Any monthly time series from any of the 47 climate models or any correspondence concerning them sent by Santer and/or other coauthors to NOAA employees 2006-2008″

    This is odd also.

    “I only want to confirm if you have any of the above NOAA records pertaining to this request that would have to be turned in. If these types of records even exist, more would be sent later.”

    In any case, there’s no correspondence concerning monthly time series from the 47 models from any of the authors or coauthors to anyone working at NOAA? That seems rather difficult to believe.

  43. Craig Loehle
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

    There is unfortunately a difference between what should occur and what many scientists believe. Data used in a paper should be available for checking, as Steve is trying to do. Some scientists are aware of and follow this code. Others, however, believe that their data and whatever happens within their lab is top secret. They may hope to come back and mine the data for years (fair enough). This attitude does not take into account that the data are not easily replicated in one’s own lab in many cases since they are from for example big climate models or the world’s only satellite etc.

    • Phil.
      Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 9:50 PM | Permalink

      Re: Craig Loehle (#54),

      There is unfortunately a difference between what should occur and what many scientists believe. Data used in a paper should be available for checking, as Steve is trying to do. Some scientists are aware of and follow this code. Others, however, believe that their data and whatever happens within their lab is top secret.

      And yet in the case of Santer et al. they did exactly what you did in your E&E paper, they used other researchers’ data, cited it and said where it could be accessed. As I recall the data is archived in PCMDI so what’s the problem?

  44. Bob North
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 12:29 PM | Permalink

    Sam Urbinto (#52), Re: Quotes

    Sam, to be fair and accurate, you shouldn’t use quote marks unless you are quoting someone word for word. Much of your post was paraphrasing, not quoting, Dr. Santer’s reply.

    • Sam Urbinto
      Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 2:50 PM | Permalink

      Re: Bob North (#55),

      Yes, that’s why they’re not blockquotes. It’s fairly clear from the earlier material and the context those are notional quotations and sarcastic emphasis, or my only attribution, the summary of Steve’s request. But if anyone is confused, the quotes in my post #52 are not direct quotations.

  45. aurbo
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 1:14 PM | Permalink

    Re #30:

    There is probably a fair amount of blame on both sides, a little too much glee on this side when the gotchas crop up, and a quarry of stonewalling on the other side anytime any data or methodology is requested. But it resoundingly reflects more on “The Team”, because while the skeptics are definitely playing a game of gotcha, a cover-up is not a rational or seemly response from government funded scientists.

    Can “K” suggest an alternative to “gotchas” which one might define as an elemntal refutation, as a means of refuting a premise? Also, when did schadenfreude become a crime?

  46. UK John
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 2:36 PM | Permalink

    A pointless reply, what did we expect! I suspect Steve knew what the reply would be.

    The paper is pointless, and this whole climate change thing is the biggest distraction of all time.

    In the short time I have lurked here, the worlds economy has collapsed, nobody predicted that, and you would have thought with all the “brilliant minds” like Professor Stern, around, they might have given us a clue. This collapse will bring misery, hunger and worse to countless millions.

    My crystal ball is distinctly cloudy, very little light shining through.

  47. rafa
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 3:54 PM | Permalink

    Sorry if far off-topic but Ms. Solomon has been nominated/proposed by Pachauri (IPCC chairman) for the TIME 2008 list. Thinker of the year. ;-)

    See here.

    best

  48. chriscafe
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 7:45 PM | Permalink

    1) Re #59. Time has just announced that it is going out of business in Australia. Lack of relevance led to rapidly declining circulation it seems. Now I see why.

    2) Some years ago I was on a Government board. A fellow member accused me of having a conflict of interest over a particular matter to which my response was fairly brutal. We agreed on a lawyer’s enquiry, which found that I had no such conflict but that my standard of behaviour in my response was below that expected. I resigned. Any lesson here for our scientists?

  49. Thomas Pollock
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 8:29 PM | Permalink

    I’ve only recently become aware of ClimateAudit. As a retired molecular biologist, I don’t understand everything going on here, but I’m angry with the “consensus” approach to climate science, since it has no place in any science. So please ask these people some follow-up questions directly and reformulate the FOI. But don’t hold your breath. Anyway I’m putting $100 in the jar to help in a small way. Good luck.

  50. Johan i Kanada
    Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 9:29 PM | Permalink

    Dodgy Geezer (#50),

    Fantastic quote!
    Amazing that what we understood 700 years ago about science is now seen as quaint and irrelevant (by some).

    • Dodgy Geezer
      Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 9:44 AM | Permalink

      Re: Johan i Kanada (#62),

      Johan,

      Roger Bacon is a particular hero of mine. He was inventing the concepts of ‘a Universal Science’ during the Scholastic period of the Middle Ages, around 1200. For this he was locked up for 13 years in the March of Ancona.

      snip - sorry about this snip, but you’ve used a few red-letter words and I don’t want to allow a foothold.

      • Craig Loehle
        Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

        Re: Dodgy Geezer (#69), “Real Truth, to a Scholastic of the 11th century, was what was revealed by Authority” Everything old is new again…maybe disco will come back too.

      • Dodgy Geezer
        Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 10:22 AM | Permalink

        Re: Dodgy Geezer (#69),

        ‘snip – sorry about this snip, but you’ve used a few red-letter words and I don’t want to allow a foothold.’

        Alas, without a copy I have not the slightest idea what these are. The post was, as far as I could tell, moderate in language and intellectual in tone. Would it be asking too much to indicate, via personal e-mail, what the problem was?

        Steve: the problem was not with the tone, which was fine. But you went into some historical issues involving religion that are interesting but not issues that I want to have discussed here,

  51. Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 10:52 PM | Permalink

    Phil–
    Gridded data is archived at PCMDI. The trends for the tropical tropospheric temperature are not; the monthly temperatures for the tropospheric temperature are not archived. These intermediate values need to be computed using some method not specifically described in the paper. (The method may be described in the supplementary materials. I haven’t read those myself.)

    Steve is asking for these intermediate values.

    I don’t know the journals policies on archiving these. But, a standard suggesting either they be archived or the programs to compute the values be made available would seem reasonable.

    Suppose this were another field: Fluid dynamics. Let’s say someone used and LDA or even a nifty PDPA to measure the velocities of millions of tracer particles at some point in a pipe. (Or, they might archive something even more raw from which you could calculate the velocity of the particles based on things you really measure!) I think most researchers would want make available the computed value like the average velocity at a point in addition to say, every individual velocity measurement in a pipe. Certainly, if a paper included a plot of average velocity vs. radius across the pipe, they would archive those individual values, right? And they would provide those to someone who requested them, right? (Or is this just everyone I know?)

    Saying the data for the paper are archived at PCMDI is a bit like archiving the actual raw output for the measurement devices and telling people to go from there.

    Is the fact that Santer’s results can be post-processed from data at PCMDI really considered archiving the data used in the that Santer paper? Maybe the answer is yes– but if so, it strikes me as an odd standard for any research area.

    It’s also an odd standard for work done by employees of government agency as part of their employment. After all, technically, though researchers don’t think of it this way, work done by government employees as part of their employment belongs to the government, not the employee. So, if a researcher wrote a program to create that intermediate data as part of his employment, both the program and the data ought to be made available when requested. (That is, it ought to be made available if it still exists. Projects don’t always require people to save things.)

    Speaking of which…. I have to go archive some intermediate results. I’m the only one who currently has it, and if I get hit by a car, someone else will need to figure out where it is on my hard disk and/or recreate it. That will cost the government money. :)

    • Phil.
      Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

      Re: lucia (#64),

      lucia:
      November 25th, 2008 at 10:52 pm
      Phil–
      Gridded data is archived at PCMDI. The trends for the tropical tropospheric temperature are not; the monthly temperatures for the tropospheric temperature are not archived. These intermediate values need to be computed using some method not specifically described in the paper. (The method may be described in the supplementary materials. I haven’t read those myself.)
      Steve is asking for these intermediate values

      Not according to the letter :
      Could you please provide me either with the monthly model data (49 series) used for statistical analysis in Santer et al 2008 or a link to a URL.
      or here:
      I request that a copy of the following NOAA records be provided to me: (1) any monthly time series of output from any of the 47 climate models

      Perhaps I’m misunderstanding what Steve is asking for?

  52. UK John
    Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 1:41 AM | Permalink

    A pointless reply from pointless people who inhabit a pointless academic world.

    Here is the proof that Santer et al do not want to add to our knowledge, they just want to preserve their pointless existence.

    • John Archer
      Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 5:53 AM | Permalink

      Re: UK John (#65),

      I see being pointless is not the same thing as being blunt. On the contrary, you definitely have a point there, John.

  53. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 8:16 AM | Permalink

    #51,

    What I’m trying to point out is the context. In normal circumstances, researchers would gladly give you the data. Co-authors do not always have all the data that pertain to a particular paper, but they should be able to access it, and I’m sure in this case they could. In normal circumstances, most scientists are rather flattered that someone is interested in their work, and tries to replicate it.

    But the context here is different. Steve is now a famous blogger, and at the same time he is a meticulous analyst, and does not hesitate to use a fierce irony that can be devastating. This is not conducive to what I call an “orderly debate”. Steve makes the rules. And that’s not to mention the comment section! You’ve got to be tough and enjoy controversy to play that game, like Judith Curry, for example. I think most climate scientists, and most scientists in general, would rather avoid it. They just feel they can’t win. So their reaction is just to be non-responsive. It may make things worse in the public eye, but professionally they have no interest in playing that game. Most of the institutions will support them, mainly because they’re governed by scientists themselves.

    I tend to look at those things from a sociological point of view, as a clash between the traditional institutions of science, with well established norms and rules, and the new media like blogs, where there are no such rules. I’m not trying to find excuses for anyone, only to understand their reaction.

  54. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

    #67. People that are committed to archiving haven’t blinked at getting an email from me. William Curry, a prominent oceanographer, apologized that the requested data wasn’t already online.

    I (and others) had just as much (even more) difficulty getting access to data in pre-blog days. Aside from Mann, think Jones, Mann, Briffa, Thompson, d’Arrigo, Crowley, Hughes … Blaming it on the blog is just an opportunistic excuse.

    Some of the tone of the blog derives from these refusals, which I find repugnant.

  55. Dodgy Geezer
    Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

    “..But you went into some historical issues involving religion..”

    Sorry – I can see that should be an ‘off-topic’. I can only plead that I was only trying to draw parallels between human ‘authority’ structures, and had no intention of discusing the validity of any particular religious belief…

  56. Bill Illis
    Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 12:34 PM | Permalink

    I have built a model for adjusting temperatures for the ENSO and the AMO which seems relevant to this paper.

    There is a really nice fit for the Tropics zone which reduces the warming (after adjusting for the impact of ENSO and the AMO) to just 0.045C per decade.

    Here is the chart of the reconstruction versus temperature for the RSS satellite data.

    It is posted up now at wattsupwiththat.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/11/25/adjusting-temperatures-for-the-enso-and-the-amo/

    • Pat Keating
      Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 2:45 PM | Permalink

      Re: Bill Illis (#73),

      Interesting work. But I don’t understand the last term.

      Does the 4th term mean that the climate sensitivity is 0.64C. i.e., doubling CO2 results in a 0.64C rise?

    • Arn Riewe
      Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

      Re: Bill Illis (#73),

      Read your study on WUWT. Interesting for a broader overview of the whole climate change issue. Recommended reading for all

  57. Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    Phil-
    I interpret “monthly model data (49 series)” to mean the monthly average tropospheric temperatures for Jan 1979 through Dec 1999 from each of the 49 model runs. I’m pretty sure these are not avaialble at PCMDI. (Or if it is, I’ve never been able to find this sort of processed stuff. I’ve found gridded stuff.)

    What is available is gridded data for every grid cell at every time step fo the entire planet earth. I don’t know the time step, but it’s much less than a month. Also, there isn’t any single cell that represents “the tropical troposphere”. To compute the monthly average troposhperic temperature for January 1979, you download the gridded data for every cell computed at ever time step. Then, you write a program to compute average whatever you need to average at time step “t”. Then, you average over all time steps in the month.

    Conceptually this is simple.

    However, suppose it’s possible to make slightly different choices might be made as to precisely what constitutes the “tropical troposphere”, or how one computes it etc, Steve could get slightly different answers from Santer if he downloads the gridded data and computes it himself, and this could affect the conclusions of later t-tests.

    So, if I understand correctly, this is why Steve would like Santer’s specific values for the monthly average temperatures.

    This sort of request is not uncommon in fluid dynamics, and people routinely grant it. Numericists routinely ask experimentalists for this sort of information and vice versa. It makes comparing models and data to each other much easier than telling people to digitize off figures or to re-invent the wheel.

    I honeslty thing most people would be surprised if an author who had already plublished analyses based on intermediate computed values of this sort would not provide theses sorts of numbers. In fact, these are so few numbers, if “Santer et al 2008″ was a section in an MS thesis, the table of values would almost certainly be included in the chapter on analysis or in an appendix.

  58. Bill Illis
    Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

    To Pat Keating, I didn’t calculate the doubling figure for just the Tropics but that is probably close.

    For the whole RSS series, the amount is only 0.7C per doubling which is discussed at the wattsupwiththat link. I go into a lot more detail about this and other series. The RSS doubling is the absolute lowest amount that should be considered. Other series such as the Hadcrut3 reconstruction produces 1.85C per doubling – but I note the rate of warming seems to be slowing down considerably since 1979.

    • Pat Keating
      Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 5:11 PM | Permalink

      Re: Bill Illis (#78),

      What is LN(CO2 Constant)? What does it mean and what does it represent?

      • Bill Illis
        Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 9:55 PM | Permalink

        Re: Pat Keating (#82),

        What does ln(CO2 Constant) mean?

        Perhaps this is not described properly but it just a constant which matches the log formula for CO2 warming.

        A couple of charts to demonstrate this (which is a view of global warming that I believe many have not seen before.)

        Steve: Please find another thread for this as this has nothing to do with Santer. These formulas have been discussed oin other threads.

  59. Dave Andrews
    Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

    Phil,

    No matter how you cross the i’s or dot the t’s, or vice versa(!), you can’t get away from the fact that the climate science crowd seem averse to releasing the basic information upon which they base their research.

    Inevitably then any thinking person has to ask why? If they are so sure of the results of their research why are they so apparently afraid of opening it up to independent check?

  60. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

    #68 Steve,

    People react different way. Mann is a special case. I don’t understand how he can still have supporters. Think “networks”, like Wegman. Anyway, I said I was not trying to find excuses. I’m just not surprised that some people react the way that they do. I think it’s getting out of hand, and it’s reprehensible, and you’re right to denounce it. But it’s not unexpected. Over the years, I have been thinking that you should start publishing, then that you should stay with the blog. Whatever you do, you are at a point where you have a strong influence on what is going on in the peer-reviewed world, but it’s never publicly acknowledged because the blog is a new and weird entity. We can all read the subtext in many of the papers that are published, even if they don’t cite you, because they directly and precisely address issues that are regularly discussed here. It’s a kind of weird dialogue, don’t you think?

  61. Dominic
    Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 5:16 PM | Permalink

    Steve, I have followed this blog for about 6 months now, and now more than ever I think it’s about time you or one of the other experts here wrote a layman level book on

    – the science of proxy temperature studies
    – the flaws in the hockey stick analysis
    – the scandalous reaction of the hockey team

    My fear is that you will lose the argument because not enough people (other climate scientists, policy makers … ) can easily understand the issues and because you don’t have the academic credibility and financial support that the hockey team has. It’s also a great story about what can happen when science goes wrong and it needs to be told.

  62. Harry Eagar
    Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 6:17 PM | Permalink

    genejockey asks: ‘Is there not a level of participation that must be satisfied to be a coauthor?’

    Not in cetacean research. I have seen co-authors whose contribution was providing housing or a boat for the researchers.

    Not in a peer-reviewed paper, but the ‘co-authors’ then show up as ‘researchers’ in other forums.

    Climate science isn’t the only pseudo-science where these hijinks are common.

  63. Harry Eagar
    Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 6:28 PM | Permalink

    Francis sez: ‘They just feel they can’t win.’

    That may be a very profound statement.

    Superficially, you’d think they’d want to get into a position in which they think they can win — if they are confident they’re right.

    You say you approach your interpretation of their behavior sociologically. The Team is getting jeered at for its behavior (and not just at CA), and one reasonable response would be to tell the jeerers to put up or shut up. A very simple way of doing that would be to submit bullet-proof data and leave Steve twisting in the wind.

    If this were, say, a long series of research papers on the distribution of butterflies in the Amazon, I’d say, sure, what have they got to gain from practicing the manly art of self-defense? But it isn’t about butterflies.

  64. Timo Hämeranta
    Posted Nov 28, 2008 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

    This discussion of Ben Santer as lead author with numerous co-authors reminds me of my similar inquiry in 2005 about the study

    Santer et al., 2005. Amplification of Surface Temperature Trends and Variability in the Tropical Atmosphere. Science Vol. 309, No 5740, pp. 1551-1556, September 2, 2005, online http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/reference/bibliography/2005/bds0501.pdf

    I wrote to a vast body of climate community:

    “Subject: Validation of Santer et al, Part I: Formal Considerations

    This Part I consists of the following Formal Considerations and Suggestions:

    1. The authors
    2. Theories tested
    3. Data used
    4. Model scrutiny
    5. Replication

    The Chapters are as follows:

    1. The authors

    In this study the list of authors is impressive:

    Benjamin D. Santer, Tom M. L. Wigley, Carl Mears, Frank J. Wentz, Stephen A. Klein, Dian J. Seidel, Karl E. Taylor, Peter W. Thorne, Michael F. Wehner, Peter J. Gleckler, Jim S. Boyle, W. D. Collins, Keith W. Dixon, Charles Doutriaux, Melissa Free, Qiang Fu, Jim E. Hansen, Gareth. S. Jones, Reto Ruedy, T. R. Karl, John R. Lanzante, Gerald A. Meehl, V. Ramaswamy, Gary Russell, and Gavin A. Schmidt.

    I had understood that when scientists begin their shared research they have a lead author, and co-authors make the agreed part of the research. They usually make a joint application for funding, too. When the field research is finished the authors compile drafts of the paper due to publication. They may distribute the draft for comments to other colleagues, and in the final paper they address their acknowledges to those ones.

    When none in the climate science community masters everything, it’s necessary to call special experts to the team. For example, dendrochronologists study tree-rings, and a statistician is needed to make the math. when math and statistical skills do not belong to the strengths among most of the dendrochronologists and they have to rely on statisticians. Dear Michael E. Mann is one scientist dendrochronologists use, but the results are mixed. Better statisticians are needed.

    Further, it is not customary to present the division of labor in the final paper, e.g. as follows:

    “Author contributions: I.Y.F., S.C.D., K.L., and J.J. designed research; I.Y.F., S.C.D., K.L., and J.J. performed research; I.Y.F., S.C.D., K.L., and J.J. analyzed data; and I.Y.F. and S.C.D. wrote the paper.”

    In: Fung, Inez Y., Scott C. Doney, Keith Lindsay, and Jasmin John, 2005. Evolution of carbon sinks in a changing climate. PNAS published before print August 1, 2005, online

    Now, it was some kind of a news to me when Ben Santer Aug 11 explained:

    “The first draft of the Santer et al. paper was circulated to a limited distribution of potential co-authors on April 20th, 2005.”

    The paper was then revisited with Carl Mears and Frank Wentz April 26 – May 13.

    As far as I can see, this circulation of the draft April 20th, 2005 means that any actual field research or replication of the results or a proper review by the potential co-authors, besides Carl Mears and Frank Wentz, and any mutual communication about possible discrepancies between all the authors were practically impossible when the paper was submitted to Science May 13, 2005.

    It seems evident that those other co-authors could have had only certain additions and corrections to the text, if any. These invited co-authors have done at best the job which normally belongs to the acknowledged colleagues, and after submission to editors and peer-reviewers.

    Those invited co-authors should rather be called co-signers only. I do admit that the line between actual research workers and commentators is sometimes flickering, but in this case not.

    The IPCC community uses similar method, and these actual authors have adopted it to this scientific paper. Editors, peer-reviewers, and readers are left uninformed about the division of labor. No good.

    My question: the procedure by Ben and other actual authors with this paper, how common it is?

    Dear scientists, editors and peer-reviewers, it seems to me that information about author contributions should be the praxis in every scientific journal.”

    …..

    End of extract.

    Well, quite a mess emerged, but no clarification about the roles of co-authors.

  65. Posted Dec 2, 2008 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

    A few years ago I was perusing a paper by James Hansen. I noticed that one of the authors was a prominent “skeptic” and I was surprised to see his name affiliated with the conclusions of the paper. I contacted the “skeptic” and asked him about it. He didn’t know anything about the paper and had no idea that he was listed as a co-author. I found that very strange, but it appears that this type of thing is common.

  66. curious
    Posted Dec 2, 2008 at 3:24 PM | Permalink

    re: pj at #88 – Please can you supply the details of the paper you refer to as well as the name of the inacurrately credited party? Thanks

    • PaddikJ
      Posted Dec 29, 2008 at 11:04 PM | Permalink

      Re: curious (#89),

      I’ll second that request. Has the Global Warming Crusade sunk to fraudulently co-opting well-known opposition figures in order to add legitimacy to their work? Until this summer’s farcical trial in G.B., with Hansen jetting in to testify on behalf of a bunch of vandals, I could not have believed it; but it seems anything goes these days.

5 Trackbacks

  1. [...] Original post by unknown [...]

  2. [...] Santer and the 4 NOAA Coauthors by Steve McIntyre on November 24th, 2008 [...]

  3. By Busy times….Open thread. | The Blackboard on Nov 26, 2008 at 12:43 PM

    [...] Steve Mc. reported that his FOI request to NOAA failed to produce the intermediate data results used in Santer17 because the four NOAA coauthors, evidently, do not have the intermediate data or correspondence associated with that data. So, presumably the involvement of those four authors was unrelated to determining the trends for the tropical tropospheric temperature? Or they just don’t keep files? [...]

  4. [...] recounted this refusal and the progress of several FOI requests in several contemporary posts here here here and [...]

  5. [...] me that could possibly be construed as contributing to a “mis-impression”. On Nov 24, I reported on my unsuccessful FOI request to NOAA for the data, in which all of the NOAA coauthors claimed to [...]

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