Gavin’s Complaint

Many bemused blog readers know by now that Gavin Schmidt aka Mystery Man has taken a few hours off from his dedicated and long-standing interest in station data integrity to file a complaint to the University of Colorado about a post that Roger Jr wrote about the Gavin Affair.

Gavin has refused Pielke permission to expressed a desire that Pielke not publish his side of the complaint (Pielke observes that the emails came from an unprotected .gov email.)

Roger Jr’s first account of the Gavin Affair is on Feb 4 here, an account of Gavin’s first demands here – note particularly this comment and the matter continues on in new post today.

If you wish to comment on this, please ensure that you also register your comments at Roger’s blog.

72 Comments

  1. Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 10:18 AM | Permalink

    For the interested, I have posted on this matter as well as a bit of “bullying” done to me back in 1999 by Tom Wigley of NCAR: http://masterresource.org/?p=735.

  2. Terry
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 10:29 AM | Permalink

    Great pic :)

  3. George
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 10:29 AM | Permalink

    Gavin has no ground to stand on. When he mocked Steve for not receiving credit for the discovery he lost any high ground he had to stand on. Hell we went as far as to use a smiley face like an internet troll rather than a scientist. Its clear from his mocking of Steve that his intent was to deny Steve credit not persevere the integrity of the data.

  4. Roger Pielke, Jr.
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    Just a quick clarification.

    Gavin has not “refused permission” for me to publish his .gov emails, he simply has not expressed a desire to have them posted when I asked if he would like them posted. As I told him, I consider those emails in the public domain (and they are), but I have not posted them without his permission simply because the guy has had a bad enough week already, and these wouldn’t help.

    Since my warning about the public nature of .gov emails, Gavin started emailing from columbia.edu. I wonder how long Gavin will pursue this. I’ve suggested that we should let it end with the respective airing of our views, and he has refused this suggestion. So we continue.

    • Richard
      Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 10:31 PM | Permalink

      Re: Roger Pielke, Jr. (#4), You are too kind to Gavin – .gov or .edu emails surely are definitely in the public sphere. I cannot understand Gavin’s stance on this. I’ve tried to post a number of times on RC on this matter, all to no avail. Others have had some limited success. But there reasons for not archiving data etc when publishing papers are positively weird.

  5. stan jones
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

    If Gavin believes he is in the right, then why hold back the emails?

    Someone needs to remember the old adage ‘when you find yourself in a hole…………’!

  6. George
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

    No-one should be against better data. It would have been nice had SM actually notified the holders of the data that there was a problem (he didn’t, preferring to play games instead). If he hadn’t left it for others to work out, he might even have got some credit ;).

    That is all you need right there to know what Gavin’s intentions were. He may not have been seeking credit for himself but he was trying to deny it to Steve. That is unethical behavior.

  7. AKD
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

    Category: Gavin Baiting. ;)

  8. deadwood
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

    I left a note today on the BAS site about the attribution controversy:

    Steve:

    Your attirbution to Gavin Schmidt for reporting the error in the Harry dataset has generated some controvery over on this side of the Atlantic.

    It seems Dr. Schmidt forgot to give credit to Steve McIntyre of Toronto as the person who was his source of the information that the data problem existed and where the problem originated. Perhaps it would be best if the BAS simply removed the attiribution.

    I received the following reply from Steve Colwell of the BAS.

    Yes Gavin has notified me of this and I am in the process of changing it to :

    “The above corrections have been made with help from numerous individuals including Gavin Schmidt, Steve McIntyre and other anonymous individuals on ClimateAudit.com. All their efforts are appreciated.”

    Steve

    From my perspective this is the right thing to do – both for Dr. Schmidt and for the BAS.

    Time now for all to cool it down a bit.

    • bernie
      Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 10:57 AM | Permalink

      Re: deadwood (#8),
      Ahh, someone with a deft touch. Many thanks Deadwood. The right thing has been done. Let’s declare “Peace” and move on!

      • Dave Dardinger
        Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

        Re: bernie (#9),

        When peace like the snow
        attends RC and CA
        love blankets the world.

      • George
        Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 2:06 PM | Permalink

        Re: bernie (#9),

        This desire for peace is noble but it makes me wonder about Gavin. He steals Steve’s idea in order to deny him credit. Gets called out on it by his Peers then proceeds to attack Pielke. If both sides agree to back off then Gavin makes what is a career threatening mistake into a wash. I wouldn’t put it beyond Gavin to be going after Pielke in order to get Steve to back off.

    • woodNfish
      Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

      Re: deadwood (#8), That was a very good thing to do Deadwood, but it does not change the actions of Dr. Schmidt who should at least be disciplined by his employer and possibly even terminated for them.

  9. bernie
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

    You have to laugh. BAS seems afflicted by embarrassing typos. Perhaps its those cold fingers.

    The acknowledgement at BAS reads:

    The above corrections have been made with the help from numberous individuals including Gavin Schmidt, Steve McIntype, Nicholas Lewis and other anonymous individuals on ClimateAudit.com. All their effors in identifyting any errors on the READER website are appreciated.

    I am sure they didn’t mean anything by it, Steve.

    Some folks at WUWT probably deserve a mention as well.

  10. Rich
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

    climateaudit.com is just a DNS hi-jack in the UK. Among the menu items offered is “Weather equipment”. There’s a link to http://www.weather-station-products.co.uk with the tag-line: “Electronic home Weather Equipment. Predict the weather in your area from just £29 and free delivery”.

    I wonder if they deliver to Antartica….

  11. Leonard herchen
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

    I’m practically giddy with excitement.

  12. Glynn
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 11:50 AM | Permalink

    Should the correction not read..

    “The above corrections have been made with help from numerous individuals including Steve McIntyre, Gavin Schmidt…….

  13. Luis Dias
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

    Bokay, now that you’ve all played this game, can we move along?

  14. dougW
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    Anybody care to opine on whether the “Fairness Doctrine” will be applied to blogs.

  15. Jason
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

    Gavin has done the right thing by contacting BAS and asking them to clarify the claim of credit.

    Unless he pursues the Pielke matter further, I think we should put this one to bed.

    There are plenty of more substantive issues outstanding (like getting the matlab code that was used to produce the main [AVHRR] results in Steig et al)

  16. Minnesota Fats
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

    Gavin got caught and now he wants to move on. So does everybody that gets caught. They pay back what they took and move on. Isn’t that how it works?

  17. TAG
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 12:10 PM | Permalink

    I agree that it is time to “move on” in regard to this issue.

    To show my support for the efforts and achievements of Steve McIntyre for this issue. I have made a modest donation to Climate Audit through the tip jar. I suggest that this would be a good way for others to show their support as well.

  18. steven mosher
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

    Here’s the thing. Gavin knew that harry didnt matter. He knew the error wasnt a “scientific idea” and hence not worth stealing. So why waste a sunday night slaving over trivial typos that dont amount to anything. get a life, gavin

    • Bob McDonald
      Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

      Re: steven mosher (#21),

      Steven,

      I have a hunch, a gut feeling if you will, that the authors of the report were aware of the problem with Harry. The clincher for me was the velocity at which the data was corrected once a hint of a problem surfaced. I have followed this soap opera since the beginning, and the normal sequence of engagement did not occur (SM points out a problem in a report, report author denies the problem, SM proves the error, author acknowledges error, claims it is irrelevant and SM is not a climate scientist, SM agrees he is not a climate scientist, author quietly revises report).

      In this case, SM merely stated “there’s something about harry”. Within hours, the problem is found and a correction is submitted. No argument, no denial of the problem, but we did get the “irrelevant error” statement.

      NOTE TO CA HOSTS: You could probably save yourselves a great deal of time effort by simply changing the phraseology of your posts…something like “There’s something about the hockey stick”, or “There’s something about Bristlcones”….

      Whatever errors may exist in those reports, you can bet the Team will instantly and idependently correct them. And, you would probably grow to like the Superbowl with all the free time you’d have.

  19. Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 12:25 PM | Permalink

    In the bible there is a great quote that is applicable here.

    “Pride comes before the fall”.

    • christopher booker
      Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

      Re: Dennis Wingo (#22), What the Bible actually says (Proverbs 16.18) is ‘pride goeth before destruction and an haughty spirit before a fall’. If we are quoting holy writ in this context. how about the Psalmist’s ‘in the same net which he hid privily is his foot taken’? Or. as Shakespeare put it (Hamlet). ‘the engin’er hoist with his own petard’.Well done Steve, you have given us all huge entertainment through what must have been for you and your family a pretty grim time. I am referring to this masterpiece of scientific detective work by you and WUWT in my column in next week’s London Sunday Telegraph.

      • Jon
        Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 3:05 PM | Permalink

        Re: christopher booker (#34),

        Are you going to mention white asbestos too?

        Two easy ways for this site to gain credibility. 1) Distance it from snip Booker. 2) Audit some of Watts Up With That’s… “explanations” of what is really driving climate change and stop allowing guest posts. I’m sure he is a great guy, but ouch. Painful stuff.

        I realize that the official stance here is to only challenge the IPCC-type position, but RC critiques studies that reach conclusions more, less, and similarly “alarming” than the IPCC.

        Steve: I can only do so much and I’m criticized for not finishing off topics that I’ve already initiated. I focus on IPCC articles because they are important. I’ve offered a platform here to various people who oppose positions here from time to time. Michael Tobis made a similar criticism and I sent him a password giving him author privileges here. I’ve made similar offers to others. It’s their decision not to directly address the audience here on whatever topics they want, not mine. As I hope readers can tell, I like crossfire and pay much more attention to adversaries than to “supporters”. If Gavin wants to publish the results of any of his audits of skeptic positions here, then he’s welcome to do so.

        • Jon
          Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 3:36 PM | Permalink

          Re: Steve (#39),

          Fair enough. That was sincere advice, not an attack.

  20. PeterS
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 12:34 PM | Permalink

    It’s worth wondering about the word ‘credit’ in this.

    It seems that Gavin goes to great lengths of refuse Steve McIntye credibility – even so far as refusing to utter his name. There are, perhaps, biblical proportions to what we have witnessed recently – in Gavin choosing to hide two things away as a means of denying Steve credibility… data and himself.

    It’s fairly clear why Gavin should want to hide data from Steve. If Steve finds the data to be bad – then it visibly lacks credibility and can no longer function as data. It could be meaningful to apply the same reasoning to the curious incident of Gavin hiding himself… if a government scientist is found to be bad – it too visibly lacks credibility and can no longer function as a scientist.

    Doing science, I suppose, is a whole lot different to being driven to play games of hide & seek. As we have seen, it’s a vicious cycle when science becomes an obstacle to a preoccupation with one’s own – and someone else’s – credibility. Gavin needs to think quickly about the difference between being hidden – and being stuck.

  21. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 1:11 PM | Permalink

    #24. AS we found out subsequently (and noted up in a comment a while ago), Harry data post-1998 is said in Monaghan et al 2008 (a ref cited 5 times by Steig) as being “suspicious” and not used. So the authors certainly should have known that there was something about Harry that needed investigating and justifying. Funny that no attention was paid to a comment in the Peer Review Literature, while Gavin went into a paroxysm over a whisper at CA.

    • Bob McDonald
      Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#25),

      Brilliant.

      Also, can we now be assured the Team monitors CA, and considers it to be technically qualified to participate in the debate? Even if not publicly recognized as such?

  22. Paul Penrose
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 2:05 PM | Permalink

    Steve, don’t you think the picture at the top of the post is a bit of piling on? I’m no Gavin booster, but in the interests of fairness I think you should consider removing it.

  23. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 2:08 PM | Permalink

    Please note that Gavin has not provided any notice at realclimate of the contents of the letter to BAS – unless RC readers come here, they would have no idea that Gavin conceded an inch.

  24. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 2:12 PM | Permalink

    If I’d done what Gavin did, can you imagine the imagine the blood curdling calls for my scalp by the Team? Don’t kid yourselves – they would be totally ruthless in extracting the last ounce of flesh.

    • George
      Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 2:21 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#30), Re: Steve McIntyre (#30),

      Steve if you had don’t what Gavin did William M. Connelly would already have it taking up 50% of your Wiki bio with RC used as the wiki reliable source.

    • PhilH
      Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#30), I don’t recall if anyone has mentioned the somewhat odd fact that BAS did not give any specific credit for the find when it first made the Harry change. To me it seems fairly obvious that they did not because Gavin asked them not to mention his name. And why would he do that? Well, several reasons: For one thing, if they had attributed it solely to him he would have been caught out immediately. On the other hand, he sure as heck didn’t want to put up Steve’s name as the progenitor. That left him with no choice, in his mind, but to ask BAS to keep it anonymous. Oh, when we first practice to …

    • John Archer
      Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 9:53 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#30),

      If I’d done what Gavin did, can you imagine the imagine the blood curdling calls for my scalp by the Team? Don’t kid yourselves – they would be totally ruthless in extracting the last ounce of flesh.

      I agree.

      Also, one needs to be careful to whom one is magnanimous. I’ve seen enough Hollywood productions to know that and, to my utter amazement, have had it confirmed by personal experience. I see no contrition on Gavin’s part or anything like it—a sine qua non now in my book.

      Calls for “moving on” [ugh] are premature [ugh], in my view. You owe him less than nothing.

      On a broader note—and I know it’s your policy not to discuss policy—but this episode goes way beyond just the science and scientific/academic etiquette. It is very important. I’ll leave it at that.

      BTW, Grover? Maybe once. Gollum now though.

  25. steven mosher
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 2:18 PM | Permalink

    the most important sentences have 3 words:

    I was wrong
    I am sorry
    Let’s move on.

    You dont get to say the third until you say the first two

  26. steven mosher
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

    opps.
    I forgot, CYA

  27. Chris H
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 2:42 PM | Permalink

    #26
    Either that or Gavin spends most of his spare moments religiously reading everything on climateaudit.org, while simultaneously trying to deny the existence of climateaudit.org & SM himself… Kind of scary.

  28. bernie
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 2:50 PM | Permalink

    Mr Booker:
    It would be great if you could somehow ensure that the constructive elements of this little tempest were visible. For example, I think it is quite notable that Michael Tobis, an ardent AGWer, has now become an advocate for posting data and posting code. Moreover, at this moment the significance of the errors is limited. I would hate to see the story reduced to the documentation of slightly petulant and ungentlemanly behavior. (I could make a crack about Oxford men, but I won’t)

    Steve: Is this because both Gavin and I are Oxford alumni?

  29. bernie
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 3:00 PM | Permalink

    I am with Deadwood and Luis: This horse is dead. Lets move along.

  30. steven mosher
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 3:15 PM | Permalink

    re 39.

    You’ll find some of us over at WUWT criticizing posts made there which is the correct place to critique a POST. The official “stance” here is to focus on
    “Accepted” science for the most part. Big game hunting. Although, if you read here you will note that we also do audits of papers ( ask Craig L) that some would say support or lend credence to an Anti AGW position. So do more homework jon.

    • jeez
      Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

      Re: steven mosher (#40),

      Big Game hunting and fun. In the spirit of Oxford alumni, perhaps we can all send Gavin a peace offering?

    • Jon
      Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 3:34 PM | Permalink

      Re: steven mosher (#40),

      Not at all the same thing. It’s quite easy to convince people that this site isn’t remotely interested in advancing science (as opposed to just trying to undermine specific persons’ credibility) by pointing out that he is given guest posts here and then pointing to his “creative” efforts at WUWT. Perhaps that isn’t fair (guilt by association isn’t IMO), but it would make it much harder to dismiss this site if it distanced itself from egregiously unscientific sites and people who have zero credibility due to disinformation efforts on other issues (e.g. Booker).

  31. wmanny
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 4:15 PM | Permalink

    #46: Dave, I don’t notice that about Jon, and I would hope that CA readers not mimic the rude behavior of so many RC readers, treating any sort of dissent as ipso facto “trolling” or dishonesty. It’s pretty hard to engage in the conflict of ideas if you get mired in the ad homs. To that end, I just send the following to RC, to no end there, and perhaps here as well:

    Gavin,

    I imagine I’m not alone in reading elsewhere about the kerfuffles surrounding the initial discovery of the Harry/Gil error, your e-mail to the director of CIRES, your ultimate request that BAS credit McIntyre after all, and the like. Surely the picture can’t be as cartoonish as is being painted, can it? McIntyre the grand-standing, amateur nit-picker, Schmidt the disingenuous loyalist, etc. Isn’t it possible that both of you have valuable contributions to make in this arena?

  32. charlesH
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 4:29 PM | Permalink

    Jon,

    Frankly I can’t get beyond the fact the CA/SM allows dissenting posts while RC does not.

    I don’t bother with RC anymore. It’s boring. So please keep posting here at CA.

  33. Paul Penrose
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

    Jon,
    Enough of your speculations on what other people think of this blog. Frankly, given the amount of traffic it receives, I’d say that’s not a problem. And in any event, it’s Steve’s concern anyway, so I’m probably not alone is wishing you’d just knock it off.

  34. bernie
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 8:07 PM | Permalink

    Steve:
    I didn’t know about your connection. I will now have to completely reassess my view of Oxford men.:-)

    How come you went there to study Economics when everybody knows we had all the stars!! ;-)

  35. Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 8:15 PM | Permalink

    Jon

    you talk of credibility…

    to that I say: “things break”.

    – Anthony Watts

  36. Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 11:42 PM | Permalink

    Just read comments at Roger Jr’s.

    # 15 Roger Pielke, Jr. Says:
    February 6th, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Friday night . . . Gavin continues to email my superiors demanding some sort of action on their part. I do not know why Gavin thinks this is a productive course to take.

  37. Posted Feb 7, 2009 at 12:00 AM | Permalink

    I absolutely refuse to comment at rogers blog until he cleans up his ridiculous registration system or send’s me a backdoor so I don’t have to worry about it- I like his blog but what a joke, it’s like some kind of pentagon access code.

    In the meantime, I hope he pushes Gavin for something useful like Steig’s code.

    • Richard
      Posted Feb 7, 2009 at 12:38 AM | Permalink

      Re: jeff Id (#54), I agreed with jeff Id – I would like to contribute, but couldn’t be bothered to register etc – I don’t have the time. But I would like to say that Gavin has provided us all with an equisitely open expose of his ethics, and he should apologise – instead, he’s trying to use his influence to put the heat on Roger for daring to tell the truth. His employers should be looking at his behaviour closely, but that or ethics aside, most of all, he is guilty of plagarism and that is a most serious scientific crime. Time is up, its about time he did his. His activity is hardly science.

  38. Jeff Shifrin
    Posted Feb 7, 2009 at 1:08 AM | Permalink

    It isn’t easy for a climate scientist to criticize the “climate science establishment”. Aside from Gavin continuing to email Roger Pielke’s superiors at his university, Roger received this comment on Prometheus from Georg Hoffmann, a French climate scientist:

    “If ever you would have a real “scientific idea” you were not obliged to write such pointless comments, Roger. Your great efforts to back the anti-science movement whereever you can makes you just to a “sceptic” who is lacking the balls to say that he actually is a “sceptic.”

    Roger replied: “Georg-

    As a climate scientist focused on GCMs, do you really think that your comments here help to improve the image of climate scientists?

    Are you guys on self-destruct mode this week?”

    I made the following observation (on Prometheus):

    “So Georg Hoffmann believes that people who want to repeat a scientific experiment to determine its validity are anti-science. He believes that people who want to check the accuracy of scientific data, and the mathematical rigor of statistical conclusions are anti-science. He believes that people who are offended by those who steal ideas and claim them as their own should be intimidated and should be declared closet “anti-scientists”. If Hoffmann were older, I would assume that he was a devout follower of the late Senator Joseph McCarthy. Perhaps Hoffmann just read 1984, and instead of realizing that it was a brilliant dark novel, thought that it was a behavioral manual to follow.

  39. AnonyMoose
    Posted Feb 7, 2009 at 1:30 AM | Permalink

    Gavin has refused Pielke permission to expressed a desire that Pielke not publish his side of the complaint (Pielke observes that the emails came from an unprotected .gov email.)

    Well, the date/time in the email should be sufficient for an FOIA request for all documents and communications related to the specified email, including the email and any related emails. Ouch.

  40. PaddikJ
    Posted Feb 7, 2009 at 1:40 AM | Permalink

    Re: Various posts about GS having “done the right thing”, so “let’s move on.”

    Let’s not kid ourselves, people; it’s not over. GS “did the right thing” because the firestorm he started was threatening to turn him into a crispy critter. RC’s long, proud history of arrogance and abuse speaks much more loudly than any single incident.

    That’s not cynicism, it’s realism.

  41. Bernie
    Posted Feb 7, 2009 at 6:09 AM | Permalink

    PaddikJ:
    I am under no illusions that that there is a high probability that a similar pattern of events involving RC will occur again. At this moment, I am more interested in what emerges from a careful analysis of the Steig et al paper. Nic L and others have done a good job looking at the available data. Steve has pointed at some additional sites. Roman and Steve are exploring the statistical approach. Roger Jnr seems perfectly capable of handling his own political firefight.

  42. Paul C
    Posted Feb 7, 2009 at 9:57 AM | Permalink

    snip – enough on this

  43. Posted Feb 7, 2009 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

    Bernie–
    Discussing gavin’s game playing and discussing the science aren’t either/or. There are multiple threads at CA, and at many sites.

  44. AndyL
    Posted Feb 7, 2009 at 11:39 AM | Permalink

    I think there is a possible reasonable explanation for what Gavin has done – in effect he’s “taken one for the team”

    1) A high visibility paper is coming out in Nature, and the climate science community do not want uncertainty to ruin its reception
    2) Steve’s teaser threatens to create headlines over what the scientists consider a trivial point
    3) It’s not possible to answer the point without identifying what is wrong, so Gavin investigates and rushes off an email to BAS who promptly update the data. It is now possible to confirm that the correction makes little difference to the findings
    4) Gavin’s big mistake is his post on RC – he probably considered it a minor tease but it has blown up in his face
    5) Pielke accuses Gavin of stealing credit. Gavin objects because he was never interested in taking credit – denying it to Steve was a secondary benefit

    This thinking could also go some way to explaining Steig’s refusal to provide code. Eventually he will release it, possibly in a month or two, but the team do not want headlines just now about what they believe will turn out to be more “nits”.

  45. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 7, 2009 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

    On Jan 23, after Steig said that he would put the data online next week (and then resiled on the AVHRR data), I wrote to him saying:

    Thanks.

    “all the material” – It would also be an excellent idea to put your source code up. Using statistical techniques that are not well understood to derive newsy applied results is a bit risky and you should err on the side of caution in making your code available to independent analysis.

    It would also serve to defuse people who are instantly suspicious of Mann’s RegEM. This is an application where it seems much more plausible to me than where it’s used to justify bristlecones. I’ve noted this at my blog as a caveat to instantly suspicious readers.

    Regards, Steve McIntyre

    In my own comments, the Harry series stood out like a sore thumb in West Antartica. I stated that I did not know whether it “mattered” as I was not in a position to see before and after calculations for myself. My experience with Mannian methods is that outlier series can matter a lot (e.g. bristlecones) and that there has been considerable reluctance to face up to this. In my opinion, it’s too early to comment on whether Harry matters or how much. But you also have to face up to the opposite problem (as some readers have observed). Let’s say that Harry doesn’t matter or doesn’t matter very much. This may have nothing to do with good statistics, but may have something to do with data mining properties of the Mannian algorithm. For example, both the bristlecones and Gaspe series were flawed; but the availability of either one in the MBH algorithm (and this is post-PC) levered the results disproportionately. It’s far too early to say that Harry doesn’t “matter”.

    If they were truly confident that it didn’t matter, then they’d produce the code so that people could see for themselves, as I urged in the first place.

  46. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 7, 2009 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

    Another comment on Gavin’s claim that all that was available to him was a “teaser”. The post itself merely had a teaser, but by 6 pm Eastern on Feb 1, I and CA readers had described the points that were ultimately germane to BAS:

    – that the BAS HArry series had data prior to 1994, even though Harry was not installed until Nov 1994. I asked about the provenance of data prior before it existed, seeking suggestions from readers. (While this was later traced to Gill, where the spurious data came from is not relevant to the main point that there was no Harry data prior to 1994.)
    – we linked to the site in which the Harry AWS station was described
    – I provided a script which scraped information from the Wisconsin site.

    This rises well above what Gavin describes as “a hint that there was something wrong”. The main point – that there was no Harry data prior to 1994 – was clearly set out by me and CA readers; the identification of Gill as the source of the flawed data is interesting, but not relevant to whether the HArry data should be recalled.

  47. D. Patterson
    Posted Feb 7, 2009 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

    There is some interesting commentary by Guillaume Dargaud about the quality control of the AWS measurements to be found at a Web page titled The first winter-over at ConcordiaPart 3 — Atmosphere science instruments, brought to notice by Wolfgang Flamme in a post at WUWT. For example:

    Another part of the problem is that the data is very dirty: it relies on very old satellite protocols and errors creep into the messages by the truckload (about one message out of two has errors). The AMRC is supposed to clean the data but they seem to have stopped doing that a few years ago.

    The author among many other interesting items describes some software routines he programmed to cleanup the data errors in the AWS data stream.

  48. Chris H
    Posted Feb 7, 2009 at 1:27 PM | Permalink

    I know this is not the normal subject, but in this case I feel it is relevant. “michael” made a fantasic post (#22) at http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/a-formal-response-to-gavin-schmidt-4936#comment-11945 which I’m quoting in full below (I hope this is allowed) :

    What’s interesting about the episode is the light it sheds on the cultural positioning of AGW and Climate Science. It really merits an essay in itself, and its central to the subject Prometheus is about. Like it or not, a lot of the public policy debate is now going on in blogs. So you can’t ignore what goes on in blogs when considering the relation between the science and public policy and politics. If you look at the AGW blogs, you find, particularly in the comments:

    – Heavy moderation, amounting almost to censorship. For instance, Steig cannot now be discussed on Tamino.

    – Hypersensitivity to criticism. It seems that the smallest criticisms of any aspect of AGW theory provoke a reaction of an intensity out of all proportion to their significance.

    – Personalization of the debate – the method of attacking the messenger is generally felt to be a valid method of argument.

    – Attribution of motives by projection, as when a question is raised about some detail of some study, and it immediately provokes a chorus of replies refuting what the posters assume must be what the original question is ‘really’ about – which is usually thought to be some devious effort at undermining the theory as a whole.

    – Class membership arguments, as when anger about some point is made in the form of an expression of disgust at ‘people like you’.

    – The use of epithets like ‘denialist’ – that is, the assumption is made that no rational basis of dissent can exist, in which case the only explanation of a different point of view is bad faith or mental disorder.

    – The view that to frequent skeptical sites is dangerous and potentially contaminating and to be avoided. That is, there is something about CA, or Watts, which will persuade people in defiance of reason and the facts. Quite how they came by this power is never explained.

    – The view that there are people who are professionally trying to lead astray the innocent. They supposedly do this by spin and use of misleading statistical treatments of data. The suggestion is that the innocent will be misled by this, knowing no better. Perhaps they should be protected from being misled? Maybe so, you find remarks which come close to that sometimes.

    – The defence of secretiveness about data. For instance, we find heated defences of any climate scientist who does not produce data on request. There seems to be a view, which is basically an appeal to authority, that to demand that these scientist produce their data and code so that their results can be verified is insulting and unfair. We need, the feeling is, to trust the experts.

    AGW is a scientific hypothesis, no doubt of it, and it may well be true. However, the conduct of its adherents in all these respects has elements of the cult about it. If we take a real cult, Scientology, we see the same elements. If we take a more harmless and amusing cult, the cult of Apple and the Mac, we also see many of those elements. It gives a bad feeling about the theory, regardless of its objective merits, that so many of its adherents show these characteristics.

    And it makes it hard for some of us to give it the objective and detached hearing it undoubtedly merits. Gavin’s antics this week have been a classic example of that. I and many others find it very hard to take Steig’s results seriously now, though we started out finding them interesting and thought provoking. Not because they are wrong. But because if these are their defenders, and this is how these defenders feel compelled to behave, the smell of fish in the air is so strong that it tends to overcome everything else. A great pity. Especially for Steig, who would perhaps do well to distance himself as far as possible from his supporters, before its too late.

    Antarctica may not be far enough!

  49. superstring
    Posted Feb 7, 2009 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

    @Jon 39

    You might find this view of how scholarly publication is changing, especially the role of the internet in challenging the peer review system, to be eye opening, I sure did:

    http://www.pha.jhu.edu/~bagger/talks/arl/sld001.htm

    It is by Jon Bagger, a professor of physics at Johns Hopkins

  50. Brian Macker
    Posted Feb 8, 2009 at 9:04 PM | Permalink

    I guess the muppet with the “G” is suppose to mock Gavin. How do you square this with your supposed high mindedness? Keeping you honest. Not that you are any worse that Gavin.

    • Willis Eschenbach
      Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 5:59 PM | Permalink

      Re: Brian Macker (#68), clearly you are not following the story.
      .
      The amount of nasty, virulent, poisonous, lying, personal abuse that Steve, and Roger Pielke, and Ross, and people around the world (including myself) have taken from Gavin and his coterie has been immense.
      .
      The muppet with the “G” is Super-Grover.
      .
      If you find those two equivalent, you need to read more of the history of the relationship between the skeptics and the AGW supporters. Yes, Steve does make occasional lighthearted jests about Gavin and Rasmus and Mann. Meanwhile, inter alia Mann has said that people who deny his revealed wisdom should be put in jail, and has repeated scurrilous lies about Laurence Solomon. And Gavin has complained to Dr. Pielke’s superiors trying to get him censured or fired.
      .
      Do you find those actions to be equivalent as well?
      .
      If I’d taken the attacks that Steve has taken, I would not be so light-hearted. I admire his ability to limit his jests to Super-Grover and “the rain in Spain” and the like. Mann and Gavin and Rasmus and Tamino are by no means so gracious. They are mean-spirited, vindictive, and out to punish people who disagree with them. Perhaps that’s OK with you, perhaps wanting to punish someone by jailing them or getting them in trouble with their superiors is just fine on your planet, perhaps it’s all in the same league as Super-Grover in your world.
      .
      On my world, they are not the same, they are not in any way comparable.
      .
      w.

  51. mondo
    Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 9:00 PM | Permalink

    Re #70: Brian,

    If you had been following the discussion here in detail over the past few years, you would have seen ample explanation by Steve McIntyre of the moderation policies that he follows. As I understand them, he is keen to maintain focus on the topics raised in threads, and therefore snips off-topic diversions. He is also keen to avoid encouraging the use of intemperate language (I won’t say the words, but you hopefully know the words I am referring to) so as to maintain a certain non-partisan, objective stance for the blog. He makes it clear that he will not tolerate certain particular off-topic contributions relating to, say, religion, evolotion, or even policy. He says that there are plenty of places to discuss those issues – please don’t do it here.

    He is keen to explore soundly argued questions that address both sides of a topic, and encourages discussion reflecting his passionate commitment to find the truth of the matter.

    Further, when questioned as to why a particular post may have been snipped, Steve is always (or at least nearly always, so far as I can see) prepared to give an explanation. You could contrast Steve’s moderation policies with those of other blogs. To my mind, he has been very successful in maintaining the focus of the blog while ensuring civility.

    Finally, we shouldn’t forget the role of spam karma (or whatever the spam avoidance software is called). Perhaps your posts were caught up in the automated spam elimination process.

  52. Alex Harvey
    Posted Feb 16, 2009 at 10:09 PM | Permalink

    The exchange between one of Gavin Schmidt’s co-authors, Georg Hoffman, a French GCM modeller and apparently Schmidt’s defender in this matter, and Pielke Jr. at the latter’s blog as well, mentioned in Jeff Shifrin #56 above, is fascinating and revealing. I should say that Georg might have done himself and Gavin more favours to remain silent.

  53. Posted Feb 17, 2009 at 3:26 PM | Permalink

    thank you On my world, they are not the same, they are not in any way comparable.

  54. Jon
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 3:44 PM | Permalink

    Re: stan jones (#44),

    I don’t find this site painful at all. Those awards are popularity contests, which is not to say that the popularity is undeserved. They are in no way indicative of scientific credibility, however.

    I will say this again- I am offering advice to genuinely boost this site’s credibility, not attacking Steve or CA. Certainly no one is under any obligation to listen to it, and I don’t want this to become about me.

    I just saw something that I thought was a perfect example of the image problems that prevent some people from judging the site on its own merits and commented on it.

  55. John Norris
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 7:24 PM | Permalink

    Re: Jon (#44),

    … I am offering advice to genuinely boost this site’s credibility …

    If this site lacked credibility RC authors wouldn’t be relying on it to flag QA problems in the data they selected.

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