DOE sends a “litigation hold notice” regarding CRU to employees

Anthony reports that DOE has sends a “litigation hold notice” regarding CRU to employees – asking to “preserve documents”. DOE funded Phi Jones at CRU for 25 years. I think that I recall Jones saying somewhere in the Climategate Letters that he hopes no one finds out.

See details at Anthony’s.

Update: As mentioned by a reader below, in email 1120676865.txt, Jones says:.

“Neville,
Mike’s response could do with a little work, but as you say he’s got the tone
almost dead on. I hope I don’t get a call from congress ! I’m hoping that no-one
there realizes I have a US DoE grant and have had this (with Tom W.) for the last 25
years.
I’ll send on one other email received for interest.
Cheers
Phil”

Update2 Dec 15 9 am: As pointed out by another reader, the litigation hold notice appears related to a letter sent by Inhofe to the DOE asking them to secure their files.

In my opinion, this substantially reduces the drama of this notice.

Absent the context of Inhofe’s letter, one might interpret the letter as evidencing an intent by the administration; however, if it’s in response to Inhofe’s letter, it’s likely that there is no such intent, only a minimum response. I’m less interested in this now.


88 Comments

  1. deadwood
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 1:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

    If true, it might just shed enough light on this mess to force the MSM to report it properly.

  2. Chris
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 1:21 AM | Permalink | Reply

    It would be nice to get anything missed in the FOIA zip release, like earlier versions of the CRU temperature dataset. Maybe even the original raw data.

  3. jef
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 1:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

    As noted in the comments at WUWT, the word counsel is misspelled as council 3 times in the document.

    • ianl8888
      Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 2:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Yes, I agree,that is suspicious – hoax, maybe ?

      WUWT was asked in the comments three times for independent confirmation- no answer was the stern reply

      • Mike Lorrey
        Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 2:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Actually, Anthony traced the IP and it traces to Savannah River, and the lawyer signing the email does work there, so it does seem authentic. The misspelling is likely a bad spell checker or lack of using one. I am sure we will hear more from other sources about this.

        • JimB98
          Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 2:25 PM | Permalink

          Spellcheckers don’t really care about context. Council and counsel are both spelled correctly. Sometimes it’s up to us to figure out which is the correct word to use. :)

        • J.C.
          Posted Dec 17, 2009 at 9:11 PM | Permalink

          Yeah, sorry about the misspelling. I was about half asleep and didn’t notice that I was spelling counsel with an ‘i’ instead of an ‘e’. And the ‘t’ I left off ‘the’ was just a stupid mistake. You see, no copying or pasting was involved. I had to type the entire thing in manually as it was not possible to send the email off-site. And unfortunately the argument about its authenticity was taking place while I was at work, so I was totally unaware.

          Again sorry for the confusion.

  4. John A
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 2:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Does anyone remember another occasion when such an edict was sent out from the General Council of any US Govt Dept and the Office of the Inspector General?

    I can’t think of one.

    Which seems to me to indicate that the DOE, which is the massive source of a large chunk of money given to research global warming, is taking Climategate rather more seriously than previously thought (or hoped)

  5. AlanG
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 2:28 AM | Permalink | Reply

    If anything, DOE will be auditing the grant money. Remember that email about sending some money to a Russian? I doubt they will be auditing the CRU ‘science’.

  6. DeNihilist
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 2:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

    As posted on WUWT

    Council is a governing body. Therefore correct.

    And Anthony has responded to the verification.

    • jef
      Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 3:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

      But the context is a person:

      Michael L. Wamsted
      Associate General Council”

      and an url with this in it:

      U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) General Council…which goes to The Office of the General Counsel

      In both cases the proper word in cousel.

      I’m very glad that Anthony did some due diligence on this

      • jef
        Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 3:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

        counsel not cousel…it’s late

    • ianl8888
      Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 3:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

      “And Anthony has responded to the verification.”

      Not at the time I posted above

      Perhaps your sentence should have read:

      “And Anthony has NOW responded to the verification.”

  7. DeNihilist
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 2:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Good night

  8. Huub Bakker
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 3:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    It’s mentioned in email 1120676865.txt Steve.

    “Neville,
    Mike’s response could do with a little work, but as you say he’s got the tone
    almost dead on. I hope I don’t get a call from congress ! I’m hoping that no-one
    there realizes I have a US DoE grant and have had this (with Tom W.) for the last 25
    years.
    I’ll send on one other email received for interest.
    Cheers
    Phil”

  9. Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 3:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Yes, DOE, please come and clean us up. A national disgrace but a necessary one. As for Penn State, we’re staying tuned this side of the pond.

  10. Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 3:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Hasn’t Prof Mann garnered rather a lot of research funding from the DOE?

    Steve: More NSF. But the grant for MBH98 came from the Oak Ridges Nuclear Lab of DOE.

  11. Yarmy
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 3:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

    For those of us who are legally-challenged, my sophisticated googling turned up…

    ‘A “litigation hold” is a suspension of a company’s document retention/destruction policies for those documents that may be relevant to a lawsuit that has been actually filed, or even one that is “reasonably anticipated.”‘

    So I doubt this is anything but simple preparedness.

    • Richard
      Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 4:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I doubt if this is simple preparedness. A “litigation hold” should have originated as an order from a judge, usually for a criminal case. If a criminal complaint is filed before a judge and the judge accepts that there is a prima facie case, then he issues an order for preservation of any documents that maybe held as evidence in the case. After the order is issued any destruction of evidence again becomes a criminal offence.

    • vboring
      Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 11:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

      From what I’ve seen in the electric utility industry litigation holds are common and uninteresting. The DOE legal counsel is probably just doing the smart thing anticipating that some lawsuit of some variety will happen someday, so may as well be sure that none of the relevant docs are destroyed.

      The far more interesting legal case is the suit filed against the EPA’s CO2 climate change findings – that will be a fun one to watch. Maybe the lit hold is in response to the EPA finding suit.

      • Partington
        Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 2:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Regarding EPA’s actions which might seem to run counter to normal Congressional processes. Can anyone tell me if EPA’s funds are approved by Congress and if so Could congress terminate funding for EPA if it got seriously out of line?

  12. NickB.
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 4:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Yarmy,
    A lit hold usually isn’t enacted without something being filed, not anticipation of a filing. That’s been my experience in the private sector, maybe public is different(?)

  13. Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 4:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

    This email might hold clues as to why DOE, now

    • Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 5:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Oh dear. I think you could be right. And very recent too.

      Tom’s concerns at the end have ‘dig here’ written all over them.

    • HankHenry
      Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 10:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I am coming around to the thinking that scientists can’t be trusted with the numbers. That the work should be in the hands of engineers or professional modelers (if such a thing exists) who are willing to stake their (or their firms) professional reputation on their workmanship. Professionals who will document their work with something more substantial than strings of heavily footnoted scientific papers, and who will make realistic, honest estimates of uncertainties and inaccuracies. The thing that the IPCC report and the Technical Support Document of the EPA lacks is the name of a professional staking their personal reputation on the workmanship of the product. You can tell by the behaviors revealed in the emails that these are not people with much at stake personally. They all think they have secure jobs and are free to let juvenile mentality rule their behavior and attitudes because they have the protection of a university or a government agency.

      • snowmaneasy
        Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

        HankHenry…you are completely correct…my experience in the engineering business demands a P.Eng person to write a report….in the mining business in Canada it would a 43-101……this correspondence between Tom and Phil is the worst I have read…..

      • ThinkingScientist
        Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 4:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

        My company would be happy to do this…but like many companies with suitable professional expertise and proven skill virtually all our revenue and clients are…oil companies. We have the paleo perspective, the experience of dealing with proxy data (for us, seismic) AND we have to make predictions that are actually tested – our clients drill wells based on our results. Sometimes we are right, sometimes wrong. At least we have some pragmitism and humility. We understand uncertainty in prediction. But all our skills would be viewed as irrelevent because we would be assumed biased before we even processed the first data file.

  14. LMB
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 6:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Possibly Related

    “In a series of letters, [Sen.] Inhofe has asked scientists, laboratories and officials at various government agencies to hold on to documents and records they have received from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, the source of the e-mail exchanges.”

    Official Letter to DOE (November 30, 2009)

    • Mikey M
      Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 6:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I had a sneaky suspicion that the “litigation hold” was actually a defensive instruction from the DOE’s own lawyers. They could be thinking they are going to have to justify appropriation for funds.

      Just conjecture on my part, of course.

  15. R.S.Brown
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 7:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Will the “litigation hold” futz up routing citizen FOI requests to DOE employees and institutions ?

  16. Christoph
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 7:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Shit.

    That was my reaction reading it and then learning it was written by the then-director of the CRU, who seems as corrupt as the one who just “temporarily” stepped down.

    And I rarely swear when reading about science. That was one hell of an email.

  17. Thomas H.
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 8:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Could the DoE be interested in this due to the Wang/Jones urban heat island research from ca. 1990?
    Did the DoE fund that?

    I am referencing to the following email. Please note that the mentioned DoE report is not directly attributed to Jones/Wang.
    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=972&filename=1241415427.txt

  18. Christoph
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 8:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

    For some reason, a comment I posted as a correction has disappeared.

    Anyway, I was wrong. It was Phil Jones involved in this brainstorming discussion, not some other past CRU director, so this shows among other things that Phil Jones is more corrupt than we knew.

  19. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 8:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

    As pointed out by another reader, the litigation hold notice appears related to a letter sent by Inhofe to the DOE asking them to secure their files. In my opinion, this substantially reduces the drama of this notice. Absent the context of Inhofe’s letter, one might interpret the letter as evidencing an intent by the administration; however, if it’s in response to Inhofe’s letter, it’s likely that there is no such intent, only a minimum response. I’m less interested in this now.

    • Patrick M.
      Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 1:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

      “one might interpret the letter as evidencing an intent by the administration; however, if it’s in response to Inhofe’s letter, it’s likely that there is no such intent, only a minimum response”

      Are you expecting the administration to voluntarily investigate anything related to FOI2009.zip, (other than to try to prosecute the person responsible for releasing it)?

      I’m just curious.

  20. Paul Z.
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 9:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Umm… why are all the comments randomly disappearing? Is CA infected with the UEA virus of “hide the decline.”

    Steve: I moderate after the fact. Many commenters are not complying with blog policies regarding politeness, not venting or piling on. It takes me far more time to snip than to delete. Also editorially I’m trying to keep some of these threads semi-readable. What may seem fascinating to one poster is often piling on, food fight or repetition. Sorry about that. Managing the blog right now is taking too much of my time and interfering with analysis.

  21. Christoph
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 9:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for your insight, Mr. McIntyre.

    I’m not sure if Inhofe really has the political power to command this action from the DOE, but I am the last thing to an expert on US politics. So I remain curious about the litigation hold, but it I appreciate you pointing out it might not mean what I thought it meant.

    • cedarhill
      Posted Dec 16, 2009 at 6:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

      He can make the request but cannot “command”. The DOE will reply to his request since it’s Congress that feeds them. However, there are numerous reasons why the the Executive branch will tell Sen. Imhofe “sorry”. For example, if they have their own investigation underway from their Inspector General. But it would just delay since there doesn’t appear to be issues of separation of powers at least on its face. Imhofe is a minority Senator on the Committee and the majority could simple quash the request if the majority decides (in all liklihood) they do not want to investigate the matter. At that point all you would have is a really irate Senator.

      A Congressional investigation into Climategate should be one of the major issues for the 2010 election cycle but I would pitch it in terms of energy, cleaning up the corruption exposed. Maybe even return some powers back to the Congress (a dream of mine).

      • NukemHill
        Posted Dec 16, 2009 at 11:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Depending on the committee, the minority party may actually have the ability to completely shut down proceedings until their demands at met. That doesn’t mean they necessarily can get their own bills passed to the floor, but they can certainly put up road blocks for anything the majority wants done in the meantime. ‘Tis a tangled Legislative web. Built that way, in many cases, intentionally by the founders to minimize actions taken by Congress.

  22. nycoordinator
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 9:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Regardless of whether the hold notice was generated by Inhofe’s letter or another cause, it is still important to the long term unraveling of the climategate web. With the increasing rate at which data is disappearing it can only help if there is at least one source whose trail remains intact.

    One can only hop that Inhofe writes letters to GISS and NOAA as well, and quickly.

  23. Christoph
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 9:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “Umm… why are all the comments randomly disappearing?”

    That’s a good question, Paul Z. If the disappearing comments are violating a CA editorial policy (for example against commenters naming individuals and then giving one’s opinion about them, which may be highly derogatory) then it would be helpful to know that’s the reason.

    If it’s a technical problem, then good luck to Steve, Anthony, et al. in resolving it.

    Steve:
    it takes me a lot of time to snip comments. When I get impatient, I delete comments that are against blog policies – which are not easy to find in one place, I’ll acknowledge. I realize that there are many new readers who don’t have the feel of blog policies – but I’m not interested in angry posts, namecalling, editorializing about policy, attempts to prove or disprove global warming in 4 sentences or 3 paragraphs, food fights… While I realize that many people want to ask simple and obvious questions, I’d prefer that such people sit back a little and listen to the conversation before interjecting. I resent off-topic posts on topical threads. IT takes a MUCH longer time to explain a deletion than to delete and this is taking way too much time right now to manage comments.

    • Christoph
      Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 11:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Entirely understandable. Indeed, I deduced as much.

      Why not, when you can find the time to delegate to a trusted colleague, get the blog policies put in a central place with a link to it in one of the sidebars?

      This should hopefully save you at least a little time snipping comments and every little bit helps.

      I know you’re busy with important matters. Please don’t take the trouble to reply to this note.

      • Christoph
        Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

        It is there, and I can be blind sometimes. I missed it.

        My only remaining suggestion because it’s costing you a lot of time, is perhaps bolding it or giving it its own section or something or even putting it in read.

        Or doing nothing at all and carrying on with your profoundly important work.

  24. Christoph
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 9:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Hear, hear, on all your important points, nycoordinator.

  25. nycoordinator
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 9:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

    One more point.

    Sen Inhofe’s letter was dated Nov. 30th.
    Why did it take the Department two full weeks to put his request into effect?
    What did they do and when did they do it comes to mind…

    • crosspatch
      Posted Dec 16, 2009 at 4:04 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Thought I replied to this but can’t imagine it got snipped if I did. A large organization can take several days to respond to something like this. They would have to get the wording correct and run it past their legal dept. and then have executive buy-off. A statement that goes out to all employees would have to be carefully worded to make sure it is correct. Usually when a member of Congress issues such a request, it is treated with some gravity. It isn’t like someone is going to get such a request and immediately type out a mass email to the organization without some review/editing to make sure it meets all legal requirements.

  26. Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 9:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

    snip – inappropriate languare

    • Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Agreed – the fact that this has moved on to this stage [no matter how puny or technical] it demonstrates/confirms that simply waving hands is no longer good enough.

      In the mind of the public, when lawyers get involved, it moves from gossip to something to take notice of.

      The UK national press have definitely started to turn – two frontpages in the mid-market Express, the Mail on Sunday in-depth and mocking of Al Gore today in the Times which has a very warmist Env Editor/staffers.

      Steve: please do not use the word “warmist” any more. It’s as bad as denialist. In fact, try to avoid adjectives.

      • Christoph
        Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 11:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Just a friendly suggestion (and I’m but a guest so always look first to our host for guidance). Possibly a suitable term might be something like, “editors and staffers who believe the anthropogenic global warming theory”?

        It’s neutral, accurate, and you can always make any relevant on-topic points against the above without the name-calling.

        I’m not trying to be holier than now. I understand why a genuinely open-minded pro-science skeptical rationalist like you and I would want to retaliate against the hideous denialist label. But Steve most definitely is scoring points on the science, looking for nothing more than honesty and transparency (let the results fall where they may). And we don’t to stoop to their level.

        Let’s keep the high ground and hit hard with honesty, facts, and intelligence.

      • Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 2:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Will do – but I am running out of fun lables ;)

        • Christoph
          Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 7:14 PM | Permalink

          LOL

          I actually don’t mind the lable “Alarmist” because I think it is an accurate and neutral way to describe those who wish to “raise the alarm” over what they see a threat to the Earth and/or a really cool way to raise taxes. In some contexts it’s mildly derisive, but light years less so than “denialist”.

          However, perhaps you should continue to use the label of your choice if you wish on your own blog!

          Steve’s choice seems to be to focus simply on auditing the hard science, whereas I think you’ve written well on climate matters for years including on the science, AJStrata, but your blog is more opinionated.

          In a good way.

  27. EdeF
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 9:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Last week a general notice went out to all govt labs to preserve emails and
    data. Probably a general response to the emails leak.

    • Christoph
      Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 11:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

      “Last week a general notice went out to all govt labs to preserve emails and data.”

      Did it? Which government labs? Is this separate from the DOE letter?

      Do you have proof of this? In other words, can you please provide a webpage link or source for this so I can determine if it’s new info?

      Thanks.

      • Darrin Sideman
        Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 5:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I believe it is a matter of unavoidable policy at the national labs, at least, that all emails are captured and logged by the system. That is the case with the project I work on (participants include LBNL, LLNL, Sandia, ORNL, INL, etc.).

        It strikes me as odd that DOE would send such a notice to any of its national labs (unless as a reminder?), simply because retention of emails is built into the system.

        I guess I can let the cat out of the bag and disclose it: I work on the Yucca Mountain Project, which was hit with a similar but far more benign email scandal in 2004-2005. In our case, a few USGS employees had discussed (hypothetically) falsifying data to prove the (hypothetical) point that the “bureaucrats” in Quality Assurance would never be the wiser, as long as the forms were filled out properly. (There was also some discussion of “fudging” software QA records to get around re-running models and baselining ancillary software.)

        In any case — and this might be instructive in the CRU scandal — DOE was forced to purge the data that these three USGS employees helped gather, along with the model it supported (and the vast majority of this data was gathered by 31 other scientists working independently). In the end, this reckless “water cooler talk,” which basically boiled down to griping about burdensome QA requirements and involved absolutely no falsification of data, ended up costing a ton of money to rectify: $15 million to gather new data and construct a new infiltration model, and probably hundreds of thousands more for the various investigations. Moreover, the reputations of the three USGS scientists was probably damaged irreparably.

        I wonder what the outcome will be in the CRU scandal, where the cause clearly embraced by the UEA climatologists is a popular one (unlike the Yucca Mountain Project, which is deeply unpopular in Nevada).

        • Christoph
          Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 7:17 PM | Permalink

          Emails are only one form of data.

          Also, this notice reminds network administrators not to collude in any way to pressure by management to delete backups.

        • cedarhill
          Posted Dec 16, 2009 at 6:38 AM | Permalink

          The notice I read at WUWT had this as the last paragraph

          “Any employee who has information covered by this Litigation Hold is requested to contact Madeline Screven, Paralegal, SRNS Office of General Council, 5-4634, for additional instructions.”

          Since we’re all conjecturing, if the Inspector General is involved they could also be told to put a clamp on even talking about it, etc. Maybe by Spring we’ll know what initiated. But it’s just about impossible to keep hundreds of folks quiet. I’m surprised there’s not more leaking out about this which makes one believe it’s not a big deal.

        • Fai Mao
          Posted Dec 16, 2009 at 11:54 PM | Permalink

          Then would it be possible to email Madeline Screven and simply ask “What kind of material would you like me to save; covering what areas and from what date to what date?”

          She might reply and you might find out what this is all about

        • cedarhill
          Posted Dec 17, 2009 at 6:30 AM | Permalink

          Sure one could ask (there’s an old tort case on criminal conversation about “no harm in asking” that comes to mind).

          How successful digging info out of legal when they don’t wish to disclose is akin to building a perpetual motion machine.

  28. John G. Bell
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 10:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

    When Michael L. Wamsted, Esq was Counsel for Westinghouse Savannah River Company in the late 90s he seems to spend time quashing discovery for a whistleblower who felt she was retaliated against.

    http://www.oha.doe.gov/cases/whistle/vwd0006.htm

    And he worked against other whistleblowers.

    http://www.oha.doe.gov/cases/whistle/vbh0056.htm

    http://www.oha.doe.gov/cases/whistle/vbh0014.htm

    I’m no lawyer, but somehow I don’t think he is on the side of open government now.

  29. Tom Wiita
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 11:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I concur that this is a general preparedness step by this large organization facing potential lawsuits (well, actually a notice of intent to file lawsuits from Chris Horner at CEI), but there are potentially profound implications. The two I see immediately: 1. this may now bring much of CRU under US FOIA, which is far stronger than UK FOIA, and 2. (expanding a point made earlier) substantial funding by a US DOE grant brings CRU under a bunch of US “sunshine” laws re: use of US governemtn funding (think Sen. Inhofe on steroids). This is almost certainly going to get very interesting and is not going away.

  30. Fred
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I think Steve is one target here . . this seems more like a big bureaucracy CYA preemptive memo that can be used to imply action now and be ready to pull from the files if needed downstream.

    Pretty normal for big government operations.

  31. b_C
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 12:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Mr. McIntyre,
    To date you have acted in a manner beyond scrupulous in moderating your public pronouncements surrounding your findings.
    Do you ever foresee venturing into the realm of attributing malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance?
    It would strike most who follow your endeavours as a perfectly normal, human reaction.
    If not, why not?

    • Gord Richens
      Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 6:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

      My guess:
      1. Insufficient data
      2. Fuzzy parameters
      3. Far more interesting stuff to examine.

    • Christoph
      Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 7:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I can’t speak for Steve as I’m hardly even the most frequent commenter on this site. However, I perceive sees his strength at asking the right questions to successfully audit the work being produced and promoted as legitimate when it is still in many cases inadequate. Further, Steve has the dogged temperament and educational background necessary to work on his audits.

      I think he wishes to avoid much in the realm of giving the opinions as you suggest for 3 great reasons:

      1,) Others, maybe less versed in the mathematics, are nonetheless intelligent and probably better at doing so than Steve.

      2.) So Steve can continue to focus on what he does best… which is more in the scientific realm.

      3.) Finally, this “taking sides” business is what, for a scientist, is causing these problems. It becomes biased advocacy instead of a desire to find the truth for its own sake. This is largely because of the psychological principle of “self-consistency” where a person looks for evidence to support their prior decisions… and especially the decisions they publicly took in front of other members of their social group. In order to think best, Steve possibly wishes to remain as neutral as possible. However, I’m sure he has his unavoidable private opinions.

      • cedarhill
        Posted Dec 16, 2009 at 6:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Absolutely correct. Folks that follow the science are just, put mildly, novices at politics.

        How many times have you seen someone on a TV “news” show wave the IPCC report(s) around and state “the science is proven” or words to that effect? The “science guys” will try to argue “not proven” using facts. A very poor strategy in politics.

        A reasonable political response would be “Oh! I see you’ve brought the latest Madoff prospectus. It’s just about as accurate.” Then, after a bit of back and forth, state “I’m glad we both agree we must have hearings on this.” Science guys play a board game that’s step-by-step with stringent rules whereas the politicians play chess.

        It’s probably a good thing science guys are such lousy political players else you wouldn’t be reading all those emails.

  32. Andy.S
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 12:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Guys,

    I’ve been reading this blog intently since I found it and I just read an interesting article on New Scientist:

    http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2009/12/50-reasons-why-global-warming.html

    What do you guys think? :)

    • JPeden
      Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 2:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Reply to Andy S.:

      Don’t bother with it. Stick to the issues: audit and other investigation of the ipcc, enc., “AGW” Climate Science, how it operates, whether it qualifies as Science.

    • danoso
      Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 6:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

      snip – see blog rules

  33. Richard
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 12:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “What is a “litigation hold” and what does it mean for your business?
    A “litigation hold” is a suspension of a company’s document retention/destruction policies for those documents that may be relevant to a lawsuit that has been actually filed, or even one that is “reasonably anticipated” [In this case I doubt it would be in response to anything but an actually filed lawsuit]

    When does the duty to preserve arise and what does it cover?
    The duty to preserve arises, in general, when a party is alerted that certain information is likely to be sought in discovery. This may occur, for example, upon receipt of a complaint, upon receipt of a demand letter; or upon receipt of a “preservation letter” expressly requesting that certain documents be preserved

    What are the consequences of non-compliance with obligations to preserve documents?
    Coping with a litigation hold may sound costly, but the consequences of failure to meet these obligations can be much more costly. Courts have imposed penalties such as large monetary fines, reimbursement of an opponent’s litigation costs, or, in extreme cases, giving instructions to juries that permit them to draw damaging inferences against a party that failed to meet discovery obligations.”
    http://www.expertbusinesssource.com/blog/720000272/post/1900010190.html

    • cedarhill
      Posted Dec 16, 2009 at 7:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Check the difference between civil versus government. Then check the differences between civil and criminal procedures. Businesses don’t have things like Executive Privilege. If this were issued under a court’s order it would be filed as a public record in most instances. It’s more probable to me that’s it’s either due to Congressional oversight and/or an Inspector General poking around. Just be patient. If there’s meat to this issue it will be in the public domain sometime after Christmas.

  34. Richard Saumarez
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 1:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    This is worth looking at

    http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2009/12/vast-nexus-of-influence.html

  35. Larry Geiger
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 1:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

    We are all familiar with the concept of “follow the money”. The point here is what did the US Government get for it’s money. Congress allocated money to DOE. They then turn around and give money to contractors to perform work. The Govt monitors those expenditures and receives the value (reports, roads, rocket launches, ticket sales at a national park, etc). I think that it will be very interesting to see what Congress (Mr. Inhofe) thinks about the value of what we received for the money we spent.

    • LMB
      Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 1:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

      What are the chances when Jones goes before Congress, Inohofe’s first question will be:

      “You wrote: ‘I hope I don’t get a call from congress!’ Why did you write that?”

      Can he plead the 5th as a Brit?

      • MikeE
        Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 4:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I hope not. The judicial “right-to-silence” was abolished some years ago by our (UK) freedom-eroding government.

  36. Follow the Money
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 2:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “Litigation hold” in response to a Congressman’s letter?

    Possible, but not likely. More likely due to the lawsuits by the CEI (Fox and Bloomberg News too? Memory correct?)

    That is real “litigation.”

    • Follow the Money
      Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 2:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Small change. The letter specifically involves the British CRU. I think the CEI complaint might include it, but includes American based data.

      From the private side, all I can think at the moment is large seaside land owning interests–like resort companies, who in the past years had to pay higher premiums to insurance companies that included in their “fiduciary” assessments of late years the threat of “global warming” catastrophes–storms, sea rise. Another industry that loves AGW.

  37. AA
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 2:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for the blog. I would be interested in other’s thoughts on the HADCRU3 graph posted at realclimate.org, as compared to the “hockey stick” graph in AR4 CH9.

    graph comparison

    Hope this is not too off topic. Am I missing something?

    • bobdenton
      Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 5:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

      You’re comparing smoothed curves to an unsmoothed curve. The smoothed curve is intended to remove peaks caused by short term (high frequency/short wavelength) fluctuations in climate. HADCRU3 is a record of high frequency variations in temperature. The warmth in the 30s and 40s are high frequency effects and are removed by smoothing (40yr smooth). The reason why the recent decades look high compared to the 30s and 40s is because a valid 40 yr smooth can’t be applied to them because there aren’t 40 years of data. You can attempt a smooth, if you wish, by entering placeholders for the missing years. There are no hard and fast rules about how this is to be done, it’s a matter of judgement. You might choose to use the instrumental data up to the present. When you reach the present, the placeholders representing future temperatures may be calculated using the trend at the end point of the past data. If you have used the instrumental data that is the trend of the instrumental data. If that sounds like a smooth which recaptures the trend of the high frequency data, that’s exactly what it is. That’s why the recent decades appear higher than the 30s and 40s. Importantly, its also why there‘s a colourable basis for saying that recent warming unprecedented in the last millennium. It’s a sleight of hand which enables apples to be compared with oranges. Smoothed data (low frequency) is compared to unsmoothed data (high frequency). It reflects the judgement by the people who constructed the curves, it is not a property of the data, though no attempt is made to make this clear.

      • AA
        Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 6:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Fascinating, thanks. I’m most familiar with moving average calculations, which generally are using trailing data only. What you say makes sense, but I could not agree more that it’s not made clear. Does a 40 yr smooth use 40 years on each side of the data point, or 20? Either way, there’s at least 20 years of data on that graph that are calculated in a dramatically different way, to my mind, than older data.

      • AA
        Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 6:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

        With that pointer, I found a pretty interesting paper that discusses the smoothing issues and answers some of my questions:
        http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/~wsoon/myownPapers-d/SLB-GRL04-NHtempTrend.pdf

        However, check out Figure 2 in their paper, showing unsmoothed annual data from HADCRU3 – still looks dramatically different than the graph at realclimate.org with the midcentury peak.

      • Richard Saumarez
        Posted Dec 16, 2009 at 5:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

        I am baffled by the obsession among climatologists with moving average filters having long period to obatin suitable low pass characteristics. Similar frequency responses can be obtained by using auto-regressive filters that use the output as feed back. These have much shorter windows and are zero phase.

        Having looked at some of the CRU confections with the eye of signal processing, I am not impressed with their understanding of how to process time series in an efficient manner. Climates scientists – yes. Signal processors – no

  38. Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 5:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve
    Noting your comments here, I suggest you might like to do a simple post for those who have joined since ClimateGate broke, to delineate house rules so you don’t have to keep repeating yourself. You can put it out as a sticky, then edit it into the sidebar, and this way claim back your energy here to the level you need to continue analytical work as you wish to.

    BTW it seems that nested commments must make it a lot harder for you to pick out and snip. Or perhaps the unread ones light up for you – which they don’t for me.

  39. PeterA
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 5:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    snip – blog rules

  40. Bellen
    Posted Dec 15, 2009 at 7:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I work at DOE in an office similiar to SRS. It is important to understand that the Savannah River Site is under the Environmental Management (EM) umbrella rather than the Office of Science. This would indicate to me that SRS’s Contracting Officers were likely used to award the grants to UEA CRU. SRS deals with remediating waste sites not doing research like the national laboratories.
    What is also significant is that the IG’s office is initiating this. The IG’s office is known for going for low hanging fruit because they have more cases than they know what to do with. So, they usually take the easiest cases first. However, it is doubtful that this is the case here. Likely the Senators letter prompted the IGs office to investigate. SRS will likely be involved to determine whether the grants were properly awarded, properly competed, whether the scope of the grant was fulfilled, etc. The IGs office will be looking for violations of the False Claims Act (doubtful here), kick-backs (also doubtful) and fraud (possible).

  41. Tom T
    Posted Dec 16, 2009 at 12:50 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I don’t think it matters if it because of Inhofe or not. The point is that if Docs are destroyed now there will be hell to pay. I would think that you would like that Steve, considering that destroying doc is not beyond this gang.

    • Chris R. Chapman
      Posted Dec 16, 2009 at 11:06 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I think Steve’s less interested because Inhofe is a Republican Senator on the minority side, and as such his move isn’t an overt act by the entire administration – it’s going to be politically-loaded and may, in the end, get buried. Heck, the Wegman Report got buried and that was during favourable times.

  42. VG
    Posted Dec 16, 2009 at 1:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

    What happened to Sea Ice threads etc? On the right side columm? Used to love looking at the continuous rants by Andy etc less ice, and others more ice LOL. Maybe SM will decide to just post analysis of data and not any on current climategate etc….

  43. EdeF
    Posted Dec 16, 2009 at 10:51 AM | Permalink | Reply

    For new readers to the site Steve has established the following rules:
    1) Keep your comments related to the thread under discussion, if your comment
    is off-thread (OT), take it to one of the other threads already on the site. CA
    has a search window where you can search to see where your topic is being discussed.
    2) The site is meant for technical discussions of climate modeling. Generally,
    climate policy is off-limits because the discussions all meld into a giant
    free-for-all. Before the ClimateGate emails broke Steve and the readers were
    discussing the technical merits of several temperature proxies including tree rings,
    varves (lake sediments), and ice cores.
    3) Cool it with the venting. The tone here is objective evaluation of the science
    and statistics of climate proxies and models. If you really want to vent, there
    are numerous other sites available for that. Mind your language, be polite.
    4) People are assumed to have good motives. Make your critique be about the
    science or the statistics. Keep the discussion to the point regarding the
    technical merits of the case.

3 Trackbacks

  1. [...] Hat Tip: Climate Audit [...]

  2. By Tales from the Climategate File | Les Jones on Dec 16, 2009 at 9:35 PM

    [...] tells employees to preserve CRU documents. DOE funded Phil Jones for 25 [...]

  3. [...] especialmente relevante porque os pseudo cientistas por detrás de toda esta farsa, os senhores do CRU britânico, escolhem apenas as estações russas que se encontram nas cidades ou perto delas bem como aquelas [...]

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