UEA Policies and Statutes of Limitations

It is almost impossible to fully dissect the negligence of the Muir Russell inquiry in virtually every aspect of its duties. Muir Russell told the Parliamentary Committee that he didn’t ask Jones (or anyone else) about email deletions since that would in effect be asking them to confess to a crime. If their ‘rigour and honesty” was above question, as he declared, then surely he would have been able to ask them to re-assure him that they had not committed any crimes.

There’s another angle here that hasn’t been discussed though “anonym”, a commenter at Bishop Hill’s pointed out the issue. Prosecutions of an offence under the FOI Act are statute-barred because of a more-or-less unanticipated interaction between the FOI legislation and the statute of limitations for magistrates’ court offences. To avoid the statute bar, prosecution of the offence would have to be initiated within 6 months of the offence, whereas in this case the offence wasn’t discovered until more than 6 months had expired. Minutes of a meeting between the ICO and Muir Russell show that Muir Russell was asked to support a change in the law, but, needless to say, Muir Russell didn’t bother. Because of the statute bar, the ICO would be unable to prosecute and notified Muir Russell that they would not be able to investigate. Muir Russell seized on this information by not investigating either, despite an explicit request from the SciTech Committee that an investigation be carried out by one of the two bodies.

However, Muir Russell’s negligence in failing to investigate goes even further.

The terms of reference for the Muir Russell inquiry in relation to FOI were as follows:

Review the Climatic Research Unit’s compliance or otherwise with the University of East Anglia’s policies and practices regarding requests under the Freedom of Information Act (‘the FOIA’) and the Environmental Information Regulations (‘the EIR’) for the release of data.

The UEA policies are located here and impose a variety of duties on UEA staff, including obligations of records management and compliance with the FOI act. For example:

UEA commits to complying with the Act and all associated Codes of Practice issued pursuant to the Act. This includes a commitment to proper records management processes & procedures.
,,,

The UEA’s Policy on Freedom of Information is that it will comply fully with the Act and it will place in the public domain as much information about its activities as is practicable, and subject to the exemptions permitted under the Act will make all other information available on request. In particular, it will conform with the Lord Chancellor’s Code of Practice on the Discharge of Public Authorities’ Functions.

They set out obligations of UEA employees:

17. Members of the UEA. Individual Members of the UEA are responsible for:
a. Knowing their responsibilities under the Act
b. Ensuring that, when they are absent from UEA for any reason, arrangements are in place for their post and electronic mail to be checked or redirected to someone who can deal with it promptly.
c. Responding to requests for information within the normal course and scope of their duties, and, were a request is outside this scope, or they are unwilling or unable to do so, referring the request to the Faculty / Division FOIA Contact.
d. Seeking advice when they are uncertain on how to respond to a request.

One aspect of the law that lawyers are familiar with is that people can be subject to more than one set of obligations. In this case, Jones (and Briffa), as employees of UEA, had duties under the Freedom of Information Act, but, in addition, had duties under various codes of conduct and policies of the university.

Prosecution under the Freedom of Information Act appears to be statute-barred, but there is no corresponding statute of limitations on breaches of UEA codes of conduct. And, when you look at Muir Russell’s terms of reference, he was responsible for investigating compliance with the UEA code of conduct. Muir Russell’s excuse for not directly questioning Jones (and Briffa) under UEA codes of conduct is ironically contradicted by the information given to him by the Information Commissioner’s Office. Jones and Briffa had immunity from ICO prosecution because of the statute of limitations and therefore there was nothing to stop Muir Russell from examining Jones and Briffa for breaches of the UEA code of conduct – as he had been hired to do by the university.

instead, Muir Russell negligently failed to inquire into conduct by Jones and Briffa, and, as a result of this negligence, made blatantly false findings such as the absurd finding that “we have seen no evidence of any attempt to delete information in respect of a request already made” after quoting an email from Jones to various colleagues to do precisely that.

In passing, as always, everything has to be parsed. Obligations extend not just to a sanction against deleting, but to concealing. In an email the previous day – again one which Muir Russell negligently failed to investigate – Jones said that “Keith should say” (untruthfully) that there had been no Wahl-Briffa correspondence pertaining to IPCC.

Instead of Muir Russell carrying out the investigation of item (3) that UEA had contracted with him to carry out, Muir Russell collected his 40,000 pounds without doing the investigation. Instead, as we learned at the hearing the other day, Acton carried out his own “investigation”. Nothing is known of the scope of Acton’s investigation other than the carefully parsed statement by Jones at their website. Did Acton ask questions of Briffa and Osborn? There is nothing on the UEA website to demonstrate this. Nor did Acton’s “investigation” extend to asking Briffa about the documents that he took home – a topic that Muir Russell negligently failed to address as well.

At the hearing, Acton speculated that Briffa took the emails home because he was sick. However, Acton’s “investigation” did not appear to have bothered determining what Briffa had taken home or asking him why. Acton’s statement to the committee was inconsistent with the minutes of Muir Russell’s meeting with IT personnel in December 18, 2009 (noted by Andrew Montford, p 49), in which Colam-French stated

Keith Briffa took home emails that were subject to FOI to ensure their safekeeping.

,
an inconsistency which Muir Russell did not draw to the attention of the committee.

The key point today is this: there is no 6-month statute of limitations on obligations under the Freedom of Information Act. There was a statute of limitations for the ICO’s ability to prosecute offences, but there is no statute of limitations on misconduct. Muir Russell’s terms of reference required him to carry out an investigation; he negligently failed to do so. The Board of Directors of UEA should ask for their money back.

114 Comments

  1. GolfCharley
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

    I am no expert on IT, Main Servers etc, but I thought that if someone “brought home” e-mails, they would still be present in some back-up server somewhere. Unless they were deleted of course.

  2. GolfCharley
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

    “Briffa took them home to ensure their safekeeping”

    Could it be that they contained information that Briffa thought others might want to destroy, and Briffa needed them safe, to protect his position

  3. Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 9:12 AM | Permalink

    The proof of the pudding will be in the people involved claiming defamation against the Bishop, Steve, the GWPF

    That’s pretty easy in English law and if they don’t do it, one has to wonder why they don’t, really

  4. kim
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 9:18 AM | Permalink

    They’ve imprisoned themselves in a dilemma.
    ================

  5. jim edwards
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

    “…as he had been hired to do by the university.”

    This is an important point. As someone posted the other day, they were “management consultants”. Oxburgh and Russell had no police powers.

    That being the case, I don’t understand the whole, “did you ask them under caution ?” line of questioning.

    If I suspect my employees of selling and using illegal drugs at work, I’ll look in their lockers and ask them if they were selling and using drugs.

    If they want to say, “my lawyer told me not to answer that”, fine – I’ll thank them for having worked for me.

    • Hyperthermania
      Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 3:45 PM | Permalink

      I thought Stringer asked it with a wry smile, because that was the excuse Russell had used for not asking the same question that Acton claimed to have asked. Wasn’t he just making the point that Acton was happy to ask questions without it being under caution, so why was Russell using it as an excuse ?

  6. JEM
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 9:42 AM | Permalink

    One would think that if the Russell cabal’s ineptitude were accidental they’d have stumbled onto something, somewhere, just purely by accident.

  7. GolfCharley
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 10:02 AM | Permalink

    “Rethinking the Russian revolution” is the title of an Edward Acton book. His skill in “rethinking” very recent history is remarkable.

    Did he tutor Muir Russell?

  8. Mac
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

    Here is a question – how can you take emails home?

    • JEM
      Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 10:15 AM | Permalink

      You can forward them to an email account outside the UEA system, or you can save it as a file to a USB drive or other portable storage medium. Or I guess you can just print it and stick it in your pocket.

      But this doesn’t in itself tell us what happened to the copy of the email on UEA’s servers, since none of these steps in itself would remove the original.

      The idea that all this ‘ensure[s] their safekeeping’ implies a definition of ‘safekeeping’ more akin to that used by Mafia accountants than one normally understood by corporate or academic IT staff.

      • Mac
        Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

        UEA statements sort of imply that the ‘original’ emails were taken home.

        How could this be done?

        • JEM
          Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

          No, it’s not possible.

          What you have is someone applying familiar paper-and-stamp colloquialisms to an electronic process.

          Unless Briffa physically carted away the machine on which the message was originally stored, which I suppose we can’t rule out.

        • j ferguson
          Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 12:31 PM | Permalink

          Odd, JEM
          I was always able to maintain a complete local archive of my emails both to and fro on my laptop on both of the email systems employed by my most recent employer. There was no challenge whatever in copying these archives to another more stationary machine at home.

          So I suppose carting away the machine is less challenging if it’s a notebook of the sort I’ve been using since the mid- ’90s.

          At the same time, I suppose it would not be difficult to run an email system in which the thing I describe above isn’t possible.

        • j ferguson
          Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 7:37 PM | Permalink

          retract my unnecessary statement of the obvious. I continue to miss things because of these damned tri-focals. sorry.

        • Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 4:51 PM | Permalink

          The wording was “documents” not emails, I believe…

        • John Whitman
          Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 5:03 PM | Permalink

          Jeff – I understood what Briffa ‘took home’ was some documents that were originally attached to some emails.

        • Mac
          Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 4:13 AM | Permalink

          Here is the evidence of head of IT at UEA, Jonathan Colam-French, 18th December 2009.

          JCF – Backup server does not contain all of the data. Hard discs are used for storage.
          Hard disc may be at home and at work. So may well not have been backed up as part
          of the CRU back up regime.

          JCF – full CRU data set held electronically can be made available and can be
          accessible. However, part of it may not be electronic. Working data, emails, more
          transitory working information – may be stored in other locations.

          JCF – For example Keith Briffa took home emails that were subject to FOI to ensure
          their safekeeping.

          This again does imply that the original emails were ‘lifted’ from the server and not just a copy that was downloaded.

          I would assume that IT at UEA were aware that it is best practice for users to download only a copy of an email to a desktop or laptop to ensure that important or all correspondence on the server, the original emails, could be backed-up.

          With regard Keith Briffa it would appear that best practice was ignored or got around. Emails subject to a FOI request were taken home. It would appear attachments to these emails were deleted.

          As JCF states the original emails, as with other data, ‘can’ be made available but they are not collectable from one source.

          It seems that the storage, downloading and deletion of data at UEA/CRU was open to abuse.

          The police have the servers and I assume the desktops and laptops and have conducted a forensic examination of the data concerning the leak or hack. It would be of interest if they would widen their investigation with regard the behaviour CRU scientists because you cannot now discount the possibility that they may have themselves made available the data to hackers from home.

          Steve – while one may “assume” that they’ve examined what people took home, there’s never been any statement that they secured the home computers as well.

        • Mac
          Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 5:05 AM | Permalink

          If the police have not examined the various desktops and PCs the may be missing key information over whether we are dealing with a leak or a hack.

          The assumption has always been the Climategate emails and data were obtained from the server. It would appear the server backups were not complete, data and emails were stored here, there and everywhere at CRU. It seems to me it would have been a very difficult task to collate all this information from all these different sources. You would require some direction and assistance. Did the CRU scientists in dealing with the FOI requests flag up the information of concern and importance, and did that behaviour allow the easy internal access and collation of the mails and data.

          I don’t think that cannot be discounted.

        • D. Patterson
          Posted Nov 19, 2010 at 11:45 PM | Permalink

          It seems quite strange how Jonathan Colam-French asserts the files and folders were distributed across the client computers in such a disorganized manner that he is unable to determine what was there to begin with, yet he then turns around and contradicts his theme by asserting the FOIA folder must have been created by hackers because there was no such folder before the data was hacked.

          How can Jonathan Colam-French be so certain the FOIA older did not exist on the clients and/or CRU server when he is already on record saying he didn’t have access to all of those clients and their data volumes?

        • Geoff Sherrington
          Posted Nov 20, 2010 at 5:49 AM | Permalink

          There has long been a credible report circulating about the people and methods used internally. The problem is that its release would probably damage a career that ought be rewarded. It is better to sit tight on the story and let the involved contradict themselves as you have indicated. Truth will out. It might take time.

    • Anoneumouse
      Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 1:04 PM | Permalink

      On a memory stick with a file name FOI2009.zip

  9. geronimo
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 10:21 AM | Permalink

    Russell has form, he’s a serial incompetent who managed to get the Scottish parliament built at ten times the original estimate. There was something wrong with all three of the witnesses at the Sci Tech hearing. Russell, similarly but not the same as Oxburgh, was clearly trying to use up as much time with his answers as possible, reminiscent of our old friend Sir Humphrey. Acton looked buoyant, and was fairly aggressive, as though he already knew the outcome of the committee’s delibertions, and Davies barely looked up, and had clearly prepared the answer to the issue of the 11 papers. His achilles heel was the email he’d sent to the RS on the 12th March, he said he’d sent the papers to the RS on 4th March, but that makes his email of 12th March look very odd. In any event if he was concerned that he was going to be asked about the 20 minute turn around in approval surely he would have brought the email of 4th March with him as evidence that the RS were involved in the choice of papers.

    The least you should expect is for the committee to express their disatisfaction with the change in terms of reference for Oxburgh, and the imperceptable investigation by Russell. But don’t hold your breath.

    Steve: the nuance that Oxburgh stood on was that they hadn’t “changed” the terms of reference – he did what they agreed with him in February. Where people got wrongfooted was that Acton’s testimony in March gave the impression that it was about the “science” – hence the bizarre discussion of the meaning of the word “science”.

  10. justbeau
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 10:31 AM | Permalink

    Randy Pachauri could do worse than write his next steamy epic about misadventures at a fictional university modelled closely after the University of East Anglia.

  11. Ian
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 10:31 AM | Permalink

    I think I see the issue here. Russell didn’t ask Jones about the deletion because he didn’t want to put him in a position where he might have to lie; and the lie could be discovered if someone were to find copies of emails that aren’t supposed to exist. This suggests to me that the emails do, in fact, still exist somewhere and that somebody (such as Acton) knows this.

    • kim
      Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 11:26 AM | Permalink

      You see the chains.
      ========

  12. theduke
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 10:31 AM | Permalink

    Steve writes: “The Board of Directors of UEA should ask for their money back.”

    That’s a rhetorical statement to which the rhetorical response is, “Why should they ask for their money back when they got their money’s worth?”

    • jim edwards
      Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 11:27 AM | Permalink

      Excellent.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 11:39 AM | Permalink

      Actually, there may be a little more to it than you think. Mr Stuart Holmes, Chair of the UEA Council as of May 2010, was retired from Pricewaterhouse, an accounting firm, and would presumably be more interested than Acton in consultants to the university carrying out their contracted duties.

      • theduke
        Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 1:28 PM | Permalink

        Perhaps a letter from you might pique his interest? And while he’s at it, Mr. Holmes might want to examine whether employees of the university who arranged these investigations acted ethically throughout.

  13. Scott Brim
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 10:43 AM | Permalink

    Steve:…. The Board of Directors of UEA should ask for their money back.

    The Muir Russell inquiry provided them with the services they were expecting — an inquiry which had the look and feel of an impartial investigation but whose outcome was certain to be exoneration. They got just what they paid for and so have no reason to ask for their money back.

  14. John T
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

    “Keith Briffa took home emails that were subject to FOI to ensure their safekeeping.”

    Nobody, and I mean nobody, does that. Every University I know has email backup systems that are a whole lot safer than anybody’s home. If I have an electronic document I want to keep safe, I copy it everywhere I can. I might very well take a copy home, but I’ll still have a copy at work, a backup at work, a copy on the University’s automated (daily) backup system, and if I’m very worried about it, the University has other backup systems I can utilize with a single phone call.

  15. Chris S
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

    “Keith Briffa took home emails that were subject to FOI to ensure their safekeeping.”

    Is this a new revelation, or was it mentioned in the report by Muir Russell.

    There had been a failed attempt to retrieve e-mails from the police held backup server for the panel to examine. Did they examine the ones held for safe keeping at home by Briffa , or have they now been deleted also.

    Steve: it was not mentioned by Muir Russell. it’s in the Montford report, based on notes from Dec 18 meeting between Muir Russell and Colam-French. needless to say, Muir Russell didn’t investigate.

  16. thefordprefect
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

    So lets see if I have this correct

    snip
    your words:
    mpaul
    Posted Oct 28, 2010 at 9:59 AM | Permalink | ReplyJones was the head of the unit. He was directing people to delete emails that were subject of a FOIA.

    geronimo
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 10:21 AM | Permalink | ReplyRussell has form, he’s a serial incompetent

    JEM
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 9:42 AM | Permalink | ReplyOne would think that if the Russell cabal’s ineptitude

    McIntyre
    It is almost impossible to fully dissect the negligence of the Muir Russell inquiry

    T G Watkins
    Posted Oct 28, 2010 at 4:45 PM | Permalink | ReplyI have every confidence in the British system of Parliamentary inquiries. Confident that they will duck and dive,
    John Whitman
    Posted Oct 27, 2010 at 10:56 AM | Permalink | ReplyAm I just being naïve to think that any reasonable independently minded person will find doubt about the innocence of the UEA/CRU personnel
    just a few more defamations:Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 26, 2010 at 7:54 PM | Permalink | ReplyOne of the undiscussed aspects of Muir Russell is the role of PR firm Luther Pendragon and its employees Mike Granatt and Kate Moffatt. The latter is profiled here as having also assisted Pew Charitable Trusts. All very “objective”, I’m sure.

    and:
    Who Recommended Oxburgh?

    most of:
    Fiona Fox and the Babe Magnet

    etc. etc.

    • jim edwards
      Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

      fordprefect:

      Your point is good that people should be careful of their language.

      The only statement you’ve listed that looks actionable, to me, is mpaul’s:

      “He was directing people to delete emails that were subject of a FOIA.”

      That one appears to have a possible defense of truth. mpaul would also likely have to be served with court papers while in the UK – assuming Jones wanted to go through a year of litigation [I'm betting not].

      • mpaul
        Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

        Yeah, I reversed 2 digits. Please see 28 USC § 4102(c)

    • Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 12:42 AM | Permalink

      Err…what part of “Date: Thu May 29 11:04:11 2008

      Mike,

      Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?
      Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.
      Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t
      have his new email address.
      We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.

      …don’t you understand?

      and: The Ford Prefect …was the worst car, ever (except for the Ford Anglia, of course).

      • mpaul
        Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

        Yes and lets not forget that “Keith” is allegedly Keith Briffa, who allegedly reported to Phil Jones, the alleged author of this alleged email that was allegedly referred to by the alleged contributor allegedly known as ZT.

    • geronimo
      Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 2:51 AM | Permalink

      Russell oversaw the building of the Scottish Parliament, it over ran its budget by 360million pounds coming in at 400million instead of 40 million. That’s 1000% of the original estimate. I put it to you Ford that not even your mate hapless Arthur Dent could reach levels of incompetence on that scale.

      • Arthur Dent
        Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

        Just to put on record that Arthur Dent is no mate of fordprefect, a comment that verges on the libellous!

        • geronimo
          Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

          My sincerest apologies Arthur, I had no idea there was a rift.

        • Arthur Dent
          Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 4:22 PM | Permalink

          Indeed it was the same rift in the space time continuum through which the CRU e-mails fell

    • Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

      Well that snip took out any of the little content to my post. Thanks McIntyre.
      (Click my name if you want to see the full post!)

      It’s just not worth posing on here or wuwt anymore snip-cut-trashbin.

      This may be of interest:

      http://www.libelreform.org/news/468-are-you-a-blogger-and-can-you-help

      • Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

        posing=posting!

        This may also help

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/7915063/US-law-to-counter-libel-tourism-in-British-courts.html

        • John M
          Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 12:09 PM | Permalink

          Freudian slip?

      • geronimo
        Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 11:58 PM | Permalink

        Fordy, are people saying Jones deleted emails? I think you’ll find Steve Mc saying the, he doesn’t believe Jones was copied on the Briffa/Wahl emails.

        The most plausible interpretation for his email to Mann asking him to delete AR4 emails is that as head of department he was aware that there was an FOI request asking for the AR4 correspondence from Briffa. I don’t think anyone suggested Jones had deleted emails, which makes the good Professor Acton asking Jones, but apparently not Briffa, if he’d deleted any emails another thimble/pea trick to fool those not blessed with forensic minds.

        No, the Jones email to Mann is prima facie evidence of an attempt to incite others to break the law, and apparently that’s what the ICO thinks too.
        snip

  17. Wolfgang Flamme
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 2:38 PM | Permalink

    @John T

    “Configuration of back-up server was unfortunate as it did not remove deleted emails.
    Centrally, UEA emails are held for only a month and then deleted permanently. Not the case on the CRU backup server.”

    (http://www.cce-review.org/pdf/MR%2018%20Dec%20final%20IT%20Personnel.pdf)

    Myself I couldn’t work in an environment where I have to bother an admin whenever I wish to access correspondence older than a month … it surely explains why Briffa kept a private backup.

    • Dave
      Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 10:11 PM | Permalink

      Confusion between central, online – i.e. live – email stores and individual, personal, offline archives. Email will commonly not be kept on the mail-server for more than a month (or another time period in another situation), but will be archived to individual users’ accounts, and backed-up as with any other data. It will remain accessible to the user as long as he can access the file – either on the PC, or when connected to the network drive, that it is stored on.

      • Mac
        Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 4:29 AM | Permalink

        Jonathan Colam-French – “back up was compressed, so whoever did this would need software to restore files. Could have been a staff member in CRU, or someone using a CRU computer. Much more difficult/sophisticated to do this externally. What was published on website included an “FOIA folder” – which was not a replication of what was on the back-up server. This is something which had been put together in this way by whoever published the data. Some of data available was mid Oct. Someone had access again in Nov. Hacker did it more than once. Perhaps someone had continuous access.”

        It points to a leak, an insider, but could the leaker have been assisted inadvertently by the behaviour of CRU scientists who were checking through emails, deleting them and taking other emails home that were known to be subject to FOI requests. Were CRU scientists flagging up emails and data that they deemed important, important enough that they didn’t want to see the light of day.

        • Atomic Hairdryer
          Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 12:43 PM | Permalink

          Not necessarily, see

          http://www.ccereview.org/evidenc/UEA-CRU_IV3_IT_Final_Formal1.pdf

          which says

          “Mike Salmon had introduced automated backup (using open source software) to a simple server held securely within the Central IS machine room”

          So getting the software to restore the files would have been as simple as identifying which open source package was used and downloading it. Shouldnt be challenging for either an insider or an outsider.

          Briffa’s taking data home to ‘protect’ it from FOI may have introduced another vector though, if he connected that data to a home PC that was compromised. Not too convinced by that though given the average bot herder probably wouldn’t have much interest in the climate debate.

        • Mac
          Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 4:47 AM | Permalink

          Key piece of evidence “What was published on website included an “FOIA folder” – which was not a replication of what was on the back-up server.”

          So the automated backup did not contain a replication of the leaked/hacked FOIA folder.

          CRU operated and administrated its own servers and PCs. The data was stored here, there and everywhere. The backup server may not have had a complete and concise backup.

          It would seem it would have been one hell of a task to put together the Climategate emails if you were external to CRU. UEA IT people have admitted as much. It would be a lot easier if this was done internally. FOI requests would have concentrated minds at CRU, and it appears it did just that. Briffa took emails subject to FOI requests home. You cannot discount the possibility that the behaviour of CRU scientists in dealing with these FOI requests flagged up to someone at CRU or the UEA that specific emails and data of concern should see the light of day.

        • Atomic Hairdryer
          Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 6:23 AM | Permalink

          Agreed. It still doesn’t smell like a hack to me. Russell gives an idea of the amount of data on the backup server that a hacker would have to trawl through, along with potentially having to compromise and access user’s machines. An insider collecting data to address the FOI requests would be a much more obvious candidate, who would have had access to do it.

          I think that provides a better explanation for why some DPA-style data (but not all) has been redacted. An FOI person may have realised they’d have liability, if they went along with the deletion or supression. Rather than the timing being ‘obvious’ wrt Copenhagen, it’s a better fit with the rejection of Steve’s FOI.

          Alternative is someone found the folder and decided to publish it, which should have been easier to track if RC had reported the hack to the police. Despite the supposed serious nature, RC didn’t, so evidence was lost.. but they have a bad habit of losing inconvenient evidence.

      • Wolfgang Flamme
        Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 4:39 AM | Permalink

        So Dave, what you’re suggesting is that the mail dispatching/delivery system keeps an I/O queue of 30 days independently from personal mail storage and access. Makes sense for sure.
        However I still don’t get it: In the MOM they lament the BU server ‘unfortunately’ didn’t replicate these 30days delitions (from the central queue then) so I guess that backupped queue was ‘hacked’.

        But then hacking the central queue history: shouldn’t intruders have had access to everyone’s mail – not just Jones’ but e.g. Briffa’s as well … including everything that possibly had been deletet from personal storage?

  18. Peter S
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

    With the Briffa emails, isn’t it a case of: ‘My home ate the dog work’?

  19. T G Watkins
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 4:09 PM | Permalink

    Keep going Steve! Fifth game, 5 all in old scoring. Opponent is sweating and blowing.
    One more long rally and he’ll crack!
    Badge of honour for me to be mentioned by the anonymous Ford Prefect – and I’m old enough to remember the quality of that car. (Yes I’m aware of the other reference but that, like AGW, was science fiction).

  20. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 4:42 PM | Permalink

    From here

    Muir Russell Interviews OJ Simpson regard his possible involvement in the Nicole Brown/Ron Goldman Murders.

    Muir: Hey, OJ, how’s it going?

    OJ: Can’t complain

    Muir: Did you happen to catch the football game last night?

    OJ: No, I was busy…er, yeah yeah! Hell of a game!

    • John Whitman
      Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 5:38 PM | Permalink

      Josh!!! Where are you? This is great lead in to your next cartoon.

      • Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

        Hmm, will have a think but I might be treading on rather thin ice…cha, that will be global warming again en.

        • Brooks Hurd
          Posted Nov 1, 2010 at 4:08 PM | Permalink

          Josh,
          You need not worry about OJ. He will be cooling his heals in jail in Nevada for a long time.

  21. GolfCharley
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 6:38 PM | Permalink

    Steve, you have proved what the House of Commons thought they had requested from UEA.

    You have shown that Muir Russel did not deliver.

    Can you/anyone establish via UK FOI what UEA actually contracted Muir Russel to do?

  22. Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 8:39 PM | Permalink

    This is not the right place, but are you aware of this:
    Lectio Magistralis by Academician Prof. Peter Raven on
    Climate Change and Biodiversity
    (3 November 2010)

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_academies/acdscien/2010/ravenweb.pdf

  23. Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 9:42 PM | Permalink

    Steve, this whole issue – including the 6-month statute of limitations – is just the sort of thing lawyers do and do well. Would it not be a good idea to invite one of your readers who is a lawyer to look into this? Every time I read your posts about it, I just get this “Lawyer,lawyer, lawyer – legalese” mantra going in my head.

    Good lawyers parse with the best of them. But they also de-parse with the best of them, too – in ways that would actually stand up in court.

  24. Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 9:46 PM | Permalink

    Oops! Hit a tad before I was done..

    A good lawyer would be able to rip Muir Russell’s and Phil Jones’ parsing to shreds. In ways that judges follow. A good number of us fog over at much of the issues you bring up, so even though we get the gist of what you are saying, each of the “gotchas” you throw out are not appreciated – in a legal sense – to their full extent except by someone with a legalese mind.

    Done now.

  25. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 11:26 PM | Permalink

    Steve, I posted this in “Watch the Pea” before reading this. Might your kindness extend to reposting it here, where it is much more on thread?

    Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 11:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    In the July 10 Russell report we read at page 87. “Information can only be withheld if: ―in all the
    circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exception
    outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.”

    In the October Commons braodcast at about 9.58.43 minutes, Russell says “I was not going to put the review into a position of making the sort of quasi-judicial, prosecutorial investigative judgements (etc)” Why not?

    And at 9.59.19, Russell again (about his committee) – “You are getting to the point where you are alleging that there might be an offence.”

    I keep raising this topic because it was Russell before the Commons Committees who raised the suspicion of illegality, several times. The thought of police involvement plausibly crossed his mind, with his use of words like “caution” and “criminal offence”. His reason for inaction was that the Information Commissioner was enabled to act. But the IC had already stated that time had passed and he could not investigate SPECIFIC cases. This is not a defence for Russell to fail to proceed with general questions of illegality.

    In my book, Russell was obliged to mention illegality, to ask questions about it, and if evidence existed, contact the appropriate officers. There are many inquiries that recommend taking matters to Public Prosecutors or the like. The possibility of illegality was not denied by either Russell or Acton. Indeed, they raised it. Was Jones guilty? Not for me to judge, but re-read the first para here and compare it with Jones email quoted above under my name in the Thread “Watch the Pea” Oct 28, 2010 at 6:04 PM, where he entreats colleagues to avoid the use of the FOI Act.

  26. KLH
    Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 12:02 AM | Permalink

    Forgive a novice for wading in here…

    I’ve seen this hinted at before but haven’t seen an answer….

    The illegal non-responsiveness to the FOIA requests had a statutory limit of six months….however….

    Is the CONSPIRACY to break that law also covered by this 6 month limitation, or does it in fact break a different law (a law against conspiracy to break a law) with a different statutory time period?

    Steve: that was thought about last year. Same time period as an offence under the Conspiracy Act. However as I observe here, there is no statutory limit on it as misconduct under UEA policies.

    • D. Patterson
      Posted Nov 19, 2010 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

      It should be noted that there are some circumstances in which a plaintiff may toll the statute of limitations for the same period of time during which the plaintiff is restrained from proceeding with a complaint due to some form of legal disability. Has anyone looked to see whether or not the statute of limitations for these FOIA violations can be tolled for the period of time in which the plaintiffs were barred from filing their complaints?

      • See - owe to Rich
        Posted Nov 19, 2010 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

        Happy Climategate Day everybody!

        Rich.

  27. ben
    Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 2:16 AM | Permalink

    “The Board of Directors of UEA should ask for their money back.”

    Absolutely, although I rather suspect they’ll instead be asking where to send the honorary PhD.

  28. Varco
    Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 7:41 AM | Permalink

    According to the following the ‘VC’ is implicated in the FOIA. How come he is commisioning the reviews and trying to exonerate his staff in front of a Commons Committee. To me it looks like he should have been subject to the investigation not adjudicating outcomes.

    ………………………….
    1228330629.txt

    From: Phil Jones
    To: santer1@llnl.gov, Tom Wigley
    Subject: Re: Schles suggestion
    Date: Wed Dec 3 13:57:09 2008
    Cc: mann , Gavin Schmidt , Karl Taylor , peter gleckler

    Ben,
    When the FOI requests began here, the FOI person said we had to abide
    by the requests. It took a couple of half hour sessions – one at a screen, to convince
    them otherwise showing them what CA was all about. Once they became aware of the types of people we were dealing with, everyone at UEA (in the registry and in the Environmental Sciences school – the head of school and a few others) became very supportive. I’ve got to know the FOI person quite well and the Chief Librarian – who deals with appeals. The VC is also aware of what is going on – at least for one of the requests, but probably doesn’t know the number we’re dealing with. We are in double figures

    • Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 2:47 PM | Permalink

      Acton became VC quite recently, after his predecessor took early retirement on health grounds.

  29. GolfCharley
    Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 8:09 AM | Permalink

    UEA paid Muir Russell £40,000 to investigate something, as required by the House of Commons.

    Muir Russell takes the £40k but does not investigate that which the House of Commons wanted.

    House of Commons have yet to issue any comment on this

    UEA, via Vice Chancellor Acton does not see any problem

    Should anyone trust anything that emanates from UEA, from historical temperature data, scientific papers, degree qualifications down to the price of a cup of tea? UEA must be treated as Institutionally Incompetent, and have proven incapable of self rectification

    Steve: as I’ve said on other occasions, you can’t extrapolate as other studies stand on their own merit or lack of merit. However, I think that UEA has done itself a disservice by not carrying out an adequate investigation because it does give rise to opinions like the one that you express here.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 3:31 PM | Permalink

      Muir Russell is obviously a brand name which costs £40,000 a throw. If you want him to do more it involves further costs. :-)

  30. Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

    @Varco –

    I remember that email from last year. I had to laugh at this bit:

    Ben,
    …The VC is also aware of what is going on – at least for one of the requests, but probably doesn’t know the number we’re dealing with. We are in double figures.

    OHMYGOD! Double digit FOI requests!

    Since the stuff should have already been archived, and responding could not in that case take more than a couple of hours of browsing and file picking, that amount to very little time – tie which of course should be delegated to the “FOI person” (read: clerk) on staff.

    What is part of the motivation with CRU was their insecurities, born of jealousy of their self-appointed positions as guardians of the holy information. They had played that card for 25 years, and it had always worked for them. There was no reason to think they wouldn’t be able to play it for another quarter century or more.

    There was certainly a superiority complex in action. But an insecure one, too. Real superiority – especially of the science – would have brought out a completely DIFFERENT reaction. Then their reaction would have been, “Yeah, HERE! Take the data! Play with it! You will come to the same conclusions we did. It is all available at http://www.weknowitall.com – have fun!”

    Steve, you just hit their raw nerve, that is all. And raw nerves only exist where insecurity exists. As time went on and they had things there own way more and more, they were going to get sloppy – and subconsciously they knew it. All the leanings they had on little decisions tilted things more and more over time, and at some point even THEY knew they’d overdone it a bit. You can hear it in the emails – the hyper-ness and shrillness.

    BTW – 3 weeks to go before the one year anniversary of Climategate. WOW! What a difference that has made to the entire discussion.

    A toast to whoever it was! (I wonder what has been going through his/her head since then…)

    • b_C
      Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 9:29 PM | Permalink

      Dave, your typo demands correction: “If you want him to do LESS it involves further costs.”

  31. John Whitman
    Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

    jim edwards (Posted Oct 29, 2010 at 2:23 PM) said,

    “Your point is good that people should be careful of their language.”

    One of the statements referred to by jim edwards and thefordprefect (Oct 29, 2010 at 1:39 PM) regarding a caution for careful language was a previous post of mine:

    John Whitman (Oct 27, 2010 at 10:56 am) : “Am I just being naïve to think that any reasonable independently minded person will find doubt about the innocence of the UEA/CRU personnel”

    ——————-

    jim edwards & thefordprefect,

    Indirection. So far Jones and associates behavior is only consistent with reaction and indirection not open direct action.

    Is your comment some speculation on your part or actual information from Phil Jones and his UEA/CRU associates?

    Also, can you answer my original question? It was “Am I just being naïve to think that any reasonable independently minded person will find doubt about the innocence of the UEA/CRU personnel?”

    John

    • jim edwards
      Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 1:21 PM | Permalink

      Read again. I did not single you out as a bad offender. One does find a lot of allegations re: criminal activity on climate blogs of all political persuasions. It is worthwile to note that an allegation of actual criminal behavior is called defamation. [Truth is always a defense - but some of these fact patterns do not fit what was actually alleged 100%. Then you're at the whim of a jury.]

      I’m not saying anybody would ever get sued. I just don’t believe it’s a good idea to get in the habit of loosely alleging criminal behavior.

      • John Whitman
        Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

        jim edwards,

        OK. No foul, no harm.

        John

  32. Skip Smith
    Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

    Remember when this site used to do science?

    Steve: wouldn’t it have been nice if the inquiries had done a proper job so that one could rely on their results?

    • Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 2:52 PM | Permalink

      Remember when climate scientists used to do science?

      • Arthur Dent
        Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

        Nope can’t remember that

        • Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 8:03 PM | Permalink

          McIntyre
          You have stopped any form of scientific investigation on CRU science.
          You are now single mindedly going after its personnel. I just do not see the purpose.

          As far as I am aware the main contention about the science is the hide the decline (the graphic on the front of a simple WMO pamphlet).

          You now seem to going after the inclusion of some research in the IPCC document that should not have been included due to it not having been published in time. Not because the SCIENCE was wrong.
          This blog now seems to be a “lets destroy the UEA and especially the CRU” mouthpiece.

          The FOI act became law in 2005, 3 years before the destroy the email email. Was Jones educated in FOI by this time?

          The University system in the UK is being destroyed in this country by its poor funding. Sowing seeds of doubt about the UEA may have very detrimental effects on its financial and hence physical future.

          Very sad. Just what is the purpose here?????

          Steve – The issue that I’ve raised in posts this year about Wahl and Ammann is that Wahl and Briffa changed the assessment to one to their advantage in a secret exchange. An assessment that was incorrect. I noted the timing of Wahl and Ammann at the time, but that hasn’t been a theme of any of my submissions or recent posts. Many things are within the direct control of UEA – they could stop refusing FOI requests on Wahl and Briffa. They could stop making untrue statements about the inquiries. As you say, it is sad that the inquiries didn’t do their job, but your complaint and concern should be directed towards them.

        • jim edwards
          Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 2:04 AM | Permalink

          fordprefect:

          You said:
          “You now seem to going after the inclusion of some research in the IPCC document that should not have been included due to it not having been published in time. Not because the SCIENCE was wrong.”

          Don’t forget, Wahl and Amman essentially replicated Steve’s measurements of [lack of] statistical confidence in Mann’s work, then claimed that their work supported Mann’s conclusions – not Steve’s.

          Steve might disagree that he doesn’t have an issue with their interpretation of scientific evidence.

          In a work like this, also, it is improper to bend the deadline for one paper – without announcing an extension to everybody. It’s a basic scientific principle that one must use the data generated within the sample window – not all the data generated within the sample window plus the data that shows warming for the following two weeks…

          Who knows what other papers would have been able to be submitted to increase or decrease confidence in AR4 conclusions in other areas had all authors been given similar foreknowledge and treatment.

        • James Evans
          Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 2:40 AM | Permalink

          thefordprefect:

          “McIntyre
          You have stopped any form of scientific investigation on CRU science. You are now single mindedly going after its personnel. I just do not see the purpose.
          …Very sad. Just what is the purpose here?????”

          It doesn’t seem too confusing to me. Mr McIntyre seems to rather like truthfulness and honesty. I quite like it too. And I think we should demand truthful and honest behaviour from our scientists, and in any inquiries into what our scientists have been up to.

          I understand that these qualities aren’t important to some people. Still, if all this makes you very sad, perhaps you could go somewhere else, somewhere that makes you feel happy.

        • Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 12:32 PM | Permalink

          The Ford Prefect: “The FOI act became law in 2005, 3 years before the destroy the email email. Was Jones educated in FOI by this time?”
          Does the The Ford Prefect accept the fact then that Jones sought to have emails destroyed?!

          On the other topic, science, truth, and honesty are interrelated and mutually dependent. When one simply cannot trust the truth and honesty of some parts of the argument (e.g. as pointed out by Doug Keenan or the shenanigans described here), this absolute requires discussion and resolution.

        • theduke
          Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 8:39 PM | Permalink

          Purpose? “Free the data. Free the code.”

          So that Steve and others can resume investigating the “science.” That’s what it has been all about since the beginning.

          Remember, “Why should I give you the data when all you want to do is find something wrong with it?” It’s hard to conduct scientific inquiries or measure statistical integrity when you run up against that kind of secretiveness.

        • Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 8:51 PM | Permalink

          http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climatechange/science/monitoring/subsets.html

          The data (as allowed by the NMS agreements) and the code
          I believe GHCN has been available for a few years. The code has been replicated

          http://clearclimatecode.org/tag/surface-temperature/

          What data and what code do you want freed?

        • Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 10:39 PM | Permalink

          since my comment is held by the black hole of link moderation, here it is without the links
          The data (as allowed by the NMS agreements) and the code is available from the Met Office (CRU equivalent).
          I believe GHCN has been available for a few years. The code has been replicated by clear climatecode and many others

          What data and what code do you want freed?

          Steve: I’ve set out from time to time data and code that should be on the public record. My personal interests are primarily proxy data: Lonnie Thompson, Jan Esper remain serial offenders on data. The purpose of archiving code is to make analysis more efficient since methods sections are seldom definitive. Mann provided code for M08, but I remain interested in how Mann calculated the number of retained PCs and confidence intervals in MBH99 – something which at this point can only be resolved by looking at code. As I stated last summer, my expectation was that CRU contributed negligible value to the GHCN data set, that they did little quality control and that the calculation should be turned over to a government agency, e.g. the Met Office, who would presumably not act like prima donnas in making a calculation that was no more complicated than the Consumer Price Index.
          My surmise has been entirely confirmed.

        • Geoff Sherrington
          Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 1:42 AM | Permalink

          As for myself, I would like absolute confirmation that the data used by CRU are raw data, not value added by the various countries submitting it. Some of the CRU data that PDJ had for his 1990 paper simply do not seem to agree with later versions – other parts seem cherry picked.

          There is little point in replicating code from a data set that is inapplicable.

        • Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 8:13 AM | Permalink

          So if it is inapplicable what does free the data free the code now mean?
          Where are all the auditers now they have the data?

          CRU data is basically GHCN data is basically CRU data. Satellite data CRU/GHCN is very similar. Satellite data is not raw of course.

          The data used as input for CRUTEM is as supplid by the WMOs. The “raw” data is held by them not CRU
          The data as supplied to CRU is very unlikely to be raw as this implies that the photo copied handwritten sheets would have to be supplied (any translation of format would introduce non-rawness) Is data from the 1800’s still available as raw input?

          Unlike most sciences. climate science cannot replicate and confirm past temperatures – obviously! The data that is currently available is all there is. Although sea temperatures are being obtained from ships logs (but this is not simple originally – dip bucket in sea (how deep?), haul to deck, measure temperature. just how accurate can this be? Now – suck water below sea surface (does depth change), suck it along pipe to thermometer. again what are the variables from ship to ship, to load amount.)

          But this data as it is is all you have.

          If you are upset about not having the real raw data then perhaps you could suggest a way of obtaining accurate unadjusted, uncompromised data from a couple of hundred years ago?

          I do not think proxy data has ever been forwarded as real actual temperatures. Briffa has papers suggesting that there are plenty of problems with tree ring proxies.
          However, if past climates had changed by +- a couple of degress C this would show up as a change in growth (my view).

          One proxy that goes back some 600 years (grape harvest dates) has shown a reasonable inverse relation to temperature over the growing season (my view) data to follow.

          Or perhaps you are suggesting that we start afresh and do pristine perfect unadulterated measurements for another century and then decide on whether to live within our environmental means?(it’ll be to late then of course!)

          Mike

        • TAG
          Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 9:54 AM | Permalink

          I do not think proxy data has ever been forwarded as real actual temperatures.

          Modern thermometer records have been appended to proxy reconstructions. That is pretty real.

          Of course proxy data is not forwarded as real actual temperatures. it is proxy data. A model is created that links proxy data values to temperature (calibration). This is used to reconstruct past temperatures from past proxy values.

          Proxy values –> model –> past temperatures

          Why eele would anyone be bothered to do this?

        • JCM
          Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

          snip – OT

        • Geoff Sherrington
          Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 7:44 PM | Permalink

          thefordprefect,

          OK. I call your bluff. You do not know how “raw” much of the GHCN or CRU data are. I have details where PDJ probably had an internal person digitise some country data (source – Australian Bureau of Meteorology). The BOM also did homogenization, several times over for some stations, and some selection before dispersing data to places like GHCN.

          Although adjustment based on plausible quality control is probably ok, it should be documented better than it is.

          So, where is the benefit in being able to replicate code using questionable input data? It’s like 2 people learing to count to 10 simultaneously, but it is not an application of meaningful algebra.

          Here is a problem. A researcher wishes to calibrate a proxy by using temperatures from Darwin, Northern Territory. Here is one version of the selection of temperature graphs available from various authorities – and there are more versions. Which line does the researcher use? It rather destroys your assertion that it’s all GHCN data and (by implication) essentially the same. Well, it is, +/- about 4 degrees C.

          I enclosed this graph in the first House of Commons call for submissions re Russell inquiry. So Sir Muir’s team were exposed to it, but I have not seen any action arise from it.

          It had been my expectation that one of the several Inquiries would investigate the soundness of the science.

          thefordprefect, do you know which line was used to replicate the code and why?

        • Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 8:18 PM | Permalink

          “OK. I call your bluff. You do not know how “raw” much of the GHCN or CRU data are.”
          Geoff, you’re wrong there, at least for GHCN. GHCN raw data is taken directly from CLIMAT forms submitted by the various MET organisations. You can see them here. If you want, you can compare with the posted GHCN figures. They are the same. In fact GHCN will not even correct obvious mistakes – they reject the data and return it to the originators for correction.

          The forms are submitted within a few days of the end of the month. There is no opportunity for anyone to do homogenisation.

          I don’t know the process with CRU, but there is very little discrepancy with GHCN.

        • Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 11:16 PM | Permalink

          Geoff Sherrington
          I did not say I knew how much raw data is in CRU/GHCN! I do not know!

          I you included that graph I hope you added more info to the data plots for it means nothing to me!

          Here’s one I did earlier:

          There is a discontinuity in temperature at jan 1941 (the bomb) and at april-june 1994 (????) these add to more than 1.5C

        • JohnH
          Posted Nov 1, 2010 at 3:39 AM | Permalink

          Fordprefect, the CRU recieves raw data from around the world and then performs adjustments for UHI etc. In addition in areas such as Australia and more famously New Zealand the local MET Offices as well as sending the raw data to CRU also preform their own adjustments independently of CRU, the New Zealand ones are famous as the adjustments were made by an ex-CRU staffer who was sacked from the New Zealand Met office but the adjustments were retained despite the lack of documentation on why they were made. This revised data is now the subect of a legal challenge. So you have the Raw data, the CRU adjusted data and the locally adusted data.

        • Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 8:50 AM | Permalink

          McIntyre you say
          CRU contributed negligible value…did little quality control…making a calculation that was no more complicated than the Consumer Price Index.

          So why therefore are you trying to destroy the University of East Anglia by dragging up irrelevancies? Do they hold the data/code you require?

          Why are you acting like a Witch Finder General leading your Cohorts in attacking a small underfunded university who have admitted mistakes. I have already pointed out that the FOI procedure was introduced in 2005. It has had little time to settle and become embraced by all.

        • bobdenton
          Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 8:59 AM | Permalink

          ” I have already pointed out that the FOI procedure was introduced in 2005. It has had little time to settle and become embraced by all.”

          The FOI Act is completely consonant with the scientific method. It was the fact that at CRU the scientific method was not embraced by all that disappointed and shocked many.

        • Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

          Grape harvest vs CET temps:

        • curious
          Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

          Ford – “I have already pointed out that the FOI procedure was introduced in 2005. It has had little time to settle and become embraced by all.”

          Looks to me like Jones/UEA got the hang of things fairly quickly
          **************
          1228330629.txt

          From: Phil Jones
          To: santer1@llnl.gov, Tom Wigley
          Subject: Re: Schles suggestion
          Date: Wed Dec 3 13:57:09 2008
          Cc: mann , Gavin Schmidt , Karl Taylor , peter gleckler

          Ben,
          When the FOI requests began here, the FOI person said we had to abide
          by the requests. It took a couple of half hour sessions – one at a screen, to convince
          them otherwise showing them what CA was all about. Once they became aware of the types of people we were dealing with, everyone at UEA (in the registry and in the Environmental Sciences school – the head of school and a few others) became very supportive. I’ve got to know the FOI person quite well and the Chief Librarian – who deals with appeals. The VC is also aware of what is going on – at least for one of the requests, but probably doesn’t know the number we’re dealing with. We are in double figures
          ***********
          Seriously – I can see you post in earnest but by any standard this attitude to FOI is not acceptable. I’ll not expand on this argument as it has been covered in depth on previous occassions but the sad truth is that CRU/UEA are the architects of their own demise.

        • Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 12:18 PM | Permalink

          The UEA has said its response was not acceptable. It has said it will aim to improve response to FOI. It has said it will aim to release data that is not subject to outside restriction.

          snip –

          Why pursue this if it has no relevance to science in general and climate science in particular?

        • Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 12:52 PM | Permalink

          Mike, indeed, why should anyone be remotely interested in the truth of climatology?

          The ‘science’ of climatology only affects everyone on the planet. (Most likely through taxation, of course). Why not be interested in how the policy decisions are obtained on the basis of the CRUs many years of work? The mere fact that the UEA have commissioned ‘independent’ inquiries that apparently were unable to ask direct questions of the authors of the climategate messages about email deletion (for fear of what might be said, apparently) should be reassurance enough. What do you have against the truth?!

        • bobdenton
          Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 1:08 PM | Permalink

          The fordprefect asks:

          “Why pursue this if it has no relevance to science in general and climate science in particular? “

          Would you show your children the way the personnel at CRU have conducted themselves and tell them that is the way science should be conducted?

          The venom in their words? The sensitivity to criticism? The malicious vitriol poured on those who do not agree with them? And the way these inappropriate emotional perturbations have influenced the way they have reacted to requests for data and code? – the way they have sought to manipulate peer review? – the way they have conducted themselves in the IPCC process? – the way in which they present data to the public?

          I wouldn’t

          Not one of them has acknowledged any deviation from the scientific ideal. That’s understandable. “Deny, deny,deny. Deny until you die.” is a practical and well used adage.

          Less understandable is the behaviour of those tasked with admonition and correction. By taking the view that “all’s well that ends well” and that since no specific instance of harm can be proved as resulting wholly and exclusively from their behaviour nothing can be amiss, they have by default endorsed that behaviour.

          Now, the next generation of scientist will read the ClimateGate emails and see how this group of scientist have behaved and say “We can behave like that, that’s how scientists should behave, Muir said so, Oxburgh said so, Acton said so.”

          Well, you may not like it, but many of us will not endorse that conduct and will count Muir and Oxburgh as defaulters for passing up the opportunity to reassert probity in the scientific method.

        • Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 1:44 PM | Permalink

          Mike, bobdenton puts it very well. The UEA CRU legacy of ‘truth’ (no shouting now) is well documented in the climategate emails.

        • JCM
          Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

          Perhaps they can collectively be shamed into admitting their ‘mistakes’. I include Muir Russell & Acton.
          Admit the behaviour, promise not to repeat, explin what measures will be taken to ensure no repeat.
          It is relevant to science and climate change because their words and actions are hindering rather than helping the public acceptance of the information.
          A peer of the realm and a knight of the realm should understand basic honesty and the truth.

        • AnyColourYouLike
          Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 8:34 PM | Permalink

          FordPrefect
          “What is McIntyre’s aim now. It seems to me this and other blogs aim is to destroy CRU and if possible to Destroy UEA.”
          =====

          If the CRU and UEA have no case to answer, apart from a little education on dealing with FOI requests, it is hard to see how this or any other blog could hope to “destroy” these robust institutions. This seems a bit hysterical.

          If, however, the enquiries themselves are shown to be inadequate, as many suspect, and games were indeed played, then wide-ranging reforms may be called for. This will presumably be a healthy exercise in house-cleaning, so that robust science and not politics can once again become the focus of this university dept.

          What could possibly be wrong with that?

        • Posted Oct 31, 2010 at 11:06 PM | Permalink

          AnyColourYouLike

          If you destroy a universities creditability you stop outside funding, you reduce student intake limiting income. In the UK no university is robust.

          Climate science will only be robust for data which is collected from robust sources. In this finacial state no one is going to fund an vastly expensive new network.
          Even if “thermometers” were correctly positioned, there would still be cries of foul if each location is not surrounded by 30metres of standardised surface. What is a standardised surface??
          Robust science can never be done with non robust historical data. Researching each station improves the robustness. But how long and at what cost can these small improvements be made?

          Most of the GHCN/CRU data and methods are on line. Briffa has documented most of his stuff (McIntyre even had “the data” for 3 years before whinging about not having it)

          For interest the real harry file (not the notes):

          http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/24129/response/63521/attach/4/Harris%20report%202005.pdf

    • Skip Smith
      Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 8:27 PM | Permalink

      Ever since ClimateGate this blog has descended into the same partisan point-scoring that makes every other blog on this topic nearly unreadable. There are dozens of other blogs that are either crowing about or denigrating these PR events dressed up as hearings, and it is all so predictable, pedestrian, and pointless.

      Steve, when’s the last time you did some science?

  33. Solomon Green
    Posted Oct 30, 2010 at 5:59 PM | Permalink

    You obviously do not understand how inquiries
    operate in the UK. You start with the conclusion that you want and then pick the team that is guaranteed to provide it. Just to make sure you narrow the terms of reference to such an extent that even if the team wanted to conduct a fuller investigation they would not be able.

    Lord Hutton’s inquiry into the death of Dr. Kelly was a typical example.

    Muir Russell was only doing the job that he was appointed to do and quite correctly came up with the answer that he was paid to provide.

    Steve: Muir Russell did not carry out the written terms of reference.

  34. geronimo
    Posted Nov 1, 2010 at 3:51 AM | Permalink

    Ford Perfect:”If you destroy a universities creditability you stop outside funding, you reduce student intake limiting income. In the UK no university is robust.”

    You may be surprised to learn that the UEA doesn’t depend for it’s world renown on the CRU, but on it’s Creative Writing courses, the CRU consist of three full-time staff, who appear to have been doing some cross fertilisation with the other more famous department at the university, but the closure of the unit, and the movement of the academic staff to the CW department would hardly constitute destruction of the university’s credibility. The damage has already been done by Jones, Briffa et al, what’s happening on this thread is that people are merely pointing out the damage these people have done to the credibility of the university, of climate science and of science in general.

  35. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Nov 1, 2010 at 6:28 AM | Permalink

    JohnH, thank you for saving me an explanation.

    thefordprefect, I will explain how the Darwin graph was made, using little words. You can go to online sites like KNMI and the Brit Met Office and the Aust Bureau of Meteorology (BoM)and you can download temperature records. If you select one of them as a reference, you can compare them over the years. Take away one from the other, year by year. I selected the BoM online set as the reference, so it should plot as a straight line at Y = zero. The differences of plus or minus (which we sometimes abbreviate to +/-) of up to 4 degrees C are worth investigating, no? Even different versions of BoM data do not agree. Which iron-clad one was sent to GHCN?

    You can present me with a valid argument, not a guess, when you can show me the equivalence of all GHCN data sets with the country sets that were provided before country adjustments were made. Keep in mind that I have some early Australian data that had been adjusted only a little before being cherry picked by CRU.

  36. Kate
    Posted Nov 1, 2010 at 3:50 PM | Permalink

    Dear Mike,

    These are your words:
    CRU data is basically GHCN data is basically CRU data. Satellite data CRU/GHCN is very similar. Satellite data is not raw of course.

    Hanson is basically Mann is basically Jones is basically NOAA is basically UEA is basically IPCC is basically………………

    You will Have to step out of your box before you can start asking good questions. Looks like you come from here:

    http://www.adagio-eu.org/documents/Symposium_Abstracts.pdf

  37. Smokey
    Posted Nov 2, 2010 at 9:28 PM | Permalink

    On topic, I think. Related at least:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20827840.100-professional-climate-change-deniers-crusade-continues.html

  38. Posted Nov 3, 2010 at 9:49 AM | Permalink

    I do not think proxy data has ever been forwarded as real actual temperatures. Briffa has papers suggesting that there are plenty of problems with tree ring proxies.
    However, if past climates had changed by +- a couple of degress C this would show up as a change in growth (my view).

    Except that tree rings and plant growth in general are not limited by temp only. And we’re not talking about a few degrees c, we’re talking HALF a degree c in variation apparently.

    Proxy reconstructions have been held up to the world as proof that today’s temperatures are unprecedented in both magnitude and rate of change. Steve and others have shown that proxy records are all over the place, and choosing any one of them as proof is, indeed, cherry-picking, and not scientific.

    UEA/CRU have perpetuated the “proxy as proof” myth, and they’ve been deeply involved with the IPCC reports. Therefore…

    UEA/CRU have already soiled their own name, along with Oxburgh and Muir-Russel. They hardly need help from Steve.

  39. Posted Nov 3, 2010 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

    The reply function is really not working now. My reply to TFP is now not indented and WAY up the list above posts from 4 days ago.

    • Posted Nov 3, 2010 at 5:20 PM | Permalink

      Just give up posting!

      When blogs get decimated like this it is not surprising that it gets corrupted!

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    [...] UEA Policies and Statutes of Limitations It is almost impossible to fully dissect the negligence of the Muir Russell inquiry in virtually every aspect of its [...] [...]

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