Mann Misrepresents the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change

Next in the list of misrepresentations by Mann and his lawyers is their inclusion of the Government Response to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee as an investigation that “investigated” and “exonerated” Mann personally. This takes the total of such misrepresented investigations to four (out of the four that I’ve thus far examined). In Mann’s pleadings, Mann additionally attributed findings of the Muir Russell Review to a separate investigation by the “government of the United Kingdom”, in turn, wildly inflating the supposed findings. As a secondary issue, Mann’s claim that this “investigation” was widely covered (or covered at all) in international media is also untrue, a point that Joe Romm complained about at the time. Continue reading

Mann Misrepresents the UK Commons Committee

Mann’s inclusion of the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee (“Commons Committee”) among the investigations that supposedly “investigated” and “exonerated” Mann personally is as invalid as his similar claims regarding the Oxburgh and Muir Russell inquiries or his claim to have won a Nobel prize.

The Commons Committee (see report here) did not conduct any investigation into Mann’s conduct nor did it make any findings whatever in connection with Mann’s conduct. I’ll demonstrate this in today’s post, which is the third in the present series (previously I discussed the Oxburgh and Muir Russell inquries here and Muir Russell here).

In addition, I’ll also discuss an important discrepancy between the findings of the Muir Russell panel and the report of the Commons Committee concerning the notorious email concerning Jones’ construction of the 1999 WMO diagram (the “trick … to hide the decline”). Whereas the report of the Commons Committee had concluded in respect of this incident that Jones had “no case to answer”, the Muir Russell panel found that the diagram omitted data and was “misleading”. In combination, these constitute the elements of the offence of “falsification” as defined in academic misconduct codes.

Mann’s pleadings also emphasize and rely on international media coverage as an essential element of the defendants’ knowledge of the reports, but media coverage of Jones’ appearance before the Commons Committee was savage. Continue reading

More SKS in the Mann Pleadings

I am in the process of writing a post showing that Mann’s claim that he had personally been exonerated by the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee (report here) of a wide range of counts was also untrue. It’s so untrue that it’s hard to even make an interesting post of it.

In the process of writing the post, I noticed the following quotation from Mann’s Reply Memorandum, which has some extra interest given the evidence that the doctored quotation in Mann’s pleadings came from the SKS blog, rather than original documents. Mann and/or Cozen O’Connor wrote:

In March 2010, the United Kingdom’s House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published a report finding that the skeptics’ criticisms of the CRU were misplaced, and that its actions “were in line with common practice in the climate science community.”

The first sentence is completely untrue: the Committee Report said nothing of the sort. The assertion that “criticisms of the CRU were misplaced” is neither made nor supported in the Committee Report. This phrase originated instead with SKS, who, once again, altered the language, though, in this case, not going so far as to fabricate a quotation. Continue reading

SKS and Mann’s Doctored Quote

Shub Niggurath has spotted the probable source of the doctored quotation in the Mann pleadings (h/t Mosher). Shub located the doctored phrase at Skeptical Science here. Check out Shub’s post.

The SKS webpage lists the same nine committees as listed in paragraph 21 of Mann’s pleadings.

See here for a detailed discussion of a baldfaced lie by SKS proprietor John Cook in connection with the Lewandowsky survey. As also is well known, Cook posted images in the private SKS archive of himself in Nazi regalia and homoerotic images of several prominent climate skeptics. A strange source for pleadings by a reputable Washington law firm.

Mann and the Muir Russell Inquiry #1

In my most recent post, I showed that Mann’s claim to have been “exonerated” by the Oxburgh inquiry had no more validity than Mann’s claim to have won a Nobel prize. In today’s post, I’ll continue my series on the “investigations” by showing that Mann’s claim to have been “exonerated” by the Muir Russell inquiry is equally invalid.

In their memoranda supporting their original motions to dismiss, both National Review and CEI had observed (correctly) that the Muir Russell panel had limited their findings to “CRU scientists” and contested Mann’s assertion that the Muir Russell panel had made any findings regarding Mann himself, let alone “exonerated” him.

In Mann’s Reply Memorandum, he vociferously rejected the (correct) assertion that the Muir Russell had not exonerated Mann himself, describing such assertion as merely an attempt to “obfuscate and misrepresent”. Mann supported this bluster with an apparent quotation from the Muir Russell report, but the phrase within the quotation marks does not actually occur within the Muir Russell report. As shown below, Mann and/or his lawyers subtly altered the quotation to more supportive language. Continue reading

Mann and the Oxburgh Panel

The Mann libel case has been attracting increasing commentary, including from people outside the climate community. Integral to Mann’s litigation are representations that he was “investigated” by 6-9 investigations, all of which supposedly gave him “exonerations” on wide-ranging counts, including “scientific misconduct”, “fraud”, “academic fraud”, “data falsification”, “statistical manipulation”, “manipulation of data” and even supposed findings that his work was “properly conducted an fairly presented”. Mann also represented that these investigations were widely covered in international and national media and thus known to Steyn and the other defendants.

In today’s post, I’ll look closely at the Oxburgh panel, one of the investigations cited in Mann’s pleadings. However, contrary to the claims in Mann’s litigation, not only did the Oxburgh panel not exonerate Mann, at their press conference, Oxburgh panelist David Hand, then President of the Royal Statistical Society, made very disparaging and critical comments about Mann’s work, describing it as based on “inappropriate” statistics that led to “exaggerated” results. These comments were widely reported in international media, later covered in a CEI article that, in turn, was reported by National Review. Moreover, information obtained from FOI in the UK a couple of years ago shows that Mann objected vehemently to criticism from Oxburgh panelist, which he characterized as a “rogue opinion” and unsuccessfully sought a public apology.

Mann’s claim that the Oxburgh panel “exonerated” Mann on counts ranging from scientific misconduct to statistical manipulation to proper conduct and fair presentation of results has no more validity than his claim to have been awarded a Nobel prize for his supposedly seminal work “document[ing] the steady rise in surface temperatures during the 20th Century and the steep increase in measured temperatures since the 1950s.” Continue reading

The Copyright of the The Copenhagen Diagnosis

Readers may recall The Copenhagen Diagnosis, a (so-to-speak) non-governmental international climate assessment published in November 2009 and targeted by activists at influencing deliberations at the Copenhagen conference. Because it coincided with Climategate, it received little-to-no critical attention at climate blogs. Thus, I suspect that few, if any readers, will (without peeking) be able to guess the answer to today’s trivia question about The Copenhagen Diagnosis: who holds the copyright to The Copenhagen Diagnosis itself? Continue reading

University of New South Wales on Sub-Charter

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the University of New South Wales is a signatory to the sub-charter of the Akademik Shokalskiy:

To retrace Mawson’s voyage the AAE used the New Zealand tourism company Heritage Expeditions to sub-charter the Shokalskiy, an ice strengthened ship owned by the Russia government. Turney and Fogwill’s employer, UNSW, signed the sub-charter contract.

I don’t know how liability for rescue costs is allocated. However, the fact that the University of New South Wales is a party to the sub-charter places its potential liability in a new light. However, in most legal proceedings, plaintiffs look for the party with the deepest pockets, which, in this case, would be the University of New South Wales.

Statements by Greg Mortimer in the report to IAATO (not public yet but seen by the Sydney Morning Herald) place blame for evacuation delays on the conduct of Turney’s on-ice party and exonerate the Russian captain.

New Details on the Ship of Fools

The precise chronology of the Ship of Fools on December 23 has been a topic of interest on skeptic blogs, including my recent post demonstrating the falsity of Turney’s excuses. However, up to today, this chronology had received zero media coverage, despite several reporters from major media on the Ship of Fools.

Today, there are two stories (BBC and Sydney Morning Herald , both of which contain damning information (especially the latter.) Note embedded link in latter article h/t Bob Koss, with important details not reported in the main article.

Here are new details on the day’s chronology.

13:00 Ship Time (midnight GMT) – The first group left the ship (Luck-Baker). Luck-Baker reported that their instructions were as follows:

I was in the first group to leave the ship at about 13:00 ship time (midnight GMT on 23 December), and take a short zodiac journey across the water to the ice edge.

The excursion was already a couple of hours behind schedule. This was because one of the three all-terrain amphibious vehicles called argos that were to take us to the islands had earlier flooded with water while it was transported from the ship to the ice edge.

Once our group was on the ice, the 12 of us were divided among two quad bikes and two argos. Then we were driven to the Hodgeman Islands in a strong southerly wind which blew drift up into the air, creating a hazy visibility.

We were told that we would have a maximum of one hour at the islands, after the 20 minute drive to the site. Then we would have to be ready to return on the vehicles bringing the next party. This sounded like an efficient system of relaying teams back and forth between ship and the islands.

At 14:30 Ship Time (Luck-Baker) – only 90 minutes later – the captain of the vessel said that the ice was starting to close in and, according to Greg Mortimer, they “hit the evacuation button”.

However, it took over 4 hours to evacuate, a time that Mortimer agrees was an “excessively long time”.

According to the BBC report, the “initial message to evacuate the area was not heard by some key people”. They surmise that the radios might have been out of range and that “for whatever reason, people on the ice appear not to have responded to satellite phone calls made from the bridge.”

Luck-Baker also reports that the logistics was unequal to the evacuation:

However there was a lack of organisation to supervise and enforce it. A number of us were at the islands for about two hours, having wandered off in small groups with the scientist whose work we were particularly interested in.

In the thrilling environment in which we now found ourselves, it was easy to lose track of time. We were surrounded by Adelie penguins and Weddell seals, and the white cliffs of the great East Antarctic Ice Sheet towered high with both beauty and menace, in the middle distance.

So for example, when the vehicles arrived with the second party of visitors, there were only three people at the pick-up area ready to return to the ship.

One of those returnees was a female tourist who had fallen into freezing seawater through a snow-concealed tidal crack in the fast ice. She was wet up to waist height and needed to be transported back to the ship as quickly as possible.

Timing issue
The difficulty was there were too many people and not enough seats on the argos and quad bikes to take everyone back in one convoy – even when these vehicles were carrying one more passenger than they were designed to.

The SYdney Morning Herald SMH says that there were 22 people on the ice, of which 15 were at Hodgman Islands. They provide the following new detail map:

They have an interesting video showing the unloading of the Argos. They say that both Turney and Fogwill had satellite phones and that each of the six drivers/staff members had a VHF radio.

The SYdney Morning Herald account adds the remarkable claim that Turney took more passengers into the field even after the evacuation notice had been issued:

A passenger standing near Professor Turney overheard the voyage leader, Greg Mortimer, telling him over the radio to bring passengers back to the ship so it can leave. But minutes later, Professor Turney drove six more passengers into the field. The overloaded vehicle had no space to collect returning passengers.

The longer linked account expands as follows:

A passenger, who was standing near Turney when Mortimer called the leader from the ship’s VHF radio, recalled their conversation: “Chris, [captain] Igor has just said we need to expedite people back from the islands so we can get out of here,” said Mortimer.

Turney, standing on the ice edge, repeated the message to confirm he had heard right.
“Affirmative,” said Mortimer.
“If I take this lot out, how long can we stay?” Turney said.
Mortimer repeated that everybody needed to get back to the ship.

The passenger was stunned by the conversation, even more so when, a few minutes later, Turney loaded an Argo with six passengers and drove off towards the Islands.

Update Jan 22- In an interview with CNN today (h/t Alex C), Turney denied that there had been any warning at 2:30 pm, while admitting that he had taken “science team members” by Argo to the islands at 3:00 pm (after the captain and Mortimer claim to have issued a recall alarm):

We had – the team got out by about 5:30. We were still taking science team members out at 3 o’clock, or so. There wasn’t any concern, at the time, that this was a significant issue.

Turney also argued in the interview that this delay didn’t “matter”, on the grounds that they would have been toast anyway – not the most convincing excuse IMO.
End Update.

The BBC report continued:

At 3.43pm a passenger onboard the Shokalskiy overheard Mortimer again speaking with someone on the VHF: “Everybody get into a small area and wait until they get a ride back. They [are] not to walk anywhere [and] are to [stay] together,” the passenger wrote in their diary at the time. Fifteen minutes later a quad bike and an Argo arrived with another load of people, who were transferred to the ship via Zodiac.

“The anger on Greg’s face when we arrived back was noticeable,” said one passenger.

An hour and a half later and the final four on the ice, which included Turney, pulled up in the second Argo. Footage on a passenger’s Go Pro digital camera read 5.35pm.

It was 6.15pm before the Shokalskiy finally departed the fast ice.

Several passengers took video footage of the view from their porthole as the ship departed in open water. By 7pm ice topped with about a metre of snow surrounded the ship. It crawled through dense pack ice most of the night.

The SMH stated the usually loquacious Turney (and other expedition leaders) refused to answer questions about December 23:

Professor Turney, Dr Fogwill and Mr Mortimer all declined to answer questions about the events of December 23.

Mobile Sea Ice

The new BBC article also contains statements that (implicitly) support Climate Audit’s rejection of Turney’s untrue attribution of his problems to a breakout of “fast ice” that could not have mitigated.

Murray Doyle, captain of the rescue vessel, Aurora Australis (and presumably far more experienced than Turney) stated that, rather than conditions being impossible to predict or mitigate, “conditions around the Mertz glacier were typical for the past few years.”

Luck-Baker also quoted another source, not named but “with considerable nautical knowledge of East Antarctica”, who said that “with the weather forecast” as it was that day, “this was not a good place to be”.

Tony Press, head of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem Coordinated Research Centre in Tasmania, also endorsed the obvious point that they needed to have a planned exit strategy in potentially hazardous conditions:

They need to plan accordingly and have an exit strategy which can be executed in timely fashion if the conditions become threatening.”

Turney’s defenders have attempted to transfer blame from the expedition to the Russian captain. However, Mortimer (though not Turney) squarely acknowledged that the delays were the “responsibility of the expedition team, not Captain Kiselev.”

Why Now?
The entrapment of the Ship of Fools has been the topic of many articles over the past month. Luck-Baker (and the Guardian reporters, Alok Jha and Laurence Topham) were embedded and timely reports would have been more relevant than puffs. Neither of the Guardian reporters have yet reported on events. And while Luck-Baker’s present article is welcome, it’s taken him a full month to write on the events of December 23. Why the silence until now?

Ship of Fools

Like many others, I’ve been intrigued by the misadventures of the Ship of Fools. Dozens of tourist vessels visit the Antarctic without becoming trapped by ice. So it’s entirely valid to inquire into why the one tourist vessel led by a “climate scientist” became trapped by ice.

The leader of the expedition, Chris Turney (also a secondary Climategate correspondent and co-signer of Lewandowsky’s multisignatory letter in the Conversation), claimed that the incident could not have been predicted. He said that they were trapped by a sudden “breakout” of multi-year ice (“fast ice”) that had previously been part of the ice shelf and that there was no way that they could have anticipated this. Turney’s claim has been uncritically accepted by the climate community e.g. Turner of the British Antarctica Survey here.

However, like other recent claims by Turney, this claim is bogus. In fact, Turney was trapped by sea ice that had been mobile throughout December 2013. This can be easily seen by examining readily available MODIS imagery (see MODIS here) leading up to the incident, as I’ll do in today’s post. Continue reading


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