Curry: On the credibility of climate research

Judy Curry writes in as follows:

Having been riveted for the last few days by posts in the blogosphere on the HADCRU hack and the increasing attention being given to this by the mainstream media, I would like to provide an “external but insider” assessment and perspective. My perspective is as a climate researcher that is not involved directly in any of the controversies and issues in the purloined HADCRU emails, but as one that is familiar with this research, the surrounding controversies, and many of the individuals who sent these emails. While the blogosphere has identified many emails that allegedly indicate malfeasance, clarifications especially from Gavin Schmidt have been very helpful in providing explanations and the appropriate context for these emails. However, even if the hacked emails from HADCRU end up to be much ado about nothing in the context of any actual misfeasance that impacts the climate data records, the damage to the public credibility of climate research is likely to be significant. In my opinion, there are two broader issues raised by these emails that are impeding the public credibility of climate research: lack of transparency in climate data, and “tribalism” in some segments of the climate research community that is impeding peer review and the assessment process.

1. Transparency. Climate data needs to be publicly available and well documented. This includes metadata that explains how the data were treated and manipulated, what assumptions were made in assembling the data sets, and what data was omitted and why. This would seem to be an obvious and simple requirement, but the need for such transparency has only been voiced recently as the policy relevance of climate data has increased. The HADCRU surface climate dataset and the paleoclimate dataset that has gone into the various “hockeystick” analyses stand out as lacking such transparency. Much of the paleoclimate data and metadata has become available only because of continued public pressure from Steve McIntyre. Datasets that were processed and developed decades ago and that are now regarded as essential elements of the climate data record often contain elements whose raw data or metadata were not preserved (this appears to be the case with HADCRUT). The HADCRU surface climate dataset needs public documentation that details the time period and location of individual station measurements used in the data set, statistical adjustments to the data, how the data were analyzed to produce the climatology, and what measurements were omitted and why. If these data and metadata are unavailable, I would argue that the data set needs to be reprocessed (presumably the original raw data is available from the original sources). Climate data sets should be regularly reprocessed as new data becomes available and analysis methods improve. There are a number of aspects of the surface climate record that need to be understood better. For example, the surface temperature bump ca. 1940 needs to be sorted out, and I am personally lacking confidence in how this period is being treated in the HADCRUT analysis. In summary, given the growing policy relevance of climate data, increasingly higher standards must be applied to the transparency and availability of climate data and metadata. These standards should be clarified, applied and enforced by the relevant national funding agencies and professional societies that publish scientific journals.

2. Climate tribalism. Tribalism is defined here as a strong identity that separates one’s group from members of another group, characterized by strong in-group loyalty and regarding other groups differing from the tribe’s defining characteristics as inferior. In the context of scientific research, tribes differ from groups of colleagues that collaborate and otherwise associate with each other professionally. As a result of the politicization of climate science, climate tribes (consisting of a small number of climate researchers) were established in response to the politically motivated climate disinformation machine that was associated with e.g. ExxonMobil, CEI, Inhofe/Morano etc. The reaction of the climate tribes to the political assault has been to circle the wagons and point the guns outward in an attempt to discredit misinformation from politicized advocacy groups. The motivation of scientists in the pro AGW tribes appears to be less about politics and more about professional ego and scientific integrity as their research was under assault for nonscientific reasons (I’m sure there are individual exceptions, but this is my overall perception). I became adopted into a “tribe” during Autumn 2005 after publication of the Webster et al. hurricane and global warming paper. I and my colleagues were totally bewildered and overwhelmed by the assault we found ourselves under, and associating with a tribe where others were more experienced and savvy about how to deal with this was a relief and very helpful at the time.

After becoming more knowledgeable about the politics of climate change (both the external politics and the internal politics within the climate field), I became concerned about some of the tribes pointing their guns inward at other climate researchers who question their research or don’t pass various loyalty tests. I even started spending time at climateaudit, and my public congratulations to Steve McIntyre when climateaudit won the “best science blog award” was greeted with a rather unpleasant email from one of the tribal members. While the “hurricane wars” fizzled out in less than a year as the scientists recovered from the external assault and got back to business as usual in terms of arguing science with their colleagues, the “hockey wars” have continued apparently unabated. With the publication of the IPCC 4th Assessment report, the Nobel Peace Prize, and energy legislation near the top of the national legislative agenda, the “denialists” were becoming increasingly irrelevant (the Heartland Conference and NIPCC are not exactly household words). Hence it is difficult to understand the continued circling of the wagons by some climate researchers with guns pointed at skeptical researchers by apparently trying to withhold data and other information of relevance to published research, thwart the peer review process, and keep papers out of assessment reports. Scientists are of course human, and short-term emotional responses to attacks and adversity are to be expected, but I am particularly concerned by this apparent systematic and continuing behavior from scientists that hold editorial positions, serve on important boards and committees and participate in the major assessment reports. It is these issues revealed in the HADCRU emails that concern me the most, and it seems difficult to spin many of the emails related to FOIA, peer review, and the assessment process. I sincerely hope that these emails do not in actuality reflect what they appear to, and I encourage Gavin Schmidt et al. to continue explaining the individual emails and the broader issues of concern.

In summary, the problem seems to be that the circling of the wagons strategy developed by small groups of climate researchers in response to the politically motivated attacks against climate science are now being used against other climate researchers and the more technical blogs (e.g. Climateaudit, Lucia, etc). Particularly on a topic of such great public relevance, scientists need to consider carefully skeptical arguments and either rebut them or learn from them. Trying to suppress them or discredit the skeptical researcher or blogger is not an ethical strategy and one that will backfire in the long run. I have some sympathy for Phil Jones’ concern of not wanting to lose control of his personal research agenda by having to take the time to respond to all the queries and requests regarding his dataset, but the receipt of large amounts of public funding pretty much obligates CRU to respond to these requests. The number of such requests would be drastically diminished if all relevant and available data and metadata were made publicly accessible, and if requests from Steve McIntyre were honored (I assume that many spurious requests have been made to support Steve McIntyre’s request, and these would all disappear).

The HADCRU hack has substantially increased the relevance of Climateaudit, WUWT, etc. The quickest way for HADCRU et al. to put Climateaudit and the rest of this tribe out of business is make all climate data and metadata public and make every effort to improve the datasets based on all feedback that you receive. Do this and they will quickly run out of steam and become irrelevant ☺. Gavin Schmidt’s current efforts at realclimate are a good step in the right direction of increasing transparency.

But the broader issue is the need to increase the public credibility of climate science. This requires publicly available data and metadata, a rigorous peer review process, and responding to arguments raised by skeptics. The integrity of individual scientists that are in positions of responsibility (e.g. administrators at major research institutions, editorial boards, major committees, and assessments) is particularly important for the public credibility of climate science. The need for public credibility and transparency has dramatically increased in recent years as the policy relevance of climate research has increased. The climate research enterprise has not yet adapted to this need, and our institutions need to strategize to respond to this need.


  1. stevemcintyre
    Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 11:08 PM | Permalink

    Comments continued from

    • John West
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:47 PM | Permalink

      I’ve never heard conspiracy called tribalism before. What a novel idea!

    • clementyne212
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 5:58 AM | Permalink

      Me thinks I smell a rat.The problem is not the mis-representation or the perceived twisting of scientific data thatis the problem but the misapropriation “stealing” of private corespondence and the leaking of such facts by the Russian media.In this respect the COLD WAR never abated it is just that the Russian bear only went in to temporary hibernation.

  2. Morgan
    Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 11:24 PM | Permalink

    Sometimes really smart people can be a little bit thick. Folks, this letter is not directed at you, the core Climate Audit audience. It is directed to scientists involved in climate research. Probably was sent to a number of them (though I have it on good authority that CA is more widely read within that community than was previously believed).

    Stripped to its essentials, it says – to climate scientists – this: “Look, circling the wagons was a perfectly natural reaction to all that political badness – we all did it, but look where it ended up. It has caused us to reject legitimate challenges from within and outside of the field and abandon the scientific requirement of transparency, and created a situation in which some leaked emails caused immense harm to the credibility of climate science. In other words, it caused more headaches than it avoided. And while Steve McIntyre is a major source of those headaches, all he’s really been asking for is that stuff covered under transparency. Want him to go away? Preempt him. Open everything up. Stop the wagon circling.”

    To summarize the summary:

    1) Perfectly human response…
    2) but not a helpful response, really.
    3) So change…
    4) and Steve will become irrelevant.

    • Matouš
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 3:03 AM | Permalink

      Well, wouldn’t that be for the best? Having a climate science that does not need the likes of Steve?
      As Bertolt Brecht said: Pity the country that needs heroes.
      The same applies to science, I think.
      The goal here is not making Steve or some other of “sceptic’s champion” the new guru of climatology but to put climatology in order.
      I do not want to upset you but it seemed to me that you feel sorry for the fact that things may be getting better.

  3. Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 11:30 PM | Permalink

    With the internet there is no reason why all research and science isn’t put immediately online. This way it can be openly and independently checked an audited.

    Additionally when this research is paid for by the public purse then it should be available at NO cost to the public – they have paid for it already and should not do so a second time. There is a push for this in America which you can support here;

    I have recently written to Universities and politicians in Australia on this idea and frankly they were not interested – yet it is something that is vitally important. If anyone is interested in getitng a lobby group together on this issue please contact me.

    On Climategate it seems that the files are becoming more damning than the emails – with total junk science being exposed.

    More here

  4. James
    Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 11:31 PM | Permalink


    I am sure you have been poring over the CRU files like we all have. Have you found any data files which have peaked your interest. I know there are a lot of us who are desperate to hear your analysis of at least some of this data.

    Sure, I’ve nibbled at it, but I’ve spent more time on the mail so far. It’s hard to know where to start. I also have felt really tired.

    • Ian
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 12:40 AM | Permalink


      You do sound tired – and given what is (or may) be there, that’s a shame. Perhaps you should form a bit of a team with the likes of Jeff Id, Jean S., Lucia and others of similarl interest and skill, and find a way of dividing up, categorizing and then methodically analysing the data that is there.

      As I’ve said elsewhere, I have found it strangely comforting to see that you often were on their minds, as they squeezed, massaged and over-represented their data.

      Best of luck.


  5. Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 11:42 PM | Permalink

    It would be quite fitting if all the alarmists got the punishments they wished on others!

    • Morgan
      Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 11:54 PM | Permalink

      Like “Big” Ben Santer?

  6. Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 11:52 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for your views Professor Curry.

    I think there is far too much talk of motives, interests and so forth on all sides of this matter. It was your own error to bring up corporate bogeymen, but I thought most of the discussion that followed (about motives and interests) was vulgar Marxist drivel. If this wasn’t an extraordinary time, Steve M. would be rightly snipping all of that stuff.

    I don’t think it is reasonable for climate scientists to expect shielding from motives and interests in the larger economy and society. Corporations are coalitions of people–consumers, workers, managers, investors. Their interests are legitimate interests, just as are those of coalitions like Greenpeace. Scientists have no special insight into what are legitimate motives or interests; These things are what they are. They also have no special insight into what interests are particularly corrupting interests. If scientist X gets paid by the State of California, and scientist Y gets paid by Exxon, I see no reason why I should think Exxon any more corrupting an influence than the State of California. They are both big, complicated coalitions that both do lots of good things and lots of bad things. Ideology of individuals is mostly voluntary anyway: Try to explain cross-sectional heterogeneity of measured individual ideology using any standard proxy for individual interests…I promise you are going to be very disappointed by the R-squared.

    The Nobel laureate in Economics, George Stigler, was called to testify in Washington once, and noted that he was not compensated for the time this took. He remarked that this was supposedly to preserve his objectivity, but that this couldn’t really be true. For if his opinion could be so easily bought, then refusing to pay him must only have preserved the appearance of his objectivity. Indeed we can go in circles about this sort of thing.

    Far better, I think, that we scientists concentrate on keeping our institutions in good working order. The proper functioning of the institutions is what weeds out error…not keeping the interests and motives of the participants pure, which is a ridiculous impossibility anyway. Interests and motives are like a certain body part: We’ve all got ’em. Arguing about whose smells better is pointless.

    • Carrick
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 2:03 AM | Permalink

      Even ExxonMobile’s influence on anti-AGW types is overstated. For every dollar spent on this (and roundly criticized by the AGW community) they have easily spent 10 dollars on pro-AGW types. (Search for the terms ExxonMobile & Stanford in google if you doubt this.)

      As is well demonstrated in these emails, it’s not the fact of who ExxonMobile supports that is the question, it’s the fact that any funds at all go to anti-AGW types that really bothers the extremists in the AGW crowd.

      They want 100% control on everything.

    • Nicholas
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 3:25 AM | Permalink

      I think you’re right. To sum it up: if scientists are practicing actual science – open, replicable research with polite exchanges and tolerance of differing views – then motives are irrelevant. The whole point of the scientific method is to discover the truth regardless of what any one participant or group WANTS to be true.

      That’s why the behaviour of the people whose e-mail was leaked is so worrying. Relationship to Exxon or Greenpeace or whoever should be irrelevant if everyone is doing their job properly. They aren’t. “Why should I release my code/data when you’re only going to look for something wrong with it.” – the answer is because that’s how science works!

    • Peter
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 2:41 PM | Permalink

      NW, You said what I wanted to say, only better than I could have. Bravo.

  7. Dirk
    Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 11:58 PM | Permalink

    Thousands of years ago, picking the wrong tribe could lead to your death. Today, it’s only potential loss of respect if you’re wrong.

    Ever since I saw Willie Soon’s sun vs. CO2 graphic, I have been leaning towards the skeptic tribe. As time has gone on, I am seemingly rewarded for this choice continually- the sun cooperates, temperatures moderate, new theories emerge, holes in AGW data appear, and now this behavior is outed.

    In the face of all this, I am impressed that it is Mr. McIntyre and CA that appear to be the most impartial- constantly pointing back to data and methods, and allowing fair access to all sides of this debate. Hopefully, this behavior will be rewarded when CA eventually emerges as the leading impartial voice on this important issue. I know that what that final verdict will be is uncertain (even if I readily admit to believing AGW being similar to Bolshevik Communism, where they originally thought they were on to something…)

  8. Ian
    Posted Nov 22, 2009 at 11:59 PM | Permalink

    Karl B

    RC is still censoring. I sent in a post congratulating Gavin on his current approach to posts and to suggest he disown one Barton Paul Levinson who is advocationg censoring posts that are inimical top the CRU and associates. The post vanished without trace

  9. Pangloss
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 12:04 AM | Permalink

    This misses the point. Climate science needs much more than better PR and spin if it is to earn the public’s trust. It is a political program, groupthink tends to prevail. Greater transparency (and she hails Gavin’s
    damage limitation PR at RealClimate) does
    not even begin to address this.

    Why does she keep calling it “HADCRU”? The hack was at The CRU not Hadley, mangling the institution with the work it does shows some
    confusion. I suppose a story this big brings out opportunists of all kinds.

    • GaryC
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 1:27 AM | Permalink

      Pangloss: Why does she keep calling it “HADCRU”? The hack was at The CRU not Hadley, mangling the institution with the work it does shows some confusion. I suppose a story this big brings out opportunists of all kinds.

      I think that the HadCRUt data set has confused a lot of people, and Dr. Curry can’t really be criticized too strongly for not not correcting the meme.

      • Pangloss
        Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 2:05 PM | Permalink

        [blockquote]Dr. Curry can’t really be criticized too strongly for not not correcting the meme.[/blockquote]

        A poor choice of words; a ‘meme’, by definition, is something mindlessly replicated.

        Someone so keen to insert oneself into the debate, as she has here, should be able to get the fundamentals correct. I may be wrong – Steve advises us to be charitable – sp perhaps she is trying to tell us something about the HADCRUT data.

    • Gloria Mundi
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 2:08 AM | Permalink

      “Why does she keep calling it “HADCRU”? The hack was at The CRU not Hadley, mangling the institution with the work it does shows some
      confusion. ”

      One of the emails, sorry I can’t recall which, has one of these jokers telling another about how FOIA requests delivered to Hadley can be ignored, because they don’t say University of East Anglia, and then snickering about how it’s all the same thing behind the scenes. Or maybe it was vice versa.

      In any case, the mail made it clear the two are treated as separate entities when it’s convenient to do so, and as one organization when that is more convenient, and aren’t we a bunch of geniuses pulling one over on these skeptic rubes, haw haw haw.

  10. John Norris
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 12:05 AM | Permalink

    re: “… especially from Gavin Schmidt have been very helpful in providing explanations and the appropriate context for these emails. …”

    Yes, let’s talk about Gavin. What did he know, and when did he know it?

    He is posting on RC as if he is independent enough to be an unbiased reporter on this. He knew the others were putting up roadblocks to releasing data, he defended it in parallel. He knew they were politicking the journals to not publish skeptical articles, he defended that in parallel.

    He needs to apologize, get out of the PR business, get straight with science, or turn in his scientist credentials; along with the “hide the decline” conspirators.

  11. Mike
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 12:06 AM | Permalink

    She simply doesn’t understand that there aren’t any credible data that can be shared and then “improved” by “feedback”. Just look at the harry_readme.txt file – it chronicles some poor guy’s attempts to do just that – “improve” the data, flying by the seats of his pants. At some point, he declares it impossible:

    “You can’t imagine what this has cost me – to actually allow the operator to assign false WMO codes!! But what else is there in such situations? Especially when dealing with a ‘Master’ database of dubious provenance (which, er, they all are and always will be).

    So with a somewhat cynical shrug, I added the nuclear option – … In other words, what CRU usually do. It will allow bad databases to pass unnoticed, and good databases to become bad, but I really don’t think people care enough to fix ’em…

    This is malfeasance of epic proportions. Phil Jones knows it – his specific input into this work is mentioned in several places – and tries to hide it. Only choice if he wants to keep his job.

    Now he may experience some “unprecedented warming in both hemispheres” (© commenter Phil on Bishop Hill’s blog).

  12. Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 12:08 AM | Permalink

    While I appreciate Curry’s desire to create distance from what has happened at CRU the comments are naive with regard to the level and intensity of motive and action. I have watched this group emanating from the CRU take control of climate science and the IPCC for almost 30 years.

    I think the eminence gris in all this is Tom Wigley. Hubert Lamb founder of the CRU used to go in to work daily well in to his later years. I recall one person at CRU telling me they called him “The Professor” but it was said in a patronizing way. John Kington was around briefly but Wigley was already taking charge. His comments in the first documentary questioning what was going on titled “The Greenhouse Conspiracy” (Channel 4 (UK) released in 1990 are telling if you knew what was happening and what he was doing. The movie was rejected by PBS in the US on the grounds it was biased. In Canada I understand David Suzuki kept it off the CBC. I saw a pirated copy in the boardroom of a public energy organization. The management wanted my comments on its accuracy and efficacy.

    Wigley’s involvement started earlier. I recall the troubling 1983 paper in “Climatic Change” on the 19th century CO2 readings that established the pre-industrial CO2 level in the climate science community. Indeed, the paper was the centre of a seminar in one of my graduate climate classes. When I read the released hacked files it appears he is still considered the grandfather of the group with his occasional proposals, comments or advice. He subsequently moved from CRU to NCAR in the US where I understand he had greater control of funding and apparently brought people from CRU to the US, a move pivotal to expanding his influence. I believe Benjamin Santer, a CRU grad, is one example although he went to Lawrence Livermore. Ironically his doctoral thesis at CRU showed the serious inadequacies of the computer models. Of course, Phil Jones was in Canada at the University of Toronto and went back to take over CRU.

    So far we are only seeing the connections within the academic centers but wait until what has gone on with selection of national bureaucrats to participate in IPCC are examined. However, beyond that the next big issue is to get disclosure of all the details and construction of the IPCC computer models.

    The disclosures and machinations contained within the files has just begun and people will see it is almost as complex as the complexity that is the weather. The known behavior of Jones and Mann by refusing to disclose data and code is unacceptable and the nasty defensive attacks of Schmidt et al over at CA are far from academic. Incidentally, there are emails in which Schmidt offers the services of CA that was set up to provide a vehicle for the evasive and nasty defense. Until now this outrageous behavior essentially went unchallenged. Now it is all exposed and the degree of manipulation and cobbling of data, deliberately planned rejection of requests for data to the point of trashing the record are exposed. In addition we have the evidence of isolating people for personal attacks, manipulating peer review and even attacking editors and having them removed for the audacity of challenging them.

    No this is more than about a few tree rings and poor statistics and statistical methods. It is about the entire field of climate science and corruption and malfeasance on a grand scale.

    • Calvin Ball
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 1:01 AM | Permalink

      I think you mean “RC” when you say “CA”?

      • Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 2:17 AM | Permalink

        Calvin, you are correct. Thanks.

  13. James Allison
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 12:09 AM | Permalink

    Reading your comments Judith Currie sometime I can tickle our family dog just the right way under the chin and he enters into a tranced like state for a short while but inevitably reality kicks back in.

  14. edrowland
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 12:10 AM | Permalink

    Things that make you go hmmmmm: that archive is just TOOOOO tidy.

    So lets say those various FOIA requests were processed. Let’s say somebody else other than Tom and Kieth is tasked with collecting the documents. Let’s imagine what the deliverables would look like. Kinda exactly like what that FOIA zip file contains: namely all correspondence between Tom and Kieth and a list of people specified in one of the FOIA requests. All HADCRU code. Raw data for all the tree ring archives. IPCC correspondence. Budget and funding info for IPCC-related activities. All of it. The union of all FOIA requests seems to be pretty much there.

    And lets look at what’s not there. It’s not a straight document dump of somebody’s home directory. It’s not all emails sent or received by Tom or Kieth. It doesn’t have routing headers on the emails. Or MIME envelopes. Or really very much else. Think about it. If the site was hacked, why would you strip the routing headers? If it was prepared to meet an FOIA request, then it would be entirely natural to strip the headers.

    The narrowness of the contents of the file indicate that somebody spent an extraordinary amount of time assembling and filtering what’s there. There’s no way some Russian kiddy-hacker sorted through gigabytes of raw eml files, and thousands of documents meticulously separating those several hundred messages from the several thousand birthday messages, the love letters, the inter-office memos, and announcements of social functions, and the ordinary minutia of a real email inbox the in order to generate that archive.

    Now think about this. What would have been more damaging: if the contents had been released via an FOIA deliverable; or whether they contents had been released in a “hack”. In the first case, this would have been the end of the line for many people involved. Career over. In the second case, polite people will avert their eyes and pretend that they had never seen it. Mainstream media outlets will provide abrided coverage without relaying any of the details. Not a great outcome; but better than if the stuff had gone out by FOIA.

    So the theory is: facing the prospect of an imminent FOIA release, somebody inside the Kabal took it upon themselves to stage a “hack”, in order to reduce the impact of such a release through an FOIA disclosure.


    • GaryC
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 1:34 AM | Permalink

      edrowland: So the theory is: facing the prospect of an imminent FOIA release, somebody inside the Kabal took it upon themselves to stage a “hack”, in order to reduce the impact of such a release through an FOIA disclosure.

      Although plausible, I think you need to look at the fact that the latest email in the data set was dated November 12, 2009, while Steve McIntyre was told on November 13 that his FOIA request had been rejected.

      In my opinion, that dramatically reduces the probability that this was a preemptive release to diminish the impact of the data, and increases the probability that someone involved decided not to be part of a coverup.

  15. Person of Choler
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 12:20 AM | Permalink

    snip – venting

  16. Pooh
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 12:21 AM | Permalink

    CA (Steve McIntyre) rightfully insists on metadata, since metadata is the definition of the content of the data file or database (in lay terms, the description). Metadata is data about the data. Bottom line, one can not confidently use the data (or database) without metadata. Further, “definition” involves boundaries: what it is, and what it is not. Worst of all, one can not implement a robust computer application without defining its metadata.

    The following is a brief (and necessarily incomplete) list of what is involved.

    * For each data item in a record (field, column, attribute):
    o Name
    o Definition
    o Domain (what kind of data: text, number [bit, integer, single/double floating point], date, etc.)
    o Length (if limited; otherwise domain may be memo, varchar, blob, URL, etc.)
    o Precision (e.g., decimal places)
    o Value if empty or never posted (null, 0, -999, blank, etc.) or Default value
    o Essential validations

    * For each record:
    o Name
    o Unique identifier (“key”, may be multiple data items in defined sequence)
    o Definition (what thing of interest it represents)

    * For records related to each other:
    o Name (may be a verb or verb phrase)
    o Optionality (required or not)
    o Cardinality (how many can be related)
    o Foreign Key (cross-reference)
    o Referential Integrity requirement
    o Transferability

    Previously posted as a reply #169 under “Breaking news: CRU server hacked”

  17. crosspatch
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 12:22 AM | Permalink

    There are just so many problems that are not addressed. If you have a period of explosive urbanization, deforestation, and irrigation that happens at the same time as a period of cyclical natural warming, how does one tell if warming is global due to CO2 or simply a sum of many individual local changes, measuring location siting problems, and natural cyclical activity? And when you add to that the loss of so many rural stations that are most removed from those local changes, it doesn’t build confidence in the data set. From my personal perspective, there it seems that there are so many things operating on temperatures at the same time that any warming from CO2 would be lost in the noise. While various attempts are made to adjust for some of these impacts, the adjustment process varies between researchers and doesn’t appear all that robust in many cases once one “drills down” into the actual process.

    The active management of the peer-review process is a tougher nut to crack. Intimidation of journals, management of the reviewers, blocking of submissions before they are even sent to reviewers, etc. are all indications of a cultural problem. If someone publishes something that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, that is one thing. To deny access to the submission process or guaranteeing a rejection (or acceptance) before publication by “stacking the deck” of reviewers telegraphs as defensive. It looks to an outsider as if something is being kept hidden. And while a notion of “I don’t have time to answer all these petty nits” is valid, we must ensure that the science upon which polices that impact a significant population of the planet are sound and that process will probably be (and probably should be) inconvenient or at least not “easy”.

    One can’t ridicule someone as lazy for not having been published while at the same time taking active measures to prevent them from being published in the first place. Yes, journals have a limited about of space and the signal to noise ratio must be considered and part of the problem is that academics use the number of published papers as a scoreboard. Simply getting something published allows you to put a point on the board. Maybe the journals themselves could use technology to cause a shift in that culture. Maybe instead of a periodical publication on paper, moving to a continuous electronic publication using modern technology is part of the answer. A journal could publish one or more papers each day in a continuous fashion. Maybe that would result in a bit of change in the academic culture surrounding publishing.

  18. Harold
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 12:25 AM | Permalink

    All this discussion seems to beg the question as to what science is. Last time I checked, building empirical models is applied mathematics, and rightly considered an art (not science) by many practitioners. From what I’ve seen and read, I wouldn’t use the claims of much of the research in an industrial setting due to the “witch hunt” approach to analyzing the data, as well as the lack of ability to reproduce the results by a knowledgeable third party.

  19. C. Ferrall
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 12:37 AM | Permalink

    Dr. Curry’s comments are indeed self-serving spin.

    Like many people on the outside I see the parallels in my own academic field. There are always people who sit in the middle of debates. They try to be honest brokers because that servers their interests but does not necessarily further science., which rarely ends up splitting the difference. Perhaps some synthesis happens eventually but only because some people continued to push the boundaries.

    These scientists simply sit on the fence and check which way the wind is blowing. By placating both sides they become journal editors more easily than people pushing the frontiers. But if you are on the minority side these people are not the voice of reason, they are smart but simply pursuing their own low-risk strategy for prominence.

    The post above throws a bone to both sides.:Dr. Gavin “Transparency” Schmidt) and “I congratulated Steve way back when and paid the price for it.” Please … as an outsider this sounds like Dr. Curry just sees she should shift a little more toward the skeptic side (while still praising Dr. Transparency) because there is a tropical storm on the horizon. And if turns into a hurricane she doesn’t want to end up in the climate science Superdome with the other people who did not get out in time.

    Steve: To date, I have received precisely one invitation to present to a climate science seminar at a university – from Judy Curry at Georgia Tech. and this happened when it was very unpopular to do so and she received much criticism for the invitation. I was treated very cordially by Judy and the folks at Georgia Tech — please keep this in mind.

    • Gardy LaRoche
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 1:40 AM | Permalink

      cordiality does not exclude candor. My sense is that there’s a guttural reaction here to Curry’s refusal to call a spade a spade and her pretense that both sides are equally guilty.
      I hope that you’re not letting your courteous and gentlemanly penchant be trampled.

      • C. Ferrall
        Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

        I agree with LaRoche. Steve M, I appreciate that she took you seriously as a researcher. You should be gracious to her because she was to you.

        But this is what fence-sitters do. They usually are charming . The issue are her statements. She claims to speak with authority on other peoples’ motives. If she wants to comment on tribalism and the sociology of science, and you allow her, then both of you should not be surprised that people speculate about her motives and intentions in making her statements in this forum at this time. She explains away a bunch of behavior as tribalism. I explain her behavior as career- and status-promotion.

        Steve M. has repeatedly said he is not interested in motives and snips lots of comments about that. But then a fence-sitter comes along and gets to explain to us all the tribalism theory of science, which is a theory and explanation of motives: Why did people talk and act like this? Let me tell you why. Yawnnn.

  20. Calvin Ball
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 12:38 AM | Permalink

    I hope this isn’t a repetition of the gist of an earlier comment, but I really find this strange:

    As a result of the politicization of climate science, climate tribes (consisting of a small number of climate researchers) were established in response to the politically motivated climate disinformation machine that was associated with e.g. ExxonMobil, CEI, Inhofe/Morano etc.

    First of all, why are the above mentioned organizations a “disinformation machine”, and polemical organizations such as Realclimate not? And isn’t the very term “disinformation machine” bordering on conspiratorial thinking? I’m really having a hard time squaring this sort of rhetoric with the disinterested demeanor that we expect from scientists.

    Secondly, is the world really a simple melodrama where certain industries, which currently produce carbonaceous fuels, are in a special suspect class? Should we not show equal cynicism toward interested parties trading carbon credits? And is such cynicism even relevant?

    If someone makes a skeptical claim that’s missing a subtle scientific point, that’s politics. Sorry, but whether anyone likes it or not, this comes with the territory. But have alarmists not also made claims that are specious to the point of absurdity? Dr. Curry, does An Inconvenient Truth make you cringe with its inaccuracies and absurdities? In not why not? And if it does, why do only the anti-alarmist polemics elicit this kind of tribal response?

    If I saw one email in that entire zip file that showed anyone upset at the kind of fast-and-loose science that Al Gore won an Oscar and a Nobel for, then I’d believe the narrative that the scientists are circling the wagons against the purveyors of falsehood. But the deafening silence about the polemics on the alarmist side speaks volumes. It tells me that the true meaning of all of this still hasn’t fully sunk in.

    Maybe many in the climate community are still in the bargaining stage, and acceptance will eventually come when the time is right. It’s going to be an interesting few months ahead, as not only the facts come out, but as people struggle with what they’ve been doing and why.

  21. RevYJ
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 12:40 AM | Permalink

    There’s only one appropriate solution to all this: Steve McIntyre receives the next Nobel Peace Prize. Congratulations in advance, you’ve earned it.

  22. GaryM
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 12:47 AM | Permalink

    I do not want Steve McIntyre to become irrevelant!
    He, the group around him, together with a host of other like minded blogs and sites, has given me some hope! Hope that some sanity will be restored to this debate. What alarmists are unaware of is that the current situation is mostly their fault!! By supporting the people at CRU and RC, and by not answering the type of questions that SM and other so called “deniers” have asked, you have in turn supported and encouraged the politicians..this gives them the public mandate and the courage to create this current atmosphere of armageddon. Sure, the politicians are the real culprits, but the people at CRU etc, give them the support they needed to create this mess.

  23. Mike Flynn
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 12:50 AM | Permalink

    This debate seems to be about which tribes’ medicine men can foresee the future best.

    snip – please dial it back

  24. Gerry
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 1:07 AM | Permalink

    Dr Curry, your article would have been welcome support for Steve and others a year ago, now it looks like damage limitation I’m afraid.

    Realclimate is the mouthpiece of the AGW “tribe” and is not in the least concerned with anything other than justifying the AGW theory, you don’t really believe that anyone outside the faith would take Gavin Schmidt’s explanations at face value do you?

  25. Buddenbrook
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 1:08 AM | Permalink

    I echo Calvin Ball’s sentiments above. Dr. Curry’s comments reveal a political or a ‘tribal’ (to use her own words) bias. The Exxon money is really a red herring. When you realise that Phil Jones alone has got tens of millions in govt. research funds, the follow the money argument does not lead to the big corporations, but somewhere else, entirely.

    May I also use this opportunity to voice my gratitude to Mr. McIntyre. Without his tireless and characterically principled efforts the skeptical blogosphere wouldn’t have half the vigour and integrity it now enjoys and I doubt this whistle blowing would ever have occurred. The whistle blowing which has now let the cat out of the box.

    This I think you can say is proven by the fact that McIntyre or “certain Canadian” is mentioned in the damning leaked correspondence more often than rest of the skeptical scientists combined. Steve really has shown more than anyone how feeble their scientific methods have been.

    It really shows what one determined and intellectually highly talented person can achieve in the field of science.

    In that regard I do not fully understand Dr. Curry’s comments about Climate Audit becoming irrelevant when data is made freely available. Such high quality auditing as Steve is capable of will be needed more than ever if this case results in the archives being finally opened.

    CRU leak has not disproven catastrophic AGW, but let’s say the doubts are now stronger than they have been since 1980’s.

    I hope we can enjoy CA and its valuable work for many years to come while that question continues to be debated.

    • dadgervais
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

      That the “CRU leak has not disproven catastrophic AGW” is axiomatic.
      But it sure has NUKED the fantasy that AGW has been scientifically proved!

  26. Richard Patton
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 1:30 AM | Permalink

    It seems to me that this is far more than simple “tribalism” on the part of the Team. As far as I can tell the preponderance of evidence suggests that tree rings are mostly useless as proxies for determining past temperatures. If this were to be acknowledged it puts the Team out of business when it comes to contributing something to the AGW debate. Which means they would no longer be in the limelight and thus have the power and prestige they do today. This is a very threatening situation to be in. Steve is in essence (to them) threatening their very livelihood. All sorts of aberrant behavior will flow from that.

    I would guess that this is one reason they would like to see Steve make his own temperature reconstruction as the very act of him doing so implicitly means that Steve sees their branch of inquiry as viable. It would legitimize it – no matter what the results – which they would then argue about incessantly. But Steve consistently refuses to do this, he is in essence saying that their branch of inquiry is not valid – it does not and cannot produce meaningful results. This is not something the Team can possibly find a way to agree with.

  27. TerryMN
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 1:41 AM | Permalink

    Gavin Schmidt’s current efforts at realclimate are a good step in the right direction of increasing transparency.

    Sorry to be blunt, but that is the largest load of crap I’ve seen since I worked at a dairy farm.

  28. Bob Koss
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 1:52 AM | Permalink

    Dr Curry,

    A fragment from your head post.

    “politically motivated climate disinformation machine that was associated with e.g. ExxonMobil, CEI, Inhofe/Morano etc.”

    You evidently came here with some idea of calming the extreme ire and disgust that most people here have toward the outlandish behavior exhibited by some of those closer to your perspective.

    You seem to find it easy to name and deride those that don’t share your perspective. Yet you won’t equally name and deride any of the perpetrators that have aroused such feelings. In fact you even offer praise toward a close associate of theirs, Gavin. Not even a token effort at balance.

    I say poppycock. Your not here to do anything more than find out if the public ire can be assuaged through talk about making things work better in the future. My personal answer is no. Not without swift and decisive action to cut the cancer from the science. That means multiple professional heads must roll. If others in the science see no severe penalties doled out there will be no change.

    Let’s perform a little new day openness test. Alter your head post by replacing the names in the fragment above with GE, Fenton Communications, Al Gore/Joe Romm and request your head post be put up at Real Climate.

  29. Kazinski
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 1:53 AM | Permalink

    I think it is clear that a first step is that Phil Jones step down as Director of CRU. That is essential to restoring public confidence.

    The idea that somebody who has repeatedly conspired to frustrate FOIA requests, and then threatened to “delete the files” rather that release them, as the primary person in authority over a crucial data archive is disturbing.

    There also needs to be a forensic inquiry into the the missing raw CRU data that Jones claimed was lost in 2009. The fact that he explicitly threatened to delete the data in 2005, makes it too suspicious to just take his word:

    The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone.

  30. Marine_Shale
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 1:57 AM | Permalink

    While I don’t very often agree with the scientific conclusions that Dr Curry gleans from her research, I do believe she has an appetite for open and transparent scientific processes.
    While I don’t agree with some of her spin on this issue either I believe that some of the criticism is unfounded. She has espoused her position before and I draw readers attention to a document (based I think on a presentation a few years ago) called “Falling out of the Ivory Tower” which was in her words a “A plea for more active engagement by scientists:”

    Click to access AGU_IntegrityofScience_Curry.pdf

  31. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 2:08 AM | Permalink

    We are way past the claptrap of circling wagons and tribalism. That was evident years ago. The hacked material merely confirms its existence and scope. The lies at Real Climate continue – who bothers any more?

    The key word is “Truth”.

    The second word is ‘Ethics”

    The third words are “Lawful Conduct”.

    Look ahead to the consequences.

    1. Unless it can be shown that the globe is now warmer than it has been in the past, there is no global warming.

    2. Virtually all of us have agreed that climate changes, but many have doubted the extent of the contribution of man.

    3. There have been two main global temperature series used in research papers, CRU and its succesive versions and GISS. Each has adjusted the past record to a considerable degree. In other fields this is named “revisionism”. It is not universally liked. Further, it is admitted that there are serious deficiencies in the CRU data. Read about “Harry” the programmer.

    4. It follows that all authors whose calculations were based on one or other of these time/temperature series will have to recalculate and state if their original findings remain valid; or what the corrected findings are.

    5. However, authors cannot do this until there is a “gold standard” time/temperature series. It appears from the hacked material that it would be impossible to reconstruct the CRU data with confidence.

    Now to the three main criteria.

    Truth. When Dr Phil states “Why should I give away my data…..” he is avoiding the truth. Most of the data were collected by others. In some private emails he has told me that certain data no longer exists. In other places in the hacked material he appears to conflict this. Example after example could be given. They revealed a distinctive pathology some time ago, one that these hacked documents merely confirm.

    Ethics. The manipulation of reviewers and publishers appears many times in the documents, example 1051230500. In ethical scientific circles, one does not behave like this.

    Lawful conduct.In documented cases, the use of data collected by others appears to be in breach of copyright law, particularly its alteration without specific permission and its lack of attribution. When Dr Phil holds meetings to tell staff how to avoid the legal requirements of FOIA, he is probably breaking the law. See email 1228330629. Elsewhere he states that he uses Met Office data when he knows that he should obtain permission to use it.

    This is not like tribalism and circling wagons. It is more like overuse of privilege and conduct suited to the mafia.

  32. KinberleyCornish
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 2:09 AM | Permalink

    Readers normally heed our host’s injunction not to impugn the motives of the Team, but the emails make it clear that we cannot assume good faith on the part of both the Team and of many Team affiliates. The concern is that many of them are political activists, demonstrably not loathe to use Bolshevik methods (character assassination, depriving editors who fail to support the Party line of their livelihoods and dissenting students of qualification) in their pursuit of what is really monolithic Party unity. They see themselves as the vanguard who will save the planet, just as the proletarian vanguard Bolsheviks saw themselves as creating paradise on earth. Like the Bolsheviks, they see the noblity of the end as justifying dubious means to achieve it. Such people are not innocent naifs, but, like the Bolsheviks, dangerous. They have already done harm to innocent people. The explosive power of the emails is that their writers stand condemned out their own typing hands, as it were and our host’s injunction to assume good faith now sounds quaint, and, to my mind, plainly misguided.

  33. Alan Wilkinson
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 2:12 AM | Permalink

    Dr Curry’s comments read like bureaucratic political manoeuvring rather than frank, honest opinion. There is too much that is unbelievably inconsistent – not least the ludicrous implication that Real Climate can function as an honest unbiased scientific broker.

    If she believes what she says I have no confidence in her judgement and competence. If she doesn’t I have little confidence in her courage and principles.

    Some are holding her up as a glimmer of light in the gloom of climate science. That strikes me as pitifully wishful thinking, and as an appalling indictment of the ethical level that science has descended to.

  34. Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 2:16 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for this wonderful post. Great insight for those of us on the sidelines wondering about why political issues sometimes seem to trump the science issues.

  35. The Blissful Ignoramus
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 2:39 AM | Permalink

    It seems few are looking at the CRU documents… all interest seems to be on the emails. This is a shame – many of the documents offer just as damning evidence as the emails.

    Consider “circ_inconsistency.doc”, attributed to Nathan P. Gillet of CRU, dated 3 May 2005, and titled, “Inconsistency between simulated and observed Northern Hemisphere circulation changes.” It clearly states that the eight (8) “state-of-the-art” coupled climate models relied upon for the IPCC 4th Assessment Report fail to match observed data:

    “In recent decades winter sea level pressure has decreased over the Arctic and increased in the Northern Hemisphere subtropics, with an associated strengthening of midlatitude westerly winds1. This trend has previously been shown to be inconsistent with simulated internal climate variability and with the simulated response to greenhouse gases and sulphate aerosol changes2,3, but other climate influences have been suggested as a possible reason for the discrepancy3. Here, for the first time, we compare observed Northern Hemisphere sea level pressure trends with those simulated in response to all the major climate forcings in eight state-of-the-art coupled climate models over the past 50 years, and find that the observed trend is inconsistent both with simulated internal variability and with the simulated response to combined human and natural climate influences.”


    “We compare the observed trend with output from eight coupled climate models prepared for the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (UKMO-HadCM3, CCSM3, PCM, GFDL-CM2.0, GFDL-CM2.1, MIROC3.2(medres), GISS-EH, and GISS-ER).”


    Overall we find that the observed Northern Hemisphere circulation trend is inconsistent with simulated internal variability, and that it is also inconsistent with the simulated response to anthropogenic and natural forcing in eight coupled climate models. This is therefore an aspect of large scale climate change for which current climate models are demonstrably inconsistent with observations: If we can understand and correct this bias this will lead to improvements in predictions of future climate change.”

    (emphasis added by this blogger)

  36. AndyL
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 2:52 AM | Permalink

    As a long-term lurker on CA, I’m keen to hear the opinion of some of the regulars on this site, who don’t seem to have commented yet.

    It appears to me that Judith Curry is the first person inside the scientific community to have written something about the long-term implications of this episode, and what needs to be changed. Her suggestions are all in the spirit of CA. For this stand she will certainly receive immense criticism from the other ‘tribes’.

    This post should be the start of the way out of this mess, and Dr Curry deserves congratulations.

  37. The Blissful Ignoramus
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 2:54 AM | Permalink

    Further on the CRU documents – has anyone checked out the tellingly titled “Extreme2100.pdf”? All looks suspiciously like cherry-picked “Yamal ‘extreme’ tree rings”, to a mere ignoramus like myself.

  38. TerryMN
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 3:05 AM | Permalink

    It seems I’ve hit the wordpress moderation filter, for using a word that rhymes with trap… I’ll try again, using more genial wording.

    Gavin Schmidt’s current efforts at realclimate are a good step in the right direction of increasing transparency.

    Sorry to be blunt, but that is the largest load of bovine excrement I’ve seen since I worked at a dairy farm. (RIP, Walter Wallin).

  39. Jim
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 3:05 AM | Permalink

    One thing that may be relevant to this issue.

    The people in the emails are very much public figures
    who represent the face of climate science.

    When reads the abstracts of many papers, there are
    a lot bland non-sensational papers which do not
    make strong statements about AGW.

    However, many of the most prominent public figures
    have been climate scientists willing to make extreme
    positions. Unfortunately, these public figures are
    being used as the yardstick by which climate science
    is judged. Maybe climate science deserves this; I
    will not give my opinion.

    I have a hypothesis that can be used to check whether
    Mann, Jones are worried about the attack dogs. Search
    the emails for the name of one of the attack dogs, or
    search for McIntyre. Count the number of occurences.
    I suspect that, Mann, Jones are not really worried about
    overtly political attacks as much as scientific critiques
    that make political critiques possible.

    I wish to make one comment on the quote

    “I have received precisely one invitation to present to a climate science seminar at a university – from Judy Curry at Georgia Tech. and this happened when it was very unpopular to do so and she received much criticism for the invitation. I was treated very cordially by Judy and the folks at Georgia Tech — please keep this in mind”

    While this quote is very supportive of Dr Curry, it is not very
    complimentary to the rest of the discipline. We have an individual,
    McIntyre, who is mentioned more that 100 times directly in the
    emails of some of the most prominent individuals in the area.
    But, who has only ever been invited once to a University.

  40. Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 3:08 AM | Permalink

    Lots of Goodness to Judy for this openness, at least as a start to the various face-saving exercises (on the part of many people on many ‘sides’) to get back to doing proper work. I too think it’s down to tribalism


    of course the problem with being open is that you get to be criticised, which is why it’s so hard to do. And my criticism here is heaving the blame for that insular tribalism at ‘unscientific attacks’ by Big Bad People.

    When science is attacked, respond with science. Otherwise we can’t tell the difference between charlatans and scientists.

  41. Jim
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 3:12 AM | Permalink

    I just did a count.
    The name Morano occurred three times in the files.

  42. Sylvain
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 3:16 AM | Permalink

    Prof. Curry,

    I couldn’t agree more.

    I’m a skeptic, and two of the reasons for my is the lack of transparency and tribalism. The constant attack on the credibility and person of Steve McIntyre lead me to believe that either they knew that their research had flaws, or at least that it was not solid, or they were not confident in their result. The difference being that one shows intention and the other doesn’t.

    Although I recently learned that such attitude is far from being limited to climate science. But none of these ideologic fight really bring any good to their field.

  43. MattA
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 3:32 AM | Permalink

    Bob you are going off half cocked.

    Judith is a very reasonable and evidence based researcher.

    She was the first mainstream climate scientist I know of to endorse Steve quest for openess in data and methods.

    She also epresses grave concern over the tribalism in some areas of climate research and in praticular the seeming yet unseemly influence that a small group had on the work of other and the peer reveiw process in general.

    • Bob Koss
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 7:27 AM | Permalink

      MattA, you are certainly entitled to your opinion. I just don’t share it.

      Question #34 other page shortened for brevity.
      Most academics are very possessive of the details of their programming methods and datasets because of the amount of work that goes into producing them. Would you be an exception?

      Her response in #60.
      In terms of my own publications, i am including as supplementary material any new data set that we create that is used in our analyses. My web site is badly out of date (victim of budget cuts), but our most recent paper by Belanger et al. on hurricane induced tornadoes does include the data as supplemental material.

      I believe she will follow through with that. But, why didn’t she answer with less precision? Saying something like. Other than current work product I intend make every effort to keep all other past products freely available.

      I become skeptical and irritable when people are too precise and wordy when I’m expecting a straightforward answer.

      Until told otherwise, I refuse to believe all her other past work product is useless to others. Sounds to me like she is indicating she’ll participate in the future, but dole out past information only with her personal approval. That’s what happens now. Isn’t that part of what needs changing?

      Claiming a good attitude in the future can’t match demonstrating a good attitude now.

  44. Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 3:36 AM | Permalink

    Thank you Dr. Curry, this is a wonderful post. Many of us on the sidelines remain confused by how the tribal thinking seems to poison much of the dialog in climate science, and you’ve offered great insight into why.

  45. Sören Floderus
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 3:44 AM | Permalink

    Could not one act of CRU cooperation be: to summon the owners of those historic ground-temperature data, given any and various concern on IPR, with the goal of releasing raw data once and for all, to restart anew common more transparent raw-data processing and analysis?

    • David L. Hagen
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 3:45 PM | Permalink

      And loose all competitive advantage when seeking grants? Surely you jest!

  46. Z
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 3:46 AM | Permalink

    hi Steve,

    Is the Mann uncertainty doc interesting or irrelevant?

    A search of an unzipped version (mbh98-osborn) uncovers CENSORED directories – is this more than what you previously discovered on the FTP site?

    Steve: Looks the same but it needs to be checked.

  47. Ted
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 3:49 AM | Permalink

    Dr. Curry,

    While I don’t agree with everything you say, I do applaud not only your willingness to engage in Steve’s forum, but also that you recognize the deeply important work that he has undertaken.

    I’ve been reading Steve’s work for some time now, but I’ve just made my first donation to support his site. It wasn’t much – just $20 – as I am a student. But I think anyone can afford $20 without too much trouble. May I suggest – to you and to any others that agree – that you also show support in this way, if you truly feel what he does is useful and necessary.

    The ‘tip jar’ is located on the main site ( I hope that others will respond as well … Steve deserves our support.


  48. Sören Floderus
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 3:55 AM | Permalink

    ..and maybe then even some of the data described as lost might re-surface?

  49. IanH
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 4:02 AM | Permalink

    Thank you Dr Curry for your input, it really is appreciated, and I recall the flack you received after inviting Steve to speak. This whole mess goes back to a point made by Steve on many occasions, the collection and processing of the temperature record should not be vested in an institution that has an agenda. What has been created is an attempt to prove that the earth has never been warmer, when there is ample evidence (many not through proxy) that show the earth has been as warm and indeed warmer in the past. So lets move on, stop Gavin and his tribe from faking the science and just throw out the entire IPCC chapter. We can then get back to proper engineering quality study of the forcings and create a proper model of the atmosphere, which whilst surely complicated has been made more complicated by Hansen and his ilk creating a false prospectus. I see that PJ’s latest rubbish is to disprove that the UHI of London has not increased since 1900, how stupid is that, you don’t need to be a scientist to know not to even go down that route.

  50. Robin Melville
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 4:14 AM | Permalink

    I’m grateful to Dr. Curry for her courageous intervention. As an interested observer of climate science from another field (Public Health) I’m acutely aware of the historical processes she describes. The effect they have had upon the more recent “activism” of scientists who feed into policy are all too obvious.

    The legacy of the postwar corporate distortions of science led by “big oil”, “big tobacco” and “pharma” seems to have led a generation of scientists to believe that fighting fire with fire is ok. The trouble with this is that their position starts with a world view, often with the best motives (protecting the environment, saving lives), which then frames the science which they produce and allow to be published in “respectable” (ie. “on message”) journals. There are many similar examples from my own field of distortion and suppression of perfectly good science which “sends the wrong message”. Science should not be about messages, it’s about getting as close to the truth as we, in our limited human way, can.

    The loser from all this is obviously science itself. Not that there was ever a golden age — Newton and Fleming stand out as being particular bastards to colleagues who disagreed with them, and they are by no means alone in this. However, the current trend of gaining policy leverage by declaring imminent catastrophe strikes me as being particularly destructive to the long-term reputation of our endeavour. Despite the various media prefacing these (almost weekly) claims with a breathless “scientists say…” one gets a strong impression that the public are becoming more and more sceptical.

    I suppose my main issue with current climatological hypotheses is not that these practitioners have attempted to excise the historically irrefutable Mediaeval Warm Period in order to create the impression of “unprecedented warming” (although this speaks volumes as to their motivation and concomitant scientific “blinkers”) but that the panic itself is derived solely upon the contention that warmer inevitably means catastrophic. This is turn based upon, what seems to a relatively well-educated outsider, highly speculative computer modelling.

    One can hardly disagree with Dr. Curry that greater transparency is needed in the derivation of published results would be a good thing (hardly revolutionary, I had though this was de rigeur in peer-reviewed publication). A certain moderation of the tone of debate would also be welcome. After all, despite some of the more bizarre postings I see, this is hardly a left versus right or “free market” versus “communism” issue. It speaks to our long-term viability as a species. Finally, the division of the field into “good science” (ie. on message) and bad (ie. “denialist” — a spectacularly 1950’s Stalinist-style term) should stop. The science should stand on its merits as science. If the people at CRU and the other leading centres learn anything from this debacle it should be that.

  51. tunka
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 4:15 AM | Permalink

    A brilliant and courageous analysis by Professor Curry.

    The lack of transparency and the tribalism with a ”circling of wagons strategy”, in the way that Professor Curry so well describes it, is certainly a pattern of behavior that is detrimental to all research.

    Professor Curry does however bypass one extremely important effect of this behavioral pattern, and that is the effect this behavior has on the researchers lower in the hierarchy. One in hundred researchers has the integrity of Professor Curry. After all, when you see that researchers, who publish work that can be “used” by skeptics, cannot find publications for publishing, or even get fired, you understand the risks. And when you see who is getting the big funds for research, you understand that integrity does not pay off.

    The integrity of the researchers in an institution, and even across institutions, is extremely dependant of the demonstrated integrity of the leadership. They are the role model for young researchers. The situation described by Dr Curry has lasted for many years. Therefore, the institutions involved are compromised.

    Knut Witberg, Norway

  52. Robinson
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 4:20 AM | Permalink

    “Gavin Schmidt’s current efforts at realclimate are a good step in the right direction of increasing transparency.”

    Really? (I have a permanently raised eyebrow)

  53. dearieme
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 4:34 AM | Permalink

    Nice try, but it’s all too late. I don’t suppose that I’m the only bloke from a different scientific discipline who thinks that little would be lost if the whole of “climate science” were binned for a generation to allow a draining of the cesspool.

  54. Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 4:40 AM | Permalink

    Whether politically motived, industry-funded or not, the skeptics were proven correct to be skeptical of the hurricane-warming tribalism which Judith was involved with. The reason there is less biased science now in that field is quite simply that nature didn’t cooperate with the theory. This should have been a lesson that skepticism is not to be regarded as “disinformation” but as the more reasonable fact-based perspective.

    In fact the skeptical scientists have not yet been proven wrong in anything – they have merely been sidelined, ignored, defamed as industry hacks or swift-boated by post hoc adjustments of data and incompetent anti-science statistical nonsense such as the Santer et al. 2008 travesty – which was inspired by a particularly illogical webpost by Schmidt; the apparent focus and fount of all climate hand-waves.

    It’s the anti-industry academic elitism that really irks though. Industry ultimately funds all this science don’t forget! The only ones in this debate I can respect are those who admit the limitations of the current science, don’t jump to premature conclusions, don’t employ blatant circular reasoning in the gathering of “evidence” and who are glad to say “y’know we were wrong and you guys were right – so thanks”. As welcome as her belated tribalist confession is; all of that is still lacking from Ms Curry and much more so in the case of Schmidt, Mann, Santer, Karl, Jones etc, etc, all of whom seem hell-bent on crippling international commerce purely to further their own careers. Trenberth though I still have hopes for: He was one of the worst of the link-a-natural-weather-event-to-global-warming types but he seems to be reforming, if slowly.

    Let the chips fall where they may but if this doesn’t lead to massive re-adjustment of scientific research funding and proper peer- review standards then we haven’t progressed. Science, like industry and finance, clearly cannot police itself.

  55. Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 4:49 AM | Permalink

    Judith Curry,
    while you make some good points, you also spout some absolute rubbish. You say twice that Gavin Schmidts ‘explanations’ at RC at helpful. By doing so you further encourage the spin and tribalism. No ‘explanations’ are required. The emails speak volumes for themselves.

    What ‘explanation’ is needed for Jones saying he would rather delete the data rather than release it under FOI?

    How does an ‘explanation’ or ‘clarification’ help deal with the comments about hiding the decline? Or the comments about getting skeptical scientists ‘ousted’? Or ‘redefining peer-reviewed literature’ to keep things out of AR4?

  56. EddieO
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 5:16 AM | Permalink

    You surely cannot be serious about Gavin’s adoption of a “transparency” at RC? I for one have been “disappeared” from RC over the weekend for daring to highlight his complicity in this affair and I am sure dozens of other posters have been treated similarly.
    As an experiment to prove my point why don’t you try posting anonymously at RC in a critical manner? Gavin only lets through criticisms that he thinks he can counter effectively so that he can present the illusion of transparency.

    By the way thanks for contributing to this fantastic blog.

  57. Hoi Polloi
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 5:23 AM | Permalink

    “The HADCRU hack has substantially increased the relevance of Climateaudit, WUWT, etc. The quickest way for HADCRU et al. to put Climateaudit and the rest of this tribe out of business is make all climate data and metadata public and make every effort to improve the datasets based on all feedback that you receive.”

    Two complete opposite positions in one sentence; “substantially increased the relevence” and “to put Climateaudit and the rest of this tribe out of business”…. What is it Dr.Curry? Still reluctant to discuss climate science with “non-academics” at the end?

    Open discussions with skeptical “non-academics” by a large group of climatologists, dendro’s etc. will be seen as a massive loss of face, especially by the most influencial group of AGW advocates, after all the innuendo, smears, name-calling etc. being poured out over the “denialists” the last decade. And will the skeptics receive a comparable amount of funds in order to prevent the Climatatii to perform climate activism instead SCIENCE?

    There’s a lot of personal and emotional barriers to be taken down until science will happen the way Dr.Curry sees it in the above message.

  58. Ronaldo
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 5:30 AM | Permalink

    Professor Curry’s argument is that once all data-sets and metadata are available, blogs such as CA and WUWT will become irrelevant (see her penultimate para.) The analysis that Dr McIntyre has carried out demonstrates quite clearly that when such data are available, much of the modelling based upon the data is seriously flawed. Hardly an irrelevant contribution!

  59. SamG
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 5:32 AM | Permalink

    Let the face saving begin…………………..

  60. dearieme
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 5:34 AM | Permalink

    On the comments thread on the old site: “it reads as a partisan, albeit well worded attempt to defuse and trivialize the issue.” On the contrary, I think it reads as a job application, an attempt to get a post as one of the cleaners of the stables, rather than being one of the pieces of dung being cleaned out.

    • Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 5:56 AM | Permalink

      Spot on – and to be honest, perfectly understandible self-preservation.

      I imagine there will be many others who are going to start snuggling the fence, before swapping sides.

      I’m still in shock over the HARRY_READ_ME file. Just on its own it blows the whole thing wide open. It’s obvious from the language/frustration that it’s a dog’s dinner and they couldn’t replicate their own data without tweaking it/making it up/leaving it out.

      And these jokers are claiming to be accurate to fractions of a degree?

  61. The Ego Has Landed
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 5:49 AM | Permalink

    What is clear from ClimateGate is that internet blogs and specialised news sites have much more influence in informing the public than the mainstream media.

    As for climate science it has recieved a hammer blow, one that will take many years to recover from.

  62. Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 5:50 AM | Permalink

    I wonder if Judith would refuse industry funding. Or would she take it and imagine her scientific search for truth would be unaffected by it unlike the others that she maligns. Or is it more likely she’d only be offered funding based either on her published point of view or on her open-mindedness, but not to disprove something she adamantly believed. It’s a point to ponder, especially if a climate science rout is in the offing.

  63. Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 5:55 AM | Permalink

    I take little encouragement from these comments, which if I was asked to paraphrase would be “just a little local difficulty”.

    Clarification and context is required by those whose comments and intentions have now been revealed.

    But Schmidt, Jones et. al. nor anyone else in the “climate science” community have no place in deciding what this all means. That is for a wider audience. That is for the broad electorate of citizens who would be required to live under the policies that this field of “science” is trying to advocate.

    This is the final transformation of the entire issue away from science . We no longer know if we can trust the science, nor those at the heart of it and possibly centrally controlling it.

    I want no more “explanation” from any “climate scientist” about what this means for the hypothesis being expoiunded, or the policies or politics being pursued. I am outraged and want them ringfenced away from any influence – on journals, on policy, on anything beyond producing opinion neutral research.

    I doubt I am alone in my outrage. The entire community of “climate science” should front up with some mea culpa and genuine willingness to reform their behaviour and importantly relinquish control over anything beyond their academic towers. If it was up to me grant funding of a number of academics would be suspended immediately.

    Irony of ironies, all I see to date from this motley cabal is denial.

  64. John Bowman
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 6:12 AM | Permalink

    I am not a scientist so I live in the real World. I can tell you that when “tribes” gather and practice to dissimulate it is not a question of whether they are hiding something which either is an error, or lie, it is a question of how serious the error/lie is.

    snip – I realize that it is going to be difficult not to vent. But let’s still try to adhere to blog policies.

  65. Mike Simons
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 6:24 AM | Permalink

    As a physical scientist (chemist) I find all this concealment stuff baffling. In proper science, you publish your work in sufficient detail for others to be able to verify or disprove it. That’s how science works, and the presumption is if someone’s hiding something, then they’ve got something to hide.

    The issues here are as big as they get: either saving the planet, or the most prodigious misapplication of resources ever proposed. Either way, mankind needs to be guided by the proper and rigorous application of science, which of course means laying it all out in the open.

    The fact that the global temperatures have not actually been rising over the last decade, while perhaps embarrassing to some, suggests that there is time to do the science properly, and not be railroaded into over-hasty action.

    We all owe a big debt of gratitude to Steve McIntyre for his incredible persistence in dragging these malpractices into public view.

  66. Orson
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 6:33 AM | Permalink

    DR Williams writes above:
    “The term “courageous” might possibly have applied a week ago–or a year ago, when most of it could and should have been written–today it does not. It looks much more like “denial and damage control”, which along with “disinformation” form the 3 D’s which are the basis for the effort over at realclimate.”


    The chance for climate science to get its act together was there in the sum,mer of 2006. Instead, the wagons had already been circled, and even harsh bjudgments and recommendations of the Wegman Report were denied or covered up.

    We are here again and in a worse way because the culture at CUR and the “The Hockey Team” was already unreformable, as the Briffa data coverup GOING BACK NINE YEARS (!!!) was already underway. A culture of corruption? Sadly, as Time Ball notes in his cordettereport interview, true. (SEE WUWT.)

    In a lecture Richard Lindzen gave in Washington, 29 Oct, (SEE Lubos Motl’s thereferenceframe), after giving examples from MIT and elsewhere, he states straightforwardly during the Q&A that climate science is corrupt. Corrupt, Judith. An opinion of your field rendered by a peer.

    And now it is shown to be true, as Dr. Ball grimly states.

    This is a sad time not just for climate science but for science itself, says Ball. I think Judith is missing the wake.

  67. WWRTC
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 6:33 AM | Permalink

    Dr. Curry exhibits most of the traits that she describes as Tribalism in this mea culpa….too little too late imo. One time credit for being hospitable to Steve McIntyre @GT. Let’s hear from the other Alarmist Tribe Members and have some explanations as to the intent of their actions on Peer Review, FOI, PR, Gov and Non-Gov Collusion , etc.
    Time to open up everything in the Taxpayer Funded Org….$20M of our money to CRE!!!

  68. Mike Simons
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 6:46 AM | Permalink

    re my earlier submission, perhaps rephrase the last sentence as follows:

    We all owe a big debt of gratitude to Steve McIntyre for his incredible persistence in helping to drag these issues into public view.

  69. bender
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 6:48 AM | Permalink

    Dear Dr. Curry,
    Thank you for the contribution. Would you be willing to tell me why you think Lindzen’s anti-alarmism is unwarranted? Specifically: what is wrong with his idea (and evidence) that clouds are a strong negative feedback that partially (or even largely) offset the positive feedback associated with water vapor? Would you be willing to engage on the broader question of GCMs and the role of faith in their structure and parameterization? If not, could you briefly explain why not? (I’m looking for an essay of some depth, not a one-liner.)

  70. TomVonk
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 6:53 AM | Permalink

    Advocacy is expected on topics of high public relevance, and lots of noise will be generated. That is why assessments such as the IPCC are so important, and why it is imperative that the process be as clean and transparent as possible.

    Did I read IPCC ?
    J.Curry you will gain much in credibility if you study the history of the IPCC .
    IPCC is a politically created , politically dominated and politically funded lobby .
    Those people VOTE about what should be written !
    Lead authors citing and reviewing their own papers , dissent repressed , character assassination , “there is no debate anymore” statements .
    Clear politically defined line which , with no possibility of mistake , directs and promotes only opinions that support this political line .
    All that is what defines IPCC .
    Transparence and IPCC are totally antinomic terms .
    Transparence would mean death of IPCC .
    Did you read Landsea’s open letter ? Lindzen’s analysis ? Allegre’s articles ? Courtney’s papers ?
    Do you seriously believe that the IPCC politicians are going to commit harakiri and allow SCIENTISTS to emit doubts about the “urgency of action” ?
    Is the coming Copenhague meeting just a product of our imagination ?
    I do not really expect that you are willing to answer these questions .
    For me the most damning document was the e-mail of Greenpeace to Jones .
    This is a gang buddy talking to another gang buddy .
    “Find us support preferably from small island states” , what a natural service to ask from a scientist !
    Do you harbour any sympathy whatsoever for the targets , methods , funding and ideologies of Greenpeace and their ilk (WWF etc) ?
    Note that this is no news for people familiar with these issues , it only confirms what everybody knew and what some wrote already years ago .
    IPCC is not and cannot be a scientific independent body .
    Best thing that could happen to the scientific world would be to create a true independent SCIENTIFIC assessment body and leave in the IPCC (if the politicians do not want to disband it) only those like Hansen who went so far beyond mental sanity (“death trains” indeed !) that there is no way back for them anymore .
    Like many posters I can’t decide if you are only naive and don’t see that your “tribe” is ALREADY biased and politically manipulated or if the “tribe” decided to send you on the front because you are one of the few who still have some credibility among the “skeptics” .
    The only thing that would interest me is which of both is true .

  71. mondo
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 6:54 AM | Permalink

    Edrowland: You say: “So the theory is: facing the prospect of an imminent FOIA release, somebody inside the Kabal took it upon themselves to stage a “hack”, in order to reduce the impact of such a release through an FOIA disclosure.”

    Going further with this, you might do this on the advice of your PR firm, coz it makes you seem the victim. You could have the ‘stars’ (Phil and Mike) express rage about having their private e:mails hacked, probably by interests associated with the ‘denialists’. You could have Gavin taking heat at RC, dealing with comments raised, “explaining” the most embarrassing comments. You would get friendly journos to say that there is heaps of other evidence for AGW – this material is not crucial. You could have RayPH do a featured post at Dot Earth, castigating the ‘deniers’ for being so desparate that they would engage in such low tactics as ‘hacking’. It would raise questions as to whether the information was genuine, and whether any of the content had been tampered with. It would give the MSM good reason to exercise caution on what they say, using phrases such as “skeptics claim that”.

    Sounds plausible to me. And a very clever way to minimise the damage compared with what might have happened had they simply published the FOI response in the normal way.


    • Raven
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 7:37 AM | Permalink

      It is completely implausible because it would mean the FOI would legally require that they deliver material to steve. Sending him a rejection and posting it on the Internet would mean they broke the law and could be charged. A huge risk for little gain.

  72. snowmaneasy
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 7:03 AM | Permalink

    Re: Craig LOEHLE…posts #34 AND 97
    A really pertinent point brought up by Craig… why does the “Team” feel so threatened by guys like SM etc…and yes the “team” are not in the Feynman class…

    • stephen richards
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 7:18 AM | Permalink

      vent vent vent. Feynman !! These sc!!! are not fit to tie his laces. and quite what F would think of the Royal Soc latest outbust god only knows.

  73. Judith Curry
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 7:07 AM | Permalink

    Bender, over the xmas holidays when i have some free time, i would love do do a thread on water vapor and cloud feddbacks, including the tropical cloud issues raised by Lindzen. This topic is smack in the middle of my expertise

    • bender
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 9:19 AM | Permalink

      I will very much look forward to that. Thank you for not dodging, or worse, replying with a one-liner.
      (P.S. I noted the smiley. The truth is that no academic reviewer has the time to audit. Look at poor Harry’s effort to audit the CRU code. What academic reviewer is ever going to proof a mess like that? The fact is MBH98 passed review because it was so complex that it required audit, NOT peer-review.)

    • maksimovich
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 2:15 AM | Permalink

      Dr Curry.

      Anastassia Makierieva (who has commentated here ) is the co-author of 2 papers that challenge our understanding of Water vapour and the interelationship with say vortex formation and tornados , hurricanes etc.

      This seems to be overlooked and attracted great controversy in the open peer review (acpd) (a previous paper).

      The subsequent publication of both papers in Physics A ,allow for both discussion and open criticism (if there is any),say with yourself and your colleagues,.and AM (who is willing to participate ) This would be a good example of how science can move forward and the transparency of a general debate.

      Condensation-induced dynamic gas fluxes in a mixture of condensable
      and non-condensable gases
      A.M. Makarieva ∗, V.G. Gorshkov

      It is shown that condensation of water vapor produces dynamic instability of atmospheric air and induces air circulation that is characterized by observable air velocities and persists independently of the magnitude of horizontal temperature gradients.

      Condensation-induced kinematics and dynamics of cyclones, hurricanes
      and tornadoes
      A.M. Makarieva ∗, V.G. Gorshkov

      A universal equation is obtained for air pressure and wind velocity in cyclones, hurricanes and tornadoes as dependent on the distance from the center of the considered wind pattern driven by water vapor condensation. The obtained theoretical estimates of the horizontal profiles of air pressure and wind velocity, eye and wind wall radius in hurricanes and tornadoes and maximum values of the radial, tangential and vertical velocity components are in good agreement with empirical evidence

  74. Judith Curry
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 7:11 AM | Permalink

    My smiley-faced sentiment about putting climateaudit out of business seems to have been badly misinterpreted. I really like climateaudit, its the only climate blog that i post on at this point, and SteveM is a true pioneer in actually doing science in the blogosphere. From the perspectives of the tribe that really doesn’t like climateaudit, who would like to see climateaudit disappear, the public release of these emails has backfired. If they wanted to decrease the relevance of SteveM, they should have given him the data. Now after all this, his relevance is surely increased.

    • pippo
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 9:52 AM | Permalink

      Dear Dr Curry,

      I am an academic myself (economics) and have been studying for quite a while the implications of AGW. When I started, my attitude was to trust the scientists and, taking what they claimed as a working hypothesis, deploy my expertise to focus on the costs/benefits of the consequences of AGW and the possible actions society can take to adapt.

      At some point, I decided to test the working hypothesis and take a closer look at the science — more out of curiosity than anything else. It is an understatement to say that what I saw left me quite… puzzled. The questions were always the same. How do they know that? How does that claim follows from that premise and/or data? I thus looked more carefully. I read books, articles and whatever other material I could find. In the process I came across blogs like CA, WUWT and others.

      CA, in particular, struck a cord because I could not understand how some of the papers used statistics. I could recognize the names of some techniques and concepts but how the papers actually used them was puzzling to say the least. When I read CA, in contrast, I actually understand what it says and I recognize the proper use of the techniques and concepts that I use in my work everyday.

      I give you this little bit of background because I sympathize with your attempt to help the general public put this revelations in some context that makes sense.
      I welcome such attempts by experts and wish to see more of them.

      There is, however, one thing that I hope future contributors like yourself will keep more clearly in mind: A relatively large fraction of the public that is paying attention to this saga is highly intelligent, educated and has expertise very relevant to some of the issues that it touches (see for example the commentary of experts in data management). Many, if not all, of these people understand exactly what the leaked/hacked emails and documents mean, and trying to explain that away is going to be hard if not impossible. For example, I am a professor at a major research university and, based on my own several years of experience publishing in major journals, it is crystal clear to me that the tribe blatantly corrupted the review process. To my ears, therefore, lamentations that Mr McIntyre does not follow “procedure” sound like lamentations that they — the tribe — cannot control him as they control others.

      I suspect that some of the less benevolent comments to your post are due to the fact that people expect — perhaps demand — a good deal of introspection and self-reflection by those who comment from the “inside” and if they don’t see it they react harshly.

      I think that communication will be more effective if the scientists leave out remarks — like the one you made about industry-funded attacks as the motivation for the tribe circling the wagons — that sound editorializing, smack of prejudgment and not only add nothing to our understanding of their argument but distract our attention from it. I, for example, cannot match that account of events to what I know from my own experience with the field. On the other hand, I don’t think that that was the point you were trying to make and I am thus more than happy to dismiss those remarks and focus on the rest of your contribution. Not all readers have the same attitude, however, and it is important that scientists realize that what they think they are saying in their writing is not necessarily what others are reading in that writing.

      I also think that communication will be more effective if scientists keep firmly in mind that the people who are following this saga understand the difference between publicly funded scientist who influence policy making and individuals like Mr McIntyre. It is perhaps understendable that some of the comments to contributions like yours confuse the two roles due to the ignorance or bad faith of the commenter. The scientists who contribute to the discussion, however, are held to a higher standard precisely because due to their being experts their opinion carries more weight. I think you understand the difference and have tried to say so in your post. I encourage you to make it even clearer in your future contributions.

      Finally, I think that communication will be more effective if you and your fellow scientists drop the distinction believers/non-believers or non-skeptics/skeptics from your contributions. Is is not useful in organizing the discussion. In fact, if you want to communicate with people like me it is most likely to derail the conversation as I count myself neither a believer nor a non-believer. I simply see myself as a highly educated, intelligent person who wants to understand. As such, I see skepticism as essential to understanding since to me it simply means asking questions when I don’t understand.

      I hope you find these thoughts useful and look forward to your future posts.

      • Reader
        Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 3:32 PM | Permalink

        I fully agree with pippo’s point in the last paragraph. It’s pure political tactics to call people ‘ deniers, skeptics, believers, alarmist, etc’. There will be a political step in the future regarding climate science. But for now, it’s better for focus on the science, the conduct of scientific research, the ethnics and issues with all those. Leave the blaming, finger-pointing aside for just a minute (hopefully, forever. but that is asking for too much).

      • stephen richards
        Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 7:22 AM | Permalink

        Succinct and to the point. Thanks Prof

    • Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 10:31 AM | Permalink

      Judith Curry,

      Thank you for providing a scientific perspective to this controversy, and for highlighting that if there is any tribalism in climate science, that it’s a (logical) reaction to the effective disinformation campaigns out there. If my own work would be abused and twisted the way climate science is, I sure would be angry, and react defensively as a result.

      I am a little surprised to read that you apparently think that CA would be out of business if the data would be released. The crowd that is cheering McIntyre on would never be satisfied, no matter how much data, code, fieldnotes and emails would be be released. Even in the latest Briffa controversy, it appeared that mcIntyre had the data all along! (but then the damage to the reputation of Briffa in particular and climate science in general had already occurred)

      Much more damage to the credibility of climate science is done by those trying to twist things out of context, trying to make mountains out of molehills, than to the defensive (re-)actions of individual scientists. That said, I do think that it is wise for the scientific community to also look at potential “lessons learned” from this episode, and you offer a valid and well thought through perspective (even though I don’t agree with everything you wrote).

  75. EW
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 7:25 AM | Permalink

    Dr Curry,

    thank you for venturing into the “wolf den”. In your posting, however, I lacked a comment concerning the approach of the “Team” towards peer-rewiew process, i.e., attacking any paper that they somehow perceived as diverging from the consensus.
    What was your feeling, when their first reaction was “How could that get published” followed by a flurry of mails how to write ASAP a critical comment or counter-paper and inform the media how flawed that paper is? Or what about discussing how to best reject an unsuitable manuscript?

    Or what about the urgent need to deal in 2009 with 4 years old paper (Moberg et al 05) because, as Mann writes: “The Moberg paper (2005 Nature) is used by the skeptics as evidence that most of recent warming could still be natural. Has anyone published a critique/criticism of this?”

  76. TJA
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 7:32 AM | Permalink

    ali baba,

    It seems like Briffa wanted to respond to the email of Dr Keiller, and was advised against it by Phil Jones. Dr Keiller is a plant scientist who has expertise in the subject of tree rings.


    There is a lot more there on CA now. [I’m pretty sure CA is Climate Audit, a web site where McIntyre posts.] I would be very wary about responding to this person now having seen what McIntyre has put up.

    You and Tim talked about Yamal. Why have the bristlecones come in now. [1]

    This is what happens – they just keep moving the goalposts. Maybe get Tim to redo OB2006 without a few more series.


    But no, ali, Jones was not attempting to hide anything. Briffa comes off in this as somebody who wants to do science right, and is being manipulated by Jones, if you ask me.

    • None
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

      Speaking as a definite “luke-warmer-at-best”, the email of Jones containing the Dr Keiller post really made me cringe. Not because of Jones’ comments, but because of Keiller’s.

      I could only imagine Keiller sitting at the keyboard frothing at the mouth as he posted because his points are so rambled. What was under discussion at CA was the almost certain late 20thC invalidity of the Yamal chronology, and also Steve’s comment that it had been in a number of proxy reconstructions. For Keiller to email Jones ranting about the “random data input” problem with MBH98 (a study neither Briffa or Jones had anything to do with, Yamal was not even used as a component chronology in it) is just a classic rant material. What did problems with Briffa’s Yamal data have to do with Graybill’s bristlecones, and what on earth kind of response did Keiller expect ?

      It’s a bit like the crazed posts at RC, where green loonies post such ridiculous misunderstood nonsense that you wonder why on earth Gavin would let it through – it makes them look like idiots. That’s the way I felt on reading the Jones email concerning Keiller. I actually felt sorry for them. Briefly.

      • bender
        Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 9:56 AM | Permalink

        Keiller’s points are “rambled”? How so? Did you read his first letter?


        Dear Professor Briffa, my apologies for contacting you directly, particularly since I hear that you are unwell. However the recent release of tree ring data by CRU has prompted much discussion and indeed disquiet about the methodology and conclusions of a number of key papers by you and co-workers. As an environmental plant physiologist, I have followed the long debate starting with Mann et al (1998) and through to Kaufman et al (2009). As time has progressed I have found myself more concerned with the whole scientific basis of dendroclimatology. In particular;
        1) The appropriateness of the statistical analyses employed
        2) The reliance on the same small datasets in these multiple studies
        3) The concept of “teleconnection” by which certain trees respond to the
        “Global Temperature Field”, rather than local climate
        4) The assumption that tree ring width and density are related to temperature
        in a linear manner.
        Whilst I would not describe myself as an expert statistician, I do use inferential statistics routinely for both research and teaching and find difficulty in understanding the statistical rationale in these papers. As a plant physiologist I can say without hesitation that points 3 and 4 do not agree with the accepted science. There is a saying that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof”. Given the scientific, political and economic importance of these papers, further detailed explanation is urgently required.
        Yours sincerely,
        Dr. Don Keiller.

        END QUOTE

        His second letter refers to the range of papers from MBH98 toKaufman et al 2009 (including Mann et al 2008), and so the California pines are in play. He asks:

        Are the reconstructions sensitive to the removal of either the Yamal data
        and Strip pine bristlecones, either when present singly or in combination?
        END QUOTE

        Even if Briffa has never used the pines, he ought to be able to speak intelligibly on them.

        So, sorry, I don’t see a “rant”. I see some very good questions. Kudos to Dr. Keiller. He only forgot to ask about the confounding effect of moisture – a problem very well known to Dr. Briffa.

        Jones’s advice is deplorable. Keiller is a PhD plant physiologist. Why does he not deserve a reply?

      • None
        Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 4:57 AM | Permalink

        The storm concerning Briffa was due to the new information on the dodgy constituents of the Yamal chronology. You can’t expect to email him in the middle of all that demanding a ground up explanation of the basis of dendrology (or whatever its called) or teleconnection (which has nothing whatsoever to do with the invalidity of Yamal per se) etc. I mean, why not just throw in a demand for a justification and recalculation of Ammann and Wahls verification statistics too ? They are all extremely valid criticisms or weak spots in established climate science but are rather independent of the issue at hand.

        To then send ANOTHER email where he asks Briffa to give him a rundown of all reconstructions using bristlecones AND/OR Yamal, and demanding to know if their removal “either singly or in combination” affects the sensitivity of the reconstructions is CRAZY. How the hell is Briffa supposed to answer that ?

        Regardless of his profession or academic qualifications, demanding answers to those questions from Briffa at that time is just archetypal rambling angry email.

  77. Judith Curry
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 7:46 AM | Permalink

    I would also like to comment on the apparent political and $$ motivations of climate researchers, that many of you seem to think we have. First, much of the $$ in the federal budget associated with the climate research program goes to satellites and big computer systems. Research budgets for individual scientists from NSF and NASA are pretty modest, and pay for a faculty member’s summer salary (we only get 9 months of pay from our universities), salaries for postdocs and students, funds to support field work and travel to conferences. The only big blocks of $$ out there for climate research are the NOAA Cooperative Institutes, where an institution can receive $10M+ per year for 10 years. I have a big beef with NOAA on how these are reviewed and selected, a few months ago i even wrote a letter to the NOAA brass about this. My beef is that these are pretty ineffective, so these do not tend to be source of much if any groundbreaking research (go to their web site and see how many of these you have heard of).

    Some climate scientists do have weather/climate service companies, and we are encouraged by our universities to do this. Peter Webster and I have a small company Climate Forecast Applications Network (CFAN). check it out at 95% of our work is weather/climate forecasts on timescales of weeks to months, the other 5% is to support adaptation to climate variability and change (i.e. increase resiliency). Our main client is a big oil company (gasp!). The real money to be made is in alternative energy technologies (i don’t know of any climate researchers involved in this), and kudos to anyone who comes up with a cheap source of green energy and commercialize it.

    The only scientist that I know that is actually making $$ (i.e. lining their own pockets) over AGW is Pat Michaels. He even gives out free advice to other scientists on how they can make $$ also through affiliating themselves with a think tank and getting on the paying lecture circuit (once i actually received $1000 for giving a lecture, but 99% of the lectures i’ve given have been for free).

    Re political leanings of climate researchers, they are all over the map. I am an Independent with Libertarian leanings. Bill Gray has traditionally voted democrat, and Kerry Emanuel has traditionally voted Republican (i think this was pointed out in Storm World). Jim Hansen (warmer in chief) is staunchly and publicly against carbon cap and trade (as am I). I am definitely worried about perverse incentives that make carbon traders rich (the same masters of the universe that brought us the financial meltdown) and don’t reduce CO2.

    So please stop stereotyping us and attributing motives that aren’t there. I obviously don’t know everyone’s personal motives, but I think what i say is probably pretty representative of most university-based climate researchers in the U.S. What makes individual scientists tick is scientific curiosity, professional ego, and a sense of social responsibility. Sometimes the professional ego piece gets out of control (we saw some of that in the CRU emails), or the social responsibility piece is too ardent. We are all humans and decision making under uncertainty is a very challenging endeavor.

    So yes there is plenty to get in the way of actually get the best science out there and making the best policy decisions. But scientists making money off this and being politically motivated is pretty low on this totem pole.

    • CBDenver
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:24 AM | Permalink

      RE: “Jim Hansen (warmer in chief) is staunchly and publicly against carbon cap and trade” — you are being bit too clever here. Hansen is against cap and trade because he doesn’t think it goes far enough. He wants a tax imposed on carbon emitters. As we saw when gas prices spiked in the past, energy price increases have a severely negative impact on people’s lives, especially the vulnerable in third-world countries who are already living on the edge. If we are going to impose any scheme that will increase energy prices and severely impact the lives of every person on this earth, we need to be absolutely sure that there is an actual, real problem that needs to be solved.

      Your claims that climate scientists are not in it for the money misses the point. You do get a salary, don’t you? Thirty years ago when I was in college there weren’t a plethora of climate studies centers and departments. You would be hard-pressed to find a job in your chosen field of study back then. But now climate studies centers and departments dot the land because it is *so important* to solve this *hugh AGW problem* upon which hands the *fate of humanity*.

      • joe--
        Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 6:16 PM | Permalink

        You are correct CB
        There is a huge global warming research “industry” where there was none before. Funded via Federal tax dollars to universities and NASA. Without this Federal largess the global warmists would be nothing. They would be reduced to posting on blogs to get their messianic messages out

        Was speaking to a friend the other day who assumes anyone who is government funded is honest and impartial. In this case his noble crusaders are up against the evil skeptics who are funded by evil polluting industries. But the reality is that the warmists are funded at 20x the rate of the climate skeptics

    • Cecile
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

      snip – please do not editorialize about other topics

      • Cecile
        Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 9:48 AM | Permalink

        nothing can evr be viewed in isolation!!!

    • Harold
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 9:27 AM | Permalink

      Dr. Curry, regarding motivation:

      I would also like to comment on the apparent political and $$ motivations of climate researchers, that many of you seem to think we have.

      I’m assuming the motivation of people like Phil is to garner professional prestige, recognition, and a degree of power- find a niche, find something groundbreaking, be the internationally recognized expert in the area. That it could be parlayed into a better paying and more prestigious position in academia would seem to be the only substantial money aspect, although it is frequently considered a nice perk to be able to travel internationally on expense account. I don’t think money would be a significant motivator.

      Not knowing him, it seems most likely to me is that he is primarily motivated by his ego.

    • Calvin Ball
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

      I wasn’t one of the ones making claims about ulterior motives, but since you brought it up, it seems to me that part of the problem that we have with some of the actors in this drama is the fact that it’s so difficult for ordinary and even extraordinary scientists to become anything but anonymous members of the upper middle class, that the fame and perks of playing a more public role can be seductive. I agree that you’ll never get rich as a climatologist, but a few have found ways to become celebrities.

      It’s an old story. It’s analogous to the question of politician’s pay: should we pay more on the theory that we can and should attract better talent, or should we pay less on the theory that money corrupts? You know as well as anyone that no one goes into this for the money. But human nature being what it is, some will be seduced by what interest groups have to offer. And as I pointed out earlier, the interest group gifts and perks aren’t generally on the industry side. I’ll restrain myself from pointing out specific examples, but I’m sure you’re well aware of what gifts (not grants) have been awarded to climate scientists in high places.

    • PR Guy
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 9:08 PM | Permalink

      I know some of the Exxon Mobile execs. They are decent people. I wish you would stop stereotyping them. Exxon Mobile is required by law to maximize return of shareholder equity. They don’t hide this. Every quarter they let everyone know how they are doing on their legally mandated objective. Its all very transparent. If public policy is having an impact of shareholder equity, then they try to influence it. That’s the way our system works. They don’t hide this fact. I would urge you to use more temperate language.

  78. Patrick M.
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 7:49 AM | Permalink

    Dr. Curry,

    Steve McIntyre has been pointing out the lack of data transparency for years. He has also complained about tribalism for years. Why is it that only NOW you speak out about it???

    THAT is the problem. It’s not so much that the team has acted in unethical ways; it’s that YOU and your fellow ethical scientists have remained silent, (and most of you will probably continue to remain silent).

    You may need to go back and re-read many of Steve’s other posts with your new found vision and see what else has fallen on your deaf ears.

  79. David Holland
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:00 AM | Permalink

    I would also congratulate Dr Curry for her honesty and courage. I would also thank many other climate scientists, with whom I cannot always agree, for visiting CA and being prepared to be challenged.

    I particularly want to thank Steve for his superhuman determination and skills. Ross, who I have (for a little longer) the privilege of being a comparatively near neighbour, also deserves a mention for his consummate professionalism seen in the European Parliament just last week along with Anthony who is also one of the “greats”.

    Before I get to the two points I want to make I must pay tribute to the late John Daly who is the reason I became interested in (my family and neighbours will say obsessed with) what I saw as dreadfully wrong in climate change assessment and in danger of infecting science and life more generally.

    The first real point to make is that there are no poor soldiers only poor generals. In this case the generals are Governments, and to my regret none have more to answer for in this matter than successive British ones. No one should be excessively severe on kids let loose in the candy store. The Governments were extremely foolish to have got sucked into this nonsense, but they are to be condemned for not using the means of escape that their sherpas, as I believe they are called, provided when setting up the IPCC. At the first meeting of the IPCC in 1988 the American representative stressed “the need for strong interactive peer review as part of the working group process”. Whatever happened to that?

    However the Governments did retain absolute control of the IPCC and only last year reaffirmed its Principles and Procedures. The most fundamental principle –rule if you like – is that the assessment should be comprehensive, objective open and transparent. Sticking the drafts comments and responses in the basement of the Littauer was not open and transparent in 1988 and certainly was not in 2007. Not withstanding Susan Solomon’s sophistry the IPCC rules do require that data and methodology of papers being reviewed must be available to Reviewers. Enforcement of that rule alone could have made a big difference. Far from enforcing disclosure after the event, British Ministerial powers were used at CRU and the Met Office to refuse disclosure.

    The second point I want to make is that Jones’ instruction to Mann, to delete emails, looks pretty bad as it is and has been picked up by most blogs. However, if you look at its full context it is truly outrageous. I have, a few hours ago, sent a letter to the Information Commissioner’s office which shows exactly what this was all about. I hope Dr Curry reads it. All my various FOIA battles are documented at my website and Jones is not the only one who has questions to answer.

    Steve, I know I editorialise to much so feel free to do a short time line on the WA/Jones/Mann stuff in the emails.

    I can’t see how to do links
    ICO letter is at:
    Other FOIA Docs are at:

    • bender
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

      Hi David,
      Did Overpeck every reply to you directly?

      • David Holland
        Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 6:43 PM | Permalink

        No, but I still do not understand why he does not deny it – unless it is true.

    • MikeN
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 5:20 PM | Permalink

      Did you see the e-mail from Jon Daly in the CRU leak?

  80. Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:01 AM | Permalink

    Kudos Dr. Curry. I was a bit surprised at a few of the comments especially those about the put out of business smiley. I totally agree with you but it will be difficult for many to see Gavin’s efforts as an honest attempt at transparency instead of damage control.

    In the leaked emails I smiled at the attention the one who’s name should not be mentioned received. For an uniformed blogger Steve sure has their attention.

  81. Dominic
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:03 AM | Permalink

    For your information, there has just been a feature on global warming on “The Daily Politics” in which Fred Singer actually debated global warming with another AGW supporter (whose name I did not catch). This was on BBC 2 at lunchtime !

    At the end of the feature the host, Andrew Neil, questioned the pro-AGW academic about the release of the emails from the CRU. He responded saying that there needs to be a public enquiry into the hack! He did add that there needs to be a public enquiry into the data too. Good to see he got his priorities right (sarc). He also said that the reason why the would not release the data was because they did not have permission from the national meteorological centres who provided the data! He did not come out of this discussion well.

    • David Holland
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 6:45 PM | Permalink

      That was Robert Watson. You can see it on the BBC iPlayer if you really want.

      • David Holland
        Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 6:51 PM | Permalink

        I should add that I have just got back from London, where Fred Singer gave another smooth performance, as did Nigel Lawson, in a debate at IOD. Hulme appeared for the warmers, on the science but just talked politics and made no effort to dispute Fred. I couldn’t get the name of the second speaker for the warmers, as he was a stand-in. Both warmers went down like lead balloons and I don’t recall a single speaker from the floor expressing any belief or confidence in the scientific consensus. The CRU leak was alluded to obliquely several times, but there seemed to be no enthusiasm to get into details.

  82. Mike H
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:05 AM | Permalink

    Ms Curry,

    You dismiss the wrongdoings of top climate “scientists” by smearing all who disagree – a political campaign organized by “Big Oil” (of course).

    I”m not a climate “scientist”, just an engineer. I work in Big Oil. I and people like me ARE big oil. We have kids, grandkids, aspirations… we don’t want to see the planet burn. The notion that big oil is willfully ensuring the long term destruction of the planet for short term profit is preposterous! Can you possibly be that ignorant?

    BTW, virtually all of life’s modern conveniences, our standard of living, and our life expectancies, are a direct result of readily availabe, low cost energy – brought to you by (drum roll) BIG OIL… the bastards.

    Were the planet truly in peril, ethical climate “scientists” would IMMEDIATELY remove those implicated in these emails. Ethical climate “scientists” would DEMAND immediate change. Were the stakes that high, the APPEARANCE of impropriety would be intolerable, the public trust paramount.

    The science climate community is not. Perhapds the planet is not.

    I’m sorry Ms Curry, your words strike me disingenuous at best.


  83. Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:09 AM | Permalink

    Transparency is the answer, it usually is and Dr Curry’s suggestion that transparency should be the response from the team is to be encouraged.

  84. Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:12 AM | Permalink

    I agree with Dr. Curry that Gavin Schmidt’s explanations are helpful. The hole he digs with his lame explanations will help lead to the truth. For example, concerning Phil Jones to Mike Mann (2/2/2005), “The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone,” Gavin writes
    “[Response: It is obviously not meant seriously, but that is hard to discern from little snippets like this. – gavin]” Of course, anyone tracking this story knows that the emails are available in full, and further that there is nothing to indicate that it is not meant seriously, let alone obviously so.

  85. Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:33 AM | Permalink

    Mr Delingpole writes again

  86. None
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

    I hate the new CA format btw.

    • Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:41 AM | Permalink

      Some numbers or time stamp would really help

      • None
        Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:43 AM | Permalink

        Along with removal of the stupid icons, the widening of the article and the widening of the comments.

        Steve: this site format is temporary. It was thrown together off the shelf because of CA crashing. we’re working on a permanent layot.

      • None
        Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:45 AM | Permalink

        And the abandonment of the “threaded” comment system. Straightforward chronologicalness is much better imo. Threaded discussion leads to people “replying” to wrong comments, just to get their comment closer to the top.

  87. Michael G. Mullendore
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:40 AM | Permalink

    I wish to comment Judith Curry for at least understanding half of what must be done (the future need for transparency and adult behaviour) and for having the courage to do so publicly in this forum. What she does not address is the second half – namely what must now be done to clean up the frightful mess which is currently on record. There is no alternative but to remove the entire team from any government funded position and to conclude that, until such time as all of their previous papers, data and work are fully verified by independent -and critical- reviewers to be invalid. And until such time as they have individually fully complied with full disclosure principles and had their work reviewed, they should be prevented from participating in any government funding or grants. To pretend that we can simply “move on” as the Team has historically been wont to do is absurd. To leave them in their current positions of influence over the untold trillions of expenditures being planned as a result of their perfidy would be the height of irresponsibility.

    • Cecile
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 9:27 AM | Permalink


      You made rightfully made the statement:

      ‘To leave them in their current positions of influence over the untold trillions of expenditures being planned as a result of their perfidy would be the height of irresponsibility.”

      Should the same rule also apply to the companies which were recently bailed out to the tune or trillions of dollars?As far as I can see, ordinary citizens are now unemployed while those in government who bailed out the failled corporates are still pretty much in power!!

  88. stephen richards
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:42 AM | Permalink

    It’s interesting, very interesting, the reaction to Dr Curry’s letter. The written language is fit for one purpose and one purpose only and that is to convey data/information. It cannot convey nuace, emotions, body language etc. So what we all do, subconsciously, is apply our own extras to the written word. Donc, Steve Mc, being a gentleman, is gracious and conciliatory, some of us are angry at having been deceived but knew that we had been and some of us are angry at being deceived because we didn’t believe we were being deceived. They made fools of us with our money, for christs sake!!!

    When you write here try to be aware of your own bagage and exclude it from the conversation and more and more sense will come from this.

    Incidently, it woud be wrong to think that there is no place for the likes of Steve et al. There has been, is now and will always be.

    Politicians lie after all, just look at the expenses row in the UK and you can double that activity in Europe and the US.

    No, you stay there Steve and keep up the good work.

  89. Judith Curry
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:53 AM | Permalink

    EW, re your queries on peer review. My main problem is with trying to keep a paper from being published (beyond the “normal” peer review process) and keeping papers out of assessment reports.

    I don’t see anything particularly wrong with immediately rebutting a paper that was just published. If it is seriously flawed, this should be pointed out. However a lot of flawed papers get published, most are completely ignored. Actually rebutting them elevates them in importance. So as a “strategic” move, this practice is of dubious value, but i don’t have an ethical problem with it. This practice does reflect somewhat of a siege mentality tho. Maybe after the TAR was published and in the early days of the MM assault on the credibility of the hockey stick and when there was alot of public interest in this particular topic, but i am not sure why this mentality seems to persist among this group. Scientists seeking the truth and who have confidence in their research don’t typically waste time doing this unless there is some major external public pressure (which i’m just not seeing at this point in the hockey stick science world).

    Getting a paper published on a contentious topic can be very challenging, and IMO editors often don’t do a good job here. Since being an editor is alot of work for no pay, we can’t complain too much. But when submitting a paper, i would say there are 3 criteria when selecting which journal to submit to: relevance of journal, impact factor, and who is on the editorial board. One thing i really don’t like is journals that require you to list 5 potential reviewers. Any editor worth their salt should be able to figure out a list of appropriate reviewers by going to webofscience or google scholar and identifying other people publishing on this topic that don’t have obvious collaborations at least with the lead author.

    • MikeZ
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 2:50 PM | Permalink

      I certainly might be mistaken here, but from my reading it appears Salinger offers to do a rebuttal before even having a chance to read the text?

  90. James RS
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:54 AM | Permalink

    Imagine if the bad behavior of some Wall Street traders and some mortgage bankers, and some politicians were explained away by “tribalism” and human “emotional responses”. Would you buy it?

    I think this behavior by the Team had to happen and will continue to happen for the reason Dr Curry cites: “human emotional responses” and the “egoism” noted by Dr StGeorge in post 60. Dr StGeorge also noted in 88 the “human reaction to money” which I read as “self interest”, also a human response.

    I could see some “collaboration for improvement” in Jeff Id’s post 31 but human nature is the very reason Steve and Jeff’s and all the others are and will be needed. Skeptical inquiry should be adversarial the same way a free press should be.

    The Team had to suppress inquiry for a very important reason: their research did not support their needs (whatever those needs were) and they actively fabricated their studies.

    What they did is flat-out wrong. Simply being human is never an excuse.

    I very much like DR. Curry’s participation here.

  91. Bob Lackey
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:55 AM | Permalink

    It has long been my view that the data and programs involved have “issues” that cannot be explained away. Thus the transparency that Dr. Curry speaks of is not possible for the members of her tribe. With the release of this data, it is my hope that the truth will be uncovered by Steve and others with the approprate skills

    I am curious how the next few days, weeks, and months will play out. In any position I have ever had, both public and private, Jones, Mann, Briffa, et al would have been met at the door this morning and escorted the bosses office. Ten minutes later, they would be escorted to their office by a security guard to gather their personal items, then be escorted off the property. The circumstances of the release of the emails is irrelavent. On systems owned by others, there can be no expectation of privacy.

    I hope that the talented people of the skeptical side continue proactivity in all areas of the science. Once the data is audited, the journals who were all too willing to promote one side are embarrassed into publishing well researched articles on the data.

  92. Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:57 AM | Permalink

    East Anglia Uni have published a press release:

    Apart from the ordinary corporation outrage about how this is just not the ‘proper’ way to do things, I did like this from Phil Jones:

    “The word ‘trick’ was used here colloquially as in a clever thing to do. It is ludicrous to suggest that it refers to anything untoward.”

    The first sentence is fine and I’ve used it that way myself. The second vanishes into that odd academic belief system where no-one could possibly mistrust a scientist

    • bender
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

      My reply was misplaced, below.

  93. PeterK
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

    The elephant in the room Curry tries to ignore, is that her phrase “politically motivated climate disinformation machine” applies most of all to the politically bought and paid-for climatology mainstream.

  94. Frank K.
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

    Dr. Curry,

    While I disagree with you about some of your observations about the CRU e-mail incident, I’m glad you’ve provided you input here at CA. Thanks.

    And good luck with your company (CFAN). I dropped by the web site and it looks great – though you really need some flashy animations! I’ve worked in the commercial CFD world for nearly 14 years and I can tell you it’s much more difficult keeping paying clients happy than writing a paper or talk for academic conference. Moreover, I have always thought that research money in climate modeling would MUCH better spent by focusing on “short term” forecasts (from several months to a few years), as your company has done, versus the 50 or 100 year “forecasts” which I think are bunk.

    Back on the subject of the CRU e-mails, I am curious as to what your opinion is of the peer review process. It is clear to me that the characters involved in the present mess (Jones, Santer, Wigley, Petersen, et al.) have damaged the credibility of the journals they serve by showing the world how the peer review process has become highly politicized. I feel they should not be allowed to review another paper for anyone – or, at the very least, they should apologize to those they besmirched (and in some cases threatened). Do the scientists whose papers were rejected by this group have any cause for action? It will be interesting to see if the climate journals and major science publications (like “Science” and “Nature”) take some sort of substantive action or just look the other way.

  95. Frank K.
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

    Follow-up to my previous post – I see Dr. Curry has already addressed my questions about peer review – gosh, these posts come fast!

  96. Tim Wood
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 9:15 AM | Permalink

    Let’s not lose sight of MM’s original simplicity in challenging AGW ‘science’ – commercial geologists are subject to criminal penalties if their science does not pass muster. Where is the equivalent discipline in other sciences? Geology has highly developed codes and well managed peer review. Climate science, among several other disciplines, has been afforded an unusual ‘right to be right’. It is now incumbent upon CRU to submit itself to unlimited review if only to afford Jones er al the right to defend their work.

  97. Douglas Foss
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 9:27 AM | Permalink

    Your willingness to engage as you do inspires respect for your professionalism and judgment. The merit of someone’s position on a topic, opinion, or observation depends not at all on the nature of the speaker; rather, it depends on the merit of the idea and the reasoning supporting it. I sense that you “get it” in this respect, and that reflects well on you.

    That said, I disagree with your reaction to the disclosures we are seeing. I am a seasoned litigator, and I am very familiar with the rules governing preservation and disclosure of evidence. Whether something is a “trick of the trade” versus a malevolent “trick” is a distinction I feel unqualified to address. But the intentional frustration of efforts to get at evidence and the willingness to destroy e-mails demonstrates behavior that elsewhere in our society prompts catastrophic consequences.

    For example, we have strict rules requiring lawyers to assure that their clients maintain evidence – the lawyers have the legal responsibility and face the consequences in the event that the client inadvertently destroys data through everyday document retention protocols. This emphasis on preserving evidence and making evidence available hardly is a new thing. For example, in Berkey Photo, Inc. v. Eastman Kodak Corp., 74 F.R.D. 613 (S.D.N.Y. 1977), some documents surfaced late in a case. Earlier in the proceedings, during the deposition of an economic expert, a partner at a law firm casually mentioned that certain documents “had not been retained.” The same partner repeated this assertion in a subsequent affidavit. During the expert’s trial testimony, however, a “missing” document turned up, and the trial judge demanded an explanation. It turned out that the “missing” documents had been sitting in a suitcase in the partner’s closet. Based on the partner’s false statements under oath in his affidavit, the court found him in contempt of court, whereupon the law firm forced him to resign from the firm. That wasn’t the end of it, however. If I recall correctly, the consequences of that error resulted in the partner’s firm being sued, and the firm ultimately broke up over it. The state courts have taken the same view. Thus, in Ferraro v. Koncal Assocs., 97 A.D.2d 429, 467 N.Y.S.2d 284 (2d Dept. 1983), the court barred defendant from offering any evidence at trial in support of pleaded defense due to destruction of highly material and relevant evidence which the court considered deliberately dilatory, evasive and obstructive of plaintiff’s discovery rights.

    In short, professionals are disbarred, litigants are heavily sanctioned (sometimes to the tune of millions of dollars), parties lose lawsuits, and mega-law firms die unnatural deaths as a result of manipulation, even mere losing, of evidence in the form of documents. Our society has traditionally valued the truth and reality, and therefore it visits dire consequences and considerable disapprobrium on those who fool with records and obstruct disclosure. And, here we have incontrovertible evidence in the form of acknowledgments in e-mails not only of destruction of records, but also solicitation of others to destroy their records. This type of behavior would spell the end of a lawyer’s career – completely and irreversibly. From the tone of your comments, I gather that you don’t think scientists should be held to such a standard. I disagree. They should lose tenure wherever they are, they ought to have to refund whatever monies they received in connection with any project on which they have either spoliated evidence or sought to do so, and they should be prosecuted for crimes, if any, associated with their activities.

    Unless we all press to hold others to high standards and the whole truth, we will live in a cesspool. You should join in demanding such consequences because of your station and the respect you have well earned.

  98. Gerry
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 9:31 AM | Permalink

    Dr. Curry: “If they wanted to decrease the relevance of SteveM, they should have given him the data.”

    You keep saying this, have you not thought that they didn’t want to give him the data because he’ll find problems with both the data and how they are using it. His record is formidable, from MBH,1998, through Steig, Kauffman, Mann et al 2005, Kauffman, Caspar and Amman and many more have come under scrutiny and failed in data and methodology.

    My take on this is that they look for the answers they want and ignore data that doesn’t give the right answer, providing the data and metadata to another scientist when you do that is giving a hostage to fortune.

    Notwithstanding there may be many years work, once you have published a document using data to prove a scientific point that data should be made available to others to replicate your work. Or better still, if you are sure of your results made available to others to test it to destruction. That the Hockey Team won’t provide this data from public documents hints at malfeasance. And with an almost 100% record data and methodologies that have been provided have fallen short of the expected scientific excellence. That’s why they won’t provide the data and methodologies.

  99. BarryW
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 9:32 AM | Permalink

    As a result of the politicization of climate science, climate tribes (consisting of a small number of climate researchers) were established in response to the politically motivated climate disinformation machine that was associated with e.g. ExxonMobil, CEI, Inhofe/Morano etc./blockquote>

    Dr. Curry, could you provide evidence to your assertion? My understanding is that the response of these organizations and people were due to the politicization of climate science through the IPCC, Gore and researchers such as Hansen.

    So please stop stereotyping us and attributing motives that aren’t there.

    If you can’t justify your assertion then you are rather inconsistent by making such claims of others while decrying the stereotyping of your own “tribe”.

  100. Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

    Great post about how pathetically weaseling the NYT is [I think the BBC also fall into this hole too – good grief].

  101. bender
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

    The “trick” was indeed a “clever thing to do” … if your goal was deception, i.e. “hide the decline”. This “decline” was, of course, the “divergence” problem – a problem because it speaks to a serious issue of confidence in the cherry-picked proxies. Mind you, hiding this decline did not, as some have suggested, forestall research progress on the divergence question. It just served to eliminate some doubt that IPCC reviewers may have had about paleoclimatic reconstruction.
    Mann was clearly paranoid about the MWP vs CWP comparison. (CWP must be unprecedented in a thousand+ years.) Which is ironic given the RC storyline now that the paleoclimate data are not critical to the case for action.

  102. Jana
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 10:15 AM | Permalink

    As scientist I am disgusted by behaviour of my fellow scientist from pro-climate change camp but not suppressed for following reasons:

    In the past ten to fifteen years public service in Western countries is highly polarised and that includes science.
    Science is used to support various government agendas and scientists who resist are sidelined, shunned, forced to leave etc.
    Finally, I was in similar position (on the receiving end), so I do understand the processes and consequences.

    I do not except begin explanations for the behaviour of my fellow scientist which e-mails were leaked. I spend the lifetime looking for truth and I do not except the whitewash. Let’s call it as it is.

    It is inexcusable (almost criminal) to prevent the publications of scientist who oppose the climate change.

    It is includable to hide the data and threaten to delete it, after all someone paid for it and if supported by Government grants public is entailed to it.

    Attempts to discredit the scientist who disagree with current position on climate change are also beyond my comprehension. Is there something to hide?

    It is even worst if data was anyhow manipulated to the desired end.

    I must add my field of expertise is unrelated to climate change but I use the statistic extensively in my previous work. Most importantly I am concern about the methods used to measure various parameters.

    I like to ask following basic questions:

    What was the QC in measuring or recording data?
    Was the validity of data checked in the first place?
    Are the instruments used properly calibrated?
    Are the methods validated and validation data recorded?
    Are the methods independently validated?
    What criteria were used in excluding data that did not fit into the predicted model?
    Was this criteria used consistently in all cases or various criteria was used on the case to case basis?
    Any method used for any measurement must be independently validated and I do not see that this is happening here. How data that may be unreliable can be used to make any conclusions at all?

    Besides, carbon trading scheme was in preparation as early as 1998, I know it because I was there when the discussions took place. How much did we know back then?
    Finally, ordinary people would call the people that display above behaviour dishonest, well then how hard is to disbelieve anything they may say or publish?
    I call the whole climate change business and carbon trading scheme a “perfect scam” = making money out of the thin air (pardon me CO2).

  103. Jim Brock
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 10:17 AM | Permalink

    I ha always thought that true science welcomed critical reviews. Seems to me that science has over the centuries advanced from one accepted truth to another simply through that process. Is CRU practicing science?

  104. Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 10:24 AM | Permalink

    Oh yes, Gavin Schmidt is an unlimited fountain of warmth and goodness bending over backwards to ensure happy, open, transparent, and robust exchanges:

    ” . . . McIntyre has had years to produce clear arguments for his claims, and yet chooses not to, instead he appears happy to make claims on no other basis than his say so for which any justification and assumptions are buried in a mass of rambling, disjointed blog posts. . . . “

  105. Chris
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    Not being a climate researcher (organizational research), part of the whole issue – as it seems to me – is a lack of rigor with methodology and requirements concerning publications.

    What about a general requirement that data/procedures etc. must per default be included in submissions? If published, this data must be downloadable on each journal’s website? This seems similar to me to a mandatory references list. No journal would accept one providing references only for a few reviewers. There might be some exceptions to that rule of open access data (national security etc.) but that should be limited to a minor fraction of research. This would avoid stonewalling as no one would publish without first handing over the data.

    One thing that comes to my mind on governance and incentives of such “research mega trends”:
    Once a research trend (especially government-funded) is on its way, no one will easily stop/massively challenge it. To me it seems there is nothing to gain for junior researchers and a lot to loose (no tenured position etc.) when fencing with the “big guys”.

    Maybe one should consider a massive(!) incentive for those who prove that a certain trend is generally flawed/problematic down to its roots. Kind of a reward for academic whistleblowers if the whistleblowing is justified.

    • marvel
      Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 4:35 PM | Permalink

      In the field in which I work, large datasets (gene chip or sequence data) must be made available along with the paper to prevent this sort of thing. I hadn’t realized this wasn’t a standard requirement in all science fields…

  106. bender
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

    One of my favorites is Michael Mann on “containing” the MWP. The quotes are his, not mine. It’s his attempt to use semantics to get Overpeck out of the jam with the Deeming email testimony on eliminating the MWP. The sort of penchant for wordplay that we see over and over at RC. Question: If Overpeck never sent any such email, then why is Mann compelled to provide a defense?
    Not sure where to file this, but it’s one topic Steve is sure to cover. It was David Holland’s question to Overpeck that spurred this exchange. Overpeck’s response is funny. (David Holland: did Overpeck ever reply directly to you?)

    • David Holland
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 6:58 PM | Permalink


  107. Luke Lea
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 10:45 AM | Permalink

    Speaking of tribalism in the Climate Change establishment, don’t forget anthropologist Myanna Lahsen’s eye-opening study of the “tribe” of climate modelers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder:

  108. Dominic
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

    I know it’s O/T for this thread but here is a link to today’s Daily Politics on BBC2 with Fred Singer and Bob Watson where they discuss the CRU “hack” near the end.

  109. Crotalus
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 10:56 AM | Permalink

    An acquaintance of mine called you a “partisan hack” who just harasses climate scientists through “audits,” whose work support AGW.

    The CA search function seems intermittent at best currentlyand nothing is showing up, so could you point me to audits of favorite “skeptic” works, so I can refute this?

    Particularly helpful would be audits of the Soon and Baliunas (2003), Douglass et al (2008) or McClean et al (2009) or any other papers you think are representative.


    Steve: As I’ve said on many occasions, my own focus is on articles used by IPCC and, in particular, on proxy reconstructions. My own personal time and energy is limited and I am frequently criticized for not doing more with the material that I’m working on. I would welcome head posts that apply critical methods on “skeptical” articles and have tried on a number of occasions to solicit such articles, even providing passwords to authors that fiercely oppose me.

  110. Judith Curry
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 11:07 AM | Permalink

    Gerry, I think the response of the “team” to SteveM is an emotional one, they view him as the antichrist going back to the days of the MM saga and the surrounding politicization of the whole issue (this caused the circling of wagons in this small community). I don’t think that they view SteveM as having unique capabilities in terms of scientifically discrediting their science. If its wrong, it won’t stand the test of time, there are too many scientists working on this subject and “outsiders” are getting their papers published. Personally i think trying to construct a global climatology from highly uncertain proxies and particularly with sparse spatial sampling is a futile exercise at this point in time. While receiving alot of attention in the TAR, it is clear that the overall AGW argument does not rest on this analysis. This is my perspective anyways.

    The CRU surface temperature analysis is a different story, it is critical that we have a credible and transparent data set for the past 100 yrs (and we need more than one such analysis so that we can better understand the impact of the various choices made in the analysis on the final result). So I am personally more concerned with sorting out issues with the surface temperature records.

    In think that scientific egos are too large to deliberately cook the books when you know the cooking will eventually be outed as part of the ongoing scientific process. While witholding data slows down this process and shouldn’t be allowed, alot of what SteveM was after in 2003 is no longer relevant because the science has moved forward. Nefarious motivations for scientists in the CRU emails that are political or financial just don’t make sense to me in this case.

    • bender
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 11:18 AM | Permalink

      “i think trying to construct a global climatology from highly uncertain proxies and particularly with sparse spatial sampling is a futile exercise at this point in time”
      Now you’re talking!

      • Calvin Ball
        Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

        Agree. However, notice what the alternative to proxy reconstructions is, in order to buttress the case for high climate sensitivity.

      • ianl8888
        Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 7:13 PM | Permalink

        Quote from Judith:

        “I think trying to construct a global climatology from highly uncertain proxies and particularly with sparse spatial sampling is a futile exercise at this point in time”

        I agree with bender. This statement alone tells me that Judith is not simply on a damage control exercise here – she seems to be genuinely appalled at the abuse of peer-review processes. Her comment above will earn her some inward-turned gunfire

    • ianl8888
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 5:32 PM | Permalink

      Judith Curry

      The word you are groping for here is VANITY (not “ego”)

      It is the Achilles Heel of homo sapiens and the siren call rush of celebrity power is very difficult to refuse – print, TV, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Kings all pay attention quite suddenly. Fuse this with the misplaced moral vanity of “saving the planet” and the mix is irresistible to some. Money is a much lesser motive

      A Professor of Geology (since dead and very much missed) at Newcastle University, Aus, once told me that the reason for such intense academic squabbles in Universities is that there is so little to fight over

      Quite suddenly, a publically obscure branch of Applied Science known as palaeoclimatology is thrust onto the world stage and given celebrity status. Whose vanity could resist that ?

  111. Howard
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 11:14 AM | Permalink

    Transparency is not what Gavin is doing right now at RC. It is known as a “limited hangout” in classical propaganda. Watch how the moderation will slowly return to the previous level of spin control. Although, I doubt we will see Dr. Mann popping up anytime soon out of his bunker.

    One thing that is obvious by this event is how insignificant Gavin is on the team. His primary role is cheerleader and PR Flack. His loyalty to jackals who would sell him down the river for a comment paragraph in Science continues unabated: I actually feel sorry for him.

  112. mitchel44
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

    From a letter I sent to my member of parliament this morning.

    “There is more than enough information contained within these documents to convince me that these gentlemen are not capable of separating their personal views from the data revealed in their scientific work. They have become advocates, and as such cannot be trusted to provide a balanced view of the state of climate science. Considering what is at stake, they cannot be trusted.

    It should be the position of the Canadian Government that these gentlemen are no longer welcome at any climate related conference or meeting. They should be immediately stripped of any responsibility within the IPCC, and removed from the peer review process. I have no control over their current employers, but their influence into the Canadian Climate debate needs to end today.”

    Will it do any good? Who knows, but I’m not ready to give up just yet.

  113. bender
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

    Phil Jones:
    “It might appear they want the code to check whether their version works properly. If this is the case, then there are issues of IPR. So, if they get the code, how do we stop them using it for anything other than this review.”
    Yeah, right, McIntyre wants to profit from this valuable code. Jones is just looking for an excuse (University IP protection) to stall disclosure of the fact that his “code” is a shambled mess of interacting modules requiring excessive human intrvention – so much so that it would ever ever work properly in the hands of an auditer. Poor Harry.
    What if Phil’s boss ever asked to see Phil’s code in action?

  114. Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

    I guess I’m not getting it, if Pat Michaels is the only climate scientist making money out of AGW and that’s from giving speeches, then it’s a pretty small disinformation campaign. But then I notice that Santer, Hansen, Emanuel, Ramanathan, Holdren, etc have won rather prestigious prizes with rather handy cash awards. Meanwhile Gray, Lindzen, Bohren, etc report loss of funding by being skeptical. So it’s easy to see the reason why one might stay silent (until retirement) and toe the line and try to find a global warming hook into your own apparently unrelated field….oh like hurricanes for example. Maybe, just maybe, skeptics are really skeptical..and maybe they have good reason to be.

    • JP
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 1:16 PM | Permalink

      I do empathize for the administrators and managers of the involved institutions and universities. We live in a litigious society, and with so much money, jobs, honors, and grants at stake, the revealations of these emails and documents could cause quite a few civil lawsuits. And the evidence bar for civil suits is quite a bit lower than criminal cases. An effective lawyer could demand every single electronic correspondence, source code going back 15 years, not to mention deposing hundreds of scientists in the climate field. This could get ugly. Of course, there are many that believe it already is.

  115. crosspatch
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

    And Seth Borenstein has an article out just this morning that again uses sensational working such as:

    “Even the gloomiest climate models back in the 1990s didn’t forecast results quite this bad so fast.”

    And writes an article full of hysteria. I don’t believe that does the scientific community any service by writing articles like this. It creates the very kind of scrutiny that seems to be the complaint.

    So according to this article things are worse than even the WORST projections of 1997 which is hard to accept for someone sitting though record snowpack and cold in the third coldest October ever recorded in the US.

    Maybe the scientific community could get people like Seth to tone it down a little. I understand he is “enthusiastic” but I don’t think that hysterical writing like that helps you.

    Link to Seth’s article.

  116. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

    Maybe it is Judith’s maternal instincts when she talks about the status of climate science in tones that would appear to be an attempt to smooth over the criticism of these scientists’ failures. Failures, in my mind, that are primarily related to giving due attention to the uncertainties of the results of their studies and papers.

    It is not about what climate science says about climate science (you know motherhood, apple pie and the flag with transparency thrown in), but rather it is the deeds of climate science to which we need pay attention. Criticisms and analyses will not suddenly stop if all of the meta data and data are revealed tomorrow because analyses have shown weaknesses in methodologies and claims made in plain public view.

    The beauty of blogs like CA are that one does not have to take the word of a climate scientist about the worth and validity of the works of climate science. We have a forum for participating in our own analyses and making our own judgments.

    Judith, your science and views about climate science and AGW and its effects are a matter of public record and have been submitted to considerable discussion and analyses here at CA. You should be aware that you are judged, not so much by what you proclaim here, but by what you have put into the public record.

  117. TerryMN
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 11:50 AM | Permalink

    “Even the gloomiest climate models back in the 1990s didn’t forecast results quite this bad so fast.”

    Maybe he’s talking about the inconvenient fact that we’re not heating up just lately 🙂

  118. Hoi Polloi
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    My appologies to Dr.Curry, I haven’t noticed the teeny weeny little smiley after the remark of putting CA out of business (where are me posh and becks?) . Can’t remember ever seen a smiley in messages from climatologists, but there ya go….

  119. Todd
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

    But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.

    JS Mill, On Liberty

    If the AGW folks are correct, they have nothing to fear from dissenting views.

  120. Ron Cram
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 12:42 PM | Permalink

    I posted a comment on Nature’s blog on the CRU emails. I am certain it will be visible soon. Here it is:

    Now that the CRU whistleblower has released these emails and documents which were responsive to FOI requests and were illegally withheld, how will this change editorial decisions at Nature?

    For example, now that we know the CRU cabal were putting undue pressure on journals not to publish papers by skeptical scientists, will Nature be more open to publishing quality work produced by skeptical scientists?

    Will Nature report on pressure applied to its editors to prevent the publication of skeptical papers?

    Since skeptical scientists like Steve McIntyre, John Christy, Roy Spencer, Richard Lindzen, Roger Pielke and Anthony Watts have been discriminated against, are you willing to issue these scientists a gold embossed invitation to publish any paper they deem worthy as a way to correct previous years of shutting them out?

    Are you willing to invite skeptical scientists to review more papers? In my opinion, it is utter folly to publish a tree-ring study or temp series without asking McIntyre or another Climate Audit contributing scientist/statistician to review it.

    In short, what are your plans to make amends for the undue influence exercised by the Jones, Mann, Briffa, etc in the editorial process?

  121. clementyne212
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 12:43 PM | Permalink


    Always remember scientists must publish abd be damned in order to receive the revenues for further research in their particular field.So is it any wonder that they skew their results in order to curry favour with the incumbent government.Who you may ask actually pays their[climatologists[ wages?Us of course the joe public.

    See below for a program for determining future rainfall in ENGLAND over the next seven years.

    Climate change Introduction:

    A wry look at climate change and the peddlers of doom.

    Climate,first of all there is a silent b missing

    climbate setting b = plan

    claim planet ,planet is earth,and one stakes a claim

    earth’s stake =>earth is stake,where is becomes isos [=]

    steak = earth

    setting steak as fillet,now a fillet in welding is not the most sound of welds let me set this as a butt = water

    water = earth

    finding hidden code:
    dividing by rate gives

    w = h


    water left hand side comes down

    water = hlepc = help c

    earth on the right moves up

    earth = tpgiw = p twig

    help c = twig p

    The best way to detect water is with a twig i.e. by dowsing removing sin = god w

    help c = god wp

    god = go d[in Geordie go = gan] =>gand extending gand becomes g ampersand = &g amperes&

    help c = &g amperes&*wp

    when one requires help one phones the operator = or or a pet = || a pet|| now t on the left hand side[LHS] becomes s

    ||sea p|| = &g amperes& wp

    Setting sea as north = |rth| setting rth as the 18th prime number =>|61|

    |||61|||+||p|| = &g amperes& wp

    Amperes is a measure of electrical current setting this as current = present = gift = horse = shore = sea = north =>|61| and setting g as the acceleration due to earth’s gravity = 10m/ss when rounded up.

    |||61|||+||p|| = &10*|61|& wp

    Setting p = piano = quiet in music = sh and setting wsh = wish = hope => wester = west of,west is poor pronunciation of rest, rest of = |fest| ft cancel =>|se| = |et|

    |||61|||+||p|| = &10*|61|&*|et|

    |||61||| = |||00110110+00110001||| = |||0111+0101+11+11+1+1|||binary = ||20|| = ||00110010+00110000|| = ||0101+0100+11+10+1+1|| = |16| = 20

    ||p|| = ||01010000|| = ||1100+10+1|| = |15| = |00110001+00110101| = |0101+0111+11+11+1+1| = 20

    40 = &10*|61|&*|et|

    RHS:|61| = 20

    &200& = &00110010*00110000*00110000& = &0100*0100*0100*00*00*00*0*0*0&binary = 64*[00]3 *[0]3 ,where 00 = .. = i and 0 = . = e

    64* ie*ie*ie=>64*eg*eg*eg = 4*[10e]3 , where e = natural log = 2.7818…..

    40 = 1285472 * |et|

    |et| = |00110101+00111111+00110101| = |0111+0111+0111+11+11+11+1+1+1| = 33

    40 = 42420576

    Unity[U] = 1060514,rounded down

    U = 1.060514*106 ,where 10 = -. = n and setting n as the pH of water = 7 next running the system through to the 4th derivative [4th = 4th prime = 7]

    U1ST = 1.060514*76 = 124768
    U2ND = 6*1.060514*75 = 106944
    U3RD = 30*1.060514*74 = 76389
    U4TH = 120*1.060514*73 = 43651

    Finding the U average [UA] = 87938

    Standard displacement from the main[U]

    U = {(U1ST-UA)2+…..+(U4TH- UA)2)/4}1/2 = 30872

    Set this as the total rainfall for England in milimeters dumped on us by the North sea in the standard years to come= 30.872 metres = 1222.5312” this equates to 33.9592 yards of rain for the standard years ahead.If I now divide this equally amongst the number of counties in England i.e 48

    33.9592/48 = 0.7074833 yards of rain per county per year in England which equates to 25.4694”.

    Kind regards,


    PS: for a more accurate picture just use more iterations i.e. instead of U4TH make it U18TH [18th prime = 61]this gives a better indication as to how rainfall will vary over the coming sixty one years in ENGLAND.

  122. Ron Cram
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

    Here is a comment I posted to Andy Revkin’s blog:

    Based on what we have learned from the CRU emails and documents, here are some questions I would like to see asked and answered in your reporting.

    To the editors of Nature, Science, PNAS and journals of AGU:
    • Now that the CRU emails show skeptical scientists were disadvantaged through political efforts of alarmists at CRU and elsewhere, do you plan to be more open to papers from skeptical scientists?
    • Are you willing to offer a special invitation to disadvantaged scientists, including Steve McIntyre, Anthony Watts, John Christy, Roy Spencer, Richard Lindzen and Roger Pielke?
    • What steps will you take to make certain your journal is not censoring valid research solely for political reasons as has happened in the past?
    • Will you ask skeptical scientists to review papers more often? (btw, publishing a tree-ring study or temp series without McIntyre as a reviewer is utter folly)

    To James Saiers, formerly the editor of GRL:
    • “Now that it is public knowledge you were targeted because you published M&M’s paper, would you be willing to return as editor of GRL?”

    To the powers that be at IPCC:
    • What are you going to do to make certain your assessment reports are more accurate and balanced in the future? (It seems clear Jones, Briffa, Mann, etc should never be lead authors again!)
    • What steps are you going to take to make certain valid comments by reviewers are fully considered by the lead authors?
    • Are you willing to publish a minority report by climate scientists who disagree with select key findings of the assessment report?

  123. Robinson
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

    “Gerry, I think the response of the “team” to SteveM is an emotional one”

    I have no idea what this means in practice. When I first started working as a Software Developer 10 years ago I would get very upset at criticism, especially code reviews, which always seemed a little unfair (I did my best and that should have been good enough!). Today I’m much wiser and tend to embrace criticism as an opportunity to improve my craft. Circling the wagons? Yes. I could circle the wagons in the face of criticism. I may be wrong. An aeroplane may fall out of the sky as a result. Many people could die.

    But the emotional argument is a red herring. I’ve been exposed to ten years of emotional AGW propaganda across the board: newspapers, television news, movies (!), radio, questions in the house, statements from the doorstep of the secretary of state, leaflets through my door, you name it.

    So it’s all very well to come here now and admit there are some problems here and there (from what I can see, the problems are pervasive and confounding – you have almost certainly understated them), but where were people like you when the journalists were hitting the record button on their Dictaphones or phoning around for quotes?

  124. StuartR
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

    Just heard Judith Currys copmments mentioned in a 6 O’clock news item on BBC Radio 4 about the leaks/hack on the drive home from work.

    The basic gist I remember was her statement about “the damage to the public credibility of climate research is likely to be significant”. I had to laugh when, later, the reporter mentioned that every one agreed the CRU had already “won the argument” about the basic science.

  125. Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 1:48 PM | Permalink

    … and also thanks for the excellent follow up comments and enduring some misguided criticism here from people who seem to forget that civility is a two way street. Politics and animosity are not new to science but they tend to obscure far more relevant conversations.

  126. geo
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 1:58 PM | Permalink

    For those like Jones and Briffa who control signficant datasets, the “control enthusiast” angle should not be overlooked. There is power in making other researchers come to you hat-in-hand for access to your data. It’s going to get you some deference in a variety of ways and situations that you otherwise would not get.

  127. Stacey
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 2:02 PM | Permalink

    Trick or Cheat

    I dislike the word Tribalism it to me represents an unthinking loyalty I would think cohorts in cahoots or better still Groupthink.

    Ithink the broken Hockey Stick boys pass all the following tests with flying colours and should not hide their light under a bushel?

    To make groupthink testable, Irving Janis devised eight symptoms indicative of groupthink (1977).

    1.Illusions of invulnerability creating excessive optimism and encouraging risk taking.
    2.Rationalizing warnings that might challenge the group’s assumptions.
    3.Unquestioned belief in the morality of the group, causing members to ignore the consequences of their actions.
    4.Stereotyping those who are opposed to the group as weak, evil, biased, spiteful, disfigured, impotent, or stupid.
    5.Direct pressure to conform placed on any member who questions the group, couched in terms of “disloyalty”.
    6.Self censorship of ideas that deviate from the apparent group consensus.
    7.Illusions of unanimity among group members, silence is viewed as agreement.
    8.Mind guards — self-appointed members who shield the group from dissenting information.

  128. Ron Cram
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 2:04 PM | Permalink

    Dr. Curry,
    Now that these emails have been made public, I think it is extremely important for the scientific community to do what it can to make amends for this scandal. The CRU cabal has gotten journal editors removed, shut out papers by skeptical scientists, fudged data in scientific papers, and biased the IPCC reports by excluding peer-reviewed papers. These revelations certainly put in a new light the charge of IPCC bias made by Roger Pielke.

    I have written posts to Nature and Andy Revkin of the NY Times which you can read above, which outline some of my ideas of what should be done to make things right. Do you agree with these ideas? Or do you think there are better ways to make amends?

  129. Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 2:05 PM | Permalink

    If anyone is interested, I have looked at some important data that became public from CRU which seems to be to close the case global warming (man-made or otherwise). And it shows off that lovely 1940’s blip:

    Cheers, AJStrata

    • Faustino
      Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 2:06 AM | Permalink

      At a glance, Strata completely demolishes the proposition that global warming has occurred; the claimed rises in temperature are less than the error bounds of the data, so that the only conclusion that can be reached is that no deviation from the norm can be demonstrated. If Strata is correct, then the whole AGW process should be stopped in its tracks.

  130. Barclay E. MacDonald
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 2:36 PM | Permalink

    Dr. Curry you say “While witholding data slows down this process and shouldn’t be allowed, alot of what SteveM was after in 2003 is no longer relevant because the science has moved forward.”

    This going in circles is making me dizzy.

  131. Jim Clarke
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 2:42 PM | Permalink

    Judith Curry implies that she had to ‘circle the wagons’ after her Webster et al paper tied global warming and increasing hurricanes together, claiming the attacks were coming from Exxon and the like. I don’t remember Exxon taking part in that battle, but I know that many with backgrounds in tropical meteorology found the study appallingly bad, because of a glaring ignorance of the historical record and how it came into being.

    I had nothing personal against Curry at the time, but since then, I find that much of her writing on the climate change debate is disingenuous. In the above article, she paints herself as an innocent victim and in no way deserving of criticism. The reality was that other scientists pointed out that their science was bad, not Exxon. It was so bad, that it was assumed that no one with the credentials of Webster and Curry could possible do such shoddy work unless they had a political motivation. Maybe that assumption is wrong, but

    Ms. Curry is doing nothing to dismiss it. I do not believe she is the neutral party she claims to be. While calling for transparency, she is less than transparent herself.

  132. Peter
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 3:07 PM | Permalink

    Barclay, that is absolutely true. Unchallenged papers obtain the veneer of truth by the length of time they remain unchallenged. Paper B references paper A which is treated as revealed truth. “Well paper A was never challenged”. The reality is that challenges to paper A were buried by scientists who know their work is unable to withstand scrutiny, and who don’t let things like ethics interfere with their SOP. Then Judith Curry comes along and excuses 95% of the most egregious practices, issues a firm tsk-tsk to the minor infractions, and gives a big kiss to Gavin Schimdt. A skeptic would wonder if she has a proposal in the works at NASA.

  133. Mike
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 3:18 PM | Permalink

    me not climate scientist, just programmer who work for living. not understand big words but see smoke, suspect fire. need someone smart and honest to explain. are anyone there?

  134. Mario
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

    You say:
    “Gavin Schmidt’s current efforts at realclimate are a good step in the right direction of increasing transparency.”
    I think it’s just a desperate PR move.

    But censorial habits are still hard-wired at RC, and if there’s hope to remain hidden automatically step forward to cancel what hurts feelings and/or is difficult to be answered.

    Two days ago I posted this in the RC CRU thread:
    >>You wrote: “As a long time reader of CA and RC I can testify to one dramatic difference between
    >> the skeptics and the believers, the skeptics are more tolerant of dissent.”

    >That is not my experience.

    It’s mine: a simple and telling example:
    CA presents RC in his climatesite-links “Blogroll” sidebar
    RC shows not CA in his “Other opinions” sidebar
    This should makes clearer the meaning of “tolerant”

    My post never went past the
    “Your comment is awaiting moderation” phase…

    Somebody is suprised?

  135. Judith Curry
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 4:22 PM | Permalink

    I’m starting to get media queries on my posts here. I am not interested in personal publicity on this issue, and have burned badly before by the media. Hence I am telling reporters that i won’t do any interviews, but will respond to questions in writing over email, which i will then post here. Here goes:

    * I’ve had a few scientists tell me that they think making code/datasets/information publicly available is important but that increasing openness won’t do anything to blunt arguments made by climate skeptics – that your suggestion specifically is naïve and/or optimistic. I’d like to offer you a chance to rebut that if you’d like.

    Increasing openness will blunt arguments made by climate skeptics if there is nothing to hide (most of their arguments are that if scientists aren’t open, they must be hiding something). If the skeptics come up with a problem in the analysis, then it is the responsibility of the scientist to address the issue and fix the problem. The objective here shouldn’t be to blunt the arguments by the skeptics, but rather to move the science forward and correct any errors that are identified (no matter who does the actual identifying). This is how science is supposed to work. In the climate area, skeptical arguments are amplified and distorted by the advocacy groups and the media, which rankles scientists and really adds unnecessary noise to the whole process. But that is something that we just have to learn to live with given the increasing political relevance of this topic.

    * Do you think this incident will have a chilling effect on future scientific discourse?

    I hope that this incident will improve professional behavior. Email, the internet, google groups etc have become indispensible in conducting collaborative science, and certainly keep the carbon footprint down by not requiring travel to communicate with your colleagues. I’ve personally learned the hard way (by getting a FOIA request for my email from a disgruntled employee) not to save email i don’t need and be careful what i say on email with regards to comments about other individuals that could be construed as an attack. These kinds of comments are not really needed in scientific discourse.

    • mike h
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 6:07 PM | Permalink

      Of course, AGW advocacates or media groups never distorting or amplify – 20 ft sea level rise, for example.

      AGW advocates are seeking to restructure the global economy, but won’t release their data or allow proper review because they are rankled???

      Why aren’t you outraged?

    • bender
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 6:53 PM | Permalink

      This is a very welcome approach to handling media requests. I am also glad to see your willingness to address a skeptical audience. You’ve said in the past you have a thick hide. I see you weren’t kidding.

  136. Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 4:29 PM | Permalink

    Dear Judy, dear Stave,

    I have translated your post in french. May I be authorized in the french sceptic website ?
    If Ok, could I have one or two sentences about Judy work ?

    Thank you for the whole work done in CA !


    From my standpoint, yes, you may.

    • stephen richards
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 7:47 AM | Permalink


      Si vous auriez besoin d’aide j’y suis. Je suis anglais mais j’habite dans la dordogne.

  137. Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 4:51 PM | Permalink

    Professor Curry,

    thanks for staying with this and talking with this group. We really do appreciate it. Most of what you say is very reasonable to me.

    I wonder what the future role is for serious amateurs in the sciences. We all know that once upon a time, science wasn’t institutionalized inside of universities. Up until sometime in the 19th century, science was largely pursued by independent individuals of liesure (rich men with estates) who took an interest in it. Certainly this was an elite and closed group. The sciences that we know today, institutionalized in universities, is much more open to all.

    But, it seems to me that we are seeing a new rise of serious amateurs. Steve M. is a good example: Someone at or near the end of another career, with the skills, passion, autodidactic power and financial freedon to become a real player outside of the institutionalized university system. There are other examples I could name.

    I wonder if we are going to see this grow with the wealth of the West, and whether the official professional scientists are going to have to get used to this and accommodate this. There is a broader sort of tribalism at work here, the tribalism of professionalism. I see it coming up in comments made by the official professionals (the ones with the PhD union card and the official university appointment, like you and me) all the time–both in these emails and in remarks they make to journalists.

    I suspect that you understand what I am getting at. Any thoughts?

  138. Richvs
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 5:00 PM | Permalink

    As a lifelong engineer and scientist with over 40 yrs of research background, it is very evident that the AGW movement has reached cult status. No hiding it whatsoever. The climate science field has been severely compromised by lack of transparency, critical peer review and the acceptance of skeptical positions. If the geopolitical and economic impacts were not so drastic, this would all be nonsense and we all would move on to more relevant issues. Do others have that same feeling that BIG BROTHER is begrudgingly offering trivial explanations for complex problems?

  139. joshua corning
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 5:03 PM | Permalink

    I became concerned about some of the tribes pointing their guns inward at other climate researchers who question their research or don’t pass various loyalty tests.

    This here is my biggest concern. The Hacked emails do seem to indicate a concerted and systematic effort to undermine the Peer review process.

    I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a
    legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate
    research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also
    need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently
    sit on the editorial board…
    What do others think?
    At 08:49 AM 3/11/2003 +0000, Phil Jones wrote:

    If such an email were found concerning medical research the outrage would be deafening. I guess i am wondering why not only insiders like Judy Curry but even skeptics like Spencer and Watts and Steve are not focusing on this rather then being concerned about “tribalism” or what Spencer called “Elitists”.

    A good ethical scientist can be elitist and even a tribalist and still remain a good ethical scientist but i think a real line here was crossed.
    This criticisms of tribalism and elitism seem to be a criticisms of their attitude. I could care less about peoples motives. What I do care about is what appears to be severe ethical violations that call into the question the validity of the peer reviewed scientific record.

    • PaddikJ
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 3:02 AM | Permalink

      And can you imagine the Madam LaFarge-like off-with-their-heads howling if a similar memo was ever traced back to a James Inhofe (or Steve Mac)?

      The press would be all over it in a matter of hours.

  140. theduke
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 5:09 PM | Permalink

    From an interesting column by Lord Nigel Lawson in the Daily Telegraph today:

    “Moreover, the scientific basis for global warming projections is now under scrutiny as never before. The principal source of these projections is produced by a small group of scientists at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), affiliated to the University of East Anglia.

    “Last week an apparent hacker obtained access to their computers and published in the blogosphere part of their internal e-mail traffic. And the CRU has conceded that the at least some of the published e-mails are genuine.

    “Astonishingly, what appears, at least at first blush, to have emerged is that (a) the scientists have been manipulating the raw temperature figures to show a relentlessly rising global warming trend; (b) they have consistently refused outsiders access to the raw data; (c) the scientists have been trying to avoid freedom of information requests; and (d) they have been discussing ways to prevent papers by dissenting scientists being published in learned journals.

    “There may be a perfectly innocent explanation. But what is clear is that the integrity of the scientific evidence on which not merely the British Government, but other countries, too, through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, claim to base far-reaching and hugely expensive policy decisions, has been called into question. And the reputation of British science has been seriously tarnished. A high-level independent inquiry must be set up without delay.

    “It is against all this background that I am announcing today the launch of a new high-powered all-party (and non-party) think-tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (, which I hope may mark a turning-point in the political and public debate on the important issue of global warming policy. At the very least, open and reasoned debate on this issue cannot be anything but healthy. The absence of debate between political parties at the present time makes our contribution all the more necessary. “

  141. magicfingers4
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

    When all is said and done, all this revolves around Stephen Schneider’s 1989 instruction…

    ” We need to get some broad based support, to capture the public imagination,we have to offer up some scary scenarios,make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have.Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective,and being honest.”

    Public polling indicates Schneider’s strategy was dead wrong. Science has suffered as a result.

  142. Jacob
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 5:16 PM | Permalink

    Steeve M.
    Please don’t waste your time and energy on following the scandals accompanying this debate, reading all e-mail, answering all claims. Leave that to others.
    Please concentrate on what you do best, and few beside you can do: audit the papers, follow the arguments and calculations, find and expose the errors. This is what matters, and what you do best.
    Thanks very much for your dedicated and enormously important work.

  143. Jordan
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 5:19 PM | Permalink

    A nice sense of Judith taking a step across the floor and standing a little closer to Steve. Judith was more of a friend than others, and it is perhaps a measure of how bad things had become that mere association with sceptical opinion was seen as taking risk.

    However Judith does leave me with pangs of cynicism. The image I get is that of long grass bending in the breeze.

    “only because of continued public pressure from Steve McIntyre.”

    Yep. And the body of “practitioners” can reflect on how many of them have failed to earn a place in the credits. How could the system have so comprehensively broken down?

    Better late than never Judith, but actions will speak louder than words. This is your opportunity.

  144. Jacob
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 5:23 PM | Permalink

    Professor Curry,
    I welcome your piece about flaws that need to be corrected.
    But, where have you been all those last (at least), ten years ?
    As a scientist involved in the matter, haven’t you been aware of what was going on? Why haven’t you spoken up for the integrity of scientific research, before?

    • stephen richards
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 7:57 AM | Permalink

      I sympathise and empathise with Judy. I worked in a large research organisition for 22 years and speaking out was extremely detrimental to my career. Promotion, salary increases, bonuses all were affected and adjusted accordingly. Dr Curry has been taking small steps into the minefield for some time now and, following this uproar, she perhaps sees a route out which has been reasonably cleared, but don’t forget that she still has to make her way in this world and it is by no means certain that anything will change. Governments have already imposed carbon taxes and/or signed up to do so next year. They will use every means possible to block any movement that encroaches on their terratoire.

      I am by nature a sceptic cynicist but I understand Dr Curry’s problem and will therefore not criticise. Let he among you who have not thought or done as here throw the next criticism.

  145. Judith Curry
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 5:38 PM | Permalink

    seems like the reporters are ok with doing things this way, wish i would have thought of this prior to the “brain fossilization” episode. Heres another one.

    One question I’m trying to get at in my piece is how these released
    e-mails will impact the climate debate. But will these e-mail
    messages be seen as discrediting their findings?

    There is nothing in the emails that directly discredits these datasets and findings, although the emails reflect some pretty inappropriate behavior with regards to the peer review and assessment processes. The short term impact of the hack on the SCIENTIFIC debate will be some clarity on the methods and codes used to create the HADCRUT dataset. The short term impact in the PUBLIC climate debate will ammunition for Rush Limbaugh and his ilk in terms of trying to derail copenhagen and efforts in the U.S. to develop an energy policy. The longer term impact of this incident is hopefully greater transparency in climate research and better behavior by climate scientists holding positions of responsibility

    • FredG
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 6:53 PM | Permalink

      “There is nothing in the emails that directly discredits these datasets and findings, although the emails reflect some pretty inappropriate behavior with regards to the peer review and assessment processes.”

      Dr Curry,

      Do you realize that the hack included more than just emails? It also included code, with programmer comments.

      I think it would be prudent for you to learn all of the facts before you start answering questions from the media.

      For example, the following code clearly adjusts the results by adding a “fudge factor”:

      ; Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!
      2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor
      if n_elements(yrloc) ne n_elements(valadj) then message,’Oooops!’

      WUWT Source

    • Harold
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 11:34 PM | Permalink

      Dr. Curry, I disagree strongly with this statement:

      There is nothing in the emails that directly discredits these datasets and findings, although the emails reflect some pretty inappropriate behavior with regards to the peer review and assessment processes.

      To the contrary, anyone with any experience with minimum standards for data integrity, traceability, analysis methods quality and traceability would automatically throw out any and all conclusions. If basic standards aren’t demonstrably met, the rest of it is worse than worthless – it’s misleading.

      When I was at Ga Tech some decades ago, they seemed to have much higher standards than you seem to have now. Has something changed? I’m very, very disappointed by your position on this.

    • Chris Wright
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 7:14 AM | Permalink

      Dr Curry, I strongly support your sentiments on scientific transparency, but I also disagree with your statement:

      “There is nothing in the emails that directly discredits these datasets and findings, although the emails reflect some pretty inappropriate behavior with regards to the peer review and assessment processes.”

      I’ll just concentrate on one issue which does appear to be pretty important. In many emails they appear to be fretting about the ‘1940’s blip’ and there are suggestions on how to get rid of it. It appears they were indeed successful in ‘getting rid of the blip’.

      An earlier poster gives a link to a pdf file which contains temp graphs for many countries. This is presumably the data these people were worried about. Many of the graphs show a strong temperature rise around 1940. A significant number show temperatures higher than today. Even if AGW were true there would not be enough CO2 to cause an observable warming around 1940, so the blip is extremely embarrassing for them.

      Needless to say, the blip does not appear in the published temperature series. They successfully got rid of it, just as they got rid of the MWP. I would say that this, if it can be supported by the evidence, is a clear case of the data set being discredited.

      By the way, does anyone know if these graphs represent the data that CRU have steadfastly refused to disclose, with the excuse that it was someone else’s property or actually lost? Also, has anyone found any data files that those graphs are based on?


  146. Fred
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 5:40 PM | Permalink

    ““politically motivated climate disinformation machine that was associated with e.g. ExxonMobil, CEI, Inhofe/Morano etc.”

    is that anything like . . .

    “politically motivated climate disinformation machine that was associated with e.g. The Sierra Club, de SmogBlog , David Suzuki, Al gore the BBC,CBC, NYT the Star etc.

    Just curious

  147. Judith Curry
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

    NW: the blogosphere opens up a whole new sphere of possibility for amateur science, with the easy accessibility of most journal articles from the web and blogging communities. It is probably pretty difficult (but not impossible) for an amateur to break into the peer reviewed literature (Steve M’s experiences are a good case study), but the blogosphere is an excellent venue for this. No question that that the mainstream climate researchers are paying attention to the blogs, otherwise McIntyre, McKittrick, Pielkes, Spencer and Lucia wouldn’t be so prominently featured in the CRU emails.

  148. theduke
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 6:23 PM | Permalink

    Judith Curry: Thank you for your contribution to these threads. You wrote: “There is nothing in the emails that directly discredits these datasets and findings, although the emails reflect some pretty inappropriate behavior with regards to the peer review and assessment processes.”

    I wonder what our host thinks about that. Seems to me that there is much there that discredits the findings and datasets and I’m sure poor Harry would back me up on that.

  149. Brazil Tony
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 6:36 PM | Permalink

    Curryls comments are picked up here in story related to the FOIA requests

  150. Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 6:41 PM | Permalink

    Whilst these comments from Judy Curry are a welcome addition to the debate, it does not get at the nub of the problem. The e-mails suggest that the consensus is dominated by a small number, using techniques to deflect criticism that is far from being scientific.
    We first need to clearly define the demarcation between science and non-science. At the moment the criteria is too often between “consensus” and “skeptics/denialists”.
    Second is in encouraging students to compare and contrast the different conclusions.
    Third is for the UNIPCC reports to have greater independent scrutiny. There is a severe conflict of interest between the body of work has been written by a small group, largely peer-reviewed by other members of that group and then summarised by leaders of that same group. This at best is likely to lead to some bias and flawed analysis in the general results. At worst it may tie all the major nations into a treaty that will harm living standards for generations, to solve an insignificant problem.

    I discuss further at

  151. Judith Curry
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 6:42 PM | Permalink

    theduke: my comment referred to the emails. i think the code itself is likely to prove far more interesting, after all this is where the rubber meets the road.

  152. Reader
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 6:45 PM | Permalink

    I would like to make another comment about the ‘denier’ business. A denier as I understand is a person who refuses to believe a fact, a reality, etc. I don’t think that applies to people who is skeptical of the studies advocated by some loud-voiced-climate scientists. It HOWEVER applies perfectly to the people who now brushes off the significant implications and wrongdoings judged from the emails, codes and other files included in this hack. Face that reality first, I say to those deniers.

  153. HLx
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 7:25 PM | Permalink

    There are some underlying faults in Judith Currys reasoning when she hints at the conclusions that:

    “Scientists seeking the truth and who have confidence in their research don’t typically waste time doing this unless there is some major external public pressure (which i’m just not seeing at this point in the hockey stick science world).”

    “I don’t think that they view SteveM as having unique capabilities in terms of scientifically discrediting their science. If its wrong, it won’t stand the test of time, there are too many scientists working on this subject and “outsiders” are getting their papers published.”

    What I believe is at play here, and which I have seen mentioned earlier here a couple of times, is this:

    1. The CRU-gang believe in global warming.
    2. The CRU-gang know there is a lack of sufficient data to prove it at any scientific certainty.
    3. The CRU-gang ‘adjusts’ data to achieve a ‘false proof’ og AGW. NOT because of ego, NOT because of public pressure, NOT because of a future proving they have made solid, factbased articles, BUT – and this is the central point – because they believe AGW is going to be proven correct. And that is the point, as in several examples in history, people do it because they believe they are right. Not ‘right’ as in correct use and presentation of data. But correct in the sense that these ‘white’ lies may result in a better future.

    One problem I am having with AGW is: “Where is the REAL proof?!”…
    I certainly can’t find it at RealClimate, which seem more like a tool for religios AGW supporters. I can’t find it in public documents relating to the IPCC, which I have tried.

    If AGW is real, a complete database of the articles AND referenced articles with proof of AGW, INCLUDING source material, should be made publicly accessible on the internet.


  154. dougie
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 7:34 PM | Permalink

    Judy Curry
    thanks/appreciate all your comments on this debacle.

    i think everyone should consider the fact that Judy has been the only one (true balls for me, sorry Judy!!) to try to give the “our sde/other side” view & try to advance this to a rethink of the debate is a positive. this is a big thing, give her some leeway & encourage others to chip in.

  155. bender
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 7:59 PM | Permalink

    Folks are blowing things out of proportion. If these mutiproxy reconstruction studies are wrong in the way Steve says they are wrong – and these emails and files suggest this may well be the case – then all that is affected is our current estimate of how unprecedented the current warming trend is. If, further, Phil Jones’s HadCRU (and Hansen’s GISSTemp) are biased warm due to an under-estimated land-use effect – consistent with Ross McKitrick & Pat Michaels spatial analysis – then the 20th century trend needs to be cut by roughly 1/3 to 1/2. Still, this leaves untouched the GCMs, which say that, despite where we are on the warming trend, the trend is nevertheless up. Even Lindzen does not dispute this. The only unresolved core issue is therefore the rate of the uptrend, and if and when it plateaus. It’s all fine and dandy for Fred Singer to suggest that climate fluctuations are “natural”. That doesn’t provide a very satisfying proximal explanation for the 1920-50s warming and the 1970-2000s warming. It is incorrect and disingenous for him to suggest (in that BBC piece) that GCM ensemble means should be compared to the observed data. What we observe in the real world is a single climate run, not an ensemble. This is, of course, IPCC’s own fault – for failing to clearly illustrate variability and uncertainty among model runs.
    Please try to maintain a clear distinction between healthy and unhealthy skepticism.

    • ianl8888
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 9:20 PM | Permalink


      It was also disingenuous of Bob Watson to state that the GCM’s had predicted the warming/cooling cycles in the latter half of the 20th century and the 1st decade of this one when he knew these cycles had been added to the GCM’s after the events

      Outspoken AGW proponents will find it very difficult to give up the addiction to celebrity power garnered from simplistically scaring the public through the “meeja” – I honestly believe that most cannot do this, despite it being at the very core of the integrity issue. You once posted along these lines, I think

      I do have respect for Judith Curry’s distaste for this. In the very few (maybe 5 or 6) times in my career I have been approached by the meeja, I have refused outright to talk to them. The risk of being deliberately and simplistically misquoted is far too high for me

    • Mike H
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 10:11 PM | Permalink


      This throws me:

      “It is incorrect and disingenous… that GCM ensemble means should be compared to the observed data. What we observe in the real world is a single climate run, not an ensemble. This is, of course, IPCC’s own fault – for failing to clearly illustrate variability and uncertainty among model runs.”

      So, in laymans terms, GCM models are good for what exactly?

    • John Norris
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 11:39 PM | Permalink

      Agree Bender. But of course 2 degrees c per century is quite a bit different then 4 or 6 degrees c per century. If it is only 2, it is more of a stretch to say it is unprecedented, and in turn harder to say the GW is AGW. Attribution to a natural cycle is that much more plausible. In that sense it sets the stage back quite a bit for those advocating significant behavioral changes for the masses. So in that sense it is a fairly large deal. If the 4 and 6 degree model runs don’t have the paleoclimatic hockey stick along side of them, they look like more of a stretch.

    • stephen richards
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 8:01 AM | Permalink

      Succinct and precise as usual. The planet continues to warm but because of these criminals we don’t know if it is significant or not.

    • Faustino
      Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 2:22 AM | Permalink

      Bender, you say that “The only unresolved core issue is therefore the rate of the uptrend, and if and when it plateaus.” Surely the cause of any upturn and whether or not it can be addressed by policy is crucial? To me, neither has been demonstrated, yet drastic policies with huge impacts on economies – not just on GDP per capita, but, at least in Australia, involvong massive government distortion and direction of the economy. Do you think, given the demonstrated problems with data, that AGW is proven, and that reduced CO2 emissions will be a cost-effective method of reducing rises?

  156. Mike H
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:01 PM | Permalink

    I’ll bite. Thanks for taking the time, Judy. You’ve been truly admirable.

    Later tody, thank the many hard working scientists and engineers in Big Oil and Big Petrochemicals for the many fine things they provide that make our lives possible.

    I’ll thank Al Gore for the internet.


  157. Glenn
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:06 PM | Permalink

    Many thanks to Dr. Curry for her post. Her recommendations for transparency mirror what many so-called skeptics have stated for many years. In fact, that very lack of transparency may be, in large part, the reason many of the most successful “skeptic” blogs exist today!

    While reading her post, I found myself intermittently nodding in agreement and trying to shake the red flags that kept rising in my head. Her praise for RC (and Gavin, in particular) is peculiar, given the censorship of the RC site and the acknowledged reason RC was started, as stated in the emails. It seems Dr. Curry is trying to play to those of us who have our concerns over the inappropriate actions of many of the tribal members by agreeing with us with respect to transparency, with a goal of having us agree with her that the RC folks, including Gavin, are all well-meaning scientists out for the truth.

    Clearly, from the leaked emails, this is not the case. Clear attempts to obfuscate the FOI process, including the likelihood of deleted emails, are certainly illegal. Collusion in the IPCC and peer-review process to stifle viewpoints that do not agree with their own make a mockery of the scientific process.

    Dr Curry, I applaud your call for transparency, but I think it’s clear that the tribe is, as another commenter noted earlier, more like a cult, where only true believers are to be trusted with the keys to the empire.

  158. Michael hauber
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:14 PM | Permalink

    I think most of what Judith has said is quite insightful. I certainly support calls for added transparency, would not claim that climate scientists are perfect and have never made a mistake, and would agree that the climate scientists have circled wagons in response to politically motivated attacks on climate science.

    I am a climate amateur with an undergraduate science degree, a keen interest in weather and climate, and ten years of professional exposure to computer modelling (industrial processes) and data analysis.

    From my perspective I cannot tell the difference between the politically motivated attacks on climate, and any genuine attempts you may be making to contribute useful science progress. I do not have the patience, interest, and background understanding to get to the bottom of the you say-they say issues in Yamal etc, and get to a position where I can say I confidently understand the scientific issues, and am confident that the Team is right, or confident that your criticisms of the team are valid. I plug away at it from time to time, and maybe one day I will learn enough to be confident on my opinions in this area.

    So I am forced to judge the issue on credibility. The ‘team’ are the generally acknowledged experts on this topic, and you an outsider. It doesn’t guarantee that the team is right, but if I have no other basis on which to base my belief on, than how can I choose other than the team?

    And then add to this consideration the elements of climate science that I do understand. I understand clearly that individual climate models show cooling trends in the order of 10-20 years, yet there are so many attacks on climate science based around a cooling trend since 2002. I understand that AGW could well be true even if pine trees are totaly useless as temperature proxies, yet there are many claims circulated that AGW must be false because the hockey stick is broken.

    When the arguments of the climate skeptic side that I do understand are so patently flawed, why should I give any serious credence to the arguments that I have not yet been able to understand?

    • bender
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 9:55 PM | Permalink

      Who’s asking for your “credence”? Alarmists or skeptics?

      • Michael hauber
        Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 10:52 PM | Permalink

        I don’t know. Does anyone want my credence?

        I’m not sure I understand your point, but at a guess you are pointing out that alarmists require my credence to support action on climate change. I would assume that skeptics would like my credence to oppose action on climate change? Some of the statements I have read from Steve lead me to believe that his motives are to influence the science towards a more rigorous and transparent treatment of data, and that he does not oppose action on climate change (but I am not very sure on this). In which case my opinion is almost irrelevant as I have no influence on scientific processes beyond my right to vote for the government that sets policy. However many who comment at Climate Audit, and who quote from Climate Audit seem to have a very definite agenda to oppose action on climate change.

        I would expect that extreme hostility of some of these commentators, is a strong incentive for climate scientists to circle wagons and train their guns on climate audit in response.

    • Harold
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 11:50 PM | Permalink

      So I am forced to judge the issue on credibility.

      Your industrial modeling experience should help you recognize what these models are. The models are not “fundamental physics” models, they are more related to empirical models. As such, results cannot validly be projected outside of the data space. Validation of such a model for the purposes of projecting future behavior is a virtual impossibility.

      As I mentioned before, I consider these models as an exercise in applied mathematics, not science.

    • Leonard Weinstein
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 12:09 AM | Permalink


      As you point out you are not qualified to either agree or disagree with either side. Then you refer to “the experts” as a default position. Please read some of the e-mails just exposed and if you don’t change your position, get out of the discussion. There are many very qualified people at CA and other skeptics blogs that did a lot of reading and analysis and these are mostly independent individuals. I am a semi-retired NASA research scientist (with a ScD) and many of the skeptics are comparable in education. I and probably most of these people just couldn’t take the misinformation the so called “experts” kept throwing out when the data did not support their claims.

    • Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 9:32 AM | Permalink

      This attitude is quite depressingly common – people are assumed to be experts despite being palpably and provably wrong all the time. The media encourages this because they assume someone who says “I don’t really know” is not an expert while someone prepared to say yes or no is quotable. Of course the reality is too often exactly the opposite since it is more often the wiser head who is confident enough to say “I don’t know”. This is also why the mainstream media didn’t see the crash coming; their favored experts told them that the ones warning about the debt mountain fueling a housing bubble were mere doom-sayers simply because they couldn’t say exactly when the bubble would burst.

      But there are two even more depressing follow-ups;
      a) Sometimes the wiser heads follow the more stupid ones down the path of rank stupidity. God alone knows why they do this.
      b) There is never any disgrace in being wrong. You can still retain the veneer of expertise, be feted by the media and eventually win a prestigious prize. The same wrong experts are still engaged to discuss how to cure the bust they helped cheer on, and the same bellicose chickenhawks who failed to consider the consequences of an invasion are still asked how to run a war. It’s as if being totally wrong with your first guess is somehow a great qualification for having another go.

      I find it all really bizarre and disconcerting. Do the lumpen public really have such short memories? Apparently so.

  159. Richard Hern
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:24 PM | Permalink

    The ‘facts’ are that this ‘tribe’ tried to control the science of Global Warming by ad hominen attacks, by using pressure on research publication to NOT allow papers that questioned AGW to be published, ie. peer reviewed, thus then being able to state that the other tribe’s research papers were not ‘peer’ reviewed therefore worthless. By their controlling what was included in the IPCC reports, and acting as a illegal cabel to exclude valid comments form the IPCC as were required by the UN. They illegally did not response to US and GB FOI requests, in fact they were attempting to ‘delete’ what they were legally required to produce! Whether their ‘facts’, Yamal or the Hockey Stick were correct, and they are not, what these people did was unethical and illegal.

  160. lucklucky
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:28 PM | Permalink

    There are not enough available stations to say what is and have been the earth temperature. Models are simply bunk, temperature data idem. We don’t even know enough to feed reliable data to a model and even less to have a reliable modeling since we don’t know how climate works.

    • bender
      Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:38 PM | Permalink


  161. sky
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:28 PM | Permalink

    Transparency is definitely a pre-requisite to good science. But the situation in the climate debate is not so simple that it can resolved entirely by applying liberal doses of it. Even if all the “tribalism” and obstructionism were to disappear magically, all the substantive scientific issues would remain. Judith Curry’s reading of the situation as essentially a procedural/sociological one is as much of a “bust” as her hurricane-season prediction made several months ago.

  162. Pompous Git
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:42 PM | Permalink

    “Gavin Schmidt’s current efforts at realclimate are a good step in the right direction of increasing transparency.”

    If Gavin becomes any more transparent, he’ll be invisible! Anyone with an IQ higher than a fencepost who has watched Gavin in action over the years ought to be able to see right through him.

    “established in response to the politically motivated climate disinformation machine that was associated with e.g. ExxonMobil, CEI, Inhofe/Morano etc.”

    That’s right. Steve, Roger Pielke, Dick Lindzen, von Storch et al are merely “a politically motivated climate disinformation machine” and totally responsible for “real” climate scientists bad behaviour. If you don’t have an argument, bring on the ad hominems. Not impressed.

  163. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 9:20 PM | Permalink

    When Judith C comments:

    “Increasing openness will blunt arguments made by climate skeptics if there is nothing to hide (most of their arguments are that if scientists aren’t open, they must be hiding something). If the skeptics come up with a problem in the analysis, then it is the responsibility of the scientist to address the issue and fix the problem.”

    I find it unclear as to her understanding of the blogosphere v. climate science debate going on. Firstly the “skeptics/amatuers” arguments are not primarily or soley related to the issue of openness. Amatuers find problems with methods and statistics in climate papers and the lack of openness makes the analysis more difficult and less efficient. It is the analysis that should be the prime focus and concern.

    I do not see any climate scientists who have had papers analyzed and criticized at blogs like CA making anything approaching an attempt to answer the criticisms in detail, and in fact when they appear it is often to lecture about the bad attitudes of the posters.

  164. Harry Mallory
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 9:29 PM | Permalink

    Judith Curry:
    “…AGW alarmist activist groups have employed the same inappropriate tactics as ExxonMobil et al., but far less effectively …”

    Really? Can you explain which “inappropriate” tactics ExxonMobil “et al”. have taken that exceeds the alarmist activist group known as the UN IPCC? I’d love to see how they compare.

  165. JP
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 10:06 PM | Permalink

    Judith, you are my new hero. Love your post, you display the attitude I wish all scientists had.

  166. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 10:07 PM | Permalink

    It is stated by Dr Curry that – “There is nothing in the emails that directly discredits these datasets and findings, although the emails reflect some pretty inappropriate behavior with regards to the peer review and assessment processes.”

    Why not look at email 11641207120.txt of Nov 2006 where Keith Briffa writes to Martin Juckes and some others

    “Another serious issue to be considered relates to the fact that the PC1 time series in
    the Mann et al. analysis was adjusted to reduce the positive slope in the last 150
    years (on the assumption – following an earlier paper by Lamarche et al. – that this
    incressing growth was evidence of carbon dioxide fertilization) , by differencing the
    data from another record produced by other workers in northern Alaska and Canada
    (which incidentally was standardised in a totally different way). This last adjustment
    obviously will have a large influence on the quantification of the link between these
    Western US trees and N.Hemisphere temperatures. At this point , it is fair to say that
    this adjustment was arbitrary and the link between Bristlecone pine growth and CO2 is ,
    at the very least, arguable. ”

    In my small opinion, this DOES discredit some datasets and findings. Important ones.

    Reading on, they attempt to get Prof North (and indirectly Franco Biondi) to water down his statements about untility of Bristlecone Pines.

    Deplorable. And you stood by for a decade while this was going on? I did not.

  167. Harry Mallory
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 10:46 PM | Permalink

    Instead of spending the effort in making Steve McIntyre irrelevant, why doesnt the tribe work at making him an advocate? I dont see Steve as being decidedly inflexible as far as AGW science is concerned. Or is there something wrong with the research?

    Again, with these latest set of emails, it is becoming abundantly obvious that “the tribe” is up to far more shenanigans than ExxonMobile can be accused of. I’d still be interested in hearing how “big oil” has been more effective in the disinformation than “the tribe” has.

  168. kenorzel
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 10:48 PM | Permalink

    Before the hack 60% of the people outside the climate change ‘club’ believed it was nonsense, after the hack, they know they were right. The whole climate change thing is a make work project for scientists who need work. Nothing more or less. Eisenhower was right, after the Military Industrial Complex the University Crowd gets a mention in his famous speech and well they should.

    As for all the hand wringing about the personal data being compromised, too bad, it shouldn’t have been there in the first place, that is what private e mail accounts are for. As for the rest of us ‘unwashed’ not ‘understanding it’ well all of use and read English and what those e mails contained was straight forward and damning.

    I wrote David Cameron the soon to be PM for the UK and suggested that a Parliamentary Inquiry be initiated as all these mails were on government servers anyway, no FOIA needed.

    As for the NYT whining about publishing any of this, spare me, you lot were quite happy to publish all our secret descriptors for the missile sites during the
    Cuban missile crisis causing the codes to be compromised and changed so get lost

  169. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 11:19 PM | Permalink

    Judith, first, many thanks for your assessment. It is a refreshing change from what I am seeing at other sites.

    However, I would say that your statement that the scientists were “circling the wagons” in response to Inhofe/Morano et. al is incorrect. Mann and Jones have been concealing their data since they had data. The CENSORED directory of Mann’s is a response to nothing other than the fact that he knew he was pushing bullshit. He was hiding it long before Steve McIntyre came looking for it.

    The disturbing part of all of this is that you have correctly identified the issue your first point — transparency. But Jones is not hiding his data because someone is asking for it, that’s blaming the victim. You are acting like it is Warwick Hughes fault for asking for the data, not Jone’s fault for hiding it. He is hiding it because he is terrified that someone will find something wrong with it. Blaming that on Exxon or Inhofe or Warwick is an inversion of cause and effect.

    For example, as soon as Jones and Mann and David Jones in Australia heard of the Freedom of Information Act, they started planning out how to hide from it. Right from the first mention of FOIA, in January of 2005, before anyone had filed a single FOIA request, they’re already planning evasive actions (1106338806):

    >I wouldn’t worry about the code. If FOIA does ever get used by anyone, there is also IPR to consider as well.
    >Data is covered by all the agreements we sign with people, so I will be hiding behind them.

    So by the time I filed my FOIA request in late 2006, they were already in full deny, dissemble, and destroy mode. As an old book says, “The wicked man fleeth, when no man pursueth …” And that’s the fault of the wicked man, not Exxon. If Jones can’t stand the heat, he should get out of the climate kitchen.

    The crazy part is, if you trust your data and your methods, the very person you should give them to is your worst scientific enemy. If s/he can’t find errors in your work, you know it is solid. Instead, they only give the data to their friends, who pat each other on the back and tell each other how wonderful they are … but there’s no replication of the study.

    And when you only give data to friends of yours, and not to people who actually might take a critical look at it, you know what you get?

    A “consensus” …

    Again, my thanks for your honesty.


  170. Barclay E MacDonald
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 11:21 PM | Permalink

    Dr. Curry your prediction about the attention you would receive from this thread is rapidly coming true. Wow!

    I do respect your courage and attitude, and I am becoming concerned that you are setting yourself up all alone out here. Please consider your responses carefully from all possible sides. You could use some help. I suggest you struggle to avoid charactarizing or inferring motives. That’s really beyond your expertise, and it will draw you in to irrelevant, endless discussions. I further suggest you strive to stay focused on the science and your motives. Those are clearly your strongest points. You are being very courageous. Please be careful and thoughtful. We’d like to have you around here for a long time.
    I too am looking forward to your contributed thread in response to Bender’s request. There are many layman like me lurking here, and we do look forward to learning all we can.
    Best Wishes

  171. Leonard Weinstein
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 11:50 PM | Permalink

    Dr. Currey,

    I keep seeing the comment that thousands of papers support AGW. In fact all of the tree-ring data is is either very limited in location or accuracy and most have a divergence problem. Probably none is very useful. The main bulk of other papers are on much shorter time periods in the past and actually do NOT address AGW directly, only that it warmed recently. In fact even the skeptics agree there was a cooler period in the near past (LIA) and recent warming, which is not evidence of AGW unless it can be shown this is unusual. This is one of the main problems of the tribe. It now appears what reasonable data there is available (from ice cores and sediment data) that goes back several thousand years supports the MWP and previous warm periods as probably being at least as warm as present, and interspace them with cooler periods, and cast doubt on the uniqueness of the present warming. The only remaining way AGW could be shown projecting forward in time with models that assume the greenhouse effect of CO2 and Methane amplified by a strong positive feedback. The problem is so complicated that only real data could begin to support it. Now even that positive feedback seems to have been falsified by the last 10 or so years. No first principal physics supports it. I would like you to quote even one remaining (of the thousands) of paper that supports a clear indication of AGW. Just one.

  172. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Nov 23, 2009 at 11:51 PM | Permalink

    Again in my humble opinion, there is a possibility that the “hacked” emails were not “hacked” by an outsider, but were prepared ready for deletion. By this supposition, for which I have no evidence yet, some insider decided to distribute before deletion. Some of the material from a decade ago when the concepts of data release and FOI were sparse, is just too complete and pertinent to explain a better selection process than prepartion for destruction once the importance of FOI was realised. Like a tortoise pulling its appendages under its carapace to feign impregnability.

    • ianl8888
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 4:35 AM | Permalink

      I agree, Geoff.

      The work-a-day contents mixed in with the nasty stuff had convinced me that was never intended for release, but rather execution if any FOI requests actually threatened to succeed

  173. David
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 12:05 AM | Permalink

    Based on what is contained in these emails, it is fair to say that the scientific careers of these individuals may well be at an end. After so many years of attempting to point to the facts and being scorned by others public ally, privately, or just in general for not believing in AGW, perhaps I should feel a tinge of joy. However, much more so, I am saddened by all this.

    How many people’s lives and careers were destroyed by their manipulations and cover-up? How many people and institutions were dragged down by this? What about Science magazine, Nature, and GRL? What about public faith in science and the impartiality of scientists in general? How many politicians fell for all this, or went along with it rather than be ridiculed? How many editors were removed as a result of their joint targeted efforts?

    And by all means, they could not have got this far alone, who else is complicit in all this? At Science, at Nature, at any other number of once(?) venerated science publications? How were they able to get their own people into these publications and why did no one question this? Where was the National Academy of Sciences? Why did they not question all this, and to the extent they had a few tepid remarks of rebuke (“cannot be supported”) and trying to go along with the political zeitgeist rather than stick up for the scientific facts?

    What about the political careers of dupes(?), fellow travelers(?), or opportunists (?) like Sir David King, Al Gore, and however many countless other politicians that will forever be associated with this mess. And now that we are at the climate change Waterloo, why in the world did it take a whistleblower’s effort to release these emails to finally get the scientific community to stand-up and say this is wrong? Was it really that difficult to see what was happening without the emails?

    Couldn’t ALL of our time, effort, and money have been better spent solving actual problems in the world rather than trying to debunk what any reasonably intelligent person could have seen was if not a total fabrication of facts a deeply manipulated set of facts.

    Finally, how is it possible that this group of what I might call climate charlatans was able to nearly convince the entire world to sign up to reduce their economic growth in the name of … what exactly? Have they now shame? Should Kyoto or Copenhagen have ever been fully implemented (with the U.S., India, and China) how many BILLIONS of people would see their fortunes turn for the worse over this travesty. The developing world would have seen its development slowed or halted and the developed world the same.

    It is with cold comfort that I must recall the adage, “never underestimate the power of human stupidity”.

    And if I might just add, aren’t our children now at school being imbued with this propaganda through Al Gore’ “An Inconvenient Truth”? What effect will this have on them and their trust in science?

    • Richvs
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 1:44 PM | Permalink

      Well spoken David.

  174. Barry R.
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 1:10 AM | Permalink

    The things that bothers me most about this whole episode:
    1) The intellectual dishonesty of manipulating the peer review process to exclude skeptical papers and then using the lack of peer reviewed paper to attempt to discredit skeptics.
    2) The fact that this sorry episode has discredited the study of climate to the point that even if the science eventually comes in to show that CO2 or (more likely in my opinion) some other man-generated activity really is causing dangerous amounts of warming it’ll be almost impossible to convince people that this time it’s for real.
    3) In reality, the issues involved here are trivial. Let’s say for the sake of argument that Jones, Gavin and company really did manage to prove that the last few decades are the warmest in the last 1000 years. What does that prove? Almost nothing about how much of that global warming is caused by human activities. Why not? Because (a) the interglacial is over ten thousand years old. In order to prove that the increase is unprecedented in our interglacial they would have to be able to go back to the beginning of the interglacial. As far as I know they don’t even claim to be able to do that. (b) Even if they could prove that this is the warmest time so far in this interglacial, it doesn’t prove that human activity is the culprit. What is the natural range of variation for this stage of an interglacial? Do interglacial temperatures become less stable in certain phases of the interglacial? There appears to be a consensus that at least at part of the last interglacial was considerably warmer than the current one, and that sea levels were 4 to 6 meters higher if I recall correctly. Would the future of this interglacial include higher temperatures with or without human influence? That’s the kind of thing that really should be ruled in or out, and I think it’s possible, but not with the quality of science and scientists that we saw in these e-mails.

    By the way, on point #2, a study recently (November 12) came out saying that a dozen fluorine-based compounds are collectively far more dangerous than CO2 in terms of greenhouse warming.

    On point #3, a recent study appears to show that temperatures in Antarctica in previous interglacials have been up to 6 degrees centigrade higher than they are now.

    That certainly indicates that temperatures, at least in Antarctica, can get considerably higher than they are currently in the course of an interglacial without human involvement.

  175. Calvin Ball
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 1:10 AM | Permalink

    Speaking of tribalism in the climate community:

    Iowahawk Geographic: The Secret Life of Climate Researchers

  176. mike
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 1:18 AM | Permalink

    i’m all for transparency as well.

    can you tell me how many FOI requests you have made in the last 10 years?

    or are you a hypocrite?

    Steve: not as many as is being represented. In most cases, there has been a followup because of an untrue reason given for an initial refusal, but there was only one set of data involved. In th nxt week or so, I’ll do an inventory.

  177. steven mosher
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 1:27 AM | Permalink

    Free the data; free the code; open the debate.

    • Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 10:25 AM | Permalink

      Verify the code, Verify the methods, Validate the models, SQA the software

  178. Richard Saumarez
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 1:53 AM | Permalink

    As an aging biomedical researcher/physician, I am astonished by the chaotic nature of the data that has been used in modelling and the apparantly deliberate way in which shortcomings in the data have been obscured. I have always subscribed to the widely held view in my field that one’s entire work could be audited and one should have one’s data and analysis prepared in such a way that it would withstand review.

    To my mind the e-mails show a level of self delusion and that, having taken up a position, the protagonists simply cannot believe that they are wrong. Having encountered this behaviour once before, I find it depressingly familiar. However, once there was reasonable suspicion of malpractice an audit uncovered astonishing fabrication of data and completely inappropriate analysis.

    There must be be an independent, and academically respectable audit of the work on which the AGW hypothesis is based.

  179. Ron Cram
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 2:17 AM | Permalink

    Steve, I would like to see a thread discussion what should be done to make amends for the evil done by the CRU cabal. I posed a question to Dr. Curry which went unanswered. You have hosted threads in the past on how science can be improved. Please do so again. Here are my suggestions from a post on Nature’s blog that did not go through the first time.

    Perhaps my earlier comment was lost. I am certain Nature would not censor a comment because it did not like the content. Here it is again.

    Now that the CRU whistleblower has released these emails and documents which were responsive to FOI requests and were illegally withheld, how will this change editorial decisions at Nature?

    For example, now that we know the CRU cabal were putting undue pressure on journals not to publish papers by skeptical scientists, will Nature report on pressure applied to its editors to prevent the publication of skeptical papers?

    Also, will Nature be more open to publishing quality work produced by skeptical scientists?

    Since skeptical scientists like Steve McIntyre, John Christy, Roy Spencer, Richard Lindzen, Roger Pielke, Craig Loehle and Anthony Watts have been discriminated against, are you willing to issue these scientists a gold embossed invitation to publish any paper they deem worthy as a way to correct previous years of shutting them out?

    Are you willing to invite skeptical scientists to review more papers? In my opinion, it is utter folly to publish a tree-ring study or temp series without asking McIntyre or another Climate Audit contributing scientist/statistician to review it.

    In short, what are your plans to make amends for the undue influence exercised by the Jones, Mann, Briffa, etc in the editorial process?

  180. Michael Tobis
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 2:50 AM | Permalink

    I am in complete agreement with Dr Curry and commend her for a constructive analysis.

    I express a comparable opinion here:

    To understand the actual nature of the wagon-circling, however, requires acknowledgment that there is in fact an organized disinformation campaign which includes some very bad pieces of pseudoscience that really do need to be kept out of the literature.

    Compare the behavior of the UEA emails with the incident I report here:

    I have never understood the caginess of the field nor its tolerance for poor software practice, though I put up with it every day. And no doubt, a few of the UEA emails I have seen do make it more than a little bit difficult to imagine an innocent context.

    None of those admissions imply that there isn’t an egregious attempt to confuse the public by the likes of Mr Morano and Dr Singer and Dr Michaels and whoever it is that pays their bills, who surely owns some uncombusted carbon somewhere. None of it means that there aren’t tricks (and I mean tricks in the less innocent sense) with vaguely sciencey looking marginal papers submitted to journals that have dubious anti-consensus snipes tucked into odd corners as payload to get past inattentive reviewers. None of it means that the original character assassination and congressional witch hunt of Dr Mann was healthy or productive or proportional.

    None of it means that the sensitivity isn’t roughly 3 C per doubling. None of it means we aren’t in deep trouble.

    • Mike H
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 12:19 PM | Permalink


      Can you help me understand this:

      “there is in fact an organized disinformation campaign”

      When you say “DISinformation”, I assume you mean to say there are people who know we are in peril and are intent on destroying the planet. Do you really believe that? Really? Isn’t it more accurate to say that some people just aren’t buying what you’re selling.

      And this:

      “which includes some very bad pieces of pseudoscience that really do need to be kept out of the literature”

      As judged by who: you, you and five friends, a majority vote, 2/3 majority? How do we identify the omnipotent assessor of technical merit? Are climate scientist overly gullible? What are you afraid of? Bad science gets published all the time. Isn’t that, in fact, the best way to find out if it’s bad – publish it and let it be evaluated in the light of day.

      I guess I’m inferring (maybe unfairly) a mindset that I find disturbing. Help me out.

      • Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 2:34 PM | Permalink

        I understand (better than some) that there are reasonable people not buying what we are selling. On the whole, you are wrong, but making the case is not so easy, precisely because Pierrehumbert’s advice of “get to know us” doesn’t really scale.

        By far the largest thing I’m afraid of is that the debate is being cynically used to protect the very large market value of as-yet uncombusted carbon in the ground. Surely you can see the financial motivation to prolong such a debate. Meanwhile, we really are reaching the last possible moment to avoid a 2 C global temperature rise, and beyond 2 C some of the scenarios do get quite alarming. The special interests in this case as in so many others really are better organized. I don’t know if Steve is really in their camp or not. I doubt it; I think he is just enjoying the attention. But I’d be astonished if none of the participants here were fossil fuel funded. So if those of us who actually understand the global predicament get a bit overeager to squelch the conversation, it is actually due to a last ditch hope that we can avoid a really bizarre and possibly calamitous outcome.

        But as for good science and bad science, I’m not talking about marginal cases. I’m talking about garbage. Stuff that the longer you look at it, the less clear it gets. Bizarro world science. There is plenty of motivation for this, and reviewers have less and less time to look carefully at anything. Stuff which superficially looks like science can get published in less prestigious journals. A sentence designed as denialist payload can get squeezed in. The MacLean/deFreitas El Nino paper is the example with which I am most familiar.

        The trouble is, the rebuttal addresses the rather weak science; McLean et al could without much trouble have made the science a wee bit stronger, and still snuck in the totally unsupported “Finally, this study has shown that natural climate forcing associated with ENSO is a major contributor to variability and perhaps recent trends in global temperature, a relationship that is not included in current global climate models.” and then went to the press with “The close relationship between ENSO and global temperature, as described in the paper, leaves little room for any warming driven by human carbon dioxide emissions.” which is unmitigated BS, as they actually did.

        Fake science is actually a lot easier than real science once you get the hang of it. The review process is pretty imperfect, especially at the second tier journals, never mind the journals that occasionally fall off the table altogether. And all it takes is a few of those totally bad papers carrying nonsensical payload, and you have turned a consensus into what looks to an outsider like a debate.

        I’m not defending everything in the UEA emails, but if you think there’s no basis for them being ticked off and that the stuff they are fending off isn’t, at best, almost all noise and almost no signal, you are wrong again.

        I understand that you aren’t convinced. If I knew how to convince you I would. Nevertheless, that is what is going on.

  181. mlsimon
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 3:00 AM | Permalink

    I think Steve M. Should be given the Integrity in Science Medal.

    Except as Chris Rock says, “That’s what you are supposed to do, m………..”

  182. Syl
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 3:35 AM | Permalink

    I appreciate the fact that Judith Curry has posted here. I’ve always admired the fact that she not only acknowledges Steve’s existence she has actually come here and posted on occasion to clarify an issue.

    That said, in all honesty, the first thing that went through my head upon reading her post was ‘Oh, the poor dears’.

    Yes, I mean that sarcastically.

    Your tribe taught you well.

  183. Faustino
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 4:35 AM | Permalink

    On the question of self-serving groups: I was a well-regarded economic policy adviser who made the mistake of accepting an out-of-the-blue invitation to join the Queensland (Australia) Public Service, initially to write an economic development strategy for the state. Promoting good policy was always a struggle – I did a lot of Cabinet briefs for the Premier and Treasurer, 90% of the submissions did not provide a basis on which a decision could be made.

    While I had some successes, things got harder and harder. About three years after a change of government ( back to the party that originally appointed me), I discovered that almost everyone but me knew that I had been blackballed. The reason, I learned, was that my “honesty, integrity, intellect and analytical rigour” were widely seen as a threat. That is, it was harder for people to get away with business-as-usual – promoting each other for getting up policies and projects which were not in the public interest and had no rational basis but pleased the minister or the vested interests and mates he served – when I was there to scrutinise them. The behaviour of the AGW camp and the various organisations which have developed vested interest in this boat and don’t want it rocked is unfortunately all to pervasive, and explains why the efforts of those like Steve who seek to get at the truth are seen as such a threat.

    I don’t think that Judith Curry is in the hardline Gavin-Mann-Jones camp, but I do think that she needs to step further away from it.

  184. J. Peden
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 4:57 AM | Permalink

    From the perspectives of the tribe that really doesn’t like climateaudit, who would like to see climateaudit disappear, the public release of these emails has backfired. If they wanted to decrease the relevance of SteveM, they should have given him the data. Now after all this, his relevance is surely increased.

    Dr. Curry, you are dealing with a very sick “tribe”. And at least I’ve finally figured out why you keep talking about tribes.

    Presumeably you were not implying that “the tribe” actually leaked the files, which the concept of ‘backfire’ might otherwise suggest. But it does really sound like “the tribe” just might be capable of anything.

  185. Zjahna
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 6:28 AM | Permalink

    Hi Bender, regarding your comment about what this may change. I agree that paleo reconstructions and our understanding of where we are at in terms of historical temps has gone backwards. With regards to HADCRUT although much needs to be determined and it will obviously take some time, if we cut the rate of warming by 1/3 aren’t we at the lukewarm position of 0.5-1.0 per doubling of CO2. This would have significant policy implications as the world hasn’t come to an end with the modest temp rises to date.
    Other problems are:
    – the IPCC, who will chair the sessions in AR5? What do we conclude from AR4?
    – the models. Lucia has shown the mean of models from 2001 -2008 falls outside the 95% confidence interval. Therefore don’t the models have to do the explaining, they have failed proof by experiment. Now obviosuly some can be removed, but which ones and why etc.
    – finally, will the spirit of glasnost and openess result in the release of GISSTEMP code? They might as well get it over with and get lost in the rush to sort out HADCRUT.

  186. Judith Curry
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 7:18 AM | Permalink

    Steve and Ken,

    Scientists like Christy, Spencer, Pielkes,Lindzen have no trouble getting published in the mainstream journals. The issue is people like McIntyre, McKittrick, Watts coming in from outside the field, these are the people that are having difficulty getting published in the mainstream journals. I personally am convinced of the need for “auditing” in the climate field and appreciate the efforts of the amateur scientists at CA, WUWT, Blackboard. But i am one of very few “mainstream” climate researchers who would say this, I suspect.

    Here is why i think auditing is needed in the climate field. In chemistry or physics, important laboratory experiments need to be replicated as part of the scientific process, and this is done by competing research groups. In climate science, the whole earth is our laboratory, and the only controlled experiments are conducted in the context of models. Climate scientists don’t reproduce data analysis type research, there is just too much data out there and too many interesting problems to address to waste time checking each others calculations and data. As scientists we are more interested in charging forward and identifying new insights and understanding. I’m not even sure we could get a paper published that merely verifies or finds a minor problem with someone else’s analysis, this is the stuff of two line corrigendas.

    However, there is no question that many of the datasets used by climate researchers are at best lacking in transparency and documentation, and at worse rather a mess and created using some inappropriate assumptions. Scientists such as myself rely on these data sets for our research, but do not have the resources or want to take the time to sort these issues out. Yes we rely on these data sets, but our research also uses theory and model simulations, so we do manage to make progress even with imperfect datasets. But the datasets unquestionably need to be made better.

    So enter the auditors. The team of auditors at the technical blogs are capable of, and interested in, doing this kind of data checking. All this stuff in the blogosphere i think will show up as interesting when the history of science of the early 21st century is written. but right now, we are in the early days of this, feeling our way, and as i mentioned before, this is not widely accepted by other climate scientists. Part of the reason for this is that CA has some early heritage that i would characterize as “open warfare” against climate scientists, not SteveM so much personally, but many of the posters. This has largely been cleaned up as the warriors have migrated to the less technical blogs, but hanging out at CA remains blood sport from the perspective of the researchers. Auditors are criticized for not publishing in the mainstream science literature, but there main function isn’t new research, it is auditing (although SteveM’s auditing is producing publishable results, even if he hasn’t gotten around to trying to publish them).

    If i were “in charge” (which i am not), i would definitely use SteveM and others as reviewers for journal articles. scientific articles are reviewed mainly for originality and to weed out obvious mistakes. Some auditing during the review process would be a good thing.

    So I am not really sure how to “mainstream” the auditing, but i do know that efforts to maintain a civil tone are essential in terms of attracting other scientists here.

    • stephen richards
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 8:06 AM | Permalink


      I don’t believe that this is true.

      Scientists like Christy, Spencer, Pielkes,Lindzen have no trouble getting published in the mainstream journals.

      You will need to confirm it with them.

    • Jim
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 8:22 AM | Permalink

      I am going to repeat an observation that I made years ago at CA.

      Many years ago physics that the “fifth force” fiasco.

      Analysis of old data lead some scientists to conclude Newtons universal
      gravitation needed modification with a new short-range component.
      This work was exciting, but calculations were complex and it was
      easy to make mistakes.

      At that time, I was working in a lab that did the best measurements
      of “g”. These guys could detect changes in “g” if someone walked across
      the room. Anyway, they new that the fifth-force stuff was not correct.
      But they really did not mind that much. The fifth-force excitement
      resulted in this being a hot topic and it made it much easier to get money.
      So they really never set out to nail the fifth-force proponents, rather
      it was all done in a rather gentlemany manner. Eventually it was
      all sorted out, with the only drawback being the the waste of some taxpayer

      This is part of the sociological background. Many climate scientists would
      behave in a properly disinterested manner. But there is really no reason
      to go head hunting against those making extreme claims. First, the guys
      running around shouting catastrophe have lead to more money rolling
      into climate science that ever before. Dr Curry might state, there is not
      that much money, but compared to 20 years ago there is a lot more money,
      but it may be divided amongst a lot more scientists doing climate research.
      Oh yeah, I am a scientict, and here in Oz a lot more money is available
      for research on this topic. The second reason, dissuading people from
      making a big public stand, is the inevitable retribution. Lindzen would
      be alright, but anyone not solidly established would face retribution with
      the ineviiable adverse career consequences, e.g. this would affect more
      people than just SM.

      There is also the entire left academic movement which has embraced this to
      its bosom. Where I work, there is a new bachelor of human and community
      studies. The centerpiece of their video ads is rooted in global warming.
      Today as I walked passed, I saw references to increased volancism and the
      increased probability of the Yellowstone super volcano erupting.
      I kid you not! Practically any area in “social justice” research now has
      a greenhouse niche.

      The issue is that the public face of climate research has been indistinguishable
      from a dogma. There is plenty of research on the MWP topic, but it is
      sidelined by the IPCC.

      One final thought, remember the Y2K bug that SM found. From what
      I recall Gavin Schmidt said that they had one guy spend about 0.5 days
      a week on the GISS temp stuff (or something like that), we are
      under-resourced . and could make mistakes. OK, so this is one of the
      half dozen temp plots in the world, that is partly used to justify massive
      changes to the world economy, e.g. 1,000,000,000,000 dollar type
      restructures, and it is maintained by someone in there spare time!

      With respect to data-sets, integrity and transparency. Most scientists
      really just want to get the new result, the new paper, the new grant.
      Archiving does take time and so on. No-one would really care if it
      was not done, but for the fact that the inclusions are being used to
      enact public policy decisions.

      I have one question I am curious about?

      Given the actions of a few individuals in key IPCC positions is
      it desirable to draw back from a hard-line position that humanity is
      causing major changes to temperature through CO2 emissions.
      My position is not Yes or No, but more nuanced and asking what
      fraction of current changes might be due to CO2.

      Now many commentators here, mare ore or less are demanding public
      contrition from Dr Curry because she did not throw herself under a
      bus trying to publicly oppose the Darth vader’s of climate science. I understand
      her position. I can eat a steak dinner while watching TV showing starvation
      in Somalia without feeling the slightest moral qualm about the fact that
      I am doing nothing to alleviate their suffering.

    • bender
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 9:32 AM | Permalink

      Correction: McKittrick has an impeccable publishing record.

    • Gord Richens
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

      “Part of the reason for this is that CA has some early heritage that i would characterize as “open warfare” against climate scientists, not SteveM so much personally, but many of the posters.”

      Credit Steve for his honest effort (via extensive snipping) to curtail discussion on the subject of motive – in my opinion putting this blog above most others devoted to the question of AGW, whether they be pro, con or undecided.

    • steven mosher
      Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 12:02 AM | Permalink

      Dr. Curry,

      Thank you for posting here. I will leave the quibbling about various points you make to others and focus instead on the bigger picture of data transparency and code availability. I’ve been promoting reproduceable results for some time without much traction ( except for steve and a few others who post turn key code) As I read through the mails I noted one important thing about the temperature record. It looks like we are going to see some adjustments in SSTs for the 1940s period. The problem researchers will face is this: what happens to studies that relied on an unadjusted record? If code and data were open it would a relatively routine task to “recompile” the science. How many papers already published will be impacted? how will the record of “accepted science” be reconciled? What conclusions will have to be revisited?

  187. MikeN
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 7:23 AM | Permalink

    I think the tribalism term runs both ways. Attacks on scientists at ClimateAudit as if they are part of a conspiracy, leads them into this tribe. The e-mails from Dr Kaufmann mention the receipt of hate mail.

    Steve: I sent Kaufman a very innocuous letter, a copy of which was posted at CA. I don’t exclude the possibility that he ratcheted up an email that merely contained critical comments (that were true) into “hate” mail.

    • bender
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 9:35 AM | Permalink

      Kaufman was probably sent hate mail by Mann, scouring him for admitting the Tiljander correction!

    • MikeN
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

      I think he’s referring to a hate mail from someone who saw the post on ClimateAudit about UpsideDownMann.

      After seeing the e-mails from CRU, we can’t rule out Bender’s suggestion either.

  188. Falafulu Fisi
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 7:52 AM | Permalink

    It is amazing how some people have criticized Steve M for not being a scientist, but failed to criticize Gavin Schmidt for the same thing. He is a mathematician and not a physicist.

  189. Judith Curry
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    We all have SOME trouble getting published, otherwise the peer review system wouldn’t be working at all. But if you look at the list of publications of these scientists (on their c.v.’s and google scholar), you will see that they get alot of papers published, both Pielkes are especially prolific.

    • stevemcintyre
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 9:58 AM | Permalink

      Judith, while that may be true in general, I think that one can reasonably say that the selection of reviewers for my very occasional recent submissions has been somewhat out of the ordinary. We see some evidence of this in the handling of our Comment on Santer et al 2008. We had asked that the comment be reviewed by statisticians as the issues were statistical and presented our own nominations. That we had made a submission was drawn to the attention of Phil Jones. Jones suggested that “Francis and Myles” be the reviewers. I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that the two reviewers were Francis and Myles. In my opinion – expressed here as objectively as I can – their reviews both of our submission and re-submission were based primarily on gatekeeping. They did not disagree with or contest any result, but still recommended rejection in the strongest possible terms. Similarly with the reviews of the submission on hurricanes by Pielke Jr and myself.

      I do not advocate blogging as an alternative to peer reviewed literature. Nor have I, as Phil Jones alleges, forsworn the Peer Reviewed Litchuchur. Having said that, I obviously have a very large audience at the blog and am not dependent on the Peer Reviewed Litchurchur to express myself. The audience, as we learn, obviously includes Phil Jones, Gavin Schmidt and the folks at CRU.

      I think that there is a considerable lack of clarity as to the function of a reviewer both for a submission and for a comment. Articulation of standards is necessary before one complains about whether reviewers in present day climate science are or are not functioning well. This is something that I’ll post in the future.

      • MikeN
        Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

        Steve, do you have anything on ClimateAudit about your paper on hurricanes?
        First I’ve heard of it.

  190. BarryW
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 8:39 AM | Permalink

    Dr. Curry, what you say about papers from Dr.s Pielke may be true but it was also obvious from the emails that there was a concerted attempt to suppress papers they didn’t like, stack the deck with reviewers that would give their papers a pass, and to harass and intimidate journals and editors that were open minded. How many papers were suppressed, how much research was distorted so the authors would not have their careers damaged by these “gatekeepers”?

  191. Craig Loehle
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 9:21 AM | Permalink

    Why won’t they release the data? 1) CRU has built a funded enterprise based on being keepers of the climate data–thus Phil’s concern posted above that steve would “use” the code–he might make his own climate recon. 2) the paleo guys have built an empire on relationships with correlations of .2 to .5 at best, which means huge uncertaintly. The uncertainty is so big that no one should really be interested in their message and they know it. Thus error bars missing or in faint gray so you don’t notice, or computed with some dubious RE stat, or covered over with thick red lines of the instrumental record.
    The excuse often given is that it is “too hard” to document your work–this is because they code in archaic languages and do analyses by hand. If you use Mathematica, you can include the data in the file (certainly for all paleo work, maybe not for a global recon, but you can show which files you got the data from), include graphics in the file, show all computations in order. If anyone has a question, all they have to do is run the whole notebook on any operating system and they will get the same answer–none of this machine dependency cr*p. R is another such solution. This has saved me many times because I can go back to my old work and it still runs whereas my old C++ programs will no longer compile.

    • bender
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

      Bingo on the first paragraph.

  192. samuellhall
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

    I am an engineer working for a for-profit multinational. My work product includes outputs from models that rely on 100+ gigabyte databases including terrain elevation, tree heights, temps, rain rates and others. I will send customers the models and the data we used for their job on a simple request. In fact, we have both English and Metric versions of the equations to make things easy for them.

    In my view, refusing to disclose methods or the data used means that you are hiding something.

    Sam Hall

  193. CarlGullans
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

    Dr. Curry,

    Mainstreaming the review process would be somewhat easy. #1: You could post the code and data, along with the article, online. Public review comments could be made to a panel of editors, and there would be a period of 1-2 months where the editors could consider those public comments as well as their own investigations. This could still be biased if the editor panel is stacked (as these e-mails reveal that they have been), but it would be a certain improvement.

  194. Richard A.
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 9:44 AM | Permalink

    Ms. Curry,

    Your writing compels three thoughts to materialize in my head. The first two are simple. One, well said and thank you. Two, after roughly 15 years of obstructionism, ostracism of those who dissent, and general unpleasantness, sorry to say, but it’s too little and too late. Third and more in depth, there is no context Gavin can give at RC for these emails, easily shown with two prominent examples.

    Even taking the most innocent meanings for the words “hide”, “trick” AND “decline”, what is being discussed in that email is the use of statistical foggery to either get, confirm, or at least not contradict a desired result. If there’s a better layman’s definition of confirmation bias tainted, result oriented ‘science’ I’d be hard pressed to come up with it, context be damned.

    Second and most damning, there are only two contexts for viewing statements about deliberately hiding or destroying data that is subject to an FOIA request. There’s the context in which it is unethical, and the context in which it is unethical AND illegal. There is no other context.

    There’s a big difference between being caught in the act, which is what Steve has been doing all these years exposing problems in the research, and getting embarrassingly, blazingly caught in the act, which is what happened here. Hadley didn’t just get caught screwing the family pooch, they left a receipt out that shows they took him to dinner and a movie first. And your letter, while it would have been well appreciated and appropriate 10 years ago, now has too much of a The Jig Is Up Fellas ring to it. Put simply, you guys should have gotten your act together a long, long time ago. And after fifteen years of this nonsense, forgive and forget is not on my table of options. Too much for too long for too little and too late.

    • bender
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 10:36 AM | Permalink

      These comments critical of Dr. Curry are largely unfair. You can’t tar her with the same brush as the pseudo-scientific warmistas. First, she’s been commenting here for three years, with much the same message. Second, she actually invited McIntyre to speak at Georgia Tech (go Yellow Jackets!), and even took heat for it. Third, I’m not sure you can imagine the pressure that is being exerted by the warmistas in control of the purse strings. If they threaten to take away your funding or prevent you from publishing, they are threatening to close your lab and end your career. Then there is the social pressure. One egregious example perpretrated by Steve Bloom at CA comes to mind. Please, before going off half-cocked, try to examine the situation from her perspective. She might publish the odd figure without a confidence interval, but she’s no team member. She’s clearly anti-tribal, and has been so for as long as we’ve known her. Don’t demonize her. Go get the bad guys at the source of your ire.

  195. Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 9:58 AM | Permalink

    “…the need to increase the public credibility of climate science..”

    The credibility of all too much ‘science’ has long suffered, to the point that the very term ‘scientist’ has become a specter of a mad individual, hell bent on insane experiments destructive behavior and deliberate destruction of the well-being of human existence – to say the least.

    Now we have ‘climate scientists’ that claim that human activities threaten the planet – in league with the likes of Al Gore, a politician that wants to extract billions in cold cash from humans for their sin of existence activities.

    I’m sorry to say, no amount of ‘transparency’ will cure the harm done to those working in ‘science’ today. Used car salesmen appear as bastions of honesty by comparison, and that perception will sadly last far into the future. ‘Scientists’ of all stripes suffer, and they have only themselves (all of them) to blame.

  196. Wolfgang Flamme
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

    James Annan offers some advice to AGU:

  197. Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 11:06 AM | Permalink


    Roger Pielke, Sr. has “no trouble getting published”? His study of the USHCN in Colorado took THREE YEARS to get published and then BAMS would only publish it with an accompanying article from NOAA!

    Roger’s study was the motivation of Anthony Watts’ project which has been a valuable contribution to climate science.

    While I would like to second the compliments you have received for posting on CA, I believe you may not fully realize how difficult it has been (apparently due, in part, to the work of The Team as disclosed in these emails) for papers at variance with the IPCC to get published.

    Rationalizations about “Exxon” are not helpful. This is a major scientific scandal and should be treated as such.

    Mike Smith

  198. Steve Bush
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 11:20 AM | Permalink

    Curry tries to make the best of a bad job. This is a classic call to retreat and regroup. Sorry, but there are some things that mummy cant make better.

  199. James Netherland
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 11:23 AM | Permalink

    Judy Curry writes “Gavin Schmidt’s current efforts at realclimate are a good step in the right direction of increasing transparency.”

    I think that one should attempt a more thorough examination of all the players before excepting is owned by Environmental Media Services, Washington DC. EMS was founded by one Arlie Schardt. And Mr Schardt just happens to be Al Gore’s communications director for his 2000 presidential run, among other things:…Media_Services

    So here we have the ‘leading’ AGW website offering free rein to AGW scientists while stifling any dissenting voices. A website that just happens to be owned by Al Gore’s buddy.

    Branching out further we have Gore’s Generation Investment Management and other carbon-trading schemes he and his chums stand to do very, very nicely out of – provided certain inconvenient truths didn’t come to light.

    The whole enterprise is beginning a global-sized racket. The real science never stood a chance.

    Al Gore and friends are Madoff clones of the highest order…

  200. fred
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

    Ms Curry assures us that the actions of the team were only “in response to the politically motivated attacks” as though the team has no politics of their own driving their “science”.


  201. mph
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

    One question that will need to be answered: Was the HADCRU dataset a load-bearing wall?

    One concept I hear repeated in the media is that this was just one of many indicators of (A)GW. Perhaps damage control. And begging the question.

    Is there any fallout for GISS? Any outstanding FOIA requests there?

  202. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

    Bender when you say:

    “These comments critical of Dr. Curry are largely unfair. You can’t tar her with the same brush as the pseudo-scientific warmistas.”

    I think you need to be more specific as to the comments to which you refer here. I would agree, in general, that a few posters here at CA, like on almost all blogs, and especially those with the most open posting policies, go a bridge too far in their criticisms and generalizations. It happens in partisan way at RC with its stricter gate keeping policies.

    I think, however, that Judith is way too narrow in her views about CA behavior as it relates to encouraging climate scientists to post here. RC gets climate scientists on both (all would be a better description) sides of AGW to post and it does it with the partisan snipping. I judge that those climate scientists, whose works have been analyzed/criticized at CA, forego posting at CA for other and sundry reasons.

    While I think conspiratorial theories on either (any) side of the AGW issue are way over the top and the result of sloppy thinking, I see Judith and other climates scientists constantly referring to the disinformation campaign. Again I see very narrow thinking that demonstrates, in my judgment, a bias view.

    As to Judith’s work on hurricanes, I would point to the analysis of that work done here at CA as evidence that it contains weaknesses and does not reach the confidence in the results that I see imputed by the MSM view of it or even the authors. The general observation that her work has invariably supported and emphasized the detrimental effects of hurricanes increasing into modern times with the associated rise in SSTs says nothing about the quality of that work or its validity, but certainly it begs for detailed analyses and comments.

    I would not be so quick to compartmentalize climate scientists into the Mann team and “others” as I do not see what that accomplishes. I am hoping that CA, and other blogs like it, will continue to analyze drawing from all climate science papers and not zero in on the team – that has tribal implications.

    • bender
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 8:30 PM | Permalink

      It’s hard to be specific in ones replies with this quick-and-dirty new format. But I’ll try harder.

  203. Judith Curry
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 1:25 PM | Permalink

    Steve, while i don’t follow dendrochronology, i don’t question that you have had what is probably unfair difficulties in getting papers published. If I were an editor (which I am not, and probably never will be asked to do so after these posts 🙂 There are definitely problems with the peer review system, the system isn’t broken, but it could use improving.
    In your subfield, it seems there is a certain gatekeeping element that is keeping skeptical paeloclimate papers from being published (this is one way to interpret some of the CRU emails). I don’t think this strategy is widespread in the climate review process. A bigger issue in my opinion is “elitism”. This is not just a problem for people like yourself without a Ph.D. in the field that you are trying to publish in, but there are also turf issues. We ran against this when we published our hurricane paper; the paper got published but the card carrying hurricane community deemed that we were “unqualified” to analyze the hurricane data (i believe that the paper you wrote with Pielke Jr was rejected for this reason).

    I think the solution is along the lines of what James Annan proposes, to open up the review process and ideally do what the EGU is doing in terms of public posting of comments. The journal of atmospheric chemistry and physics is doing this, i have participated in this process, and i like it. The challenge is to keep on top of what is out there to review, but the blogosophere is a good way to do this in terms of bringing attention to individual papers.

    • Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 2:48 PM | Permalink

      Dear Prof. Curry,

      I highly appreciate the openness of your post and your willingness to contribute to Climate Audit, which, in my eyes, is a unique enterprise in many ways, among other things in setting high moral standards of scientific and public communication. These are perhaps not exactly the standards of style, but the standards of sincere and meaningful content. Which are not invariably met in the peer review process.

      It also gives people unique opportunities of communicating across the world, which I am now using. My colleagues and I have described a new physical mechanism for the generation of atmospheric circulation based on the dynamic non-equilibrium of atmospheric water vapor. Removal of vapor from the gas phase diminishes the weight of air column and thus lowers air pressure at the surface. In the result, there appears a horizontal air inflow towards the low pressure areas where condensation occurs. Water vapor that is brought by the incoming wind sustains the process of condensation.

      We have shown that this positive feedback effect is significant enough to explain air velocities observed both in large-scale circulation patterns, hurricanes and tornadoes. The difference consists in the spatial extent, friction effects and the presence or
      absence of radial symmetry.

      Not belonging to the meteorological community, we attempted to advance our research in the Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions (ACP(D)), the journal that you mentioned. After a very long consideration, including that of our appeal, the ACP Executive Committee rejected our paper (which also contained a critique of the hurricane model of Kerry Emanuel). With regard to the new physical approach, it was stated that the main argument against our work is that in reality condensation does not decrease, but increases air pressure due to latent heat release. This was the main statement of Dr. D.E. Rosenfeld, Referee A4, who disclosed his name. In our Final Response published as Appendix No. 7 to the concluding Editor’s comment, we showed that the conclusions of Dr. Rosenfeld are incorrect and conflict with the laws of thermodynamics, specifically, ignoring the Clausius-Clapeyron law. Nevertheless, these conclusions were endorsed by the entire ACP Executive Committee. This is a link to the discussion.

      In your response to Kenneth Fritsch you mention that a young scientist was brought to tears by indelicate treatment of his/her work at CA. However, from what is supposed to be an in-depth scientific peer-review of our novel approach, I read that the following (p. S12178):

      “I do not think much of the authors’ own “theory” now presented in section 4. It is just
      not spelled out specifically enough or in enough detail to result in testable predictions.
      It would not be publishable in its own right and is not made so by being married to a
      poor critique of Emanuel’s work.”

      This is just a short chapter of a long story of how our work was peer-reviewed. I do not think that this is the standard of how scientific works should be evaluated.

      My question is — are there climate scientists who would be willing to look seriously into the new physical approach? I cannot establish any constructive contact with climate scientists. I have contacted quite a few, but received virtually no feedback. Most even did not confirm the receipt of my letter with relevant publications. I do not know what I am doing wrong. We are not producing a competing model with empirical parameterizations. We want to discuss a novel physical mechanism and appear to speak to a vacuum. It is a despair.

      I should probably mention that some of our results rejected from ACPD were subsequently published in a reputable physical journal. We are not talking sheer non-sense to be blatantly dismissed and ignored. The basic question of whether condensation reduces or increases air pressure does not belong to the climatology domain for anybody except climatologists to be considered “unqualififed” to make any statement. Our approach has serious implications for the security of the water cycle on land. Ecologists and ecohydrologists are impressed by the opening perspectives, which recently fostered a review paper on our work in the Bioscience journal (the flagship publication of the American Institute of Biological Sciences).

      We are currently finalizing a paper where we aim to address in greater detail the derivations of Dr. Rosenfeld to support our point that they are incorrect and also to compare (in a detailed way) the mass removal versus latent heat release effects of condensation on air pressure. We are going to submit it to ACPD. Given water vapor as the topic, your expressed appreciation of the open procedure of that journal (which I fully share), perhaps you would agree, after reading the paper, to consider becoming one of the reviewers. I am not expecting any public response, but I am using this public platform to maximize my hope that this appeal might be heard.

      Thank you once again for taking such an open attitude here.

      Yours very sincerely,
      Anastassia Makarieva

    • ianl8888
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

      Judith Curry

      I admit you are beginning to earn my respect for integrity, although I have puzzled some over what I perceive as naivety running through some of your posts. Of course you are now a target for inward-turned gunfire; those of us who have asked direct questions of the AGW proponents have suffered this for decades

      You promised bender you would shortly “have a go” at Lindzen & Choi 2009. YES, please – I am looking forward to that thread

      The sordid political implications of are now obvious enough to most people who read this website. Let’s get on with the real discussions 🙂

  204. fred
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 1:30 PM | Permalink

    With regard to Ms Curry’s work on hurricane’s (Webster, et al, 2005) I would point out that it begins with the assumption that AGW is a settled fact. At the end there is a genuflection in the direction of acknowledging the short duration of the record, but there is nothing about the obvious fact that the frequency of Cat 4-5 events could, like the warming itself, be within the natural range for these events.

    Ms Curry appears to be polite and dedicated to all having their say, which is commendable, but, in Webster et al and in the powerpoint referenced above, she starts from the assumption that catastrophic AGW is a proven fact demanding a political response.

    Click to access AGU_IntegrityofScience_Curry.pdf

    Aside from the shaky basis of her beliefs, especially if they are founded on the type data published by the IPCC, if she thinks she can mix politics and science without the kind of things revealed in the CRU files she is quite naive. Perhaps her powerpoint is in all honesty a “response to politically motivated attacks”, but I think she makes an error if she thinks the politics of others are the same.

  205. Ric Merritt
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    You raise many issues, but I wish to focus on your statement that:

    “With the publication of the IPCC 4th Assessment report, the Nobel Peace Prize, and energy legislation near the top of the national legislative agenda, the “denialists” were becoming increasingly irrelevant…”

    Whatever ones opinion about all the rest, the judgment expressed in this statement is clearly and atrociously wrong. What possible central explanation could there be for the decades-long inaction of the US government, especially the Senate of late, besides the influence of denialists?

    Your failure to understand that deep-lying layer of the situation infects all your other judgments, since much of the motivation for the “all-too-human” aspects of the famous emails stems from the scientists’ correct understanding of that very situation.

    Also, note that many of the emails date from some time back, before even the current faint stirrings of action were evident, so any recent “increasing irrelevance” (let’s hope!) was not part of the story then.

  206. Judith Curry
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

    Kenneth, the scientists that i talk to and have encouraged to post here won’t do it because of the ancillary sniping. Steve is not guilty of this personally. You are. Your comments on a a paper (that was overall very well received) brought a promising young scientist to tears, someone from another culture that was just astonished to see the paper treated this way. The discussion on this particular paper fizzled since there really didn’t seem to be any substantive objections to it. As another example, one of my colleagues read the entire thread associated with my post here, and could only focus on the nasty things said about me, and was astonished that i spent time here. My skin is now as thick as an alligator’s, and these things roll right off me. But scientists do not appreciate their integrity being attacked and being snarked, and some are very sensitive to this owing to their personality. Respectful discussions (besides Steve, Willis and usually Bender are good examples) would go along way towards attracting other scientists here. And please don’t come back with “if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.” scientists are of course prepared to and obliged to defend their research. but it is too easy to avoid this particular heat and stay out of the CA kitchen.

    • Thucydides
      Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 7:11 PM | Permalink

      This is beyond science. Anyone who has been involved with rigorous academic research can recognize the behavior of a researcher who knows the discipline and is confident of the quality of his work. These particular climate science people don’t act like serious academics at all.

  207. Ron Cram
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

    Dr. Curry,
    You say both Pielkes are prolific. Roger Sr is the climatologist and has been very prolific and highly cited. But if one of his papers is considered as not toeing the line, it gets rejected. It is not because it is bad science but because it presents information the Phil Jones and Michael Manns of the world do not want in the IPCC report. It is that simple, that unfair and that unscientific. I do not think you have yet come to terms with the full scale of this scandal and the crimes committe by the CRU cabal. Of course, “CRU cabal” is shorthand for the entire group who also work at UCAR and NCAR etc.

    Science is supposed to be self-correcting but if the corrections are precluded from reaching publication, the open effort fails. The current state the peer-reviewed science seriously lacks the knowledge held by many in the skeptical camp. Something needs to be done to correct the crimes of this scandal. What do you think? Should James Saiers be reinstated to his post as editor of GRL? Should journals be more proactive in looking for papers from skeptical scientists? Should journals be more proactive in looking for reviewers from the skeptical camp? If I was a journal editor, I would want McIntyre or one of the statisticians trained by reading Climate Audit to review every paper I published.

    What do you think needs to be done to make amends for the crimes of the CRU cabal?

  208. Robin Melville
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 3:01 PM | Permalink

    Michael Tobis writes:

    […]And all it takes is a few of those totally bad papers carrying nonsensical payload, and you have turned a consensus into what looks to an outsider like a debate.
    […]I understand that you aren’t convinced. If I knew how to convince you I would. Nevertheless, that is what is going on.

    I wrote earlier in this strand about the propensity of “committed” scientists, particularly in areas of high-profile policy areas, to automatically exclude “off-message” papers as bad science — often with ad hominem attacks on their authors’ motivation. I’ve seen the same in my own field.

    We can see your sense of urgency, Michael, but I really believe you don’t get it. Many readers of this blog are sceptical about the things you take as “givens” and which drive your anxiety. Many here believe that the surface temperature record is deeply flawed, for which there is some real evidence. Not only that, we can now see in detail some of the algorithmic processes used by CRU to “smooth” and “correct” for this, and it isn’t any more reassuring.

    Some also wonder whether the warming which is occurring isn’t actually rather a good thing. The main reason to fear that it will be disastrous are the extrapolations of climate models based upon a not very good understanding of an extraordinarily complex chaotic system. The road you are so desperate for the world to take entails cutting the poorest nations off from cheap energy, which is very costly of lives. It also leads to the reappearance of the large-scale building of fission power plants.

    You seem keen to infer fossil fuel affiliations to anyone who doesn’t agree with you (I have none). I’m more willing to infer a strong desire by you and many other commentators to avoid the catastrophe you fear. That doesn’t stop me being sceptical about your belief system.

    • Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 8:23 PM | Permalink

      I understand that my level of concern doesn’t constitute evidence from your point of view. I simply was trying to explain how we see it. I have argued against belief systems in one of the links to my blog; that is, I think we have to be careful not to define ourselves in opposition to the so-called skeptics, else we become no better than they.

      I inevitably get into trouble saying that, because the so-called skeptics and the genuine skeptics tend to hang around together. By a so-called skeptic I mean someone who is, essentially, a concern troll, who pretends to skepticism but actually acts from tribal motives. In short, a commited denier.

      I have no problem with you not believing what I believe if you are genuinely open to discussion about it. Nor am I a person who believes fossil fuel affiliations per se are evil.

      But you can’t deny that if what IPCC says is correct, or even understated as many believe, this puts the value of fossil fuel reserves at risk. Accordingly the financial motivation to delay public recognition of this hypothetical fact is a strategy with enormous potential return to the holders of such reserves. It stretches credulity to believe that none of them would act to undermine recognition of the fact, were it true. That means that there is a subset of fossil fuel interests that would oppose the IPCC position regardless of its truth or falsehood. I have no doubt that some of those people are reading this.

      One of the advantages is the cover of genuine skepticism. When I enter into discussions with someone claiming to be a skeptic I give them the benefit of the doubt, but I also believe that they have been exposed to a vast array of false or misleading arguments, some of which have stuck. Eventually, upon not making much of an impression, I will give up not knowing whether I have met a genuine agent of ignorance or just a stubborn person, or whether in fact I have simply failed to make the case effectively.

      Now the policy arguments you mention against the implications of the science are real and need to be worked through. I am in fact inclined to believe that a dramatic increase in nuclear power is the direction least likely to lead to a very grim global scenario. But that seems like a pretty drastic shift of topic.

      The topic is how you guys’ feud against the hockey team reflects on the scientific credibility of the entire climate science community. The question of tribes and belief systems starts there. I think the whole way this has unfolded is unfortunate. I refuse to be tribalized or belief-systematized in opposition to genuine skeptics. I am fully aware of some of the weaknesses of the climate science culture, which suddenly gained center stage from not long ago being an eccentric and quiet scientific backwater. Also, I promise you nobody would be happier than I to discover that the sensitivity of the system has been fivefold or tenfold overestimated. Far from being stubborn, I would be thrilled if you could convince me of that.

      On the other hand, I just am not sufficiently hopeful of that to bet the entire world on it.

      • rcrejects
        Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 5:49 PM | Permalink


        In your earlier post above you say the following: “Meanwhile, we really are reaching the last possible moment to avoid a 2 C global temperature rise, and beyond 2 C some of the scenarios do get quite alarming. ”

        My question to you is how do YOU know that? For example, Steve McIntyre has been asking for some time now for an engineering quality exposition of how a doubling of atmospheric CO2 would lead to an increase in Global Mean Temperature of 5 Deg C. Nobody has come forward with any kind of explanation. Apparently, there isn’t one. The only ”evidence” seems to be models, which as we know include important assumptions about positive feedback.

        Few sceptics would argue with the proposition that a doubling of CO2 would lead to an increase in GMT of around 1 deg C (assuming that the earth’s CO2 cycle would allow doubling, and assuming that the logarithmic decay of CO2’s warming potential is not considered). But the assumption of positive feedbacks seems to be poorly based, and controversial. Some credible scientists are saying that the feedbacks are actually negative, which would result in a less than 1 deg C warming for a doubling of CO2.

        You are clearly very concerned about the dangers of warming, so you must have addressed this issue.

        I notice that you do not seem to pay any concern to Roger Pielke Sr’s views on land-use being a major anthropogenic factor affecting local and regional climate. If Dr Pielke is correct, then the solutions are much different than reducing CO2 emissions.

        So, my question to you is how do YOU KNOW these things?

      • Harold
        Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 6:56 PM | Permalink

        I have argued against belief systems in one of the links to my blog; that is, I think we have to be careful not to define ourselves in opposition to the so-called skeptics, else we become no better than they.

        I thought being skeptical/critical was central to “good science”, so it seems you’re arguing against good science.

        Scientists build an empirical model and then use it to project beyond the data space – that’s just short of selling snake oil. Almost anyone is better than a snake oil salesman, even a skeptic; retreating to elitism isn’t a defense.

  209. Tim
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

    Hi Judy – you are courageous to post here given the current “climate”. 😉

    However, I think you are cutting far too much slack to the people involved in this scandal, one of whom included Gavin, who you praise. I’m sure it is difficult to step back given that you literally live in the middle of the climate world, so to speak. But – respectfully – I don’t think yours is a completely honest assessment of the “climategate”.

    But thank you again for expressing your opinion here.

  210. J. Peden
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 3:36 PM | Permalink

    And please don’t come back with “if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.” scientists are of course prepared to and obliged to defend their research. but it is too easy to avoid this particular heat and stay out of the CA kitchen.

    Dr. Curry, how can anybody defend their research anywhere whatsoever, if they don’t release their data and methods? Without doing the latter, they don’t even have research to defend. Or at least that’s the way Science used to operate.

  211. Barry R.
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 3:44 PM | Permalink

    Some good things could and should come out of this, but some of them probably won’t, the cynic in me says.

    1) Journals may tighten their enforcement of rules on making data and computer codes available by publication date or implement those rules if they don’t already have them. (Probable in the short term, but hard to maintain)
    2) The guys in these e-mails will almost certainly lose grant funding and clout. That’s a good thing if the funding shifts to real science as in figuring out what the natural cycles of climate are and how they interact, and how a variety of human activities impact climate. If temperature goes up enough to raise sea level 4 to 6 meters or it goes down as much and as abruptly as it did in the Younger Dryas, we’re in a world of hurt whether it’s part of a natural cycle or something we did. Understanding climate is urgent, but the work focus needs to be “How does it work?” not “We know how it works. We just have to convince the unwashed.”

    Unfortunately, it is far more likely that those committed to the ideas of global warming will see this as a public relations problem, not an opportunity to cut some people with shockingly unscientific mindsets loose and take a fresh look at the issues. It’s also more likely that skeptics will take this as an indication that major human caused global warming is disproven, rather than that it is unproven at the current level of scientific knowledge. That’s a crucial distinction. The science may eventually lead to proof that something humans are doing will alter the temperature way either up or down. Skeptics need to remain skeptical but keep the possibility that something real will eventually emerge in mind.

    3) The rush to alternate energy may become a more rational and practical transition. A lot of the pieces that it’ll take to make a transition to alternate energy are close to being there. But they’re getting rushed before they’re quite ready, and I suspect that will lead to a backlash, as people start equating alternate energy with freezing in the dark again. We should make the transition to sustainable energy as soon as we can actually do it without dropping peoples’ standards of living, but doing it before the technology is ready will be counterproductive. Hopefully this incident will take a little of the urgency out of the transition and make it more rational. I’m not betting on that though.

  212. fred
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 4:19 PM | Permalink

    snip – please stop over-editorializing

  213. Mike H
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 4:25 PM | Permalink

    Michael Tobis,

    Thank you for responding. I believe you to be genuine. I don’t think we’ll reach agreement today…

    I’m not qualified to address all of your points, but can I ask that you reflect – if briefly – on the following (on which I do feel qualified to comment):

    “Big Oil” is a for profit enterprise – no doubt. But it has made possible most of the advances of the 20th century. Big Oil has brought prosperity and long life to billions – literally. When and why did they become the climate boogey-men? “Big Oil” can deploy enormous sums of capital – that’s why its “Big”. If even draconion carbon legislation comes about, “Big Oil” will shape-shift to become “Big Energy” – wind, solar, and wave power start-ups: watch out. In fact, this transformation is, to some degree, already underway. “Big Oil” will survive.

    OTOH, if the climate crises, for whatever reason, dwindles away. Where does that leave climate scientists?

    ps. not meant to cast aspersions… just let’s think a bit before attributing, uhmmm, unattractive motives.

    – please don’t rise to this sort of issue.

    • Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 8:32 PM | Permalink

      I answered much of this just above in my response to Robin. I am not opposed to “big oil” at all, for the reasons you describe. I doubt that owners of coal reserves will take kindly to my beliefs, but I’m not really opposed to them either. I’m saying that they, not the big refineries but the owners of the reserves, especially coal reserves, and coal-based capital, especially electric utilities, are naturally inclined to be opposed to IPCC, whether its position is true or false, that it’s almost inevitable that some will act on that inclination. It’s certainly true that somebody is funding the Heartland Institute and Marc Morano and so on, and there’s little effective counterforce.

      Climatology was a comfortable and interesting field before the climate problem blew up and hopefully it will be again. We are a very long way from solving all the problems of the earth’s climate, and already there are other planets to work on. It does not appear that all the attention has really contributed to the funding supply of the core discipline, despite what you hear.

    • Mike H
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 10:17 PM | Permalink

      Sorry for baiting. Touchy subject. My bad.

  214. Judith Curry
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 5:23 PM | Permalink

    Fred, well i absolutely give up. thank you for pointing out my integrity in science presentation (i think this was 3 years ago at fall AGU). I would like to refer people to the slides where i say climate researchers need to engage with skeptics and call for open and transparent data. exactly why am i being criticized for this?

    • John Norris
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 9:12 PM | Permalink

      Dr. Curry,

      re: “… i say climate researchers need to engage with skeptics and call for open and transparent data. …”

      I attended Steve’s presentation at Georgia tech in Feb of 08(?). You said the same thing introducing Steve; both literally in your introduction, and figuratively by inviting him to speak there. You have been entirely consistent in that manner.

      Should a vacuum of leadership surface in the climate science community, please step up. The science needs you.

  215. Frank
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 5:37 PM | Permalink

    Thank you for taking the time to post at ClimateAudit and risking the wrath of your peers. I’m sorry some readers respond to your efforts with personal attacks rather than rational discussion.

    You seem to be under the illusion that RealClimate exists to correct scientific fallacies that are being spread about the blogosphere. If so, I suggest you read the post about Al Gore’s movie, the first topic listed under Highlights. More people have learned more about climate change from this movie than from any other source, so correcting its mistakes should have been, but clearly was not, a top priority. Some examples: 1) The most outrageous scientific error is assumption that, because CO2 levels and temperature moved together in the past, increasing CO2 caused the large temperature changes associated with interglacials and ice ages. Correlation is not causation. The 50% increase in carbon dioxide associated with interglacial periods is a feedback that directly produced only about 0.5 degC of warming. 2) The warming produced by carbon dioxide varies with the log of the carbon dioxide concentration. Al Gore’s ride to the trip of the graph is completely misleading when shown on a linear scale. There are numerous other problems. Of course, if the authors of RealClimate really wanted to public to hear an accurate account of their science, they could have used their contacts with Al Gore to fix these mistakes long ago.

    In his memoir, former CIA director George Tenet explains that it was his job to deliver intelligence to policymakers. He believed that it would hurt the credibility of the intelligence he delivered to have a public position on a particular issue, so he refused to give opinions about possible courses of action at policymaking discussions. Many climate scientists have become extremely vocal about what policymakers should do about the threat posed by AGW. They have indulged in all of the influence, distortion, misdirection, discrediting of people, etc. that is an accepted part of the political process and the adversarial legal process, but totally unacceptable in science. Then these scientists turn around and play major roles at the IPCC and other scientific forums, expecting their scientific integrity to be unchallenged. (The CRU hack settle that issue.) Every scientist has a right to participate in the political process, but once they have done so on a critical issue like AGW, those politically active scientists need to step aside to maintain the credibility normally accorded science and let their colleagues who are not publicly committed to a particular policy write the reports summarizing the scientific consensus and reasonable minority views. Above all, they can’t have their “peer-reviewed” scientific reports revised and summarized to meet the needs of their political masters at the IPCC.

    If scientists want their expert scientific opinions to be received with the assumption of integrity normally accorded to scientists, they need to stop acting like politicians and lawyers – no matter what the political activists do.

  216. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 6:27 PM | Permalink

    Judith I find when you say:

    “Kenneth, the scientists that i talk to and have encouraged to post here won’t do it because of the ancillary sniping. Steve is not guilty of this personally. You are. Your comments on a a paper (that was overall very well received) brought a promising young scientist to tears, someone from another culture that was just astonished to see the paper treated this way. The discussion on this particular paper fizzled since there really didn’t seem to be any substantive objections to it.”

    that I have to point to an utter lack of detail you bring to these discussions as evidenced in your comment above. You seem to generalize and then finish with your own opinions on the matter. I expect more from a scientist.

    If I recall the paper in question above, the discussion finally ended because neither David Smith nor I could duplicate the lead author’s results using several TC data bases. Also the main point of our critique was whether the sub division of the TC predictor/index was rational or artificial. – hardly something that should bring anyone to tears. If you care to expand beyond the generalizations, I can go back to the thread for specifics.

    You might want to reply to Anastassia Makarieva’s post above to show your interest in science and young scientists from another culture.

  217. fred
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

    Dr Curry,

    I have been asked not to editorialize so I will be brief. [Moderator: If you do not want to post this I will send a longer reply to her Ga Tech email.]

    In short, I believe that integrity and activism are incompatible. I admire your call for integrity. I think your call for activism is naive. “Politics makes strange bedfellows.”

    If you truly believe that AGW is a threat of the magnitude that the team proposes I believe you will eventually find yourself faced with quite a dilemma.

    • bender
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 8:26 PM | Permalink

      What if she doesn’t “believe” in alarmist scenarios? What if her conclusions are based entirely on data? Why not wait to hear what she has to say about Lindzen before sending harassing emails?

      • ianl8888
        Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 10:06 PM | Permalink

        YES PLEASE – as I endorsed in an earlier post

  218. Tomi
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 8:45 PM | Permalink

    Joe Alcamo is one of the IPCC lead writers and UNEP chief scientist. This (0876437553.txt) email sent 12 years ago proves the whole IPCC to be fabricated for the cause:

    From: Joseph Alcamo
    Subject: Timing, Distribution of the Statement
    Date: Thu, 9 Oct 1997 18:52:33 0100

    Mike, Rob,

    Sounds like you guys have been busy doing good things for the cause.

    I would like to weigh in on two important questions —

    Distribution for Endorsements —
    I am very strongly in favor of as wide and rapid a distribution as
    possible for endorsements. I think the only thing that counts is
    numbers. The media is going to say “1000 scientists signed” or “1500
    signed”. No one is going to check if it is 600 with PhDs versus 2000
    without. They will mention the prominent ones, but that is a
    different story.

    Conclusion — Forget the screening, forget asking
    them about their last publication (most will ignore you.) Get those

    Timing — I feel strongly that the week of 24 November is too late.
    1. We wanted to announce the Statement in the period when there was
    a sag in related news, but in the week before Kyoto we should expect
    that we will have to crowd out many other articles about climate.
    2. If the Statement comes out just a few days before Kyoto I am
    afraid that the delegates who we want to influence will not have any
    time to pay attention to it. We should give them a few weeks to hear
    about it.
    3. If Greenpeace is having an event the week before, we should have
    it a week before them so that they and other NGOs can further spread
    the word about the Statement. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be so
    bad to release the Statement in the same week, but on a
    diffeent day. The media might enjoy hearing the message from two
    very different directions.

    Conclusion — I suggest the week of 10 November, or the week of 17
    November at the latest.

    Mike — I have no organized email list that could begin to compete
    with the list you can get from the Dutch. But I am still
    willing to send you what I have, if you wish.

    Best wishes,

    Joe Alcamo

  219. Dr StGeorge
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 9:23 PM | Permalink

    As I have stated previously, I think most of what is presented in the emails is driven more by monstrous ego than anything else. Some who receive PhDs believe they are now by educational degree smarter than anyone else and therefore what they believe to be true must therefore be fact. Borderline religiousness if one thinks about it. These types, of which I believe the scientists in these emails and others we don’t know yet, desire to be the next great famous scientist by making some brilliant discovery that could be named for them or they are forever associated. In the case of climatology, warming is the current trend to follow and many scientists jumped on the bandwagon wanting to be the one who “proves” AGW exists definitively and gaining the fame that comes with it. Who would have even heard of Michael Mann without AGW? No one really. This quest for fame is driven by their egos. Tremendously huge egos. This is the source of the issue. It isn’t tribalism. It’s pure human ego with ambition thrown in,

  220. Judith Curry
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 9:28 PM | Permalink

    Thank you Bender. Fred, I do not associate myself with any team (my posting here at climateaudit is proof of that). The IPCC model projection show a range of possible temperature increases. A big uncertainty is how much CO2 we will actually put into the air. Other uncertainties for the next century are how many big volcanic eruptions there will be (we have no way to predict that). And the models are imperfect. All of this is discussed in the IPCC report. Superimposed on the warming trend is natural variability associated with coupled atmosphere ocean nonlinear modes of oscillation. Yes there are uncertainties, and attempts are made in the IPCC report to quantify them. The IPCC report is not an alarmist document. Some people use the IPCC report to support alarmist statements, but these people are mostly busy pushing more recent research (that has not been adequately assessed in my opinion), saying the IPCC is too tame. I support the IPCC process, it isn’t perfect, but would you prefer this to be replaced by the Heartland Institute NIPCC? I sure wouldn’t. The climate models aren’t perfect, but they are much better than your guesses about what is going to happen.

  221. Judith Curry
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 9:33 PM | Permalink

    Hi Anastassia, i just found your post. Please send me a copy of your paper, i would like to see it. I promise to spend my furlough days this december participating in a group discussion that includes yours and lindzen’s papers and the broader issues of water vapor and cloud feedback.

    • ianl8888
      Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 10:08 PM | Permalink

      Judith Curry

      OK, that’s genuinely wonderful …how will the readers here access these discussions please ? As observers will do, that’s a very much deal better than has ever occurred before

  222. Harry Mallory
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 10:11 PM | Permalink

    Dr. Curry:
    “I support the (UN)IPCC process, it isn’t perfect, but would you prefer this to be replaced by the Heartland Institute NIPCC? I sure wouldn’t.”

    On the subject of climate science credibility? Right know I couldnt tell you the difference.

  223. James McKee
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 10:15 PM | Permalink

    I must say as an outsider reading the writings of some of the main players involved in global climate science over the last couple of days has been an eye-opener. I didn’t know about this blog until I stumbled across it today; yesterday I stumbled across the Real website and was amazed to watch the almost realtime arguing and sniping between commenters and what to me was ‘some guy called Gavin’, who I now know is Dr. Gavin Schmidt, apparently a reasonably central or at least connected figure in what is now a global movement for taxation and rationing.

    I belong to what one commenter above described as the intelligent, highly eductated non-scientific hoi polloi. While I have been sceptical of AGW ever since it joined up with politics I nonetheless think we should shift fairly sharply to renewable energies if only to stop particulates and carcinogens from poisoning us on a daily basis. I would prefer we lived in cities with clean air and trees that actually have food hanging from them that you could eat, rather than the sterilised urban landscapes that are the norm. I believe that with the proper will and given the accelerating developments in solar and nano technology that this can be achieved in our lifetimes.

    So as a virgin so to speak in all of this I’d like to make a few observations on what I’ve learned over the last couple of days.

    The guys at CRU have, in some significant ways, been caught with their pants down. The data and models that they use are shambolic and preposterous. It beggars belief to a layman that the main intellectual centre behind AGW and the main advisors to the IPCC and the UN have been refusing to release their data for peer review. Something of global scope and such worldwide political advocacy founded on something so little with so much patent evasion – words fail me.

    I do not know Dr. Judith Curry, I have only come across her for the first time in the comments above. As a total outsider her statements strike me overall as disingenuous. Her posture is one of openness and naivety but her writing appears strategic and finessed. For example when she assured the journalist, who asked her did the emails damage the case for AGW, that the emails did not. I very much doubt that she did not draw a distinction in her own mind when she said this between the emails and the other data, and provided an answer supportive of the mainstream while knowing she could fall back on the distinction if called on it at a later date (‘oh but I was only talking the about the emails not the code’). This is strategic writing and transparently so.

    I do not know the geopolitical purposes of pushing AGW but clearly for whatever reason there is a worldwide push for making everyone believe it and making them conform to the solutions proferred to it, including wolrdwide taxation. Whatever the reason for it, good or bad, something this big and involving this much money – involving all the people of the planet and trillions of dollars – will attract not only scientific analysis, media spotlights and strong political pressures, it will also attract the intelligence services. If the future of the planet really is at stake then it will involve the intelligence services. If the future of the planet is not at stake but there is a huge political shift on for whatever reason to get this adopted as orthodoxy worldwide then that too will involve the intelligence agencies.

    Universities have always been places targetted by the intelligence agencies.

    • pippo
      Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

      I made the comment you quote about intelligent, highly-educated people who are following this saga.

      I think your contribution illustrates very clearly what I was getting at.

      I do not know for sure that the scientists are interested in communicating with the public at all — Dr. Curry seems to be, others do not — but if they are, it is important that they start from the premise that “the public” means a lot of people with experience and skills comparable if not superior to theirs in many walks of life. These people are going to be extremely critical of what they read and hear.

      My own profession, economics, has been under fire for almost 2 years in the wake of the financial crisis. Collectively, it didn’t even cross our mind to fend off the criticism by saying leave economics, let alone the economy, to the economists. And had we done so, our reputation would be even lower than it is.

      Given what we are told is at stake, I just do not see how climate scientists can avoid the same fate. Economics is based on models and statistical data and whatever is going to happen in the debate on climate science, in economics we have been experiencing it for a very long time. I would thus urge climate scientists to realize two things.

      One, the public cannot be told to just shut up and listen to the experts. They just won’t do it — and if effective communication doesn’t begin soon, they’ll start questioning the very expertise of the experts, not because of ideology but because experts who can’t explain clearly and plausibly what they do might not be such experts after all.

      Second, questions about the quality of fundamental data cannot be dodged. I cannot even imagine the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) issue output or unemployment numbers as poorly documented as the CRU data. Even less I can imagine ANY economic data agency engage in the behavior of the folks at CRU.

  224. Harry Mallory
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 10:16 PM | Permalink

    now, not know…jeez

  225. Carbonicus
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 10:20 PM | Permalink

    Judith, your tune seems to have changed since the lively but respectful discussion we had at the GA Env. Conference this fall.

    In your post above, you commented that “As a result of the politicization of climate science, climate tribes (consisting of a small number of climate researchers) were established in response to the politically motivated climate disinformation machine that was associated with e.g. ExxonMobil, CEI, Inhofe/Morano etc.”.

    I would argue that climate science was politicized by the proponents of the AGW hypothesis, not the skeptics. The skeptics have tried continually to get research published that provides a counter argument to the AGW hypothesis, but as we now see from the UEA CRU debacle, the “tribe” you refer to has thwarted all such efforts at the major scientific publications, with threats to discontinue submitting papers to these publications, with (successful) attempts to get editors of certain publications removed, etc.

    In terms of the “disinformation machine that was associated with ExxonMobil, CEI, Inhofe/Morano, etc.”, take a step back and think about what you have written in this post. With the UEA CRU scandal coming to the surface, it seems somewhere between disingenous and hypocritical for you to label those who want the scientific counter arguments to the AGW hypothesis out in the open as the “disinformation machine” in the wake of the “disinformation machine” (your term) on which the light has been shined via the CRU dustup, the MBH Bristlecone pine hockey stick being discredited, and the Briffa Yamal hockey stick being discredited. You can’t be serious.

    Finally, in terms of your comments about transparency, “Datasets that were processed and developed decades ago and that are now regarded as essential elements of the climate data record often contain elements whose raw data or metadata were not preserved (this appears to be the case with HADCRUT)”, HADCRU already admitted that they have destroyed or lost the original data, “by accident”, months ago. “By accident”? I think in the end, and tied directly to the scandal now unfolding, we will all find that “the dog ate my homework” excuse isn’t really an “accident” at all. Remember, McIntyre and others have been trying to get such data under various FOIA actions for several years now.

    I was impressed with your intellect when we met at the GA Env. Conference, but in this case, me thinks thou dost protest too much!

    When all the emails, correspondence, etc. from NASA GISS, NOAA, NCAR, NCDC, etc. come to light via FOIA requests here in the US (WHEN, not IF….and they WILL come to light, even if they have to be obtained via lawsuits, which we are prepared to pursue to get to the truth), I sincerely hope that nothing in the record reflects poorly on you.

  226. J. Peden
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 12:05 AM | Permalink

    Fred…I support the IPCC process, it isn’t perfect, but would you prefer this to be replaced by the Heartland Institute NIPCC?

    Dr. Curry, this line of thinking is obviously irrelevant to the question, unless you are perhaps saying only that the ipcc process is not as inadequate as a process can get, which is really not much of a reassurance or response to anyone criticizing the ipcc process specifically as it relates to the Scientific Method or Process.

    In general, I would advise that you not use methods of argument which are easily recognized as merely diversions or cynical propagandistic tactics – such as references to Big Oil, Rush Limbaugh, etc., the question of who’s more rancorous than whom, or who is the more genuine victim, and all the other tactics which involve the fallacies of formal and informal logic. Again, these are very easily recognized and thus get you nowhere, at best.

    The real question is as to whether the ipcc, enc., elite Climate Scientists are doing Science, or that instead their whole process as actually practiced has become nothing more than a gigantic Propaganda Operation.

    The elite Climate Scientists should never have made their code, data, and methods necessary objects of a FOI by not archiving or publishing them with their studies in the first place. That’s indeed why were are here right now, and what got Steve McIntyre very interested when, as an ipcc Reviewer, he wanted to review Mann’s Hockey Stick study, but was then so strangely rebuffed both by Mann and the ipcc itself.

    This defect must be remedied immediately. Only then can Science resume, that is, unless the elite Climate Scientists have some kind of plan to hold out until the total collapse of their Climate Science.

  227. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 12:58 AM | Permalink

    The thread in which Judith Curry has accused me of making an author cry is linked here:

    I would defy anyone to read through it and say I made any mean statements. The thread discussed a paper authored by Kim, Webster and Curry (2009). I was attempting as other posters were in getting my head around the definitions of EPW or Eastern Pacific Warming (El Nino), EPC or Eastern Pacific Cooling (La Nina) and CPW a new classification that can be related to TC activity in the NATL. I was attempting to do sensitivity tests with these classification when I found that the criteria was rather arbitrary in my estimation of 1 standard deviation and further that a number of events lay close to the criteria limits.

    Judith perhaps you might want to check your memory banks on this one. By the way, Peter Webster made a false start post in answering some queries and then never came back with any answers/comments. I was struggling through the paper and SI attempting to understand it without any help from you or Peter. After a false start I finally think I understood what was done in the paper and I was satisfied that I had learned something. I also had major reservations that the classifications using the 1 standard deviation criteria were arbitrary as my sensitivity testing indicated.

  228. rob
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 1:48 AM | Permalink

    I prefer the old site. WordPress may give you band width but it is blocked by websense and other corporate filters. I have been following CA daily for over a year and now it appears I will only be able to check in every so often. I would be more than willing to pitch in some cash for you to run your own site.

    I prefer the old site too, but it can’t handle the volume. This isn’t the final layout .

  229. PeterK
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 2:14 AM | Permalink

    Curry : “In the climate area, skeptical arguments are amplified and distorted by the advocacy groups and the media”

    This misses the original problem though, which is that the (politically funded) climatology mainstream – journals included – is itself now little more than an advocacy group. Hence the academic dirty tricks campaigns of Mann, Jones, Science, etc. And which is why the only remaining force acting to make science honest again, is auditing by the the blogosphere.

  230. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 4:18 AM | Permalink

    Judith and others, I have posted up an account of my involvement with the FOI scandal at…/

    I invite Judith and anyone interested to comment and criticise, either here or there. It’s not a pretty story.

    My best to all,


  231. Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 4:20 AM | Permalink

    Tribalism is a great term but I prefer “scientific inbreeding”.

  232. David Harrington
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 4:36 AM | Permalink

    I have created a petition on the UK Number 10 web site to gather signatures for an inquiry into this affair. If you are a UK citizen or resident please add you name to this petition.


  233. Alberto
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 4:44 AM | Permalink

    Some commentators here are of the opinion that dr. Curry is somewhat naive. There is another commentator who uses that word: none other than prof. Mann:

    “But Mann said those comments were “somewhat naive,” especially since scientists have become much more open with their data in recent years.

    Skeptics “will always complain about something else, want something more,” Mann said. “Eventually, as we see, they’ve found a way to get access to private communications between scientists.”

    See this (not so balanced) article.

  234. Judith Curry
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 6:52 AM | Permalink

    Willis, I just went to WUWT, you did an excellent job on your post, a tour de force. what you have done provides the needed context to try to interpret all this stuff. I did a brief post over at WUWT, but I am mainly staying over at CA. Thank you very much for doing this. I’ve also forwarded this link to a number of reporters that have been in touch with me about this issue.

  235. Judith Curry
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 6:55 AM | Permalink

    hot off the press from phil jones:

    • ianl8888
      Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 7:14 AM | Permalink

      Gee – a stone wall with a hockey stick painted on it

  236. j
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 7:22 AM | Permalink


    I can appreciate the effort Gavin Schmidt is putting in however I’m still uncertain of his motivations and will leave the issue open here. Why suddenly has the Berlin Wall opened now and not before isn’t really a mystery.

    I have a question: What is wrong with leaving all the data on the public record that was used to arrive at a particular conclusion. That’s not hard to do surely and it would solve the issue of FOI.

  237. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 7:42 AM | Permalink

    Hot off the press from Phil Jones via Dr Curry

    “The Climatic Research Unit holds many data series, provided to the Unit over a period of several decades, from a number of nationally-funded institutions and other research organisations around the world, with specific agreements made over restrictions in the dissemination of those original data.”

    Simple question deserves simple answer. Have you or others sensibly associated with you ever used data in a way that was in breach of copyright provisions?

    Second question: Did you have a copyright agreement with any Australian authority that allowed you to use data without permission, to alter data without permission or to copy data to others without permission?

    (Please be advised that I have prior correspondence about these matters).

    If you answer confirms breach of copyright, would you please explain your justification in refusing to release the (altered) data belonging to others?

    Dr Jones, did you write “With many papers, we’re using Met Office observations. We’ve abstracted these from BADC to use them in the papers. We’re not allowed to make these available to others. We’d need to get the Met Office’s permission in all cases”?

  238. jrrt1
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 8:43 AM | Permalink


    I have enjoyed reading your comments through the past several years (even the more acerbic ones) and am confused by your comments on this particular thread.

    It seems clear that Dr. Curry is speaking from a ‘believer’s’ perspective. Her ability to be alarmed by, what to me, amounts to a squeaking mouse in the room (skeptic’s ‘advocacy groups’) and miss the herd of elephants crashing all the furniture in the same room makes that clear, even if nothing else does . This is apart from her own interpretation as to why the hoopla surrounding hurricanes died down so that she could go back just to talking with other scientists about it. The reason seems clear to this layman (clinical medicine)–the projections were so spectacularly wrong and thus couldn’t gain the headlines for the MSM in forwarding the theme of how bad we’re making it and so they moved away from that inconvenience to other riper aspects of the how-humans-are-ruining-the-earth theme to place on the front pages.

    However, the editorializing above isn’t what I wanted to ask you about. If one is able to eliminate all the articles based on Mann’s hockey-stick reconstructions (even those in the back door) as I believe Steve has shown should be done; if all those based on Briffa’s Yamal reconstruction are at least held in abeyance until more clearly reviewed for assessment of any validity–on what basis and with what strength does the general theory of CO2 induced AGW still stand in your opinion? [As a member of the general public–these reconstructions seem to be the main, if not only legs upon which the momentum for public policy changes stand].

    Understand that I’m coming from the standpoint that to fail to be able to prove a hypothesis true doesn’t ‘prove’ it false. However, surely the onus is on those proposing radical reorganization of essentially all aspects of life to actually prove that it is indeed CO2 and indeed AGW before expecting to be adopted, right? Also, that this is separate from work such as Ross’s econometric models and what he has referred to, if I remember correctly, as ALW.

    Thanks in advance for your comments and feel free to ignore the venting–a prior expanded post re that didn’t make it as Steve had just switched over to the mirror as I hit submit.


    • bender
      Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 7:38 PM | Permalink

      You obviously haven’t read all my comments on this thread or you’d know the answer to your question. IMO it’s all about the GCMs. And I am reserving judgement on Judy until she has time to address my earlier question. The one about Lindzen. Why so patient? Because I know she knows something about moist convection. Probably a lot more than me. I am being nice because I really want to hear what she has to say. And then I want to hear what Gerald Browning and Tom Vonk have to say in reply.

      • jrrt1
        Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 6:15 AM | Permalink

        Thanks for your only mildly acerbic reply!

        In fact I did read your comments on the thread–that’s what was perplexing to me.

        The first post raising my eyebrow stated:

        ‘If these mutiproxy reconstruction studies are wrong in the way Steve says they are wrong – and these emails and files suggest this may well be the case – then all that is affected is our current estimate of how unprecedented the current warming trend is.’ Then you refer to the GCMs.

        It doesn’t seem to me that the presence of ‘unprecedented’ warming has in fact been established for the current warming trend. As one who seems to be at times even brutal in commenting/reproving when things haven’t been approached empirically, this use implied you had something else which had convinced you. It was difficult for me to think after all your comments on various threads at CA you would base this (and most of that referenced post) on GCMs. The GCMs seem to be the least empirical and more susceptible to presuppositions/bias/fudging than even tree rings. That they may be able to eventually be refined into something useful, I can accept. That they are at present reliable for any conclusions or to serve as basis for policy efforts, I don’t.

        Thus, my response of surprise and my query. It is probable that I drew unwarranted conclusions about your thinking from the vehemence of many of your comments over the past several years.


        [I did note your Go, Yellow Jackets comment–are you an alum? I attended 69-71.]

  239. Allan M R MacRae
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 8:44 AM | Permalink


    Finally, let us talk about threats of violence, and worse, perpetrated by “hockey fans”. I can speak of the death threats made against Dr. Tim Ball, because these are a matter of public record. I can also mention a threat that was made against me, after I wrote an article on the science of global warming in the National Post. I am not at liberty to mention other such assaults against eminent climate scientists, but I can assure you these did occur.

    snip – less is more

  240. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 9:44 AM | Permalink

    The Phil Jones/CRU statements linked by Judith Curry would appear to me to be an attempt at damage control and providing talking points for those who will want to defend the emails in the name of obtaining international AGW mitigation policy accords. The statements are more a PR strategic move, in my view, than any offerings of a scientific nature or content. Also it would appear to not be settling for the stolen emails being the act of a single individual.

    An important point touched in these statements is the tacking-on of the instrumental record to the end of the proxy series in an attempt to cover up the fact that the removed part of the proxy series does not agree with the instrumental measurements and what that implies for the validity of the entire series. That approach is entirely out of bounds for a scientific handling of the data and more in line with PR.

    Having said that I will predict that the less sophisticated observers, in an attempt to critique these actions, will incorrectly assume that this means the instrumental record is incorrect and that they will miss the whole point about what the action implies – as I have stated above. Guess which version the emailers and email defenders will chose to respond to.

  241. Judith Curry
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

    statement i made to a reporter:

    This whole concept of ‘We’re the experts, trust us,’ has clearly gone by the wayside with these emails. We won the war. The I.P.C.C. was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize and climate and energy legislation is near the top of the U.S. agenda. Why keep fighting all these silly battles and putting ourselves in this position? This is an opportunity to throw some more sunshine into this whole enterprise.

  242. Judith Curry
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 10:25 AM | Permalink

    Kenneth, after reading Phil Jone’s comments plus willis’ excellent piece over at WUWT, i think this emphasizes we need to proceed carefully before censuring individual scientists over this. While Jones is out ther on the flagpole over the FOI issue, seems to me that he did this under the encouragement and “advice” of his colleagues in the U.S. Alot of complexity here. I think all of the principals need to come forward and explain themselves. I would say Kevin Trenberth has explained himself and is off the hook IMO. Gavin Schmidt has explained himself and off the hook IMO, but his explanations of others actions aren’t convincing without their personal explanations. I am sure these will be forthcoming, but the mcintyre bogeyman defense certainly won’t be very convincing to me at least.

  243. Judith Curry
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

    J. Gavin Schmidt deserves credit for what he is doing. If something is broken, give credit when somebody tries to fix it. Why on earth anyone is hiding their data is beyond me. I find it hard to believe that Phil Jones has anything to hide in this data set. sure a few little glitches may come to light, but if this happens and they git fixed, that would be a good thing. When the auditing was done of the GISS temp data set, a few minor glitches were found and fixed and frankly my confidence in the GISS temp data set went up several notches.

    • stevemcintyre
      Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 11:04 AM | Permalink

      I disagree with your assessment of GISS and don’t know what you base your conclusions on. This chapter isn’t finished by any means. In the US where there is a network of rural stations, we know that there is a 0.5+ deg C difference in trend between urban and rural stations. In the US, GISS (but not NOAA, CRU) adjust for this reasonably. However, in the ROW, the GISS urban adjustment is done differently and is nothing much more than a random permutation. CRU and NOAA don’t do anything. Disentangling UHI from these records is still very much an issue.

    • anon
      Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 11:37 PM | Permalink

      Dr Curry wrote: “I find it hard to believe that Phil Jones has anything to hide in this data set.”

      two things worth hiding: 1) They don’t want anyone to know what a mess the data is actually in, and 2) They don’t want anyone to know how they change the raw data. Check out NCDC’s TD3200s. Whenever you find a “corrected” 5 degree minimum temperature and a 2 degree temperature at the time of observation, a bell should go off. What temperature was actually reported? Why was it “corrected?” Why wasn’t the same sensor “corrected” the following day? I doubt they want SM auditing that nonsense, and who can blame them. After reading those emails, I don’t believe CRU or NCDC should be trusted with the raw data anymore.

  244. PeterK
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

    This approach of addressing individuals’ parts in this affair, masks the greater issue of institutional malfeasance. Why were all these issues, occurring over a decade or so, not picked up by management?
    The commonsense answer is that the individuals’ malfeasance was acceptable if not actively encouraged by management, in furtherance of political goals, which every time trump any remaining scientific ones. An quite unsurprising state of affairs given their political funding.

  245. PeterK
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

    Judith: “I find it hard to believe that Phil Jones has anything to hide in this data set…”

    And what do you make of
    (1) his well-publicised ‘why should I show you my data you my data when I know you are trying to find something wrong with it’ incident ?
    (2) the failure of his colleagues (or the mainstream profession) to censure him over this ?

  246. James McKee
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

    I find all this maternal cooing and pacification quite bizarre. Dr. Judith Curry is a political animal for sure and a quite calculating one, though no less transparent for that. Are these the quality of people driving the global agenda? Jesus wept. Surely there’s more to the whole global warming science and science agenda than what I’ve witnessed over the last couple of days? Is this it? Serious Wizard of Oz territory here.

  247. MikeN
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 10:57 AM | Permalink

    Focus on FOI is pointless, as FOI will not be sufficiently able to foster a spirit of openness among scientists towards blogs like ClimateAudit. If anything, it will harden the response. Reading the e-mails, I see no sense that the authors feel they must hide things, but instead are doing so out of spite. The behavior of the blogs is also at fault here.

  248. pops
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

    I appreciate Dr. Curry’s participation in this discussion. However, I think she has diagnosed as keritosis something more akin to melanoma. Please help me find something in the behavior of the Team that would distinguish it from subversion.

  249. Harold
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 11:14 AM | Permalink

    Fred…I support the IPCC process, it isn’t perfect, but would you prefer this to be replaced by the Heartland Institute NIPCC?

    This is a false choice. The real choice is whether to use the IPCC process or one of the many valid approaches to identifying and quantifying problems. As for the “science” aspect of the whole discussion, since the papers in question didn’t meet the minimum disclosure standards normally required for scientific publications and the peer review process was compromised, the work should be thrown out entirely. That Dr. Curry seems to accept the results knowing thall this indicates to me she isn’t a scientist when it come to this topic.

    It’s amazing to me that there is all this discussion about papers that don’t meet minimum standards – it’s like discussing the performance characteristcs of a car that won’t start.

  250. Brian B
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 11:45 AM | Permalink

    –I am definitely worried about perverse incentives that make carbon traders rich (the same masters of the universe that brought us the financial meltdown) and don’t reduce CO2.–

    While Dr. Curry is correct that perverse incentives are bieng proposed in cap and trade, this statement as a whole is not too logical. The masters of the universe (MU)did not bring us the financial meltdown; similar perverse financial incentives provided by the government are primarly responsible. The MUs fed at the trough of the bounty tossed in their laps by the government.

    More importantly, if Dr. Curry is of a libertarian bent then she should be extremely wary of the nexus of governmental grants funding a powerful and quite limited group to do the research which is then funneled through a quasi-governmental and unaccountable body like the IPCC which then advises the governement grant givers on what policies to pursue. This is virtually guaranteed to produce the kind of opaque, tribal, politicised turf guarding that this CRU info has revealed.

  251. Barry R.
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 12:28 PM | Permalink

    I’m a recovering programmer, and it seems likely to me that the attempts to avoid Freedom of Information requests were a desperate effort to keep an inconvenient truth from surfacing: The data and programs involved were so screwed up that nobody knew how they worked anymore, or where the data came from, or which if any of many versions of the data was actually accurate.

    That’s not an uncommon problem in computer systems that were cobbled together without professional Information Technology input. I’ve been in the unfortunate position of inheriting two such systems during my IT career, and I feel for the poor guy who inherited the system and tried to make it run.

    What usually happens is that a non-computer guy (like Phil Jones) brings in a self-taught programmer who is under intense pressure to get results out fast. The programmer gets results that appear to be correct or at least fall within management’s expectations. He or she doesn’t have time to document what they did–where they put the data and how they got the results, even if they understand the importance of doing so. They get more deadlines and more pressure, and keep getting results that appear reasonable. Nobody inquires about how the results were gotten.

    Then the programmer moves on. Some poor schlub gets hired to get the next set of results. He finds that the system is so screwed up that there is no way he can figure it out. The previous results have already been published, but he can’t replicate them. Unfortunately, his job and jobs of his superiors depends on getting the next version out, so he does the best he can. That best is full of guesswork on what the data really is and how the programs are supposed to work, but it gives reasonable results, at least for newer years. He gives up on replicating part of the results, and just goes with the ones previously published

    The bottom line: Phil Jones and company couldn’t give people the data and code to replicate his results because he could no longer replicate those results himself, and didn’t know which (if any) of a sea of undocumented data files would be needed for someone else to replicate them. If he admitted that, his career was essentially over. Certainly no one would take his numbers seriously again.

    So, when the Freedom of Information requests came he tried to make it about the people requesting the data and programs, or about intellectual property not about the data and programs themselves. The tribal circling of the wagons behavior made that easy.

    The comments of the programmer who tried to straighten the mess out are available and they are compelling evidence that this scenario is pretty much what happened. Based on the programmer comments, in my opinion nothing that came out of that system is worth the paper it is printed on. It can’t be replicated, even by the original authors. It can’t be tested for programming errors, which are almost certain to be there given the poorly commented nature of the code. The process can’t even be fully described so that someone else can see if the steps taken from raw data to finished product are reasonable and that the computer programs actually follow those steps. Bottom line: the finished product is almost certainly worthless, and it is likely that that’s why the people involved tried to evade the Freedom of Information Requests.

    • Calvin Ball
      Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

      I think that’s exactly what happened. But the obvious question is, what exactly is the right this to do once it’s become obvious that the code and data are fubared beyond the ability of the people involved to retrieve?

      The only solution that I think makes any sense is to make this into an open source project, and rebiold everything, in a modern language, from the ground up. The danger, of course, is that the people involved in the project would split into two camps unable to reach agreement on how to deal with certain issues. But it’s worth a try, and I don’t see the downside to trying at this point, now that the cow’s out of the barn.

      It’s too bad that Jones had other priorities, and tried to do it his way.

    • bender
      Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 7:41 PM | Permalink

      Given the state of Harry’s work, I don’t know if the scope of the FOIA request could ever be defined!

      • bender
        Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 8:08 PM | Permalink

        I mean with that state of fubar it seems entirely possible that they actually could not answer Willis’s question “what were the stations used to generate output X?” Which is embarassingly mind boggling.

  252. Calvin Ball
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

    There’s a most excellent quote over in the comments section of a thread at the Volokh Conspiracy on this topic. Dr. Curry, I think this encapsulates the dismay and even anger that you’re hearing; the fact that so many in the tribe were perfectly happy to wear scientist and activist hats simultaneously, and then wonder why there’s a backlash, when they were just trying to be good scientists:

    Yet I also think it amusing that the hacked individuals would be indignant that many AGW skeptics are using perhaps irrelevant emails to impugn their scientific integrity and much of the body of their work. Aren’t these same climatologists the ones who chose to stake out blatantly political positions in newspapers and “advocacy” campaigns, instead of confining their disagreements to the rarefied air of journals they claim they want to have the final word? Trillions of dollars are at stake and millions of lives also implicated, yet those who can easily toss about the “denalist” term like little bombs suddenly want to play under Marquis de Queensberry rules? Even if the AGW hypothesis is ultimately proven correct I would hold little sympathy for the beleaguered men; perhaps this episode will teach more academics to shut up about the “policy implications” of their work before they’ve hashed out a coherent and parsimonious theory able to back it up.

  253. M. Ribeiro
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    It was more than obvious this so called “Global Climate Change”; Science has been dragged by Politicians for many years… which leaves too much to think/question about don’t you think?

    In the eyes of the public Politicians cannot be trusted and when scientists/institutions seen bound to such political lobbies then neither of them can be trusted regardless what models pop out to back up their cases.

    – Science needs to operate independently and be more transparent than it is at moment.
    – Source data must be shared (independent of what tribe a scientist belong or not) simply for theories such as this to be questioned and proven beyond doubt

    All in name of good science which hasn’t been seen regarding this Climate Change theory.

  254. Nik
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 1:08 PM | Permalink

    Judy wrote:

    “allegedly indicate malfeasance, clarifications especially from Gavin Schmidt have been very helpful in providing explanations and the appropriate context for these emails.”

    So far there has not been a single explanation of the agreement to prevent Freedom of Information access, nor of the attempts to exclude skeptic scientists from access to scientific journals.

    Both of the above arguably come under the title malfeasance as we lawyers define it.

    It is still unclear what the “tribe” was protecting by refusing access to data. The emails simply document their stubborn refusal to allow any checking of their data. This question remains unanswered and as long as it stays that way it justifies much of the conspiracy gossip.

    It is evident from the emails that some climateologists are democratically challenged, and, worse, they assume this attitude to the be the norm. It is as if they do not understand that their research leads to radical life changes for 6.5 billion people some of whom might want a second opinion.

    • Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

      I have no defense of the FOI business though I maintain a hope that “deletion” does not mean removing all known copies but simply removing it from an FOI response as advised by legal experts.

      Nor am I sympathetic to withholding data. I understand that some of this was constrained by agreement with the data providers, and that some of it is about competition among scientists for limited funds, but I’d much rather things were arranged differently.

      On the other hand, “attempts to exclude skeptic scientists” from journals is easily understood once one realizes that the vast majority of work in that category is badly substandard in quality. That is, one is not really excluding Dr X, or Dr X’s philosophical outlook, so much as the kind of garbage Dr X has been submitting. This is the job of a scientific gatekeeper. It is understandable that if Dr X has produced nothing of value in a long time, the “kind of garbage Dr X produces” would reduce to the shorthand “Dr X”.

      Sure, there is some risk of this process being subverted, but is is necessary in the defense against crackpottery. The fact that it is being practiced against people who agree with your intuitions is not sufficient to demonstrate that anything in particular is wrong, though. You have to establish that people who agree with your intuitions are not crackpots. As Dr Curry points out, there are a few low-sensitivity advocates who get published a lot, so the idea that it is the point of view, rather than the very poor quality, that is the subject of discrimination is something not easy to establish.

      If you look at the history of crackpots, you will see that all of them share this complaint of exclusion of their point of view, failing to see it as exclusion of their incoherence. If science can’t maintain minimal standards it’s worthless.

      • Tolz
        Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 9:17 PM | Permalink

        What do you think of the “quality” of Mann’s Hockey Stick?

      • MikeN
        Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 9:35 PM | Permalink

        Yes, the actions taken by Mann and company are reasonable actions to take against bad science. They are not reasonable actions to take against good or mediocre science.

    • RIch S.
      Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 7:10 PM | Permalink

      I’m surprised nobody in this thread has taken issue with the emails in which Ben Santer describes, in great detail, his annoyance with the (McIntyre and other) FOIA requests.

      At one point (email #1231257056), he states:

      “In my considered opinion, a very dangerous precedent is set if any derived quantity that we have calculated from primary data is subject to FOIA requests. At LLNL’s Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI), we have devoted years of effort to the calculation of derived quantities from climate model output. These derived quantities include synthetic MSU temperatures, ocean heat content changes, and so-called “cloud simulator” products suitable for comparison with actual satellite-based estimates of loud type, altitude, and frequency. The intellectual investment in such calculations is substantial.

      (my emphasis in bold)

      Dr. Santer works at a U.S. taxpayer funded facility. The output of his effort is used in the debate of U.S. public policy.

      And yet, Dr. Santer expresses that he and his collaborators have a competitive interest in maintaining some fairly high level of privacy regarding the details (algorithms, models, methods) of his publicly-funded work.

      I am dramatically in favor of private property and personal privacy rights. But not for the work of government funded scientists who research areas of great public interest.

      Please, someone chip in and correct me if my perspective in this matter is not reasonable.

  255. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

    Judith when you say:

    “I find it hard to believe that Phil Jones has anything to hide in this data set. sure a few little glitches may come to light, but if this happens and they git fixed, that would be a good thing.”

    I believe it was you yourself who noted what many of us have commented on before and that is that the CRU data base has lost apparently its original data through very sloppy record keeping. We have evidence of some sloppy coding at CRU also. Without the original input data I would have to assume that there is no way test the progression of corrections and adjustments to the data that CRU has used over the years. Under those conditions the CRU temperature data set is suspect as a serious and more importantly independent data set.

    Would there be motivation in this for CRU not to release the data and in the process lose potentionally the prestige of being the most used temperature series in peer reviewed publications?

    If we eliminate CRU for gross sloppiness then we no longer have CRU as an independent source for verification of any other temperature data set. I do not follow these argumenmts about two data sets agreeing being the issue here as it better the question do we have at least two valid independent data sets. Add in what Steve M notes about the GISS system for the ROW ( I agree with assessments of the contrast in the US versus ROW algorithm for adjusting for urban effects that Steve M points to, but I would further note that subject to the Watts CRN evaluations that does mean that the rural stations do not have added micro climate variations that are not accounted for in GISS adjustments) and I think we have good reasons to seek independent sources of temperatures. I would also note that CRU and GISS are obviously not independent as CRU uses numerous GISS data – so they could both be off the mark.

  256. Bob
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 1:21 PM | Permalink

    This statements are from the Real Climate in relation to the Copenhagen meeting:
    The ice sheets are both losing mass (and hence contributing to sea level rise). This was not certain at the time of the IPCC report.

    Arctic sea ice has declined faster than projected by IPCC.

    Greenhouse gas concentrations have continued to track the upper bounds of IPCC projections.

    Observed global temperature changes remain entirely in accord with IPCC projections, i.e. an anthropogenic warming trend of about 0.2 ºC per decade with superimposed short-term natural variability.

    Sea level has risen more than 5 centimeters over the past 15 years, about 80% higher than IPCC projections from 2001.
    I would be really happy to hear a commentary from an expert with other views.

  257. Johnathome
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 1:34 PM | Permalink

    Oh Dear,

    [quote]Today, on behalf of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, I filed three Notices of Intent to File Suit against NASA and its Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), for those bodies’ refusal – for nearly three years – to provide documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act. [/quote]

  258. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 1:35 PM | Permalink

    I should have said in my previous “but I would further note that, subject to the Watts CRN evaluations, that does not mean that the rural stations do not have added micro climate variations that are not accounted for in GISS adjustment”.

    Also Judith, I would appreciate your showing me in the thread, that I linked to above and where you have accused me of upsetting a colleague, that I made statements that caused that reaction.

  259. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 3:17 PM | Permalink

    “We won the war. The I.P.C.C. was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize and climate and energy legislation is near the top of the U.S. agenda. Why keep fighting all these silly battles and putting ourselves in this position?”

    I ask you now do those sound like words from a scientist or an advocate/cheerleader?

    • bender
      Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 8:10 PM | Permalink

      “Why keep fighting all these silly battles and putting ourselves in this position?”
      Ummm –
      Because we need to get the science right in order to know what we can expect and how to mitigate and how to adapt?

      • Calvin Ball
        Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

        It’s also becoming apparent that there’s a huge gulf in the cultures between climate scientists and business/engineering/statistics people regarding the bedrock issue of quality. No one has the the time and space to spell out all of the theoretical issues undergirding the discipline of quality control, but anyone who has studied the subject understands that, and this might be counterintuitive to those who haven’t, that you can’t have really high quality if you are inclined to blow off the details.

        It has to be ingrained into the culture itself. It can’t be pasted on at the end. And little acts of corner cutting, such as Dr. Curry’s deliberately incorrect capitalization, scream to me a culture of expediency. And I’m sure she’d be baffled by that statement, not having any background in QC.

        Jones exposed a culture of corruption in his inner circle, but I think the larger problem in the climate community is a lack of a culture of quality. The attitude, that I see written all over everything is like the attitude of the American auto industry in the 1970s: “we don’t need no stinkin’ Jap quality circles”. Well, they do. Badly. But people outside of the culture of quality never see the need. And when the door on their Dodge won’t close, their attitude is “**** happens”. They never see that it is within their control. It’s only a short hop from there to yarding out the duct tape, and “fixing” things the way Jones did.

  260. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 7:06 PM | Permalink

    Well, someone sent me a quote from Professor Trevor Davies, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer of the EAU. He said:

    The University [of East Anglia, home of the CRU] takes its responsibilities under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004, and the Data Protection Act 1998 very seriously and has, in all cases, handled and responded to requests in accordance with its obligations under each particular piece of legislation.

    Ooooh, I am ashamed to confess it, but I said bad words and forbidden epithets, it angrified my blood immensely. Now they’ve gone and done it. I expect crooks to be crooks, that’s no surprise, I’m not angry at Jones et. al. As long as there is a system, people will try to game it.

    But I also expect the people in charge to do something when they notice the crooks, not just spout platitudes.

    So I’ve just sent the following email:

    Dear Professor Davies:

    I see that you are quoted regarding the hacked emails as saying

    “The University [of East Anglia, home of the CRU] takes its responsibilities under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004, and the Data Protection Act 1998 very seriously and has, in all cases, handled and responded to requests in accordance with its obligations under each particular piece of legislation.”

    If you believe this, I encourage you to read my account of my experience with my FOIA requests to CRU below.

    I would greatly appreciate a response, particularly if (as I hope) you are actually taking action to insure that the FOI requests are handled properly in future.

    Many thanks,


    I attached a copy of my story of my battle with the CRU, which is posted at


    I sent copies to the following individuals:

    To: ,
    Information Commissioner’s Office (responsible for FOI)
    “Palmer Dave Mr (LIB)” FOI Officer, UEA
    “Inglis Kitty Ms (LIB)” FOI Appeals, UEA
    Justice Department, UK (responsible for the Information Commissioner)

    CC: Editor, Times of London
    Editor, New York Times
    Editor, Daily Mail (UK)
    Editor, Chicago Tribune
    Editor, LA Times
    Mark Morano, Climate Depot

    Plus individual copies to the following journalists:

    George Stephanopoulos, ABC
    Nightline, ABC
    Ted Koppel, ABC
    Jennifer Loven, AP
    Kathleen Carroll (Executive Editor), AP
    Larry Margasak, AP
    Michael Silverman (Managing Editor), AP
    Michelle DeArmound, AP
    Nedra Pickler, AP
    Ron Fournier, AP
    Sandra Johnson (Washington Bureau Chief), AP
    Seth Sutel, AP
    Terry Hunt, AP
    48 Hours, CBS
    60 Minutes, CBS
    60 Minutes II, CBS
    Bill Plante, CBS
    CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, CBS
    Dick Meyer (Editorial Director), CBS
    Early Show, CBS
    Erin Moriarty, CBS
    Face The Nation, CBS
    Mark Knoller, CBS
    Peter Maer, CBS
    Sunday Morning, CBS
    American Morning, CNN
    Anderson Cooper 360, CNN
    Bill Schneider, CNN
    Candy Crowley, CNN
    Howard Kurtz, CNN
    In The Money, CNN
    Jeanne Meserve, CNN
    Jim Walton (President of CNN News Group), CNN
    Judy Woodruff, CNN
    Kyra Phillips, CNN
    Lou Dobbs, CNN
    Lou Dobbs, CNN
    Rick Davis (Executive Vice President – CNN News Standards and Practices), CNN
    At Large with Geraldo Rivera, Fox
    Brian Wilson, Fox
    Bulls & Bears, Fox
    Cashin’In, Fox
    Cavuto on Business, Fox
    Forbes on FOX, Fox
    FOX & Friends, Fox
    FOX News Live, Fox
    FOX News Sunday, Fox
    FOX News Watch, Fox
    FOX Report with Shepard Smith, Fox
    Hannity & Colmes (Alan Colmes), Fox
    Hannity & Colmes (Sean Hannity), Fox
    Heartland w/ John Kasich, Fox
    James Rosen, Fox
    Jim Angle, Fox
    Major Garrett, Fox
    Molly Henneberg, Fox
    On the Record with Greta, Fox
    On the Record with Greta, Fox
    Special Report with Brit Hume, Fox
    Studio B with Shepard Smith, Fox
    The Beltway Boys, Fox
    The O’Reilly Factor, Fox
    Viewer Services, Fox
    War Stories, Fox
    Wendell Goler, Fox
    Your World with Neil Cavuto, Fox
    Alison Stewart, MSNBC
    Amy Robach, MSNBC
    Bob Kur, MSNBC
    Chris Jansing, MSNBC
    Chris Matthews, MSNBC
    Contessa Brewer, MSNBC
    Countdown with Keith Olbermann, MSNBC
    Dan Abrams, MSNBC
    David Schuster, MSNBC
    Deborah Norville, MSNBC
    Deborah Norville, MSNBC
    Dennis Sullivan (Executive Editor – Campaign Coverage), MSNBC
    Don Imus, MSNBC
    Don Imus, MSNBC
    Hardball with Chris Matthews, MSNBC
    Imus in the Morning, MSNBC
    Joe Scarborough, MSNBC
    Joe Trippi, MSNBC
    Keith Olbermann, MSNBC
    Lester Holt, MSNBC
    Lester Holt Live, MSNBC
    MSNBC Investigates, MSNBC
    Randy Meier, MSNBC
    Richard Kaplan (President), MSNBC
    Ron Reagan, MSNBC
    Scarborough Country, MSNBC
    Dateline, NBC
    Meet The Press (Tim Russert), NBC
    Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, NBC
    Today Show, NBC

    and 75 other overseas journalists.

    Professor Palmer has angrified the blood of the wrong man …

  261. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 7:31 PM | Permalink

    Willis E, that is an impressive list of media people and shows, but a bit out dated I suspect.

    Hannity & Colmes (Alan Colmes), Fox – no more Colmes
    Don Imus, MSNBC -I thought they parted company awhile ago
    CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, CBS – I believe Dan “retired” awhile ago
    Meet The Press (Tim Russert), NBC – Tim is no longer with us
    Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, NBC – Tom who?

  262. Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 8:01 PM | Permalink

    I am struck nearly dumbfounded by the very first principle you highlight:

    “Transparency. Climate data needs to be publicly available and well documented.”

    When has science, any science, needed to be admonished to make the data available? Part and parcel of science is true widespread peer review.

    The proprietors of this data have kept it hidden for so long, and were obviously willing to break federal laws to keep it hidden, that it is clear we’re not talking about science. We’re talking about agenda.

    “…the need for such transparency has only been voiced recently as the policy relevance of climate data has increased.” Ah, are you kidding? National, corporate and community policy has been influenced, indeed created, by the conclusions claimed to have been based on this hidden data for nearly two decades. Already, many hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent in furtherance of such policies.

    All along, the so called AGW deniers–in other circles they would be known as responsible scientists–have been calling for the release of this data and for critical review of all the procedures and the models. Those people have been systematically shut down within the scientific community, and, due to the agenda of those in the mainstream media, have rarely had a voice there, either.

    To say that it now, suddenly, needs to be transparent is to ignore good science and the public record with the utmost contempt for the truth.

  263. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 8:32 PM | Permalink

    RE: Dr. Curry
    **I support the IPCC process, it isn’t perfect, but would you prefer this to be replaced by the Heartland Institute NIPCC?**

    There are too few people at the top of IPCC. controlling the conclusions. Many problems have been discussed on threads on CA. If they do not improve the next report, we would be better without it.

  264. J. Peden
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 10:32 PM | Permalink

    Bob:Sea level has risen more than 5 centimeters over the past 15 years, about 80% higher than IPCC projections from 2001.
    I would be really happy to hear a commentary from an expert with other views.

    Bob,l’m not an expert, but will reply since no one else has, mainly in regard to your last item.

    5cm/15yr = 33cm/100yr.[approximately], which translates to about 13″/100yr., which is exactly what sea levels have been doing for some duration of time [which I can’t exactly remember right now but is probably at least 30yr.] until sea levels actually stopped rising for the past 2+yrs.!

    There is nothing surprising about an increase of 13″/100yr. Sea levels have been generally increasing since the end of the last ice age about 10-13,000yr. ago, and at some times apparently averaged 48″/100yr.

    So this particular statement is very strange, to say the least The rest of the items you listed are either quite debateable, misleading, or might be true but of no particular significance.

    In short, I wouldn’t be trying to convince anyone about the fact or danger of the ipcc AGW position with these items, unless that person was otherwise totally uninformed.

    • Bob
      Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 2:31 AM | Permalink

      Thanks a lot. Actually I posted these questions because this seems to be the key points in hands of supporters of AGW theory. Therefore need to be answered. For instance:
      >The ice sheets are both losing mass (and hence contributing to sea level rise).

      As far as I understand Arctic ice did loose some mass but at the same time Antarctic ice increased. So where did they find citation that also Antarctica is actually melting?

      But on the other hand, I am a scientist, not a climate scientist but plant biotechnologist. I am ashamed for the conduct of key IPCC scientists and I really hope that there will be consequences. Concerning public relations in my field of work we often have very similar problems in relation to the so called “genetically modified food”. Only in this case great majority of scientist support this advanced plant breeding technique, while politicians (so far mainly European) deliberately support “non-governmental” groups (supported by governmental funds) to scare population. This situation is very similar to the one concerning global warming. The same quasi-eco movement is on scene.

  265. c1ue
    Posted Nov 25, 2009 at 11:09 PM | Permalink

    Dr. Curry,

    Thank you for your insight into the process by which grants are used.

    It would be helpful, however, if you might comment on the Phil Jones grant record which is in the CRU files.

    Is the 13 million pounds/22 million dollars over a 19 year period considered large? small? average?

    I inquire because while certainly all grants are used for a specific research purpose, on the other hand having a large sum of money at your disposal might enable lots of other benefits.

    I certainly was struck by the significant number of mentions of trips to Hawaii (7 references), Tahiti (5 references), general conferences (49 references) in the CRU correspondence.

    • Jim
      Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 2:56 AM | Permalink

      As a scientist myself, 22,000,000 milliond dollars in 19 years
      is pretty good. One issue is how many collaborators are in
      the grant application. My personal batting average is about
      100,000 per year, and this puts me in the top bracket at
      my uni (I have a small operation).

  266. MCI
    Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 1:41 AM | Permalink

    As a non-scientist, reading these posts has been a facinating experience. Occasionally, the idea seems lost that it is the responsibility of an advocate to prove their assertion, not that of the sceptical to prove it is incorrect.

    It seems that before heading off on a hugely expensive and manipulative world wide adventure,several basic questions must be resolved(to the extent possible since all involve projections).

    1)Is the planet warming?
    2)If so, what are the causes and the relative weight of thise causes?
    3)What will be the likely effects, positive as well as negative from the warming.
    4)If the negatives outweigh the positives, what can be done about it?
    5)By who?
    6)At what cost?
    7)To what effect?
    8)At what opportunity cost?

    Until these issues, especially 3-8 which I hardly ever see discussed in the non-technical media, are resolved, the polititions and the
    people who elect them have no basis for rational action.

    Steve: I do not try to cover everything at this blog. Present circumstances are unusual but normally I try to maintain a fairly technical focus and to discourage policy discussion.

    • Calvin Ball
      Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

      Theoretically, those questions are exactly what the IPCC was chartered to answer. I think all of your questions can be reduced to asking: is the IPCC doing what it was chartered to do, and if not, what went wrong?

      Several years ago there was some discussion on ClimateAudit on what, organizationally speaking, was deficient in the IPCC, and what would be the best that we know how to do. Suffice to say that the fast-and-loose conduct of Enron is considered intolerable by pretty much the same cast of characters who think the IPCC is wonderful. Therein lies the problem, and suggests the solution.

  267. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 3:01 AM | Permalink


    As a scientist myself, 22,000,000 milliond dollars in 19 years
    is pretty good. One issue is how many collaborators are in
    the grant application. My personal batting average is about
    100,000 per year, and this puts me in the top bracket at
    my uni (I have a small operation).

    Being a numbers wonk, I ran the numbers. If there were say three named scientists in a grant, and one was Jones, I divided the grant dollars by three. I come up with a total of about six million dollars for Jones’ share of the grants over the 19 years, over three hundred thousand dollars per year.

    (data and code available on request … just kidding, I used the Excel spreadsheet in the hacked emails.)

  268. David Shaw
    Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 5:06 AM | Permalink

    Great article. It seems obvious to me working as a statistician in a highly regulated environment that something was badly awry here. How it could have become so unregulated is a mystery. The use/abuse of the peer review system is something else we should take a look at in all disciplines.

  269. Marie Elks
    Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 5:06 AM | Permalink

    Dr Curry–

    What you seem to miss is that those of us who have to live with the consequences of actions taken at the behest of AGW proponents aren’t pleased to learn that those proponents are not using the scientific method to arrive at their claims. Rather, it appears that AGW proponents are using dubious science to push a socio-political agenda that we would never accept sans a doomsday threat.

    I am not a scientist but even I can logically conclude that if proxy data, eg tree rings, doesn’t match actual measurements for the most recent 50 years, any assumed match for time periods 100 to 1000 years past is flawed at best and intentionally deceptive at worst. It simply doesn’t pass the smell test, and we don’t need an MD to check our olfactory function.

    Marie Elks

  270. Alan
    Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 6:08 AM | Permalink

    A simple interpretation of Ms. Curry’s text by my simple mind: “I have not been chumped, I have not been chumped, I have not been chumped.” Now that’s what I would call a denier!

  271. Zoot
    Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 6:24 AM | Permalink

    I have started a facebook group called CRU-Emails-The fight for full climate change disclosure. I invite all to join. The purpose of this group is not about saying climate change is a hoax but to get people aware that data and methods are being with held. As a concerned citizen of planet earth I think transparency is very important in this matter. I am not a scientist so really request that somebody here can help shed some light on the technical details. People talking about deleting data to avoid Freedom of Information is a very serious matter in my eyes regardless of “context”. The people have a right know! I know a little about time series and modeling from working with telluric and EM data sets and the code really bothers me from I what I can see false data is being introduced.

  272. andrew connell
    Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 6:58 AM | Permalink

    I’m not sure that I agree with Judith Curry that this is a storm in a teacup; that might be wishful thinking on her part.
    Data deletion, having editors of non-compliant journals sacked, data fiddling, fixing the IPCC review process, finding compliant reviewers to dismiss inconvenient papers, doling out cheques into people’s personal bank account, etc might all be in a day’s work for a climatologist, but most other people live and work to higher standards. Did any of these people work for Tony Soprano in their previous lives?
    This being said, I don’t think that there will be any pressure from their main funders, (mainly government proxies) who probably regard CRU as “useful idiots,” in their urgent quest to impose carbon taxes to fill the gaping hole in public finances. Nor do I think that the authorities will be in any hurry to impose the maximum £5 000 fine for every deletion of data requested under FoI, should any be prooved.
    What might cause problems is the historical data series CRU supply to the Met office. That this series is comparable to other series is meant to be reassuring. However, if this series cannot be replicated from the mess of data without CRU “peeking over the shoulders” of their class mates for the right answer, the Met office, who have been reliant on CRU for years, won’t be pleased.

  273. John Smith
    Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 8:02 AM | Permalink

    Dr Curry.

    Not good enough. You are apologising for the scientific equivalent of murder.There is no excuse. To be a scientist is to hold youself above human failures. It is a tough gig. Max Plank published his brilliant work on Black Body Radiation and he didn’t even believe the result. That is guts. He stuck to the results regardless of his personal belief.

    These guys disgust me. There is no excuse for their behaviour. Al Gore is an ass. He says that the temperature at the core of the Earth is several million degrees. I can forgive that because he is an ignorant moron. He doesn’t cliam to be a scientist. These guys do claim to be scientists. Worse than that, they smash any opposition to their view.

    This is the bit that makes me waqnt to puke.

    “I encourage Gavin Schmidt to explain the emails”….

    that would be like….

    “I encourage Joseph Goebells to explain Mien Kamph”

    Gavin Schmidt is culpible in this. He is the chief propogandist. He’s not a journalist… he’s meant to be a scientist. He has crossed to the dark side and must be punished along with the rest.

    He is the “Lord Haw Haw” of Global Warming Alarmism. I would like to remind you all that Lord Haw Haw was rightly hanged.

    Do not let Gavin Schmidt off the hook.

  274. Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 8:23 AM | Permalink

    Consider the outrage if these e-mails had been found in the offices of those who certify, (1) the accuracy of the delivery of gasoline pumps, (2) the safety of elevators and escalators, (3) the composition and proper installations of building materials, (4) the airworthiness of commercial aircraft, (4) the safety of medicines and medical devices, (5) the safety of power plants, (6) the crash-worthiness of automobiles, (7) that Environmental Impact Statements are correct and true, and on and on and on.

    There would be no rationalizations, none whatsoever, presented to insist that the e-mails simply reflect Business as Usual. Independent investigations would be started immediately.

  275. steve
    Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

    Michael Mann in my honest opinion has already been comprised long ago with his hockey stick graph. The fact that he still is held in high regard or has any major influence on journals to is simply not right. This was before the CRU hack. The CRU hack means Mann should be removed from the process, along with Jones.

    BTW does anyone know why the Copenhagen report is so doom and gloom ? Temperatures according to Roy Spencer’s graphs did not rise that much. In fact they should be much higher this time of year due to El Nino. They are higher than average but not has high as 1998 El Nino.

  276. Judith Curry
    Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 9:49 AM | Permalink

    Re Phil Jone’s grant record. For perspective, in the U.S. among climate researchers, invidividual research groups (say directed by a university faculty member) are doing very well if they are receiving $500K/yr in grant funds. Mission oriented government research lab groups may be funded at a higher level. The greatest funding amounts in the U.S. that are going to U.S. universities on climate research are the NOAA Cooperative Institutes, many of these are funded at a level of $10M+ per year. I think i commented on these in a previous post somewhere. So what Phil Jones is receiving is comparable in the U.S. to one of these NOAA Cooperative Institutes.

    • c1ue
      Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 3:21 PM | Permalink

      Dr. Curry,

      Thank you for the perspective.

      It is always useful to see numbers in context.

      I looked at the School of Environmental Studies annual report 2007/2008:

      According to this, research income is “nearly 6.8M pounds” and “More than 70% of this funding came from the Research Councils, where the peer-review process is particularly rigorous.”

      It would seem, then, that the grant money received by Dr. Jones is a significant fraction of his department’s overall research income.

      It does however adds another unfavorable inference to Dr. Jones’ and other’s behavior regarding the peer review process.

  277. PeterK
    Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

    Perhaps what is needed is a campaign to have all published papers whose data is not readily available, publicly withdrawn.

  278. Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

    Gossiepossie! Oh, hee. Wat erg allemaal zeg. Gossiepossie, kinderen. Daar wordt Bassie niet blij van.

    (Wow, amazing stuff! Bassie is not happy with this at all.)

  279. Calvin Ball
    Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 10:41 AM | Permalink

    I support the IPCC process, it isn’t perfect, but would you prefer this to be replaced by the Heartland Institute NIPCC?

    False dichotomy. That’s like trying to argue that Stalin was ok because the alternative was Hitler.

    This is more of a question of acceptable and unacceptable. Any reasonable person would say that it’s unreasonable – as in completely unacceptable – to issue the summary for policy makers first, and then issue the “science” three months later. If it’s not obvious what’s wrong with that, I’m dumbfounded.

  280. James McKee
    Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

    I’ve just taken a look at the commentary in the HARRY_READ_ME.txt file as represented by this website:

    One thing I wonder about – is it normal for coders to write such a diary accompanying their efforts when troubleshooting code? As a non-programmer I have for years struggled with debugging and the code of various open source pieces of software, I have never come across this sort of discursive narrative. In fact it is very very rare to find any sort of clear instructions from a programmer much less come across one who is at such pains to be so absolutely clear as these comments read.

    How do we know that this particular file is authentic? Could this be a set-up?

    • David
      Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

      I copiously note my code and code changes as well as what problems I was having when I wrote that bit and why this is a fix. Because if you come back to it even weeks or months later, you will have no idea what you were trying to do.

      So, I would say that coming across meticulous programming notes is not indicative of a lack of authenticity. Prehaps it might be the other way round(?), why bother meticulously adding detailed notes to code that you may or may not be familiar with?

      At any rate, there is bound to be a lawsuit over this and it will all come out in the end. Given that many of the people in these emails have retained lawyers already, I would say that at least they think its authentic and many of them have already said so but choose to quibble about context.

    • Marie Elks
      Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 1:40 PM | Permalink

      I am a business systems analyst on a 35+ year old mainframe (Assembler, Cobol, and APS primarily) and I’ve seen programmer comments often, particularly when code flow is not immediately obvious. Old-time programmers use the comments to help future coders easily trace the program flow. During coding, I’ve also seen programmers use comments as post-it notes in the code, particularly problematic code.

      I haven’t yet looked at the read me file, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see comments given the apparent slopiness of the code.

  281. jerryinNY
    Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 12:37 PM | Permalink


    valadj=[0.,0.,0.,0.,0.,-0.1,-0.25,-0.3,0.,-0.1,0.3,0.8,1.2,1.7,2.5,2.6,2.6,2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor

    • jerryinNY
      Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

      This was aparently among the code in the FOIA files. Is this what it appears to be?

  282. Patrick M.
    Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 2:48 PM | Permalink

    Dr. Curry,

    Although I disagree with some of your descriptions of the situation. I applaud your willingness to discuss these things on CA. The fact that you stick around and answer questions has helped repair my view of climate science.

    Hat tip.


  283. patrick healy
    Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 2:53 PM | Permalink

    Interesting Prof Curry, but where have you been these last ten years? Seems you are trying to ‘curry’ favour with the side of reality to save your reputation.
    All this is getting very heavy. Anyone up for a good laugh?
    Over at Gavin Schmidt’s RC blog please read the ending of thread 22 of 23/11/09, quote “….. keep in mind that you are genuinely, without hyperbole, here to save the world – Eli Snyder.” And Gavin printed that.
    Living in Carnoustie i thought our beloved(?) leader Gordon Brown had already ‘saved the world’ – twice.

  284. c1ue
    Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 3:27 PM | Permalink


    Thank you for your feedback. Can you also post what the size of your department is and the overall annual research income?

    In another post I noted that the University of East Anglia, School of Environmental Sciences had a 2007/2008 research income of “nearly 6.8 million pounds”.

    That same report notes 70 members of academic staff and over 100 post doctoral researchers working on external projects.

  285. JMANON
    Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 3:39 PM | Permalink

    I quite agree with the section on transparency.
    I’d go further and suggest that climate data of all sorts needs to be collected, collated, verified and processed by an independent organisation that has no other responsibilities in order to separate the potential for conflicts of interest.
    The ease with which data can be manipulated inappropriately and even raw data lost, whether that has happened or not in this case, is a possibility that cannot be allowed to continue.
    Thus climate scientists at East Abglia or else where would, as a result of research, generate some of the climate data and they would also access data necessary to their research from the archivist organisation.
    There can then be no question of denying others access to that data nor the risk of corruption of the data.
    We have seen the sort of work done by surface and we have now heard of questionable data from both AUtralia and New Zealand. All such data should be routinely processed and verified and the measurement stations audited by the central archive organsiation to ensure that the data they release meets acceptable standards of organisation and integrity.
    I do not think that the University of East ANglia or any similar organisation engaged in climate research 9trather than data gathering) is a suitable organisation to have the responsibility to maintain and interpret the data.

  286. Ted Swart
    Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 9:37 PM | Permalink

    This whole discussion leaves me flabbergasted. Every one talks as if the term”climate science” applies only to those who accept a fairly extreme form of AGW. This is bonkers. The reason why unscientific and indefensible behaviour has surfaced at CRU is precisely because of tribalism — which has no place in proper scientific endeavors. Until such time as AGW skeptics can be and are accepted into a true climate science community we will never get to the bottom of what is really happening with our climate.

  287. Richard L
    Posted Nov 26, 2009 at 11:31 PM | Permalink

    I just noticed the tip jar on your web page and it struck me as odd. To hear your critics tell it, Big Oil is supposed to be slipping you millions under the table to sell your soul and slander the GW Evangelists.

    On the off chance your critics are wrong I think I’ll go slip a Twenty in the tip jar…

    Keep up the struggle

  288. Carl Gullans
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 12:03 AM | Permalink

    Judith, regarding:

    “I find it hard to believe that Phil Jones has anything to hide in this data set. sure a few little glitches may come to light, but if this happens and they git fixed, that would be a good thing.”

    Have you looked (skimming would probably suffice) through the HARRY_READ_ME.txt files? Note what has been fixed (and hence has been in error prior to the last 3-4 years), what harry has been unable to fix, and where harry has made judgements on how bad the data can be before he gives up. There is VERY MUCH to hide in this work, it is absolutely atrocious.

  289. Carl Gullans
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 12:06 AM | Permalink

    I meant to add this link:

  290. Dan
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 12:20 AM | Permalink

    Re the “politically motivated climate disinformation machine that was associated with e.g. ExxonMobil, CEI, Inhofe/Morano etc.”

    Why are these organizations being dragged into the discussion, it is not their data, e-mails or science.

    Because of “tribalism”, I feel that the info derived from HADCRU and all other research facilities in this field needs to be dumped and recreated with the original data and under close scrutiny. There seems to be too much correspondence with other research facilities to believe this problem only exists with HADCRU.

  291. Randy Broskie
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 2:16 AM | Permalink

    So i slogged through a ton of these emails and noticed references to “journals of record” and how they bounce editing ideas for their papers off each other, and what graph data should accompany thier contributions to the aforementioned “journals of record”. There is a huge amount of collaboration among them which is fine if everybody is on the same team, but im wondering if part of the game here is to get in these friendly, sympathetic journals so that they can reference each other and prop up the appearance of peer review. (think ed begley jr, argument from authority meltdown). of course most of this crap is based on ipcc data which is already suspect and they do an awful lot of propping each other up in these email exchanges.

  292. Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 2:38 PM | Permalink

    I did not read all the comments so this has probably been said already.
    The idea to publicize ALL data and methodology is great. But I honestly don’t feel it will have much of an effect on public opinion or discussions. John Doe notices that the weather around his farm was normal to below average for the 2008-2009 year. He isn’t going to go the the public data, which is already available, to see that globally the temperature were near historical records. Pundits from CNN to Fox and back are not going to change their approach to the arguments. They WANT controversy. They GROW from heated debate. The playing field between science and society is NOT a level playing field. Media want to provide equal access to the debate [legitimate or not] NOT to weight the arguments according to the preponderance of evidence. A scientist on CNN will be careful by design. The adjectives and language will be chosen to accurately reflect the status of the evidence. Hosts, deniers, contrarions, lobbyists, assholes are there to provide the emotional and politicized status of the issue. Hence why scientists in media are generally calm, unemotional, specific and accurate. Others are the opposite. The general audience LOVE the others direct, unequivocal, emotional, WRONG approach. The general public are not concerned with accuracy, they are concerned with being made feel comfortable, safe, secure, or vindicated.
    These are the greatest weaknesses of democracies. The majority can control decision making even though they have no idea of the subject matter involved. It is why strong, INTELLIGENT leaders are needed. To make the tough decisions like taxing carbon emissions. To stop oil sand development. To offer publicly funded health care. In spite of public opinion and media bias.
    If anything the email debacle should highlight that climate scientists ARE human and passionate, and emotional and caring. And that BECAUSE they oppose and argue and debate each other, notions of collusion and conspiracies evaporate. The nature of science reproducibility and publicity all but eliminates [meaning greatly reduces] the ability of one group from high-jacking the debate.

    but honestly, who am I? I’m a Joe Shmo. You should not be listening to me!

  293. Chris Harding
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

    While I agree with most of Dr. Curry’s points. I strongly disagree with your claim “tribes….were established in response to the politically motivated climate disinformation machine that was associated with e.g. ExxonMobil, CEI, Inhofe/Morano etc.” This is an insult to everyone’s intelligence. Do you really believe that the public does not understand that these groups are politically (and more importantly profit!) motivated? If anything, these attacks should have been reason to be MORE open not a reason to hide. Clearly the scientists retreating were not comfortable with their findings in the first place.

  294. Robert Ayers
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 5:24 PM | Permalink

    Thank you Dr Curry for your perceptive commentary. I do not claim expertise in climatology, although I have an astronomy degree and thus familiarity with radiative transfer, model atmospheres, and the like. But I have been a software designer for forty-seven years. I know about “models” — the good, the bad, and the ugly. You suggest that CRU etc will regain their reputation when they publish their data-sets and publish their methods so the “science” of the modelling is replicable. I agree. But here is my prediction: CRU, Jones, Mann, et al will do nothing of the sort. Ever.

  295. Robert Hole
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

    This is a link to Lord Monckton’s presenation about the issues you are discussing here.

    Lord Monckton is like a breath of fresh air in a world of constant deceit and exploitation of its people at every level.

    For many years every time Global Warming was talked about with the quallifying statements of ‘could be,would be,should be, might be’ etc my immediate thought was that the Geological Record should be compared with the atmospheric information trapped in the Ice Cores. It would be even more interesting, with the recent call to stop eating meat, to investigate conditions when Dinosours rulled the world. (Joke). This would no doubt not be done by the pro Global Warming fraternity especially if it reveals that Co2 played little part in the development of the Mediaeval warm period which as Lord Monckton demonstrates in his presentation climate-change-presentation/ monckton- they tried erase from the temperature timeline (from 00.32 to 00.32.28 on the video).

    Lord Monckton explains it all extremely well and it has always been my opinion that the ‘climate catastraphe con’ is politically and economically driven. It will be a vehicle for creating wealth for the few. Carbon Trading will be a means of creating riches out of old rope just as the Stock exchange functions as a parasite on comodity producers. Energy suppliers will be able to charge more as we use less.

    Politically the Copenhagen Treaty is reminiscent of the Lisbon Treaty where each Nation is forced to sign and there after is locked in. On an individual level policies will be made and forced upon us because we are the ever present cash cow. For a PDF of the slides used in the presentation.

  296. Phil
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 6:16 PM | Permalink

    Kevin Trenberth: “None of the models used by IPCC are initialized to the observed state and none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed climate. In particular, the state of the oceans, sea ice, and soil moisture has no relationship to the observed state at any recent time in any of the IPCC models.”

    Prof. Chris Folland, Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research “The data doesn’t matter. We’re not basing our recommendations on the data. We’re basing them on the climate models.”

    Pierre Gallois: “If you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes out of it but tomfoolery. But this tomfoolery, having passed through a very expensive machine, is somehow ennobled and no-one dares criticize it.”

    Dr David Frame, climate modeler at Oxford University “The models are convenient fictions that provide something very useful.”

    Timothy Wirth, former one-term Senator and now President of the UN Foundation: “We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.”

    Christine Stewart, former Canadian Minister of the Environment: “No matter if the science of global warming is all phony… climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.”

    The 1974 report of the Club of Rome titled, “Mankind at the Turning Point” says, “It would seem that humans need a common motivation… either a real one or else one invented for the purpose…. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.”

    Dr Robert M. Carter, paleoclimatologist: “There is no modern warming trend, but a cooling trend since 1998 or 2002. As for the late 20th century warming trend, there is no evidence that that was other than a natural occurrence. It was of a rate and magnitude consistent with earlier measured multi-decadal cycles, and its termination around the end of the century was predicted by persons familiar with Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which is now declining.

    Given our knowledge of past climate change, the null hypothesis is that such changes as that of the late 20th century are natural, unless and until evidence accrues otherwise. No such evidence has accrued that I am aware of.

    The onus of proof therefore lies with those who theorize that recent climate change is anthropogenic in nature.”

  297. D. Patterson
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 11:28 PM | Permalink

    2009 November 26 Calvin Ball permalink
    Theoretically, those questions are exactly what the IPCC was chartered to answer. I think all of your questions can be reduced to asking: is the IPCC doing what it was chartered to do, and if not, what went wrong?


    It is a common misconception that the IPCC was supposed to be a scientific organization with the responsibility for determining whether or not AGW exists. In actual fact, the IPCC has never been responsible for determining the existence of AGW. The existence of AGW was predetermined to exist by the COP conferences and WMO meetings going all the way back to about 1974. The IPCC charter only made it responsible for determining the EXTENT of AGW, its impact, and strategies for mitigating and/or stopping it. AGW was PRE-determined to exist by the UN, WMO, COP, and other organizations long before the IPCC was formed and its charter written to address what to do about the AGW.

    In essence, it can be observed the IPCC members had no chartered authority to dispute the pre-determined existence of AGW or threat of AGW, which is why IPCC contributors who attempted to present conflicting science were rebuffed by the IPCC leadership. It also needs to be noted that some of the IPCC leadership subscribes to so-called post-modern science and social construction rather than the classic Enlightenment scientific method of Truth seeking. In other words, the current state of climate science is a battleground between those persons who subscribe to the preeminence of the Enlightenment’s scientific method and those who subscribe to the social construction of so-called post-modern science.

    Tribal conflict is a prominent feature in the post-modern science narrative, so Judith Curry’s observations of tribalism makes a person wonder whether she subscribes to the classical scientific method of the Enlightenment or the post-modern science espoused by Professor Mike Hulme, School of Environmental Sciences, and Director Tyndall Centre University of East Anglia?

  298. Guaman
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 2:22 AM | Permalink

    After five hours of reading I’ve come to the conclusion that global warming is not proven as of this time, a long standing hoax has been perpetrated on the people of the planet via the wrecking crew at CRU and associates (intellectual thugs of the ivory tower), ignorant journalists and self serving politicians. It isn’t over yet and has the potential to get much worse.

    Already the crap about carbon footprint, carbon credits, carbon sequestration, has cost the developed nations tremendously.

    The one good thing of all this is that there is an abundance of bright and principled people out there. Unfortunately few of them are in the field of climate “science,” journalism, or politics.

    Above all, thank you Steve for being the guardian of truth through this. Humanity owes you big.

  299. Garth Wenck
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 3:45 AM | Permalink

    Judy Curry would appear to be seeking absolution for past errors. That’s fine
    , we all make mistakes. She would deserve absolution were she to publish all data , favourable and unfavourable to her scientific papers AND forcefully advocate that all other scientists do likewise. Anything less will be unconvincing.

  300. Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 6:08 AM | Permalink

    I wrote the following letter to Dr. Curry. snip 2009/ 11/ let-co-conspiracy-theorist-climategate.html

  301. Hans von Storch
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    Excellent analysis by Judy Curry.

  302. Greg Richardson
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 12:31 PM | Permalink

    Science has a large black eye not due to fact of Climategate, science has a black eye because science believes that scientists will always act ethically responsible…that is a false belief. This false belief in the “scientific man” is the formation of a pseudo-religion, and this religion is misguided at best.

  303. thefordprefect
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 1:15 PM | Permalink

    Dr. Curry,

    I agree with your comments and especially about public accessibility to data and at least the design for any code and assumptions made.

    However with respect to CRU, how do you handle release of data you do not own. See:

    If they have been told they cannot make public data they have been given what should they do?

    If you look through the emails you will find one where Briffa is told by the author that he has data Briffa wants but he cannot pass on to Briffa. Data unfortunately costs to collect and if to be used in another project probably would not be released until that project is written-up.

    What are your thoughts on getting such valued data released.

  304. Chester Himel
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 1:17 PM | Permalink

    Science is based on the absolute integrity of all published data and methods.
    Research funded by public funds must require full and complete disclosure.
    Publication must allow allow total review by any interested, competent scientist.
    Otherwise it is noting but hearsay in a written form

  305. PeterK
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

    “However with respect to CRU, how do you handle release of data you do not own?”

    The problem lies with the journals, who should decline to publish anything unless the data is first made freely available. (Isn’t that how things used to work?)

  306. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 2:01 PM | Permalink

    thefordprefect PERMALINK

    Dr. Curry,

    I agree with your comments and especially about public accessibility to data and at least the design for any code and assumptions made.

    However with respect to CRU, how do you handle release of data you do not own. See:

    If they have been told they cannot make public data they have been given what should they do?

    If you look through the emails you will find one where Briffa is told by the author that he has data Briffa wants but he cannot pass on to Briffa. Data unfortunately costs to collect and if to be used in another project probably would not be released until that project is written-up.

    What are your thoughts on getting such valued data released.

    thefordprefect, you raise an interesting issue. However, according to the reply to my FOIA request, they said only about 2% of the data held by CRU is under a confidentiality agreement. So I said “OK, fine, give me the other 98% and the names of the stations covered by confidentiality agreements.”

    They refused, without giving a reason. Of course, at that time we didn’t know that both the original data, and the original confidentiality agreements, had been “lost” … or so CRU says. In fact, they were only able to find a single confidentiality agreement in their files.

    So while you have a valid point, it is basically meaningless in this case.



  307. John Kellum
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 2:10 PM | Permalink

    As a biological scientist, who has no experience with climate science, it sounds very stange to hear such terms as “pro-AGW tribes” by someone who claims to use the scientific method. On the other hand, I am quite familiar with the human tendency to start out with a bias, rather than a testable hypothesis, and the pressure to discard incovenient data, as an excludable outlier, which does not fit that bias. I would agree with Professor Curry that the appearance of preexisting bias and exposure of a politicized process by proponents of manmade global warming does incalculable harm to existing climate science. In my opinon, a politicized IPCC is no better than faux- science arguments by an oil company.

  308. Ben Ainsworth
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

    Anyone who thinks that the hackers committed a crime is forgetting that this data that was used in the Great Green Fraud was paid for by the tax payers already and should have been transparent and available. One of the first signs of the fraud was the obfuscation used to stop Steve McIntyre and other brave people from getting the data. The very fact that the hockey stick curve starts just after the warming period that allowed the Vikings to call Greenland by that name and make it their home was the first clue that I had that there was something suspicious. Malaria in Shakespierre’s time and grapes growing in England in sufficient abundance to have a modest wine production all suggest earlier warm spells that are not reflected in the data abused by Michael Mann and Gore the Hypocrite.

    Now if we can stop the politicians using the Fraud to empty our bank accounts and use that money for “social readjustments” that are not voted on we will have started something better. Those funds can be used to re-build and newly build infrastructure, clean water, education and health without giving the money to corrupt Third World or First World leaders.

  309. thefordprefect
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 6:11 PM | Permalink

    Willis Eschenbach 2009 November 28

    “So I said “OK, fine, give me the other 98% and the names of the stations covered by confidentiality agreements.””

    The full station list was given (thus enabling the FOI campaign organised byMcIntyre of over 100 followers requesting foi on the “free data status” of 10 or so stations each)

    CRU have said GISS is the same as CRU apart from the restricted access stations

    It does not take much to work out whic are restricted!

    Steve: There was no campaign, organized or otherwise, requesting data for 10 or so stations each. People asked for confidentiality agreements – which CRU failed to produce claiming that they were lost, though perhaps they never existed.

  310. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 6:59 PM | Permalink

    2009 November 28 thefordprefect

    Australia does not seem to be inhibited by agreements on the basis on the following correspondence, which a prudent reader might now be aware might have disingenuous elements.

    9th Sept 2009. From the BOM Australia (condensed here).

    The Australia BOM supplies data to the CRU, UEA. There is no standing agreement that allows for the secondary distribution of these data by the University.

    23rd September 2009. From David Palmer, FOI, Uni East Anglia.
    Response to Freedom of Information request (FOI_09-137)
    I have two questions which relate to copyright in particular and the sharing of information in general.
    Does the University of East Anglia, or any of its employees, or Parties sensibly related to the University, have a primary agreement to share data with the BOM?
    No, we do not have any such agreements with the Bureau of Meteorology
    Does the University of East Anglia, or any of its employees, or Parties sensibly related to the University, have a secondary agreement to share data from the BOM with third parties, beyond fair use provisions?
    No, we do not have any such agreements with the Bureau of Meteorology.

    So, which countries do have restrictive agreements? Did anyone elase ask re his/her own country?

    IMPORTANT: The BOM copyright is quite restrictive – see

  311. Dr StGeorge
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 10:06 PM | Permalink

    This whole fiasco just goes to show scientists even engage in power plays and politics. My biggest concerns in this whole mess has been the lack of sharing data, the willingness to demonize anyone who dares question the alarmists, and the whole political agenda that climate science wreaks from. What has been happening is a pitiful excuse for science. Should the potential for warming be researched? Sure it should. Any number of things should be researched. The thing is what we are seeing is an agenda driven attempt to control information and to create disinformation. These scientists should be fired from their lofty positions and drummed out in disgrace.

  312. thefordprefect
    Posted Nov 29, 2009 at 9:33 AM | Permalink

    reply to 2009 November 28 thefordprefect permalink
    “Steve: There was no campaign, organized or otherwise, requesting data for 10 or so stations each. People asked for confidentiality agreements – which CRU failed to produce claiming that they were lost, though perhaps they never existed.”

    Did you modify this comment? I spent a long time looking up the campaign only to find you now admit it! (my comment about “free data status” was not about the data but about which data was not covered by the conf agreements i.e. free)

    There are approx 220 countries in the list provided by cru

    So you did organise over 40 FOI requests as evidenced here (add www. to )

    Steve McIntyre:
    July 24th, 2009 at 10:59 am
    I suggest that interested readers can participate by choosing 5 countries and sending the following FOI request to david.palmer at [text of suggested email follows]

    Steve: You asked about station data.; the requests were for confidentiality agreements. C’mon, Mike – read more carefully.

  313. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Nov 29, 2009 at 11:29 AM | Permalink

    The question sometimes arises as what is worse: an offending act or those who would defend (and minimize) it. I will not judge, but I think the latter come off the more pathetic. Why do we waste time answering, and repetitiously, those who will never hear at the expense of those who are here to learn?

  314. JamesinCanada
    Posted Nov 29, 2009 at 2:47 PM | Permalink

    snip – some prohibited language

  315. Posted Nov 29, 2009 at 3:07 PM | Permalink

    Please see a deconstruction of the “bad-scientist” theory before it becomes officialdom’s eventual response – in order to preempt another asinine “lone-gunman” theory, here:

    snip – prohibited language

  316. Peter
    Posted Nov 29, 2009 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

    I stumbled across this site following a lead from the BBC site – I have spent most of my day reading the exchanges.

    the f-word is strictly forbidden here.

  317. Peter
    Posted Nov 29, 2009 at 7:05 PM | Permalink

    I posted the following: “I stumbled across this site following a lead from the BBC site – I have spent most of my day reading the exchanges.

    The note “Steve: the f-word is strictly forbidden here” leaves me a little bewildered – I do not have a copy of my posting and am uncertain what word took offence.

    Anyway, I will not try to re-draft my submission, but will once again acknowledge how much I have learnt – thanks to all participants (including Dr Curry).

  318. Melinda
    Posted Nov 29, 2009 at 8:18 PM | Permalink

    I guess I don’t necessarily disagree because I’m sure to some extent these scientists are feeling attacked and are feeling a need to defend their positions, but truthfully, I think it goes much deeper than that. These handful of men have tried to redefine science and the entire scientific process. They have downright manipulated data to get a desired end result and I’m sorry, I just cannot give them the benefit of the doubt by saying, oh, they’re just trying to defend their work. I feel such a statement is very disingenuous.

  319. thefordprefect
    Posted Nov 29, 2009 at 9:18 PM | Permalink

    Reply to:
    thefordprefect Steve: You asked about station data.; the requests were for confidentiality agreements. C’mon, Mike – read more carefully.

    My point was that you organised an attack of FOIs numbering over 40. Whether they were for restaurante bills or temperature data is immaterial. The still cost money to service and prevent any work being done

  320. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Nov 29, 2009 at 10:46 PM | Permalink

    2009 November 29 thefordprefect

    Do you think it is lawful, correct and ethical for a body like CRU to take data freely from authorities in other countries, to modify it, to pass it on to other users, to make forecasts from it and sometimes to use it for income?

    Do you think that tis was unknown before email 1237496573.txt?

    “Another issue that should be considered as well is this.
    With many papers, we’re using Met Office observations. We’ve abstracted these
    from BADC to use them in the papers. We’re not allowed to make these available
    to others. We’d need to get the Met Office’s permission in all cases.”

    In a similar sense, the Australian BOM copyright statement includes these words:

    “Apart from any fair dealing for purposes of study, research, criticism and review, as permitted under copyright legislation, no part of these services may be reproduced, re-used or redistributed for any commercial purpose or distributed to a third party for such purpose without the Commonwealth of Australia’s permission other use of the material on this site may only be used in the following ways: “(etc).

    Do you have a problem with me as a citizen writing to CRU/UEA/Hadley to determine if there is a prima facie breach of copyright? Or is the better choice, as you imply, to disregard International Law and let the guys get on with their work without wasting money and time by answering?

  321. thefordprefect
    Posted Nov 30, 2009 at 12:14 AM | Permalink

    2009 November 29 Geoff Sherrington

    So now you want CRU to not release the Data? You cannot have it both ways.

    Perhaps they have breached Aus copyright, or perhaps they have a verbal agreement that its use is ok. But for months “you” have been crying foul of CRU for claiming that they cannot release others data. Now you say they should not have USED Aus data?!!?

  322. Gerald Browning
    Posted Nov 30, 2009 at 1:10 AM | Permalink

    Bender (#103) on CA,

    Your comment is well stated. I specifically asked Judith Curry to address the
    mathematically rigorous problems that have been shown for both forecast and climate models (ill posedness of primitive equations, inaccuracy of parameterizations, incorrect cascade of enstrophy, etc.) and she clearly did not even read the corresponding articles.
    And her research using limited hurricane data is just as bad as the use of limited temperature data or questionable proxies. I find her comments full of soothing words, but why didn’t she openly address these issues before the e-mails came out?


  323. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Nov 30, 2009 at 2:08 AM | Permalink

    2009 November 30 thefordprefect perm

    I don’t go for spin. I have seen a huge resistance to the release of raw data, with a possibility that those asked to release the data knew they might incriminate themselves by release.

    BTW, we can no longer use the concept of “the data”. There are now so many versions that a researcher wishing to correlate other properties with temperature would have little idea if he/she was using set A, set B, …. set Z. It is clearly evident that virtually all papers that relied on past surface temperature data will have to be revisited, altered, re-written or withdrawn. It is not extremist to suggest that (a) we do not know if the present decade is warm because (b) we cannot use the myriad conflicting data to calibrate proxies, so (c) nearly all proxies are suspect so (d) we do not know how warm it was at times like the MWP.

    We do not even know which data set is the closest approach to actuality.

    Now, are you now convinced that “global warming” was a misnomer?

    Steve: you’re going a bridge too far on the temperature data.

  324. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Nov 30, 2009 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

    When FordP says:

    “My point was that you organised an attack of FOIs numbering over 40. Whether they were for restaurante bills or temperature data is immaterial. The still cost money to service and prevent any work being done”

    it reminded me of a Parent and Teachers meeting I attended many years ago where the subject of a school bond issue was being debated. Finally a young lady arose from her seat and proclaimed we must pass this bond issue immediately because if we do not the bond issue will only come up again for referendum and we could not afford the expense of putting forth these referendums. The head school administrator arose immediately and said that he was for passing the referendum also, but that he was not endorsing this young lady’s argument by any means and went on to tell the young lady in very polite terms not to be so stupid and that with friends like her he did not need enemies.

    Good advice FordP.

  325. David Holland
    Posted Nov 30, 2009 at 4:48 PM | Permalink


    Freedom of Information cost money, so does Health and Safety, bank supervision and all other regulatory regimes. They almost invariably cost you more if try to avoid complying. But if enough don’t like them we can always vote for someone that will get it rid of them, though .

    For those that have not figured it out, so far as climate change is concerned, the Aarhus Convention is draconian. From it descends a European Directive and the British Environmental Information Regulations 2004. (EIR) If the information is to do with “emissions” all the best exceptions to disclosure are unavailable to European public authorities. Even actionable confidentiality agreements can not prevent disclosure.

    Emissions is what the dictionary says, so for instance cellular phone systems are included. Carbon dioxide emissions are obviously subject to the Regulations as they are, or at least determine a state of one of the elements of the environment. But the Regulations go much further to include measures including administrative measures likely to affect the elements and cost benefit and other analyses and assumptions. The whole point of the IPCC assessment process is to quantify the emission reductions needed to save catastrophic climate change and is therefore totally subject the Regulations.

    The problem for any British public authority is that the convention makes “any information on” the foregoing matters subject to disclosure. The last Information Commissioner ruled in a Decision Notice that “any information… on…”should be interpreted widely and that this is in line with the purpose expressed in the first recital of the Council Directive 2003/4/EC.

    Therefore “any information on” will usually include information concerning, about or relating to a particular measure, activity, or factor in question. In other words information that would inform the public about the matter under consideration and would therefore facilitate effective participation by the public in environmental decision making is likely to be environmental information. This approach was informed by the Information Tribunal case Ofcom v Information Commissioner and T-Mobile UK Limited (EA/2006/0078).”

    So for the Climatic Research Unit the Met Office and anyone else participating in AR5 they have a choice, progressively publish everything as they go along, which is what the Convention requires, or face the certainty of a constant barrage of requests that will cost them a fortune. It is their choice.

    So far there is not much case law on the Regulations because it takes years to go through the process. However within a year there will be and if the Regulations mean what I think they do, the game will be up for the IPCC and its slippery folk.

  326. Posted Nov 30, 2009 at 10:51 PM | Permalink

    Dr. Curry, I noticed early on in this email thread that you would look at some of Lindzen’s work on the negative feedback of water vapor. It was in response to a Bender comment. I don’t know if you have examined Lindzen’s latest work published in the GRL in August of this year “On the determination of climate feedbacks from ERBE data.” It is on the internet. It basically says the models are wrong and have the feedback process backwards. And this is not a lone paper as Dr. Roy Spencer has also published at least two papers on the subject, one of them analyzing intraseasonal tropical rainfall(GRL) wherein Spencer specifically states it serves as backing up the Lindzen paper “Does the Earth have an adaptive iris” publishes in BAMS in March 2001.

    snip – piling on

    Since you are going to do some research over Xmas with respect to Lindzen, I thought to make it complete, reading the BAMS paper first and then going to the ERBE analysis would be a good way to proceed. And perhaps reading the two Spencer papers would be good as well.


    Larry Weitzman

  327. Ryder
    Posted Nov 30, 2009 at 11:17 PM | Permalink

    Judy, thanks for the post, but I think you perform one distinct disservice to humanity… you repeatedly charactorize those that are critical of AGW work as being politically motivated.

    snip – policy

  328. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Dec 1, 2009 at 12:08 AM | Permalink

    Further from Geoff Sherrington permalink 2009 November 30

    “Steve: you’re going a bridge too far on the temperature data.”

    Yep, I can agree with that for some applications. For critical applications, like the calibration of some proxies in remote places, I think the temp data fail to be inside reasonable probablity.

    I’ve been digging into temperature “adjustment” for quite a while now and the closer I get to original data the more I see cause for concern. If I was starting on a new research project, I could easily choose an inappropriate temp set without knowing it had problems. I’m genuine in saying that I do not know which set is the closest approach to actual – I’m not trying to score political points.

  329. Posted Dec 1, 2009 at 1:44 AM | Permalink

    snip – piliing on

  330. Darryl
    Posted Dec 1, 2009 at 8:52 AM | Permalink

    I am deeply saddened at the goings on at CRU. I am an Australian and a lawyer. At the proverbial 5 minutes to midnight it appears that we Australians have been spared, at least temporarily, an emissions trading scheme which I believe had the potential to do substantial damage to our economy for no effect whatsoever. It is with a sense of disbelief that I read this and related threads tonight. Disbelief and anger and amazement that something so potentially devastating can be based on such flawed science. And sadness for what has become of hopefully only this particular small branch of science. The scientific method, like the rule of law, is one of the foundations of our modern society, at least in the western world. I find it incredible that persons calling themselves Scientists, particularly in a field of such current influence, can apparently forget something so basic. To have so much faith in a hypothesis as to dismiss non-conforming data or falsify it to conform in the total confidence that such data must be erroneous smacks of religion, not science.

    Although sceptical, my initial and relatively recent interest in AGW did reveal a general scientific consensus, albeit not totally without dissent. Now the reason for this perceived consensus is sadly apparent. AGW may be a fact, and it may require action. Quite simply, I do not know, and am not convinced. What is plainly required is proper research by reputable scientists based on raw data and methodologies fully and publicly disclosed, peer reviewed and with verifiable results. To the extent that models are used, it would be nice to have them be able to project with some degree of accuracy the temperatures for at least, say, the next 10 years and preferably longer.

    I am not a scientist let alone a climate scientist, and must therefore rely to some extent on others for the facts which I rely on in forming my opinion. In my mind the CRU is now thoroughly discredited. As the IPCC conclusions are apparently largely based on the work of the CRU, these conclusions are also in my view unreliable, as are the conclusions of the many other bodies which seem to have relied to any real extent on either CRU or IPCC. If AGW is real, then CRU has done a real disservice to all of us. snip

    Important lines of argument are unrelated to CRU.

    Posted Dec 1, 2009 at 5:08 PM | Permalink

    I graduated Ga Tech 1960 and all professors then had worms. I think Prof Curry carries on the tradition.

  332. claybarham
    Posted Dec 1, 2009 at 5:46 PM | Permalink

    When you see “smoke stacks” on Television to boost the argument of man-made climate change, you have to be a dummy not to see that most all the “stacks” spewing out white stuff, are actually spewing out steam, which, for those who quit thinking, is moisture. Now, moisture in the atmosphere is, by far, a bigger heat-sealing blanket than heavier-than-air plant food (carbon dioxide), but it is a useful ingredient just like plant food. It would appear, the promoters of man-made climate change are simply trying to fool the many so they can walk off with the control they seek, and the money.

  333. JamesinCanada
    Posted Dec 1, 2009 at 8:45 PM | Permalink

    Goodbye Steve. In that I didn’t swear, or attack Dr. Curry I find it interesting that my whole post was completely censored. Keep searching for the truth then, where you see it. Cheers, and good work so far, James

  334. robert haley
    Posted Dec 1, 2009 at 9:06 PM | Permalink

    The idea that Gavin Schmidt is going to ‘explain’ these e-mails to a dim-witted public too stupid to understand the insider language puts Judith Curry in the same category as the e-mail authors themselves.

    These e-mails themselves reference the ability and willingness, indeed eagerness, of Schmidt to put out the party line on any issues they feel needs addressed. What we need is an apology, not an apologetic.

  335. Darryl
    Posted Dec 1, 2009 at 9:10 PM | Permalink

    Dear Steve. snip – policy

    On a more specific note, I note the CRU reference to independent data sets which have produced comparable results to those of CRU. I would appreciate your comments on this.

  336. Sir Gareth
    Posted Dec 2, 2009 at 4:05 PM | Permalink

    As an outsider, I would not characterize the disputes I have witnessed as science tribalism as much as I would science cultism. All humans are members of one tribe or another but most of us reject cultism.

    Why is climate science so prone to cultism? I would say it is because none of this science is grounded and in this respect is similar to religion in that it implies bahavior based future outcomes but cannot demonstrate the efficacy of its art by faithfully predicting outcomes; a necessary ingredient of any real science.

    I do not consider the descriptive sciences as real science since they lack the essential component of predictability. Descriptive sciences are more correctly termed ‘natural history’ which is prone to a completely different set of errors than the real sciences are.

    Let us examine the state of the science of climatology in this respect: For all the untold billions spent ‘studying’ climate, we have absolutely no method of predicting future climates that go much further than observing the far ranging effects of el nino type events. Of course this has been done for at least 400 years with no Phds or supercomputers.

    Further, there is absolutely no provable science that can quantify the effect that man made alterations to the natural environment have or will have upon the abstraction called ‘global temperature’.

    Neither is there any provable science that offers any hope of remediating weather to produce another abstraction that might be termed ‘ideal world climate.’ Of course no one in the climate cult wishes to address the concept of ‘ideal world climate’ since they would, so unfortunately for their cause, have to conclude that warmer climates are generally better for people.

  337. Henry Buttal
    Posted Dec 3, 2009 at 12:16 AM | Permalink

    Thanks again to Steve and Dr. Curry for keeping the dialogue going. Having looked at CRU some CRU code, inline comments, and the “Harry” text file, I tend to agree with people like Calvin Ball who point to a major QC problem. I have run into a similar problem with work I have done in the past. A few missing comments or files, and you can’t recreate the identical process of code and data reforming. Throw in the lost origin data, and you can’t comply with validation requests even if you really wanted to!

    Having lurked over at RC on and off for a number of years, I noticed Gavin is now **advertising** that he and NASA have always been friendly and open. I hope that trend, and the Mann PSU review, will ultimately result in a complete, ground up recreation of source data, adjusted data, and code, with an appropriate provenance this time. It would clear up a massive amount of uncertainty. But I’m and optimist.

  338. grossman
    Posted Dec 3, 2009 at 7:09 PM | Permalink

    I’m not a climate science ‘insider’. In fact, as my colleagues can attest, I almost try to be an outsider.

    I read Judy Curry’s comments and, if true, one aspect is, to me, astounding, stunning: the fact that these data sets are not publicly available!

    I’m retired now but spent over 30 years in the atmospheric sciences as a field research scientist. I actually planned or helped plan experiments, gather together the instrumentation, go to the field (Africa, India, West Indies, Kansas[ 🙂 ], Equatorial Pacific) and take data, come home, analyze it, write a paper or two (hoping I got the cream), if I had time and other grant to keep going.

    Every one of the 20+ field experiments I was associated (I managed a large international one in the GARP/FGGE years) with had what was known as a Data Management Plan. Lengths varied from a few paragraphs to 10’s of pages. In some cases the Plan demanded entire groups of scientists and technicians work over the raw data to clean them up for analysis. This usually meant detecting outliers (despiking), ‘flagging’ suspicious data points (including the outliers!), and supplying the metadata (what, where, how, density, and formats). Importantly, FUNDING AGENCIES, EITHER SINGLY OR AS A GROUP, REQUIRED THE PUBLICATION OF DATA OBTAINED WITHIN TWO YEARS OF THE END OF FIELD OPERATIONS!!!

    So what is the deal with this so-called climate data set that produced the global temperature time series? Is that raw and ‘managed’ data not available? If so, why not? If so, why haven’t the data producer’s funding progam managers insisted on it before supplying any further grant money (as would sometimes happen in the expts I had been associated with to spur us on)?

    And, if my science was challenged, I would definitely INVITE my “questioner” to take the same data and show the world where I went wrong. Everyone profits from that kind of stuff. It is called the scientific process.

    I am one scientist who is proud of the data sets I helped produce and happy to see that some of them, twenty plus years old, are still being mined.

  339. honestann
    Posted Dec 4, 2009 at 3:42 AM | Permalink

    I am totally unsurprised by climategate.

    I’ve been a scientist my entire life. Looking back, I realize I became a scientist at age 4, when I realized I was getting totally contradictory answers to my questions from various adults. When I started learning (around the same time) that people in different parts of the world believe fantastically different notions of reality, I instantly understood (as everyone should, I believe) that obviously most people hold their beliefs because of what they are told or taught or pressured into advocating. At age 4, I decided my only recourse, if I wanted understand reality, I would have to observe reality myself, and draw my own inferences. To say this another way, a person who only cares to “understand”, honesty with self is natural and a self-evident necessity.

    During my decades of exploring reality, and considering the nature of reality, I have not paid much attention to what are supposedly the “official” or “consensus” opinions. Who cares? Not me, for I only care to understand, not become popular, famous, prestigious; or an administrator.

    Nonetheless, I have been sufficiently aware of the changes in personal, public and scientific environment around me to notice the degree of respect for honesty has fallen drastically and continually the past four decades at least – and I mean personal/private, public and scientific. Sadly, my experience is, scientists are no less likely to be corrupt than others. This hurts, but I refuse to apologize for anyone who doesn’t deserve it.

    I can’t remember when I first started warning against the massive growth of government funded science, but it must have been in the 1960s sometime – even though I was simultaneously thrilled to see humans travel to and explore the moon. As time passed, the disastrous degradation in science due to government funded science became more and more obvious to me – yet I heard almost nobody else worry about this tendency.

    If anyone believes “climategate” is the first evidence that “government funded science” programs select scientist for their predisposition to the results desired by the politicians who fund them, then they have not been very alert. After a couple generations the percentage of “science” performed with government funds has skyrocketed… and so has the corruption of science.

    To me, the fundamental and necessary elements of “science” are honesty, curiosity, first-hand observation (including experimentation when possible), careful and diligent thought (with ones own mind), and total disregard of the content of books, journals and other presentations. To clarify what I mean by that last phrase, I mean we can read the ideas, opinions and conclusions of others, but we must always consider them to be mere claims – not understanding, and not knowledge. Yes, we absolutely can read ideas and claims that strike us as interesting and worthwhile to explore and consider first-hand, and that can be very helpful on occasion. But the only time I have ever “learned” anything by reading is when I saw an idea expressed that I realized I had already observed the evidence for myself. And in that case, I already “had” the knowledge, but had somehow not yet made the appropriate connections.

    The point I wish to make is, only a person who is totally or overwhelmingly driven by curiosity and honesty can perform science; or at least what I consider science. I know very few people who fall into that category today, though I know very many people paid to be a “scientist”. I do not say this to “slander science or scientists”, as a few scientists have claimed. I note they do not discuss my evidence, they only spew “slander” (character-assassination) and consider the issue resolved.

    Sadly, I do not see a practical way out. Sure, I see impractical, idealistic ways out, which I could state as soundbites:

    We need 100% separation of science and state.
    Government funded science == propaganda.

    … and so forth.

    But of course, not 100% of government funded scientists create propaganda, or try to create propaganda. Indeed, my exposure to government-funded “science” leads me to believe many newcomers to their positions at first resist the political pressures applied to rationalize politically desired solutions. But I see clearly what happens. Those who care most about their paychecks become “captured” within 6 to 12 months (typically), and those who care most about honesty and discovery become “edged-out” within 6 to 24 months.

    Anyone who doubts that the UN is a global government oriented institution has fixed opaque lenses over his consciousness. Anyone who believes the desires of globalist agenda makers have no effect on the individuals who are recruited and survive in their subcontractors is equally blind to the operation of the modern world.

    To any honest human, much less scientist, the emails and code (examine the code, folks) are quite easy to interpret. Nobody seems to notice (or state) that the EXACT set of claims put forth by the “skeptics” AKA “global-warming holocaust deniers” are essentially exactly equal to the actions we find described in the CRU emails and code. Gee, what an amazing co-incidence, huh?

    Sadly, as an honest long-time scientist, I must report that the behavior we see implied by these emails and code is rather typical of *government funded science*. Not science per-se, of course, since to me, this “government funded science” is not science at all, but politics and self-serving opportunism wrapped in the prestige of science.

    If honest scientists do not find ways to perform science outside the universe of government (or corporate) funding, the entire existence of science will be exterminated… except for rare cases of dedicated minds who work some job to earn income, then perform science privately on the side (or find some individual sponsor). That’s where most great science came from in the first place, and sadly it appears that’s where most great science will always come from.

    Posted Dec 4, 2009 at 8:43 AM | Permalink

    I have not studied climate “science”. I do not need to to understand that it is impossible to measure “the” temperature of the earth. One look at the isotherms shown on weather maps reveals that many temperatures can be calculated for a particular spot on the earths surface or for a broad area. My experience measuring the temperature of steel being heat treated in a furnace by using an optical pyrometer indicated a broad range of temperatures clustered about the temperature indicated by the thermocouple located inside the furnace. Yet climate “scientists” use spot temperature measurements reported by weather stations at a specific time. They claim to be able to calculate the earths temperature to a hundredth of a degree.

    Climate “scientists” talk about the lack of correlation of some present day measurements of temperature based on thermometer measurements and tree ring data. How do they correlate termperature measurements of the earth hundreds or thousands of years ago based on comparison of tree ring data then and thermomemeter measurements then.

    As a tree farmer I see with my own eyes that tree ring date is influenced by more than a simple minded look at only temperature. Rainfall also influences tree ring width. Tree ring width will be different in the same species for the same year in trees located 50 miles away from each other.
    There have been studies to show tree ring width varies in different species located in the same place for a given time span.

    I dropped the one course in statistics I signed up for. Two reasons. I was most uneasy with calculating results based on few data points. I was lazy – we had to use rotary calculators to manipulate numbers. The university only had one computer, we had to program it in machine language, and it was not available for use by statistics students.

    I do not believe statistical results obtained by climate “scientists” when they have revealed themselves to be intolerant, and fanatically politically motivated. I do not believe results obtained using highly imaginative mathematics with names like “hockey stick”. Mathematics is an invention of the mind of man and not a set of laws of nature. I have not examined the premises of the mathematics for “hockey stick” calculations, but I am certain they can easily be shown to be laughable. Mathematics is true insofar as it relates to mathematics but not as it relates to nature.

    I like the comment by whoever said something to the effect that the revelation by hacked emails that climate science is fake is like being informed that professionalwrestling is fake.

  341. bender
    Posted Dec 4, 2009 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

    honestann berates “government-funded science” as “propaganda”. However Mann and Jones were at the Universities of Virginia and East Anglia. The distinction to make is not who governs or funds the research, but how openly it is disclosed. [And by “disclosure” we mean not just legal compliance, but whether there is a culture of transparency and accessibility. It was not to McIntyre or Essenbach that Mann and Jones were obliged to disclose their methods. Rather, it was to us, through IPCC, who de facto claim to represent the people of the world.]

  342. PeterK
    Posted Dec 4, 2009 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

    Bender: …Mann and Jones were at …Universities…. The distinction to make is not who governs or funds the research, but how openly it is disclosed. [And by “disclosure” we mean not just legal compliance, but whether there is a culture of .

    The point is that political funding brings political control, so institutions like universities inherently eschew disclosure, transparency and accessibility whenever it might compromise their political purpose. The only difference with the UEA is that they got found out.

    Bender: It was not to McIntyre or Essenbach that Mann and Jones were obliged to disclose their methods. Rather, it was to us, through IPCC, who de facto claim to represent the people of the world.

    To us – their funders – yes – not the IPCC, that is just another politically funded body with political motives clouding its science. And “us” includes the likes of McIntyre.

  343. Brian Kinsella
    Posted Dec 4, 2009 at 11:55 AM | Permalink

    I have no scientific credentials (except high school chemistry and physics), my degree is in law. But over the past two weeks I have followed closely this whole debate on many sites. I’ve read the UEA emails and followed the analysis of the other documents and computer programs leaked from the UEA CRU. I’ve just read all the posts on this site commenting on Dr Curry. As a reasonably educated and inquiring non-scientific layman, Iid like to offer this simple comment. We are being inundated by statements from politicians around the world that the AGW debate is over – that the scientific debate is over and settled. The only thing that I can conclude that this contention is an absolute lie, yet politicians the world over are prepared to spend literally trillions of dollars on the basis of this lie. If this happens, many so-called scientists, and a major area of science, will end up being discredited forever. I hope some of you will reflect on that.

  344. bender
    Posted Dec 4, 2009 at 12:04 PM | Permalink

    No, the point is that disclosure cures ALL ills.

  345. PeterK
    Posted Dec 4, 2009 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

    Yes, but you simply will not get proper disclosure from politically funded institutions when it impinges on their political purpose.

  346. Leo
    Posted Dec 4, 2009 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

    The essence of climategate is organisations playing politics and drama rather than science. East Anglia are not the only ones implicated, they’re merely the first to be caught. I fear many institutions are hurriedly running their shredder programs and hitting their delete keys right now.
    Here’s a claim against Australia’s CSIRO of politically motivated censorship. The paper is said to argue that Cap and Trade is unworkable, and a tax on carbon is a better approach.
    This sounds like economics and politics to me, rather than science, but it is still an indicator that Climate Research organisations have broadly developed a culture inimical to Science.

  347. PeterK
    Posted Dec 4, 2009 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

    Yes, Bender, but the problem is that you are never going to _get_ proper disclosure from politically funded organisations (like universities) when it conflicts with their overriding political purpose.

  348. John mathon
    Posted Dec 6, 2009 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

    snip – one of the editorial policies of the blog is that one paragraph arguments of everything to do with global warming don’t add much editorially and quickly result in every thread being identical. Thus the snip.

  349. Posted Dec 6, 2009 at 9:30 PM | Permalink

    Dear Dr. Curry:

    Since we have a mutual friend who respects you, I thought I’d address your dismissal of our work on global warming policy. You noted:

    “As a result of the politicization of climate science, climate tribes (consisting of a small number of climate researchers) were established in response to the politically motivated climate disinformation machine that was associated with e.g. ExxonMobil, CEI, Inhofe/Morano etc. The reaction of the climate tribes to the political assault has been to circle the wagons and point the guns outward in an attempt to discredit misinformation from politicized advocacy groups.”

    Inhofe, Morano, and ExxonMobil can defend themselves but this willingness to accept as well-meaning the advocacy work of the alarmist community while dismissing as “misinformation” CEI’s work does offend. I’ve never met you so I have no idea whether you’re aware of our work. But, since you are viewed by someone I respect as honest, I’ll assume that your understanding of CEI’s motivations and goals comes from the writings of the alarmists.

    CEI has been involved in the global warming field since the 1980s. Our first conference was held in 1995 and resulted in the publication, The Costs of Kyoto. That publication sought to address the science, the impact, the politics and (from that perspective) the comparative costs and benefits of resiliency vs. energy rationing. My own contribution to that volume presented a decision tree analysis of the topic: What does science suggest about global warming? (I thought at that time, that the Scottish legal judgment of “not proven” was appropriate.), What can we say about the impact on mankind of likely global warming? (I thought the data in this area rather weak but thought that there were both potential costs and benefits of CO2 enrichment.), What was the political likelihood of any meaningfully effective carbon fuel suppression policy? (I thought then – and think much more today – highly unlikely.) I then suggested that, depending upon the answers to these earlier questions, one might find (and I did argue for) resiliency over carbon fuel suppression. Global warming policy is only partially about science – yet, the alarmists have argued with little knowledge of economics or politics – that we should simply “trust them.”

    Do you think that support by business (ExxonMobil did for a number of years provide support but hasn’t for the last five or so years) allow one to dismiss serious consideration of the materials we’ve presented? Since the 90s, we’ve hosted numerous briefings on the Hill (open to everyone), written numerous papers and op eds, and testified before Congress (no great fun there). Moreover, CEI has a budget (at $5 million per year – and we work on many regulatory issues besides global warming) that is tiny in comparison with the environmental champions of global warming (NRDC or EDF or WWF or FOE or ….) much less the government agencies pushing this agenda. That we should do more to clarify and evaluate is clear and it is certainly legitimate to disagree or criticize our work but, again, the charge of “misinformation” should be substantiated.

    Do you believe that ad hominem attacks are the way to advance a serious debate on the wisdom of global energy suppression policies? As a scientist, do you feel competent to discuss the likely outcome of granting governments the power to micro-regulate the use of energy around the world? Do you believe that the alarmist scenarios (based not only on acceptance of the IPCC global warming analysis but also on the ability to regionalize these results in the face of human resiliency efforts) are accurate? Do you believe that government and foundation funding is “more objective” than corporate and individual funding? When you disagree with another group, do you normally call and express your reservations or do you simply denounce?

    The corruption of academia is much deeper than you seem to understand. And this was understood and predicted long ago by President Eisenhower in his 1961 Farewell Address. All recall his concern over the military-industrial complex but few know that he then went on to note the risk that would arise as government funding of science became ever more dominant. That section of his speech dealt with the technological revolution and the risks resulting from the federal role:

    “In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

    Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

    The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

    Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

    And, in the environmental policy field, it has. Climate Gate may be a signal event allowing us to re-evaluate the attempt to destroy science in order to save our planet. Let us hope so – CEI is doing all in its power (and resources) to achieve that aim. I’m proud of the efforts of the CEI global warming staff. We’ve done much to force this issue to be seriously debated. Shouldn’t it be? Yes, we’re skeptics and policy advocates – but that does not justify your careless use of the “misinformation” label.


    Fred Smith
    President, CEI

  350. Richard
    Posted Dec 6, 2009 at 11:09 PM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre:
    November 22nd, 2009 at 5:21 pm
    .. As I’ve observed on many occasions, journal peer review is not due diligence as understood in other walks of life. Yes, science is “self-correcting” in the long run, but so are markets. The purpose of regulations requiring full true and plain disclosur for offerings of securities is to protect investors and to make markets work more effectively. If climate scientists want to fast track from articles in journals to policy with substantive implications, then they should expect and welcome due diligence wherever it arises.

    Indeed and markets are full of scandals, why should climate science, so bloated with money and political power be any different?

    I do not share Dr Curry’s confidence that everyone in the “team” will eventually turn out to be as pure as driven snow.

    Money, power, concealment and cover-up and you have the ingredients of a scandal.

  351. Richard
    Posted Dec 6, 2009 at 11:24 PM | Permalink

    Fred Smith, President, CEI 2009 December 6

    I thoroughly commend your post. And I deplore Dr Curry’s attack on you as “.. climate tribes (consisting of a small number of climate researchers)”..”.. established in response to the politically motivated climate disinformation machine ..associated with e.g. ExxonMobil, CEI, Inhofe/Morano etc…”

    I am amazed that she could use such ad hominems and defamatory language. Certainly no credit to her.

  352. cmacrider
    Posted Dec 6, 2009 at 11:24 PM | Permalink

    Curry: Since you had nothing to say about the “tribalism” and the need for “transparency” until after the Hadley CRU disclosures, I must confess your credibility is a bit strained. More importantly, the timidity of your commentary causes one to conclude that you are lost in the mist of academia. It is obvious from both the emails and the computer code which has been released that this is not simply a matter of tribalism.
    It is said that people are either Platonists or Aristotelians. It seems your collegues are “Platonists” buzy dreaming up a “World of Forms” and then making the data fit their “Form.” At the same time they hold themselves out to the world as “Aristotelians” i.e. objective empiralists who let the data lead them to the Truth.
    This delusion would have been fine if your group had kept it within your academic towers. However, over twenty years ago your tribe decided that you could get huge amounts of money from our tribe’s governments by using Goebbels propaganda techniques. As the money began to flow in from public coffers it enhanced your careers and sense of self importance.
    The next step was to conflate the fears to get more money by evolving into a political/religious cult. Anyone who questioned that validity of your “theory” was confronted by the Inquisition … declared a “denier” [of the faith] and then burned at the stake.
    In the meantime you happily became entangled in the grand geoengineering of the world … grand schemes to transfer wealth from the developed world to the undeveloped world …. and grand carbon credit financial schemes.
    As the whole thing becomes unmasked by either a hacker or a whistleblower, its a little too late to try to climb back into the world of academia and suggest that maybe there was a little too much “tribalism” and maybe there should be a little more transparency. The fundamental problem was and is this: AGM wraps itself in the mantle of science but has no real vestige of science. It is the lot of you who have decided that “everything is a matter of personal perception” and if you can persuade the world to accept “your perception” then it will become the “defacto reality”. Hello Plato Goodbye Aristotle.

  353. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Dec 8, 2009 at 1:23 AM | Permalink

    Little progress will be made until self-named “climate scientists” realise that they are indulging in a variation of science of their invention – and that the variation is not accepted by hard mainstream science. Climate scientists are seen a bit like gatecrashers at a party, there with no invitation and bringing no grog to fill the fridge. Like the gatecrashers around here, they often carry waepons and show violence when they are told to go away and clean up their act.

    Old school scientists deplore the bad manners, the self-endowed elitism, the departures from accepted norms. Frankly, some of us wish that they would go away and take up something more decent.

  354. Lord Mark Stevens of Sydney
    Posted Dec 8, 2009 at 4:06 PM | Permalink

    Dear Dr judy curry,I look forward with great anticipation to the honest and transparent publication of the data and workings used in support of the AGW `theory`. Not much chance of that though is there, doc? your lame PR puff for the uni of east Anglia`s CRU & professor Phill Jones who conveniently `loses` the unmoderated raw data sets used in the latest ipcc scaremongering reports , used a `trick` to hide the `decline` and corresponds in conspiratorial esoteric secretive tones on how to obfuscate the freedom of information act is a little akin to the hunt for WMD in Iraq, a desperate grasp for the imaginary straws of illusionary vindication. truth and transparency are anathema to your alarmist self serving ilk and you know it. the people are on to you ,doc. Publish and be damned. Stevens.

18 Trackbacks

  1. […] This is the most thoughtful and balanced piece written – by climate scientist Judy Curry – […]

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  3. By The Blackboard » CRU Hack: What’s next? on Nov 23, 2009 at 11:51 AM

    […] will come of all this? The thousand or so emails will be read in their entirety by many. Of those, like Judy Curry, some inclined to be some what sympathetic to “The Team” will find the overall tenor […]

  4. […] Julkaisen ohessa tiivistelmän, joka kertoo keskustelun sisällön pääpiirteet ja auttaa löytämään viestit. Olen löytänyt yhteenvedon osoitteesta…il-issues/, ja tekijän mukaan sitä täydennetään yhä. Suluissa olevat numerot viittaavat sähköpostien numerointiin. Toinen lukemisen arvoinen linkki on arvostetun tutkijan analyysi tapahtuneesta:…-research/ […]

  5. By Newsc.Net - Climate of Fear on Nov 24, 2009 at 4:42 PM

    […] a posting on theClimate Auditwebsite from Professor Judith Curry, a mainstream climate scientist from the Georgia Institute of […]

  6. […] More damning, but mostly sensible criticisms (note that I do not agree with all the contents): It’s no use pretending that this isn’t a major blow. (Monbiot) Even if the hacked emails from HADCRU end up to be much ado about nothing in the context of any actual misfeasance that impacts the climate data records, the damage to the public credibility of climate research is likely to be significant. (Based on an unfortunate and unsubstantiated generalization of a few privately sent emails pulled out of context, I would add – Bart) (Judith Curry at ClimateAudit) […]

  7. […] y como está planteado el eje de alguna crítica que desde la propia comunidad científica se hace al contenido de los mails hay algunas cosas a […]

  8. By Newsc.Net - Climate of fear? on Nov 25, 2009 at 11:51 PM

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  9. […] un bellissimo blog di Judy Curry (voglio vedere chi la definisce “scettica”!!!) sul sito . […]

  10. […] 1) Pajamas Media | Vincent Gray on Climategate: ‘There Was Proof of Fraud All Along’ (PJM Exclusive) 2) Climate Audit Mirror Site | Curry: On the credibility of climate research […]

  11. […] Judith Curry, a climate scientist at Georgia Tech, pens a letter, originally publish at Climate Progress, and now at the NY Times. Let's take a peek, shall we?An open letter to graduate students and young […]

  12. […] Judith Curry, a climate scientist at Georgia Tech, pens a letter, originally publish at Climate Progress, and now at the NY Times. Let’s take a peek, shall we? An open letter to graduate students […]

  13. […] Judith Curry, a climate scientist at Georgia Tech, pens a letter, originally publish at Climate Progress, and now at the NY Times. Let’s take a peek, shall we? An open letter to graduate students […]

  14. […] view on what light Climategate has shed on these issues. Judith Curry has some insightful views here and here, along with associated comments and replies. Roger Pielke Jr. has an opinion, as no doubt […]

  15. By Mulling Over ClimateGate | on Dec 2, 2009 at 12:15 AM

    […] One solution to all of this has been suggested by Judith Curry, a specialist in climate-hurricane interactions at Georgia Tech, writing on Stephen McIntyre’s Climate Audit site. […]

  16. […] Jones, Trenberth e tutti gli altri fortunati appartenenti al gruppetto sparuto e poco importante. Judy Curry ci dice inoltre che questa forma di “tribalismo” (a noi verrebbe in mente […]

  17. […] To read the rest of this comment by climatologist Judith Curry, click here. […]

  18. […] first writing on the subject was published Nov. 22, 2009, on McIntyre’s Web site She warned of significant […]

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