Radio Discussion of Holland vs Met Office

David Holland’s adventures with Met Office dishonesty is covered in a recent article in a law journal [link] and in a radio segment here *=(h/t Bishop Hill.)

Untruthful answers by the UK Met Office to David Holland’s FOI requests were discussed at CA in 2008. Holland followed up with CRU, thus the “delete any emails” request. (As noted recently, Muir Russell made a totally untruthful characterization of the FOI underpinning of this email.)


  1. rafnics
    Posted Jul 26, 2010 at 9:48 AM | Permalink

    yeehh harh!

  2. Dave L.
    Posted Jul 26, 2010 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

    One is left with only one conclusion: What is John Mitchell hiding and why? One can only speculate. It must be pretty incriminating … and something which cannot be made to disappear.

  3. kim
    Posted Jul 26, 2010 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

    Homeland Security investigated and chronicled those making FOIA requests.

  4. Rattus Norvegicus
    Posted Jul 26, 2010 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

    Steve, the paper you were thinking of is by Marohasy and is referenced on WUWT. However that paper was published in a law journal which says in it’s submissions policy that it is not peer reviewed.

    Steve – I’ll take your word for this point and have amended accordingly.

  5. ZT
    Posted Jul 26, 2010 at 12:04 PM | Permalink

    Here is a link to the article referred to above:

    Click to access Abbot_Marohasy_FOIA_DavidHolland_a.pdf

  6. ZT
    Posted Jul 26, 2010 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

    According to the page that I see for the “Environmental Law and Management” journal:

    “All contributions are refereed.”

  7. ZT
    Posted Jul 26, 2010 at 12:33 PM | Permalink

    Yes, Minister, the dog ate my homework.

    The Met Office openly lied to avoid providing requested information?

    Perhaps the FOI law in the UK should be abolished – it seems to only create needless hassle and reveal tawdry MP expense swindles – the establishment would be so much better off without it.

    • ZT
      Posted Jul 26, 2010 at 5:44 PM | Permalink

      So, the Abbot and Marohasy article was refereed.

  8. Rattus Norvegicus
    Posted Jul 26, 2010 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

    Look a little closer: “The editors reserve the right to make alterations as to style, grammer, punctuation etc.; the accuracy of the contribution is the responsibility of the author.”

    • ZT
      Posted Jul 26, 2010 at 1:05 PM | Permalink

      The reservation to fix grammar, punctuation, etc. does not invalidate refereeing. This wording is standard for refereed journals. Prior to publication the author will usually review the proofs to confirm that grammar, etc. edits have not changed any meaning. If there is any dispute the paper can be refereed again.

  9. David Holland
    Posted Jul 26, 2010 at 3:51 PM | Permalink

    OK so Fernando is faster than you. Can you confirm you understand that message?

    In a fraction of a second yesterday millions of television viewers understood Ferrari Team Orders.

    So how hard is it to understand ‘hockey team’ orders? Dave L was left with one conclusion – I think he meant question: what was John Mitchell hiding and why? A more comprehensive question is what were Mitchell Hoskins, Allen, UEA/CRU, and Renate Christ hiding and why? They were all asked similar questions and until Climategate had kept fairly schtum.

    The why is ‘Team Orders’ Mitchell, who I asked first, sent my letter to Susan Solomon for advice. She wrote back:

    .. .. it would be inappropriate to provide more information beyond the reference to the web pages.

    Does anyone need a translation? To help I might mention that Solomon sent her email reply to all 22 Review Editors, Keith Briffa and Renate Christ at the IPCC. So before I wrote to Briffa, Allen or Christ they were told in advance of the ‘Team Orders’.

    The reason for asking several people several questions is that they don’t always give the same answers even when they were told to. Mitchell had his way of not telling me what I wanted. In hindsight it looked silly. We now how UEA and Reading went about it. Myles Allen had his own approach which was to tell me why it was above his pay grade and then show me another Team Order.

    He sent me the email in which he was asked for what the IPCC rules refer to as a “written report” to the working session or Panel. Susan Solomon’s TSU wrote:

    You have already been notified that it was essential to inform us if any serious issues arose in connection with the review process, and none of you has indicated any such concerns so we trust that you will sign the attached form letter confirming that all comments were dealt with appropriately, .. We would be grateful if you could sign this letter and return it to us by fax and by postal mail before 27 November 2006.

    This probably does need a bit of translation. I think it may run something like this.

    You (except Bubu) were all at Bergen in June, understood the problem we had and agreed the fix. You got all those extra IPCC citation for your pals and trust you will not rock the boat at this time. Please do not leave any copies hanging around for those sceptics to get hold of.

    21 of the 22 Review Editors including Buba did as they were told. Even Bubu.

    Only John Mitchell felt it necessary to show an independent mind and added:

    There will inevitably remain some disagreement on how they have dealt with the reconstructions of the last 1000 years

    So that is the why they all refused – Team Orders. If I don’t get snipped I’ll post the what in a little while.

  10. David Holland
    Posted Jul 26, 2010 at 4:35 PM | Permalink

    In the previous post, I missed a full stop between ‘Team Orders’ and Mitchell – sorry.

    In part the what “the Team” were hiding is the scam to keep Wahl and Ammann 2007. In my banned Russell submission (email me for it at crusub(at) I explain the evidence that the unpublished “new guidelines” were specifically to allow papers that missed the 16 December 2005 “in press” deadline to remain cited in Chapter 6 of IPCC AR4 even though the Government and Expert Reviewers had spotted them and complained. Jones confirms it in 1189722851.txt .

    Worse, Wahl and Amman could not even muster a preprint by the added relaxed deadline of end February 2006. Since it was not a 2006 paper anyway W & A did not even qualify under the new guidelines, but as Steve says, hey this is climate science.

    The critical part of “what” is a bit more. The problem with cheating is unforeseen consequences and when “the Team” came up with this ruse, late in June 2006, they had not heard of Wegman and probably had only read the Nature report on the NRC, 2006 study. So by giving Reviewers until 24 July 2006 to suggest other papers to “add balance” to the final text, they may have felt pretty safe. However, on 14 July when Mann learnt that Wegman was to be submitted on 19 July to the Congressional Subcommittee he got his lawyers and friendly Congressmen to try like mad to get the hearings shoved the other side of July 24.

    It did not work and one Expert Reviewer sent a request to WGI TSU to integrate NRC 2006 and Wegman into the text of M & M versus W & A. The TSU acknowledged it without challenging its validity.

    These extra “Expert comments” and the Lead Authors’ responses were what I asked Mitchell and Briffa for. What I asked the IPCC, Hoskins and Allen for was who agreed this scam and why.

    The Climategate emails confirmed that Overpeck sent Briffa an Excel file of these extra comments so on 28 November 2009 I put in an FoIA request, only to be told that the file had been deleted. However, out of the blue, they were sent it to me in March 2010 – but no surprise – the Wegman/NRC suggestion was not in the file. The TSU never passes it on to Briffa.

    So guess who at UEA/CRU found this “deleted” Excel file. Briffa!

    • Dave L.
      Posted Jul 26, 2010 at 8:45 PM | Permalink

      So Briffa did not know about the request by the expert reviewer to incorporate NRC 2006 & Wegman into the text? (Sounds convenient.) If so, could this omission have been deliberate? Or are there possibly other shenanigans at play here, and all of the chickens have yet to come home to roost? Or am I asking questions that currently cannot be answered.

      Steve: Briffa said somewhere that not citing Wegman was an editorial decision – not enough space or something like that. I’ll try to locate the reference.

      • David Holland
        Posted Jul 27, 2010 at 2:12 AM | Permalink

        Re: Dave L. (Jul 26 20:45),

        As usual Steve, you are spot on and point to something I had missed.

        Having refused to publish my submission in full, Russell has quietly published Briffa and Osborn’s highly selective response to it.

        Russell’s ‘William’ engaged in considerable email correspondence to say why the Review would not publish my submission but never saw fit to inform me of the Briffa/Osborn rebuttal or give me the opportunity to respond. I regularly scanned the Russell evidence page until I was told my submission would not be published, but then assumed there would be no more evidence published.

        Having carefully avoided mentioning my name in the Russell Report except to say my submission would not be published, Briffa/Osborn mention it just once in their rebuttal but copy verbatim those bits for which they can muster a feeble augment.

        Their argument – and AR5 emailed their support – is that it is right and proper to put anything they want into the IPCC Report after the end of the Expert Review process. So why bother to pretend the IPCC Report is peer reviewed?

        The admission that Wegman was considered without any suggestion that it was in some way inadmissible and was omitted for lack of space (page 21) is astonishing.

        Given the strict space limitations, some hard decisions had to be made. The author team
        considered that, for example, citing the Wegman et al. (2006) report added little information to the
        coverage of the issues surrounding the work of Mann et al. (1998) already contained in the text.

        Wegmans conclusions were simple and direct and had they dealt with it objectively the lead authors would have accepted that the ‘hockey stick’ had been broken.

        Overall, our committee believes that Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis.

        • Dave L.
          Posted Jul 27, 2010 at 8:27 AM | Permalink

          To summarize:

          First your assertion from Page 21:

          “The fact that the IPCC WGI included Wahl and Ammann, 2007 and not Wegman et al. 2006 or the critical conclusions of NRC 2006, shows that the assessment process failed to be “comprehensive and objective” as was required by the IPCC.”

          Then quoting the Briffa and Osborn response also from Page 21:

          “Given the strict space limitations, some hard decisions had to be made. The author team considered that, for example, citing the Wegman et al. (2006) report added little information to the coverage of the issues surrounding the work of Mann et al. (1998) already contained in the text.”

          So the “author team” goes to great pains to make certain that Wahl and Ammann are included in AR4 — in order to utilize this unpublished article to completely trump McIntyre and McKitrick — and then they state that Wegman and NCR 2006 are unimportant and not incorporated or even given an acknowledgment. Hmmmmm.

          Quoting Briffa and Osborn from the bottom of Page 6:

          “Consideration of MBH98 and WA2007, along with other relevant papers cited in AR4, led to the AR4 conclusion that the criticisms raised against the MBH98 reconstruction were not sufficient to discount the evidence of temperature change represented in MBH98.”

          Now we understand why there was not even a whisper about Wegman and NRC (2006) in AR4.

          On Pages 23-24, Boulton does not address Wegman and NRC (2006) in his inquiries to Briffa. I wonder why since he obviously had to have read your submission.

      • PaulM
        Posted Jul 27, 2010 at 8:51 AM | Permalink

        Re: Dave L. (Jul 26 20:45),
        There are several interesting features of the document ‘6 May Briffa Osborn response’ that David links to.
        Having said they could not publish David’s submission, they publish a very significant chunk of it here, as an annex, without explicitly saying that this is what it is.
        David’s paragraphs are followed by comments in boxes from Briffa and Osborn, in one of which they mention Holland, giving the game away.
        But crucial bits are missing. For example, looking at the first two pages you can see that David’s paragraph 44 has been deleted by somebody. This omission allows B&O to pretend (in their reponse to 45) that David has made an error. Davids deleted para 44 must have referred to email 1141180962, where Wahl says he thought he had missed the deadline, an email B&O are well aware of since they refer to it in their reponse to para 46. But they feign ignorance, a common team tactic.

        B&O seem to be repeatedly in denial about the publication deadline, even though it is clearly explained in IPCC documents in paras 40 and 42 of the mysterious unidentified annex.

        B&O are equally absurdly in denial of the fact that W&A was crucial for AR4’s dismissal of M&M, even though the relevant section of AR4 ch 6 is quoted on page 3 of the document. In para 49 they pretend that it is not clear which bit of AR4 David is talking about (team tactic again).
        And the statement that Wegman “added little information” is just ridiculous.

        This document alone is worth a blog post I think. Perhaps Steve is working on it…

  11. dearieme
    Posted Jul 26, 2010 at 5:09 PM | Permalink

    Apparently it’s usual for Law journals not to use peer review.

    “Most universities, including Harvard, put strict formal limits on the extent to which, if at all, publications that are “in press” — that is, in the editorial process but not yet published — can be considered in the context of a tenure evaluation. (This is because work that has not yet been published has not had a chance to be evaluated by the scholarly community in general. This is a particularly glaring problem in the context of legal academic publishing, where most scholarly articles never undergo any formal peer review prior to publication. The “Presidential Administration” piece, for example, was selected for publication by the Harvard law students who were editing the law review at the time).”


    • ZT
      Posted Jul 26, 2010 at 5:58 PM | Permalink

      Well – it is a red herring for the thrust of this thread. (The article is well referenced and its facts can be checked). But the information page for ‘Environmental Law and Management’ ( provides a link to ‘Contacts and Submissions’ (you need to click to this page, there is no direct URL to it). That says “All contributions are refereed.” (among other things). So the article was refereed. However, to those familiar with climatology, that may or may not be all that comforting, as Rattus N. would, I am sure, agree.

      The main concern is that the Met Office can play so fast and loose with their excuses (or should we say lies?). Perhaps there has been a little too much funding going on there too? Surely, the Met Office, with its world class predictions, would only be interested in serving their customer’s best interests?

  12. Gixxerboy
    Posted Jul 26, 2010 at 6:43 PM | Permalink

    Forgive me if someone has suggested this before but, for an excellent (though troubling) analysis of the state’s attitude to publicly funded data, do read The Silent State by Heather Brooke. She was instrumental in breaking the MPs expenses scandal, and it seems the behaviours of the ‘Climate Science Community’ are far from unique.

  13. EdeF
    Posted Jul 26, 2010 at 7:10 PM | Permalink

    Clear thinking……clear writing.

  14. stereo
    Posted Jul 27, 2010 at 5:30 AM | Permalink

    In a fraction of a second yesterday millions of television viewers understood Ferrari Team Orders.

    That’s funny, because it took me that long to know what Climateaudit and it’s friends were up to. When you pick a fight, don’t be surprised if the person you are attacking fights back.

  15. Dominic
    Posted Jul 27, 2010 at 5:41 AM | Permalink

    A well-written and quite damning paper. This is one to circulate widely, especially to your members of parliament.

  16. Posted Jul 27, 2010 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

    This is Holland’s para 44.

    44. On 11 February 2006 in email 1141180962, Wahl tries to secure the
    acceptance of Wahl and Ammann writing to the editor, Stephen Schneider, of
    the journal Climatic Change:
    “Hello Steve:
    Caspar and I expect to have the final manuscript to you in 7-10 days with all the revisions you requested in December. I have recently had some correspondence with Jonathan Overpeck about this, in his IPCC role. He says that the paper needs to be in press by the end of February to be acceptable to be cited in the SOD. [I had thought that we had passed all chance for citation in the next IPCC report back in December, but Peck has made it known to me this is not so.] He and I have communicated re: what “in press” means for Climatic Change, and I agreed to contact you to have a clear definition. What I have understood from our conversations before is that if you receive the mss and move it from “provisionally accepted” status to “accepted”, then this can be considered in press, in light of CC being a journal of record.
    Peace, Gene”

  17. ZT
    Posted Jul 27, 2010 at 9:52 AM | Permalink

    Interesting how academics ‘feel’ about the subject of professional email. I saw the following recently on real climate: (#337)
    (Re #38) On privacy and emails: Ask yourselves this, should I as a professor at a public university be required to tape my work phone calls in case someone files a FOIA request about my work? It is a government phone, right? How then are emails different?
    I don’t work in climate science and it is very unlikely the press or blog-sphere would take any interest in my work. None-the-less, I’m switching to a private e-mail account. I can only imagine how stifled researchers in controversial areas feel.
    Comment by Mike — 26 July 2010 @ 9:30 AM

    The sense that professional communication is private for academics is, I think, quite pervasive. In contrast, anyone who has worked in a private company would assume that phone calls, email, etc. are company property, and using private email for company business simply gives the appearance of impropriety.

    • Arthur Dent
      Posted Jul 27, 2010 at 11:47 AM | Permalink

      Everyone in industry and commerce has it drilled into them by their legal departments that all e-mails sent from company computers are discoverable. As a consequence our advice was do not put into an e-mail anything that you would not put on a postcard.

      Academics need to occasionally engage with the real world.

      • stan
        Posted Jul 27, 2010 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

        “Academics need to occasionally engage with the real world”

        Too many heads would explode from the stress. Who’s going to clean up the mess?

        Leave them alone. We just need to learn not to rely on them for policy advice since policy deals with the real world and they clearly have no experience therein.

      • PaulM
        Posted Jul 27, 2010 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

        Re: Arthur Dent (Jul 27 11:47),
        At our Uni we have recently got some similar advice – I wonder if this was inspired by climategate. We have been told that
        * We should use our Uni accounts for Uni-related things
        * Our emails may be subject to FOI requests
        * emails are not secure, like postcards

        • Arthur Dent
          Posted Jul 28, 2010 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

          Its very good advice (but not easy to put into practice, mainly because e-mail is so convenient to use and messages can be dashed off and sent in a few seconds. In the days of snail mail it took significant amounts of time to write a letter in longahnd or dictate it, then get it typed and corrected before it was finally dispatched.)

    • ianl8888
      Posted Jul 28, 2010 at 1:03 AM | Permalink

      In Aus, we have a income taxation element known as the Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT)

      Essentially, this taxes a “perk” or benefit, other than monetary income, supplied by the employer to the employee. An example is the pro-rated use of a company vehicle for private purposes. Another obvious example is the use of email facilities (maintained by the employer) for private emails

      So an academic in an Aus Uni is liable for FBT if the Uni email facility is used for emails designated by the employee as “private”. This also applies to the CSIRO. Those emails not designated private are FOI-able, of corse

      And of course I’m holding my breath until they are lumbered with this tax for those emails that they do not wish to be public … especially applicable to the CSIRO

    • Wijnand
      Posted Jul 29, 2010 at 6:14 AM | Permalink

      “I don’t work in climate science and it is very unlikely the press or blog-sphere would take any interest in my work. None-the-less, I’m switching to a private e-mail account. I can only imagine how stifled researchers in controversial areas feel.”
      Why on earth would you do anything of the sorts if you have nothing to hide?

      • David Holland
        Posted Jul 29, 2010 at 8:43 AM | Permalink

        If you are in the UK and the email is to do with your work as a public servant or an employee of a public authority subject to the EIR, I would not bother because it will will not save you and just makes it look that you are trying to evade the law of the land. Under FoIA it might work but would just make the enquirer mad and sooner or later something you do will come under EIR. Also you might need to think about the the DPA if the email server is outside Europe.

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