Here is an excerpt from a troubling Climategate email that hasn’t been discussed much (if at all) – from Raymond Bradley to Frank Oldfield of PAGES (172. 0963233839.txt) on July 20, 2000. I’m presenting only an excerpt today, but will discuss more from this email on another occasion.
Bradley stated of MBH98-99 results:
in the verification period, the biggest “miss” was an apparently very warm year in the late 19th century that we did not get right at all. This makes criticisms of the “antis” difficult to respond to (they have not yet risen to this level of sophistication, but they are “on the scent”).
In a system of “full, true and plain disclosure”, such as that governing the offering of securities to the public, it is the responsibility of the author to report adverse results. The “biggest miss” in the verification period was something that concerned Bradley; it was his responsibility to disclose it. “Antis” should not have been obliged to try to figure out material adverse results that Bradley and his coauthors had failed to report.
And, needless to say, when someone did achieve the “level of sophistication” to figure out what they were doing, the Team did what they could do delay and obfuscate.
The MBH decision to withhold verification r^2 statistics for early periods looks even worse in the context of this email. Withholding low verification r^2 statistics and withholding information about “big misses” both suppressed verification period problems and both kept “antis” “off the scent”. I’ve commented on other occasions about MBH withholding adverse verification r^2 results for early periods (even though they published a colorful map of verification r^2 statistics in the AD1820 step when they were favorable, they did not report verification r^2 statistics for earlier steps when the statistics were adverse).
In my opinion, the philosophy and attitudes expressed here – concerns about potential critics being on “the scent” – and the associated conduct – withholding adverse information about verification r^2 statistics and big misses – are far more repugnant than revealing the identity of a peer reviewer. However, while the community has taken umbrage at the revelation of the identity of a peer reviewer, they remain unoffended by conduct designed to keep critics off “the scent” through withholding adverse results.