Climategate 2 and the FOIA/Mole Incident

The FOIA/Mole incident of July 2009 attracted much public interest and somehow seems connected to the subsequent Climategate events, though precisely how (and even whether) remains unclear. The incident was discussed in both Mosher and Fuller’s CRUTape Letters and Fred Pearce’s Climate Files, though not in Andrew Montford’s Hockey Stick Illusion (which was mostly complete prior to Climategate.)

Climategate 1.0 emails provided relatively little context on the CRU/East Anglia side of the incident. Climategate 2.0 changes this situation dramatically, as it contains a rich (though still, at times, frustratingly incomplete) documentation of the university’s side of events. (The Climate Audit side is, of course, exhaustively documented in contemporary posts and comments, starting here and continuing in threads for the next month or so.)

The FOIA/Mole incident has been central in self-serving rationalizations of Climategate events by institutional climate science. They’ve represented the affair as an attempt to “harass” climate scientists, claiming that the events vindicated many prior years of data obstruction. However, institutional climate science and their house organs (e.g. Nature) have failed to report the origins of the incident. Its proximate cause was an institutional mendacity incident. In July 2009, CRU had refused a FOI request for station data with the flagrantly untrue claim that language in their alleged confidentiality agreements prevented them from sending station data to “non-academics” (while not preventing them from sending the same data to sympathetic academics:

Regulation 12(5)(f) applies because the information requested was received by the University on terms that prevent further transmission to non-academics

This assertion was completely fabricated: there were no agreements that contained the claimed language. Climate Audit readers quickly recognized that the university’s assertion was fabricated and submitted FOI requests to the university for the supposed confidentiality agreements containing the alleged language. The university was unable to produce a single agreement with such language and quickly abandoned this line of refusal in favor of other lines of refusal – these new grounds of refusal still, however, relying on faith in agreements unseen.

The new Climategate 2.0 emails shed fresh light on the process leading to East Anglia’s fabricated claim about language that specifically prohibited the transmission of station data to “non-academics”. The emails show that the untrue claim was not made casually or by accident, but was carefully crafted through a process that included not just Phil Jones and FOI officer David Palmer, but also Michael Mcgarvie, UEA’s Director of Faculty Administration. It also seems unlikely that Mcgarvie would not have reported to his superiors in the Registrar’s office and beyond, but these reports (if they exist) are not in the Climategate dossier.

Although the university’s mendacity in this incident was one of the flashpoints that seems to have precipitated Climategate, it was not investigated by the Muir Russell “inquiry”. To do so would have required examination of Climategate 2.0 (and other) emails. Muir Russell made no effort to examine such emails until late in the review process. These late and feeble efforts were then resisted by Acton and the university administration and nothing came of them. Muir Russell nonetheless proclaimed in his press conference that, while CRU was “unhelpful” at times, the “rigour and honesty” of the scientists in question was “not in doubt”.

In preparing today’s review, I’ve made my own “edition” of the emails in which I’ve arranged threaded emails in chronological order. See here – link to follow.

I’ll start today’s chronology of events somewhat in the middle.

The Request

Contrary to a common view, prior to mid-2009, I’d never made an FOI request for the CRUtem data set. As I’ve said on many occasions, my interest in temperature data is very secondary to my interest in proxy reconstructions and I’ve been well aware that time spent on it would pre-empt topics that interested me more and which seemed more scientifically contentious.

However, I firmly supported the principle that data being relied upon by IPCC should be transparent and I had written about efforts of Warwick Hughes and Willis Eschenbach with considerable interest and had done what I could to support their efforts. In late 2006, Willis had initiated the first use of FOI legislation to overcome a non-transparency that the wider scientific community should itself have objected to. After much obfuscation by CRU, Willis managed to extract a list of stations, but not the station data as used by CRU. The progress was reported from time to time at CA.

In May 2009, I noticed that the UK Met Office held a version of the CRU station data, which was cited on one of their webpages. As someone with some familiarity with confidentiality agreements and (by then) FOI regulations, it occurred to me that FOI provisions applying to the Met Office (a government agency) might differ in some respect from the FOI provisions applying to the University of East Anglia. For example, CRU might have sent station data to the Met Office without a confidentiality agreement between CRU and the Met Office. If so, the Met Office might not be able to rely on exemptions available to CRU. In fact, this surmise proved correct though the Met Office refused anyway. Climategate 2.0 emails (not ones reviewed today) show that the Met Office understood this point and looked long, hard and unsuccessfully for such an agreement, which appears not to have existed.

In June 2009, on a blog post discussing my Met Office request, Peter Webster of Georgia Tech commented that he had readily obtained station data from CRU earlier that year (Webster’s comment was quoted by Jones in 4531):

We have asked Phil Jones for data so that we could compare the synthesized surface temperature with actual station data. Jones has provided everything that we have asked for. This is for our study of the 1930/40 climate bump that is ongoing. Alas, these things take time. But my experience has been quite different to yours.

As you know, I have often complained that the right wing and the left wing (the absolutists of AGHW and those who do not have a bar of it) have forced us into corners in which we are not comfortable. If there is to be reasonable resolution of the climate GWH issues and the fidelity of data (both critical and reasonable questions?) I think that the questions and opinions can’t be shouted from one corner or the other…

best regards
Peter W

I immediately (June 25) sent a FOI request to East Anglia for the precisely the same data (4531).

CRU Plans the Refusal

The following day (June 26), Palmer forwarded my request (4531) to Jones, Mcgarvie and Osborn as follows:

A request from Mr. McIntyre under EIR that arrived today. Response due by 24 July. I have acknowledged the request and confirmed that we will be handling this under EIR. Any concerns with this request? Any need for clarification?
Cheers, Dave ______________________________________________________________________________
From: Steve McIntyre
Sent: Friday, June 26, 2009 4:45 AM
To: Palmer Dave Mr (LIB)
Subject: Environmental Information Regulations
Dear Mr Palmer,
Pursuant to the Environmental Information Regulations, I hereby request a copy of any digital version of the CRUTEM station data set that has been sent from CRU to Peter Webster and/or any other person at Georgia Tech between January 1, 2007 and Jun 25, 2009. Thank you for your attention,
Stephen McIntyre

Jones immediately explained (June 26 – 4531) to Palmer (cc McGarvie, Osborn) that he sent the data to Georgia Tech in a “personal email”, asserting that “McIntyre has no right to request the data in a personal email”:

I sent some of the station data to a Jun Jian at Georgia Tech on 15 Jan 2009. I see now that Peter Webster was a recipient on the email. I also see from looking at Climate Audit that this request results from Peter saying on CA that he’s not had any difficulty getting data from CRU (see what he said below on June 24).

I regard this as a personal email between me and this group at Georgia Tech. So, McIntyre has no right to request the data in a personal email. I only sent a small part of the dataset anyway. They asked for a specific set and said what they were going to do with the data.

That an IPCC Coordinating Lead Author could regard distribution of CRU station data as “personal” favor rather than an obligation is an issue that the climate community has closed its eyes to.

Palmer rather gingerly explained (June 26 – 1320) to Jones (cc Mcgarvie, Osborn) that data did not become “personal” merely because Jones said so and that they needed a “valid” exemption to avoid disclosure. Palmer observed that Jones’ already sending the data to a third party presented problems; Palmer said that he was “having difficulty” making a case for not sending the data to me that had already been sent to Georgia Tech, a misgiving that he and others should have paid more attention to:

Phil [et al],
The fact that information is within an email that you consider ‘personal’ does not render the information itself personal. In order to not disclose information under EIR, we need to have a valid exception, and then also pass a public interest test that shows that the public interest is better served by non-disclosure than disclosure.

I will have a think about what exceptions are available to us, but, at this moment I am having difficulty making a case for any that would apply here. The other issue is passing the public interest test – we would, I presume be relying on some sort of public interest in preserving the confidentiality of communications between academic colleagues but there is no guarantee that the ICO would uphold this.

I will get back to you next week on this one….
Cheers, Dave

Later that day (June 26 – 2663), Mcgarvie worried that providing data would set a bad precedent for other cases, particularly David Holland’s pending appeal of their refusal of IPCC correspondence not in the IPCC archive. Mcgarvie recommended that they invoke one of the exemptions that they had discussed – but only after stretching the time period as long as possible:

Dave et al,
As we are testing EIR with the other climate audit org request relating to communications with other academic colleagues, I think that we would weaken that case if we supplied the information in this case. So I would suggest that we decline this one (at the very end of the time period), with one of the valid reasons that you, Jonathan [Colam-French] and I disucssed, and let him go through appeal.

Happy to discuss further (but not for a couple of weeks since my diary is pretty full next week and the week after).
Michael McGarvie
Director of Faculty Administration

Jonathan Colam-French, who was responsible for hearing appeals, was involved from time to time in the initial strategy on how to avoid compliance.

A few days later (June 30 – 2663), Palmer reminded Mcgarvie and Jones that refusing station data presented other difficulties relative to refusing emails. Palmer noted that there was no general academic principle opposing the exchange of data – indeed, Palmer observed that archiving of data was even regarded as meritorious as some parts of the academic community – a further point to overcome in constructing a refusal:

I can understand your reluctance to deal with Mr. McIntyre’s request but we do need to have justifiable grounds for claiming an exception under the EIR in order to do so…

To address your point Michael, I think that there might be a difference seen between personal correspondence between academics and actual data which has a life/role outside that correspondence. In regards the public interest test that we have to address, once again, I would think that whilst there is a good argument for protecting the ability of academics to communicate freely and openly, the underlying data that may comprise part of that communication might well fall into another category. One only has to look at the JISC funded projects on national scientific data repositories and exchange to see that there appears to be a perception in the academic community that the exchange & re-use of data is a good thing.

We also have to remember that, much like FOIA, the exception regarding ‘confidentiality’ is in relation to a person providing the information to the organisation – it does not touch upon correspondence from the organisation. That is covered either by ‘internal communications’ exception, or as in the other case with the IPCC, an ‘adverse effect’ on international relations (which I believe to be entirely justifiable)

As you are both quite busy over the next couple of weeks, I would be happy to discuss this further w/c 13 July with you, Michael and verify our approach the following week prior to the deadline of 24 July.
Cheers,. Dave

Jones then searched EIR legislation for exemption ideas. Later that day (June 30-1473), he suggested three ways of refusing the data, one of which was exemption 12(5)(f) – confidentiality. Jones told Palmer and Mcgarvie that “some of the data was supplied to CRU on the grounds that we didn’t pass it on”. (Here Jones was conspicuously silent on how CRU circumvented these supposed conditions when it recently passed data on to Georgia Tech and, for that matter, when it passed data on to the US Department of Energy which then created a public archive of station data as it stood in the early 1990s.)

I’ve done something I thought I would never do – I’ve printed off the EIR for 2004!

Here’s a few thoughts.

1. I don’t have the exact data that I sent in January 2009. I’d have to recreate it. The data are part of a larger database. What I’d recreate would be different from what I sent in Jan 2009 (12.4a).
2. The requester has no idea what I sent on January 2009 (12.4c).
3. If I do have to recreate it, then it will contain data where 12.5fi-iii apply. Some of the data was supplied to CRU on the grounds that we didn’t pass it on. These conditions were put on it by some of the National Met Services around the World (including the UK).

On a related matter and back to Michael’s point. The next IPCC process will start in 2010. It is possible that UEA people will be involved in the author writing teams. The members of these teams will be available through IPCC. What is to stop people asking for emails I might write to some or all of these authors. This, in effect, is the purpose of the appeal in the other issue with Keith and Tim and IPCC correspondence.

Palmer wrote back to Jones and Mcgarvie (June 30 – 1473), rejecting Jones’ first two excuses but encouraging the third, with Palmer welcoming Jones to the “‘dark side’ of FOI”. However, Palmer pointed out that confidentiality agreements in themselves would not suffice – they would still have to “overcome the obvious fact that some data was passed to a fellow academic so therefore would need to draw a distinction between that type of disclosure and that requested by the applicant”. This, of course, was the nub of the problem.

Ah, now we are getting somewhere…. (and I will turn you to the ‘dark side’ of FOIA/EIR yet! lol)

I don’t’ think Reg. 12(4)(c) will hold water as I think we know exactly what he is asking for but it’s our ability to provide it that is at issue. However, even if we think it is too general, Regulation 9 mandates us to provide advice and assistance to the requester and indeed, subsection (2) specifically notes that if we do feel that 12(4)(a) applies, we must ask the applicant to provide more particulars & to assist the applicant in providing those particulars. I would think it likely that the applicant in this case would simply ask for the entire base file….?

As to point 1 below, if we don’t have the original email nor any record of what was sent, then there may be a case for the application of 12(4)(a). However, being contrary (and that’s part of the job description), Regulation 9 would also raise it’s hoary head here and we would need to tell the applicant out problem in ‘reassembling’ the data. I suspect the outcome would be exactly the same as above; namely a request for the entire base data.

However, point 3 has definite promise. We would have to demonstrate an adverse effect on the interests of the party providing the information/data, and then pass the public interest test, overcoming the presumption of public interest in disclosure. Clearly, if the data was given to us on terms that forbade its further disclosure to persons/instructions that would exclude the applicant (and we have evidence of that), then we can also assume some presumption of adverse effect (although once again, thinking ahead, evidence of this would be useful).

We would have to overcome the obvious fact that some data was passed to a fellow academic so therefore would need to draw a distinction between that type of disclosure and that requested by the applicant.

I do not disagree with your final point which is why I was drawing the potential distinction between data and private correspondence. Our case before the ICO is all about the confidentiality of information coming to us and the adverse effect its disclosure would have on the persons providing it, and the international relations we have with bodies such as the IPCC. (and I think we might have a case under EIR ‘manifestly unreasonable’ grounds as that definition is wider than that for ‘vexatious’ requests under FOIA).
Cheers, Dave

Climategate 2.0 emails are quiet on developments for the next two weeks. (Presumably further information is in the locked tranche.)

The curtain rises again on Thursday, July 16 (and this passed unnoticed at CA at the time) when Andrew Montford sent an FOI request (2786) presciently requesting copies of the confidentiality agreements governing the station data. Montford’s request did not refer to my pending FOI request, though that was obviously in the air, but referred back to claims that Jones had been in correspondence with Keenan in 2007. Palmer notified (2786) Mcgarvie and Jones of this new development and proposed adding this to the agenda of a meeting on FOI that they had scheduled for Monday July 20.

Miraculous Language
At the July 20 meeting, Jones, Mcgarvie and Palmer appear to have agreed on the refusal strategy employed in the July 24 refusal letter a few days later: to reject the FOI request on the (untrue) basis that the supposed confidentiality agreements contained language that prohibited the sending of data to “non-academics”. On June 30, Palmer had been concerned about how to justify not sending data to me when the same data had been sent to third parties at Georgia Tech. It was shall-we-say little short of miraculous that Jones (presumably) reported to Palmer and Mcgarvie that his confidentiality agreements entered into so many years ago contained language dealing with the situation, language that prohibited CRU from sending data to “non-academics”.

Palmer appears not to have challenged Jones’ miraculous claim or carried out the mundane due diligence of examining the supposed agreements (or else events would have unfolded differently). On July 21 (3334), Palmer distributed a draft refusal to Jones and Mcgarvie as they had discussed at the meeting (presumably along the lines of the July 24 refusal). In the covering email (3334), Palmer made a last plea to Jones and Mcgarvie to consider the (logical) alternative of simply providing me the data under conditions that prevented my re-distribution (rather than refusing):

A draft response along the lines discussed yesterday. I would expect an almost immediate appeal of this decision by Mr. McIntyre.

Phil, as your concern is the publication of the requested information, I wonder if a possible alternative is to release it but place conditions on it’s use. This will ONLY work if UEA has some rights in the data itself or in the database. ‘Copyright’ in the contents of a database would require some personal creative input by ourselves to the data or database that would render it different from preceding external versions and ‘original’.

However, even if the contents aren’t ‘original’, there is a ‘database right’ where the contents of the database are assembled as the result of substantial investment in obtaining, verifying, or presenting it’s contents. It is the framework, not the contents, that attracts the rights. These rights exist for 15 years from the completion of the database BUT any substantial change to contents will ‘renew’ the database rights for another 15 years. The owner of database rights has the right to prevent the extraction or reuse of all or a substantial portion of the database.

There is ‘fair dealing’ in database rights to the extent that anyone has a right to extract & reuse an insubstantial portion of the database (not really defined in law but it’s very small) for any purpose, or where the portion is substantial, extract and use data for non-commercial research or private study. What can’t be done is re-issuing this information to the public under a different guise.

The upshot of all of this is that, if we have a ‘database right’ in this information, then we can release it BUT insist on our exclusive right to re-use the information – BUT the issue is actually ‘enforcing’ those rights…… more difficult in practice than in law or theory….

Just thought I would proffer this as an option in place of the refusal and the inevitable appeal.
Cheers, Dave

Palmer’s sensible suggestion was rejected by Jones (780, 3712). On July 24, Palmer sent out the refusal (untruthfully) claiming that language in their confidentiality agreements prevented the sending of data to “non-academics”:

Regulation 12(5)(f) applies because the information requested was received by the University on terms that prevent further transmission to non-academics

As noted above, CRU’s claim about contract language pertaining to “non-academics” was fabricated. As matters would show, there were no agreements. Presumably their strategy was simply to force me into a lengthy appeal process which I might not pursue (a tactic that had been successful with Eschenbach a couple of years earlier.)

However, it’s one thing to be “unhelpful” and quite a different thing to make fabricated claims about their so-called confidentiality agreements. As someone with actual experience with real confidentiality agreements (in the mineral exploration business), I didn’t believe East Anglia’s excuse for a minute. It was inconceivable to me that CRU’s “confidentiality agreements”, even if they existed, contained the claimed specific language about “non-academics”. I immediately (July 24) responded at CA here as follows about this surprising development:

This is the first time that we’ve heard that their supposed confidentiality agreements merely restrict “further transmission to non-academics”. A couple of observations on this. I’m sure that CRU will soon receive a similar request from someone to whom this excuse does not apply.

However, aside from that, there are other troubling aspects to this refusal. If there actually are confidentiality agreements, I would expect the relevant language to be framed in terms of “academic use” as opposed to guild membership i.e. I’d be surprised if the language were framed in terms of institutional affiliation as opposed to use. I’ve published relevant articles in peer reviewed literature, acted as an IPCC reviewer, been cited in IPCC AR4, been invited to present to a NAS panel – my use of data is “academic” by any legal standard.

Secondly, over at the Met Office, they say “it cannot be determined which countries or stations data were given in confidence as records were not kept.” But over at CRU, they purport to “know” nuanced details of the contractual language of the confidentiality agreements – clauses that have the effect of justifying the refusal of the data.

I and other Climate Audit readers were offended not simply by CRU’s refusal to provide data, but by the arrogance of an institution that had no compunction about fabricating excuses for non-compliance. Requesting the alleged confidentiality agreements containing language about “non-academics” was an obvious next step. Recognizing that a request by me as an individual was likely to be marginalized, I invited Climate Audit readers to show the university that others were concerned about CRU obstruction by submitting their own FOI requests for confidentiality agreements. Quickly Climate Audit readers submitted nearly 60 FOI requests for the so-called confidentiality agreements, each reader specifying five different countries. In addition, a number of what East Anglia called “legit academics, rather than the usual suspects” submitted FOI requests for the The data set that had been refused to me.

In effect, Climate Audit readers had staged a protest against institutional mendacity.

Considerable interest was added to the protest by the “Mole Incident” (see here) and CRU’s subsequent deletion of numerous files from their FTP site, including two different versions of the supposedly top secret station data that had been online since 1996 and 2003 respectively. (Yet a third version was online at the US Department of Energy since 1991, CRU having sent the data to the US Department of Energy who had funded them.)

However, those are stories for another day. Today, I”m going to follow the gradual realization by East Anglia administrators that there were no confidentiality agreements containing language specifically restricting the transmission of data to non-academics and their seamless and unapologetic change of argument to one that was less transparently untrue.

On July 28 (490), Palmer outlined a strategy for the various FOI requests. Palmer recommended that they place “any/all [confidentiality] agreements” on the CRU website, while continuing to oppose requests for data. At this time, Palmer was presumably unaware that Jones’ “confidentiality agreements” would not be producible or that they would contain no language restricting access to “non-academics”

Just to summarise our approach to the various requests we have received to date that we have agreed:
A. ‘Country’ requests
1. Respond to Montford request as normally – cite s.21, information available (see point 2)
2. Place any/all agreements (or links thereto – Met Office) on the CRU website
3. Acknowledge & respond to all 44? Country requests by citing s.21 and pointing them to the CRU website
B. Data requests
1. Acknowledge requests
2. Deal with as per normal, cite Reg. 12(5)(f) re agreements and Reg. 12(4)(b) ‘manifestly unreasonable’ on the grounds that the data is already available publicly via the website, and note that a format of the data (gridded) already is publicly available
3. Note that raw data is available from the Met Office and other national weather services (also goes to ‘manifestly unreasonable’)
.C. McIntyre appeal
1. Maintain position regarding Reg 12(5)(f) re confidentiality agreements and point him to published versions on website
2. Add ‘manifestly unreasonable’ on basis that he already has the requested information in his possession & is also available elsewhere
3. Handle as per published protocols with initial ‘informal’ approach, followed by review by JCF

D. ‘Other’ requests
1. Acknowledge requests
2. Deal with as usual, citing whatever section is appropriate above to the requested information

E. General points
1. Interaction with any media to be handled by Press Office
2. Approval of transfer to Georgia Tech would be good to find
3. We are NOT citing s.14 for the ‘country’ requests
4. Estimated time to locate ALL agreements regarding data transfer is within the 18 hour appropriate limit
5. Any correspondence to go out will be circulated prior to transmission
I hope I have captured what was agreed – please comment if your understanding is different than mine
Cheers, Dave

The next day (July 29 09:49), Jones agreed (1131) to Palmer’s proposal that the “agreements” be placed online:

Here’s what I propose to do over the next week or two. I will get the agreements scanned and write some text about them and the others that we have had.

A scan of four agreements (none of which pertained to station data) was completed by 11:47 on July 29 (see the document properties of the document placed online on August 11). Later in the day (July 29 17:19 1248902393.txt), in a Climategate 1.0 email, Jones told Peterson of NCDC in the U.S. said that he planned to deal with the FOI requests with a “small [webpage] document”:

Anyway enough of my problems – I have a question for you. I’m going to write a small document for our web site to satisfy (probably the wrong word) the 50 or so FOI/EIR requests we’ve had over the weekend. I will put up the various agreements we have with Met Services.

Jones also consulted (July 30- 1916) with Peter Thorne of the Met Office, who strongly discouraged any attempts by Jones and/or East Anglia to be “opaque” in their responses, a recommendation that East Anglia unwisely disregarded:

Generally the more opaque this is the more work eventually will accrue for you (and us, but mainly you). If we’re forced to wash our laundry we may as well use Daz brilliant white … so be inanely pedantic in the details so that you minimise the angles for attack. It will take longer right now but I suspect in the long run be less work which means you can do science if you can still remember what that is (I vaguely do myself …).

Thorne also recommended that Jones try to locate past evidence of his “championing open access” – not an easy task given Jones’ actual views and prior conduct:

Is there any documentation in GCOS reports we can point to, especially AOPC where we can show that you are championing open access? That would shut them up slightly so is VERY DEFINITELY worth looking for and linking to as it shows you in the correct light. I think some text showing taht CRU is fighting for openness in relevant forums would be a gold dust addition.

By the first week of August, the Climate Audit protest, in combination with the Mole Incident and CRU’s deletion of website documents, had attracted wider attention. Between August 7 and 10, Olive Heffernan, a reporter with a journal (Nature), that sympathized with the trade interests of the climate community, carried out an email interview with Phil Jones, which I’ll discuss on another occasion.

The webpage contemplated in late July was published on August 11 here, prompting an immediate response at Climate Audit here. CRU’s webpage did not include ANY confidentiality agreements concerning station data. Instead, they provided two request letters from 1993-94 for 1961-90 climate normals for 9 variables (to the UK Met Office and Spain) and two response letters regarding 1961-90 climate normals (Bahrain, Norway) – only Bahrain within the tropical zone of the Georgia Tech data. CRU stated that they were unable to locate any actual agreements because they “moved offices”:

Below we list the agreements that we still hold. We know that there were others, but cannot locate them, possibly as we’ve moved offices several times during the 1980s. Some date back at least 20 years. Additional agreements are unwritten and relate to partnerships we’ve made with scientists around the world and visitors to the CRU over this period.

CRU claimed that the language in these letters was representative of the supposed “agreements” that they were unable to find:

Since the early 1980s, some NMSs, other organizations and individual scientists have given or sold us (see Hulme, 1994, for a summary of European data collection efforts) additional data for inclusion in the gridded datasets, often on the understanding that the data are only used for academic purposes with the full permission of the NMSs, organizations and scientists and the original station data are not passed onto third parties. …In some of the examples given, it can be clearly seen that our requests for data from NMSs have always stated that we would not make the data available to third parties. We included such statements as standard from the 1980s, as that is what many NMSs requested.

Even if the documents were to be construed as “actionable” confidentiality agreements (which they weren’t), they contained no language about “non-academics”. To the extent that there were any restrictions, they applied not just to “non academics”, but to all third parties, including not just Georgia Tech, but the US Department of Energy, Mann and Rutherford and perhaps even the Met Office.

CRU also volunteered the embarrassing information that they no longer held the original “raw” data, only “value added data”, (laughably) attributed to limited storage capacity in the 1980s. (This admission provoked much satire and independent criticism):

Since the 1980s, we have merged the data we have received into existing series or begun new ones, so it is impossible to say if all stations within a particular country or if all of an individual record should be freely available. Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the multiple sources for some sites, only the station series after adjustment for homogeneity issues. We, therefore, do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (i.e. quality controlled and homogenized) data.

CRU’s embarrassing document was immediately criticized at CA here. Willis Eschenbach, whose 2007 FOI request for data had been stonewalled, wrote in angrily (Aug 11 – 752) asking that the 2007 refusal be reconsidered, pointing to CRU’s failure to produce a single confidentiality agreement restricting the station data. Jones defended the webpage to Palmer (752), claiming that there were many other faxes that contained restrictive language that he hadn’t included on the webpage because they said the same thing:

He has missed the point. I could have put in loads of the faxes similar to the British Territories one, as all the requests that Mike Hulme and I sent in the mid-1990s included the statement :

The data will not be used unauthorised for any other project and will not be passed onto any third party.

I didn’t include all of these as they just say the same thing. I only included those that reiterated this point when they sent us the data.

This, of course, was inconsistent with statements in the webpage that they had just published. It stated unambiguously that they had listed “the agreements that we still hold.” If Jones had other agreements saying “the same thing”, then he should have said so in such a sensitive document.

Jones added:

UEA is not promoting this dataset as a suitable basis for making billion-dollar decisions on what we should do on regarding the ‘global warming’ supposedly shown by your dataset. This is simply NOT TRUE.

I presume that Palmer must have felt sandbagged when he saw that none of the extant “agreements” contained the language to which Palmer had affixed his name in the refusal letter. Most “non-academics” would have sent Jones a strongly worded WTF letter asking for an explanation. No such letter from Palmer is in the Climategate dossier thus far. Perhaps there’s one in the unopened dossier, perhaps Palmer never sent one.

In any event, East Anglia never again mentioned their fabricated claim about restrictions against “non-academics”.

Instead, East Anglia adopted a new line of refusal. They gave up trying to walk the tightrope between refusing data to potential critics, while giving data to fellow travellers. They now argued that Jones’ still unseen “confidentiality agreements” prevented access not simply to non-academics, but to third parties in general. They now said that the data had been given “in error” to Georgia Tech and that the “same error” should not be repeated. This line was used to refuse requests for data from Ross McKitrick, Jonathan Jones and Don Keiller (and my appeal), using language along the lines of the following:

We do concede that information was provided to Georgia Tech without securing consent of the institutions that provided it, and, upon reflection, this is an action we would not choose to take again. However, having made one error does not, in our eyes, justify making the same error again.

“One error”.

In fact, if there ever were such confidentiality agreements, then CRU had breached them right from the start – by sending the 1991 version of the data to the US Department of Energy which published the station data online; by placing the 1996 version online at CRU as part of the ADVANCE/10K program; and by sending station data out on request (not just to Georgia Tech, but to others, including Mann and Rutherford in 2005 and even to me in 2002 before I was identified as a potential critic).

The inconsistencies in CRU’s position were clearly set out as part of my appeal (Sept 2 – 2929):

I am in possession of three earlier versions of the CRU station data. The 1990 version has been posted at a US Department of Energy website for many years. In September 2002, I requested a copy of this data from Dr Jones. He sent me a 1996 version (cruwlda2) – a version that was also posted at the CRU website until recently – and indicated that the then revised version would posted up when Jones and Moberg (2003) was published, which, according to the date-stamps at your FTP site was done in Feb 2003, as Dr Jones had undertaken to do (the data set newcrustnsall recently removed from your public directory).

Notwithstanding this, when Warwick Hughes and Willis Eschenbach requested station data, for some reason, CRU failed to provide then with this information. As you noted in your letter, following your recent refusal to provide station data to me, I examined the CRU FTP site and determined that the newcrustnsall was the version of the station data for Jones and Moberg 2003 that Dr Jones had previously undertaken to post up on the Internet.

While these data sets are of interest, my request was for the current version of the data set and I do NOT wish to withdraw my appeal of your ruling. Could you please advise me of Mr Colam-French’s email so that I may submit further particulars of the basis of my appeal. In the mean-time, I would appreciate it if you reflected further about the apparent contradictions in your present refusal, given Dr Jones’ previous provision of an earlier version of the dataset to me, the posting of two versions of the data set on your website, one from 1996 to the end of July 2009 and the other from 2003 to the end of July 2009 and the provision of a version to the US Department of Energy, where it has been posted on the internet since 1990.

Jones’ reply (2929) to Palmer was incoherent. Jones now said that he didn’t “recall all the facts from that long ago”. Jones admitted that there was a version at the DOE website and even that this was a “contractual requirement at the time” – not explaining how a contractual requirement to make the data available was consistent with the confidential agreements that he had supposedly entered into with the NMSs:

I don’t recall all the facts from that long ago. There is or was a version on a US Dept of Energy website from about 1990. This was a contract requirement at the time. Much extra data has been added since then, and this is what the restrictions refer to from the mid-to-late 1990s.

Jones’ “explanation” of cruwlda2 being on the CRU website since 1996 was no more coherent. Jones said that it was on their website because this was “easier” than sending disks to the parties – again inconsistent with supposed confidentiality. Jones (falsely) stated that the dataset wasn’t complete(it was):

The 1996 version (cruwlda2) wasn’t a complete version and was something we developed for a number of people in EU projects to use. We made these available to people on these projects via our ftp site, as it was easier to do this than sending disks at that time (email attachments were smaller then).

Jones (falsely) added that he didn’t “have a copy of that file” – this is only a few weeks after he’d ordered the removal of the file from the FTP site during the early August carnage.

Jones’ attitude to the supposed confidentiality agreements is further evidenced in an email to Palmer and Mcgarvie (Sep 23 – 2840) about Jonathan Jones’ FOI request in which he said that they were “quite adept” in the past at getting around any conditions set by NMSs in the alleged confidentiality agreements:

The other issue is that Met Services putting conditions for the use of the data was common in the mid-1980s and 1990s. We were just quite adept at getting around the conditions.

None of Jones’ admissions caused the university to reconsider their refusals. It fought appeals by Jonathan Jones and Don Keiller at every step. Last summer, nearly two years after the original request, the ICO rejected the original UEA refusal. And, despite CRU’s serial violation of the supposed confidentiality agreements now said to be so important, the university closed their eyes to these prior violations rather than reprimand CRU.

Update Dec 31, 2011: In the university’s rejection of my appeal, they conceded that the reference to “non-academics” was an “error”:

In response to your first point in your email of 24 July regarding the non transmission of data to non-academics, I have concluded that the reference to non-academics was in error and that the status of yourself, or any other requester, is irrelevant to the factors to consider regarding disclosure of the requested information.

In response to comments about previous availability of the data set, they stated:

Turning to the points you raised in your email of 2 September, you note that other earlier versions of this data are available on the US Department of Energy website and that Dr. Jones had sent an earlier version of the data to you and had mounted it on FTP server.

In regards the information provided to the US Department of Energy, my investigation has revealed that this was done in the early 1990s prior to the imposition of the restrictions now pertaining to the data pursuant to a contractual obligation at the time. Therefore, the analogy you are drawing does not apply to the data that is the subject of this request.


  1. kim
    Posted Dec 27, 2011 at 10:30 PM | Permalink

    Hide and Freak and Seek.
    What’s that behind the Green Tree?
    Olly ox in free.

  2. jeez
    Posted Dec 27, 2011 at 10:42 PM | Permalink

    Boy, how are you going to avoid “piling on” on this one?

    I have made my opinion of Jones quite clear previously and been snipped for it, however I do see that the enablers are the real problem here, the malleable Palmer et al and the surrounding community.

  3. EdeF
    Posted Dec 27, 2011 at 10:48 PM | Permalink

    ….I sent some of the station data to a Jun Jian at Georgia Tech on 15 Jan 2009….

    They gladly sent off station data to “a Jun Jian”, meaning they haven’t got a clue who
    he/she is, just that they are at Georgia Tech. Steve, they knew you much better than
    this individual, they even had spent time reading CA. This is simply a case of rewarding
    friends with data, and punishing supposed enemies by withholding data, even tying themselves into knots to come up with elaborate excuses for withholding the data. We have
    all read the EIR FOIA statement. There was nothing in it about non-academics or confidentiality. You were not asking for personal information, merely station data.

    • kim
      Posted Dec 27, 2011 at 11:01 PM | Permalink

      Was JJ a student of PJ?

      • Schnoerkelman
        Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 6:54 AM | Permalink

        Re: kim (Dec 27 23:01), Yes, I googled “Jun Jian at Georgia Tech” and one of the first hits was Peter Webster’s CV which contains:

        PhD Graduates, Theses and Current Positions:
        2007 Jian, Jun: Predictability of current and future multi-river discharge: The Ganges, Brahmaputra, Yangtze, Blue Nile and Murray-Darling Rivers. Assistant Professor, Dalian Maritime University, People’s Republic of China

        Masters Degree Recipients:
        2004 J. Jian (CU)

        Research Group Post-doctoral Fellows and Research Associates:
        2007-2009 Jun Jian (Research Scientist I)

        Webster P. J. and J. Jian 2011: Probability, Uncertainty and prediction: A pathway towards the alleviation of poverty in the developing world. (In press, November) Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc.

        Webster, P.J., T. M. Hopson, C. D. Hoyos, J. Jian, H-R. Chang, P. Agudelo, J. A. Curry1, T. N. Palmer, A. R. Subbiah, R. L. Grossman, 2010: Extended-range probabilistic forecasts of Ganges and Brahmaputra floods in Bangladesh. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. 91, 11, 1493-1514

        Jian, J., P. J. Webster, C. Hoyos, 2009: Intraseasonal and interannual variability of Ganges and Brahmaputra river discharge. Quar. J. R. Met. Soc. 135, 353-370

  4. Larry Hamlin
    Posted Dec 27, 2011 at 10:49 PM | Permalink

    Spectacular investigative work Mr. McIntyre!! It is truly astounding what a bunch of l ***ing sc****gs the UEA has tried to hide from public view.

  5. observa
    Posted Dec 27, 2011 at 11:04 PM | Permalink

    And more of those pesky emails to come eh? For how much longer can the Fourth Estate sit on its keyboards one wonders? Until they’re totally irrelevant?

  6. Posted Dec 27, 2011 at 11:06 PM | Permalink

    where is fordperfect?

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Dec 27, 2011 at 11:14 PM | Permalink

      Re: steven mosher (Dec 27 23:06),
      Actually fordprefect turned up in the emails of the FOIA/Mole incident writing to Phil Jones on July 31 (3021) as follows:

      Dr. Jones
      I apologise for this intrusion!
      I’m sure you are aware of the drivel posted on climateaudit –
      and wattsupwiththat

      I have posted there under the name of thefordprefect. For a year or so. A bit of background so you can confirm my name. About 2 years ago I was involved with some robust exchanges on a financial BB (ADVFN) and have been taken to court for defamation – the first judgement (now unfortunately appealed!) is here (my name is Tuppen)

      I can post on ADVFN or climateaudit under my pseudonym of thefordprefect to “prove” my credentials. I find the current exchange on climateaudit to be very childish and have said so many times. In doing so I have apparently backed your actions and put my interpretation on your statements. I was therefore hoping that you could reply to these questions. I will if you agree quote your responses (you may also give an “off the record” response which will never leave my computer (please make it obvious which is available for publication!).

      1. In this statement:
      I should warn you that some data we have we are not supposed top pass on to others. We can pass on the gridded data – which we do. Even if WMO agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it. There is IPR to consider.

      Is I have suggested you are refusing to give IPR info to others and have used a bit of humour with the “25 years or so” part, Is this an incorrect interpretation on my part?

      2. Do you actually have agreements available for some of the data that prevents release to non academics? Are these paper or email. Since the CRU has been around from the late 80s when the anti AGW were not in existence and data was not being questioned I can understand that these may have been verbal or lost in moves of location.

      3. I understand that upward of 200 FOI requests have been made on the CRU – the attack being instigated and directed by wattsupwiththat and climateaudit. Do you know the cost to the CRU of processing such a FOI claim? Whilst I can understand your reluctance to speak on such Blogs I am very concerned that they are actually affecting the populace’s belief in GW. If you repeat the same crud often enough it eventually gets copied to other blogs and so on.

      By the way I have pointed them to this document which states that some data is unavailable because of IP agreements with the sources (i.e. they have the same problenm as you) – it has been ignored of course!

      Mike Tuppen (aka thefordprefect)

      • neill
        Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 12:31 AM | Permalink

        Sorry, but it sounds like something indecent might happen shortly…..

      • Mark T
        Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 1:02 AM | Permalink

        Wow. He really is clueless. “I’ve been defending you but I want to be clear that my interpretation is correct.” No self-doubt there. No admission of an inability to understand plain English or a wllingness to twist meaning into whatever desired, either.

        I know from experience (witnessed) what cognitive dissonance can do to a person’s sanity… one has to wonder about folks like this though, how do they sleep?


      • ianl8888
        Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 1:38 AM | Permalink

        Oh dear … off the wall

        I wonder if Jones replied to him ? Now I’ll have to look 🙂

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 2:32 AM | Permalink

        You know as I read back over the mole threads and fortress CRU threads while writing the book
        fords persistence amazed me. I wonder what he thinks of his defenses now.

      • TerryS
        Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 5:35 AM | Permalink

        I wonder if it is the same M Tuppen who sent an FOI request the UEA for Paul Dennis emails.

      • Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 9:23 PM | Permalink

        Note that the stolen email you so openly publish above was my private email to Jones.

        Using current email systems there is no way for the recipient to inform the sender that emails to their account may be released to the public under FOI BEFORE!!! the email is sent. So there must be PRIVACY provided for certain emails.

        According to US 4th Amendment and European Convention on Human Rights: Article 8 provides a right to respect for one’s “private and family life, his home and his correspondence”,
        There is no way this should have been openly published!!!

        I’ve luckily only received a handful of obnoxious emails – no death threats to me or my family yet – from its publication by FOIA and dissemination by WUWT and you and others on CA.

        200000 emails from FOIA just how many more people are going to loose their privacy.

        • Posted Dec 29, 2011 at 1:11 AM | Permalink

          Re: thefordprefect (Dec 28 21:23), I can assure you that I support your right to discuss drivel in complete privacy. I am certain that others here will support your desire to ensure that your discussions of drivel are never heard in public again.

          Cheers and Happy New Year “Mike”.

        • Punksta
          Posted Dec 29, 2011 at 1:41 AM | Permalink

          I partly sympathise with TheFordPrefect, who was outed here, by publishing what he refers to a “private” email. On the other hand, he was communicating with, and trying to give succour to, a known science saboteur. Difficult one to call.

        • Gerald Machnee
          Posted Dec 29, 2011 at 9:56 AM | Permalink

          In Canada all those e-mails and their contents are subject to FOIA.

        • Ftzr
          Posted Dec 29, 2011 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

          Not so. Ask Ross McKitrick:

        • Jean S
          Posted Dec 29, 2011 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

          Re: Ftzr (Dec 29 12:11),
          The letter is posted by “walt man“:

          and that cost me $5!

          Interestingly, thefordprefect obtained the document with full headers and everything (here).

        • jjthoms
          Posted Dec 30, 2011 at 6:23 AM | Permalink

          Don’t you just love moderation!

          Posted Dec 29, 2011 at 11:43 PM | Permalink | Reply
          Your comment is awaiting moderation.
          Jean S Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 2:23 PM | Permalink | Reply
          Re: jjthom (Dec 28 12:13),
          “jjthom” seems to be another sock puppet of a certain person, …“jjthom” has posts from at least two different IP numbers shared with the original nick. Also a short lived character “walt man” seems to be using the same numbers.

          One – Do I deny this – NO

          Two – who has been releasing ip addresses?

          Here dies jjthom! long live xyz! at ip nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn

          As I have said elsewhere pseudonyms are a firewall for my family against loonies. The above repost destroys most of that.

        • Jean S
          Posted Dec 30, 2011 at 7:31 AM | Permalink

          Re: jjthoms (Dec 30 06:23),
          nothing wrong with a pseudonym, but there are problems when you keep several pseudonyms even within the same thread! With “jjthom” (why now “jjthoms“?) you deceived Steve and others to think you were new to this forum. The same happened when you used the name “walt man”.

          Not only you use different pseudonyms, but you also have different email address(es) (only visible to moderators) associated with each pseudonym. That indicates to me that you try to deceive also moderators to think that different pseudonyms are different persons. That is sockpuppeteering, and in many other forums you would be banned forever.

          So why don’t you just pick a pseudonym, and stick with that (at least here)?

        • jjthoms
          Posted Dec 30, 2011 at 7:53 AM | Permalink

          I write as tfp it gets binned (see above)
          Sometimes moderation changes peoples perception (“look he didn’t reply he must agree at last!”)

          If you moderate “snip” it, to a least let a response be seen.

          tfp was banned on wuwt for failing to deliver a very childish appology (emails available). Too many disagreements with watts and you’re in the bin.

          I have NEVER used a pseudonym to post obnoxious, illegal, defamatory texts, only to get around automatic binning.

        • Jean S
          Posted Dec 30, 2011 at 8:29 AM | Permalink

          Re: jjthoms (Dec 30 07:53),
          these automatic systems are way beyond my expertise, but afaik if you stick to a pseudonym+email pair, you are less likely to get “binned”. So let’s agree that you post here under the name “thefordprefect”, and I (and other persons with moderator rights) try to see that your comments get released if they get “binned” (assuming you otherwise follow the site rules).

        • Posted Dec 30, 2011 at 1:21 PM | Permalink

          No problem with that, however I fear that most will never see light of day!

        • Gerald Machnee
          Posted Dec 29, 2011 at 11:50 PM | Permalink

          The request re Mckitrick was for “letters” not research material. The prefect was discussing fudging DATA which IS personal to him now because he has been hoisted by his own *******.

        • sleeper
          Posted Dec 29, 2011 at 7:29 PM | Permalink

          Re: thefordprefect (Dec 28 21:23),
          Mike, it’s not apparent here but did you send that email to Jones’ public UEA email address or his private email address?

        • johnl
          Posted Dec 29, 2011 at 11:35 PM | Permalink

          So did you get a response from Jones? In retrospect, are you satisfied with it?

        • Punksta
          Posted Dec 30, 2011 at 1:54 AM | Permalink

          Note that the stolen email you so openly publish above was my private email to Jones

          If the writer had sent a private email to a known criminal, who was in the midst of some further mischief, on matters related to this mischief, would the writer have cause for complaint?

        • jjthoms
          Posted Dec 30, 2011 at 6:38 AM | Permalink

          4th amendment In Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967), the Supreme Court ruled that a search had occurred when the government wiretapped a telephone booth.[20] The Court’s reasoning was that 1) the defendant expected that his phonebooth conversation would not be broadcast to the wider world …

          ECHR Article 8 provides a right to respect for one’s “private and family life, his home and his correspondence”

          Does not say that this does not apply to mass murderes etc.

        • Mark F
          Posted Dec 30, 2011 at 11:20 AM | Permalink

          Your need for anonymity might be related to your apparent need to issue outrageous, misleading and abrasive comments. I have another suggestion.

    • Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 7:45 AM | Permalink

      It is a sad state of affairs but all that I have posted has either not made it past moderation or has been erased very shortly after it hits the blog.

      It of course does not stop mew posting (without moderation – its funny how som people get put staight in the bucket – as any other pseudonym using any old ip address!)

      Have you not wondered why WUWT and CA have few dissenters these days. Its not that there are only “yes” men left it is because most who post alternative views go in the bucket never to emerge.

      • Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 9:39 AM | Permalink

        At least your sense of humor is intact.

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 11:24 AM | Permalink

        the ever trenchant ford..

        Ford let me suggest that it would be good for you to revisit the threads and arguments in question.

        At any time during that whole argument did you realize that your were just making stuff up, defending a bad case, hanging yourself out to dry.. for what? The science has never been at issue.

        At some point did your conscience suggest.. “this is wrong” “I dont need to defend this behavior”
        did your conscience suggest anything resembling a rational approach? I mean seriously, what were you thinking.
        and what are you thinking now. Oh I see you are thinking that you are stuck in moderation.

        moron. we all get stuck there once in a while.

      • Charlie H
        Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

        Well you just proved yourself wrong by posting…
        You post showed up so obviously your IP does not autosend to modersation.

    • JCM
      Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 8:54 PM | Permalink

      Fixing a blown gasket.

  7. Posted Dec 27, 2011 at 11:15 PM | Permalink

    “Is there any documentation in GCOS reports we can point to, especially AOPC where we can show that you are championing open access?”

    I’ll be guffawing over that one for a LOOOOOOONG time.

  8. John Carpenter
    Posted Dec 27, 2011 at 11:31 PM | Permalink

    Apparently none of them, prior to meeting up with you Steve, had ever been audited by anyone for anything. Keep taking them to the mat.

  9. Mark T
    Posted Dec 27, 2011 at 11:38 PM | Permalink

    Um, no. Were is the proper word in both instances. If it was a single inconsistency or a single restriction, was would be proper.


    • MikeN
      Posted Dec 30, 2011 at 5:08 PM | Permalink

      How is this the last post?

  10. Bernie
    Posted Dec 27, 2011 at 11:57 PM | Permalink

    Master Palmer must be wondering that with a “friend” like Jones, he needs no enemies.

  11. Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 12:19 AM | Permalink

    Amazing Steve.

    That an IPCC Coordinating Lead Author could regard distribution of CRU station data as “personal” favor rather than an obligation is an issue that the climate community has closed its eyes to.

    Wake me up too when the climate community opens its eyes to anything even the slightest bit hard to face up to.

    The FOIA/Mole incident has been central in self-serving rationalizations of Climategate events by institutional climate science. They’ve represented the affair as an attempt to “harass” climate scientists, claiming that the events vindicated many prior years of data obstruction. However, institutional climate science and their house organs (e.g. Nature) have failed to report the origins of the incident.

    And you’ve provided a spectacular account of the origins, with the help of our old friend FOIA. The self-serving rationalizations will no doubt continue but at some point governments will stop listening to them. You’ve brought the day nearer, once again.

  12. geo
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 1:24 AM | Permalink

    I still feel a sneer come across my lips whenever I read about CRU whining about 60 FOIA requests like they’re St. Joan on the stake.

    The US Gov in FY 2010 received over 400,000 FOIA requests, and denied in full less than 10% of them, while releasing in full north of 50% of them (the balance being released at least in part).

    You cannot fulfill a role of worldwide importance and then whine that way about being treated with truly moderate interest relatively re FOIA.

  13. gober
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 1:24 AM | Permalink

    “My dog ate my homework”
    “But you don’t have a dog”
    “Did I say dog? It was my cat”
    “You don’t have a cat either”
    “Correct. My mother threw away my homework when she was tidying my room”

  14. Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 1:24 AM | Permalink

    “Most “non-academics” would have sent Jones a strongly worded WTF letter.”

    Or a Writ.

  15. Jim T
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 1:25 AM | Permalink

    Now we can see why they were complaining about all the time involved in replying to the FOI requests. It looks like they were working practically full time on how to get out of providing any information. Lies piled on lies piled on yet more lies.

  16. Steeptown
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 2:39 AM | Permalink

    As an English person, I am truly horrified at the despicable and c ***l behaviour that has been going on in England. I am deeply ashamed. I am even more ashamed that the cover-up is being continued by the establishment in England.

    I can understand why Jones was suicidal after CG1. How must he be feeling after CG2? How must he be feeling knowing what is hanging over his head in CG3?

    As for Thorne saying that Jones “can do science if you can still remember what that is”, well, to my knowledge, Jones is not =snip- However, he has brought great shame to science, from which it will have a hard time recovering.

    • jjthom
      Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 10:37 AM | Permalink

      Approximately 72 results found in the Worldwide database for: university of east anglia as the applicant.

      So should all this publicly funded research be open to ALL.

      Research may lead to spin offs. Spin offs may lead to income for the university.

      As a publicly funded institution should you enable anyone in the world access to your IP and utilise it before you have the opportunity?

      Sleep town:
      As for Thorne saying that Jones “can do science if you can still remember what that is”,

      I think you will find that this refers to time messing around on FOI requests!

      Steve: any waste of time was entirely Jones’ own creation. He could have simply sent me (and others) the same data that he sent to Webster.

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

        The issue in this post is East Anglia’s fabricated excuse for refusing data – a fabrication that provoked the original protest by Climate Audit readers.

        Do you concede that East Anglia’s original excuse – “non-academics” – had no support in the documents?

        Do you agree that universities should not use fabricated excuses in order to avoid producing data?

        Do you agree East Anglia should not have used a fabricated excuse?

        If you agree on these points, perhaps we can move on to consider subsequent issues: e.g. whether climate scientists should simultaneously assert intellectual property rights to prevent examination of data while IPCC simultaneously uses such data in policy-related studies.

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 11:31 AM | Permalink


        unfortunately the inquiries found that CRU was responsible for the trouble they brought on themselves.

        Which do you think Jones spent more time on

        1. Sending data to Webster
        2. Scheming to fight FOIA requests
        3. Fighting FOIA requests
        4. answering FOIA Requests
        5. Working on hadcru

        We know that 5 is zero. we know that 4 is less than 18 hours.

        Giving McIntyre the data which the ICO has ruled he had a right to, would have taken all of 5 minutes.
        Heck, he could have told Webster to pass the data along to Mcintyre.

        • Punksta
          Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

          If institutions such as UEA simply put all their data and work on publicly accessible servers, it would take little or no effort to satisfy FOI requests.

  17. Punksta
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 2:54 AM | Permalink

    The underlying problem here is that a publicly funded institution is even *allowed* to deny the public access to its work. The charters of public institutions such as UEA should be altered so as to make Jones’s ‘missing’ confidentality agreements untenable in law.

  18. Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 4:30 AM | Permalink

    What boggles my mind in all this is Palmer’s role.

    I’d love to see his “job description”! Surely, as the person responsible for developing drafting the responses to FOI requests at UEA/CRU it cannot (or at least should not, IMHO) include the bias of “protectionism” in favour of those who might be most adversely affected by an honest and transparent response to such requests.

    In some of the responses to FOI requests, Acton had been named as the ‘authority’ in whom had been vested the first line of response. One might wonder if these were also drafted by Palmer.

    One might be inclined to wonder who is paying Palmer’s salary. If it is the ICO, one might conclude that – in Palmer, at least – they have not been getting the best bang for their buck. If it is UEA, then surely there is a blatant (undeclared) conflict of interest that needs to be addressed, PDQ.

    • macumazan
      Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 5:43 AM | Permalink

      I’m rather an amateur at FOIA, but perhaps someone more knowledgeable might venture an opinion on this: Would it be possible to FOIA David Palmer specifically for email correspondence to or from him involving the words “non-academic” with the specific purpose of building up a portfolio of material connected with his own dereliction of duty as an FOIA officer?

  19. Mike Jackson
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 4:48 AM | Permalink

    This from Palmer brought me up short:
    “One only has to look at the JISC funded projects on national scientific data repositories and exchange to see that there appears to be a perception in the academic community that the exchange & re-use of data is a good thing.”
    What does he mean, “there appears to be a perception in the academic community …”?
    Is he not part of the academic community? Is this the first time he has come across the idea that exchange of data is a good thing?
    And all the while he is apparently taking the lead in finding excuses not to release data.
    Reading between the lines I have the impression that in his mind the actual data is not relevant. It could be a list of Norwich pubs, their landlords and the beer they serve; he would still be looking for ways not to tell anyone.

    • Punksta
      Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 5:02 AM | Permalink

      “…there appears to be a perception in the academic community that the exchange & re-use of data is a good thing.”

      Is this blindingly obvious fact really such a surprise/revelation to him though? Or is he just pretending it is for political correctness reasons?

  20. Rick Bradford
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 5:08 AM | Permalink

    Now I understand why Jones considered that he was getting flooded with vexatious FOIs — he was making them vexatious.

    By ducking and diving in such an extraordinarily convoluted way, instead of just handing the data over, Jones was himself creating the vexation.

    • crosspatch
      Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 5:46 AM | Permalink

      I don’t doubt that the requests were vexing, but they were not vexatious. That would imply intent to request the information for no other reason than to cause them to suffer. I have no doubt that SteveM et al. wanted that data for the sake of getting a clearer picture of their processing of it, not to cause The Cause anxiety. And as you say, he turned the situation into a vexing one by his own efforts to avoid turning over the data.

      How would a financial auditor look at such efforts to avoid turning over accounting information?

      It seems quite clear to me that they had some reason for not wanting to turn over the data, maybe it was to cover up the fact that it had gone missing, but I somehow doubt that because that would have been an easy card to play early on. Not even having a list of stations is the more difficult thing to explain. Losing data isn’t really a problem as long as you have the meta data and know how it was processed. The records for those stations are archived someplace and can be recalled by other means.

      So not having the data and not having the meta data means “you’re just going to have to trust us on this one” which generally doesn’t hold water in science.

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 9:25 AM | Permalink

        It seems quite clear to me that they had some reason for not wanting to turn over the data,

        One of the most frustrating aspects of the “inquiries” was that they failed to investigate or, as far as one can tell, even ask, why Jones was so intent on non-disclosure. At the time, I strongly discouraged readers from surmising that there would be some smoking gun in the data. My guess was that they were trying to disguise just how little work and quality control actually went into the product.

        This question needs re-visiting.

        One hypothesis – maybe Jones’ work up to the mid-1990s was nothing more than collating data from prior World Weather Records publications i.e. he never had ANY correspondence with national meteorological services prior to the mid 1990s at the earliest. I did a couple of detailed posts in summer 2009 closely examining what countries Jones might have had agreements with and there aren’t many possibilities. The pea may be under a different thimble than we think.

        • pax
          Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 2:18 PM | Permalink

          Phil Jones said himself: “We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?”

          Maybe the explanation is just that. It could really be that simple.

        • crosspatch
          Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 5:26 PM | Permalink

          Yes, Pax, that does sound typical of the response of a person with a higher degree of narcissistic personality than average when faced with scrutiny. It could be experienced as a potential for criticism which is often experienced as a personal attack. What he might be saying is “why should I give you a weapon which you will use to attack me?” when it is not at all intended as a personal attack but he experiences criticism as a personal attack. He is possibly avoiding potential criticism here.

          We are dealing with human beings. Human beings have different personality traits. As much as we like to think that everyone else is just like us, that isn’t the case. Everyone has differing traits to differing degrees and it isn’t uncommon for people in positions such as Jones and Mann to be a little more narcissistic than average. Another way of saying it is they tend to be prima donnas. I’m not saying he is or is not, I am saying that a lot of the behavior exhibited in the emails and in other interactions tend to be consistent with the behaviors resulting from criticizing someone who is a bit more narcissistic than average.

          The top people in many professions tend to be a bit more narcissistic than average, that is often what drives them to the top in the first place. Politicians, journalists, scientists, senior bureaucrats can all tend to have a higher population of narcissistic personalities than the population at large. When looked at in this light, a lot of the behaviors make perfect sense including those of Real Climate (stifling of disagreement as disagreement is experienced as criticism and criticism is experienced as a personal attack), those of reactions to any “skeptical” papers and the journals that publish them, their avoidance of handing over data and correspondence, etc. In that light, it all makes perfect sense.

          The one dangerous thing is that a narcissist will show little empathy for and attempt to completely destroy anyone who presents a major threat to their position. They would feel no remorse for destroying someone’s career, for example, if they produced a paper that was a major threat to their position. So the behaviors of attempting to discredit journals, have doctorates revoked, have academics fired by their institution, discrediting the institution, etc. is actually typical. The first response they have to criticism is to devalue the source; “it isn’t worth my time to respond to it” or “I have important work to do, I am an important scientist (implied: your work is unimportant and your status is inferior to mine). An example might be seen in 4666.txt:

          “Misrepresenting the work of scientists is a serious offense, and would work to further
          besmirch the reputation of the Wall Street Journal, which is strongly been called into
          question in the past with regard to the treatment of climate change.”

          Seriously, when I look at the various behaviors in that light, they all make perfect sense to the point of being rather typical and predictable.

        • Craig Loehle
          Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 5:39 PM | Permalink

          crosspatch: whether you call it narcissism or not, many academics view the whole science thing as a game: positioning a grant with the right buzz-words for the current fad, placing students in prestige positions, having buddies in the administration, sending out press releases. In this “game”, you can get or lose points, status, and prestige, but it is not about “truth”. To take as an example post-modernism, if you get lots of status with your gibberish books, you win. When viewed as winning vs losing, admitting error is losing and getting an opponent canned is winning. An ugly way to play I think.

        • crosspatch
          Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 5:54 PM | Permalink

          Even the behaviors others have mentioned in this tread where there was internal dissent but people were afraid to speak out is typical of a toxic work environment created by a narcissist at the top who is very busy creating a certain picture for external consumption when the internal picture is much different. This is the same whether it is in the workplace of family or any other interpersonal unit. It is extremely stressful to live with.

          From my reading on the subject, a common result is the eventual mutiny of the others involved. They get tired of the lies or the treatment of others, or maybe they tire of the whole charade and someone spills the beans. So even the release of the climategate emails if is an “inside job” is typical. How was Nixon brought down? Mark Felt (A.K.A. Deep Throat) talking to the Washington Post exposed the coverup.

        • Jeff Norman
          Posted Dec 29, 2011 at 12:45 PM | Permalink


          I don’t think “narcissist” is quite the correct word.

          In recent years there has been a growing recognition in the business world of the psychotic boss. Numerous articles describe the behaviours we are witnessing.

        • crosspatch
          Posted Dec 29, 2011 at 1:21 PM | Permalink

          I believe in this case you mean psychopathic, not psychotic. This piece done for Australian TV is interesting:

          I’m not willing to go that far as it would require professional diagnosis. The point is that we are dealing with real people who have real personalities and how people react to things don’t always fit into nice little cubbyholes. A perfectly reasonable request for data by one person so that they might more clearly understand something can be seen as a threat to the person it is requested from if they feel that the release of that data could be a threat to their status or position even though no threat is intended. I meant to point out that the simple act of pointing out a mistake to some people can be experienced as a very direct personal attack to which they can (and sometimes do) respond in an over-the-top fashion and can lash out and attempt to utterly destroy the source of criticism. We have seen such behaviors exhibited from Jones concerning scientists and journals that publish anything that might cross his view. The pattern of behaviors fits, too. First comes devaluation then comes an attempt to destroy their career and if that fails, an attempt to sully their name in their field among their peers. In other words, he seems to engage in very real attacks on people’s careers when he sees information published that he perceives as an “attack” on his position. To him it is simply responding in kind. They “attacked” him, so he is “attacking” back. That no personal attack on him was contemplated by the source of the information doesn’t mean anything. Such people read “attack” into any criticism and read criticism in any information counter to their position. They are hypersensitive to it.

          I’m certainly not attempting to diagnose anyone as I am not qualified. This comes from personal experience in having worked for someone like this and I am pointing out that the patterns of behavior we see in all of this display an uncanny resemblance to the behaviors exhibited by such people and that such people are not uncommon in certain positions of occupation as those behaviors themselves often result in those people reaching those positions in the first place.

          Keep in mind that Jones has gone from a climate scientists in a field that people had probably never heard of to being a rather famous person whose research is the basis for hundreds of billions in spending globally. He has gone from a nobody to a global celebrity who can influence the policies and budgets of countries around the world. He might be feeling a little full of himself, he might be feeling that his position is resting on a fairly flimsy foundation, and he might be feeling that if someone of enough influence were to suddenly announce that the emperor has no clothes, he could go from darling of the progressive movement to a global pariah very quickly. I think he is very aware of that.

        • Mark T
          Posted Dec 30, 2011 at 11:18 PM | Permalink

          A narcissist would likely be incapable of recognizing any weaknesses in himself. At least, consciously.


        • theduke
          Posted Dec 29, 2011 at 10:39 PM | Permalink

          pax: it is as simple as that, but the implications are much broader.

          These scientists provide the scientific basis for an enormous international scientific, political, financial, ecological and social edifice that guides, arranges, legislates, empowers, and facilitates the collection and distribution of tens (or hundreds) of billions of dollars for a variety of environmental causes.

          Anyone who challenges the veracity of the scientific conclusions that underlie that huge financial edifice threatens the social, political, educational, environmental pillars of what Mann accurately called “the cause.” “The cause” is a huge international–albeit ad hoc–movement. It’s a loose-knit monolith in which the participants march in lockstep–except in private, as the emails reveal. In public, it’s all assuredness and certitude. So they stonewall everything. They clearly believe that any admission of error or doubt undermines the whole enterprise. They will no more cooperate with genuine scientific inquiry to examine and replicate their findings than they would with someone who advocates polluting rivers.

          “The cause” is more important than the niceties of scientific exchange to advance human knowledge in the field of climatology. That is why any paper that casts doubt on the conclusions of “consensus” scientists is conspired against behind the scenes to prevent publication, or, when that doesn’t work, viciously attacked upon publication.

        • Zorro
          Posted Dec 30, 2011 at 10:25 PM | Permalink

          How much $$ was UEA/CRU/Jones receiving for specifically maintaining the global temps.
          Seems that this thimble may be worth watching.

        • Willis Eschenbach
          Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

          Interesting question, Steve. Here’s my hypothesis.

          My departure point would be Jones’s statement to Warrick, which expressed Jones’s fear that there was something wrong with his work, that it contained undetected errors.

          This is in agreement with your thought about how little work he’d done. As you have shown, it appears no attempt was made to quality-control the data. The HARRY READ ME files show that until poor Harry got the job there was very little attempt to standardize, centralize, and collate the data. So he had good reason to fear that someone might find something wrong with it.

          When I asked for the data from Phil Jones, I had in mind it would be a couple of blocks of quality-controlled data. One block would have a line for each station, with columns containing the station name, WHO number, other identifier(s), latitude, longitude, elevation and all the other meta-data for that station.

          The other block would have a line for each month, with a column for each station, and the cells containing temperature data for each station where available.

          All up, it would take someone a few minutes to email me those two blocks of data. That’s what I was expecting if I were successful with my FOI request.

          But Jones had nothing of the sort. Nor was any quality-control or other analysis being done in a unified, step-by-step, tick the boxes and check every one kind of way. The temperature data was all in separate files in individual folders. Not only that, but some of them were only identified by folder name, because the file name was just year and month … the data was not in two blocks, temperature data in one and station meta-data in the other, like any reasonable person would have it. It was a tangled mess with no order and no index.

          I think Phil was a horrible record keeper who tragically ended up in charge of a whole heap of unimportant meteorological records, and wasn’t sure what to do with them when they suddenly became the basis for billion dollar decisions.

          So when I sent in my FOI, he was caught. He didn’t have the data to send me. He had a host of individual records in individual folders with inadequate names and little metadata. So in his best fashion, as exemplified by his words throughout the Climategate emails, he decided to conceal the horrendous state of his records, and (as you point out, Steve) cover up the small amount of work he’d done to organize, check, verify, and analyze them.

          Another victim of Noble Cause Corruption … he’s saving the world, and he knows the world is warming, and his work is vitally important to “the cause”, so what’s a small lie in the face of saving the grandchildren from fiery heat death?


          PS—One irony is that Jones did not get busted for what he’d done (bad record keeping). As with Nixon and Clinton, he got in trouble when he tried to cover it up. When he got my polite request for data that preceded my FOI, or even when he got my FOI request, if he’d had his wits about him he’d have sent me a bunch of folders and said “Hey, my office is in a bit of a mess right now, but here’s about 85% of the data you requested. Note that this is the raw stuff, as received from the NMSs and tossed into folders. Any errors are theirs. It will take a bit of time to dig out and verify the rest of the data, there’s a few I can’t release for confidentiality reasons, I’ll get back to you as soon as I can get those sorted out”. I probably would have bought that, and in any case, the discussion would have given him plenty of time to organize the data into two blocks like it should have been from the start.

          I believe that Nixon referred to that as the “modified limited hang-out option”, and I likely would have accepted that … but noooo, he had to deny, deny, deny the FOI to try to cover up the pathetic state of his records … mistake.

        • ianl8888
          Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 4:24 PM | Permalink


          >I think Phil was a horrible record keeper who tragically ended up in charge of a whole heap of unimportant meteorological records, and wasn’t sure what to do with them when they suddenly became the basis for billion dollar decisions.<

          Yes, I've thought that for some considerable time now

          Quite suddenly, he was being courted by Presidents, Kings and other limelight people. No way back. I've often wondered what my reaction would be to that dilemma – horror, I should think

        • Sean
          Posted Dec 29, 2011 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

          This fits my Rosie Ruiz theory of how lies can grow to epic proportions. If you don’t know who she is, she is worth googling. Some people think Rosie intended to cheat her way into winning the Boston Marathon;

          The more likely explanation is that she just didn’t train for the marathon. Her company and friends held a fundraiser to sponsor her trip. She didn’t want to disappoint them by not finishing, so she hopped the subway, got out and jumped into a big crowd of over 100 runners. What she didn’t realie was that they were all men, and there were no women ahed of her. When they put the laurel wreath on her, she looks stunned Her various explanations over the days following the marathon, as more and more facts came to light, would make an interesting comparison to the various UEA “explanations” above. To this day she denies having cheated at all, despite witnesses from the subway and video footage of streets she never ran on.

        • Posted Jan 2, 2012 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

          Willis, you said in your PS that it would have been good if Prof Jones had simply said: “Hey, my office is in a bit of a mess right now, but here’s about 85% of the data you requested. Note that this is the raw stuff, as received from the NMSs and tossed into folders. Any errors are theirs. It will take a bit of time to dig out and verify the rest of the data, there’s a few I can’t release for confidentiality reasons, I’ll get back to you as soon as I can get those sorted out”.

          Unfortunately I think this attitude is not one that is sustainable at senior levels, whether it’s in academia or industry. Nobody at senior level can ever admit to making a mistake or being less than up to the job. Therefore I think it’s unsurprising that the first reaction is self-preservation rather than openness. There’s too much to lose from being open. In the academic world, I think this has partly been brought about by the funding approach which is now very much “publish and be cited or die”, where research for its own sake is not funded and where scientists must compete for funding on designated topics — in other words it’s just like running a business.

          It’s possible that Prof Jones may have feared the truth would eventually emerge, but then without CG1 and CG2 who else would have known apart from his close circle, all of whom were clearly not going to blow the whistle on him? And he had strategies in place to protect him from his enemies — delete all emails after copying them to memory sticks so there was no public trace of his comments. It so very nearly worked.

          I think therefore that there is the specific issue of CRU deviousness but also the wider one: if this is happening in one bastion of AGW then we must assume it’s happening elsewhere. And that betrays an attitude to openness and the scientific method that are at odds with what governments are being told by the IPCC and what the general public believes scientists are like (think of cuddly Brian Cox, sweet Jim Al-Khalili, logical Steven Hawking, et al — none would hurt a fly and they’re all doing science for the good of humanity). When so much of the AGW message is based on “trust us, we’re the consensus of scientific opinion”, governments and the general public need to know that there’s a small core of untrustworthy non-scientists who are doing all they can to hide their results from scientific scrutiny. This is not science, and it’s not being done by real scientists. But one day it could shatter people’s trust in science as a whole.

        • Punksta
          Posted Jan 3, 2012 at 12:41 AM | Permalink

          Because of the Publish or Perish ethic, top scientists have too much to lose from being open, so must be dishonest to survive?

          Jones wasn’t bothered sending data to Webster though was he? Is this because he thought Webster supported the Cause, and so would endorse any mistakes that supported it ?

        • Posted Dec 30, 2011 at 8:07 AM | Permalink

          One hypothesis – maybe Jones’ work up to the mid-1990s was nothing more than collating data from prior World Weather Records publications i.e. he never had ANY correspondence with national meteorological services prior to the mid 1990s at the earliest. I did a couple of detailed posts in summer 2009 closely examining what countries Jones might have had agreements with and there aren’t many possibilities. The pea may be under a different thimble than we think.

          So it should be “We have 25 hours or so invested in the work..” 🙂 I’m about to complete my 25 hours with Jones 90 data, working without anomalies,



          still something missing in my SH values, too high wrt CRU, let’s see..

    • Punksta
      Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

      Yes it may well be that Jones hid data for reasons other than that the data undermined his conclusions. Perhaps his dog ate the meatadata and/or the confidentiality agreements barring the public from seeing the data it funded.
      But whatever his reason(s), I have yet to see any possible honourable one, or anyone in line with the science process.

  21. WB
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 5:34 AM | Permalink

    Hilary, as at 15 Dec 2011 David Palmer was employed by the University of East Anglia as its
    Information Policy & Compliance Manager and I haven’t seen any info online to indicate he’s ceased occupying that role. From his Linked In profile he did a Bachelor of Laws at York University, he might have practiced law for a couple years, it’s not clear, did his masters of library science then was Regional Librarian for Parks Canada for 10 yrs and been at UEA since 1998/9. As the head of Info Policy & Compliance for UAE I’d expect him to be thoroughly across the legals of copyright, data management, confidentiality and FOI. But like you, I read these emails and the impression his own words give to me is that he did not control the CRU guys at all. I do wonder how much support he asked for and got from the University’s legal office. Maybe I should make an FOI application about that! In any case getting on to the UAE website and looking up all the latest FOI applications about stuff that’s come up as a consequence of Climategate 2.0 is a pretty amusing exercise. Silly silly Dave Palmer and the CRU numpties have made a rod for their own backs by being so intransigent about revealing data. They deserve every application IMHO.

  22. Speed
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 6:57 AM | Permalink

    Palmer to Jones/Mcgarvie:
    I can understand your reluctance to deal with Mr. McIntyre’s request …

    I would like to hear from Palmer exactly why Jones/Mcgarvie are reluctant.

  23. Occam's Blunt Razor
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 7:18 AM | Permalink


    I salute you.

    Your sincerely


  24. Don Keiller
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 7:42 AM | Permalink

    Steve. A very well put together chronology- as always.

    Keep up the good work.

    • jjthom
      Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 8:06 AM | Permalink

      Good grief!!

      Talk about fiddling while Rome burns.

      Here is mcintyre tuning the instrument whilst his minions go about strategically placing oily rags.

      What I want to know is:
      Are my grand children’s futures safe?

      I do not care if misguided scientists did not want to release data (it’s immaterial now anyway – Best, Giss, etc all show similar figures)

      Steve: if the situation is as serious as you surmise, then you should blame Jones, CRU and the University of East Anglia for their obstruction of data requests. You should be the one who is calling out “misguided scientists”.

      • Bill
        Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 8:27 AM | Permalink


        You seem a bit clueless. If the science is solid, it can stand up to scrutiny, even by “non-academics” believe it or not.

        I am a scientist and am shocked that there was ever a question of not releasing data. It is standard practice and indeed mandated by law when the funding is public.

        You may not be aware, but can easily verify for yourself by reading 50-60 of the worst e-mails, but several key figures in the IPCC report (as in graphs) were very poor science. The e-mails reveal that even Mann’s own co-authors realized his data was crap and were half-way scared of him being vindictive and so did not speak out. When Steve did show the mistakes, none of these brave scientists said a word in public, but in their e-mails they said the response had not been fair to Steve and his work. We won’t know if the world will be safe for your grandchildren unless people have the guts to tell the truth in public as well as private.

        As far as the FOIA requests, if they had been up front about the first few, there would not have been the hundreds they have now and if they had admitted the Mann data was crap, none of this would have happened, including the climategate e-mail releases I would imagine.

        • Phil R
          Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 10:16 AM | Permalink

          Maybe Jones should have looked at UEA’s own FOI website. It might have saved him some headaches (from UEA’s FOI website):

          6 key facts that all staff should know about Freedom of Information

          The Act gives everyone both in and outside UEA a right of access to ANY recorded information held by UEA.

          A request for information must be answered within 20 working days.

          If you receive a request for information which mentions FOI, is not information you routinely provide, is unusual, or you are unsure of, you should pass the request to your FOIA contact or the Information Policy and Compliance Manager.

          You should ensure that UEA records are well maintained and accessible to other staff, so that they can locate information needed to answer a request when you are not there.

          As all documents and emails could potentially be released under the Act, you should ensure that those you create are clear and professional.

          It is a criminal offence to destroy, conceal or amend emails or other record that has been requested under the Act and you may be liable for a fine if you do so.

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 11:40 AM | Permalink

        Your grand children are not safe, if they ended up with any of your genes that is.
        Your ire should be directed to Jones.

        • jjthom
          Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

          Steven Mosher Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 11:40 AM | Permalink |


          You still have not grasped what I have said. And you with a “brain the size of a planet” who has independently analysed the various records and shown that most adjustments have made no difference to the actual rise since the seventies.

          For all that I care you can totally destroy the UEA but what does that achieve? Their data is irrelevant not that others is available.

          You, WUWT, CA, etc all seem to have a desire to confuse and corrupt the science. The science seems to say temps are rising and we are the cause. We are like a giant tanker navigating a busy shipping lane in the fog. One group says carry on if there is a problem then we will stop. The other says there may be other boats ahead and we should slow down to ensure we can stop. Which is sensible?

          Steve: I take great care to ensure that my posts and comments are as accurate as possible. Despite this care, I do make mistakes from time to time, but try to correct and acknowledge them promptly. If you can identify any errors in my posts or comments, I would appreciate your drawing them to my attention so that I can correct them. It is a longstanding editorial policy of this blog that commenters are asked not to try to solve the “big picture” in a couple of sentences as otherwise all threads become the same. I give critics greater latitude than supporters. Nonetheless, I request that you comply with this blog policy and stick to the topic of the thread.

        • James Evans
          Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

          snip – see my comment to JJ about blog editorial policy

        • Jean S
          Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

          Re: jjthom (Dec 28 12:13),

          Steve and others, WARNING, “jjthom” seems to be another sock puppet of a certain person, who has been posting a long time also to CA with his original well known nick name. “jjthom” has posts from at least two different IP numbers shared with the original nick. Also a short lived character “walt man” seems to be using the same numbers.

        • Sean
          Posted Dec 29, 2011 at 10:41 AM | Permalink

          I once had a very long back and forth with a rather strange commenter, on the Discover magazine blog. His mannerisms (if I can use that term to describe writing) are spot on the same as two different posts on this page. He was posting under a name beginning with B, though I can’t remember the whole name. It may come back to me.

        • Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 2:27 PM | Permalink

          I give critics greater latitude than supporters.

          Part of the genius of this blog, old IP numbers notwithstanding.

        • kim
          Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 4:41 PM | Permalink

          I agree, and I remember that every time the zamboni rumbles over my ice cuts.

        • John M
          Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 6:41 PM | Permalink

          I feel your pain…

        • Punksta
          Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

          snip – see my comment to JJ about blog editorial policy

  25. stan
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 9:14 AM | Permalink

    Now a ‘real’ climate journalist would take this chronology and use it to ask real questions and real follow-ups of major players. No wiggle room — get them on the record either condemning or condoning this behavior. Of course, that would require someone who was genuinely interested in communicating science.

    Maybe they should create an award for a real journalist who pursues stories like this in order to get the facts to the public. 😉

    Steve- newspapers no longer have the resources to do this sort of in-depth analysis on small stories. No need to complain about it.

  26. Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 9:41 AM | Permalink

    It was clear to me from the very beginning that UEA’s game plan was simply to try to exhaust people with endless refusals and delays in the hope that they would go away. Unfortunately for them I can get very bloody minded when treated like that.

    I have always assumed that the reason for their refusal was not to try to protect the CRUTEM data itself, but simply part of a strategy of refusing any and all FOI requests in an attempt to prevent precedents being set that might help some other FOI request which they were far more anxious about. However, by leading to the involvement of the ICO in their affairs, this strategy has somewhat misfired.

    • Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 10:18 AM | Permalink

      I have always assumed that the reason for their refusal was not to try to protect the CRUTEM data itself, but simply part of a strategy of refusing any and all FOI requests in an attempt to prevent precedents being set that might help some other FOI request which they were far more anxious about.


      However, by leading to the involvement of the ICO in their affairs, this strategy has somewhat misfired.

      Double check.

    • Ftzr
      Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 3:36 PM | Permalink

      I think you are almost certainly completely incorrect. The dominant thread throughout all of these emails is that P. Jones was genuinely trying to protect the confidentiality he felt he owed the suppliers of the data he used.

      That National Met services (in Europe and elsewhere, but not the USA) have commercial imperatives should not be news to anyone, and they do want to make money off data and products they produce. There are dozens of examples – from workshops for developing world met services organized by NCDC, to the UK Met Office HadEX products – where the only way to get data for scientific research from the NMSs is to promise not to pass it on to third parties.

      What you are seeing in these emails is an informal system of understandings and working agreements that had been built up over a couple of decades being wrenched into a far more legalistic and bureaucratic environment – like someone who had paid cash for everything for years, who suddenly has to account for every penny spent – when, where and to who. Sure, if one was starting from scratch with a functional and tested system, you would do it very differently, but that is not what they had.

      With such an informal system, it is much easier to be flexible (i.e. the Georgia Tech email) than otherwise. But once it was clear that your requests were in order to make the data fully public, the concerns about his obligations to his data suppliers came to the fore.

      In my opinion the vilification of P. Jones that is ongoing here is tackling the wrong target. You should be focused on the NMSs upstream of this and using your contacts in the UK parliament and in the EU to push for the removal of the commercial imperatives for raw data. You might be surprised who might sign on to support that.

      • Craig Loehle
        Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

        Ftzr: in theory you have a point, but in fact it appears that only a handful of met services put any restrictions on the data when giving it to CRU. You should remember that this is HISTORICAL data, not the latest few days or weeks that you can sell to local commercial forecasters.

      • Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

        Re: Ftzr (Dec 28 15:36), ftzr: It would be a good idea to go back to the original discussion about the “agreements” on this blog. I remember reading the “agreements” — all four, including the Spanish version (original) and the “solicited version — quite legalistic. I read a lot of IP agreements — I write a lot too. It would be difficult to convince me that there were any agreements that contradicted complete or partial publication at the time Phil Jones refused to supply the data. Indeed the journals that accepted his articles required the publication/archiving of the data. In addition, if indeed the records do predict our impending doom what is the reason for the secrecy? A profit motive? If so who should bear the brunt of your irritation?

        • Ftzr
          Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 9:28 PM | Permalink

          Yes, it is a profit motive – but not for P Jones. It is a profit motive that has been forced on the National Met Services by governments for the most part looking to boost revenue. They and the governments that mandate it should bear the brunt of your irritation. It is the conditions they impose that lead to this. Read email 0575 for instance.

          Your other points are just silly – instrumental temperature records can’t possibly ‘predict doom’.

        • Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 10:51 PM | Permalink

          Re: Ftzr (Dec 28 21:28), Could you please point to the agreements that require payment for the temperature records. Could you please point to the records that require secrecy and non-disclosure. These agreements should have existed at the time of the unwillingness of Phil Jones to supply the data under FOIA — which requires the disclosure unless such agreements can be provided. BT: In IP law, verbal agreements and gentlemen’s agreements have no standing. What point is silly. I will address it.

          In addition, the “rising temperature record” was alleged to have pointed the way to “uncontrolled temperature rise” due to CO2 or some such thing — whatever… Otherwise why would any of us have any concern at all? (Rhetorical question.)

          Have you read the CA threads which discussed these issues?

      • RDCII
        Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 11:30 PM | Permalink

        You may be partially correct, but consider:

        In one of Phil’s earliest rejections of request for data, before people started to use FOIA and EIR to get the data, he said:

        “We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?”

        Then consider that it isn’t his job to defend contracts; it would be the legal department’s job.

        Then consider that it would have been impossible for the legal department to do so, since Phil was unable to produce said contracts.

        It’s hard for me to imagine that it would be Phil’s responsibility to store and maintain said legal documents instead of the legal dept, or even just secretaries responsible for filing documents; it’s hard for me to imagine that even the most naive organizations would throw out legally-binding documents in a move…and that every country that entered into legal agreeements ALSO were not able to produce said documents because…what…they all lost them too? Every one?

        Well, to be fair, there’s no evidence that Phil et. al. ever tried to get copies of the documents from the other countries…but…wait…why is that? It would have been an obvious step once the documents were found missing.

        Consider that although Phil has lost all the documents years ago, he remembers that they *all* allow him to give data to academics, but that they must withhold the data otherwise.

        I think there’s too much missing, unexplainable and illogical to give Phil a pass on this one.

      • kim2000
        Posted Dec 31, 2011 at 3:59 AM | Permalink

        That would bring up other questions – like the 100,000s of dollars in fundings. He applied for the grants. If he can’t control the contracts he lied about having………………..

      • Punksta
        Posted Dec 31, 2011 at 4:18 AM | Permalink

        If Jones …
        – really wasn’t just lying so as to obstruct anyone he feared might question ‘consensus’ conclusions
        – and couldn’t produce even one confidentiality agreement as evidence because he was operating on non-verbal secrecy agreements with the suppliers of data

        …he could clear his name by getting his suppliers to confirm his story. Am I correct in saying that neither he nor anyone else has managed to get a single one to back his story ?

        • Punksta
          Posted Dec 31, 2011 at 4:47 AM | Permalink

          oops I meant “verbal” agreements, not “non-verbal”
          Moderator – please feel free to just edit the original

    • Jan
      Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 7:05 PM | Permalink

      Jonathan Jones, your request really seemed to irk to the point of doing some back-channel investigative work.

      I’m sorry Ftzr, my reading of these emails, doesn’t leave me with that impression at all. I’ll agree that they seem ill-prepared to deal with the legalities of FOI and the bureaucracy surrounding it, but I do not get the feeling that the overarching concern was for confidentiality. The impression I get is that anything emanating from a critical source should be treated with suspicion and disregarded. I base this, in part, on:

      Nothing much else to say except:
      REDACTEDThink I’ve managed to persuade UEA to ignore all further FOIA
      requests if the people have anything to do with Climate Audit.
      REDACTEDHad an email from David Jones of BMRC, Melbourne. He said
      they are ignoring anybody who has dealings with CA, as there are
      threads on it about Australian sites.

      Similarly, it makes no sense that Phil Jones would worry himself over Jonathan Jones’ background to the point of involving his son in the investigation. If confidentiality were the issue, the source of the request would not matter, the answer would be the same for all without concern for personal background.

      • johnl
        Posted Dec 30, 2011 at 12:03 AM | Permalink

        It’s also funny that he would ask his boy to check up on a professor instead of just using the school webpage.

  27. jjthom
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

    Come on – none of you understood what I said.

    UEA CRU is just one data set.
    1) According to Mcintyre this has been available for years:
    I am in possession of three earlier versions of the CRU station data. The 1990 version has been posted at a US Department of Energy website for many years. In September 2002, I requested a copy of this data from Dr Jones. He sent me a 1996 version (cruwlda2) – a version that was also posted at the CRU website until recently – and indicated that the then revised version would posted up when Jones and Moberg (2003) was published, which, according to the date-stamps at your FTP site was done in Feb 2003, as Dr Jones had undertaken to do (the data set newcrustnsall recently removed from your public directory).

    2)All data sets agree with CRU

    Therefore these continuous attacks on jones are irrelevant – they do not change the data – the data is valid.
    It’s not even the data you are attacking it is his dislike of sharing data.
    Does this change his data? If so then how will this also affect BEST’s

    So which science is correct. Those that say there is no GHG effect? Claim the sun is iron? That LOD is affected by solar magnetism?
    Or those that follow conventional wisdom.
    My grandchildren are very relevant here. I would like them to have an enjoyable life, not one where they are short of energy, or fighting off immigrants from the too hot regions.

    How cn decisions be made where people are only interesting on stomping on one University that made some stupid decisions on data freedom.

    Where are the analysis of both sides papers?
    How do I decide what is happening? Where is truth?

    • Matt Skaggs
      Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

      jjthom has accomplished one thing with his two content-free comments here. He has provided strong evidence that the CA troll bin exists only in the mind of thefordprefect.

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 3:52 PM | Permalink

      The data posted at DOE a few years ago was adjusted, not raw data. Are the adjustments valid? The different CRU, GISS, etc data sets do not agree perfectly–why the differences? The GISS data for e.g. the USA has changed materially over time in such a way as to reduce the mid-century warm period and change the shape of the graph–is this “correction” valid? Very poor documentation of changes over time.

      Maybe these details don’t matter to you, but they do to some people, many of whom hang out here. If you don’t like details this is the wrong blog for you.

    • Dishman
      Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 4:13 PM | Permalink


      “Where is truth?”

      In real life, you generally won’t get that in a single 30 minute episode. When you do, it’s usually an unpleasant process.

      “How do I decide what is happening?”

      That is always a question. The majority of humans refer to one of many available books as a keystone. Pick your flavor. I’m personally fond of “Principia Discordia”. Your mileage may vary.

      Steve’s approach is to carefully explore the quality of various pieces of research, in whatever order catches his interest. That does not even attempt to directly address your question. Instead, he provides some information (itself of uncertain quality) regarding the quality (or lack thereof) of other pieces of information.

      In the end, you must choose how to evaluate the information available. Sorry.

      “Where are the analysis of both sides papers?”

      RealClimate may offer some contradictory analysis. Various other parties purport to offer similar services.

      If you’re looking for a quick answer, you won’t find it here.

      If you’re interested in exploring your questions in depth, Climate Audit may be a good resource for doing so.

    • crosspatch
      Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 9:52 PM | Permalink

      “Therefore these continuous attacks on jones are irrelevant ”

      Interesting. Why would you choose the word “attack”? I don’t see any attacking going on. I see people attempting to expose a deception and UEA’s complicity in that deception. The issue here isn’t specifically about the data itself anymore, it is about an obviously bogus investigation into the handling (or lack of handling) of FOIA requests. Why do you see it as a personal attack on the now discredited Dr. Jones?

      This deception apparently required a lot of work and a lot of emails flying back and forth. Lets say you were deceived to by some organization and later got hold of the emails concerning that deception, wouldn’t you want to expose it?

  28. Craig Loehle
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 9:49 AM | Permalink

    The ad at the top of page right now is for the movie “The Invention of Lying” and last week it was for the music group LMFAO. Someone’s algorithm for placing ads is working wonderfully.

    • Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 9:16 PM | Permalink

      And I thought that ‘ad’ was part of the post…lol

  29. John Norris
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

    As I believe Steve pointed out years ago, if you are proud of your data and it being unimpeachable, you will stick it out there proudly with a “there it is, see for yourself” attitude.

    If you are concerned about it holding up to scrutiny, you may be a little more shy. If you know it has problems, you aren’t able to face reality, and you are ethically challenged, you would act just as Jones documented in his e-mails with Palmer. He knew it couldn’t stand up to scrutiny so he reached into the fiction bag to fight the FOIA. That’s all on the record yet somehow he is still employed as a UEA Professor and the Director of CRU.

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

      Years ago I compiled a table of life history data (e.g., longevity) for trees (before the internet). I had to argue with the journal to get them TO include it as an appendix. Indeed, if you are not proud of the data, maybe it is too soon to publish.

      • Viv Evans
        Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

        Too right!
        Thirty years ago my late husband was editor of a journal dealing with archaeology.
        He fought the publishers to include the huge, complicated site maps for at least the one major archaeological report per publication.
        All other data form reports were transposed onto microfiches – and those were all data.
        That was another fight with the publishers he won.

        If it was possible to do this in the stone age before PCs, how on earth can certain people and journals get away with not providing data in the present time!

  30. jjthom
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 10:52 AM | Permalink | Reply
    The issue in this post is East Anglia’s fabricated excuse for refusing data

    I will write a considered response IFF you do not delete it (like you have with many others) This is intensely irritating.

    • mrsean2k
      Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 11:35 AM | Permalink

      When you write it, also stick an identical copy on your own blog. Cut and paste is your friend. This protects your efforts from (almost certainly automatic or inadvertent) censure.

      But your reasoning and chain of thought so far just seems to be rambling all over the shop.

  31. TAC
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

    Steve, this is overwhelmingly compelling. I am in awe of your persistence on these matters.

    • stan
      Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

      I wonder if Steve ever gave any thought to being a lawyer. Amazing attention to detail; very methodical, relentless presentation of the evidence such that the reader is compelled to reach the obvious conclusion. And a willingness to wade into the rules and regs to parse and differentiate the nuances of applicability.

      The ability to let the facts speak for themselves without much adverbial or adjectival embellishment is not widespread. When his presentations are complete, the reader is compelled to provide his own. This is something the best litigators understand well. Understatement can be powerful.

      • Jeff Norman
        Posted Dec 29, 2011 at 2:05 PM | Permalink

        I doubt that Steve would be willing to argue as comprehensively/effectively something in which he did not believe.

  32. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

    “One of the most frustrating aspects of the “inquiries” was that they failed to investigate or, as far as one can tell, even ask, why Jones was so intent on non-disclosure. At the time, I strongly discouraged readers from surmising that there would be some smoking gun in the data. My guess was that they were trying to disguise just how little work and quality control actually went into the product.

    This question needs re-visiting.

    One hypothesis – maybe Jones’ work up to the mid-1990s was nothing more than collating data from prior World Weather Records publications i.e. he never had ANY correspondence with national meteorological services prior to the mid 1990s at the earliest. I did a couple of detailed posts in summer 2009 closely examining what countries Jones might have had agreements with and there aren’t many possibilities. The pea may be under a different thimble than we think.”

    It really makes no sense that Phil Jones was refusing to provide the requested CRU temperature data other than he was embarrassed by the loss of the original CRU data and the fact that there was little added value with the other sourced data used in the CRU data set – a data set that has been referenced by many climate papers and the IPCC and given a major place no doubt in CRU marketing its expertise to potential funders of projects.

    I recently found that the GHCN temperature data that is in the CRU data set and the data original with CRU (from which CRU evidently retains the adjusted but not original data) make up nearly all the entries in the CRU data set. The GHCN data is used in the adjusted form, i.e. CRU has no value added for this data. I also found that CRU is intermixing adjusted GHCN V2 and GHCN V3 versions in its data set. I emailed CRU about this finding a couple of weeks ago and to date have not had a reply. At the same time I emailed KNMI about when they would convert to GHCN V3 from GHCN V2 and received a reply within 24 hours.

    I suspect this problem with CRU is more one of being dysfunctionalin this case and unfortunately attempts to hide the evidence of that problem.

    • Posted Dec 30, 2011 at 11:24 AM | Permalink


      It is interesting you claim CRU adjustments are not ‘value added’. The raw temp data shows again and again not a lot of recent warming. Not until you grid and adjust does the warming show up (which is the common feature of GISS, CRU and NCDC – that adjusting).

      Here’s a fun theory: The reason tree rings diverged in the late 20th century is because the gridded temps were diverging from reality!

      I did a post on some 2007 calibration data from Climategate 1 and it shows nothing different between now and the 1930’s/40’s.

      see here:

      This is a hidden intermediate product and looks to be without CRU “adjustment”. When tree rings are calibrated to these kinds of data, you would not see significant warming between 1900-1960 and 1960-2000.

      Soooo – maybe Briffa and Jones just tripped themselves up with are the funny numbers?

      I’ve seen worse from my years at NASA. Recall how the Mars Observer mission was lost because one group used metric and the other English units? This kind of screw up happens a lot, and is a sign the general approach is screwed up (not the intentions).

  33. Dave L.
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 12:59 PM | Permalink

    “1. I don’t have the exact data that I sent in January 2009. I’d have to recreate it. The data are part of a larger database. What I’d recreate would be different from what I sent in Jan 2009 (12.4a).”

    In the above memo from Phil, he uses the word “recreate” inappropriately in my opinion. One doesn’t “recreate” a data subset from a larger data file, one “extracts” it.
    This strikes me as suspect for a Freudian slip.

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 3:44 PM | Permalink

      He has to recreate it because there are computations involved, not just selecting records. Because they did not archive versions as they went (like GISS also does not) and their methods keep changing, it would not come out the same as when generated in Jan 2009. Which is not exactly best practices.

  34. AJC
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 2:13 PM | Permalink

    Many Universities in the UK have similar governance structures to UEA.

    Usually the Court of the University is responsible for “acting as an agent of the University’s stakeholders in seeing that the University is well managed, properly governed and responsive to public and local interests and concerns”.

    Most Universities in the UK have a Visitor (frequently a post attached to a national political office) to whom appeals over maladministration (by the Chancellor, V/C and University Administration) my be investigated and addressed.

    One can understand why the UEA Visitor has not stepped into this morass. He might not have been informed officially although he is undoubtedly well aware unofficially.

    Its is especially difficult to see why the University Court has not taken the Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor and senior members of the University Administration to task over clear breaches of governance.

    UEA seems to be infested with brass monkeys!

  35. Britannic no-see-um
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 3:28 PM | Permalink

    I can’t stop imagining that I am reading the outline script of a big screen blockbuster.

  36. Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 5:21 PM | Permalink

    The idea that non-academics should not be allowed access to research data is not unique to UEA. When I requested the tree-ring data from Queen’s University Belfast (under FoI/EIR), the head tree-ring researcher, Mike Baillie, was repeatedly dishonest in his responses. Eventually, the Information Commissioner had someone visit QUB in person, to determine that what Baillie had been saying was indeed untrue. That led to the Commissioner ruling that the data had to be disclosed. Here is a quote from an article in the Wall Street Journal [23 April 2010].

    In an email explaining why he is “very unhappy” about the Commissioner’s ruling, Mr. Baillie sheds some light on the real objection to sharing raw data with the world, lamenting that his data now could be “handed out to a non-aligned non-academic probably climate denier.”

    Full article:

  37. Joe Public
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 6:30 PM | Permalink

    A superb explanation of your very-detailed & cross-referenced investigatory work.

  38. Mark McDonald
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 6:47 PM | Permalink

    Look I’m new to all this, can some one clear something up for me?

    The “team” didn’t want to release the data/models, etc because;

    1. They wanted to make it as difficult as possible for anyone who doubted their work, or….
    2. They had something to hide?

    • Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 8:59 PM | Permalink

      Mark McDonald:
      1) If anyone questioned them they were a bad person, and they got angry, so of course you do whatever you can to thwart your enemies.
      2) There were internal doubts all around as expressed in the emails, about data quality, how to adjust, data gaps, sloppy record keeping, wonky proxies, unproven stats, so they were nervous about anyone looking at it too closely, as they should have been.

    • mpaul
      Posted Dec 31, 2011 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

      I think its pretty clear. The Team didn’t want to give anything to skeptics for one simple reason: it didn’t help “the cause”. I have a slightly different take on what “the cause” is. Reading how the Team used the term in context, I think “the cause” was the desire to make the Team the most powerful and influential group within the climate science community. So giving anything to critics seemed unwise to them. Ironically their actions to deprive others of the ability to examine their work have backfired. Its unlikely that any of the main Team players will ever recover their reputations after this. By their actions, they have shown themselves to be untrustworthy — an attribute that is disqualifying for leaders.

  39. AndyL
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 6:51 PM | Permalink

    From memory, the ICO was unable to pursue the UEA on their FOIA refusals due to a six month statue of limitations.
    One wonders if this evidence of a sustained and deliberate effort to evade the FOIA involving telling deliberate untruths might mean the UEA actions fall under different laws?

  40. Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 7:58 PM | Permalink

    I don’t see 5250 referenced. Looks like an important window into the Jones Weltanschauung.

    • Geoff Sherrington
      Posted Dec 31, 2011 at 4:36 AM | Permalink

      Omnologos: I can’t find 5250, date and sender available?

      • Duster
        Posted Jan 3, 2012 at 2:04 AM | Permalink

        5250 is in the 2011 release. The top sender is Olive Hefferman. It consists of a thread of correspondence bewteen Ms. Hefferman and Phil Jones regarding the data sent to Webster and takes place between – I think – August 7 and August 10, 2009. Jones says on August 9 [email header says ’09/08/2009′, but European date conventions would indicate that means August 9, which would be consistent with the top header of ’10 Aug 2009′]:

        > I did send some of the data to a person working
        > with Peter Webster at Georgia Tech. The email wasn’t to
        > PW, but he was in the CC list. I don’t know how
        > McIntyre found out, but I thought this was a personal
        > email. This was one of the first times I’d sent
        > some data to a fellow scientist who wasn’t at the
        > Hadley Centre. As I said I have taken pity on African
        > and Asian PhD students who wanted some temperature and precipitation
        > data for their country. The email has only gotten me grief,
        > so this is another reason for being much less helpful to
        > people emailing CRU. This goes against my nature, but
        > I’ve been driven to it. You’d better not say this, otherwise
        > McIntyre will request the emails where to prove I’ve been
        > unhelpful!

        Apparently Steve is responsible for a general change in collegial policy on Jones’ part. More to the point, Jones knows he is being unhelpful.

        > I should have just said to the GA person – use GHCN, like I do to
        > everyone else.
        > I also don’t see why I should help people, I don’t want to work
        > with and who spend most of their time critisising me.
        > Years ago I did send much paleo data to McIntyre but have also
        > had nothing but criticism on his blog ever since. As I said,
        > this criticism on blog sites is not the way to do science.
        > If they want to engage, they have to converse in civil tones,
        > and if people don’t want to work with them, they have to respect
        > that and live with it.

        Evidently, he doesn’t find criticism helpful.

        Frankly – I work in a field where my reports are often reviewed by people from several agencies – I look forward to “substantive” comments. Dealing with someone’s problems about how to spell labour and colour, or whether a comma is necessary or not is boring beyond belief. An honest disagreement is a joy.

  41. MikeN
    Posted Dec 28, 2011 at 11:40 PM | Permalink

    Neill, you guess correctly. There is a part 3 coming.

  42. diogenes
    Posted Dec 29, 2011 at 7:57 AM | Permalink

    email 3334 looks interesting. Some people have implied that a valid reason for CRU stalling FOIA reequests is that they wish to exploit the commercial potential of their IPR in the data. However, it does not seem to be discussed in this chain whether they have any IPR, which is surprising as it seems a logical angle to pursue. Instead they just block and filibuster. It suggests that they feel tht they do not have ay enforceable IPR, but of course that is only my guess based on the course this email chain took.

  43. Posted Dec 29, 2011 at 2:37 PM | Permalink

    Intriguing details. I just complete a post on my speculation of who might be. I was thinking it was either Mike or Dave given the runaround they were sent on by Jones. Now I have to rethink the individual, but I stick by my general conclusions.

    For those interested:

    Steve: we discussed some of these ideas two years ago and rejected the idea that the emails had been collected as part of FOI requests. The email dossier had very little to do with the outstanding FOI requests. The emails are about the Hockey Stick. The pending FOI request was for temperature data which is scarcely mentioned in the emails. You need to subtract some of your supposed “facts” from your analysis.

  44. Nik
    Posted Dec 29, 2011 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

    RDCII said: “I think there’s too much missing, unexplainable and illogical to give Phil a pass on this one.”

    Precisely so. There obviously are other reasons for the effort that went into these refusals. I cannot discern what yet, but it will come through at some point. We might be surprised when it does.

  45. 40 shades
    Posted Dec 29, 2011 at 7:23 PM | Permalink

    Strata sphere.

    Could I suggest you turn off mandatory WordPress account creation on your blog. ( it was easier to comment here).

    Your theory reminds me of the how to handle a situation where you suspect your agent is a double agent. If you conclude he is, how do you know he is not in fact a triple agent and just really good at pretending to be a double agent?

    • Posted Dec 30, 2011 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

      40 shades,

      I only moderate the first submission, then you can post all day long.

      Actually, I followed the data. I plotted it to see what it showed, and it showed what it showed! Still working on getting a web-safe spreadsheet up there (have a day job), but while I have zero respect for the Hockey Team and their lame statistical nonsense – I do appreciate many of their efforts to be professional (Briffa, Bradley, others).

      The problem is the serious ones where a bit wimpy. They were afraid to challenge Jones and Mann. Something we don’t respect at NASA.

      For example, NASA engineers should not only have challenged the Challenger decision to launch in cold weather (as they did), the powers that be needed to shut up and listen (which they didn;t and 7 good people died).

      You may not understand my intensity if you don’t come from a business area where quality means life or death. I know I sometimes rub Steve M the wrong way – but being shy to challenge long held assumptions is not bad or rude. I just happen to have a good personality for the job.

      I am also unfailing in my praise and admiration. McIntyre, McKitrick, Holland, Willis, etc all spent a lot of personal time to uncover this horrible science. And they did it professionally.

      Again, let me point to another NASA tragedy where it proved correct to challenge the status quo. When the foam it the Columbia at launch, many of us felt it was impossible for the incident to be dangerous (myself included).

      We were wrong. Even after 25 years of launches and foam falling off and striking the shuttles, we never realized that we were running against the odds. The historic record was WRONG.

      So don’t get all flustered when challenged. Enjoin the debate and seize the day. Something the Hockey Stick crowd never appreciated. Mann and Jones were wrong and the others never took the step to challenge them. And that is why their peer review process is broken, and the ones we use at NASA on manned space flight are better (yet imperfect as we can see).

  46. Paul Matthews
    Posted Dec 31, 2011 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

    I wonder if it occurred to PJ that academics would follow up on the data request after his bogus excuse.
    His total lack of insight is shown in email 1812 where he expresses his bewilderment and considers writing to their HoDs to complain, but is talked out of it by a uni admin.

  47. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Dec 31, 2011 at 4:47 PM | Permalink


    Excellent piece!

    Regarding your comment: “newspapers no longer have the resources to do this sort of in-depth analysis on small stories. No need to complain about it.”

    Sadly, this is true, however other parts of the the media do have the resources but seldom use them for real investigative journalism.

    Thanks for another well referenced post!


  48. Posted Jan 2, 2012 at 10:37 AM | Permalink

    Steve, would you consider putting the email numbers next to quotes so that assistance in mopping up accusations of ‘taking quotes out of context’ can be given more easily?

  49. R.S.Brown
    Posted Jan 2, 2012 at 8:40 PM | Permalink


    Although the Climategate 2.0 release won’t be useable as evidence or even
    background material in the appeal arguements, the Commonweath of Virginia’s
    Supreme Court has scheduled January 20th, 2012 for arguments in:

    20: #102359:
    Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, II, in his capacity as Attorney General of Virginia
    v. Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia

    Re: Micheal Mann emails, attachments, grant application forms, documentation & data

    Begin at:

7 Trackbacks

  1. […] Climategate 2 and the FOIA/Mole Incident Dec 27, 2011 – 10:12 PM […]

  2. […] McIntyre, a climate “skeptic” runs the Climate Audit web site and has just posted a detailed history of how “climate scientists” deliberately […]

  3. By Evading Mosher’s FOI « Climate Audit on Dec 28, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    […] Climate Audit by Steve McIntyre Skip to content Hockey Stick StudiesStatistics and RContact Steve McProxy DataCA blog setupFAQ 2005Station DataHigh-Resolution Ocean SedimentsSubscribe to CAEconometric ReferencesBlog Rules and Road MapGridded DataTip JarAboutCA Assistant « Climategate 2 and the FOIA/Mole Incident […]

  4. […] McIntyre, a climate “skeptic” runs the Climate Audit web site and has just posted a detailed history of how “climate scientists” deliberately […]

  5. […] worthy read on the delaying tactics by CRU is up at Climate Audit (two actually if you follow the embedded link to part 1 of the story). Heels dug in, Jones was still losing the battle. Apparently this stuck in his craw big […]

  6. […] Climategate 2 and the FOIA/Mole Incident […]

  7. […] This, and some more of the back story (including discussions between Jones and CRU’s FOIA office on how to evade their obligations) became public in two releases of internal emails from CRU’s servers; the tale is partially recounted here. […]

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